I suppose the good news is that I won NaNoWriMo. Yay! The bad news is that this, along with stuff I did before, takes me to around 80,000 words, and given the length of the chapters I reckon this draft will come in around 160,000 – 180,000 words.
For the most part this has been the most fun I’ve had writing a novel. There were a couple of chapters a week or so ago where I felt a bit unsure of what I was doing and whether this was actually any good, but those times come during the course of a draft – with me I think it’s when one act moves into the next. But even though it sometimes took all day to get the word count out, I got the words done and have moved back into easier writing.
The other strange thing that happens when I am this deep into a draft is that I become a little detached from the real world. I went downstairs to talk to a housemate the other night and ended up standing in front of the TV watching it for 30 minutes. The closest thing that comes to it is when you have a fever and you feel like you are viewing the world with another pair of eyes. I feel tired and half my brain is still stuck in the story thinking of what I’m going to write next.
But, this too shall pass. It’s all part and parcel of writing a novel and the important things are that A) it’s going really smoothly and B) I’m having fun. I’m still refining processes as it’s a little difficult to stop and plan and keep the momentum going. I just hope that all my novels going forward are as pleasant as this. It’s taken a long while to get this calm about writing a novel and actually enjoy the process rather than just the result.
I already see things wrong with this draft that will change in the next. Mostly it’s worldbuilding type stuff, like I’m not sure whether this world has newspapers or not, and the fact that there’s a placeholder religion in there for now. But there’s also some language stuff. There’s a very strong voice to this book and sometimes it gets lost and devolves into ‘yeahs’ and ‘alrights’. This can all be fixed in the next draft so I allow myself to notice it and then tell myself to carry on writing.
So blogging will probably be minimal up until Xmas, but rest assured that it’s because I’m really busy working.
So in the last couple of weeks I’ve had a number of people ask me what I’m working on and when the next book is out. So I thought I’d give an update.
For all my jokes, Leg-gedon lost me a lot of time. I really had to focus on so many things – building the strength of the leg back up, ultra restrictive diet, etc. – that I lost a lot of creative energy. I realise that sounds a bit wanky but sitting at a desk with one leg outstretched and elevated really isn’t the most comfortable position to write. And when you’re in a ridiculous amount of pain and genuinely worried whether you’re still going to have a leg weeks down the road, you just can’t absorb yourself in your writing as much as you want. Whilst I managed to get a lot of work done all things considered, my productivity was in areas where I did not need to be sat over a computer for hours, such as improving my process to increase my productivity, working on plotting out a few novels, etc. It’s probably taken 8 months to get back to the level I was at before the event but I feel I’ve come back stronger, quicker as well as more creative and productive.
I’ll let you into a little secret: I struggle with short stories. Really I do.
It’s not that I can’t write them. Jetsam got some of the highest praise (hello, honorable mention, year’s best horror). It’s just that I seem to be so hit and miss with them. I’ve been thinking about this recently and I came to the conclusion that my problem is that I often try to write stories I can cram into 7000 words rather than actual short stories and one is not always the other. In the last few months I’ve written a few, sent off a few, and had a couple of rejections. I do enjoy the process of writing them and I’ve proven to myself I can write decent ones (who wants to be a one hit wonder?). But time is at a premium with a ridiculous number of projects on the go and trying to make up lost time due to illness, so I can’t really spend the time to write more than one occasionally.
Now I’ve received an added incentive.
New Fantasy Faction Article: Surviving The NaNoWriMo Apocalypse
It’s quite possible that NaNoWriMo has sent me a little nuts, but then, seeing as I wrote this before NaNoWriMo started, I really have no excuse. However, it was a ton of fun to write and hopefully it’s a ton of fun to read whilst also being informative. So be sure to check out the article at the link above and find out my tips for surviving the NaNoWriMo Apocalypse
‘Failure Is The Path To Success’ Guest Blog Post
Has it really been a week since World Fantasy Con? Seems like I have nothing to blog about and then suddenly a hundred things come at once!
Anyway, today I want to tell you about a guest blog post I did on failure. I know some of you are busy writing with your NaNoWriMo projects and starting to struggle. Hopefully this post will give you a little insight into why failing isn’t a bad thing at all. Check it out at the link above!
I have so much to tell you. I have my report on World Fantasy Con, a writerly challenge I was given, a new article that’s due to be published soon (and of which I am particularly proud), NaNoWriMo updates and general writerly updates. But I’m still recovering from my trip to Brighton and am super-busy, so for now, let me be a complete shill and tell you about the Goodreads Choice Awards.
Goodreads is looking to crown the best books of 2013, and although The Four Realms was published at the end of December last year, it qualifies. Goodreads has selected the most popular books already but it is possible to add write-in votes.
So, if you loved The Four Realms and want to help stoke this writer’s ego, here’s what to do
- Log into (or if you don’t have an account, please register at) Goodreads
- Visit the Choice Awards’ Fantasy Page
- At the bottom of the page, underneath all the covers is a box labelled Write-In Vote
- Type in “The Four Realms” and select my book from the drop down list
Simple! Whilst I have no illusions about winning, I’d genuinely appreciate every vote. The biggest challenge for small press books is obscurity and whilst The Four Realms has done extremely well considering, every tiny bit of exposure really, really helps. So tell your friends about it, add an Amazon or Goodreads review, or just talk about it on social media. Every little helps and greatly appreciated.
New GPSTracklog Article On Trackables
My latest Geocaching article for GPSTracklog has gone live today. This month I provide an introduction to the world of trackables, covering a few of the basics and giving some handy tips. Be sure to check it out!
Read My BSFA Article In This Sampler Issue
I only half apologise for talking about it again (as I’m secretly quite proud of this article) but Alex has emailed me to let me know that the BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) has put together a sampler of the latest issue of Focus where, amongst other things, you can read the article about my personal experience with writing groups on the way to becoming published.
If you’re looking to get published then it’s definitely worth checking out. The BSFA provides a number of excellent resources for unpublished genre writers, including Focus and their Orbit Writing Group.
If you are a member of the BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) then you should be aware of their semi-annual magazine, Focus. The latest edition should be arriving through members’ letterboxes around now and contained within you’ll find an article about my journey to publication and the various writing groups I was part of along the way.
If you’re based in the UK and serious about getting into genre publishing then the BSFA provides a number of great resources for writers, not least their Orbit writers group. You can find out more at http://www.bsfa.co.uk
I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. This is partly because Wolf Hall is proving to be the slowest book I’ve ever read – that book is like rich Christmas cake, unable to be devoured and instead eaten in small, well-spaced, delicious slices. This weekend I read a book I received as a Kickstarter reward on chasing tornados and then found myself, almost inexplicably, diving into several books on the self-publishing market.