I’ve always been a night owl. 10pm rolls around and suddenly I’m full of ideas and a burning desire to start projects and be creative. This is especially true for my writing, since the late evening is generally the only part of my day that offers any quiet or solitude.
The drawback to this is that when I’m really on a roll with my writing I tend to start keeping vampire hours, writing from 10pm until 3-4am. Sometimes I greet the dawn with bleary eyes before retiring to my coffin. This wreaks havoc with the rest of my life, of course. Responsibilities and commitments suffer, my family never sees me, and the house looks a mess. Make dinner? What do you mean? I just woke up!
Tomorrow is August 26th, which will mark exactly two months from the day I finished my second draft of Chaos. Instead of diving right into draft 3, as I intended, I had a number of non-writing-related projects fall into my lap over the summer. While I’m not usually happy about having very little time to write,
My second draft of Chaos is complete at 163,020 words. This is actually the first time I’ve had a complete, consecutive manuscript with no holes and nothing missing–everything would make sense read front to back.
My husband was thrilled. This was the birthday present he’d specifically asked for, and I managed it 2 days early. My kids did a little happy dance around me in the kitchen, and my youngest (who was only a year and a half old when I began this project) offered me a celebratory sip of his juice in honor of the momentous occasion.
CJ Jessop, a beta reader for Chaos, and one of my bestest writing buddies (whose contract-signing party I’m sure I’ll be vicariously attending very soon) has tagged me with a Q&A for my novel-in-progress. I suspect she did it because I sent her my most recent chapter two months ago and haven’t made any noises since.
That is one hefty stack of paper. I’ve heard some writers say they prefer editing a hard copy of their manuscript, so on a whim I thought I’d give it a try.
Wow, did I underestimate what that would entail.
After blowing through one brand new ink cartridge on my printer, and draining most of a second, I chickened out and settled for just printing out Chapters 5-15.Yeah, that’s not the whole thing. It’s roughly 65,000 words–less than half of the total length. And I’m not even finished yet! I still have a few holes to plug, and I’m guessing I’ll have around 170,000 words once I’ve done.
I began my current novel four years ago. I know, that sounds like forever. I wrote feverishly for two months, and at the end of that time I had about 70k words. Not too bad!
But oh, what’s this, now? An inconsistency in the plot?
It wasn’t really anything major, but I couldn’t let it sit. I couldn’t help but tug on it, like a loose sweater thread, and suddenly my entire story started to unravel. Now it wasn’t just one inconsistency that needed fixing, but by association the rest of the plot was cast into doubt. No matter which way I looked at it, I couldn’t figure my way out of the mess I’d created.
Every once in a while, reading a book/blog/other article on writing, I’ll come across an exercise where the author encourages readers to list their fears regarding writing.
I’ve never paid much attention to these, because they sound suspiciously like fluffy psycho-babble pep-talks, having nothing to really do with writing, which is what I’m interested in. To be fair, I’m sure it’s relevant… we all have our insecurities, and I’ve heard many published authors state over and over again that these insecurities don’t magically vanish upon publication, even if the work is successful. There’s always the wonder… was it a fluke?
Today I was perusing one of these books, and I came across the fear exercise. What the hell. Perhaps it was boredom, but I decided to indulge the author and do the exercise.
Surprisingly, I discovered something I wasn’t conscious of.
This is a post about writing, I promise.
Since I write fantasy, I know a lot about killing tension. Fantasy and other spec-fic writers have a ton of information and backstory to convey, and more often than not this results in the story coming to a screeching halt. Epic fantasy, in particular, tends toward long, drawn-out ‘saggy bits’ that can try even the most patient reader’s tolerance.