I've got 5,000 words left to win NaNo--it's sort of in the bag now, since if I have to I can bash out the last 5k words Friday night--and I've finally figured out who/what the mysterious stranger really is (at least, well enough to get by in a rough draft) and how he fits into the larger story arc. And that means I can cut out the next chapter entirely, and that means I have only two more chapters after this one and the book will be finished at right about 55-60k words. That's a nice little novella, and it hopefully won't require major rewrites, so I expect to be able to polish this one and start marketing it by springtime.
At the same time, I'm going to be moving in two weeks, from Pennsylvania where I've lived for not quite two years, back to East Tennessee where I belong. The timing is perfect, really, because I rarely start new projects until after the first of the year anyway. I'll have December to revise Jack of All Trades and finish a short story or two while I get settled in a new house, find a new job, and do all the great family stuff over the holidays.
I'm excited about the move, but I'm just as excited about my next novel project. It was going to be the mystery/urban fantasy I was thinking about a few months ago, but that needs a lot more worldbuilding. I like worldbuilding, but it does slow the start of a new project, and I want to keep the momentum I've retrieved with NaNo going for a while (since I didn't write much in 2007). And as it happens, an idea that was pecking about in the back of my mind for several months has taken flight. Like a bird metaphor.
So my next book is going to be set in Endra like The Weredeer, which is my beloved masterpiece that I'm subbing around right now. And it has a lot more in common with The Weredeer than just setting, since I'm still interested in exploring the were-animal society I've built. One of the issues that I thought about for The Weredeer wasn't something that I could address in that particular book, since Kristof has a huge extended family of weredeer; his story is partly how he deals with losing that support network. In the new project, I'm going to look at the issue of a weredeer born to a family of all werewolves and werepanthers, in an area where there have never been weredeer. If that sounds simplistic, it's not--this book is going to be very challenging to write, and in fact I almost put it off for a year or more, figuring that I'll be a stronger writer in another year and hopefully better able to pull this off.
So I'm glad to be returning to Endra, which is a country I would happily move to if it existed, but since it doesn't exist I'm glad I'm moving home to Tennessee. I'm also looking forward to having a female main character for a change (for some reason, my last several books have all had male MCs). I just need to settle on a name for her--and that's going to be difficult, but why it's going to be difficult is the subject of a future blog.