I just finished typing the last words of the first draft of the next Dagny Gray book, which is tentatively titled Borderline Insanity. Right now, it’s about 130,000 words and 72 chapters. Both numbers will change in subsequent drafts.
I’m relieved to have the complete story down, and I think it’s a good one. Now I can just focus on making it all better.
I’ve mentioned previously that Tony Eldridge optioned film rights for The Bubble Gum Thief. He is one of the producers on the new Denzel Washington movie, The Equalizer, which opens this weekend. Tori Eldridge, his wife, interviews her husband about this film and his other projects in the podcast above. You’ll hear him give some news about The Bubble Gum thief at the 20:20 mark.
I’ve been to a few book clubs to talk about my book. They had this at the one last night.
As I mentioned, I’m hard at work on the next book. Most of it will take place in a small town in Ohio, but part of it happens in places pretty far from there. Here’s a taste of where I am today. Thank goodness for Google Street View, which lets me travel there for free.
My friend, Michael J. Sullivan, has become known as a fantastic fantasy writer as a result of The Riyria Revelations series. He was also a great contributor to my First Page Project (which I need to revive).
Michael read a copy of The Bubble Gum Thief before it was published, and he gave me some great ideas about changes that made it better. Then Michael honored me by asking if I’d give him thoughts on his new sci-fi novel, Hollow World, when it was still in a draft stage. It’s a vivid depiction of a kind of future society, and a truly great story. But it’s also a thoughtful attempt to grapple with issues of interconnectedness and technology, and that’s what I liked best about it. Michael’s fantasy work harkens back to the classical era of fantasy books, so it’s not much of a surprise that Hollow World harkens back tonally to the days of Asimov or Bradbury, even while addressing concerns of our day. I don’t usually read science fiction, but Hollow World made me want to.
Hollow World is out now. You can buy it here.
Very nice people have asked how the next Dagny Gray book is coming along. So far, I’ve written about 108,000 words. That’s a lot of words. The Bubble Gum Thief is about 116,000 words. So what I’ve written is almost as long as The Bubble Gum Thief.
Although I’ve written a lot of words, that doesn’t mean I’m almost done. There’s still about a fourth of the story to tell. Then I’ll have to cut and revise considerably. Some things I love will have to go because they aren’t serving the story, not matter how much I love them. There will be problems to fix—temporal problems, character problems, tone and timing problems. Jokes will need to be fine-tuned. Scary moments will need to be more frightening. Emotional moments will need to ring more true. I will spend hours laboring over single sentences, only to cut them in subsequent drafts. At some point, I’ll question whether I have any business writing a novel. Editing is just as hard as writing; maybe harder.
A lot of writers spend many years on their first book, and just one year on their second. As a result, a lot of second books disappoint. I want my second book to be better than my first, so I won’t let it out until I think it is. I owe that much to my readers, and to Dagny.
The tentative title of the second book is Borderline, or Borderline Insanity, or Borderline Insane. I haven’t quited decided. Feel free to let me know what you think sounds best.
Here is some news about the possibility of a Bubble Gum Thief movie. You can read the article in The Cincinnati Enquirer here.