So, as of today, I have finished the rough draft of Way of the Shield.
Just being able to say this is a huge weight off my shoulders. This particular novel has been harder to midwife into existence than any other. But with it done-- at least in rough draft-- I actually feel like its easier to breathe.
So you understand: I conceived, in broad brushstrokes, all four Heroes of Maradaine series at essentially the same time. That shortly led to me drafting out the outlines of what would become Thorn of Dentonhill, Holver Alley Crew, Maradaine Consabulary and Way of the Shield. If you had asked me at the time what my writing order was going to be, I would have told you: Thorn, Shield, Holver Alley, Constabulary.
Thorn was first, of course, but when I finished with that, and turned to Shield, I found myself gravitating to Holver Alley Crew instead. And then, when that was done, Shield was not coming to me, and Constabulary came about instead.
What was so hard about this one? Well, for one, there were key elements of the main character that hadn't gelled for me originally. In the original outline, Dayne really had no stake or personal goals. He didn't even really have a mandate to be involved in the events of the story. He essentially just involved himself because he felt like it. Also, the events of the story were, in the original outline, somewhat weak. Without going into a lot of details, the plan was more of a mystery-thriller, where people were being killed, and there was someone mysterious in the shadows doing it. Dayne was working hard to figure out who was doing it and why. And here's where the process of writing changes an outline, because that wasn't working at all. The project evolved, and Dayne became someone who had stakes, and who I understood where he was coming from better. And I grew to understand where the antagonists were coming from as well, which is critical.
So, now what? Well, I'll take a couple weeks to cleanse the palate-- re-read Thorn, Holver Alley and Constabulary-- as well as take care of some non-writing things I've been neglecting. Then I'll make a cleaning pass through Shield, and send it over to the agent for his opinion.
And then... well, we'll see what's next. Probably writing Banshee. But that could change, depending on what's asked of me.