More than a month after I intended to start, (due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control™), today I’m beginning The Last Moon & Sun…which is not the title of the book, but I have to call it something until I have a real title.
This is not a little project. This is…well, mammoth.
One: I haven’t written in the series since I finished Book II, The Silver Door, in June of 2008, so I’m going to have to go back and redo my research in the first two novels—but this time I have to look for different things.
Two: I have to toss all of my outlines and plans for the series—I’d carefully planned out seven tightly-woven books. Unfortunately, I have to END the series with book three. Which means I have to come up with a whole new story for the ending.
Three: By the time readers have the chance to buy this book, it will be several years since the previous one. So The Last Moon & Sun cannot be part of the linked sequential series I’d laid out.
It has to answer all the questions I asked in Books 1 and 2…but because of the time gap (caused first by me having no clue how I could end the series in one book, and then me spending all of last year with either family health problems and emergencies, or my own) I now have to REINTRODUCE the questions, so readers who didn’t know Books 1 and 2 existed will still get a complete story in The Last Moon & Sun—while at the same time making sure readers who DID read the first two books will get all the answers they were hoping for, a fresh story that blows them away, and something good to remember when they finish the final page.
What I have to do:
The book is going to need some elbow room. The first two ran about 100,000 words apiece.
I’m aiming for 150,000 words for this one to keep it within bounds, but it may go longer, if I need more than that to tell the story.
I have a huge risk going into this. I don’t have (or want) a contract. I want to be able to do this the way it needs to be done, and that means I don’t want an advance that has to be paid back hanging over my head if the publisher doesn’t like the story I come up with, or doesn’t like the length of the book and wants me to rip out half of it and remove one of the two main characters, for example (because, gee, THAT’s never happened to me before), or wants me to change the story in ways I don’t like.
I’m hoping to write something magnificent, something my editor and publisher will love. I want to absolutely blow their socks off. But if I end up with another Hawkspar situation on my hands, I want to be in the position to say, “Fine, thanks but no thanks.”
This is going to be a challenging ride. Big book, tough development cycle, compressed writing time—the sort of book that will generate a lot of learning experiences for me.
And, if you come along with me, for you.
I’m going to be adding mostly-weekly demonstrations on how I apply the techniques of How To Think Sideways to my own work to the course.
Why mostly-weekly? Because if it takes me longer than a week to work through one section of the process, I don’t want to half-ass the information I put up on that section, and I don’t want to screw up the book. So if it takes more than a week, it takes more than a week. The full lessons are already in there here, and if you get ahead of me, you can drop back to previous lessons to see what I did.
As happens with every book I write, I’ll make some discoveries on how to write better, more richly, more efficiently, more passionately, and more deeply while I’m doing this book. Anything I discover, I’ll pass on to you. Any tools I come up with, any worksheets I create for my own use, any techniques…you’ll get them as I figure them out.
I’ll make time to be on the boards to answer a few questions, to ask a few questions, and to set up some specific discussion topics.
And I’m adding one other thing. Each week that I post my own Walkthrough, I’ll also be offering a one-hour brainstorming session to one student. I’ll record that session and include it in the course so you can see not just how that week’s techniques work for me, and how they might work for you, but how another student can apply them to his or her work—getting that third perspective can be enormously helpful when you’re facing situations you hadn’t anticipated.
Any active HTTS student or course grad will be able to apply for a brainstorming session. (Once you’ve been picked for one, you can’t apply again, though.)
I’ll pick the student whose question and story problem will make what I think will be the best demonstration for that week.
The brainstorming sessions will be free.
Now here’s the thing.
I haven’t raised the price on How To Think Sideways ever. It’s been at its debut price since I opened the doors in 2008 and the first class started through with me.
I didn’t raise the price when the course I thought would take four months to present took six months, and then seven.
I didn’t raise the price when I added the How NOT To Write A Series (And Why You Don’t Want To) course as a graduation gift.
I didn’t raise the price when the private Think Sideways writing community took off and became this amazing place where dedicated writers gather to work, to brainstorm, and to send off and frequently sell what they’ve been writing.
I didn’t raise the price when I added in the core elements of Grad Novel, including a marketing forum and a lot of private development work I did on the currently-sidelined Dreaming the Dead. (The book I’m finishing after I do The Last Moon & Sun.)
But this is going to be a MAJOR upgrade, so I’m going to raise the price.
Through the end of April, you’ll still be able to get into class for $25/ month for 12 months or $47/month for six months. When you join at that price, you’re grandfathered in at that price, and as long as you don’t quit, you stay at that price all the way through to the end of the course.
May 1st, though, prices are going up.
If you’ve been wanting to take How To Think Sideways this is the last time you’ll be able to get it for the introductory price.
I hope you’ll join me on what promises to be a wild charge into the deep, dark thickets of novel writing.