It’s amazing how one’s mental state bleeds into the words, characters, and pages of the stories we write. At least, it does for me. A few months ago, I put aside King’s Horse 2. It was half-written, the rest of the second volume of the trilogy well mapped out, but I couldn’t keep going.
There was a lot of stress in my life and I wasn’t having fun, so I moved on to ODIS Prime, my “Matrix meets Lord of the Rings” series that I wanted to get off the ground. At first it was to be on the plucky side, but the real story started coming through, shifting the Matrix to Inception so to speak, and I came to a decision point about where to go. Again, I needed something plucky in my life, and ODIS Prime had grown up very quickly, and for all the right reasons. Thus came along my Secret Project.
I only started it about three weeks ago, and the words are piling up like cord wood in autumn. During my trip to and from Toronto for interviews with Microsoft, the first 10k words spilled out. Since then, even with cutting things left and right, I’m now at a hair under 19k.
This new project, which I’ll talk about soon enough in my newsletter and a post here, goes against all that negativity of the news and the stresses of life. It’s plucky and silly and has plenty of moments where it is unabashedly fun. It’s definitely the emotional cousin of my first book in The Yellow Hoods series.
When I was at EdmontonExpo, I shared some details of the Secret Project with friends and fans, and everyone had the same reaction. Their burden lightened, they stood up straighter, they smiled and then they laughed. Even the name itself caused some of their darkness to be pushed back.
This is the first story I’m writing with the intent to give to an agent. It’s got a middle grade to young adult heart, but if you know anything about my writing, I never write solely for that audience. I like to wrap some complexity in a blanket of accessible silliness and puns.
And I find even when I’m feeling stuck, when I don’t think I have the mental energy to start, I put on the playlist and within a song or two, I’m back in the grove and the words are flying out.
So while I’m not sharing more details about the Secret Project, here’s some of the playlist:
1 Dare to be Stupid by Weird al
2 One Week by the Bare Naked Ladies
3 Some Kinda Wonderful by Sky
4 Grenade by Michelle Chamuel (The Voice version)
5 Party Hard by Andrew W.K
6 I will Wait by Mumford and Sons
7 Thunderstruck by AC/DC
Now you have to ask yourself, how can you stay down and grumbly when you’re listening to that? I can’t.