The second half of the retreat was just as good as the first half, though I was glad to get home and set all my plans for the coming week of combining paid editing with personal projects again.
I woke up way too early, with the subconscious crew clamouring for me to add to my Legacy notes, so I got up to do that and then couldn’t get back to sleep.
I wasn’t particularly keen to leap into writing, so I played my current computer game for a bit, went down to socialise with the other writers over breakfast, and then went out for a decent walk with two of them.
We got back around 10:30am and a prospective paid editing client had messaged me, asking for a sample edit, so I did that instead of getting stuck back into the novel.
I read some more of one of the outlining books, then bit the bullet and started reviewing Dave’s feedback on Legacy. He’d made a very big deal over worrying about how negative it was and how it might upset me, and I’d saved it till last because I was scared to look at it. And it was fine! Really insightful and useful comments, pointing out where things didn’t make sense and where it required (a lot) more world-building/development – which were all things I knew already, but still useful to get such specific feedback all through the manuscript.
As ever with my novels, I was hoping at this stage that Legacy was nearly done – but boy, was I wrong! By this morning, I already had nearly 20 sides of A4 covered in revision notes (some of it pretty significant) and Dave’s feedback only added to that (though a fair amount of it had already been pointed out by other people).
So, I knew I had a very big job ahead of me, to incorporate all the expansions/new stuff/explanations/clarifications/descriptions into the next draft. But I felt excited about it (long may that last!).
After taking some time to chill out in the afternoon, I went back to reading the outlining books, then reviewed another section of Dave’s feedback on Legacy and added the relevant notes to my revision plan.
Another early morning, but I took things relatively slowly and didn’t settle down to more writing work until about 8:30am, sitting on the window seat in my room at Stickwick, with the sun at my back.
I started with the second half of Dave’s feedback on Legacy (which amusingly got progressively harsher and more frustrated towards the end), adding notes to my revision plan. I finished reading all the feedback (including referring back to my original editor’s report from last summer) around 10am – and I had 28 A4 pages of revision notes! I realised this was going to be a lot more of a rewrite than I’d anticipated – but I knew the resulting version would be a significant improvement, so I mentally committed to doing my best to bring it to fruition. I also realised this would likely throw my intended submission schedule totally out of whack, but I decided this would be better than short-changing the revisions.
Lots and lots of work ahead, though!
I read some more of the outlining books, which could also potentially be useful in ensuring the rewrite of Legacy still retains a reasonable structure, once it’s done.
My enthusiasm for Legacy had waned somewhat when I woke up this morning (instead of being excited about redrafting it, my brain started presenting obstacles and thinking about how much work it would be and how it would never be as good as I wanted it to be…).
So, I went out for a walk with some of the other writers straight after breakfast and shook away the cobwebs a bit.
Once I settled down in my room again, I went back to the outlining books, as that was a purely mechanical exercise I was really enjoying. I knew Legacy would still be there (for months to come!) when I was ready to start tackling the revisions.
I finished reading the four outlining books I’d brought with me – resulting in 18 A4 pages of notes, and I made a plan to organise and type them up, then add further to them from other sources.
Later, I skimmed through my Legacy revision notes and made a list of the biggest questions that were still to be resolved/expanded/developed.
After that, I was pretty wiped out, so I gave myself permission to watch TV until dinner.
Last day of the retreat and I was up super early again – bloody turkey gobbling away outside my window!
I wrote some notes about next steps for both Legacy and Machine, revising my timing plan for the rest of the year and adding in an extra round of revisions for Legacy, as I’d decided to resubmit it to my editor for more feedback after the next version is complete.
I did some more prep work for the next podcast episode.
I also wrote a blog post about my experience of being on retreat for the first time in over two years.
Later, I did some more brainstorming on the short story expansion and made some more notes.
I also did a small amount of paid editing work, as something urgent came through from a regular client.
I helped Bear with his blog post about the week away in Devon.
I also wrote a couple of reviews.