Weeknotes – S06E11 – Off On Retreat!


Massive amounts achieved this week – hurrah for writing retreats! I made real progress on both novels, as well as working on a short story, and reading some useful books about outlining. Amazing what a country house in Devon can do for productivity!



I put together an ambitious list of things to get done today.

I had two new paid editing projects – an autobiography and a TV pilot script, so I made a start on both of those. The autobiography section took a lot less time than I’d anticipated, but I knew the opening sections had already been edited by the client, so I cautioned myself that it might get slower as I went along.

I also reviewed and did some light editing on an article for a family member.

I edited the most recent podcast episode, read some more of the craft book, and started looking at some of the feedback from my beta readers on Legacy.

Later, the TV script writer contacted me to ask if I could speed up my feedback process, so I read and commented on the second half and sent it back to her.



I’d won a new project the day before, so I started that – editing the opening chapters of a thriller.

Then I edited the next section of the autobiography.

During the weekly Revision Club call, I continued reviewing feedback on Legacy, making notes for the next draft.

I also read a bit more of the craft book.



I did some submissions.

I also edited the second chapter of the thriller and sent it back to the author for review and approval.

Later, I had a call with the epic adventure author, whose novel I had provided developmental feedback on earlier in the month. He sent me some discussion points and I sent back my thoughts. We discussed those points and some others on the call.



I finished a book and wrote my review. Later, I finished an audiobook and also wrote my review.

I wasn’t intending to do any paid work today, but a job came through after lunch from one of my regular blog clients, so I did that.



Off to Devon for my first writing retreat in over two years!

On the train, I went through more beta reader feedback on Legacy and added to my revision plan.



First full day on retreat! I wasn’t sure how industrious I was going to be, but I woke up enthused, and carried on working through Legacy feedback. It prompted a fair few ideas about how to develop the novel more, which seemed do-able (though I may not feel that way once I have to actually do the work).

I also went through my editor’s initial report on Machine and started developing a revision plan for that, too. I wasn’t intending to try to work on both novels at the same time, but the retreat was a useful opportunity to do some of the groundwork. I was also happy with my ideas for development on Machine, though I knew I wouldn’t be getting into the real work on that for some time.

I started reading some books I’d brought with me about approaches to outlining, with a view to refining my own process, in order to achieve longer, more in-depth first drafts of future novels.

I also brainstormed some ideas to expand a short story I wanted to resubmit to a magazine, after the editor said he really liked the idea, but it needed to have a lot more to it for him to accept it for publication.



Day two of the retreat and I woke up early and enthused to get on with stuff. It already felt as if the time was slipping away from me and the week would be over before I knew it.

I started out by writing a synopsis for the novella version of Machine, ready to submit in a couple of weeks.

Then, I went back to reviewing feedback on Legacy, adding to my revision plan. I came up with more awesome ideas for development/improvement – some of it would require fairly chunky revision, but I felt excited about adding the additional layers, because I knew it would make a massive difference to the quality of the book.

I carried on reading the outlining books, making some really useful notes to inform my process and hopefully improve my future first drafts.

I had a moment of inspiration about the short story I’m rewriting and expanding, so I made some more notes on that.

After a mammoth walk up and down a lot of Devon hills (and the discovery of three bear-related geocaches in the woods), I went back to beta reader feedback on Legacy and added more to my revision plan.

I completed one whole set of margins notes throughout the whole manuscript, which felt like a lot to accomplish in one day!


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