Every time I start a new project, I want to scream. I have the first very rough draft done. (Of late, that means I have probably half of the final word count done but little dialog, scenes that may or may not make the final cut and a lot of editorial notes about what needs to be done.) But the beginning chapter or two have yet to gel. I worry about whether I’m starting the book in the right place, with the right characters and in the proper POV. I swear, sometimes it takes me longer to write the first three chapters than it does the rest of the book.

That is where I’ve been most of the last week with Dagger of Elanna.

Dagger, for those of you not familiar with the series, is the second book in the Sword of the Gods series. The first book, Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), was a blast to write and I’ve been anxious to get back to the series. Dagger is the second of what I anticipate to be a three book story arc. Unlike Sword, however, Dagger has been fighting me — at least where the opening chapters are concerned.

I know part of the problem has been switching mindsets from military sf to fantasy. But I got past that pretty quickly. No, the problem was a familiar one — doubt about where I was picking up the story. I knew I needed to introduce a new character up front. He would impact the story arc of not only Dagger but potentially the next book as well. But I also have a story thread from Sword that needed to be pulled back in fairly quickly as well. Had I chosen the best way to do both of those things? Or was I, as often happens with authors, starting the story too soon or too late?

The breakthrough finally came over the weekend. With that breakthrough came the words. The story is flowing and I’m loving where it is going. Assuming real life doesn’t interfere too much, the book should be done and up for sale by the end of next month. That means I can get back on schedule with the next Nocturnal Lives book as well as with Victory from Ashes.

I should begin snippets in a week or two. In the meantime, I am writing and editing and loving where this project is headed. I guess I ought to get back to writing. I’ll be back later with a more substantive blog post — but it may be tomorrow. If the writing starts flowing, I don’t want to interrupt it.

Oh, before I go, be sure to check out Dave Freer’s post at Mad Genius Club this morning