Last Friday, I finished the manuscript for ANGLES OF ATTACK, the third novel in the Frontlines series.
<insert tired “Hooray”>
Now it’s going to go through the editorial ministrations, and after all the bumps and potholes are fixed, there’ll be the usual publisher magic done to it. I’ll share the release date as soon as my publisher sets one.
I have a modest little splurge tradition going that I may have borrowed from Elizabeth Bear and tweaked for my own purposes. Every time I finish a novel, I buy myself a nice fountain pen. (Bear buys hers when she sells a novel, i think.) Then I use the new pen to start on the next novel. For TERMS OF ENLISTMENT, I got a Lamy 2000. For LINES OF DEPARTURE, it was a Pilot Vanishing Point. And for ANGLES OF ATTACK, it’s this one, which just arrived in the mail:
That’s a Pelikan M600 “Souverän” in green, with a medium 14k nib. These are to fountain pens what a Benz is to automobiles—solid, traditional, high-quality, and a bit of a luxury. (It’s a modest luxury compared to a new Benz, to be sure.)
I didn’t write ANGLES in longhand like I usually do. Because of the close deadline (which I still managed to overshoot by, uh, LET’S NOT SPEAK OF IT EVER), I had no time for transcribing all the longhand, so I had to write everything straight into the computer, using my MacBook Pro, a Das Keyboard, and trusty Scrivener.
These last three months have been a bit challenging. Writing is not really hard on the body, but every time I finish a book, I feel like I’ve lifted a dump truck using just my frontal lobe. In addition to the regular mental strain of cranking out 100,000 words of fictional fiction, it has been noisy around the house for the last few months because of the various projects we need to get dome before icy death sets in for another six months. I’ve spent a lot of time out of the house to avoid the hammering, clanging, banging, and dog barking, and I’ve stayed up late a lot. When I turned the novel in, I felt even more drained than I usually do. The next day, I slept until noon and was still tired, and it took me about three days to get back to a regular sleep pattern. So yeah, writing can be hard work—just not the kind where you get blisters on your hands and come home covered in coal dust. But making up stuff all day for months on end can wear the body out in surprising ways.
Anyway, now I am going to reset my brain with video games and other leisurely pursuits for a week or three, and then I’ll ink up the fancy new pen and get started on the next novel.