Trying to shift gears

I’ve been realistically away from the keyboard since April. I managed to dabble here and there, but really haven’t gotten any quality time since then.

Last night I ordered all the interior graphics for the next book in The Hat Series. I’m having to financially parse this stuff out, but can’t release one of those without the little cartoons. They’re part of the shtick, and some of them lead to some fun gags. The series wouldn’t be the same without them. Which brings us to today.

I always try to have two books in progress at any given time. The one I dabbled at seemed to move ahead in fits and starts, and has a healthy start considering everything else I was doing. Today, I decided to look in on Percy the Space Chimp.

When I left this one, I only had half a chapter written. It’s the second book in a planned trilogy, so this part was dedicated to reminding readers who the characters are, and what they’re supposed to be doing. Might not be completely necessary, but I feel better doing some of that.

I wound up finishing the chapter, but it only came to eight pages. I try to get my chapters to be around ten, but it isn’t a hard rule. Some are longer or shorter as the story demands.

Book two is always challenging, because it’s where the bad guys win, or at least make massive progress on their agenda. My characters aren’t front-line soldiers by any means, and are kind of goofballs. They operate in the backwaters of the galaxy, but with more of a spy kind of mission.

There’s going to be a problem with them not personally witnessing the devastation that’s about to happen in the civilized portions of the galaxy. I’m really struggling with this. I feel like I’ve written myself into a corner in some ways. They can turn on the news or something, but it could be a structural problem with them not being present.

I keep telling myself they will make a difference by doing what they’ve been assigned. (Frodo never took part in the huge battles, but played an important role.) Death in a fighter isn’t the only way to serve, and their mission is important.

Their personal struggles are carrying me along right now. Two are disabled veterans, and have massive skills as warriors. They struggle with the viewpoint of what they are doing being somehow less. They’re older now, disabled, and probably wouldn’t be accepted back in the fleet anyway. This kind of thing is interesting, and some readers like those personal demons.

I managed to get through half of chapter two. It feels unworthy to me somehow. Old What’s Her Face has to work this weekend and it’s the first time I’ve had the house to myself in a long time. I should have accomplished more. Still, maybe that’s what it takes to get back in the swing of things.

I think I’ll have a coffee break then take another stab at it. If it isn’t working, I’ll look in on the other story for a while.