One Speed Only

So, about finishing the outline for Still They Watch by the end of the weekend… I finished last night, for a total of 10,500 words.  For the outline. I wrote almost 4k words of outline yesterday.  My brain was like a wrung-out sponge by the end, but it was wonderful.  I’m not sure if it’s all there, or if it may need some tweaks, but that’s all right.  I have plenty of time, over a month, and even then, the story often finds its own way, deviating a bit from parts of the outline.  I don’t view outlines as  strict “thou shalt” type of things.  It’s there to help me, not handcuff me.

This, of course, means I’m sinking my eyeballs into All Stitched Up now.  I did take the last few hours of yesterday off from my own work, for the break among other reasons, but today I’ve been back at it.  The mark up on the first chapter is done, and I’ll get into entering those changes when I’m done this post.  The changes will probably take me the rest of the day.  It’s definitely going to need some work, but I expected that, partly because of how fast I write, and partly because it’s the first round of edits.  It’s automatic really.  I’ve already slapped it with one of my biting, sarcastic remarks to myself, the kind I’d never ever put on anyone else’s work.  Why do I do it to myself?  To learn to take it, partly, and also because it’s usually deserved.  Trust me on that.  There’s a reason no one EVER sees my first draft.  In fact, on average, it’s 3 rounds of edits before anyone other than me gets a peek at it.

What else am I up to? Editing my friend’s manuscript, for one thing. And it’s good.  I’ve been going at it a chapter a day, partly so I’ll be able to get to my stuff, and partly so I don’t go racing ahead and just read, instead of giving comments and feedback.  It’s a struggle though.  I’ve caught myself a few times just carrying on into the next chapter and have to force myself to stop.  My eyes just keep going down the screen, devouring it.  That reminds me, I should leave some more brownies and wine by the couch she’s hiding under. 🙂

In addition, Reah clearly knows it’s almost her turn, because she’s doing what Devan did when I was about to write The Nine.  Things are starting to unlock, big time.  I wrote what I think is the start of the first chapter last night.  Honest, I wasn’t trying to, but apparently that really needed out of my brain.  It’s now safely recorded in my notes.  I haven’t read back over it (yet), but it felt really good last night. She and Viz and Kyrosh are coming into focus now and I’m eager to get down to serious work on it, even though I won’t be doing too much of that until about December.  It’s shocking how close that is though.

And, while that’s happening, Jacari and Saul apparently don’t want to be forgotten, as both won’t stop whispering to me. Several more notes have been made for each of those stories, some of which are a little mind-blowing.  I may have to rein Saul in a bit though, with some of the places he’s trying to lead me.  I’m not sure I want to go there.  I try to be careful when I’m playing with an existing religion, while he apparently doesn’t care if something he demands is more than a little, um, blasphemous.  I’m not going there, no matter HOW insistent he gets.  Maybe I’ll find a way to entirely fictionalize it.  That one’s trying to be urban fantasy, and I prefer to make up my worlds from scratch.  We’ll have to see.  He’s going to have to wait for a while anyway, as there are about 4 other projects on the books before he gets a crack at this author.  Seriously, I need more time.  And the ability to do without sleep.  That would also be helpful.  If you have the secret of doing either or both of those without losing your mind, please leave it in the comments section and I swear, you will have my eternal gratitude.

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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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15 Responses to One Speed Only

  1. quix689 says:

    Sadly, I don’t have the secret to either of those things. All I can say is congrats on finishing your mega outline! I really need to start working on my outline for NaNo. I know which novel I want to write, but this one requires so much research and world-building that I’m a little afraid. I also don’t quite know how I want everything to go. There are so many different directions this could take. I’m going to have a lot of free time between work and school tomorrow – I think I’ll be heading to a coffee shop to free-write for a bit.

    When you outline, do you already know where you want the story to go, or do you figure it out as you outline? Just curious to see how successful people do it. 😀

    • Julie says:

      Lol, I’m not sure if I’ve earned “successful” until I’ve started selling books. But I generally don’t start outlining until I know what the end is. The reason I do that is because if I don’t, the ending keeps shifting and the middle is directionless. You should be building toward the end through that middle, but you can’t if you don’t know it. My last dead novel had that exact problem. Every time the ending of the novel changed, I got lost. I eventually gave up. So essentially, I now figure out the beginning and the end, and the major events in the middle before I start outlining, then connect all the dots as I write the outline.

      About world-building, and I’m sure some people would be horrified by this idea, I don’t do a lot of it beforehand. I tend to let the world-building serve the story’s needs. The things that need to happen in the story help explain the world to me. I just have to ensure I include that explanation in the manuscript. It helps me avoid doing the eternal world-building thing and also avoids limiting the story. It’s worked well for me so far (though again, not yet selling books, so that statement comes with a huge asterisk). I think it’s intimidating, the idea of building a world down to the smallest details, so I just go with what I need to tell the story.

      And thank you. 🙂

      • quix689 says:

        Thanks for the advice! And you’ve written and edited six drafts in eleven months. I’d say that’s pretty successful. 😀

        I definitely see what you mean about the ending. I’ve written two drafts of one of my novels and will need to try again because I still don’t have the ending worked out. I think the world-building advice is good, too. There are just some things that I need to work out beforehand, like the exact rules and the way the government is run, as the story focuses on the strict rules in the society. It helps that it’s a future America and not a completely made-up world, but I still need to keep some things straight. But I will definitely remember to leave a lot of it up to the writing part. No use in knowing everything if I’m not going to eventually use it in the novel. 🙂

        • Julie says:

          *blushes* Thanks.

          I have to tell you, made up worlds (aka secondary worlds) offer a freedom in creation I enjoy. But the other reason I don’t figure out everything for the world is some of it hinges on parts I haven’t written. Those are usually the small touches, but again, I like that bit of freedom. As long as it’s consistent with what I’ve already written, it works out.

  2. Celtic Forest Dweller says:

    Nope, sorry. No answers here. 😀 Wish I had them, though… Still, I think you’re doing remarkably well, considering!

    I’ve been looking around on WordPress all afternoon thinking about blogs… Is it as complicated as it looks? 😉

    Of course, I should be writing instead. . . Hmmm…

    • Julie says:

      Thanks! I’m trying, but the ideas are still outpacing me, no matter what I do. I suppose it could be worse. 😉

      I don’t find blogging on WP to be complicated. Pick a template, use the basic features until you get comfortable. Remember to tag your posts so people can find them more easily. It doesn’t have to be a big, time-consuming thing if you keep it relatively simple. You’d still have time for writing. If you want some help, or have more questions, feel free to email me (check the gravatar)

      • Celtic Forest Dweller says:

        My ideas are slower than yours but that’s okay with me at the moment since I have so much going.

        Yeah, I guess I meant more I should be writing NOW. 😉

        Thanks for your advice and offer to help! If I get confused I shall take you up on it. 🙂 It’s looking less complicated now so I have hopes…

  3. Pete Denton says:

    Well done. That’s a great amount for an outline. All steam ahead for November NaNo!

  4. 4amWriter says:

    Excellent work, per usual! What a treat to be reading a friend’s ms and have it be so enjoyable that you forget to mark it up! Love that.

    • Julie says:

      Indeed, I agree. What’s even better is that it’s quite different from my own work, both in style and sub-genre, and the story is drawn together so well.

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