What next?

As I come out of the post-publication slump which often happens, I’ve decided to set aside September for planning, thinking and possibly researching – that depends on how the planning and thinking goes. Although I am always happy to plunge into a bit of research, especially if it ends up taking me somewhere nice. When I retire from my day job I want to travel down through Germany by train, as close to the Rhine as I can get without actually setting foot on board a boat, and in my wilder fantasies I manage to end up in Italy, having somehow found my way through the Alps. I have no plans yet to write about this but you never know! Maybe the novel will come out of the journey for once.

The plan in my writing notebook for this month is quite complicated as there are several options to consider, as well as the statutory coffee stain – I hardly ever spill coffee so I’m not sure why it always lands on my writing notebook. While I think about writing options, I’ve been ploughing through my Pitkirtly back-list creating print editions and tidying up the ones that have had them for a while. This is quite a mundane task and occasionally very trying. The first time I created a print version for ‘The Queen of Scots Mystery’ on Amazon, they objected to the title – which was exactly the same as it has always been on the Kindle version. Eventually I just decided to start all over again with the cover design, and it mysteriously worked. Computer systems can be like that.

Where all the thinking happens!

I’m not sure how clear this image will turn out, but I’ve drawn a very wobbly ring round the list of possible answers to the question of what my next project should be, and you might see that there are a few options on the table. I don’t think I will be starting anything new in October – although you never know!  – but I need to have made up my mind before November as that’s when National Novel Writing Month comes round again.  I have three main projects in mind, not to mention writing up my family history research, which has been lurking at the back of my mind for some time but which I haven’t been able to decide to do yet, partly because it will have charts and pictures in it and will therefore be a nightmare to format as a book.

Of course I am tempted to return to Pitkirtly and get on with book 20, but somehow I feel book 20 has to be really special, which of course gives me an excuse to procrastinate (as if I needed one!). I have only the faintest idea for a plot so far, and it will have to grow a bit. Perhaps the term ‘prove’, as used in the Great British Bake-Off, would be appropriate for this process. I suppose it could still prove itself by the end of October one way or another, though.

I can reveal that I’ve tentatively begun research for both another ‘Quest’ book, which |(almost unbelievably) someone has requested, and the third in my historical 1800s series. I’m hoping that the act of doing the research will result in a preference for one of these. At the moment I must say the 1800s one is slightly ahead, but only because I’ve unearthed the notebook I used to make notes for the last one and I still have the books and maps to hand. But if I can find my ‘Quest’ notebook and a bit of time to watch my DVD of the 1950s, then it could still leapfrog into the lead. Apart from anything else, I very much doubt if I could write a coherent novel set two centuries ago in a series of places I’m not familiar with during NaNoWriMo.

Organising my research

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