Tag Archive: The Nine

Going To Need A Second Brain

I’ve been working for the last few days on The Nine, just working out what the major events are, the threads I need to juggled and keep track of, which has resulted in the title of this post. ¬†I’ve got a lot going on here ūüėģ

This is not a new thing for me, I should mention, writing down the major events. ¬†I did this when I was figuring out how I needed to rewrite DM, and I did it to some extent with Possession, but I know I have a lot to deal with in wrapping the trilogy, and that’s making me do this part in a more serious fashion. I’ve actually pulled out index cards so I can make notes on each of the threads. ¬†Every thread has it’s own card. ¬†There are several (I’m not going to count, I’m not going to go count them, I’ll only scare myself). I’m slowly figuring out how to tie it all together, the places where the threads meet, knot with each other and then go back on their separate paths, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little uncertain about pulling this off. ¬†It’s going to push me as a writer, but I see that as a good thing. ¬†The only way to grow in skill and maturity is to push yourself further, to make yourself try to stretch for that greater achievement. ¬†Damn, though, it’s scary.

I’m still letting myself have a bunch of downtime, of course, so I can recharge. ¬†Notes and outline stages seem to be like that for me though. ¬†I’ll make a few notes, go do something else, come back to it. ¬†Outline a couple things, then do something else. It’s just writing draft that I pound myself (and keyboard) into the ground on, and even that’s only on first draft. ¬†That’s mostly about that internal editor, the same one who makes me wonder if I can pull this off. ¬†Mine’s semi-trained in a professional sense, since I once wanted to do that for a living, which seems to have sharpened her teeth and claws. ¬†The only way I can get a book done, I’ve found, is to write at warp speed, which is what leads me to do all of this planning, of course. ¬†I can only write that fast if I’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about what needs to go where. ¬†It’s when I haven’t done that that I end up slowing down and getting caught by a combination of exhaustion and inner-editor. ¬†It’s really a one-two punch, which is part of what happened at the end of Possession. ¬†I didn’t spend enough time thinking about how I would handle the ending. I knew what the ending was, the things it had to be, but not how I would approach it or pull it off. ¬†With so much at stake in The Nine, I have no intention of doing that again, leaving the state in which I crossed the finish line last time totally aside.

I have no idea when I’ll start writing this one, and I’m not going to speculate, as I don’t want to feel I have to rush to it. It won’t be until I’m ready, until I know where I’m going and how. ¬†I need to check something in both books that I’ve already written before I can get too far into outlining, but I can’t do that right now. ¬†I’m not pulling Possession out of the drawer yet, as it’s not time, not even close, and I know I’ll get caught up in it if I open the file to check for that one thing. ¬†At least I know my own weaknesses, I guess.

What I find most funny, to me anyway, is that in spite of how intimidating I’m finding The Nine at the moment, I’m seriously looking forward to writing it. ¬†Or maybe it’s because of that intimidation. ¬†I love beating down a challenge, standing on it and saying “Yeah, that’s right, I won.”

And now, before I get back to trying to weave threads without tangling them worse than kittens, tonight’s picture, for your enjoyment.


The Delight of Nothing

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is at the start for me to do nothing. ¬†Especially after four straight months of always on, always working. ¬†But I did it. ¬†Other than a couple of notes on stray thoughts, I did NOTHING yesterday that was writing related. ¬†It was fantastic once I got into it. ¬†I feel surprisingly recharged, other than the irritation of having to stop doing nothing and go to work today. ¬†That sucked.

The funny thing about all that nothing is that it seemed to have allowed me to de-stress enough and stop thinking about The Nine enough to let my brain make some progress in the background on it. ¬†I’ve a basic idea of how I want to handle a bunch of things, including one of the knottier issues I was facing, and I don’t feel nearly as pressured about this being the close of the trilogy anymore. Hell, I was joking about it today, and for those of you who don’t know me all that well, that means I’m not worried about it. ¬†It’s when I lose any ability to tell jokes about a subject that you know I’m suffering some serious angst about it.

So yeah, slowly building out the story for The Nine while I let Possession sit in the magical drawer (folder on my computer). I expect to be ready for outlining at least, if not already started that stage, by the time I pull Possession back out and reread it. ¬†I may read back through DM again beforehand, just to regain the perspective of “here’s where people will be when they come into the story.” ¬†We’ll see.

I really do feel better about a lot of things that had begun to irritate me in general, work, writing, self, all of it. ¬†I’m starting to think that maybe working 7 days a week is bad for you or something ūüėģ I know, you’re all as shocked by that as I am. ¬†Or maybe just shocked by my admitting it. ¬†Okay, yes, I’ve been pushing myself a little too hard, and had a wee bit of trouble taking the foot off the gas when I needed to, desperately needed to in fact. ¬†I’m starting to think that, when it comes time to write The Nine, I’m going to need to build a 6-day a week schedule, rather than say that I will write every day for hours. ¬†I won’t necessarily take that day off (hey, I’m being honest here, don’t throw things at me), but I will at least feel like I’m allowed to when I have a day that I can’t seem to dial into the story, or I’m tired, or whatever. ¬†I think giving myself permission to do that might be important to finding that balance I keep going on about.

I’ve also given a fair bit of thought on why I’ve been pushing myself so hard. ¬†I’m not going to blame Tavis (he’s not nearly as pushy as, oh say, Devan), and I’m not even going to let myself off by saying the story was flowing and I just went with it. ¬†That was the case for most of Possession, no doubt about that, but the ending was like pulling teeth and I’m not happy with it, yet I pretty literally forced myself to it anyway, rather than doing the sensible thing and letting myself have that day off that I had definitely earned. ¬†So why did I do that to myself (stupidly) and risk burn out? I think the easiest way to explain it is to admit that I feel guilty some days. ¬†Maybe that seems silly to some, especially in light of what I’ve managed to accomplish in the last four months, but it’s true.

Remember how I said that I discovered writing when I was 16? I’m almost 34 now. ¬†Almost 18 years have passed since I realized that writing is very much part of who I am and what I want to be doing with my life, and what have I been doing? Mostly not writing, that’s what. ¬†I feel like I have severely wasted my time because I was scared, miserable, tired, the list goes on, but they were all excuses, really. ¬†I think I’ve proven that’s all they were. ¬†I could have been writing for the last 18 years, but I didn’t, and I sometimes wonder where I would be, skill-wise, if I had been writing. ¬†Maybe I needed that time to gain a greater perspective on life, people, feelings, the world, all the kinds of things that get woven into stories, even when you write Fantasy like I do (or maybe it’s especially when you write Fantasy and have some seriously bizarre elements in the world). But mostly I feel like I let myself down and now I have to make it up to myself, and make the most of every minute I have for writing. ¬†Man, that sounds stupid to me as I type it, but it’s still my feelings on the matter. ¬†I feel like I have to make up for all that time I wasted when I should have been writing, so I drive myself mercilessly. ¬†I have to get a handle on this, though, or I’ll do myself some serious damage.

I’ve decided that I’m going to dial back the 30-day goal when it comes time to start that process with The Nine. ¬†Yes, I know, I beat pace every day when writing both of the novels I’ve completed, but I’m on to me there too. I’m going to tell myself that pace is okay (rather than a starting point), that 3k is amazing, and to quit for the day while I still have brain cells that function and am somewhat awake. I’m going to keep reminding myself of that as many times as I have to until I have it pounded through my seriously thick skull. ¬†There is no point in making myself brain dead for my writing. I’m not good enough for it to be worth that price, and even if I were that awesome, it still wouldn’t be worth it.

It’s amazing the perspective a day of not immersing yourself in your chosen obsession can give you. ¬†And for anyone who might be wondering why I’m saying all of this here, it’s for the same reason I announce my writing goals here. ¬†I’m trying to keep myself honest, and not let myself sidle away from it. ¬†I’m good at it, trust me, but knowing that I have told people, that I have staked out specifically what I’m going to do keeps me from twisting my own words, or telling myself I didn’t really mean it, or that halfway is enough. ¬†It gives me something to live up to, and I’m noticing time and again that it’s working for me.

In other news, I think Sketh and Devan are going to end up having a duel or something for my time when I finish the trilogy. ¬†Now they BOTH won’t leave me alone. ¬†I’d be irritated, but we all know I am entirely happy to have a million ideas rolling around in my head. ¬†If they’d only stop waking me up in the middle of the night, I’d delightedly tell them to get comfy. ¬†Inconsiderate bastards, these necromancers and mercenaries, keeping a lady up at night. ūüôā

Yes, I know, I still haven’t done my Tag post or the two awards I’ve received, but I’ll be honest, writing and photography and thoughts about those things are always going to come first on this blog. ¬†It’s just who I am. ¬†I’ll get to those, though, really, I will.

Finally, before my fingers drop off or Tavis gets impatient, tonight’s picture:

My Version of a Vacation

So, after getting up and having coffee, I sat down at my computer and did it again. ¬†Yup, the first draft of Possession is now done, in the books, archived, backed up and set for editing. ¬†Not that I’m going to dive into that today, or even tomorrow. ¬†I’m going to try to leave this for a week, maybe two, depending on what I have to do that might keep me occupied and how long my supply of LifeintheFarceLane’s patience as well as my own self-control hold out. ¬†I don’t think I’ll make it that far, from past experience, but I’m going to try.

The manuscript weighs in at 82,682 words, 338 pages of manuscript format. ¬†It’s close to the size of the first book, but this is only the first draft. If the last one is any indication, I tend to underwrite and add about 10% in editing, so this may end up in the 90k+ range when I’m done tuning it. ¬†I am not entirely happy with the ending (thus the struggles of the last couple days), so I know that will be rewritten eventually, and almost certainly end up longer. That is exactly what happened with the ending of DM in the second draft, so it doesn’t surprise me. ¬†I’m still new at endings, and apparently it takes me a couple tries to get them right. ¬†I wonder how long I can get away with that excuse. ¬†How many does it take to become experienced at them? 5? 6? Gulp, 20? I’ll have to let you know when I get there. ūüėÄ ¬†I will say that my overall level of satisfaction with this draft is good, at least, and I don’t foresee the need to toss the draft and rewrite it all like I did with DM. ¬†But then, I made an error in something completely fundamental to the world in the first draft of that book, which is why it had to be entirely rewritten, and those kinds of things are supposed to be worked out before you get to book 2 ideally.

I am going to give myself the rest of the day off from writing, except in the case of spontaneous surprise attacks by ideas. ¬†I always brake for those, because they’re worse than hitting full-grown deer. ¬†They always total the writer’s brain when you ignore them. ¬†One way or another, they get their own back on you, even if it’s that perpetual feeling of having had something great only to find it slipped through your fingers. I’m actually going to try to take a few days off, given how hard I’ve been pushing myself for about four months now, but we all know my ability to walk away from writing even temporarily is nearly non-existent. ¬†I think some reading, maybe some gaming (which I haven’t done in a couple of weeks), is in order. ¬†I’d go out and get myself something special for dinner tonight to celebrate, but the wind outside is making an attempt to blow my apartment building over, and the buzzer for my apartment doesn’t work, so delivery is out as an option. ¬†Damn. Maybe tomorrow I’ll treat myself to lunch out at my favourite fancy burger joint.

Devan’s been back around last night and this morning, whispering. A lot. ¬†I swear, he knows when The End is coming on whatever project I’m working on and pounces. ¬†I wonder if that’s a necromancer thing. ¬†But in any case, he’s making noise again, whispering more secrets, surprising me even further, even though I pointed out to him that I still have to write The Nine at least before it’s his turn. He needs his own supply of patience. ¬†That said, I’m looking forward to it being his turn. ¬†I was rereading my notes for Necromantic and I forgot how much I like (love) him, and the story shaping up around him.

I think that’s all there is to report. I hadn’t actually expected to be making this post until tomorrow, but somehow I thought I had more ending to write than it turned out. ¬†Maybe that’s part of why I’m not happy with the ending, the feeling that it’s missing something. ¬†Oh well, that’s something I can mull while I’m NOT editing that beast, and then work out when it’s time to tackle the task. ¬†In the meantime, I’m off to give my brain a much needed, deserved break. ¬†I will say, though, the thrill of writing The End still hasn’t gotten old, even though I’ve done it 3 times now in fairly rapid succession. I doubt it ever will, though.

I’ll probably take the opportunity tomorrow to catch up on a couple of other posts that I need to take care of, but have been too busy writing to get to. I have 2 awards and a tag to deal with. ¬†It all piles up when you’re busy banging away at the keyboard for other things.

Before I forget, let me leave you with another picture. I think I may do up a page for these, collect them into a gallery of past ones, maybe. ¬†It’s getting harder to remember which ones I’ve posted already. I’m going to need to figure out a system of some kind.

Every Direction At Once

I can, with gratitude and delight, report that one of my chief sources of stress and angst this week has been relieved.  This is good because I think it was getting in the way of writing.  Stupid day job. :p That said, good news is a heck of a way to start your weekend.

I should say that, despite all that, I haven’t done too badly, especially as I’m near the end of Possession and trying very hard to sculpt a good ending that sets up the beginning of The Nine. It’s been a wild ride, and I wish I was on vacation to write the end as I was for the end of the first one, but sadly, I don’t have another vacation planned until May. ¬†Oh well. It means I’m having to take this one in manageable chunks, instead of the 6 and 7k days I did to finish DM’s second draft. ¬†I’m still making pace every night, but not much more. That said, I’m fairly happy with the progress, happier with the quality and watching the word count add up. Possession is up to 79,628 words right now, before I start writing for the night. ¬†I think I have 10k or less to go, but we all know I’m a terrible judge of that. ¬†It does mean that, from what I see in my outline and the weather for the weekend (dismal), I may actually finish the first draft of Possession this weekend, way ahead of schedule.

Of course this means that I need to turn to The Nine, which has remained a bit of a mystery. ¬†I know where it begins, I have a vague idea of some of the things that have to happen in it, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to start outlining, and leaning toward I’m not ready for that yet. ¬†I haven’t been thinking about it as much so far, as I’ve been wrapped up in the first two. ¬†I will say that I’m feeling a bit of pressure about it because it’s the close of the trilogy, and I know the kind of expectation that rides on that sort of thing. ¬†But I think I’m up to it, and besides, I’ve already told myself that I’m just going to write the story that comes and worry about the rest later. ¬†I’ll have Possession edited fairly thoroughly I suspect before I set down to write The Nine, perhaps even before I fully outline The Nine. ¬†That was pretty much how the process worked when I was turning to Possession, and it seems to have worked, so I’ll just go with it.

I’m finding that, in thinking about The Nine, I’m experiencing an incredible ambivalence. ¬†On one hand, it’ll be a major accomplishment for me, a person who had never even finished a single draft of a novel until last December, to have written an entire trilogy. ¬†To me, that’s major. ¬†But then I feel like I don’t want to say goodbye to any of the characters. If it was anyone else’s book, I’d say that I’ll come back and read it again, that the end of even the series is never really goodbye, but I have this feeling I’ll be too busy writing another book, reading some of my own favourite authors on the side, to come back and reread my own books. ¬†Also, as I progress as a writer, I suspect I may look back and feel guilty about just how much better I’d be able to write this by then. ¬†So I fear that the end of the trilogy, and certainly after the stand alone, will be a true goodbye for me with these characters, and it makes me a little sad. ¬†I’m going to miss them so much.

On a less sappy and melodramatic note, I do find it funny that, just when I was getting ready to tap on the idea fountain and see if it still functioned (it had been few days), out pops a couple more ideas, plus some detritus that goes with stuff I already had notes on. ¬†I’m still a little up in the air about what I want to work on when I finish the trilogy. ¬†Part of me says that I should do the stand alone that goes with the short story, but that’s not remotely ready (and not likely to become so until I at least have the outline of The Nine done, since it’s chronologically after that book), and the rest of me looks at Devan, Helix and Sketh, all looking like they want to pounce on me given half a chance. ¬†It’s still too early to decide though. ¬†I imagine it will become clear before I reach that point. It often seems to work that way for me.

Oh, I should add that the test readers have now finished with DM and the initial feedback has been quite encouraging. ¬†I’m waiting for full feedback (rather than initial reactions) though before I start breathing again. ¬†Wow, I think I’m starting to see spots… Is that a bad sign? In any case, depending on what that feedback comes in as, I know that I’m getting close to that point at which I have to decide, epub it myself or go with traditional publishing. ¬†And I’m still not sure. It’s like trying to think inside of a windstorm, really. ¬†Every time I think I have it sorted out and decided, I read something else that makes me start thinking about it again and it all gusts up on me. ¬†I swear, whatever I decide, it will likely be more thoroughly thought out than the book itself!

And for today’s picture, here we are. ¬†I had actually pulled two out last time and this is the other one I grabbed.

Ow, Er, I Mean Wow

I’m waiting for the day my brain goes on strike, instead of just adjusting to the new normal every time I push it that little bit further. ¬†Surely it’s going to happen any day now, especially after yesterday. ¬†It’s been a fantastic weekend so far, but I’m not sure I’ll have a mind left to work with on Monday at this rate. ¬†Oh well, it’s only work, right?

I’ll be totally honest, this weekend has been one of those rare times where I feel like I’ve wrapped myself so deep in the story that there’s almost no world outside of it. ¬†Right at the moment, I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, because I desperately don’t want to have to climb out of Possession for that. ¬†The title is starting to feel very… apt. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this involved with my own story. ¬†I’ve felt involved in stories before, certainly, but only with other writers, stories not my own. The very idea that I’m this enthralled leaves me more than a bit breathless.

Before you wonder, no, I don’t think it’s perfect. By now, those of you not new to this blog should know me far better than that. For any new to this party, let me assure you, I’m far and away my own worst critic. There are some parts that are definitely first draft quality, in all it’s warts and roughness, and that I will certainly have to work on when I get to the editing stage (no, we are not yet taking bets on how short a time I will be able to leave this one in the draw :p). But the story itself, the whole, and the way that whole is unfolding in the act of making it concrete… Dear god, I am without words to describe it at the moment. ¬†Hmm, that’s very un-writerly of me. I need more superlatives and the confidence to use them on my own work. ¬†Anyone have some of either I can borrow, emphasis on the second part of the request?

One word of warning, when it comes time for people reading this. ¬†I think that, by the end of this, I’m going to owe Fay something far bigger than an apology for what I’m in the process of doing to her. ¬†I actually feel a little guilty, though part of that is because, due to their relationship, when I do bad things to her, Tavis catches some of it too, and I like Tavis. ¬†Okay, more than like. Totally not the point. ūüôā

Okay, now that I’m done mooning over myself, my story and Tavis and Fay (and the rest), let’s get the specifics in. ¬†Yesterday was a new record for me, and I can’t quite believe that I did this, but somehow, I managed to write two chapters, 9 and 10, with a total of 7,173 words. ¬†Yes, in one day. ¬†Would you believe my brain only hurt a little? ¬†Of course, it was a puddle on the floor, so maybe I just couldn’t feel the pain. ¬†For today, not quite as much writing since Sunday is chores day for me. Chapter 11 is in the bag, with 3,657 words written for the day. I might write some more this evening, but that means starting a chapter I won’t be able to finish (and still be able to get up in the morning for work). This brings me to a total for the whole book written thus far of 44,072 words. I think I’m almost or around halfway, but I’m not even sure of that. ¬†It’ll be however long it needs, but it’s fun to watch the total shoot up.

Oh, and, in the middle of all that, Sketh showed up yesterday and whispered a secret to me before slinking off. I missed him, blades, bad attitude and all. And I had a fairly major realization on The Nine, which is actually better, since that’s pretty much what’s up next. ¬†I’ve promised myself that I will finish the trilogy at least before letting any other characters take over my brain entirely. ¬†Trust me, that’s harder than it sounds (Devan, cut that out!)

Finally, to share with you another of my photographs. I have to say, I really do appreciate the comments and support on this aspect. I find it harder to share my photography than my writing. It isn’t that I care about the photography more (There is literally nothing I care about more than writing, which explains the amount of my life I’m dedicating to it these days), but that I have far less confidence in my camera work. I’ve had friends prodding me for a few years to share my pictures, where I require almost no prodding to share my writing. Or to talk about my writing, as you just might have noticed.

Down The Rabbit Hole

Okay, I know, I should be posting more often. But most of you will probably realize what my lack of posting indicates. Things are going well. ¬†Very well. ¬†Insanely well. As in I’m having trouble crawling out of the book for anything other than work. ¬†I think I dream Possession, even. ¬†It’s getting out of hand, really.

I think my writing muscles (the parts of the brain I use for it at least) are getting stronger as I go. ¬†I remember when I’d feel fried after writing 2.5k in a night, and 3k+ resulted in Facebook status updates like “Click, click. Ow brain. Click clack. Ow brain.” (Yes, I really did that one day). ¬†I now seem to write about 4k a night with little or no pain. ¬†Part of it is that I’m grooving in on Possession, part of it is that it’s a good story, but I think a lot of it is practice and my process working out well for me, and that’s a nice feeling. ¬†I remember a time when I thought I’d never find a process that worked and was destined to be stuck with ideas I couldn’t turn into stories despite a burning need to do so. ¬†I feel fairly hopeful that the rest of the equation of me becoming a published author might actually fall into place. ¬†Who knows, something crazy might happen, like people actually wanting to buy my books and read them!

So, specifics, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know them. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 are now complete. After my last post, I sat down and wrote 4,052 words, which was good. Last night, it got even better with 4,664 words (I’d been looking forward to writing one of those scenes ever since I stuck it in the outline) and tonight I’ve put up 4,549 words. ¬†This leads to a grand total of 33,242 words. ¬†Wow, already? Trust me, even though I’ve been watching both my daily totals and the overall climb, I’m still a little shocked to see how fast this is going up. That said, there’s still a ways to go. ¬†I’ve got a couple of really challenging, important sections coming up. At least I’m writing them on the weekend, when I have all day to work with them, and no, that wasn’t planned.

And I want to say that, despite the speed, it’s in good shape. ¬†I’m sure I’ll need to do some tweaking, but I don’t anticipate needing to rewrite this in a significant way (unlike the first draft of DM). I know one scene that I will want to focus and tighten, but otherwise, I’ve been quite pleased with the bits and pieces I’ve read while searching for a specific detail here and there (or just indulging myself and rereading because I liked it). I spend some time hanging around the NaNoWriMo forums, and I often read people talking about how they have this problem or that problem with their novel and directly relating their specific problem(s) to only taking a month to write it, but I think that with preparation, a month is plenty of time for a first draft that is reasonably tight for that stage of writing. But you have to go in having spent some serious time thinking about what you want to do with it and how it needs to go. ¬†I’m not saying you have to outline (though I now have plenty of proof that I don’t function well as a writer without one), but you need to know your characters and have a general idea at least before you start that month-long writing-fest. ¬†That preparation really can be as simple as time spent thinking about it, maybe making notes. You don’t have to read this blog for very long to figure out that I am a big believer in the idea that every writer is different, that we all need to find the process, stories, techniques and voice that works for us specifically. But if you don’t spend any time thinking about what’s going to go on in your novel and who it’ll go on with, why would you be surprised that your characters lack depth, or that your scenes feel flat? ¬†I’ve said before that lack of sufficient planning and preparation was a big part of why the first draft of Dark Mirror didn’t get edited at all, simply went into archive while I started over again with a fresh outline. ¬†I had some of those same problems. The key is to learn what causes your problems (and this point goes well beyond writing, into the arena of general rules for life) and figure out how to avoid making the same mistakes in future works.

Okay, I’m done preaching about how to write, really. ¬†I generally hate doing it, but sometimes I see people say the same things over and over again and it irks me when they don’t learn from it. ¬†Irkage usually causes me to say something. I once started a thread on my favourite writing forum that got bumped for months afterward just because someone did something I’d seen several times before, but they did it big enough to irk me a lot. ¬†It was quite amusing to me, actually. ¬†Come to think of it, it still is. I should go find that thread sometime.

In other news, Sketh showed up today and explained something to me. ¬†Great, another character/story idea screaming for my attention. Because Devan isn’t trying hard enough to distract me from Possession and The Nine, I guess. So I’m still making notes on those and generally letting them stew in the back of my mind while I spend several hours a day with Fay and Tavis. ¬†Why is all of this work not tiring me out at all? I don’t understand it, but I will say that I’m loving it. ¬†The daily feeling of accomplishment I get from all of these things is wonderful, and seems to fuel continuing to do all of these things. ¬†Maybe it’s some version of perpetual motion for this writer? ¬†I don’t know, but I am going to savour every moment of it I get.

And, of course, last but not least, tonight’s picture. This is one of my more recent ones, taken on a trail near a town called Deep Cove here in BC. ¬†I love the way the shapes and shadows play together in this one.

No, I’m not dead yet. ¬†I didn’t forget to eat one too many times, really. ¬†I promise. ¬†Heck, I’ve been trying to be good that way. I should have posted yesterday, and I meant to, but I was busy writing, and was doing so until very late the last two nights. ¬†How late? The eyes were closed most of the last couple of pages. ¬†What do you call that, sleep-writing? ¬†I wonder if that’s good for you…

All of that said, of course it must be obvious that the first draft of Possession continues to go well, both in quantity and quality. ¬†I feel about it so far as I did the second draft of Dark Mirror, in that I don’t feel so far that major changes will be required when I’m done, though of course there will be editing and it’s too early to really be sure of this. ¬†In some ways, I think this one is better, somewhat more complex and the characters are more real in their relationships with others. ¬†I’m also getting to explore a few things I couldn’t in DM because they weren’t there yet for the characters, though they were part of the world. Again, like doing the second draft of DM, I can feel some of the growth I’ve undergone as a writer working its way into the book. ¬†I also feel like I have a better handle on this story and on my world now, and I don’t think it’s just because this is now the second book I’ve written in this world, or that it’s in some ways a continuation of the previous story. ¬†Possession is definitely a story unto itself, though one that is easier to understand I suspect if you’ve read DM. ¬†I think both things are more a result of spending most of a month thinking about and outlining it, in and around dealing with DM and the short story. ¬†I’m also very happy to have Tavis back as a POV character. ¬†I missed him. ūüôā

So, exactly how well are things going, quantity-wise? Chapters 4 and 5 are in the bag now, Chapter 6 to be worked on tonight. Monday I wrote a personal best for this round of writing (early days, I know), 4,667 words, and another 3,899 were written last night. ¬†Tonight? We shall see. This of course, brings me close enough to a fairly major milestone that I’m going to round 19,977 words up and say I’ve hit that mystical 20k mark. ¬†In 5 days. ¬†That’s awesome, and the brain doesn’t hurt (yet) which is even better. I’ve still got a long way to go, and some major, painful scenes to write though. ¬†How long will this be in the end? ¬†You’re guess is as good as mine (possibly better, given how wrong I was last time), so I’ve decided to only say that it will be as long as it takes to tell the story. ¬†That’s still my favourite yardstick for how long the story is/should be.

And, of course, through all this, Devan still won’t leave me alone. ¬†I’d be irritated with his attempts to distract me from Possession, but I’m too busy being startled and delighted by some of the places he takes me. ¬†I’m deeply looking forward to writing that one in its time, and refusing to let myself even think about whether I’m good enough to write it well. ¬†I think I might be, but I’m going to try to learn not to worry about that and just write anyway. ¬†Besides, I still have The Nine to write before I can work on Necromantic. ¬†Speaking of The Nine, I’m feeling a bit of flow in the ideas for that, which is good. ¬†I know a lot of ideas for Possession got kicked loose as I was working on the second draft of DM, so this is probably a good sign that I’ll be in a good place to get down to work on The Nine once I’m done the draft of Possession.

What, me slow down? I might stall if I did that. Certainly I’d be utterly lost with all that time on my hands.

And, of course, before I go for the next couple of days and the night’s explosion of words, the picture of the day. ¬†This one is one of my favourites of all my shots, which might explain why it’s one of those printed and framed on the wall.

I titled this post this way for a reason. ¬†I’m really waiting for that, for a speeding ticket for working too fast on my writing. ¬†I’m sure there’s a cop around somewhere that handles that. Of course, if he’s cute, I might not mine. ūüėÄ But now on to business.

My test readers have already been informed (one almost came through the internet to grab for the file I suspect), but I’ll announce it publicly here. ¬†The edit of Dark Mirror is finished. ¬†I’m done tinkering with it for a number of reasons, including that I think I’ve lost perspective on it. ¬†No, that doesn’t mean that I think it’s awesome. ¬†For me, losing perspective means I worry that it isn’t any good at all. ¬†Yeah, I know, too hard on myself probably, definitely pessimistic, but what the hell else did you realistically expect from me? ¬† ¬†No one has ever accused me of excessive optimism. In fact, I don’t know that I possess any at all, let alone a large amount of it.

I did try a new thing with this edit, one that I found tremendously helpful. ¬†I read it out loud. ¬†Thank god I don’t mind my speaking voice (unless you record it and play it back to me, at which point I promptly loathe it). ¬†339 pages is a lot of reading, but it’s actually faster now than it was before. ¬†I made fewer edits, but caught more repetitious language and what I would refer to as partial edits that got messed up. ¬†By this I mean where you can see that a word you should deleted when you first edited a sentence got left, things like that. ¬†It was an interesting exercise, one I would suggest for anyone who wants to try to find every little nit in the manuscript. ¬†I had actually test-driven the read aloud thing with the short story, but doing it with a novel is a whole different thing, I found. ¬†Still, I’m very glad I did it and I think that will become part of my regular editing tool kit.

The book currently stands at 83,333 words (I swear, that happened by accident), 20 chapters. ¬†I’m not going to look at it while it’s with my test readers, because I don’t want to tinker with it while I wait for their comments. ¬†Instead, it’s time to work on something else, time to dive back in again. ¬†Yes, I’m referring to Possession.

Part of me is a bit nervous about starting the sequel while the first book isn’t technically finalized in case something important changes, but I have to keep busy, and that outline is begging me to turn it into a manuscript. ¬†So is Tavis, for that matter, but I think that’s just because we get to see things from his POV for part of the book this time. ¬†Okay, I got to on the first draft of DM too, but that got cut in the interests of being able to tell that story right. ¬†This time, I don’t think I can do it without him. ¬†Yay, more Tavis! ¬†Sorry, very unprofessional of me to have a crush on my own character, I know, but… Maybe, if I’ve done a decent job on the first one, you might get the chance to understand why I like him so much. ¬†I haven’t decided when I’m going to start, but it will be another write-a-thon (aka NaNo) for sure when I do sit down to write the first draft of Possession, probably mid-February. ¬†It may take me all 30 days (or more) this time because it’s the first draft (as opposed to take 2) and I won’t be on vacation for half of it. ¬†I’m reviewing the outline now so I can make these decision. I clearly don’t know how to take time off from my writing, even when I’m sick (like today). At least I can do all this while downing Citron Tea and laying in bed, so I’m sort of resting. ¬†I’m only a workaholic with writing, I promise, and one day, you might thank me for it, or so I dream.

Beyond that, it’s time to start at least giving some serious thought to the plot structure for book 3, The Nine, so I’ll be ready to start working on the outline when I finish writing Possession. ¬†Seriously, I might need help… Maybe I’ll just do some reading, before my head totally explodes. ¬†Hmm.

No, I haven’t forgotten picture time (but you knew that because it always comes at the end of the post). I don’t remember where I shot this, other than somewhere in Toronto, but I love this picture for it’s combination of colour and texture.

The Ice Giveth Way!

Okay, so I know that I’ve said that I was making progress on the outline for Possession, and I was, but it wasn’t much, and it often wasn’t that pretty, requiring some pouring over and work even after the entries were in the outline. ¬†That all changed tonight. ¬†I finally got them on the road to the climax, and have at least a base play-by-play in my head for the rest of the book, including the things I need to wrap up in this book, and what I need to leave loose still for the grand finale, The Nine. ¬†Yay! ¬†I think I’m about 3/4 of the way done the outline now, which is awesome. ¬†I’m just about willing to bet money that this one will be longer than Dark Mirror, definitely more intricate, and a bit more event driven (though still with much character development, and well, what one might call character abuse. ¬†I’d apologize to them, but I’m not really sorry, and I refuse to get stuck with their therapy bills). ¬†These are good things though, in my opinion, so I’m going with them. ¬†I’m now starting to really get revved up to get on with writing it, but there are still steps to go through, things I’ve learned I need to do so I don’t have to throw out the whole first draft (hopefully) this time. ¬†Once the outline is done, I need to let it sit and reread it. ¬†This should go fairly well, partly because of all the rereading of it I’ve already done in my struggles with the parts I was just going through, but not to be skipped in any case.

Also, I don’t want to lose the thread of DM in my rush of excitement with the new book. ¬†I know two people who will kill me if I don’t get it to them at some point in the near future, and no one wants that, especially me. My plan is to do my next pass of editing (which I’m already thinking about and planning out) while the outline for Possession sits in the mythic aging drawer, and then see where we are, but I think that will be the final pass before printing and mailing to above mentioned test readers. ¬†Then to keep busy and not pester. ¬†I think I can manage that, though some days it will likely be difficult.

And then there’s the short story, currently going under the title Cost of Duty. ¬†The whole not patient thing reared its head (please, don’t laugh in total lack of surprise, just cause it’s true). ¬†I read the story on Tuesday, then sent it to my test readers. ¬†My, did I ever hear back quickly. ¬†And in the good sense too. ¬†No, no comments that it was perfect because, well, nothing ever is, but also nothing major wrong. ¬†It was minor stuff, which I’ve already acted on. ¬†It’s now in the drawer for a few days or so (depending on my patience and how busy I am this weekend with a training session on Monday to prep for, and the above writing tasks sitting on the front of my brain). ¬†I may not get to rereading that until sometime next week, which is fine. ¬†More time means more distance, and I can then view it with a clearer eye. ¬†But I feel very good about this. ¬†The question, then, is what to do with this one. ¬†I’m of several minds (no, this does not resemble multiple-personality disorder, as much as it sounds like it should), but I will probably submit it to a couple of short fiction pro markets (defined as paying at least 5¬Ę/word, some pay more), partly because I don’t want to do a cover for 3500 words, really don’t. ¬†And I don’t know how I would price it as a self-pub e-story. ¬†That might be because I can’t imagine buying a short story as a one-off, though. ¬†I think research will be in order on that one.

Beyond that, I will need to keep The Nine on my brain as I move into the first draft stage of Possession, because I will probably start outlining that one as soon as I finish Possession. ¬†I don’t think I plan on stopping at all, ever. ¬†Too many ideas, really, not enough time to write. ¬†Besides, I like being busy like this. ¬†It keeps me happier.

Ah, yes, and picture time. ¬†Really enjoying this, and I’m glad that others are too. ¬†It feels good as a photographer to share some of my work, and only partly because the response has, thus far, been favourable. ¬†Pictures should be shared, it’s just part of their nature, in my less-than-humble opinion.

That’s really what I’d like to tell my story ideas. ¬†Why can’t they at least run around my head in an orderly fashion? ¬†This jumbling about and yelling is very distracting, especially since the choice has been made already. ¬†Yes, I am ready to move on to the next project, have been on it for a couple of days in fact, but hadn’t felt that moved to post about it yet. ¬†I’m reasonably moved now, as evidenced by the fingers on the keyboard.

It’s Possession, by a long shot, and I think anyone (including me) could have called that. ¬†Let’s start with the fact that I’d already begun the outline. ¬†We can move on from there to the fact that I’m already into those characters and that overall story. ¬†And Tavis refuses to let go of my brain anyway. ¬†With what I’m about to do to him, well, that might change. ¬†I’m not sure he’ll forgive me, and even after that, it’s going to get worse. ¬†I’m sorry, Tavis, really, but I have to. ¬†One of the more interesting things I’m finding as I work my way through outlining Possession and making notes for The Nine as things come up that affect that story is that Dark Mirror (not willing to spring the tentative new title here yet, but there is one) is almost more of a character-oriented story. ¬†It’s more intimate (get your minds out of the gutter), less about big events. ¬†That comes later, in the second and third books. ¬†I’m not sure yet if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, or just different. ¬†DM sets up several of the things that go on later, so I think it’s necessary to tell the whole story, but I’m not sure how I feel about the difference between the one I’ve written and the one I’m working on. ¬†Mulling shall be done about this, though not too much as I’m trying to gain a bit of distance before I ¬†judge DM’s readiness to go to test readers. ¬†And god knows, I’m hands down my harshest critic, so there’s at least a chance that it’s more eventful than I realize, or at least more involving than I think. ¬†I’ll have to wait and see.

The other ideas are still around, still in my iPad and being noted, worked on, all that good stuff, but they aren’t front of mind anymore. ¬†I need to focus more than that when I’m outlining, or I risk mixing up what I’m working on. ¬†I did just have fun dropping a bombshell into my outline, and now I’m playing with the aftermath (insert evil author laugh here). ¬†I’m looking forward to working on it some more this weekend. ¬†I’m not going to push myself on having it ready by a certain date, but it may be there in another week and a half to two. ¬†Then the outline goes in a drawer for a few days before I reread it and see what needs tweaking before I start in on Page 1.

I kind of have a game plan developing in my head, very loosely, for my next several novels. ¬†It’s mostly which one I’ll work on in what order, and it’s subject to being tossed like any other draft should circumstances go against it. ¬†The reason it’s there is to keep me going and maybe get me building toward and practicing the skills I’ll need for a few of my more ambitious projects that I’ve mentioned. ¬†We’ll see where that actually gets me, but it’s nice to have some kind of idea where I’m trying to go. ¬†No, I’m not planning on sharing it here, for a variety of reasons, including the changeable nature of the plan.

Also being mulled is the whole traditional publishing vs self-published ebook. ¬†Really not sure. ¬†Most of me is looking at the second option though, for a lot of good reasons, including a very healthy (maybe excessive) dose of cynicism about the traditional publishing industry. ¬†I’m still working through it though and talking with people about it, then mulling their thoughts. ¬†It’s still early for that, though, as I have no idea how DM turned out or how long it will be before I’m ready to take that step. ¬†And make no mistake, I won’t be half-assing that. ¬†If it isn’t ready, it doesn’t go out the door. ¬†That’s always going to be my theory on publishing, and the control that takes is very much part of what is driving me toward that self-publish option. ¬†We’ll see.

And today’s picture, before I go, is here. ¬†I seem to have a large number of pictures of insects on flowers, and I don’t know why, as I’m not overly fond of bugs. ¬†But they can be fun to shoot, if they sit still long enough.

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