Chronicles of Ghadid Trilogy, Draft Zero, Unnamed (Book 3), Writing

Juggling Plots

I wrapped up this draft of book three last week and then dove straight into edits for book two and today page proofs for book one arrived.

My work is never done. Which is good since it’s, you know, my work.

I’m still reeling from finishing that draft – it’s a mixed bag of awful and bad and maybe, just maybe, all right -but thankfully the other two books are in a state much closer to Done and therefore can help ground me and remind me that I can, in fact, write. And that awful first (ish) drafts are just a part of the process.

I’ve been asked a few times how I juggle three books with three distinct plots and three entirely different characters and somehow keep them straight.

The short answer is: I don’t.

The longer answer:

It’s not the plot or the characters that make it difficult to switch between the books. It’s the emotional arcs and weight of each. I really have to take a day or two and just sort of… sit with it to get back into the right frame of mind. It helps that I’ve built a distinct soundtrack for each of the books, with specific songs for specific sections. Putting on the song I need for the section I’m writing/editing/revising/what-have-you makes that transition a heckuva lot easier. Also, you know, going for a long walk.

But for sure, I’ve started writing one book only to find myself typing out the name of the MC from another. It takes a little bit of time before I can sink into another project. Which is why I try to minimize how much I switch around, and (probably) why I’ve been having a harder-than-usual time for book three. I started that beast back in July, while I was waiting for my edits on one, and then dropped it to do said edits, and then picked it up again only to drop it again to do edits for two. Now I’ve been sitting on a second round of book two edits just so I can finish this draft.

And this draft is done. So. Time to put on some music and switch again!

*

Here’s current progress on Book Three, working title The Unconquered City, the story of an assassin turned monster hunter who’s really sick of people threatening her city. Now with more! rain, rain, and rain.

Project: Book Three, Draft 0.5

Deadline: August

Current word count: 74,209 / 74,209 words.

 

What’s next?: A few weeks to finish book 2 edits, write a synopsis, read through page proofs – and then on to the next draft.

Draft Zero, Life, OIBM, Writing

#Thankful

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I had every intention to get in on the one-a-day thankful meme, but then it was mid-November and, well. But I firmly believe it’s never too late to be thankful, so I’ve compiled my list for Thanksgiving itself. 26 things because this year, Thanksgiving fell on the 26th.

26 Things I’m Thankful For:
(or: A Thanksgiving Thankstravaganza)

26) Tucson and it’s gloriously wonderful chaotic weather.
25) Our fuzzy furry crazy cats.
24) Gainful employment.
23) BPAL and other good scents.
22) Happy twinkle lights.
21) Standing desks.
20) My overall good health.
19) Deadlifts and squats and everything they’ve taught me about true strength.
18) The local Thanksgiving 5k.
17) The inspiration that comes during a good run.
16) Zombies, Run!
15) All the amazing musicians who keep making music and life.
14) All the amazing authors who keep writing.
13) Living during a time when we have access to such a variety and depth of great arts and music and books.
12) My agent.
11) Coffee.
10) The opportunities that I’ve worked for and stumbled across.
9) Writing and the purpose it has given my life.
8) The Internet.
7) This blogging community.
6) Being able to cross the world in a matter of hours.
5) Growing older and all the experiences and wisdom that comes along.
4) Financial stability.
3) Family – chosen and blood-related.
2) My friends.
1) My wife.

—–

Here is my current progress on OIBM, a YA fantasy ruckus about magical girls, the apocalypse, and exactly whose fault it is:

Also known as: DONE.

Yes, I moved my wordcount target down. Yes, it needs about 20k more to be a viable novel. But this is draft zero, aka a very long and convoluted outline, and should come in way under my eventual goal.

Now I’m going to let it sit and ferment and work on something else. I have an older novel to tweak and rewrite in the meantime. I definitely need some time away from this one, because it is missing something crucial and being so close to it has blinded me to what that could be. Distance will give me the perspective I need to fix this beast – I hope.

This weekend, though, I’m going to read and cook and hang out with friends and family and get outside and read and maybe start brainstorming and read.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at chez Doore!

OIBM, Work In Progress, Writing

Trudging Along

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I’ll be writing so much more!
she said.

Having a job will give me focus again! she said.

I’ll have that 20k written within the week! she said.

Somebody has been overestimating herself again.

But hey – I may not have written much this weekend, but I finally got to go and participate in our city’s amazing Dia De Los Muertos procession. We were too late to reach the urn and put in our notes (mementos, wishes, notes about loved ones who have passed go in the urn to be burned at the end of the ceremony), but the whole experience was wonderingly cathartic.

I love the idea of a special time every year set aside specifically to honor the dead, whether they’re your long-passed ancestors or a more recent grief. There are so many cultures that do something like Dia De Los Muertos, but we don’t have anything close in the US. We think by pretending death doesn’t exist, we can make it go away. Instead, we just shuttle all those grieving to the shadows and tell them to come back when they feel better. :/

——

Here is my current progress on OIBM, a YA fantasy ruckus about magical girls, the apocalypse, and exactly whose fault it is:

Fun Recent Google Searches: Polyphemus, the cyclops from the Odyssey

Average Words Per Day This Week: 632 (oof)

Number of impenetrable underground bunkers: 1

OIBM, Work In Progress, Writing

November, November

october-32

It’s NaNoWriMo season! In years past, this month would have found me stocked up on candy corn and bursting with plot. Alas, PCOS means I really shouldn’t be eating pure sugar and the events of the last two months have conspired to drag out the draft zero process of this WIP. Instead of candy corn and plot, I have kale and 20k words to go – which, we can work with.

I may not be doing NaNo as it was intended, but by golly, that draft will be finished this month, rain or shine, job or no job –

Speaking of which, I will again enjoy full employment as of tomorrow. Hoorah! Aside from the joy of a regular paycheck and learning something new, I’m also looking forward to having a set schedule again. These past few months of (f)unemployment have been necessary in showing that, surprise surprise, I don’t manage huge gobs of free time very well. I write much better in the corners and edges of life, not right front and center. I write much more when I have a job than when I don’t, which isn’t that surprising.

So on top of having less free time, I’m looking forward to writing more. 20k will be easy peasy. I’m going to harness NaNo’s energy to get that done asap, and then lock this draft away and turn to another story that has been scratching at my thoughts: rewriting City of Wraithes into something much more exciting and awesome.

Here is my current progress on OIBM, a YA fantasy ruckus about magical girls, the apocalypse, and exactly whose fault it is:

Fun Recent Google Searches: How to do a fireman’s carry. Looks easy! I doubt it actually is – now I just need to trick a friend into letting me try it on them…

Average Words Per Day This Week: Ugh, not even gonna look this time.

Number of sinkholes introduced to the story: 1

Draft Zero, Writing

Quiet. Too Quiet.

I’ve been much quieter these past few weeks for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being that our lives have been completely turned upside down. But in a good way! It’s just made for some chaotic and non-writing times.

And they’re not going to be over any time in the immediate future. I made the analogy to a friend the other day that it feels like we have just thrown all of our cards into the air and we’re waiting for them to come down. Well, amazingly, two just did. I hope that I can talk about one (or both!) very soon, but it’s not quite time yet. Suffice to say, one involves my wife’s dreams, and the other involves mine.

In the meantime, I have 30k left on this draft zero and 10k+ to cut from the final draft of my other book, so I have plenty to keep me busy and distracted until we know more!!

 

Draft Zero, Work In Progress, Writing

WIP Update

I’m calling it.

I have 83k words on draft zero of my new WIP and it’s time to stop, regroup, and begin the rewrite. I didn’t finish the story – unless you count “rocks fall, everybody dies” – but so much needs to be changed – has changed – since I started it that the ending I’m currently trying to write won’t even survive to the next version. So instead of struggling through for the sake of hitting my word count goal, I’m cutting loose now and giving myself a little time off.

Oddly, I’m still feeling fairly confident about this story. Usually by now, especially after almost two straight months of writing, I’m bored and/or convinced of its crappiness. But with this one I feel like I’ve only just gotten started and there’s still so much to discover and flesh out. Perhaps because the story is still fresh? I don’t know, but I’ll go with it.

Which means I’m going to alter my original plans a wee bit. I was going to drop this story like a hot potato for a few months while working on shoring up and submitting the one I sent out to betas in early summer. But now I think I’m going to take a week (or two – but no more than that) off to think and percolate and do as much research as I can on the setting and cultures. Lady let me into the university library this weekend and they just have everything. Well, almost everything – the English translation of one particularly interesting book is, alas, in the British library and apparently interlibrary loan doesn’t extend that far. I’m tempted to get the original French version instead and see what I can make of it. But that brings up an important point:

How much research is too much research?

I can easily see myself studying my eyeballs out in lieu of actually writing, hence the one (or two) week cut-off. A month would be awesome, but I fear that if I go that long without actually writing, I’ll soon lose my groove again. I wish I had enough time to do both, but, well, if wishes were horses, we’d be up to our ears in horse shit.

I’ll figure out a middle path, I’m sure.

In the meantime, draft zero is done! It’s absolute shit and will never see the light of day, but I now have a serviceable plot, a cast of interesting characters, and a setting that I just want to go play in for days and days and days. Now comes the (much) hard(er) part of actually turning it into a story, a first draft.

But first: research. And second: maybe I should actually look at what my betas said about the last book. If they think it’s close enough to being done, I might just fix it now and go ahead and begin submitting while I start reworking this other one. Yes. That sounds like the best course of action.