Analytical Versus Creative or Why Gail’s Life Went Bang Prudence & The Custard Protocol

I was going to just let it drop and see if you noticed. Of course you’d notice, Gentle Reader.

No actually, I wasn’t, there was never a time when I wouldn’t have confessed all. You know me, I’m not that kind of lady. But this one, Gentle Reader, this one is a difficult confession. So I rode out the launch of Etiquette & Espionage, because really I had no other choice and now is the time, otherwise I will have left it too long.

Prudence is going to be pushed back. Again. A whole lot.

Basically, my failure. Now, I rarely see failure as a bad thing. I am after all, trained as a scientist, so in the end failure is merely proof in the form of negative results. At least, when I have proof, I can rule that avenue of approach out in future, save time, and move on, hopefully in the direction of more positive results. So for me, this is if not a good thing, hopefully beneficial in the long run.

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Here’s a British breakfast to make you feel better

Here’s what happened…

I’m a weird hybrid of analytical logical-loving scientist meets creative airy-fairy wordsmith. Yes I know, Gentle Reader, there are a number of us out there. I write, and I imagine and I wander crazy invented worlds, but I do it armed with a spreadsheet and an outline and notes (not in notebooks, but in ledgers, I LOVE ledgers). I draw maps of non-existent lands, and diagrams of battle sequences, but the lands are fake and the battles are between preternaturals and vampires. I have internal schematics of the ships and houses my characters live in, sometimes I think someone looking over my notes would be hard pressed to decide if they belonged to a writer or a brigadier.I’m accustomed to my analytical side enacting a sharp disciplined schedule ruthlessly upon my creative brain.

“Here’s the plan,” says Gail the Scientist. “Just hit these deadlines, make these marks, write at these times every day and everything with stay on schedule.”
“OK,” says Gail the Author, “That seems fine to me.”

I genuinely thought I could do it. I thought with a schedule and everything in its proper place I could write one book and then another, I could flip flop between two different main characters and two different Victorian time periods. All it would take was lots of notes and spread sheets and . . .

My creative brain revolted; in a smack down “what on earth were you thinking?” kind of way.

Turns out I can’t balance two books a year, in two different worlds, along side book tours and conventions and an actual life, no matter how many lists and spreadsheets my analytical brain churns out.

For the first time in my life, my creative brain took a most decided stance on the subject and there was nothing my analytical brain could do about it. Let’s use the gentile term and say I had a meltdown. If, perhaps, there were copious bouts of sniffles, and vast quantities of custard, tea and Thai food applied, you won’t tell, will you?

So what does an author do under such circumstances. Eats crow, goes hat in hand to her agent, who goes hat in hand to her editors, and . . .

I did make my deadline with Prudence (my analytical brain insists that I make this known) but no one, not me, not my editor, not my beta readers is happy with the resulting manuscript. In the end, my creative brain simply can’t hand the flip flop and so for my own sanity I have had to put the rough draft of Prudence aside for 2013. Instead i have to focus in on one project, complete the Finishing School series first, and then do a 50% overhaul on Prudence before anyone will be satisfied with the result.

I’m heartsick that you who are waiting for the new adult series will have to wait quite a bit longer. My analytical mind is terribly embarrassed but it could not wrestle the creative author beast into submission. In the end, I’m hoping what everyone wants the most is the best possible book. Right? The creative brain reliably informs me, when we are on speaking terms which isn’t often right now, that this delay will have that result. The very earliest you can expect Prudence is Spring 2015. And that’s quite optimistic. No promises.Please please don’t be too angry with me. I really did try.

Stupid creative brain.

Yours, Gail

The book the eventually resulted?

Prudence: Custard Protocol Book 1

Prudence Teacup Pin Merch Spotted Custard Crew Gail Carriger


Percy is off to Japan, but will Japan survive Percy?

Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion the Custard Protocol series.


Book News:
PW writes about you, Gentle Reader, as well as me.

Quote of the Day:
“A ‘first appearance in public’ took place at the Globe Theatre, Boston, one evening last week, when a sleek looking cat came before the curtain between the second and third acts. The debut was not a successful one, as kitty ‘broke down’ without saying a word, and hastily sought the nearest dark corner.
Cats are very fond of the stage. There was a “first appearance’ at the Chestnut Street Theatre the first night Miss Cushman played Meg Merriles. The applause was divided, but the cat’s was a little ahead.”
~ Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine August 1872

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Sunny Kern said:

    At least you are being up front about the situation, and letting your readers know what's happening and why. That's a huge thing that many authors don't bother to consider. Letting us know that what's happening, just makes us (or me, at least) admire and respect you more for being honest with us!
    Take all the time you need to do what you feel needs to be done to satisfy your creative side. We'll still be here, and I'm sure the result will be all that much better.

  2. Jess said:

    Thank you for sharing Gail! While I wish (as I'm sure many of us do) that we could have a never-ending stream of your books fed to us, you can still only handle so much. I know I will enjoy the rest of the Finishing School series as much (if not more) as I did E&E and we still have the Prudence series to look forward to. You posting a dalek in an Ivy hat only reaffirmed my faith in you. Thank you for your wonderful stories and worlds that you share with us.

  3. ebooksgirl said:

    Having had the type of meltdown that you describe, I wholeheartedly emphasize and congratulate you for doing something to reorganize and prepare for the future. I, as well as your many other readers, will read your books at whatever pace you are able to crank them out, and if anyone gets on your case for it, I would refer them to Neil Gaiman's words on the matter: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

  4. Gail Carriger said:

    Thank you! I think it's important to be as honest as contracts will allow, so to speak. Plus it gives me a link I can point people to in the future, when they ask why the book is delayed. Over. And over. And over.

  5. Angelica R. Jackson said:

    I can so relate to this, on a much smaller scale in my own writing–and you'd think the smaller scale would mean less pressure on myself, but no! But there's a certain point where so much of your energy is consumed by worrying about timelines and expectations, and it's just not productive. Much better to be upfront about it, and as you've discovered people are willing to be flexible in their expectations. Hopefully the supportive comments you've gotten help!

  6. Skye said:

    Oh dear, I wondered – you've sounded a bit out of sorts as of late. 🙁 I've had a meltdown or three myself, so I know what it's like. Pushing Prudence back again is totally understandable, and I for one am behind your prudent decision all the way. In the meantime we will have the Finishing School series to keep us in good reading, so it isn't as if you are leaving us with nothing! I for one shall act as all gentle ladies should and wait for Prudence with great anticipation but firm patience. 🙂

    First and foremost, please do take care of yourself!

  7. Gail Carriger said:

    Yes, you put it very well indeed! "certain point where so much of your energy is consumed by worrying about timelines and expectations, and it's just not productive."

  8. Liongoddess said:

    Gail, Gail, Gail. Do NOT beat yourself up too badly about this. Your true fans will be delighted to read your books whenever they come out, and nobody can fault you for wanting them to be the best they can be. If I was able to wait 20 years for a sequel to Katherine Neville's book The Eight, I can wait an extra year or two for Prudence!

    That said, it takes a lot of courage and strength to admit what you have, and I respect you even more for it. Hang in there, lady! 😉

  9. ValerieP said:

    YOU, dear lady, are worth the wait! Slow down, breath slowly, stretch often, and rejuvenate your faith in your talents every day!

  10. Katie Throckmorton said:

    Writers know the truth of this too well — there's only so much you can do at once and still do it well, and if your writing isn't meeting your standards, then you absolutely have to make sure it does. I don't think we'd expect anything less of you! I shall wait in eager anticipation for its release, and pre-order when the time is right. Until then, I'll re-read Alexia's books and send some creative juju your way.

  11. Beth said:

    I'm not a creative writer, just trying to write a dissertation, but I know the feeling oh too well! We are a patient lot and adore you! And as a huge fan of the Finishing School, I am more than happy to have those while waiting for Prudence! 🙂

    Do you know how long we have to wait for George R.R. Martin? You spoil us!

  12. Rosy said:

    Ditto, what Beth says above about George. And for that matter, what Neil says in ebooksgirl's link about George…which of course can be extrapolated to yourself.

    Loved E&E and I'm looking forward to C&C. Besides, what Publisher's says in your book news link above is true: you almost certainly will take your new young E&E fans into Prudence's world when it makes its appearance. And they will find the Parasol Protectorate series when they're ready, as well.

    The most important thing is that you love your (relatively) new career. Adjustments must be made? So what? All of us–you, publishers and fans–will all benefit ultimately.

  13. theotherelena said:

    I'm so sorry that I didn't read this until now! I've been reading your amazing books since your first one came out. Actually, I'm fairly sure my English actually improved thanks to each one of your books and little novel – I loved each one of them and some highlighted phrases still inspire me and and make me Think About Things. So, I think it's only fair that you take your time and do what you need to do – I promise you I won't mind the wait and I'll love whatever you'll decide to publish.

    You gave us readers so many happy hours, it's only fair that we have your back 100%.
    Thank you so much for everything, see you until the next release!

  14. Gifted Designs said:

    I'm all for a good dose of honestly. I personally will more than likely enjoy your YA series while I'm waiting for the next PP book. As you've surmised, I'd MUCH rather have a GREAT book than a mishmash of flip-flopped writing.

    Good luck to you on the new series journey and I'll come back for Prudence when she's properly done and you're ready to show her off…:)

  15. Brook West said:

    Sad though I may be at the delay of Prudence, I am delighted that the Finishing School series is proceeding at speed. Indeed, it was the sample of Etiquette & Espionage that hooked me into your world. I ordered it, loved it, pre-ordered Curtsies & Conspiracies, ordered and devoured the entire Parasol Protectorate series, and thoroughly enjoyed C&C when it arrived.

    I will happily read more Finishing School books, and will patiently await the arrival of Prudence once the creative side is willing to release it in its final form.

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