Where did 2021 go? No, really, I want to know! Last time I looked up it was like… July. Now it’s xmas! Weeeeiird. But living in one of the most locked-down cities in the world thanks to the Delta-ness, seems to have done very strange things to time. But, I’ll be honest, it could just be All The Editing!
Yes, it’s been another big editing year this year. Though daemon managed to sneak another new-novel-scratch draft in. Of course he did. But we’ve mostly focussed on All The Editing, which has occasionally in fact been re-writing masquerading as editing. Because this also happens.
I’m about to start rewriting about 2/3s of N2. Yes the novellas are still proving to be the hardest things to get done! Pesky little… ahem. Like, they haven’t even gone out for beta reading yet! Gah! But it’s all part of the process.
Currently doing another light edit on Indestructible so it can go to beta readers, so that’s exciting. I’m irrationally fond of this book.
The next big edit – based on beta reader feedback earlier this year – is PAR. Yep, the post apoc romance is getting a minor makeover. Hopefully it won’t be as trying as the novellas. I live in hope.
So, 2022 is looking like the year I’ll finally have space to get Gun Runner and it’s friend up to full drafts and maybe start something else new. And get my head back into a self-pub space, because that’s what all this hard work is ultimately for!
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.
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!
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!
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten better at putting setting into my novels. Better. Haven’t nailed it yet.
It is quite hard judging how much setting readers need when you are yourself not one who needs much at all. I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned how I tackle the issue!
So, for the curious, the secret is: beta readers. I know, you probably thought it’d be something more exciting, but in truth knowing your beta readers and knowing which ones read like you and which ones read differently, is the way to go.
Usually I don’t get beta readers involved until 2nd draft – which in my nomenclature is a very clean draft – and with any luck that means the next editing pass is almost totally setting. Of course there’s often other stuff too, but if I can focus on a “setting/worldbuilding” pass at that point, I’m happy.
Indestructible has been through this process now and after some excellent feedback from a good writer friend, who kindly beta read for me, I’m feeling pretty good about starting the next edit. Not that I’m allowed to until I’ve finished the edits on the novellas…but it’s a treat in the future!
My writing daemon appears to think that the current situation is a holiday. Or rather, he seems to think that just because I’ve been busy at work, he can sneak off for a nap. This is exactly what happened from mid-March through to today! Sneaky blighter.
On the one hand, we’d been writing and editing at such a consistent pace, I’m totally cool with having a break (particularly as the work busyness is actually helping people out where I work currently). On the other hand, there is a bit of “these novels won’t edit themselves you know”.
Of particular worry was the suspiciously easy negotiation writing daemon and craft daemon entered into about whether I’d weave another scarf right away or focus on writing… writing daemon usually only gives in to “scarf time” when he’s been shot with a tranq dart by the other one. This time he negotiated and gave ground. Hmmmm. I think this was more “nap time” dressed up as good daemon behaviour!
So, other than the fact I did start another scarf, I am now also going to pin down writing daemon and see if we can take a bash at removing the extreme boring of N1’s opening chapter.
Aah, which is something I haven’t mentioned here on the bloggy… I re-read all the novellas. Would you believe N3 is near perfect? Yep, the one that gave me ALL THE PROBLEMS is now fine. In good shape even. And which one is hot mess? N1. The easy one. *imagine me throwing my hands up*.
It was funny reading the opening of N1 and getting about half way through the chapter, stopping, turning to writing daemon and saying “are you bored? because i’m bored”. He nodded.
I’m not sure I’ve ever written such a boring chapter before. Of course it had to be the very first one! So now, for the fixing. AKA the chuck out chapter 1 and rewrite it entirely differently.
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!!