I can’t speak with much authority when it comes to (a). Or perhaps I can, given I was lucky enough to score a win there early on. But that’s not what this blog is for.
As for (b) … how very true. Possibly thanks to apprehension about tackling this new and rather different novel after the difficulties with Bringer of Light, or possibly due to simple indolence – I’ve done very little over the festive period – I still haven’t started work properly on Queen of Nowhere. I’m not letting myself panic about this, because, well, it can’t be hurried. All I can do is make my brain available, ready for whenever the book decides to start coming together in it.
I have, however, been reading. Most of this has actually been that great writing-avoidance pastime: research. But not all. I can read fiction when I’m writing it – a lot of writers find this distracting – and may even benefit from reading a novel in the same tone and sub-genre that I’m trying to write in. This is why I’m currently half way through Charlie Stross’s Saturn’s Children, a far-future first person narrative whose protagonist is smart and resourceful but destined to always be an outsider. I’m enjoying the book as a reader and learning from it as a writer. It has also reminded me what a damn fine science fiction writer Charles Stross is.