- It helps to minimize the strange sense of grieving I suffer from when I've finished a story and am no longer dealing with a group of characters that I have come to love. I remember I received this advice years ago from an editor. "Never have only one work in the pipeline," she told me. "It'll help you cope with finishing a work." I learned the hard way that she was right.
- It helps to minimize writer's block. I think it's sometimes the result of working too intensively on a specific project to the exclusion of everything else. It is an excellent way to burn out. Switch off to something fresh and you can catch your breath, and regain your stride.
- It will give you an excuse not to work on something. Actually, this isn't a benefit.
At the moment I'm finishing the first draft of Mourningtide. I'm also working on Crowfut Gap, a novel set in Civil War Virginia, near the West Virginia border. There's another Egyptian story, The Jubilee, which I started a few years back. It's moving along slowly as things occur to me and I jot them down.
Lately I have been going back to a period that is slightly after A Killing Among the Dead. Ranefer is the last of his line, a family decimated by a systemic ailment that has killed them one after another, leaving only him, the third son of a king, the brother of two kings and the uncle of another. Egypt is crumbling; What is to be done if you are Lord of the Two Lands, and The Two Lands has forgotten that it has a Lord?
It is a bittersweet story (in its current shape) and puts an unusual twist on history as we know it.
The twist came to me as I was driving the three hundred odd miles home from Upstate New York. I think it may work. It might help if I stopped blogging and typed it, but I can mull it over a little more...
Only 6,800 words currently, but it should grow nicely - once I really start working on it.