Tuesday 2nd February 2021
After a couple of weeks of just feeling unmotivated and unable to concentrate I manged to get a decent numbers of words down today. Everyone I speak to seems to be going through the same at the moment. Lockdown has just dragged on to the point that, when combined with the short nights, everyone is feeling it: a general malaise that has wrecked any chances of productivity.
With February my project focus has changed. I’ve got 2 weeks to outline a new epic fantasy novel. There’s really not a lot that needs to be done other than think. I go from this to a rewrite of an old novel, so it’s not a problem if I get to the end of the two weeks and don’t have it completed.
I’ve designed my schedule for 2021 to allow for these things. Projects can overrun a bit. There’s chances to take breaks… but the important thing is that I’m moving a lot of projects forward, even if only a tiny amount.
With this two week outlining window, I’ve decided to also use it to write a bunch of short stories. I’ve been collecting open submissions over the past couple of months and they all seem to have deadlines around late February or early March. Given how the first draft of the novel I was working on just didn’t want to happen, being able to work on something different also seemed like a good idea.
And it seems it was. I managed to put in a couple of big writing sessions and get around 3000 words down this afternoon.
I’ve gone into this short without a lot of planning. Ordinarily, I would have liked to have structured it a bit more, but given the first draft I was working on was heavily outlined, it felt better to wing this and then look at introducing structure and theme in the next draft. It’s a lot easier when you’re talking about sub-5,000 words as opposed to 100,000+
I honestly don’t know if there’s a market for this story. It’s set in a dream but it’s only vary loosely fantasy. It’s bright and happy but also very dark and tragic, and I’m genuinely having fun writing it. I think it’s a story where line editing could really turn it into something. That could mean some angst later as I wrangle words, but I’ll worry about it then. I’ve been wanting to write something with a fantastic voice and I think I have the beginnings of something here.
I am close to finishing the first draft of it too – I suspect it’ll come in around 4500 words – and then I’m going to edit an old submission of mine from a few years back before jumping back in. At the time I thought the old submission was a really great story but for one reason or another it didn’t get picked up. I want to revisit it and see if I can improve it. With just a little tweaking I reckon it could be a perfect match for one of the submission windows I’ve collected.
And walking back from my support bubble tonight, I had an idea that another story I have could possibly be made into a short story. I had originally intended to write it as a screenplay but I don’t think it has the legs for a movie or TV series – it’s a bit of a one idea concept, which means it could be perfect for a short story.
To be honest, I’m really not that fussed if I can find homes for all these shorts. I say that now, but when the rejections come in, I’m sure my opinion will change a little. Writing can be something you fall out of love with from time to time, especially when it gets hard. As I said to a writer friend, the problem is that I know what I want to write but I have to wait on confirmation of a project first. The joys of trying to write commercially. Still, after the last few weeks, to be in a position where I’m enjoying what I write is something joyous indeed.
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