I've written ten thousand words since last Monday, one tenth of a book. I have no sense of whether it's actually paced to be the right words to be at this stage, I have no sense of the middle or when the ending will start. This is my biggest weakness. Ideally, I would have a bit of a plan. Maybe it's a bit too sat-around-drinking-tea, always a worrying development. I'm stretching myself in three time lines at the moment: 1578, 1612 (these are related) and the present day, which means if I'm stuck in one I can always got back and write one of the others.
On the plus side, I've run off a few new copies of book 2 for my mother and brother and the kids to read, it's important to me to have feedback in the scary times while I'm waiting for official editing notes to arrive. It's reassuring to already know where the plot sags or doesn't quite work before I have to start work again.
The sunny weather has been lovely, drawing us all out into the garden and into another project which we are doing for fun. My husband Russell and I are writing a musical for kids, just for fun. It's not the first one I've collaborated on, and it came out of a short story I wrote some years ago. We sat in the sun, surrounded by sparrow wars (we have two rival nests at opposite ends of our roof) and wrote two songs and worked out plotlines. One thing that's becoming obvious, this is a massive project that is only going to get a small amount of our time, and yet the energy of it seems to pervade every other area of our creative lives. This is what happens if you marry a writer and a musician, apparently. Russell (who used to volunteer for a theatre) has a lot more practical experience than me, and has come up with some great staging ideas. My favourite is having the kids hunkered down with their backs to the audience, so you can only see the backs of their T-shirts, decorated to look like tombstones. Then they turn around, and the front is decorated to look like skeletons, before launching into a quasi-gospel number. It's fun doing something together, him with his guitar finding the tunes and me, with my notebook scrabbling for words. We were out there so long we both got a bit sunburned.