I finished the first draft of Thousand Emperors Tuesday afternoon, and entered into a state of general collapse after that. It's a feeling I've had before - like I'd been worked over with a couple of baseball bats the week before, but for some reason didn't notice until now. The only reason I can think of why I might feel that way is that there's a certain tension generated in a process you know is going to take several months of incremental work; the tension just sort of slowly builds up and up and up, and isn't really released until you type THE END. Then I just sort of shuffle around blinking like I've been locked in a cave for five years. Given writing isn't that physically labour intensive, you wouldn't think it could have that kind of effect on me; and indeed during these times I usually find myself trying to work out how just typing for a couple hours a day could possibly have that kind of effect. But it does.

Now I've got two months or so of hardcore editing to do. I gather some people find this harder than just making stuff up, but I actually find it easier than sitting in front of a laptop trying to will two thousand words into existence day after day after day. At least, when you're revising, you already know what the story is or should be. All you're doing is rearranging words and events in a hopefully more attractive and/or interesting way. So, head down again, really, and not to re-emerge until sometime in July...when I send this off, and get started on A River Across The Sky, a new book set in the same universe as Stealing Light and its sequels (but not, itself, a direct sequel to any of those).

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