What’s new with the novel?

It is rather amusing, to come and look at this blog (which almost no one sees I realise) to see my last post being about my frustration at the lack of progress I was having with my novel. What’s even more grimly ironic is how I start by talking about how my Uncle’s death was still knocking my whole family for six, about a fortnight after I posted that my Grandpa died suddenly which was another blow we could have done without. I have blogged about my feelings on the subject over on Safe Space which is a super cool blog I’m now currently writing for. So this post is going to focus on writing.

IMG_3696April has been a fantastic writing month. Far more so than I ever could have hoped. It was only around mid-month that I started really keeping track of how much I was writing from day-to-day (I have jumped on the method which Victoria Schwab uses to chart her writing with shiny coloured stars on a calendar). Between the 13th-25th April I wrote over 10,000 words – new words on chapters from the middle which have been driving me crazy since November because I just wasn’t filling the void in the manuscript.

Around the end of March while I was on holiday in Florida I got done with drafting Chapter 17 (which I kind of wrote before 16 but whatever), and since I got back I’ve managed to write Chapters 16, 18, 19, 20 and I’m currently working on 21. It’s a hell of a leap forward which I’m super proud of, my Draft 2 ms is now over 60K and the overall Scrivener file which has the rest of the 1st Draft combined with it, is over 110K! Like seriously how have I written that much?

From what I have roughly planned out, I should only need to write three more chapters (after Ch. 21) to finish writing all the scenes from the middle section of the book that I feel need to happen. That will probably come to around 10K all told then I’ll be back with the really old stuff that I drafted way back in early 2014. That’s going to be erm, interesting. At that point I’m going to try and not dwell forever on how shocking some of the writing is (Probably too much of this novel is “telling” but I can’t fucking fix all of that on this pass), and just try to only overhaul bits where I’ve written something in the first half of the book which now contradicts what I wrote in the second half. Was bound to happen when I wrote the end of the book before I wrote all the beginning.

Hopefully *crosses everything* I can get myself to the end of this 2nd Draft by the end of May(?) maybe so then I can do the insane and print off my entire manuscript, ready all the awesome revision resources that I’ve got from the fantabulous Susan Dennard’s website and start working out all the ways I need to crack this book apart and how the hell I’ll put it back together again.

I might do another post soonish on how things are going because in May I will no longer be working (finished yesterday) *BUT* I have my last assignments for my OU module to do so my days will need to become strangely regimented so I do work on the essays as well as the novel. Whether I’ll manage that I don’t know 😄

Anyways I should get back to those things I should be doing.

Speak soon yea?

Ray xx

Trying to finish the damn book (Writing Ray)

I’ve not spoke too much about this recently on the new blog but in case you didn’t know- I’m writing a book.

It’s been rather a strange process and has dominated my thoughts for a good portion of the year. Despite my hilariously naive predictions of having the first draft finished by June I am still around 20-25K words away from having it completed. More irritatingly the remaining scenes to be written are not at the end of the book like they would be for a sensible person who wrote their book in a linear fashion, but they are from the start of the book moving into the middle.

I was a bit of an idiot and the first scene I actually wrote for the book was is effectively the Act One closer scene when my two main characters first cross paths in a rather dramatic fashion. The scene I wrote after that was from around the end of act two (although I still have to properly delineate where the different acts start and end) and then I kept writing from there until I got to the end of the book. So I now have over 70K of a novel with very little middle and I’m struggling to fill the gap.

I have vague outlines of what I think is going to happen in those 12 or so scenes I have left but now I have the issue of actually sitting down and writing them. I find myself doubting the whole book more now than I did way back in January and February and when I re-read scenes I wrote months ago to help me figure out where things are meant to be going I find myself either groaning at the ridiculousness of some of my phrasing or facepalming over the places where I’ve forgotten words or simply changed details about the world or character after the fact.

None of this is very conducive to actually getting writing done. I know a lot of writers are susceptible to self-doubt and that little voice at the back of your mind can be very insidious when it wants to be. Mine certainly is – last month I read a brilliant YA fantasy novel (The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski) and when I finished it I was agonising over the fact that the sequel wasn’t going to be out until March  next year. I was marvelling over how amazing the book was when that stupid little voice piped up “Your book will never be this good” and BAM I was thrown head-first into a pit of self-loathing that would have lasted for god knows how long if not for some of the excellent friends I have who dug me out.

Coming back from that has been slow-going and I’ve never got back to the level of output I had in the first quarter of the year. It can take me hours and hours to write even 500 words when I had evenings when I bashed out over a 1000 words in something like an hour and a half. I worry that if I don’t have at least a complete first draft by the end of this year that I won’t finish it all, that I’ll get so distracted by the two OU modules I’m doing (A215 alone is going to require me to write thousands of words of prose/poetry that are not for my novel) that I won’t come back to my book for so long that every scrap of interest I had for it has disappeared when I eventually do open up the Scrivener file again.

So what do I do to keep myself going? I’m struggling to keep myself focused on prepping for my OU modules at the moment so doing stuff for something I’m not paying a couple of grand to do is a little lower on the list of priorities. Well, it should be yet all I have done in the past two days is hand-write stuff for a scene from my novel. I might get that finished this week or it might get left hanging three quarters done like the rest of the damn book.

How do you go about finishing a book? Without running screaming in fear of your own writing?

It’s been one of those days when I ask myself tricky questions