Down The Rabbit Hole

Okay, I know, I should be posting more often. But most of you will probably realize what my lack of posting indicates. Things are going well.  Very well.  Insanely well. As in I’m having trouble crawling out of the book for anything other than work.  I think I dream Possession, even.  It’s getting out of hand, really.

I think my writing muscles (the parts of the brain I use for it at least) are getting stronger as I go.  I remember when I’d feel fried after writing 2.5k in a night, and 3k+ resulted in Facebook status updates like “Click, click. Ow brain. Click clack. Ow brain.” (Yes, I really did that one day).  I now seem to write about 4k a night with little or no pain.  Part of it is that I’m grooving in on Possession, part of it is that it’s a good story, but I think a lot of it is practice and my process working out well for me, and that’s a nice feeling.  I remember a time when I thought I’d never find a process that worked and was destined to be stuck with ideas I couldn’t turn into stories despite a burning need to do so.  I feel fairly hopeful that the rest of the equation of me becoming a published author might actually fall into place.  Who knows, something crazy might happen, like people actually wanting to buy my books and read them!

So, specifics, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know them. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 are now complete. After my last post, I sat down and wrote 4,052 words, which was good. Last night, it got even better with 4,664 words (I’d been looking forward to writing one of those scenes ever since I stuck it in the outline) and tonight I’ve put up 4,549 words.  This leads to a grand total of 33,242 words.  Wow, already? Trust me, even though I’ve been watching both my daily totals and the overall climb, I’m still a little shocked to see how fast this is going up. That said, there’s still a ways to go.  I’ve got a couple of really challenging, important sections coming up. At least I’m writing them on the weekend, when I have all day to work with them, and no, that wasn’t planned.

And I want to say that, despite the speed, it’s in good shape.  I’m sure I’ll need to do some tweaking, but I don’t anticipate needing to rewrite this in a significant way (unlike the first draft of DM). I know one scene that I will want to focus and tighten, but otherwise, I’ve been quite pleased with the bits and pieces I’ve read while searching for a specific detail here and there (or just indulging myself and rereading because I liked it). I spend some time hanging around the NaNoWriMo forums, and I often read people talking about how they have this problem or that problem with their novel and directly relating their specific problem(s) to only taking a month to write it, but I think that with preparation, a month is plenty of time for a first draft that is reasonably tight for that stage of writing. But you have to go in having spent some serious time thinking about what you want to do with it and how it needs to go.  I’m not saying you have to outline (though I now have plenty of proof that I don’t function well as a writer without one), but you need to know your characters and have a general idea at least before you start that month-long writing-fest.  That preparation really can be as simple as time spent thinking about it, maybe making notes. You don’t have to read this blog for very long to figure out that I am a big believer in the idea that every writer is different, that we all need to find the process, stories, techniques and voice that works for us specifically. But if you don’t spend any time thinking about what’s going to go on in your novel and who it’ll go on with, why would you be surprised that your characters lack depth, or that your scenes feel flat?  I’ve said before that lack of sufficient planning and preparation was a big part of why the first draft of Dark Mirror didn’t get edited at all, simply went into archive while I started over again with a fresh outline.  I had some of those same problems. The key is to learn what causes your problems (and this point goes well beyond writing, into the arena of general rules for life) and figure out how to avoid making the same mistakes in future works.

Okay, I’m done preaching about how to write, really.  I generally hate doing it, but sometimes I see people say the same things over and over again and it irks me when they don’t learn from it.  Irkage usually causes me to say something. I once started a thread on my favourite writing forum that got bumped for months afterward just because someone did something I’d seen several times before, but they did it big enough to irk me a lot.  It was quite amusing to me, actually.  Come to think of it, it still is. I should go find that thread sometime.

In other news, Sketh showed up today and explained something to me.  Great, another character/story idea screaming for my attention. Because Devan isn’t trying hard enough to distract me from Possession and The Nine, I guess. So I’m still making notes on those and generally letting them stew in the back of my mind while I spend several hours a day with Fay and Tavis.  Why is all of this work not tiring me out at all? I don’t understand it, but I will say that I’m loving it.  The daily feeling of accomplishment I get from all of these things is wonderful, and seems to fuel continuing to do all of these things.  Maybe it’s some version of perpetual motion for this writer?  I don’t know, but I am going to savour every moment of it I get.

And, of course, last but not least, tonight’s picture. This is one of my more recent ones, taken on a trail near a town called Deep Cove here in BC.  I love the way the shapes and shadows play together in this one.

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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18 Responses to Down The Rabbit Hole

  1. Good going, I’m in awe. I foresee a successful end of month for you.

    That picture is amazing – it looks like a wood nymph graveyard about to drift back into life. Seriously amazing photo.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks Sally. I think you’re right, the goal will be hit, so long as I don’t hit any serious roadblocks.

      This picture worked out well, which is always nice. I have a couple others of the same area where I couldn’t get the settings and the light quite right, so I was thrilled when it worked on this one.

  2. 4amWriter says:

    Congratulations on your stupendous progress! I agree with your assertion that you need to think about what goes into your novel. Outlines don’t work for everyone. I’m a natural daydreamer, and I love the opportunity to simply dream about the characters and the action and just let my imagination run amok.

    Then I outline all of that. Some of what I daydream gets scrapped, some stays. It’s usually all shifted around for tension or focus purposes.

    I’ll go back to dreaming again, outlining again probably one more time before I actually begin my rough draft.

    For some people that’s too much planning, but for me (at least at this stage in my creative life) it works better than to dive in with no parachute on!

    Keep up the good work.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks Kate. Daydreaming is what I call “Notes” stage. It’s very free-form, just letting the ideas flow around and see what sticks. Sometimes it comes with startling revelations that make me go back through the other notes on that story and think “That part isn’t going to work anymore, but what will?” which in turn leads to other revelations. That part’s fun, but I find that there’s rarely much connection between those if I don’t outline. But you’re right, some people can’t work with that much planning. Once I thought I was one of those people, but four or five dead partial novels before outlining and 2 completed drafts with outlining have convinced me that this is what I need, really. And I’m a fan of anything that gets you to The End consistently (other than cheating and writing that down first). 🙂

  3. quix689 says:

    I definitely agree that a month is plenty of time to write a good draft. I write my second drafts in a month, too, And I understand how the forums can be frustrating sometimes. I always throw out my first draft, but that’s what works for me. I can outline all I want, but somehow I still end up finding problems with it while I write that I didn’t anticipate during the outlining phase.

    Congrats on the writing! I’m glad it’s going so well for you.

    • Julie says:

      Well, the forums don’t usually frustrate me, per se, but it was what that person was doing that irritated the daylights out of me. There’s a sub forum for posting snippets and asking people to critique them, which is great, but this one person that day had posted some and then argued with everyone that they were wrong, that they didn’t get it. It was like they had this idea that everyone would just bow down and acknowledge them as a writing genius (seriously unlikely). So I went into the main forum and started a thread about Arguing With Critiques that boiled down to “Don’t do that” with a lot of reasons why. There was some debate had on the subject and it ended up fairly long, but I was amused by how much response there was. It was like I’d said that mystical thing everyone else was thinking and not saying. That never happens to me.

      And thanks, I’ll admit to being please myself, which is good, because I think that’s what’s fuelling me through these long days of work then write.

  4. Ottabelle says:

    I think my best method is to sit and type, when I have the clear idea in my head. When I’m super stuck, I need to pull out the old pen and paper and write out where I want it to go next.

    Which reminds me… I need to do that today 🙂

    So glad you’re making so much progress, as always. Can’t wait to see it in print!

  5. stansifer says:

    An amazing achievement to be tearing through 4K a day. I think I may have cracked that once during a rather hazy day in NaNoWriMo 2 years ago, but not since then. Amazing work and keep it up. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Thanks. I think part of it is practice, and some of it is that once I achieve a certain threshold, it’s no longer good enough for me to do *just* that. I know this will eventually have to end (or I’ll have to give up sleeping) but I’m starting to wonder when I’ll hit that magic point of “I can’t do more with the time I have available for it.” I keep thinking I must be there, but then I manage a bit more. I would have thought 3k was that point, but obviously not.

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