August 2, 2012

writing progress for TWH

Note: every once in a while, I’ll post something like this where I talk about my work in progress. It’s kind of a journaling sort of thing, more of me talking through what’s going on during the writing process and how I feel about it rather than actually trying to force some kind of point to it. I feel like it helps me process the story and the actual writing itself. Read on if you find that sort of thing interesting, or don’t, if you don’t.  

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. This week has gone by so freaking fast. I’ve been writing diligently, already up to 7400 words written this week. That means I only have to write 2600 between today and tomorrow to reach my weekly goal of 10,000 words. I’ve been writing for a little over a month now, and I have just shy of 41,000 words! I’m a writing machine as of late. But, as my husband pointed out to me yesterday evening, that probably means that editing is going to suck. I’m inclined to agree. At least, past experience leads me to believe that’s true, and looking back on some of my more recently written chapters, I think the trend continues.

But that’s the thing about writing fast. I have to turn off my inner editor to do it. Is it worth it? I don’t know. When I finished my first novel (an early version of The Wizard’s Heart), the task of editing the tiny 60,000 word manuscript was daunting. It seemed impossible. And, I really had no idea where to begin. Which is why that early novel floundered and died and withered depressingly in my hard drive for two years. But—but!—I had never edited an entire novel before. Now, I have. I know that it isn’t impossible. I also know that it is an imperfect process. Still, I know that I can do it, and when the time comes, I will edit this wonderful story into the beautiful novel it’s meant to be. Positivity!

However, I do think that this story suffers from underwriting, rather than overwriting, which was my problem in The Clockwork Giant. I cut (if I remember correctly) 20% of the book in my first major edit. I added some things back in, but I still ended up losing about 10,000 words in length between the first and final drafts. This book, however, I’m probably going to have to add a lot. It’s very terse, very actiony-dialoguey with little description or introspection, and as a result, the pacing is way off. I can already tell. In the last six or so chapters that I’ve written, everything happens much too quickly. There is no time for the characters or the reader to absorb what’s going on—and there is a lot going on. My first major edit (after plot editing) will probably be a rewrite of those chapters, filtering in setting details, thoughts, and such. The good news about how extensive this edit is going to be when I get there is that I actually know what needs work. It isn’t a stare-at-the-manuscript-and-wonder-where-the-hell-I-went-wrong kind of thing. I know what needs work (pacing, characterization, emotional arcs, possibly some early plot points), and, best of all, I know how to fix those problems (or most of them).

On the actual story front, I’m amazed at how the story is coming along. A lot of things that I originally planned have gone out the window, and a lot of new things have come in. I love the characters (as frustrating as they are), and I am so excited to see how the rest of the story unfolds. I’m surprising myself with how violent I am toward my characters. They definitely don’t manage their journey unscathed. I find it funny that this is supposed to be a (relatively) high-fantasy novel, but the magic doesn’t really stand out in my mind; it’s just second nature to the characters and to me. I wonder how my first readers will react to the story. No one has read anything beyond the first page yet, so that’s a little unnerving and terrifying and yet, exhilarating at the same time. I love it.

And, if this past month was any indication of my productivity for August, I think I just might finish the very rough, terribly paced first draft earlier than I thought, sometime in early September most likely. This blows my mind, by the way. But, that’s the handoff. Editing will take that much longer, probably twice as long as the actual first draft will take to write. Still, I’m ready for it.

In other news… Olympics. All I really care to watch is the gymnastics, but because NBC likes to air the footage after ten o’ clock, I’ve seen very little of my favorite Olympic sport. I do enjoy watching the swimming (Phelps fan, here; you can suck it, Lochte… ahem), but I am so sick and tired of volleyball. Nothing new: NBC sucks. I would love to watch the martial arts competitions, but I’ve only seen a whopping 30 seconds of judo on my local news station. I would stream the events live if I could, but because I enjoy having money and not cable, I can’t. Lame NBC. Lame. I am looking forward to watching track and field—hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vaulting, and javelin throwing especially. However, NBC will likely only show the running. Bleh.

Anyway, Monday, I’m hosting the first stop for the blog tour of fellow Literary+ member Paul Carroll, for his release of his novella Balor Reborn. He’ll be talking about warming up before writing (including a bit on writer’s block) with an Olympics sort of theme. So you have that to look forward to. And then I think I’ll dive into gearing up for WriteOnCon, postponing the Back to Basics subseries on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet until after that’s passed. Again, sign up forWriteOnCon! It’s free, and awesome!

That’s it for now. Have a loverly Thursday and enjoy your weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to read things are progressing well with the novel. Edits will come but you pointed out the most important thing. You've learned lots from completing your last novel. You can do it!

    As for the Olympics, please enjoy. Too bad NBC is playing a weirdo ratings game.

    And WriteOn Con! Yeah. I think I should be all signed up. But I will get back and check to make sure lol!!