Hey all, Dani here.
My first published book was Project Death: Resurrection and it came out in July 2013. My plan at the time was to have the sequel out in 2014. Several speed bumps came my way, including having our next door neighbor (who was like family to us) pass away. When you’re writing about death, events like that really do have an impact on the writing process. Needless to say I couldn’t finish my book by that deadline.
So I told myself I would definitely finish the second book, Project Death: Revelation, in 2015. I did make some progress on the book, and I really thought that I would be able to finish it in time. But my grandma’s health started to decline and that had an impact on the process, but I also had to deal with the fact that I have a very uncooperative narrator. Once again I didn’t make my deadline.
My grandma passed away on January 5th at 89 years and 11 months old. Because of her nice long life I thought I would be able to handle her death, but it hit me pretty hard. Though I couldn’t write, I suddenly felt a deep connection with the main character for my second book, the man known as Death by many. The emotional state I was in would have been perfect for a scene within the book, but I had already written that scene and what I felt already matched what was on the page.
I thought after a couple weeks I would be able to get the words flowing again. I worked on some world-building for a different writing project, just so I could feel like I was making creative progress with something.
Still…the words for my second book wouldn’t come.
Finally, I was able to talk to Meg, a good friend of mine, who is also a big reader and a fellow writer. Meg has a copy of my first book and we have discussed my second book. She is quite eager to read it and regularly asks for status updates. I told her that I was still blocked and I couldn’t get Thanos aka Death to finish telling his story.
For the next two hours she and I proceeded to text back and forth, and she questioned why he wouldn’t talk and gave ideas for how to get him to open up again. Some of them I had tried before, but some actually helped, and I think there’s a good chance that Thanos will start talking again quite soon.
The characters in my stories are far more than just characters to me; they are real and sometimes they have secrets or they simply don’t want to talk. Trying to push them actually hinders the writing process and ends up yielding hundreds or thousands of really horrible words, so I have found it is best to just pause a beat and wait for them to be ready again.
But I’m tired of needing to postpone this book’s release again and again. It isn’t fair to my readers, and whether I mean it to or not, it does harm my credibility as an author because I can’t keep my deadline promises. I don’t like feeling that way, and yes, I do realize that deaths of loved ones and such are seen as a completely valid excuses. I just want to get my book out there. I want to be writing again. I also want to release the best book I can. Unfortunately that sometimes takes time.
So I’m working on it. And I think Thanos is finally ready to tell me more about his dark moments, the ones he has been avoiding for at least the past year. I can see the finish line for this book. I just need to sit down and get the words on the page (or screen).