Yesterday, I finished a full draft of the latest version of Never. It’s horribly broken, and needs at least one more full redraft, but it’s finished.
And in probably related news, I am burned out. Empty. Burned out on writing, burned out on reviewing. So I’m going to be taking a short break away from both. An actual holiday, even. I’m anticipating lots of Aurealis reading coming in, so there will be that. And I’ve technically finished my challenge for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, but I’d still like to add some more decent reviews (namely to the things I’ve read and marked over at Goodreads as wanting to review).
Now, what is that people do when they’re not running around a mouse wheel made of words? I forget.
This has been a tough week for forward progress on Never.
Bear in mind that I’m still dealing with the effects of the stupid cold/flu (I’m inclined to say it was a cold, but it lingers like the damn flu) and my brain isn’t working efficiently. And yeah, the peanut gallery can just shut up right now 😉
By Wednesday I was floundering. And I realised something – I’d removed a plot thread from the last draft, which meant that I effectively have to rewrite most of the second half of the book completely. Which means that I was writing without an outline. And I was just meandering and scenes weren’t making sense and argh the whole book is broken.
I’ve become an outline writer.
I’m as surprised by it as anyone else. I used to love pantsing, but it’s just not efficient any more.
So yesterday I sat down and hammered out a rough outline for the second half of the book. Printed it out this morning (all 25 pages!) and hopefully we’ll get decent forward motion again and I can get this draft finished.
I asked for, and have received, some very good advice on how to write faster and more productively.
Turning off the internet really does help, and I have a feeling that I’m going to be very glad that I have Mac Freedom on some days. I know from past experience that making myself publicly accountable also helps.
At a guess, at approximately 60k words, I’m about halfway through the manuscript of Never. So, assuming I have 60k to go, I’m going to assign myself a deadline to have this draft finished by September 22nd, which is in six weeks time, or thereabouts. That’s 10k of forward motion a week, which is totally doable.
I’m going to keep myself accountable here, which means that I’m going to aim to post weekly wordcounts.
I am going to have other work to keep on top of – Aurealis reading (which has actually been a bit thin on the ground so far, which doesn’t mean that I’m on top of it, mind) and slush reading, and I owe some beta reading and some reviews. But it’s all manageable, I think.
It always feels kind of strange to sit here at 1:30pm on a Friday and declare that my writing week is done. Technically, it is and it isn’t. I’ve finished the part of the week where I sit with Scrivener open and work on Never, but I have a lot of other work left.
As an aside – I still kind of love that reading is pretty much work to me. It means that I do end up reading some things that I wouldn’t always (I like to keep up with what’s popular, for one thing, just to try to figure out why, even when the book or series isn’t something that I’ll actually enjoy completely. Hence the recent reading of the 50 Shades of Grey books, which you’ll have seen if you follow me on Goodreads. There will be a post on them coming up soon, once I organise my thoughts).
And that was a long aside. Heh.
I’m working slower on these Never rewrites than I’d like, to be honest. I’ve crested 10k on this draft, but I feel like I should be about double that. I do rewrite in a time-consuming manner though, by retyping the whole draft (am I the only weirdo who does that?) and I am making a good deal of changes to the beginning of this book. I’ve been pushing my daily wordcount from 1k to 1.5k consistently, which is awesome. I’m aiming to get that up to 2-3k if I can.
I also caved and joined the Online Writing Workshop, which I’ve been toying with for far too long. I have one awesome beta reader reading along with me as I write Never, but I kind of wanted some new eyes on it. Plus working on my own reviewing skills is also a good thing. I’ve posted the first chapter of Never and gotten one really lovely review. Just need to review a bunch of stuff so I can post more now 🙂
And so I print out my outline (all 28 pages!), open a new project in Scrivener, get my music playlist sorted out, and begin the next draft of Never.
Those paying attention will also notice two new Pia Ravenari totem pictures in that photo. The one half hidden is Magpie as Totem, which I commissioned, and the other one is Australian White Ibis as Totem, which was my birthday present. I still cannot believe that the universe is so amazing as to let me know someone as talented as P, let alone get to call her my friend.
Today is a public holiday here (which I refuse to call W.A. Day. It’s Foundation Day!), and according to my own schedule and ethics, I could be taking the day off. The kidlet is off visiting with his grandparents, the husband is tinkering with the computers and the house is quiet. And yet I am here at the laptop, beginning the draft. Mostly because it doesn’t feel like work. I guess I’ve levelled as a writer or something?
From where I sit writing (where I am now), I can see the shelf holding books in which I have been published. A shelf to which my copy of Epilogue was added this morning. It’s a small shelf, but it’s growing.
I wish I wrote more short stories. I wish I was more of a natural short story writer, I should say. I think I am learning to write better ones, but I think the novel length is always going to come easier for me. And I’m still learning there, too.
Still working on my outline for Never. I think next week may be spent outlining as well – it’s taking longer that I’d hoped, but I want to get it done properly. I’m having a lot of fun inserting little bit and pieces, adding layers and foreshadowing. I have a very slow and drawn-out process, but it’s my process. I’m feeling really confident about Never, and I am looking forward to the point at which I can start sending it out.
Huge storm last night – serious downpour of rain, which led to a lovely leaking kitchen roof, with a bunch of thunder and lightning as well. The kidlet was pretty amazing and didn’t let it phase him, but the poor kitty was freaked out. Today has been overcast and foggy, but no rain to speak of. The human suit is protesting both variants of weather vigorously (made worse by the fact that I didn’t get any exercise yesterday due to the aforementioned rain), and I am looking forward to getting out for a walk later on today, all being well.
And it is somehow almost the weekend again. Long weekend, too, which is nice. Writing group to look forward to, and massage and hopefully a swim.
I am spending this week getting organised for the next draft of Never.
Today this has translated to going through my character biographies, updating them where needed, and making them fit with things that I discovered during the last draft. One of my characters now makes me cry, which is a…good thing? I do know that she has her own story, and I hope that I’ll get to tell it one day.
I’m working in Scrivener, as always, though I doubt I use even the smallest percentage of what the programme can do. For me, it’s mostly about being able to have multiple files available in the one program. Though I am printing out all of my bios and outlines and putting them in a folder as a story bible as well.
I’m feeling like this story makes sense now, which is a good thing. And I’m looking forward to diving into the next draft.
And lo, there was great celebration in the land, for the draft of Never was finished.
Well, not really. This is draft 1.5, which is my way of representing that it’s the second draft of the first half of the book and first draft of the second half. Brain broken now? 😉 I should just call it draft one of this version, I guess, since so much has changed since my earlier drafts.
And now I take a day off from fiction writing tomorrow, and I have the weekend off, and Monday I come back to it and try to figure out how to fix all of the broken bits. I know I should probably leave it a bit longer, but I want to at least get my outline for the next draft in order while everything is fresh in my mind.
So, yesterday Spotify launched in Australia. I pounced joined up and am now happily enjoying streaming music. Not sure as of yet if it’s going to be worth paying for a subscription. I don’t mind ads. We’ll see.
Another glorious day in Perth today: clear blue skies, though it’s cold this morning (where cold is a value of less than 10C for us, which is probably warm for some of you reading this. Remember, it gets to 40C here in summer, we don’t do cold that well!). There’s some frost on the lawn this morning, too, which always looks gorgeous.
I am meandering my way towards the end of this draft of Never and am reminded, as always, by how much I hate writing endings. I am sorely tempted to just outline these last few scenes and go back and start editing. I’ve written this in an odd way – I’m working from an outline, but I’m doing a fair bit of pantsing in between my outline points. It means that I have a few subplots to go and put in and stuff to clarify. Plus, I need to do some scene rearranging. Luckily I love editing 😉