Archives: Writing Progress

Here We Go Again

I started writing again yesterday, attacking this new idea that’s been bubbling in my head for a week. The morning didn’t get off to a great start (coffee problems), and then when I began to type, a chorus of self-doubt echoed in my ears. Like, it was so loud it was almost funny. I didn’t think I could write anymore; I thought I didn’t know how to tackle a novel. I’d forgotten how to have fun. I believed I was getting worse instead of getting better… Ye know, all that sort of rubbish. 

Anyway, I battled through and got a couple hundred words down, and then the nasty voices got a bit quieter. Then I actually enjoyed myself a little, and managed 1636 over a couple of hours. Not bad, folks, not bad. 

So here I am facing Day 2. I’m going to write a little bit, but I’m also aware that these characters are strangers to me, and the world is empty. From experience, I know that this will probably derail me before the 10k mark, so I need to invest time building the characters and setting. If I’m at my desk for seven hours a day, I think it’s reasonable to expect 1-2k on top of research, brainstorming, and other bits and bobs I have to be getting on with.

After my two-week break, I’m determined to make this version work, and to do that I need breathing space, and a constant reminder that first drafts are meant to be abysmal. 

*takes deep breath* 

I can do this. 

 

Current WIP: 1636

The Spark

Okay okay okay – there’s a twitch. A wee twitch. I think I do have the right characters, the right world… It’s the right story I need to find. 

The past couple of days I’ve glimpsed glimmers of theme, scenes, a story half-formed. I’ve accepted this project isn’t going to be like any other. I’ve accepted that I can’t scare the Muse. Even though I can sense the spark of inspiration, I’m refusing to write. It’s like approaching a frightened doe – if I move too quick the bugger will run off. I had to stop myself today from sketching too many ideas. I have to let it simmer away in my brain, like sushi rice. If you lift the lid too soon on your sushi rice, you get rubbish sushi rice. I love sushi rice. And I love not having writer’s block. It is very important I treat myself like rice. 

(I’m having sushi for tea tonight.)

Um, yeah. So maybe the fog is lifting. Maybe not. Maybe there’s still a story in me about beasts and beautiful things. Or maybe not.

Beauty and the Beast: A History of Bloody Drafts

I’m currently writing a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. When I’m feeling positive, I say that this book has taught me so much because failure is the best teacher. Most of the time I think this book is going to kill me.

An explanation: I started in June 2017 and originally planned to release a trilogy of retellings over the course of summer (LOL). Anyhoo, I spewed out a 30k novella for Beauty and the Beast. My critique partner, a kind lady, said it wasn’t a load of guff, but it was. Oh, it was. Shortly after finishing the novella, I finally snapped and accepted that no, I couldn’t write a book every month. (Kudos to those who can.)

Long story short, I spent August and September mapping out a seven-book series of retellings, digging down into a huge level of detail, writing about 15000 words…then quitting.

October, I barely wrote a thing.

November, I started again. Beauty and the Beast, take three. Ten thousand words in, and it became Beauty and the Beast take four. Fast-forward to February 2018 and I was on, ooo, my ninth, tenth? version of Beauty and the Beast, and had a folder of 80,000 scrapped words in my Scrivener file.

In early February I had another idea, involving a new(ish) world filled with characters that were partial reincarnations from the previous unfinished stories. I’m now two weeks in, and the story has changed three times already, but…the world and characters feel real to me this time. Like, when I’m not in front of my keyboard, I still see and hear them. I’ve decided this is a Good Sign.

And yet…it’s hard to believe I’ll ever get this draft down. Maybe I’m cursed. Or maybe perfectionism has throttled me. Pfft, who knows. But I’m gonna keep trying, because I can’t allow myself to take a break. I will finish this bloody book, and it will be awesome.

Current WIP: 11304