Tag Archive: Trilogy

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.

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.

Everything Is Cyclical

I had planned to post about this last night, but I didn’t for a couple of reasons. ¬†I had an award post I needed to make. ¬†I hate letting those wait for more than a few days (that’s a personal thing), but it was the first night I had a chance to get to it that I wasn’t tired or busy with the million writer things that always seem to come up in my life, not to mention everything non-writing. ¬†In fact, I probably would have done it Thursday night, but I was otherwise distracted, which I will get to later in this post. ¬†I’ve alluded to it in a couple of comments, but now I get to state it right out.

First, though, an announcement. ¬†It has begun, again. ¬†That’s right, 30 days of writing, my own unofficial NaNo in February. ¬†I was originally planning on waiting until February 15th to start Possession because, well, it’s a nice round date and I’d already missed February 1st, but then we all know I’m not patient enough to wait almost two weeks, not with the outline done. ¬†Besides, it just kind of felt right. ¬†That was the major reason really. ¬†The honest truth is that I’ve been feeling a little trepidatious about starting Possession, in spite of my enthusiasm and how happy I was with the outline on rereading it. ¬†I think some of it is that it’s the second book. ¬†There’s a lot more pressure in many ways. ¬†Dark Mirror was easy, in that everything was possible, it was all free. ¬†With Possession, I am no longer writing in a void. ¬†I have a previous work to reference, existing characters that I cannot reshape on a whim. ¬†I also have another book coming along after it that I am very conscious of needing to set up as I write this one. ¬†Yes, there was some of that part at least while writing the second draft of DM, but that was in isolation from the rest of these issues. ¬†Finally, I feel like I need to raise the stakes a bit in this book, and also to up my game as a writer. ¬†So much going on regarding the book in the back of my mind that it’s been hard to push myself past all of that and sit down to start banging away at the keyboard.

Last night, I went with it though, putting all that aside. ¬†I set my goal, which is the same 75,000 words in 30 days as I set when I was doing the second draft of DM, to be finished by March 3rd this time, and got on it with good results. ¬†It took me until almost 8:30 pm to get my butt down in front of the netbook, and at first I had some trouble slipping in, for all of the above reasons and just a general feeling of expectation of quality I remember from before doing my first NaNo. ¬†I had a long talk with myself, mostly reminding myself how leaving that expectation behind has worked out for me so well lately, and finally got myself grooved in. ¬†For those of you who might not remember, weren’t here last time or have forgotten, 75k in 30 days works out to a daily pace of 2500 words per day. ¬†I did my usual, checking every few hundred words (Am I there yet?) until I hit 2500, and then I kept going. ¬†Longer time readers will recognize this pattern and are probably having a good giggle, knowing generally what happened. ¬†I did 3521 last night, which was awesome, and a fabulous note to start this NaNo on. ¬†Only took me about 3 hours too, which is good, because my eyes were trying to close by that point, so I had to type the last several paragraphs with them closed. ¬†Thankfully, that allowed me to really visualize what I was trying to write, and also, I’m a relatively skilled touch-typist so it didn’t even slow me down. ¬†So, the first chapter is in the bag, and what I remember of it makes me happy so far. ¬†Early, I know, long road ahead, but at least I’ve started on the right foot. ¬†My tracking spreadsheet is open on my iMac to taunt me into sitting down and staying there, and I’m starting to mull what the playlist for this book is going to be, based on themes and feelings I’m trying to achieve. ¬†Yes, there was one for DM and I still have it as I was using during editing. ¬†There will, of course, be regular posting on the progress of this NaNo, as in the past, probably every 2-3 days, or as often as I have something to say about it, whichever comes first.

Now that that’s taken care of, on to the hinted at and alluded to item for this post. ¬†Another story idea pretty much exploded my brain Thursday night. ¬†Devan decided to introduce himself with a truly intoxicating image. ¬†Him, sitting in a tree, staring up at the moon, surrounded by spirits, a little bit melancholy. ¬†I won’t tell you too much about him, partly because I’m still getting to know him and partly because it’s WAY too early for that, but I will tell you that he’s a necromancer, and before you say “Ick, he plays with dead people,” he mostly talks to spirits these days, for reasons I can’t get into because they’re related to the story. ¬†The project, which shall be known as Necromantic and has already been added to the Project Status page, has had my brain frantic since that image showed up, and I’m thoroughly enamoured of both the story that’s unfolding in my head and, well, Devan.¬† It will be some time before I can write this one, but at this rate, it’s going to be hard to keep focused on the Mirrors Trilogy and finish that first, especially since I was so inspired by the idea on Thursday that I’ve already written the first two pages of the book. ¬†I don’t think Devan’s the patient type… I am also getting the feeling that this is a big story, so we probably aren’t talking a single book here, but that will become clearer as I work my way up to and through the process of outlining this one. ¬†That may happen sooner rather than later, as you’d be amazed the quantity of notes I already have and the way this story is exploding. ¬†I’m amazed, that’s for sure.

The funny thing is that Thursday was a good night all around. ¬†We had the most spectacular sunset that day, and so I couldn’t decide whether to grab my camera or my iPad. ¬†Fortunately I did some of each, and today’s picture one of about a dozen I took.

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.

Done and Begun

So, those are the words for the day.  Those who are following along with the home version of this game (wait, do we have one of those?), please mark down the following:

Outline for Possession: Done

Editing of Cost of Duty (Short Story): Done

Editing Dark Mirror v2.1: Begun

So, that’s the basics, now for the details. ¬†As I said, I finished the outline of Possession this morning, having done the climax last night. ¬†Oh my god, I really can’t wait to start writing this one. ¬†But I am going to make myself wait. ¬†I know, I’m not patient, but I need to try to learn some, I swear. ¬†I can’t live my whole life on fast forward because of it. ¬†This outline is longer, for sure, than the one for DM, both in number of entries and how detailed some of them are. ¬†And a lot happens, which is also good. ¬†But for now, the outline goes in the mythic Drawer for a few days or so, at which point I will go back through it, make sure I’m still happy with it, and then open a fresh word document. ¬†Fair warning, I’ll probably do another write-a-thon for this, if only because doing so seems to work so well for me.

Cost of Duty spent a few days in The Drawer and came out for reading this morning, after I finished the outline for Possession. ¬†It aged well, I still love it. ¬†I made a couple of very very minor word tweaks. ¬†I’m now trying to decide whether to put it up for crit on the writer’s forum I spend a lot of time lurking and a little time posting on or start submitting. ¬†It’s being mulled. ¬†I have decided against trying to e-pub it, because I just don’t think there’s much market for a single short story (and I really don’t write them often). ¬†I’m also too lazy to do a cover. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Hey, at least I’m honest.

Moving down the list to editing DM. ¬†This is a little funny. ¬†I had read somewhere recently that you should use the tab key in your manuscript. ¬†This being news to me, it was all through the 333 pages of DM. ¬†Grr. ¬†So, after reading through and editing the first chapter, I set about deleting them all from the manuscript so I don’t have to worry about it. ¬†Stupid lack of find and delete all function in my word processor. ¬†So, there I am scrolling through and deleting them manually. ¬†That was going along swimmingly until about a quarter of the way through, when I suddenly realized I was reading my book instead of deleting tabs. ¬†For the last 4 pages. Whoops. ¬†This happened several times in the process of getting them all out there, so the process took almost 5 hours. ¬†Way too long. ¬†I have learned, though, that being engrossed in the book I wrote, where I know everything that happens, is probably a good sign for the book’s quality, relative to my being still definitely a rookie at this. ¬†I’m trying to see it that way, at least, instead of seeing 5 hours spent on a task that likely should have taken only half that time. ¬†Fortunately, with that completed, I can move on to the real task of doing the actual edit. ¬†I’m hoping that it won’t take as long as the last one, that maybe I can get this done in a week. ¬†That would be a good time frame actually, because I’ll be ready to start working on Possession at that point (seriously obsessing about that now).

It’s like they’re all working out in a mystic order that I didn’t prepare. ¬†Perhaps the writing gods are smiling on me… Right, that’s right before they drop a safe on my head in the form of something major changing, isn’t it? ¬†Of course, both of the above points suggest that I need to start percolating on the overall plot in book 3, but to be honest, that’s doing itself already, I’m just writing it down as it comes and keeping, well, my version of semi-focused, which means doing a dozen things at once.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something. ¬†I’ve added two pages to this blog that weren’t there before, though they are subject to unannounced revision whenever I bloody feel the need. ¬†One is my About Me page, which I finally got around to doing. ¬† I really hate doing those, but I can only hold out so long on that kind of thing before the peer pressure gets the best of me. ¬†The other is my Project Status page. ¬†I have a lot of stories on the go, and I mention them only when I have something to say about them, as far as blog entries go, so I thought you might want a quick reference, in case you miss something, or are curious. ¬†This is not an exhaustive list, but they are the ones that are sort of front of mind for me in some form or other. ¬†It’s also there for me to keep track of all the crap I’m in the middle of. ¬†Yes, I really do think I might need this kind of help. ¬†Among other kinds of help.

And, last but not least on today’s hit list, the picture of the post (I can’t say day, because I don’t usually post every day). ¬†I love this one. ¬†It’s one of the framed prints up on my wall.

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.

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