Monday, June 29, 2020

May and June Updates: The Series I Can't Seem to Quit

Pandemic time is so weird. It feels like I've been sheltering at home for years, but at the same time, I somehow completely missed that it's been two months since I last updated by writing blog.

The kinda bummer about not updating last month is that I actually did some work I wanted to talk about! But, it wasn't a ton of work, so it's fine just mentioning it in this update.

So, in my last post, I determined I no longer wanted to be a career writer. I do want to publish a book or several sometime in my life, and that may be traditional but is more likely to be self-publishing. That hasn't changed. In fact, if anything, I feel even more strongly about that. Both of those things, actually. That I definitely don't want to rely on writing to make a living, for sure. But more and more, I am becoming increasingly more certain that I do not want to deal with traditional publishing at all. It's a mess out there, and I am not young or hip or savvy enough to keep up with it all. Nor do I have the energy to try. Which, I admit, isn't a great attitude. But, it is what it is. That is how I feel about my writing.

I also mentioned last entry that I might look into the MystWatch books, if I had the energy and was so inclined. And it turns out that I was, in fact, inclined! It took me a couple of weeks, but I went through book 1 and did some cleanup on things that have always bothered me, incorporated some information about crossbows now that I've actually fired one, and tweaked a few scenes that didn't flow as well as others. I have done some really amazing work on that book. There are so many scenes where I'm just like, yeah, I nailed it. That needs no additional tweaking. I would love to get every single scene that perfect, but I recognize that's probably too much to expect. Anyway. It was a fun little romp into a world and a story I love so, so much.

And then I stepped into book 2, thinking that, like book 1, it would probably be a fun little romp where I'd have to fix a few things and edit on a higher level.

Boy was I wrong. By the end of the third chapter, I was seriously thinking that I might have to completely rewrite this book. Fortunately, I pushed on, and now, about 10 chapters in, I think I have found a fairly easy solution to fix a lot of my problems with the book. Trouble is, I stalled out on chapter 10 weeks ago. I just couldn't face the book and all the work it needed. I thought this was a fairly polished book! And while it did go through many developmental passes, it really never went through the other phases of edits. Why would it? It's the second book in a trilogy that didn't get picked up.

I was so close to just saying fuck it. Why bother editing this? I don't really owe it to anyone. I've considered it finished for awhile. Why dig into it, now?

But that was lazy writer brain talking. Since I do plan on self-publishing these books someday, I know I need to do this work. Even if I don't plan to publish them for another few years, any work I do on this book now is less work I will have to do down the line. If I can get a solid developmental edit done now, that will be one less editing step I have to pay for. And the next time I read it, it will be a more fun copy edit or even proofread edit, like book 1 was this time around.

Anyway. I haven't done any writing work for nearly two weeks. Not until this morning, when I started kicking around ideas on how to fix the plot problems book 2 has. And now, while I won't say I'm super excited to dive back into it, at least I have a clearer idea on what I need to do to fix it. I just have to decide if I want to start back at the beginning and fix things moving forward, or keep plugging away at my readthrough. I think probably the latter. That way, if I run into more problems, I can brainstorm fixes for those, then I can work to implement all of those things in one big editing pass.

So, yeah. I got a chunk of editing and rewriting done over the past two months. I'm hoping to at least finish my readthrough of book 2 in July. I'm not sure I'll start implementing edits next month unless I get a big burst of creative energy. It could happen, I suppose.

I've also been thinking a lot about my newest novel. All 3k words of it. And also Once We Were Witches. I've been in a very witchy mood these days. So maybe I'll get some actual writing done one of these days. I'd also love to finish writing Chain Letter Choice at some point. That book is over halfway finished, and although it will probably need some structural edits, it seems dumb to waste that much of a written book.

Says the writer who has cut loose all of the novels I've written prior to the last couple of years. Yeah. I decided going back to work on Online Dating for Demons or Dante novels or even the next Druid Wars book was not work I was excited to do, and, in fact was causing me more anxiety than anything. I think nowadays I'd like to look forward rather than back.

Except for MystWatch, for some reason. I'm always drawn back to that series, no matter how long ago I started writing it (nine years ago this summer, if you're curious...which is, interestingly enough, about the same age as this blog). It's the series I can't seem to quit. I don't know what it is about it that I love so much. I still get that excited writer feeling when I read back over it, or when I think about the characters or the things that happen. I often think about what the characters would be doing now (well, not now now, since I have no idea how they'd handle a pandemic...they don't seem like they'd be great at social distancing). I have at least two spinoff series ideas. Even after all this time, I'm still passionate about it. Maybe it's because it's my first finished novel and my first finished trilogy. But I can't help but think there may be more to it than that. Maybe there truly is something magical about it.

And hey, if I'm only writing for myself, I am free to explore that magic anytime it comes calling. I have no obligations to anyone to write other things or give up on this story that still gives me goosebumps sometimes. Sometimes I do fear that I'm stuck. That maybe I should move on. But I can't think of a reason why I should. I've written other things. I still haven't published this, so I can still keep making it better. And I do. Every pass, I add something that makes it better. As long as I still enjoy that process, I don't feel like I should have to quit.

Ehem. Sorry. That was a bit of a tangent. I've been having a lot of worries lately, almost bordering on guilt, that I keep working on this trilogy. I know that's dumb. It's my world and my writing hobby.