I was going to read my new 1st chapter of Fires of the Djinn to writer's group last night. While I was waiting, I read the first page and decided it wasn't ready.

I've gotten into a habit of what I would call a "casual" style. I'm looking for smoothness, a fast pace, characters who are easy to get to know, maybe even a little humorous.

I decided that this chapter needed to be completely serious from the beginning. In fact, most of the character changes I'm making are more or less trying to make them more "adult," if you will.

This looks to be one of those "learning" books, where I'm trying to be different. Basically, ever since Freedy Filkins, I've been going with a light, fast style. I varied somewhat from that with the Virginia Reed novels, because of the content. But most of these later books are pretty light, on purpose.

So I'm going to attempt to make this book a little more serious, not because I don't want it to be fast, fun and entertaining, but because I think the change in style will make it all those things. Less adjectives and adverbs, more direct action, almost no modifiers. Few if any offhand comments. Straight ahead.

Obviously, there is another rewrite ahead of me, but first I'm going to finish this one. I'm about 60% of the way through.

Up to now, my way of trying to improve was by writing one book after another. Some rewriting, but mostly, either the book worked or it didn't and I went on with the next book.

I think this was the right thing to do, actually. I really did learn a lot this way, but I feel like I've plateaued in quality.

Personally, I think Snaked is a good book. It is kind of the result of all my writing. I can continue to write on that level...and maybe I should.

But because I'm ahead of the game, I figure I can give myself the Gift of Time. I'm not sure how much I can affect the other variables--I mean, I'll continue to learn by doing, but my talent level is what it is. the one variable I can change is time. How much time I give between drafts and how much time I spend actually rewriting. Obviously, how many times I rewrite. Those factors can all be affected by the time I spend.

Even if it doesn't work out--I fuck it up--I'm not too worried anymore about being blocked. I can write books, no worries. So I'll spend a little time in the trenches and see if it does me any good.