Anime Girl Goes North

5 September 2002

Where am I going with this?

I know, usually you're the ones asking that of me, and usually further along into an entry. But I spent a good portion of yesterday thinking about it.

See, now that I've finished The World Builders, I've got fantasy novels for the YA market, and I've got an SF novel for the YA market. I've got an SF novel for the adult market. When I've finished the Not The Moose, I'll have a fantasy novel for the adult market. What does all this mean? It means that I am very hard to pigeon-hole, which is just the way I like it. It also means that if I do sell some of these books and people don't like them, I have something completely different to try to sell. I am, in short, diversified.

So what next?

I know, I have the Not The Moose Book to finish, and incidentally a book-length piece of contract nonfiction work to write. I do know that. But I'm a planner. I do best with a plan. When I started out writing Fortress of Thorns, my plan was not to write a novel at all, but then I changed the plan. I didn't really have a plan on The Grey Road -- it happened to me while I was working on a bunch of different projects. But I knew at the time that I wanted to write SF as well as fantasy, and that I wanted to write for adults as well as for kids, so the next book that appealed to me to write was Reprogramming, SF for adults. All right, so that was good. So then I started on the NTMB, because it appealed and I wanted an adult fantasy, but I also wanted a YA SF project, and that's what I got with The World Builders. I knew all of these directions fairly well in advance.

Frankly, this helps me to get through the long months of waiting as an editor or agent works down the slush pile to my manuscript, synopsis, whatever. I can't do anything to hurry the editor. They're like toddlers that way: if you try to rush them in some circumstances, you very well might make things much, much worse. So instead I've focused on what I can do to further my own career in the meantime. It's more productive than fretting and fussing.

So the thing is now...I want to eventually write a mystery novel and an historical novel, but I'm not sure that I want to write them next. I'm not trying to set myself up as everything. Mostly I just want to write different kinds of speculative novels for different ages. Which is what I've done. So. I think the next thing might be a chapter book, but I only have one idea for those, and it seems that it would take me little enough time that it's not much of a plan. Timprov thinks that a different flavor of SF or fantasy might be the next thing, or a collab, or something, and I have to agree that that sounds good.

Maybe it'll be the alien diplomacy book. Maybe it'll be the new neurological implant one. I was all focused on the geekiness of that book idea, and I totally missed that it brings my neurology obsession right to the fore. (I think it's really funny that Timprov and I both read Oliver Sacks but took the opposite obsessions away: Timprov got obsessed with eye physiology after The Island of the Color-Blind, and I love neuropsych. I am a kid in a candy store. The Brain Disorders Sourcebook is something I definitely need to own, because checking it out from the library was not enough.) There's always the architecture book, of course, but that's fantasy, and I really kind of want to do another grown-up SF next.

Does it really matter? Can't I just let it go? Well, no, and no. I'm sure that when I finish the Not The Moose, I will have at least one other project to work on. I kind of like trying to figure out which one, though. And I also find that if I have some kind of mental order, I feel only one book pressing in on me, or maybe two at maximum, rather than 27, which is the current serious book idea count.

And I don't even know what it'll be like to be trying to write a book while we're figuring out a move and then moving. WorldCon kind of ate Labor Day weekend, and then I realized: we have passed the one-year mark. We are unlikely to be here a year from now. Do I know where we are likely to be instead? Somewhere with snow, and that's about all I know. But still. Less than a year.

It has its pleasant and its daunting bits.

So. Yesterday didn't turn out at all the way we planned. (For the scorecard: Stan is Timprov's uncle in Marin. Judy is Stan's wife, Timprov's aunt, also in Marin. Sandy is Timprov's other aunt, who is visiting from Saudi Arabia, so she's in Marin now, but not in general. Got it? Good.) When we got to Stan and Judy's house, Judy was not there because she's in the hospital. They're trying to rule out as many possibilities for what's wrong as they can, to try to triangulate on the problem. Evidently she didn't sleep well last night and had a headache from a medication they gave her. We'll be waiting to hear on that, trying to be patient.

So we puttered around Judy's kitchen with Sandy and had soup and salad and some Spanish cheese we'd brought and some fresh peas, and it was all very nice. Stan went back to the hospital after we arrived, and we took Sandy out for dessert and then returned to wait for Stan. He ate soup and told us she was doing pretty well, although it now sounds like she had a rough night. We're worried, of course, and it may turn out that one or two or all three of us are needed up there for something or another. We'll do what we can.

We saw a grey fox on the way out of there. It was very cool and seemed utterly unafraid of the car.

I felt like Anime Girl yesterday, and evidently I looked a bit more like her than usual, too. Timprov thinks it's the boots. Anime Girl, you see, is the exaggeration in my head, all of my features taken to their extreme, cartoony conclusion. Dead white skin, huge dark eyes, etc. Timprov claims the boots help with the exaggeration of waist and shoulders, for example. I don't know. Whether or not it's the boots, I've felt a good bit more physically exaggerated lately. I think it's partly that I'm a bit worn out. I get the feeling that my body is giving me the choice between copious sleep and illness. At least, I hope it's a choice, because I'm clearly not going to get away with neither, and both is no fun.

I don't feel like I should be worn out. After all, all I did this weekend was three pages of story notes, and I didn't work on the Not The Moose Book for three weeks before that. Yes, I did write another book in that time frame, and yes, I'm happy with writing that other book. But there's somewhere in my brain that classifies anything but work on the novel project I'd planned to work on as "slacking off." Cleaning the house, making food, writing short stories or another novel or contract work? Slacking off.

This is a mindset that I must fix. But in the meantime, I'm going to slack off some more by reading Ronald Takaki's Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans for the new contract project. Have a good Thursday.

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