Saturday 11th March 2017

Today say I snatched victory from the jaws of a defeat snatched from the jaws of success
Today started well, got decidedly worse and then improved.  I woke up to some non-writing news that was amazing, resulting in me being very excited.  However, this quickly turned into a complete disaster and the complete opposite I had hoped.  My mood was like a rollercoaster and I ended the morning in a weird mood where I was just disappointed but felt my confidence knocked a little.
When I’m like this, my trick is to own it.  I certainly wasn’t feeling negative, just a bit emotionally vulnerable I suppose.  I tried to channel it, thinking about the scene in the novel I’d planned out and how I could tweak that emotion and funnel it onto the page as guilt.
I made myself a massive brunch and ate that to try and lift my spirits but it didn’t work.  I listened to one of two Beneath Ceaseless Skies short stories that I read today as I prepped my hash browns.  I promised Kate that I would review the stories at our Cake Club meeting.  So here goes.
This one was called The Uncarved Heart.  On one level it was quiet a simple story of the noble girl who meets a rebel, but I liked the way it played with character.  The mother particularly ended the story with much more depth than I thought she had.  It made me think of my recent comment about people being polar opposites at the same time.  I did feel that some of the imagery made it feel more SF than adventure fantasy but that wasn’t particularly a bad thing.
This afternoon, I did a bit of admin, completing some of my actions from our meeting on Thursday.  Kate’s written up a more comprehensive plan of what we want to do for Sophie to review.
I also updated the School of the Sword webpage, prepping images and posting a new blog post about our last lot of training.
I wrote some 1200 words on the novel.  It’s currently chapter 16 but I often add or remove chapters as I revise so it might change by the time it gets published.  But if you do all eventually end up reading it, and then referring back to The Climb as a pseudo DVD-extras to the book, know that the hero’s guilt really got amplified by my disappointed mood.  I feel it works and gives the chapter a little more depth that it would have otherwise had.
With those words done I headed into town.  I needed to pick up some more Amino Acids and seeing as that’s right next to Waterstones…
I have so many books to read I really do not want to add to my To-Be-Read pile.  But I picked up Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan.  I’ve been looking for Norse Mythology for a couple of weeks now, wanting it in hardback.  Brian and I share the same agent and I have to admit I follow his career closely because, whilst I understand that no two writing careers are the same, it’s the one I would most like to emulate.  And until such time as Black as Knight is a book on the shelves, seeing the works by fellow ‘representees’ reminds me what I’m working towards and how close it all is.  I have to be honest and say it did lift my mood a bit.
The assistant told me how she can read a book in a day and I said I was jealous.  She says she’s in a competition to see who, between her and a colleague, can read the most books in a year.
I’m a ridiculously slow reader.  I timed myself tonight.  I’m around 200 words a minute.  This is because I read everything several times:  once to understand the sequence of words, once to get the rhythm, and a final time to get the understanding.
I do think there are some benefits to reading slowly.  I think it has given me a better understanding of the poetry of prose.  I’m certainly no Patrick Rothfuss or China Mieville but I think there’s a rhythm to how I write.
However, looking at my To-Be-Read pile I do wish I could read faster and so upon returning home from a session at the gym (5km at 9km/h and 1k rowing) I looked on the internet for speed reading courses.  I found a few tips and so will try and put them into action.
I listened to the second Beneath Ceaseless Skies story as I prepped vegetables for my evening meal.  This one was called The Garden of Ending.  I liked that it had a narrator that the author had tried to give a distinctive voice to… but I felt that sometimes that voice seemed a bit clumsily handled.  I liked the premise of the story but I’m not sure if I was meant to establish something about what happened to the Everything at the end or whether I was just projecting.  Personally (and I realise this is a bit rich coming from someone who has sold very few short stories) I felt it needed maybe another round of polishing to smooth off some of the rough edges.
I finally got round to writing the first draft of an article I’m doing for Fantasy Faction.  I did the planning for it weeks ago but it’s been a low priority on my ToDo list for a long time now.  I think it might be a little short so I need to make sure that when I edit it, I expand on a few points.
I also did a second session on the novel, getting another 1300 words down.  I managed to finish the chapter although I’ll have to go over the last scene again.  I have a golden rule that the sex in this series is very PG13 in detail.  I say a character is naked but not go into detail explaining and beyond kissing there’s no sexual activity described within the pages.
The main reason for this is down to the character.  He’s very private and in some ways, he’s a bit of a prude.  In this book I’m trying to establish a new sexual partner for him.  Far from being a bit of titillation (all the action takes place off the page)  I think the concept of heroism is very much explored in this novel.  And for me that means flawed heroes and heroic villains.  I’m still not sure just how far I can take it but one of the things I was absolutely determined to do with this second book is have the character grow and change based on their experiences from the first book.  I just hope it’s not too much of a progression that it loses some of what people love about book 1.
I suspect that this scene will get a lot of revision in future drafts.
The plus point was that I got an awful lot of writing done today.  So I guess you can say I snatched victory from the jaws of a defeat snatched from the jaws of success
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
Twitter: @figures
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