Or, in my case, the third.
The Divine Machine wasn’t especially easy to write – the plot’s more complex than that of The Gutter Prayer, and there were some tangles that took a long time to unravel. However, the shape of it was clear, and more importantly – I had to do it. It was contracted.
Now, I’m trying to work on something new. Starting something new is easy – the first few pages always flow, as you’re just putting words to a rough concept. After that, though, the thing has to run, it has to have momentum to go on for hundreds more pages, and that means pushing it along even as you slather more words on it. It’s all too common for the thing to fall apart, or start to look ugly and ill-formed and not worth it – especially when there are other pretty gossamer ideas flitting around freely, unshackled by the brick-dust of language.
In short, words are a really crap form of telepathy, and I’m frustrated I can’t just beam ideas into your mind.
(An added complication: my day job is also writing. And my side gig is writing. So I can get my writing kicks without having to go to the bother of writing a novel; this is where egotism and masochism become virtues, because I must convince myself that the world desperately needs this book to exist.)
So, the grindstone. 500 words a day, every day, minimum. No matter what, and on any of the ill-formed ideas that comes to hand, until one of them moves of its own accord.
Gutter Prayer things continue to happen – American covers! More wonderfully kind blurbs! Audiobooks, which are a whole new and exciting thing.