I met with my writer friend last week and told her of my plan. Well, she gave me such a scolding (you know, the ‘tough love’ kind) that I’d have to reconsider my plan that I laid out before. Not the whole thing, no, just the decision to go back and fill in the holes. She said it’s better if I just keep going and fill the holes later, because by the time I finish the whole first draft the book might be changed a lot, again, and then I’d have to go back and rewrite everything that I’ve rewritten, again, so it’s not productive and waste time. You won’t see the whole thing until you finish it, right? So I should just ignore all those empty plot holes and stuff that doesn’t make sense and keep writing until you’re done.
I did not like that, because I’m the type of person who has to make sure everything is perfect before I go on. So moving on while everything sucks is torture to me. But she’s right about me being stuck, though, so I think I’m going to listen to her and move on. Yikes! I’m not sure what’s going to happen because there are so many things that I have to resolve and so many things I have to research, but moving on is important, so I think I’ll just have to grit my teeth and go. I see why authors usually abuse some kind of substance now. One is because they tend to be depressed, but the other one is that moving forward requires courage and a bit booze or weed would make you lose your inhibitions and fear. Allegedly. I’m not going to abuse anything because that’s bad for me in general haha. So I guess a lot of relaxing video games is the way to go?
I started working again. After the two-month health hiatus. Before I continued anything, though, I did a thorough re-evaluation of what I’ve written so far. Because I’m pretty much half way in (got 40k words, aiming for 80k now instead of 60k because that’s just not long enough) I thought it’d be a good idea to see what needed work, how the timeline changed, character development, etc. Well, let’s just say I spent a good few days re-writing the entire outline. And what I’ve realized is – holy crap there’s a whole lot of holes I have to fill that I have not written yet. Including any and all research on the McGuffin item that I’m going for. Great.
So. I’ve decided that I’m going to go back and sorta star over? No, I’m not rewriting the entire novel, but I am going to go and streamline what I’ve written and fill in the holes. Which is quite a feat because I’ve kind of re-written the entire character development arc of a character, and so NONE of her pieces had been written. Great. But I figure if I do now just saves me time to do later. I mean it doesn’t do me any good to finish the first draft and then basically have to rewrite 90% of the second draft when I can finish the first draft a bit later and rewrite 50% of the second draft, right? I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m going with the first option right now. Plus, I feel really stuck on where I am because so much had change since I started that I don’t even know my character’s motivation anymore because it changed in the course of me writing. I assume that’s the normal process of writing but my god, sure feels like pulling teeth. And unproductive. I just have to steadily add words. How hard can that be?
(yeah, rhetorical depressing question don’t think about it too much).
So I’ve had sort of an epiphany like, earlier this week. I’m redoing an outline for my novel, because it has progressed to the point where my current outline doesn’t make much sense anymore, so I figure I’ll just write a detailed summary and then break it up to sections (also thinking of reorganizing the file so it’s by actual chapters order instead of grouped by narrators). I thought it’ll just be a basic rewrite with some things added. Nope. The big elements are still around but everything else needed a change, because it made no logical sense for one person to react to point B when they’ve just went through point A, etc.
And it dawned on me. Why is my novel taking such a long time? Because it’s a friggin’ complicated novel! Holy smokes, batman! My novel has 5 narrators, each with their own subplot, an overarching plot, both emotional and physical trials, and it’s in a completely made up semi-steampunk without the Earth Victorian setting. I needed to do more research on the technology (magnets, how do they work?!) and…yeah. So. It might not sound too challenging, but it’s no way an “easy” or “simple” novel. And I had thought this was a short story/novella length when I first started out. George RR Martin took like 5-10 years to write a single GoT book. I don’t think (hopefully not!) this’ll take me 10 years to write, but for a first novel this is a little insane, I think.
Or maybe I’m just feeling overwhelmed and some actual writers’d be like, that’s normal it ain’t Finnigans Wake. Well, Finnigans Wake took 17 years so, me spending about 3 years on my novel doesn’t seem too far-fetched. At least now I don’t feel super bad that I’m taking so long, because it’s not because I super suck, it’s just that for a first novel it’s pretty hard to write.
I’m slotting today for working on NaNo. No, I’m not “behind” per se (or I’m just perpetually “behind” since I wasn’t aiming for 50k to begin with), but I am behind in the sense that I didn’t write the sections that I wanted yesterday, because I need to really sort out my timeline for the novel – again! How many bloody timelines do I have to do per novel? So far my number is like, 5, but I thought that’s already like 4 to many – considering I thought I had a pretty comprehensive timeline to begin with. Ah, guess novel plots change all the time, part of the course.
I tried the methods my therapist told me, and it was horrible! OK, so the relaxation one worked. I could feel it working and afterwards I feel like my shoulders are less tension-y, which is good. The other exercise though, boy. I thought I had like, 4 or 5 worries. Yeah…no…I wrote an entire page about everything I worry about – like 20 items or more – and then I freaked myself out. Right after the first day my heart was pounding and I was short of breath, and then when I exited the room there was a giant wolf spider just scurrying down the hall and I screamed like crazy (from being startled; I’m not that afraid of spiders except really venomous ones). Husband killed it, btw, since does bite. Anyway, I tried the thing again yesterday and I realized I was holding my breath the whole time and had to physically relax so I don’t end up passing out. I don’t know how this exercise is suppose to help. I guess we’ll see in a week if does anything aside from giving me a daily heart attack or something.
This one is a bit Halloween-y, although we’re technically past the date. Still, my mind’s been on witches for a while, so of course it manifested here.
The Problem with Familiars
“How about this one?”
Sai pointed to the various idols displayed in the shop. Her sister was rifling through them and muttering to herself. Too bulky, too round, too thin. Geez, what does it take to find a suitable vial stopper around here?
The one Sai liked looked like a cornucopia standing up. The end was gilded; its lip just big enough for their largest glassware. Jae practically leapt with joy once she saw it.
“Perfect! Unless Anubis suddenly grows opposable thumbs, I say we’re set.”
Anything’s better than the smell of potion-soaked cat, Sai thought, and grabbed it promptly.
I’m a truly planner by heart. Everything goes down to the last detail kind of person. Now I’m pretty much pantsing the whole thing (i.e. writing on the fly) and I am just not comfortable with that. Adding in all the stuff I have to do pre-surgery and…yeah…am totally freaking out.
I guess there’s so much to do in life that you just have to take it one step at a time. So today I’ll have to do stuff I’ve said I’d do for like, a week now, but have been procrastinating due to stress/fear/other things. Mostly chore things, but also work, and figuring out how to call insurance so I know I won’t get bankrupted from major surgery. (I’ve never had surgery before so I guess I’ll have to learn these logistics things). And clean the house it’s so gross now from my negligence. And NaNo starts in two days. Oh my god!
Deep breaths. Woot. I suppose I should start with, hah, actually writing. My bullet journal’s all ready to go again, so at least there’s that small dose of encouragement.
Time for an actual update of myself. Let’s start with NaNoWriMo, shall we?
I had the month all planned out. Got my bullet journal ready and for the first few days I was totally meeting my goals. I was feeling optimistic, driven, and then of course I had to jab myself in the eye and got my cornea scratched…yeah…did anyone ever tell you that if you get your cornea scratched it takes like, 2-6 months to completely heal? Yep, so guess who spent the majority of this month unable to see without hurting her eyes on a semi-regular basis? It doesn’t help that right now LA is 100 degrees and dry as hell. I had to go buy a gel eye drop just so I don’t wake up with crazy gunk scratching up my eyes again the morning. Broke out the trusty old humidifier, too. On top of that I got a date for my fibroid surgery set (had a talk with my gyno and decided to remove the damn thing after all), and then I spent the days where I could see calling and setting up pre-op/post-op/other necessary medic appointments. I’m supposed to receive a packet in the mail detailing everything involving this surgery. It’ll probably be here today or tomorrow.
Needless to say I got like zero actual planning done after the first week of the month. It sucks. I don’t feel comfortable jumping into this novel without some extensive planning (don’t even have some basic structures down, like how the military’s supposed to work and where are all the different principalities supposed to be connected), so I guess I won’t be writing this novel for NaNo after all. At least, not right away. Instead I’ll be trying to finish some of my ridiculously overdue fanfics. Yep, I’ve had fics that’re two years old, 80% written, and never finished. Also sucks. I feel like all I’m doing is running behind and that’s a sad state of affairs. Granted, it’s health issues and not avoidable, per se, but still annoying. So the first half of NaNo (maybe longer, depends on how satisfied i am with the outline for the second novel) will be fanfic and finishing first novel. Not what I originally planned at all, but sometimes you gotta just make adjustments, no?
On a smaller, happier, quite unrelated note, I learned that there’s going to be a mobile f2p Animal Crossing game coming called Pocket Camp. I’m so happy about that! I’ve waited for a new Animal Crossing since forever, and unlike a lot of “hardcore gamers” I don’t have an aversion to mobile games as a concept at all. I don’t mind microtransactions because I never get sucked into the skinner box and gambling aspects, so I actually enjoy the freemium model very much. The Animal Crossing game is on soft launch right now and will be available just when I go into surgery, I believe. Hopefully I’ll be well enough to play in bed.