You may not believe it, but the birch trees are already shedding blankets of brown mulch, and the wisteria and white locust trees have begun sporting yellow skirts of leaves.
I have been enjoying some late summer garden cleanup. Only now, as the heat and slightly shorter days has slowed the rate of growth, can I start to catch up on the weeding and tending tasks that the humid heat of deep summer made nigh impossible.
Most joyously, I have been writing quite a bit, not just on the BOOK THAT WON’T BE NAMED, but also organizing notes for several other projects that need time to stew in the background. I don’t want to run into an issue like I did with this book, where I had a pitch but had spent literally no time thinking about the book before trying to write it.
I’ve found that the longer a story has to marinate, the easier it is to write when I’m ready to sit down and knock it out. When I haven’t already spent months or years thinking about a project, I spend that time writing several drafts of it, all of which are so different that I have numerous passes where I’m literally taking out sections that were for a completely different book.
Several of the projects above have been stewing for a while already, such as Our Stars Torn Asunder (I have three chapters of that I’ve been sitting on for a decade) and The Women in the Citadel (rough outline completed). Apothecary Gothic has a 10,000 word outline! The Body Garden has a document full of dialogue snippets and plot points. The Secret Project is my newest idea, and I already have five or six pages of notes on that.
One of the things I struggled with the last few years is to find enjoyment in writing. There’s something delightful in having projects I can pick up and put down that have no deadlines and aren’t owed to anyone; projects that, for now, are just for me. It reminds me of the old days of my career when I could pretend I was just writing for myself instead of worrying about public reactions, sales, how I was going to market this fucker, and etc. etc.
Writing is a joy. It’s publishing that gets in the way.
What I’m Reading
Been moving through a lot of domestic thrillers that my mom has been sending me after she finishes them. The latest was Shiver, which I skipped ahead on because I guessed who was holding them on the mountain almost immediately. I don’t know that this is a fault of the book so much as it’s a result of me having read way too many of these kinds of books, and the writing wasn’t compelling enough to get over that particular reveal, for me. YMMV
Also finished Just Like Home, which was extremely compelling; I’m unsure, however, that I grokked the ending. What did ya’ll think?
Hidden Pictures was great, with probably one of the most batshit third act reveals I’ve read in a while. My mom called it her “book of the year” and spouse burned through it in a day.
And, of course, finished up Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, which was a trip, though I got about halfway through and wondered if I’d read it before? Perfectly possible. Life is long.
GET BACK TO WORK!
GET TO WORK HURLEY: On the latest episode, Ursula Vernon (aka T. Kingfisher) joins us for questions from Twitter about the writing process and a game of “Name of a Plant OR Name of a Britpop musician?”https://open.spotify.com/embed/show/3gOtj22ZVmFGAjUOhZbRM4
I’ve got a new story for you from the Hurleyverse!
“My Grandmother’s War” is about a family brought together and divided by war, and the child raised in the shadow of the sacrifices made there. If you’re a Patreon supporter, you can download it as a PDF, Mobi, or Epub file.
Garden and Pet Photos
And finally, some late summer photos from around the garden, and some good homestead animals:
Be excellent to each other.