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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Just Write

It's been a funny old year on the writing front.

The last time I wrote one of my periodic 'writing goals' post I had a six month plan that stretched from December to May and was ambitious to say the least.  Unsurprisingly, it didn't pan out, though that had more to do with the thesis work I had to do and a lot of other rubbish that overtook me.

It's true that I spent December working on the second draft of 'Max' (which refused to behave, see here) then I polished 'Lily' in January. I then started work on the close edit of 'Danni'. That's where I ran into trouble. The place I had to put myself mentally in order to work on that particular draft was painful and I blogged about it here. Ultimately, for all my good intentions, I faltered with that draft and it's languishing at 54,342 words. Nor did I work on any of the other novels I earmarked for work before June.

So what did I do? Well, I worked on the third draft of 'Max' when the urge took me. I completed that two weeks ago and then I started a new work 'Phoebe'. This is based on my experiences at the election night count and I originally envisioned it as a novella. However, part one (of three) came to over 20,000 words so I'm not quite sure what it'll end up as. I'm trying not to be rigid, I just want to get it down on paper. At least I'm not aiming for that mythical 50,000 mark with this one.

I need a plan of attack though; a draft priority list if you will. I know I look like a first-draft machine but it's just because it's been easier to do that while I've been shuffling through my PhD (besides, I think the fact that 'Danni' has been through six drafts so far refutes that anyway). In terms of which novels I'm ready to work on and in which order they should be approached, here's the list:

  1. 'Phoebe' - First thing is to finish this draft, however long it turns out to be. It's currently sitting at 23,733 words.
  2. 'Max' - Then I want to work on the fourth draft of this which is essentially a close-edit and general tweak. I'm pretty happy with the structure and characterisation of this one now, the third draft improved it massively. That opinion is, of course, subject to change. 
  3. 'Danni' - Perhaps by then I'll be in the right place mentally to finish this. I paused the seventh draft with 24 out of 31 chapters written. I did the hard stuff, the difficult rewriting. From that point onwards the narrative is essentially the same as in the sixth draft (with the exception of the final chapter) but it needs a close-edit. 
  4. 'Izzy' - I had an epiphany about this one a while ago which involves the alteration of much of the plot but keeps the characters. This needs detailed planning but I know the core of the story. It remains to be seen whether it keeps the ambivalent ending of the first draft though. I'm a sucker for happy endings these days. 
  5. 'Kathy' - This is currently an unfinished first draft from 2013 which I decided needs to be in first person instead of third. So I need to rewrite the 10,000 words already written then see where the story takes me for the rest of it - I have a tentative plan.
  6. 'Liz' - I've neglected this one for too long. This is a second draft and I'm a third of the way through it but I hit a brick wall, possibly because I was rewriting it in Scrivener and I can't get to grips with it.
  7. 'Vic' - There's a fair bit of planning to do ahead of the second draft. I want to change the premise slightly but the characters and their relationships work. 
  8. 'Carys' - Again, there's planning to be done ahead of the second draft but a lot of stuff in this works. I know what I want to change in terms of the main plot so I'll see where the new plan takes me. 
  9. 'Lauren' - The second draft of this was another experiment with characters I've been toying with since I was sixteen. The whole thing gels quite well now but I need to approach it carefully to make sure I'm not just saying it's better when it's not.
  10. 'Mel' - This was my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel so it's pretty low down the list. I need an epiphany to hit on this one. 
  11. 'Lily' - It seems strange to put this one at the bottom of the list when I've had positive feedback on it and advice on how to improve. However, I feel that I need to look at the others first. This may well get boosted back up the tree but, for now, I want to focus on the others. 
This is quite a list, isn't it? There'll likely be a new NaNoWriMo draft in November to go along with it. Let's see where I am by the end of the year, eh?


Anonymous said...

I'm exhausted just reading about the writing you're doing. I wish you the best of luck with your various drafts, the PhD, and of course your prolific blogging. Keep up the terrific work.
Yours in writing and reading,
A Californian (sans PhD, alas)

CharmedLassie said...

Thanks, I need all the luck I can get!