Like most authors I use beta readers to figure out what I can improve in my novels. Lots of friends, family and colleagues have been kind enough to give me their reading time and then to answer my probing questions.
My favourite moments as a writer are of course the ones where someone really enjoys something I’ve written. That’s always lovely.
What’s interesting to me, as I’ve done this more times, is the surest sign someone has gotten super engaged with the world and characters, is when they mention a sequel. Whether they’re asking for one, or assuming there’ll be one, it’s a really nice proof of their enjoyment.
Of course, I’ve had to break a few hearts by saying no to the sequel idea. Though I did say that with Blurty and yet my reader’s enthusiasm did eventually led to Blurty’s Sister, so probably best to take a ‘never say never’ approach!
Remember how, last year, I wrote a new novel? Well, as I mentioned in the last post, work on a companion to it had begun. Daemon was so pleased to be doing something other than editing, that he’s really buckled down this time and we’ve managed to complete the draft in about three weeks!
I’m surprised too.
There was a co-incidental three days off work which helped, as I’ve managed 30K in 5 days. Which isn’t super fast when I can sit down with no distractions, but nothing to sniff at either.
The one thing that all my various novels have proven is that I write about 700-800 words an hour (I’ve said this before) and even on days where I hit 1,000 you can still average it back down to that range. It’s nice to be predictable / consistent!
So, how did friend-of-gun-runner shape up? I really like the story. Again, like gun runner, there’s a lack of world-building because we (gives the writing daemon side-eye) still haven’t quite decided where it’s set. I think we’re closer to deciding that now.
I also like that we have the same protag in two different stages of his life. That’s kind of fun, and it actually got me thinking that maybe there’s another novel or two that would show other points. We’ll see. I have a lot of other worlds in my head clamoring for attention!
It did prove the point that I should think more carefully about how I name current WIPs when drafting. This one – because I wasn’t 100% sure it had legs – got called ‘snippet’ in the original document. Of course, now that has stuck. So despite the fact it’s over 50K, it is still called Snippet. <insert eye-roll>
Getting both gun runner and snippet up to full 1st drafts is going to be interesting. I’m not sure daemon has realised that by not giving me the world, he’s set the scene for a major edit-fest to come.
So… that was a looooooong bloggy break. Um… yeah.
What’s been happening in the first half of this year has been a lot of re-writing on my novellas, the next edit on Indestructible and a thorough proofing of the post apoc romance, ahead of it going out to beta readers. So, you know, a bit! Just not blogging, apparently.
Of course the usual question after such a lot of editing and re-writing is: Are we sick of it yet? Itching to write something new maybe?
Writing daemon and I have, it must be said, struggled with the novellas. Apparently re-writing them has been about as much fun as kicking your little toe into a chair leg! Yep. But the other editing has been fine. (What is it with these novellas, huh?)
Does daemon want to write something new? Yes, absolutely. He has, in typical daemon fashion, been “writing” things in my head and avoiding the permanent record part of the equation all together. Always helpful! There are rumblings though that might be a new book. Probably in the same world as the one from last October.
I say “world” but that book seems to be set in a version of Scotland. Possibly on another planet. That’s apparently a location choice we’re reluctant to make yet. Though, if there’s going to be a sequel/prequel/same world project, it might be nice if daemon would decide…
The weird thing about this year, so far, is that it feels about three times more productive than last year. Except I don’t think 2020 was nearly as unproductive as it seemed. My brain might just be trying to blame the pandemic for stuff! Seems fair.
So not a lot of editing has been happening as the year has transitioned. Why? Well, apparently the writing daemon was hungry for narrative! When this happens we watch TV and movies and that’s mostly what’s been happening in recent weeks.
Have I watched anything awesome? Can’t say that I have, though I stumbled on a Canadian crime show called “Intelligence” from some years ago and enjoyed that. Otherwise it’s all been a bit dull. However the writing daemon hasn’t minded one bit. He’s just been enjoying everyone else’s writing and characters.
Thankfully this hasn’t (so far) led to any new novels. That does happen sometimes when we glutton on shows, but the novella thinking has been going on in the background as I gear up for an unexpected (was it really? hmm) rewrite.
Things have been quiet on the writing front for a few months, with me just picking at my novella 2 edits and enjoying many non-writing activities. Like I said in my last post, blogging has been a struggle this year, but I feel like things are getting back on track. Probably because it’s almost xmas and that means time off work after what feels (to everyone I think) like a very, very loooooooong year.
On the novella front, N2 is looking like an easier edit than N1 turned out to be (and I’m still refusing to acknowledge N3 even though it’s now pretty good in the current draft). My niggling length issue which I may or may not have mentioned here – novellas with a Goldilocks problem – seems to be working out fine which is a big relief. Now I’m even wondering if I was stressing about that too much… We’ll see.
Of course, following on from the bonanza of 2019 this year was always going to feel unproductive to an extent. Though “unproductive” is a bit harsh. I’ve edited Indestructible twice through, plus the novellas, so that’s about 280K worth of editing, and wrote the scratch draft of a whole new novel. Not bad for a weird, disrupted year.
Now I just have to convince daemon that he should finish editing the novellas before we start anything new. Yeah, because he ever listens to me!
I don’t know why 2020 is the year I’m struggling the most to blog, but I suspect it’s because I’m working from home. This means I spend all day in front of a computer and don’t really want to spend time on one afterwards. Well, except for writing novels. And a little editing.
There have also been a lot of distractions in the form of a housemate and being at home (good ol’ iso) to focus the mind on all the hobbies. Weaving. Nail art. Drawing. Dancing to silly videos… it’s all been happening!
But I’m keen to get a lot more editing done before this strange year comes to a close… I’ve missed all the goals I was looking to hit, but I think that’s true of a lot of people!! Besides, I wrote a whole new novel – unexpectedly – and have gotten a lot of editing in (just not on the “core” projects).
So, as October ticks over into November, I’m going to set a goal to finish editing novella 2 before xmas. I think that’s doable. The hobbies might need to take a back seat for a few weeks…
The Gun Runner (or Fun Runner depending on the day!) has been a novel of surprises. Pure panster all the way, of course. So, just to fit in one more surprise for me, it has ended about two chapters earlier than I expected. Yep.
The good news is that it is now done!!! Yep at a solid 64K, which will expand once I’ve figured out where the hell it’s set and actually add setting, worldbuilding and description… ahem.
But now there is the question of which editing project will we head for now the new novel is drafted…? It should be novella 2. Should be. Daemon has been itching to take a peek back at Blurty’s Sister as we haven’t really read it since we wrote the draft last year! We’ll see…
In somewhat typical new novel fashion, the latest WIP began big, went strong and then… slooooooowwed. Because there’s just no reason to get the last three or so chapters written, right? Hmm.
I think the truth is that writing daemon strained a wing with all the gleeful flying around he was doing. That’s my theory.
On the upside of the nearly completed draft, I still like it and I think it’ll shape up nicely. The reason it’ll need to develop a bit after this draft zero, is that it hasn’t decided where it’s set yet! Weird, I know, but there are two options and it is sitting on the fence between the two right now.
Which is also mildly hilarious to read, but not in a way anyone else would find funny.
Not that I’m complaining. Until these last few chapters it was flowing out my finger tips at a nice rate and it has reached a princely 59K at the current point. I’m expecting it to get a lot plumper once I add the required world building for whichever setting daemon and I finally choose.
The best part of writing it so far, though, was a typo. My working title for it is “gun runner”, but that amusingly became “fun runner”! Yes, I’m still chuckling.
July wasn’t much of a writing month. Or an editing month. August was an editing month… though weaving also happened… and then… there was a new novel!
Yep, I’ve started a new one. My housemate is calling it a “lock-down novel” because it seems to mostly take place in one room.
I’m now 18,000 words in and my characters finally got out. For a bit. You know, stretch-their-legs kind of thing… and now their back in the room. Voluntarily this time.
So you can see why – as I live in a city that is under a 1hr of exercise outside the home only restriction – that it might seem lock-down related. But I state here for the record it has nothing to do with viruses or 2020!
I suspect I’ll be getting them out of the room earlier in the next draft. Mind you, that could be a while away as – how should I put it? – not much has happened in 18K and that leads me to suspect this will also be a looooooong novel. We’ll see.
The joy of being a pantser; you only find out as you go!
Apparently July didn’t happen…. well, at least not here on the bloggie! But in reality, July was mostly about a writer friend moving in with me, which was super exciting. She’s staying a while so, around working from home, I’m hoping equivalents to our previous café writing sessions, but writing is happening anyway.
Or, more particularly, editing and even more of a specific event has been what I’m calling Chapter Spaghetti. This occurs when I decide cut a bunch of chapters up and re-sew them… one of those ‘create a mess to clean a mess’ type things.
History will tell whether I end up regretting that decision!