Another week where sticking to scheduled writing time has produced excellent results. As ever, it’s not about being in the right frame of mind, it’s about sitting down and just getting the words out onto the page. But why is that so hard, when it’s what I really want to do?
I almost didn’t make it to my writing date with Ann today, but I persevered and managed to get a few hours in.
I started, as usual, with reviews, always a good way to settle and focus before moving on to something more in-depth.
Then I worked on collating my notes for the new novel, expanding the rough outline I already had with more detail, in preparation for cracking on with the first draft at the weekend. I was still really excited about this story, though I had no concept of how what I had in the outline was going to be transformed into an actual thing. But hey, I figured I would get there one way or another!
I spent the whole day snarling at people at work, and nearly texted Hannah to say I couldn’t face our writing date, but I followed the plan not the mood and she actually turned up 90 minutes earlier than usual so we got straight into it.
I went through my rough outline for the new novel, assigned all the various sections to one of my POV characters, then interwove the main plot points with the flashbacks/subplots - and it all worked! There were even numbers of Anushka vs Charlotte viewpoint sections, and even numbers of present vs past sections, with an extra section at the end to round everything off. So, it looked like the basic structure was now in place, ready for me to launch into the first draft properly on Friday.
I got a rejection from an online sci-fi magazine, but it had an exhortation to try again in capitals in the middle, so I’m assuming they didn’t outright hate my piece. I therefore kept them on my submission spreadsheet, as they have a rolling monthly themed submission window.
I went through the Scribophile critiques on my flash fiction piece and made a few amendments here and there. I identified somewhere I could submit it, but also left it in my editing folder because it could easily be expanded in both directions to produce a much longer story, and I really like the scenario.
I finished off by brainstorming some ideas for a fantasy romance anthology that really appeals to me, though I don’t think I’ll have enough time to dedicate to it before the deadline.
I set off for a writing retreat weekend with my completed novel outline but no clear idea about how to launch into the actual first draft. I forced myself to write some stuff on the train, so I would already be in flow by the time I arrived, and it worked. I wrote three whole scenes throughout the rest of the day and it felt really good.
My sense of flow pretty much continued through Saturday. I had to be strict with myself about getting on with the writing, but once I was started it came quite easily. I operated on a schedule of writing two scenes, then taking a break, and completed eight scenes (nearly 4,500 words) during the course of the day. I could definitely have worked harder, but I know doing that just makes me hate it, so I was kind to myself and managed a lot of good progress as well as enjoying the process and the periodic relaxation.
I became less certain about this new novel than I was a couple of days before, though. I still loved the story, and I thought the writing was going well. But I was a lot further through the plot than I was expecting at only 7,500 words, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to make the distance to a full novel. I also wasn’t sure if my current structure of 500-word scenes, intercut with flashbacks, was going to work. I thought it might be too bitty, not allowing the reader to get into the story properly. However, I decided these were questions for a much later date. The priority right now is to get it down in first draft - I can see what it is that I’ve got once that’s done.
Writing was harder today, for some reason. I still knew what came next at the end of every scene (until mid-afternoon, at least) but it was a struggle making myself sit down and get on with it. I pushed myself, though, and did get quite a lot done, which I was pleased with. A break at 3pm for a brief walk and some knitting gave my brain the space to figure out where the story should go next and I ended the day very satisfied with my progress.