While it hasn’t been much more than a week since I’ve looked at Book Two in the Library Series, it feels like it’s been a month. Today’s post is an examination of downtime, the period of time when a writer isn’t writing.
There was a large period of downtime between the completion of The Library Complex and its release. When I finally returned to the book, I had a great amount of fun reading it and improving it. I was inspired and knew that releasing the book for sale was the right thing to do because it was a product that I took pride in. Now, naturally, I want the same thing for Book Two. I want to be confident in the story that I am releasing to the world.
So this begs the question, how much downtime does an author need? I won’t claim to have the answer but I would like to explore several options. The first option is that an author doesn’t need any downtime at all. You can certainly write a story and edit it and release it without taking any breaks. I think there are some situations where this is appropriate, but it is very difficult to write a series without any breaks because you aren’t taking the time to examine what direction the series is headed in. You can edit and add hints for future plots, but you haven’t taken the time to step back and read your work as any other person would.
This is what happened after I finished The Library Complex in December 2011. I was happy with the story and the editing that I had done, but there was a chance to greatly improve it. I didn’t change any story content, but I edited the story so that it made sense to as many people as possible. It was already a complete story, but now it is a better story because of the cleaned up presentation. I think that for very talented writers, it is possible to do this type of work during the actual process. I know that I definitely kept that in mind while finishing the story, but without those long months I wouldn’t have seen where I could improve.