Still, work is progressing on the third book. I’m deep into Act II, which is usually my least favorite part of any book to write. An informal poll among writer friends over the years has revealed a lot of us feel the same way. In the middle is when your doubts like to gang up, when you’re not sure you’ve got your pacing right, when you’re not sure the characters are acting quite right, etc. But of course pacing trouble and wobbly characters are going to turn up in the first draft. As my buddy E.E. Knight likes to say, give yourself permission to let the first draft suck. You’ve just got to get the story down and do the finesse work in the next drafts.
I don’t have as many doubts as I used to, and I’m not feeling mopey about the work, in part because I’ve done this enough times that I know the routine and in part because out there in the real world a whole lot of people have far more serious things to worry about… As I’ve written there have been some surprises and some changes despite my outline, and I sense another change in what I originally planned may be coming down the pike once I start Act III. After that, the third and final act feels like it’s going to stay about the way I planned. I’m hoping I’ll have a fully working draft by the end of next month.