After struggling with the 3rd novella for a bit, it was a relief to finally finish. Yes, the novella series is now, officially all in working 1st draft state! Woot!
Okay, there may have been some happy dancing – though I still find my eyes narrowing whenever I speak of that 3rd book – and then I moved on to Indestructible. With glee.
Why I’m so in love with the gangster/noir is a mystery, but it was easy to write and, so far, the editing has gone pretty smoothly. Yes, there were six attempts at getting the final chapter re-written to my satisfaction…ahem… but it’s all good.
The greatest challenge from an editing perspective is getting a consistent tone in the language. It’s hard to give the flavour of Chandler or Hammett, without mimicking them! Also, I don’t want my lovely sci fi world to sound like 1930s America. That’s not really the point. So, that is taking a little time and a little work, but I think it’ll get there.
Language is a nice problem to have, compared to fixing structural snafus and recalcitrant characters (wait, I feel my eyes narrowing again!), but I’m too early in the edit to know exactly what the pain threshold will be. My current WIP is definitely a work in progress!
After a well flowing sequence of projects last year I have been stumped. For those of you who know the history, N3 of my novella series has always been troublesome. It still is.
Some drafts are just hard. This is one of the mysteries of writing novels and novellas, and one that still puzzles me.
I think – though I’ve said this before – I’ve fixed the problems now, but it’ll be another few days before I find out. There may be a shortage of body-parts to cross in hope!
It’s been at the back of my mind since I started my interlinked novellas that at some point I was going to have to stop and make sure the world was consistent across them. That time has come.
I could have done a spreadsheet. That’s worked in the past. But this time there were a lot of things to track and a lot of information to include for each thing in each novella. Now that kind of thing needs doing where you can see it all, in my opinion, and that means a wall!
A small supply trip gathered index cards and a packet of coloured pens and I set to re-reading the drafts and then filling out a bunch of cards. It was fun, actually. I have always had a thing for colour coding things and, strangely, index cards.
All of them are now in appropriate columns on a wall in my house where I can see them.
The funny thing is how obvious gaps become when you do this sort of activity. Blank index cards indicate things that don’t exist in a given novella. Cards with only a line of text indicate maybe there’s some description missing. Very useful.
Not, possibly, the most environmentally friendly way to tackle it, but I’m working on ways to reuse/recycle them before they got to the recycling bin.
After the rather heavy output of recent months, my writing daemon decided to take a break. Without warning.
I don’t begrudge the break, but it might have been nice to know the blighter was about to do it so I could plan to fill my day with other things… still, it was more a surprise it had taken so long in coming!
He flitted off to wherever writing daemons go when not muse-ing and I sat around wondering how to spend all the extra free time. Then… he came back.
This may be the shortest break he’s ever taken.
Since his return we’ve been working on novella 3 of the series and it’s… well, it’s not exactly been flowing. This had made me think some more time off would be a good idea ,until found the source of our problem. The subplot is apparently turning into something mega.
Of course this happens from time-to-time and usually indicates that the subplot is in some way more interesting than the chosen main plot. I don’t think that’s so here… we will see.
To send off 2019 in good fashion, it’s entirely possible that I will be writing at midnight tonight as opposed to my usual themed movie marathon. Though, it’s also possible I’ll be asleep. Feels like one of those years where the decision won’t be made until much later in the day!
For all my writer-peeps out there – I hope 2020 is a productive year for you. For all my non-writer-peeps – I hope yours is satisfying in some relevant way. And, of course, a safe and happy one for all!!
You know how I’ve been having a big, productive year? Well, let me add to that list!
Yes, I have managed to complete a draft of the second novella (aka “N2”) of my three novella series. It’s only a little bub at 20K but I’ve been so excited to finally get it re-written and complete.
As it’s pretty close to the end of the year now (whoosh goes another one!) I doubt I’ll finish anything else off, but I am going to try to wrestle N3 into shape next. Mind you, the ol’daemon is flitting about excitedly looking for new novel ideas. He seems to think that we’re ready for another new project…
We shall see.
A lot of writers talk about how novels are ‘like a marathon’, but what I don’t often hear them say, is just how long novels can be with us. (And I’m ignoring here the ones that hang about for a decade or more!)
Now, I know a lot of novelists will get through a first draft in weeks and then maybe the edits also in weeks, so that they output multiple novels a year. Most writers I know, though, don’t get through them so fast – particularly not writers who have full time jobs.
Many of my projects span years. I’ll do a draft zero one year. I’ll do a first draft another. I might do second and third drafts in a single year because that is redrafting from feedback. As a result three or four years isn’t an uncommon lifespan.
It’s so common when I remember the year I started a project that it’s been five, or six years that I’ve started to think in “novel time”. I think it’s a bit like geological time, but for novels. (It feels like geological time compared to most things in my life!)
Of course, I also multiproject, so while I’m not working on one thing, I’m working on something else and all these projects end up overlapping.
Interestingly, I figured out that I’ve done seven scratch drafts, four first drafts, two second drafts, and two final drafts in the past five years, with a few third/fourth drafts along the way. From a productivity standpoint I’m fine with that.
And while I’m doing numbers (at least I didn’t spreadsheet it!) that’s about 541,000 new words including my screenplay. There’s no sensible way to work out the edits. Probably a good thing!
The draft of Blurty’s sister (sequel) is done. It’s rough and will need a bit of work to get it from draft zero to first draft, but that’s fine. Blurty was like that too.
For the observant bloggy reader, it will be clear why the extended “woot” in the header… yes, the completion of the Blurty Sister draft means I’ve written two novels this year! *Insert face of extreme happiness*
And I also completed my first screen play!
New trend? Once off? Who knows.
I did catch myself calculating what my writing capacity is like these days… that’s usually a sign that I want to keep up my momentum.
The obvious question is: what’s next? Well, I’m thinking I should return to the novellas. They’ve been languishing for a while due the protag in novella 3 and I having a debate about who he’s in love with. I may just have to give in and write it how the protag wants me to write it. Yup.
Of course next year, in theory, will be the-year-of-many-edits considering I now have three complete drafts that all need to head on to the next draft stage. In fact if you include novella 1 then that’s four…
I should stop thinking about that before I get scared and run away! Not that I don’t enjoy editing. It’s just that it’s sloooooow compared to writing fresh-y words. Mostly because you have to do it multiple times, and stop to get feedback.
Anyway, I’m giving my writing daemon permission to eat chocolate. I’m having some fireball bourbon to celebrate.