Interlibrum: That down period between books

My manuscript pre-interlibrum

Veritas, before editing

An interregnum is the space between regimes. I am currently in an interlibrum—the period between books. An interlibrum occurs when one book project is completed, but another has not yet taken its place. It is a rather unmoored time (as I imagine an interregnum is as well).

I finally finished my work-in-progress, Veritas. I pared it down from 101,000+ words to 90,000, and by the time I had completed that (my fifth revision), I was done with the book. Does that mean the book is finished? No. It just means I had reached the point where my brain could no longer tell if further changes would help the book or hurt it. My objectivity was shot.

When I get to that point, it’s ready for my wonderful editor, Kathryn Craft. So now I have sent it off for bloodletting…er, editing. And suddenly, I have no book to work on.

Now, this does not mean I literally have no book projects. What I mean is that there is no project I am currently actively working on. One that is taking up the head space Veritas did. When I was younger, and had more energy, more time, and no child, I often juggled two projects at once, so I rarely experienced interlibrum.

With the increased demands on my time and energy now, I find I can only focus on one book project at a time if I hope to make meaningful progress on it in a reasonable amount of time. So interlibrums are a new part of my writing landscape.

The good news is that I have at least 5 book projects to choose from:

1) The Oracle of Delphi, Kansas: a YA contemporary fantasy that got some interest from agents but ultimately a “well written but not quite there” response. A return with new eyes and new craft tips may allow me to finally get it “there”.
2) The English Expedition: a first draft of book 2 in my middle grade historical adventure series that is currently making the query rounds.
3) The Enemy of Zal: a from-scratch book 2 of my published book, The Witch of Zal.
4) Amoris: a from-scratch 2nd book in the series of the YA scifi I just finished.
5) The Forgotten Planet: a from-scratch new scifi that will likely also be a series.

They all have their appeal. Oracle has the advantage of being nearest completion, in the interest of getting more books out more quickly. The English Expedition has a completed first draft, but will need a good amount of revision before it’s ready. The Enemy of Zal has a brief outline, but it appeals because it follows an already published book. Amoris follows the one I just finished, so my brain is still immersed in those characters and that world. And The Forgotten Planet intrigues because it is shiny and new. I am leaning toward Oracle at the moment.

Have you ever experienced an interlibrum? How did you deal with the adrift feeling that comes when you are floating between books? Do you revel in the feeling of endless possibility, or do you grab on to a new work quickly to anchor yourself?


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