Friday, September 4, 2020

August Update: Better late than never!

I called myself out last post about how I should do these blogs when I'm thinking of it rather than waiting. I thought about doing it Friday the 28th but decided to wait for Monday the 31, but...I should have known better. It was mom's death day, and I ended up not even getting on the computer at all.

I really might just go back to doing these at the beginning of the month rather than the end. Mostly because I never know how the month is going to shake out until that last day, and sometimes, that last day has me staying up late to finish up projects.

In this case, I'm glad I waited. Because last night, I finished up the Mystwatch Shane short story I've been trying to write for years. I'm not completely in love with how I got to the end, so it may change, but at least I can say I have a complete zero draft. Can't edit something I haven't written yet.

So that's my big accomplishment since I started working on it again on August 27th. The last time I'd added words was back in February. It feels good to have it done. It's about four thousand words more than I intended (the Makai short is only 3k and this is just over 7k), but I think it needed to be. The Makai one was more just to get a glimpse of what goes on in his head and some backstory on how he got his scar (and what his relationship to Lindsay was). Shane's story is actually a cohesive story, where Shane goes out and does something on his own. So it needed more words, I think.

Anyway. I've finished one of my outstanding short stories. I also finished my outlining pass of Mystwatch book 2. It took a lot longer than the "few days" I predicted last update. It took almost all month. After nearly 17 hours of work, I've got another 13k word document full of the chapter outlines and all the things I want to do in each chapter to make the plot and character motivations more cohesive. It's somewhat discouraging, since now I have a TON of work to do on this book that I thought was good enough. But I want to do it. I'm, well, not excited to do it, but I am eager to make it the book it deserves to be. I just needed a little break from editing. I've been in the mood to write, so that's what I'm going to do for a bit.

I thought I needed a break from the Mystwatch world, but the story I really wanted to work on was Shane's. Now that that's done, I have a few other things I want to poke at. My biggest goal for the next month is to wrap up the Witch's Daughter short story I was supposed to publish to the Cafe a year ago come October. It bugs me that I never did finish that story or get it up there. I know I don't owe the Cafe a thing, but I always meant to finish this story and post it, so that's what I'm going to do next. One of these days, I might revisit that character and that world and either put together a collection of stories about her, or just outright write a novel for her. I even found a cool cover on Selfpubbookcovers for it.

Oh! Speaking of covers from that website. I actually bought a cover I've been coveting for awhile. I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but Rachel talked me into buying the cover for the first Druid Wars book. I've loved it since I first saw it, so I dropped a hundred bucks last month and bought it. Which means, of course, that I need to get cracking on book 2 one of these days. I do have about 100 words written on it, and they're good words. I like the beginning, and I can hear Osiris's voice in my head. So. That will come before too much longer. Maybe spring next year when I get past my winter slump where I tend to do better with editing.

I'm doing better at recognizing my cycles. When fall hits, I am in the mood to write. Late spring to early summer, too. Late summer and the doldrums of winter I do better with editing. So I'm trying to map out the projects I want to work on according to those rhythms. Rachel and I are still meeting online a few times a week to poke at our projects, so I am making slow but steady progress these days. The worst thing for me is to sit down for writing time and have no idea what to work on. That's why I started the writing project spreadsheet all those years ago. Not as a publishing schedule, but as a way to make sure I always had something lined up next. It got overwhelming and detrimental when I started treating it like a deadline thing, where if I got behind, I was never going to make it as a writer. I've actually started using Mywriteclub again to track my projects, for now. Maybe I'll go back to that spreadsheet if Rachel and my writing times continue to go well.

They have been going really well, though. They're low-key, no pressure, celebratory of our progress, no matter how small, but forgiving of the slower, less progressive days. And if we need a break, we don't meet. It's really everything I need in a writing date. And once the world isn't ending anymore, maybe we'll start going places to meet in person. Or maybe not. It's nice to be able to write without pants or a bra and be able to wander to the kitchen for a snack if I need one.

Anyway. That's my update for the last month and my plan for the upcoming month.

Beyond that, I'm thinking I might try to finish the next Sally Prescott adventure, since I've been trying to write at least one of those a year. I had thought about calling that one quits, but I read back through the last few adventures and found myself laughing outloud, excited to read the next one. They're fluffy, fun reads that don't matter. Published under a pen name, I can enjoy the money if people like them but not worry about people refusing to read my other work if they don't. But. That's a long ways down the line. Mystwatch and probably Druid Wars come before SP. I need at least three seasons written before I start publishing them, anyway.

The only other thing I wanted to note is that, right now, I'm no longer committed to having Mystwatch book 3 ready for Christmas. I think what I may tell my siblings is that, I want to self-publish these. To wait for the re-reads and the final book for when they have been through an actual editor. Actually formatted. They've waited this long. What's another year and a half, two years? And they may disagree, and maybe I'll give them cleaned up book 1 and 2 for Christmas and tell them I expect book 3 to be ready sometime next year. I am thinking about editing it in January/February when I'm itching to edit something.

But. That relies on me having book 2 ready by the end of this year so Rachel can read 1 and 2 in order to beta read 3. My plan right now is to do my book 2 fixes once I've gotten over my writing mood. Probably November/December. I think for September and October, I will keep writing. If I get through SP, I might even work on Once We Were Witches or Sleepy Shoals. Or Druid Wars. Or maybe something new!

I'm excited (and a little overwhelmed) to have so many options. But, I know I will be able to keep plugging along, because Rachel and I have a good system. Any fatigue is short lived. We get each other excited about writing, and encourage progress in a relaxed, no-pressure way. We're going to do this. We are doing this!

I'll let you know how it's going once October hits.