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Experiments and Shivers
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Well, I did something highly unnerving yesterday. I started a new novel...and one that I find intimidating (and, of course, really exciting).

This is very much an anomaly for me. First of all, I generally go through a three-month period of flailing around after finishing a novel, trying desperately to think of any possible ideas, failing miserably, and generally convincing myself that I will never, ever be able to come up with another novel (or even an idea for one) ever again. Then one day inspiration hits and I race to grab a pen before it can disappear again....

That's not how it's working, this time. This time, it's an idea I've been pushing aside for months, while working on Queen of Thorns. Not only did I not want to start something new while in the middle of one novel already, but I found the whole concept way too scary. A fantasy novel for adults rather than kids...a historical fantasy novel...based on the material I'm already researching for my thesis...

See, the thing is, I love historical fantasy novels. They're my favorite genre to read, hands down. I suck them up like illicit drugs. But write them? Way too scary. First off, they're huge, compared to kids' novels! A kids' novel aimed at 9-12 years old is supposed to be about 100-150 pages, by normal commercial first-novel standards. An adult fantasy novel, on the other hand, is supposed to be around 500 pages (100,000 words). Aaaack!

Secondly, I'm an academic. Good news, right? I've done half the research already, and reading up more on Eszterhaza, connections between music and Freemasonry, alchemy, etcetera, all counts in the large-scale rubric of "thesis research". (An awful lot of it, such as all the contemporary traveller's accounts of trips to Vienna and Eszterhaza, was stuff I already needed to read for my thesis, regardless.) The problem is, that makes things harder. The point of fantasy novels is that they didn't really happen. The point of academic writing is to never mess with the facts. Every time I decide on a new subplot, the academic side of my brain screams, "No! That didn't happen that way!" ("He actually ate breakfast alone that day, as we know from documentation!" etcetera.) It may be a long, long battle....

But what the heck. Yesterday I wrote the first 1,000 words. Only 99,000 to go.....


Meanwhile, winter has arrived with a vengeance. It's freezing! Yesterday, white frost covered the sidewalk and grass in a hard, sparkling layer. By today, the bathroom had reached a nadir of cold that necessitates a gritting of teeth and rubbing of hands just to survive five minutes inside. Showers are an act of pure, bloody-minded willpower.

Thank goodness we're heading to snowy Michigan, and a warm house, soon....

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