I woke up in the middle of the night and had one thought banging against my brain. It was relentless, and I knew it was the right thought to have. It said this: "It's time to write new parts of a novel." So, I got up, pulled out my flash drive with the second Daniel Pace novel on it, and I started to work.
Writing new material didn't happen. (OK, my above title is a lie. So, sue me.) I needed to reacquaint myself with the parts of the novel I already started. I got fairly deep into this second creation, but I put it aside for more than six months. That was because my first novel in the series needed to be revised. Those revisions took three forms: revisions I know I had to make; a learning experience at Don Maass' week-long writing workshop in Virginia Beach, Va.; and more revisions on what I learned from Don and his team. Those revisions mean going over and over material with which I am intimately familiar. It's vital, but it isn't the most fulfilling work.
Diving into the second novel again has a certain cleansing quality. There is nothing more I enjoy in the literary process than creating new situations and putting my main characters through a little bit of personal hell. Revisions are simply sprucing up old friends. Creating new material is liberating all those thoughts I suppressed. My brain says this: Run free, my darlings! Cause chaos! Find love!
I also enjoy the new novel because it takes a different slant than the first one. Yes, Pace faces peril. Every thriller writer needs to put his main character through that, but the type of peril he faces is a world away from that in the first novel. It has a delicious element to it. I also know what the third novel in the series will be about, but I will need to explore various areas of science to be prepared for actual writing. I will promise this: It will be a harrowing experience. Poor Daniel. I do miss up his life terribly.
I am sure I will have another middle-of-the-night epiphany, and I will walk downstairs, fire up the computer, and drag Danny through more misery. I couldn't be happier to do it.
Ain't the writer's life fun?