I've found my new ending for book 2 with a cliffhanger, and now it's led me straight onto a strong beginning with book 3. Hooray! It's lovely to be writing new stuff again, my favourite task. I'm still editing the middle of book 2, but writing new words is great, so I don't mind as much. It all still needs a read-out-loud editing pass, but I can do that over time. I love this bit, the new writing. I feel a bit possessed by the book, fragments keep intruding and I have to jot them down. I've had the historical strand developed for the whole time I've been writing book 2, so it's nice to finally be into the contemporary strand as well.
When I look at a book I have to write, its ghostly presence, empty ahead, I can't imagine what will be in it. I even worry that I won't be able to come up with anything for it. It will just sit there, four hundred empty pages. Then an idea comes, usually when I can't work on it, and it's like a flame, it starts to catch, creeps up one page, then starts catching more pages until I'm compelled to write. I love the feeling but it's scary, because I get 10-15k into a new book and I stall, every time. I watched a documentary about Ian Rankin and was surprised to see he does the same (no other comparisons with Ian Rankin, sadly). It's a bit disconcerting, but I trust now that my story just needs to catch up with my typing when I get to that point.
I was tallying up my completed or mostly-completed novels the other day and was surprised at how productive I have been, even through the head-banging-on-desk phases. There's the B&B book, the Georgian historical book, the stalker book, the one about the scary village, Marley and the Crow, books 1 and 2, A Baby's Bones... all in less than six years. OK, a lot of them were rubbish but I think they are the learning books, the pushing through that ten/fifteen thousand or page 65 barrier through to the middle and towards the ending. All the failed books are too short, none is over 70k. That's what I need to remind myself, they aren't really failed because they were the training ground for now when the books do just come. With a lot of sweat and tears along the way, maybe, but they do grow and into proper books.
Now all I have to do is learn to love editing.