Saturday, 1 March 2014

#WIPMarathon Report #1

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count: I was at 8000 words of the YA Urban Fantasy WIP at the end of last month.
Current report WC + CC/ SC: Now I'm at 39,000 words, so I've written 31K this month! :)
WIP Issues This Month: After a productive writing month in January, February had a rather shaky start. Plus I received editorial notes on Darkworld Book 3, so that took priority for a bit. I'm now in the evil middle section of the draft, too, so I've been doing the usual back-and-forth routine of thinking it sucks and thinking it isn't too bad...well, I've written quite a few books now, and this happens every single book, without fail! 
Four things I learned this month in writing: 
  • Writing processes evolve with each draft and vary with each project. For nine out of twelve novels I've written, the first draft's been short and insubstantial, needing layers and descriptions added later. But knowing my own weaknesses has made me more determined to tackle them in the first draft. This won't work for everyone, but I've always written grammatically clean first drafts, even if they do have gaping plot holes... I've discovered that it is possible to fast-draft and not skimp on details. Whether this actually improves the quality of the draft, I don't know - but it helps to have a draft which doesn't feel like an outline!
  • This one I kind of learned the hard way, but having too many characters is confusing for the reader. It's better to have a smaller cast of memorable characters, which sometimes means combining several into one - this post has some great advice about that!
  • I've been plotting out a new trilogy, and plotting is one of the things I find hardest (despite being incapable of writing without a plan!). When I'm mired in the middle of the draft, I find it hard to juggle all the plot lines because inevitably the characters try to do their own thing. But I found this great series of posts on Janice Hardy's blog about her plotting system, and it fits really well with my own new system of using beat sheets to keep the story on track!
  • I need to be in a certain mind-set when I'm drafting. I find it relatively easy to shut off the outside world (even with the Internet constantly clamouring for attention! :P) but it's much harder to shut out the voices telling me I'm not good enough...especially when the voices are coming from the real world (well, the Internet). Hence why I took a social media hiatus earlier this month. I'm trying to pay more attention to the voices telling me I'm awesome, instead. :)

What distracted me this month while writing: This month I've had all kinds of distractions, from technological meltdowns to crises of confidence. I've had a lot of disappointments and knockbacks and early this month I had to take an internet hiatus due to physically being unable to write because of the level of negativity I was dealing with. But on the other hand, there have been good distractions! Like going to Swansea with my boyfriend for our Valentine's break. And Twitter conversations with awesome people. ^_^ And, in the past week, signing the contract for Darkworld Book 3 AND being offered a contract for my novella! :D
Goal for next month: My goals for March are to:
  •  Carry on with this draft and hopefully finish it (my goal is a 65-70K first draft).
  • Finish plotting my next book (a YA contemporary fantasy trilogy I'm crazy-excited about!) ready to start in April!
  • Walking Shadow edits - hopefully in the next couple of weeks! :)
  • Start first-round beta revisions for my YA post-apocalyptic fantasy.
Last 200 words: (This is from the second chapter of my current draft, a YA urban fantasy. For some context, Isla, the protagonist, is the only person in her family without a magical gift - at least until she accidentally picks up a talisman containing a spirit which binds itself to her...)

Her tiny human voice was barely audible even to her own ears, but the Power heard her. She felt the pressure lift from her spine and straightened up.
‘You are not gifted.’
The words fell like stones upon her. Somehow, hearing them in that terrible, beautiful voice gave them ten times the weight, and she felt herself stoop again as though they were physical things lying over her. Angry tears sprang to her eyes.
‘So?’ she whispered, to the ground.
‘Yet one of ours has chosen you.’
Isla blinked up at him. The sunlight had dimmed, and now he was the only source of light - a piece of radiance standing amongst the trees. His skin glowed golden, and his eyes glittered like pieces of amber crystal.
‘Be ready,’ he murmured, his voice as subtle as a slow-moving river current.
‘For what?’
The gargoyle figurine moved in her hand. She almost dropped it, lifting it to eye level. This time she didn’t imagine it - the gargoyle’s long face moved of its own accord, its tiny black eyes rotating and fixing upon hers. Its mouth opened, revealing tiny, sharp teeth.
‘Be ready,’ the sidhe murmured again -
And the light went out.


  1. Hmmmm... can I read this book already? It ended on such an ominous note!

    Congrats on all the awesome words you wrote last month! Guess I've said this before but you're one person that knows how to juggle things and still get them done. Do keep that up!

    It's sad you had to deal with all of the negativity and the writing confidence issues. I try to skip reading things that bring me down and concentrate on those that make me better.

    Here's to getting through that middle and finishing your draft next month! *raises glass*

  2. Awesome progress this month!! Best of luck with keeping it up.

    I know what you mean about having to be in the mood to write well. I'm sorry negativity has been getting you down. I think it's a part of being an author, you know? Something we all have to deal with if we want to find those people who will enjoy our work.

  3. "It's better to have a smaller cast of memorable characters." --that's something I too came to terms with this month! I combined two characters and plan to combine a few more if I can... not sure I can bear to do it just yet.

    I'm so impressed by your progress (and your words!) and hope you keep it up this next month. Good luck!

    --Amanda Shayne

  4. Murky middles. It's funny how we seem to almost forget about this with every story we write. Mine happen right before I get to the middle when I realize I have no idea what I'm doing.

    Good luck with all the projects! You always make such great progress on everything. ^_^

  5. You are awesome! I love how concrete you are with your learning process. I'm also trying to make a dedicated effort to do better with the first draft so I don't have to fix things later. It's a commitment, but it saves time in the end! <3 -cat

  6. You wrote 31K words in a single month?! Whoa! I am so, so impressed. Good luck with all your goals for March!