In a flurry of spastic tapping that surprised even me, I finished the first draft of the Darkening Archipelago on Tuesday morning (February 20, 2007). In 28 days I wrote 310 pages and 90,000 words.

Inspired while revising Blackwater, the first in what I believe will be a series of environmental and social justice murder mysteries, for the Arthur Ellis Best Unpublished Mystery Award, I set a goal of writing first drafts of books two and three in the series by the end of March.

Revising Blackwater involved moving the important chapter where Cole learns of the murder of a leading proponent for the mine he has been hired to stop from a place 1/3 of the way into the novel to the very front. It also involved moving a scene from the prologue to a climatic scene further on the book. Doing this got me really jazzed about the characters and the story, and excited about the next two novels. I strengthened some characters, worked on dialog, and touched up some personalities that were a little rough around the edges. It was great fun!

There was some other forces at play. My other work as a consultant was quiet. There was money enough in the bank to pay the mortgage for a couple of months. And with the turning of the seasons back towards the light (Candlemass occurred half way through the writing of the Darkening Archipelago) I was able to resume my early morning writing. As an author, its important to recognize the conditions that allow for creativity to flow. Seizing those opportunities – even paving the way for them – is critical to the art form.

For the next week I’ll be doing a preliminary edit of the Darkening Archipelago, then it will be onto book three, The Lucky Strike Manifesto.