I have submitted 10 queries for Mender... and already gotten one rejection. Yay. This process is no pile of giggles, lemmetellya.
But enough about that until I've heard back from the rest. Now it's time to talk about the next book.
A few weeks ago, I was alarmed that I had zero desire to work on anything new. I was pretty sure I knew what book I'd be writing next, but just felt meh about it. But I guess it was just a matter of needing to wrap up all the loose ends with Mender, because as soon as I started sending queries, the cylinders started firing, and now I'm ready to start the story-building process.
Looking back over three books, I see that I have always had a gap between the story-building and the actual drafting. With Eleven Names, I did story-building for years and then had years of gap before actually starting the book. With The Owl Bearer, it was an orderly two months of story-building followed by a three month gap. Mender had kind of a strange trajectory: six weeks of story building when I should have been working on TOB, then a year-long gap, then six more weeks, then a five-month gap, then drafting the first two chapters, then another 3-4 weeks of research and plot fiddling before finally plowing ahead with the rest of the book.
So what am I going to do with this information? First, I'm going to be open to the possibility that the gap between the story-building and the drafting may just be a part of my process-- while still planning to begin the drafting right away. Second, I'm going to plan for two months of story-building-- while allowing for the possibility that it might take longer than that.
This book (which I'll be calling FAaLA for now-- an acronym of its working title) is a stand-alone novel that takes place in the same Science Fictional universe I created for EN, TOB, and the as-yet unwritten Terra Astra. So the first order of story-building business is to pin down a timeline for this world and figure out where this story falls in relation to the others. I also need to get going on some research. For Mender, I was reading about Nineteenth century manners, New England native peoples, and Colonial American pastimes and holidays. For this book, it's going to be theoretical models of interstellar space travel, the topography and culture of Ecuador, and polygamous cults.
I'm preparing to set sail to a strange new world-- the land of FAaLA-- and I'm excited to discover what lies ahead.