Last Friday I finished a novel. It came in at 80,244 words, just about exactly what I had expected when I set out to write it the Wednesday before. I took an old idea of mine that had failed about halfway through the first draft, and after heavily editing the first chapter I resolved to write 8,000 words each day until I was done.

And somehow I did it. I managed by rising each morning at dawn to write for two hours, and then inserting another writing session into each late afternoon. I brewed a lot of coffee, listened to a lot of Chemical Brothers and Hot Chip, and locked away my inner editor so that the words could simply flow. By the end of the experience the index finger knuckles of both hands were throbbing, my hands were stiff and sore, and I had trouble thinking of anything else but my novel.

But it’s there. I can open the Word file right now and look at it. Done. Imperfect, to be sure; there are plot holes I have to fix, character arcs I have to finesse, and emotional bonds that I need to bolster so that the characters’ relationships ring true. The ending I fear slid into the realm of melodrama, and Chapter 7 suffers from an egregious amount of info dumping. But still. That’s all fixable. It’s there on the page to be fixed.

What’s more, I’m envisioning a trilogy. I’m not going to write the next two books as quickly, but am hoping to hew to a tight schedule and have Book 2 finished by the end of August, and Book 3 done by the end of September. My goal, as overly ambitious as it may be, is to release all three books before Christmas.

Why the rush? Why the self-imposed deadlines? To be honest, I thrive under deadlines. The more imposing and impossible the better. Give me all summer to write something, and I probably won’t. Give me one night and demand I turn in 8,000 words, and I will. I don’t know what that says about me. But deadlines simply work. Challenges work. They get me thinking, my brain spinning, and each time I sit down there’s a certain frisson of excitement: will I manage another day?

For those that are curious as to what the trilogy is about:

The series is set in 2027, five years after a treaty was signed to end the war between the vampires and the US government. Having been flushed out of hiding by the growing ubiquity of surveillance technology, the vampires fought back against the US instigated pogrom by systematically embracing all government and military leaders until the survivors lost heart and agreed to an uneasy truce. As part of the treaty they ceded Miami and L.A. to the vampires for them to rule as private fiefdoms, walling off each city and turning their backs on the populace within.

The first novel begins as teenager Selah Brown is deported to Miami. With her father missing, she is sent to join her mother and there forge a new life for herself, willingly or not. Her blood however contains a mysterious and powerful property that brings her to the attention of the vampires, and makes her a valuable asset to the underground Resistance. Ultimately it affords her the ability to change the city of Miami forever, but only if she’s willing to not risk only own life, but those of her friends and family as well.

[That was a quick summary that no doubt needs to be endlessly polished. Still, I hope it gives you guys an idea as to what I’m attempting!]