Writing Update 2018 Q3

I had a plan to post a writing update every month. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. They don’t get … umm … laid? Something like that.

Back in May, I shared a little about Thread by Thread, my current WIP. I was almost done outlining and about to embark upon that most daunting of journeys–the first draft. That’s how I feel about it, at least. I much prefer revisions, but I digress.

I did indeed start drafting a week after that post. And it felt so good! For the first 10k! And then I hit a wall. Part of that was visiting Charleston for three weeks, and writing all of seven words. But that is part of the process for me. (Which I’m only now coming to understand.) The first 10k is all fun and games. It’s the beginning! The world is fresh and new! The sun is brighter! Babies are cuter! I braid flowers in my hair and laugh like a little girl.

But then I finish the beginning, all the characters have been introduced, and a cloud covers the sky. I. Hate. Everything. About. My. Book. Actually, this is only slightly accurate. I have never doubted this story. I think it’s the smartest thing I’ve created. It’s definitely the most ambitious project I’ve set before myself. What I did doubt–and still do, on occasion–is my ability to properly write it.

So that’s where I was when I returned home. I felt like the worst writer in the world. Every word had to be dug out of my skin using a spoon. (“Because it’s dull, you twit, it’ll hurt more.”) I sent message upon message to my CPs complaining about all of this. But I persevered. I wrote lots of bad sentences, but I finally reached 16k and suddenly, something clicked. I felt like a half-decent writer again. I thought, Hey I can do this!

And now I’m at 25k, a quarter of the way through my projected 100k draft.

Something unique about this project (compared to my other books): being that it’s epic fantasy, it has four POV characters. Yes, you read that right–FOUR. And I’m going to have a handful of one-offs as well. COF (the book I’m currently querying) has three, but it was much easier jumping between characters. Why? I asked myself. Finally I realized it: I didn’t outline COF, just a few key plot points. So when I drafted it, I inserted the other two POVs whenever I had an idea. So writing those scenes was easy, because I waited for inspiration to strike. And most of the time, I was in the protagonist’s head.

This book is much different. I change POVs just about every chapter. One character only has a few scenes, but the other three are nearly equal. That’s a lot of head-hopping. It took a while to discover their voices, and some days I still can’t find them. But that’s okay. As Terry Pratchett says, the first draft is about telling yourself the story. That’s what I’m doing. Revisions are for nailing voice, and characterization, and theme, and all of the aspects of craft we’re meant to juggle when we write a book. (What a bunch of masochists authors are.)

So, I’m at 25k and I’m feeling pretty good. Tomorrow might be different, but I won’t let that stop me.

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