The good news is that in May I wrote two chapters, like I had planned.
The bad news is that in May I wrote two chapters, like I had planned the bare minimum. I was aiming for three or four chapters, and only got two done. One I’m horribly unhappy with.
The good news is that it’s June, and I can start fresh. I’m still planning to do two chapters because I know one is going to be ridiculously long and complicated (and probably will be divided into two chapters upon revision). I’m also going to try to write every day instead of the sporadic of a truckload of words one week and zero words the next. Because that a hobby makes but a steady job does not make.
Although if I discover that I just write super bi-polarly and that’s just how my “style” is, then I’ll let it be.
I don’t think that’s the case, though.
It’s pretty official now. My novel is now definitely the first book of a trilogy. I mean by official that it’s no longer an idea that I’m throwing around but a set goal, which means from now on I need to think about setting that up and be aware of it as I write the rest of the first novel. Exciting, kind of, to make a first novel into a trilogy. It’s like a whole different mind set, and you’re more aware of how characters should act as they evolve and age and experience different things. I’m definitely taking a month or so to plot everything out properly once I’m done with the first draft of this novel, hopefully sometime in summer, although at the rate this is going it’s kind of doubtful.
I did not write much this weekend but I talked with my s.o. about it. He’s not a writer person, per se, but he is very logical so I could run ideas by him and he can go, uh, that makes no sense. Or that person’s motivation is whack. Or that defies the law of physics in an unbelievable way. You know, stuff us creative types tend to forget or brush aside just because we thought of something super cool. We talked about this trilogy thing and he actually gave me a good starting point for book 3, which I’m very happy with. I mean of course my issues is usually not plotting (is it though? I’m actually not sure at this point) but writing out the details, but like I said I feel like this novel will get finished in the next couple of months. I can “feel” it, which is dumb and illogical, really, but I do. I’ve never felt this before regarding my works, so maybe this time it’s actually true.
Or I’m just feeling hopeful, which I think is warranted, once in a while.
This is going to sound weird, but unlike a lot of authors, an empty page of a new document (or new chapter, section, plotline, etc.) excites me instead of frightens me. I opened the page in Scrivener on my novel on Monday, and I can genuinely say that one moment was more exciting and made me more content than what I’ve been doing all week. While I had to potentially scrap half of what I had of that chapter before, I did not feel like I was wasting my time. Instead, I felt like I know what I’m going to write and it’s going to get done, and the word count (I try to keep myself around 800 words a day, less on weekends or super busy days) just flowed.
But everything fell apart after that. I couldn’t write for two days after the initial rush. I think it’s because I already had a vague plan in mind when I started, so my brain was okay with just letting it flow. But as soon as I read through what I’ve written I found that my plan didn’t work, and that basically just stopped everything. Which is horrible because, ho boy, if every time your plan doesn’t work out while you write your novel you stop then this novel will never ever finish. (That would explain why this is taking forever, yeah?) I think it’s much worse than the people who get blocked staring at a blank page. For them the more they write the better they’ll feel. For me the more I write the worse feel. I don’t know what’s going to make me feel better save completely finishing the book and it’s perfect. I’ll find out when I finish I guess (nevermind perfect, but maybe my brain will accept ‘good enough.’)
I finally started writing in my novel again.
After all this time writing random crap that makes no difference in my career progression save maybe marginal increase in my writing quality, I reopened my novel’s Scrivener file, and began typing. And you know what? It was easier and quicker than I thought it was going to be. I’ve been stuck on chapter 10 of part 2 since, well, forever ago, it seems like. Maybe I can actually finish it this week. God knows I need to get past this and move to the next sections. At least get to part 3 ffs.
(The funny thing is that I know exactly what needs to happen, just couldn’t bring myself to write it or figure out the details. I think this is what actual writer’s block looks like. Boy was it hard to overcome. Still gave me shivers thinking.)
I also started the month with the ambition of trying Camp NaNoWriMo for April. I won July last year, so I feel alright about my chances. Well, then my father-in-law visited for a week and all writing kind of went out the window. It’s so stupid because he left me alone for most of the day, I just feel so distracted with him around that I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Now that he’s finally gone my writing has gone right back to schedule, but it does mean I won’t be able to make my initial word count of 20k. It’s okay. I’ll just write as much as I can, I guess. I mean I’m not really using these “word writing months” for anything other than a small push. I’ll be trying to write 33k by the end of May anyway, so the Camp part is just a formality issue.
I’m just happy my novel is finally, finally moving forward again.
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.