I am in an obscenely good mood. So chipper, even my children are growing weary of it. Why, you ask? Partly it’s because I love Christmas so much. I really do. All of it, from the warm sentimentality, to the commercial trappings, to the endless Christmas music. Even the cold weather that goes along with it. By the end of December, I will be sick to death of it, but for now, I love it all.
The other reason I’m in such a good mood is because I’ve started a new project. There is a special kind of thrill in starting something new, and it is a feeling I have not had in a good long while. Now, you know I love the Empire of Storms, but I have been working on this massive, three book story for the past three years. So it feels great to play around with something new.
And that’s exactly what it is in these early stages. Just playing. There’s no contract, no promises, no commitment. At this point, I honestly don’t know if it will even get published. And while it is worrisome for an author to be writing without a guarantee that the work will eventually turn into money, there is also a glorious freedom in it. These early stages of play are one of my favorite parts of being a writer (my other favorite part is finishing. It’s just the bit in the middle I don’t like).
I’ve written the first twenty thousand words or so, and it’s all new and fun. And I feel confident enough in it that I’ve started a cork board for it. Yes, a cork board. I do at least one for every story. To show you an example, here is one of two cork boards I have for the Empire of Storms:
It’s been up on my wall so long that the pictures have started to fade from the daily exposure to sunlight coming in through my bedroom window. Feel free to speculate on what each picture means, although most are probably obvious.
Some of you may be surprised I would use such an analogue and frankly impractical tool. Haven’t I ever heard of digital notebooks? And naturally, I have. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with them. I’ve used everything from Evernote to Pinterest to Notational Velocity. My current favorite is a new one called Bear. But as anyone who knows my fondness for fountain pens and vinyl records will tell you, I don’t feel the need to go all digital. For me, there is something valuable in the tactile experience. Furthermore, when I’m working in my Seven Seas Writer notebook with my Lamy fountain pen, I don’t want to have to take out my phone , which is always dangerously distracting, to look at an image for research or inspiration. I want to be able to just glance up at it. I also love building the cork board, slowly and steadily over the course of writing the rough draft. The board for my new project only has seven images on it right now, but I will continue to add more until it’s almost overflowing. And if the project continues for more than one book, I’ll probably have to add a second board!
Naturally, I’m not going to show you this new board, or talk about this new project specifically, because I don’t want to jinx it. I hope you’ll forgive me if that feels like a tease. I don’t mean it to. It’s just that I’ve started new and exciting projects before and talked publicly about them, only to end up abandoning them for reasons beyond my control. It’s heartbreaking. So until there’s a contract in place, I probably won’t talk about it in any detail. Although rest assured, this will be the first place I talk about it.
Oh, I also wanted to share the French cover for Hope and Redfrom Bragelonne.
I really enjoy seeing all the different interpretations!
And that’s it for me. Be well and stay warm! And maybe start something new??? The cool kids do it before the New Year.