Six impossible things

Finish line…first draft

Finished up the last chapter of Circuit Magician yesterday around noon; spent the rest of the afternoon doing final clean-up of assorted things that had been tagged to fix but somehow hadn’t gotten fixed yet, and sent it off. This morning, I had notes from my editor and agent saying they received it, so the first draft is now officially put to bed.

Naturally, the very first thing that happened after I sent the thing off was that I spotted four typos and a missing word that I really should have taken care of during the clean-up. And got a quick note back from one of my dedicated first-readers, pointing out even more. Such is life.

Now I have a week or two to catch up on everything that’s been hanging fire during this mad rush to finish the book (i.e., laundry, dishes, errands…) But today I am going out with Lois for a celebratory dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant, and tomorrow I am taking my knitting up to my sister’s so I have something to do while cat-sitting. (Cat-sitting for my sister’s aged and somewhat neurotic cat involves hanging around for a couple of hours “keeping her company” while she hides under the bed. It appears useless, but if one doesn’t do this, she stops eating.)

The plan after that is to spend a month to a month and a half doing research and planning on the next one (for which I am still grubbing around looking for a title…one of my first-readers wants something with “Exploration” or “Expedition” in the title, but I want something like Circuit Magician that’s both a job title and has a suggestion of magic about it. Oh, well, I don’t actually need a title for another year or so…it can stay Frontier Magic Book 3 until then.)

Research reading is a review of several titles I’ve already been through on Ice Age megafauna and post-Ice-Age North American ecology, a thorough reading of the (abridged, unfortunately) copy of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, and a run-through of a wide variety of titles recommended by other folks on everything from guns and clothing styles to diaries of settlers to even more overviews of the history of the 1800’s in the U.S. and elsewhere than I’ve already gone through.

I do, of course, already have something of a plan for the final book, but it has changed quite a bit since the original plot outline for the trilogy, which was extremely sketchy anyway. And even though I know I won’t be following it, I need that outline. It’s how my process works.

So…a couple of weeks of catch-up and clean-up, and then I’ll have revisions in hand, and after that, on to the next one. Meanwhile, I’m walking around the house picking up odd socks and cat toys and breaking out in a random grin and saying loudly to the nearest cat, “Hey, you, I’m DONE!” Which is normal for the day after turning in a book, especially one that was this late and this hard to get to move.

Oh, and they’re coming to fix my stove on Tuesday. Life is good.

  1. Congratulations! I love that feeling of writing the final words. Of course I’m always aware of how much work still lies ahead of me, but I do celebrate the milestone and like you, go do something fun.

    Enjoy! And enjoy the research as well!

  2. Congratulations. I (and my daughter) are really looking forward to this one!

  3. Congratulations! With all the research you do for any novel, do you gain more world knowledge with it or does it slip out of your head and change into the history of the story you’re working on?

    • Thanks!

      Alex – I had my celebratory dinner last night, which was lovely. Today, back to cleaning and errands and so on.

      Jessica – I soak up a lot of details from doing research – writers in general tend to be intellectual pack rats – but I rarely remember exactly where I got it from. This makes it difficult to use in arguments; “I remember reading someplace…” is just not as convincing as “In his latest book, Stephen Hawking says…”

  4. Congrats! That is fabulous news and I’m so happy for you! And it’s exciting hearing you talk about the 3rd book already! I know absolutely nothing about the publishing world, so I hope you’ll forgive my ignorance if I ask when Circuit Magician might be out? I’m guessing sometime in mid-2011, but I could be totally off.

    • Rachel – That’s a good guess; right now I’m saying summer or fall 2011, probably. It really depends on the publisher’s schedule. They can get a book out in six weeks if they really want to (they only do that for topics that are time-sensitive and projected big sellers, because it’s expensive), but normally it takes at least a year to get the editing, cover painting, publicity, etc. done. Past that, it depends on how many other books they have in-process, and whether those authors turned them in on time. In a bad market, where everyone is cutting back, they sometimes cut the number of books they put out every month, which of course stretches the schedule out proportionately. Which is all a long, roundabout way of saying “I’ll know when they tell me.”

  5. Huzzah for a finished draft!

  6. Yay! Conga-rats!

    Having read Thirteenth Child a couple of months ago, I’ll be very much looking forward to reading this one. I like the angle of attack: the tone, scope, and timescale add up to something I seldom see in fantasy, and should like to see more of.

  7. Here’s a good ol’ fashioned CONGRATULATIONS!! 🙂

  8. Congratulations on finishing the draft! I hope the editing/production goes smoothly, because I can’t wait to read it. I just moved and am in the process of unpacking books. I needed something to read last night and grabbed my copy of Thirteenth Child – I enjoyed it all over again. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next!


  9. Congratulations! I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel to “Thirteenth Child”, as are some of my friends. In the meantime, I lent one of my friends your “Enchanted Forest Chronicles” series, as one of my favourite Fantasy series – and one I often give to preteen girls, all of whom have loved it.

    Enjoy at least a little down time with your cats – and your sister’s cat. 🙂

  10. Congratulations! I can hardly wait until it comes out… so that I can read it and then again congratulate you, of course! 🙂

  11. 😀 Hi! So I’m just reading Thirteenth Child right now and was wondering if you had a approximate release date for Circuit Magician. I’m already feeling the desperation that comes with finishing a book and not being able to read the sequel. Horrible feeling, really.
    Anyway, love you work! 😀

    • Adriana – No release date yet; I’ve been avoiding asking, because I haven’t gotten my editorial revisions request yet and I’ve been keeping my head down. I should know soon, though.

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