Last night I thought I had about fifteen minutes before my husband was coming up, so I grabbed my notebook and began to pen a short story that’s been on my mind. I wrote the first chunk of this story in one of Brian Henry’s phenomenal classes last year and have been most aggravated to be unable to find that excerpt now that the idea has bitten me once more. For weeks I’ve been meaning to jot down some notes about this (and about another short that’s been bouncing around in my head) but just haven’t managed it. So last night when some actual phrases came to mind, I took advantage and just started writing. Well, it turned out that my husband wasn’t just taking out his contacts – he was doing work. As such, he didn’t come up for an hour. And I wrote nearly 800 words. Was it phenomenal prose? No. It was first draft work (and very first draft work) and I have to bear that in mind especially since I’m into a second draft editing stage of the novel where the prose is leaps and bounds better than this. But that all started somewhere too. And when that one started, it probably read a lot like what I wrote last night.
Then, this morning in the shower I decided to change the main character in this short from a man to a woman and by the afternoon I’d managed to not only type out what I’d written (in the new character’s voice) but I also added a bit. This short is now over 1200 words! And I think I know where I want it to go. The question now is whether or not I’ll manage to rein it in before I have another novel on my hands.
I’ve also had a great deal of success with the novel editing over the past few days. At the moment I have nine of those ‘highlight’ sections left (I started with 33). Now these are nasty edits, where I may have to go through the manuscript and put in little lead ups and things of that sort. But nonetheless, I’ve gone from 33 to 9 in just a few days, so I’m probably going to only tackle one or two a day from here on in. And then yes: draft two will be done! (and apparently I didn’t need to wait for draft two to be done to throw myself into an unrelated piece.)
So in the past few days I’ve managed to get down 1200 words of a short, and blow away a large number of the more difficult sections of editing. Go me! I think I’ll give the fact that I returned to yoga this week after a (too) long hiatus at least part of the credit. My small town didn’t have any prenatal options while I was pregnant with Baby D (of course NOW they do) and then it took a while for me to convince myself that I had the energy to work out at all. They put me through a brutal time but it was worth every second and I’m hoping to be able to make time for it at least once a week now, if not twice. And hey, if it ups my writing productivity that would be one hell of a side bonus!
Right now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that this ramped-up creativity continues for my writing group tonight. It’s our last meeting of the summer, but come mid-Sept we’ll be back at it, plus I’ll be in another of Brian Henry’s classes. Very much looking forward to such a writing-intensive autumn!
Yesterday Kid A was at a sleepover at his grandparents and Baby D slept in until 9:30. That meant I had ninety beautiful minutes of complete peace. Total quiet. No one needing a snack, or a diaper, or just plain attention. Just me and my blissfully empty house.
So I grabbed my music and my coffee and settled in for an hour and a half of ploughing through my editing, right? Well…not exactly. This hasn’t come up for a while, but I do have a tendency, when I’m reaching the end of a project (or even the end of a stage of a project) of dragging that end out for as long as possible. As such, I spent that ninety minutes cleaning my kitchen and doing laundry. This wasn’t time wasted at least – both had needed doing for a while (ironically, I often neglect such things for my writing when I’m no where near the end) and I was expecting my parents over that afternoon. However, it did mean that by the time Baby D started yelling for me I hadn’t edited a single paragraph. I don’t know why I do this, especially when I have another stage coming up right after; it isn’t as though this will mark the end of the project and I’ll be sending it out to agents after this. However, once this draft is done I WILL be sending it out…to readers. Then I get to spend the next who-knows-how-long trying not to freak out while I wait for those copies to come back so I can tackle Draft 3.
Wait, maybe I do understand why I’m procrastinating.
At least I recognized what was happening, so when my parents left last night and my husband asked me if I wanted to do my editing before or after we watched some TV, I chose to work on my draft first. I’m pretty sure that if I had chosen to do it after I would have just watched TV until it was too late to do anything else. I made the right decision in that because I got into an excellent flow with it last night and managed to finish up the dreaded Chapter Two edit. That means that all I have left now are two pages of slightly complicated inputs and then I have to go through all of the ‘highlighted paragraphs’…scenes throughout the piece that I need to rewrite because I don’t particularly like how they sound. I think I have one, perhaps two weeks left and then I can call this draft done.
One thing that I am eagerly anticipating while the manuscript is in the hands of others (just let me reiterate: AAAAAAAA) is that I will finally be able to work on some unrelated writing projects. It’s not that I can’t work on those now. In fact, sometimes I think I should work on those now, just to give myself a break. But the self-imposed deadlines and the two kids crawling all over me from dawn till dusk mean that I really haven’t allowed myself to do anything more than think about those other ideas. I won’t even let myself work on sequels until I get this draft back from my readers so any work I do in the interim will have to be truly unrelated. And I am kind of looking forward to that. Not that I don’t adore my current work and my characters. But there are ideas and characters who would like to take just a little bit of my time…and I should probably let them, since as soon as I get my copies back I’ll be throwing myself into Draft 3 and they will be relegated into the back of my head once more (though perhaps this time with some notes down at least!)
And an update to this before I post this blog….a few hours later those two pages of inputs are done.
I’m trying to string together the last section of this manuscript and, admittedly, it just isn’t coming into my head at the moment so I thought I’d take a break and update here again. Yes, that’s right: ‘last section’. The end is now very clearly in sight but while I can picture that ending in my head, I still have to somehow get it there. I was hoping to make somewhat more progress on it today than I managed (about 2.5K on a non-kid day) but my Muse seems to have hit some sort of wall again. Nothing is waking her up today – not little breaks, not a coffee, not a walk. On the one hand I’m annoyed because now I’m not likely to be given another long opportunity to work on this until Tuesday. On the other hand, sometimes taking a few days where I can’t work gets the storyline sorted out in my head so that I can sit down and write with no issue once I have the chance. I suspect I have about 10K to go, give or take a few K…that fact might be scaring my Muse a bit too. I’ve been so non-stop with this since new year’s (hell, since the conference, really, I just rebooted it at the beginning of the year) that the thought of hitting The End (as it were) is somewhat daunting.
This morning I had a revelation that has eased some of my stress about this whole thing. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that the side story was going to require rewriting, since that character’s motivation has changed. I had the idea today, however, that perhaps what I should be doing is dropping that side story completely. This is a compelling idea for a few reasons. First, it will work better with the ending I’ve envisioned (I wanted to tell it from one angle, but it really made more sense coming from the side story angle). Second, those scenes can all easily come into play in the sequel which means that I already have a lot of material to work with when I get to working on that (sometime in 2015).And lastly, it solves some of that pesky wordcount problem. I pulled those sections into a separate file today and the MS dropped to 102K. Yes, I still have 10-20K to write (I think), but still…as it was previously sitting at about 125K, this is encouraging. And while that might not be the most compelling reason to pull those sections, it’s certainly an added bonus.
And yes, the whole thing is finally beginning to arc into a trilogy in my head.
So now I just need my Muse to step up and bring that last section together in my head. Who knows…I just might pull this off.