The word counts for this week make me feel really accomplished. They include my amazing Saturday at Go Green, Go Write:
- Day 7. 49,528 (after a 22k word day, the product of 12 hours with no distractions)
- Day 8. 53,662 (including a virtual write in)
- Day 9. 53,662 (spent the day fixing my outline, time line, and cast of characters)
- Day 10. 55,162
- Day 11. 57,210
- Day 12. 62,503 (included a 3 hour write in)
- Day 13. 64,642
So I’m feeling pretty accomplished!
If you guess that I’ve primarily devoted this last week to NaNo preparations, you’ve guessed correctly! This week involved a lot of research and descriptions for the Flight story. I had been putting off writing the description of the main airship because in the research that I’d done, I realized I would need to do a lot more in-depth looking into science and sailing. While I don’t feel the need to consult with an engineer, I do need the airships in the setting to at least be plausible. I got most of my research done for that, refined what the airship looks like a few times, described it, described a couple other settings, and worked some more on the characters. I touched up the world building a little, adding some more depth to the basic frameworks I’d worked out. And I tweaked the outline in a few places.
If you guys know me, you know I’ve primarily been a discovery writer. I had a really basic outline for Surviving the Plague, but I pretty much just wrote that as I went along. This year, I really wanted to give serious outlining and preparation a try, and NaNoWriMo seemed like the perfect time to do it. I’m hoping that it will save me work on the second and subsequent drafts and allow me to write larger volumes more quickly. We’ll see. At this point the outline is 8 pages long and pretty seriously detailed. I broke it down by chapter, but I think some additional chapters may get worked in to flesh out things if it turns out they haven’t received enough attention.
All of this preparation has me itching to actually write, so I redrafted “Greed” on Saturday and sent it out to beta readers. I have two of three responses back, so I might spend my writing time tomorrow considering the feedback and tweaking that story. I really want to get it into rotation before NaNoWriMo, but if that doesn’t happen, it just doesn’t happen.
And finally, I submitted the first 250 words of Surviving the Plague to a YA contest (as you can see if you look at my last post). I’m hoping to receive at least some feedback on that, but I won’t expect it to come in until mid NaNoWriMo.
So it has been a busy writing week over here. I don’t predict that will let up any time soon, but I don’t plan on spending much time on blog updates during NaNo.
Apologies for the slightly late update. I wrongly thought I’d be able to get an update in after work before going to an event with friends. It turned out I was wrong, and they wanted to go earlier than I thought.
In good news, I’ve overcome the motivation hurdle. On Friday, I made myself sit down and write at work on my lunch. And then I remembered that it’s not actually that bad, and it’s something I can do. By the end of the hour, I was half-way through revising the short story I promised myself three weeks ago that I would shop around. I intend to finish that tomorrow. And the crises (yes, multiple) at work have slowed down, so I should be able to take my lunches back for writing. And eating. And other things I haven’t been able to do on my lunches lately.
Feedback from some of my beta readers on my novel is also starting to come in, which is helping with the motivation issue. Other than my friend who loves YA and devoured it in two days (and had some criticisms that were helpful), it seemed like most of my beta readers are dragging their feet about reading it. One simply forgot, my husband reads from a hard copy before bed and tends to move through things slowly, so on and so forth. I think I was a little ambitious about when I could expect the beta reader feedback.
One of the things that has been dragging on my motivation is that I just feel like this revision process is taking so long. I wrote the book in about a year, finished last December, and now it’s nearly September. That’s almost as long to revise it as to write it! But this whole experience has been a learning experience, with some things going faster and others going slower than I thought they would, so I don’t know why I’m even surprised.
That right there is my excuse for a bad progress update. Since I was on a vacation from Thursday to Tuesday, I really didn’t get much actual writing done last week. And did I mention that my work and personal lives are exploding? In my defense, I did some heavy mental lifting while driving the 22+ hours round trip to the Atlantic and back. But not a lot of that has made it onto paper yet.
Basically, the only thing I did was revise one of my short stories on my Wednesday/Thursday lunches. I massively reworked the ending of the Sister story. I think I’ll do one or two alpha readers, one paper revision, and then look at submitting it around. At this point, I’m shooting for doing submissions next weekend.
If I say that here, I have to make it true: submissions happening next weekend. I’ll have two things to shop around and I don’t have anything out and about. My reason for letting my short stories slide was that submissions take time and energy and I’ve been working so hard on the novel. That excuse is no longer valid, either, so it’s time to get this show back on the road. Let the rejections recommence!
On an unrelated matter, I think I’ll move my Sunday updates to Monday. Monday/Friday updates seem a lot more symmetrical to me than Sunday/Friday, and the Friday updates should stay where they are because Fridays just feel like a day to mark progress.
As well as the plague novel revisions now being done through page 327 (so close to the end, and then I have to get serious about typing everything in, also known as the second revision), I started working on a new piece. I only have a vague outline at this point, but I had to do something new for my writing group. I don’t know where I managed to find the time and creative energy, but I wrote the first chapter of that as well.
And really enjoyed doing it. Yay for works in progress!
I wrote this with my thumbs in a tree stand while the deer weren’t biting. It’s less of a story, and more the kernel of a story, but I’m posting it here (in all its raw glory) because I don’t want to lose it. This is the kind of stuff that happens in my head when I’m sitting quietly in the woods.
We walk side by side through the ankle deep ash of the ruined city.
“We could have ruled here together,” Mishia says. Her resonant voice mourns the destruction. Her angelic face is a lie. I think her regret is as well.
I gesture to the blasted stone houses, the taupe colored sky from which ash falls like snow. “This says otherwise.”
“It could have been glorious.”
“Whenever we touch, we spread death.”
The ash we stir as we pass does not mar my white dress, her pale bare feet. My dress is as much a lie as her childlike features. If not more.
“It doesn’t always have to be so,” she says.
“It does.” I sound resigned.
The silence of the place envelopes us . That, at least, is real.
We go to the center, the temple where it all began, where plastered stairs rose toward the sky. They had been white once. Now they are the color of fear and death. There is only one brightness left in this world.
In the heart of our temple, the orb is still the color of flame and blood, the sound of childrens screams, the texture of new murder, at least to my eyes. I am beginning to fear that I will never know what Mishia sees. I can see in her eyes that it is something else, something joyous. It lies as much to us as we lie to each other, I think.
“Shall we try again?” Mishia reaches for the orb in her excitement, but looks to me before she touches it.
“We might as well,” I say.
This, at least, we do together. When we touch the orb, everything is destroyed, and everything is remade.
Anyway, consider that my apology for letting the holiday season get in the way of my posting schedule.