Just before New Year’s, I jumped on board with a forum thread at the KBoards Writers’ Cafe to try writing every day for 100 days – based on the Give It 100 site/campaign. Before this, and throughout the writing of my first book, I worked on a stop-and-start basis at best. I’d sprint through a scene on a weekend, then leave the project entirely for a few months. I had to be inspired, right? The scene had to clobber me over the head, or it would never come. It wasn’t as though I could just make things up.
That’s what I learned over the last 100 days. I can make things up.
I’d love to be better organized — and I have an elaborate outline for a book down the road, so far mostly ignored — but I do not, it turns out, have to be clobbered over the head by inspiration. I can show up, and the scenes will come, even if it’s slow.
The final total for the last 100 days:
- 10,905 words in The Quartet, Rone’s first book.
- 4,235 words over three scenes in The Builders’ Bridge, Rone’s second book, which I’d intended to carry me through the whole 100 days. I swerved after less than a week.
- 11,212 words in Agna’s first book, still untitled.
- 22,694 words in what I keep calling The Healers’ Road 2, Agna’s third book.
- 6,341 words in THR2 scenes that I knew I’d cut, but that I had to get out of my head anyway.
- 8 chapters of editing / second draft for the science fiction romance, which amounts to several thousand new words (I’ll estimate 10,000).
- Some progress on the long-ignored lore and character files.
Total: 55,387 not counting the second drafts (which I didn’t track precisely).
For most writers, this would be an unsustainably slow pace. For me, it’s pretty freaking good. I worked on it every day. Made it part of my routine. Got used to the idea of pushing forward, uncovering new scenes, new characters, new territory. It was well worth the time.
Next: A major crafting obligation at the end of the week, and then doubling down on Agna’s prequel.
This week’s playlist entry is in honor of Esirel, Agna’s best friend at the Academy and (at the time of THR, anyway) future sister-in-law. The story in progress right now catches both of them in the early days of their friendship, when both are trying to figure out where they’re going and who they want to be. Agna’s still unsure about some of this, but Esi knows without a doubt. Esi knows a lot of things without a doubt. She’s going to study swordfighting, she’s going to be good at it, and she’s going to help the helpless, whoever that happens to be.
Even though Agna and Esi don’t compete much, they still have friction in their friendship, especially when you throw together two people who are adamant about a lot of very different things. (We’ve seen Agna in action at the beginning of THR… this is eight years prior. Soaking that in for a second…)
Esirel was the character who kicked off this story-universe some fifteen years ago, and although the story and its characters have evolved over the intervening time, I’m excited to finally pick up her story again.
Edit to add: Got the art I commissioned for the convention sign! Sooooo cuuuuuute. Mocking up the sign tomorrow; will post if all goes well.
A bit early.
As mentioned previously, the project on tap right now is Agna’s prequel, about her time at the Academy. She’s 12 at the beginning of the story, utterly blinkered, frustrated, ambitious and ready to be anybody else. It’s coming along nicely. The progress bar arbitrarily says 50,000 words, but I have a feeling the story will wrap up shorter than that. I hope to have it finished by early summer, if not sooner. I do tend to get bogged down in the sheer nitpicky love of editing.
Edit to add: Aha. I’ve found my prequel writing music, though it’s a bit of an obvious choice: the first Revolutionary Girl Utena soundtrack. It starts out quite bouncy and classical-lite, perfect for boarding school hijinks. And if I haven’t thrown in the towel by the time the apocalyptic rock opera starts, at least the scene will turn epic.
In the 100 Solid Days of Writing Something Every Day marathon, I finished out this flu-shackled week by dragging myself through a scene late in THR2. I told myself that I’d stop writing things out of sequence forever!, but so much for that.
Today’s late-but-still-counts foray dipped back into The Quartet, a prequel to THR — it’s about the Academy days of Rone and his three best friends, including the early Academy days of Agna and Esirel. Originally, my assumption was that this story was going to be written first, since everybody loves magic school, right? — but my interest was captured by Angry Twenty-Somethings Gallivanting Around the Back Country instead, and here we are.
Ultimately, I would like to finish The Quartet, dub it the first in this only vaguely numbered “series”, and strategize™ some synergy™ in the lineup. In other words, TQ will be less expensive than the others, as a handy entry point. Ideally it will be shorter than the others too, but I know my tendencies and laugh at the notion of wrapping anything up under 50K words. Self-publishing-land calls this kind of first-book discount a “funnel.” It’s also known as “the first one’s free, kid. Or at least 99 cents.” You are supposed to write that one first. Whee…?
In the end, it does matter which ones are finished in what order. But I’d rather have them done out of order than unfinished in the correct order, so I’ll run with it as best I can.
The lack of updates and general social-media silence is a good sign. When you have an unfortunate tendency to get frustrated about things, it’s important to recognize when you need to stop thinking about them. For me, right now, it’s What to Do After the Next Story is Done. This is silly, because the next story isn’t done yet. Cart before the horse. It is important to think about things like release timing and editing, but now is not the time.
It’s the time to work on things. The 100-days-of-writing challenge is going well. After transcribing a few more days’ worth of handwriting, it seems my estimates were too high on most days and far too low on others. However, my streak is unbroken so far. In 20 days I’ve written maybe 13,000 words of new stories. (About 11k have been transcribed so far, so it’s a mushy figure.) It’s been about 20% for The Builders’ Bridge and 80% for what will not actually be called The Healers’ Road 2: Heal Harder. It may be a bad idea to write a sequel; I don’t know. We’ll see when we get there. But if nothing else, I want to know what happens next. That’s the first step.