April saw the Year of Hard Work take a marked change as I moved from first drafts to editing and submissions.
With hindsight I think I could have handled this a little better. Project 4S surprised me with how well it went. I’d honestly thought I’d blow past my initial deadline and finish it sometime around now. I would have still been happy if that happened but instead I finished the first draft of the novel in just 58 days and then found that my next project (the third book in the Four Realms series) just wasn’t ready to start writing.
So I did some work on articles, shorts and a novella as well as a bit of editing and got a bit stressed out when my word count wasn’t as good as previous months. I had to remind myself, especially in the euphoria of actually hitting a quarter of a million words, that I wasn’t in a race with myself.
So this month I missed my ambitious target of 333,000 words… mostly because I wasn’t writing Four Realms #3 that would have given me a lot of word count.
As regular readers will know, my plan for this year is to do everything… so I’ve been submitting a lot and this month I started hearing back.
Without wishing to sound defeatist, I’m expecting a lot of rejections. Acceptances rely on so many factors that are out of my control that they are a fact of life no matter how well I write. All I can do is write the best I can. So it was both very satisfying and also extremely frustrating that I had two pieces that got rejected at the last hurdle. Both those rejections were lovely and complimentary.
What I take from them is that the quality is there, it just wasn’t my day. It’s very easy to let rejections get to you and I’ve always thought that the important thing isn’t whether you feel sad or not, but that you get back up and continue on.
Thieving King Edit
I love it when you come back to a project, read the opening lines and think, “Wow! Did I write this?”
I’ve done a lot of work setting up Thieving King so it can be a quick but accurate edit. That’s meant doing some file and folder work as well as setting up some changes with the way this one is going to be beta read.
I also spent a lot of time recreating the Four Realms Wiki inside the Scrivener document. This way I can fact check my worldbuilding as I write as well as add new entries.
It’s a massive novel so editing it is going to take some time. It’s been a bit slow to get going but the plan is to edit it whilst writing the third book in the series.
So Project Mylar was a pitch I made. I liked the idea and thought it was a perfect match for the publisher. The editor seemed to love the idea as well and gave me some incredibly encouraging feedback.
And it nearly happened. I mean, it went all the way up to beancounters. Given how big the series potentially was, there were concerns about how commercial the project was, and in the end that’s what defeated it.
Now some would be very down about this, but this was the first time I’d ever pitched anything and looking back having worked on the Black As Knight submissions, I’ve improved so much over the last couple of months. My take-aways from the experience is that my pitch worked and that the idea is still very solid. The editor also told me I had to write this. So perhaps later this year!
It’s done and has been put aside so that I can edit it after I’ve done Thieving King. 58 days for 120,000 word novel.
Eastercon went well and the presentation was well received. The first couple of days in April were incredibly hectic trying to get the final videos in and make sure my timings were right. Seemed to have been time well spent as I had a lot of positive feedback from the event.
This has just been a regular month for articles. I’ve done the ones for both Fantasy Faction and GPSTracklog but haven’t done anything special this month.
Likewise the blog has settled into a twice a week schedule (for the most part). I did some big write ups of Eastercon and some presentation follow ups.
This month I experimented with my first promotion. It seemed to work, pushing my book up the rankings. I’ve kept detailed daily stats and I can start to see long term benefits. However, I am also starting to see some of the category limitations.
I’m working on a couple of other books in other areas so plan to expand the Tornado Press roster moving forwards.
I spent some time getting the basics of this done. I’ve put in ways to start to measure this as well as created a new spreadsheet to just track editing time.
I also did a lot of reorganisation of folders to try and map my workflows better. I’ve grouped stuff I’m currently writing together, as well as setting up a separate folder for stuff that I’m editing. No idea if this will work but the clean up took a lot of time so I hope it’ll be beneficial
Black As Knight
I put a lot of time into this over the past month. I spruced up the synopsis and got it submitted to a few places. I’ve had some nibbles but I suspect this is one of those things where I won’t hear anything for months. So just going to forget about it and work on other things.
I had one piece that I didn’t hear back about until the final day. Apparently I made it all the way to the final round. Another case of being so close and yet so far. Another lovely rejection letter, but I was a bit sad about this for a day or so as I’m really proud of the piece.
I’ve also worked on a couple of other shorts. One was pantsed (because even if you prefer one style of writing, it’s always good to keep a hand in the other), whilst the other was fully plotted and a first draft created.
I have a market in mind so I’d like to get the first draft edited and out to beta readers whilst I’m in the US.
Four Realms #3
I’ve been busy trying to put the outline of this together. I’ve always known the basic events that happen in this book, but turning that into an exciting book takes time. As much as I would like to plot a book in three days, I can’t do it.
I’ve played around with some plotting processes and whilst they’ve helped I think giving myself a month to let ideas stew is really part of my process. I might then be able to write the outline in 3 days, but I need the month before to mull over things. The fact that only a couple of days ago I came up with a much better start to the novel shows me that this is time well spent.
I still don’t have a title for it. I’ve got a few ideas but I just need to mull them over a little longer.
The Month Ahead
I’m Storm Chasing for most of the month and so I expect May to be my month off. I’ll still be working, but I won’t be starting anything until I get back. So I’m not going to set any targets.
My plan is to maybe work on a short story or two and get the next book outlined so I can start it as soon as I get off the plane.
I also want to better understand how events where I might not write for a couple of days throw a spoke in my processes. Eastercon helped throw me for the whole of April. Storm Chasing is likely to do the same. I need to be better at writing around these things.
But overall, whilst the word count wasn’t great in April you can see I was just as busy. Going forward I want to get better at smoothing things out so I see progress both in writing and editing. I suspect June will end up being a big writing month