WIPmarathon Report #1

It’s March 1st, which means time to report in on the WIP. I had high hopes of finishing this draft by today. Yeah, that didn’t happen, but it was still a pretty good month. Here are the stats…

Last report wordcount:ย 32, 156

Current report WC:ย 54, 754

WIP Issues This Month:

My characters somewhat derailed the neat little outline I had to take me to the 60k finish line. I’ve been stuck at a certain point in the story because what I thought was the climax might actually be more of the second turning point, which means the 60k finishing line might be pushing it. I think there’s more story to tell here and I have to give my characters the space to do it. This story started out as a quiet, quirky romance but has evolved into a fully-fledged sci-fi novel and because of that I have to abandon the original ending I had in mind and figure out something new. Hence, I’m stuck until some fresh inspiration strikes.

Four things I learned this month in writing:

1. My characters are stubborn and independent and do not appreciate my authorial interference cramping their style.

2.ย Outlines are bound to be ignored and I will have to rely on thumb-sucking to get my characters out of tight corners.

3.ย Pantsing presents unique problems. Figuring out something new and shiny in the plot at 50k had a ripple effect and required some serious editing from chapter 1, which I had to do before I could move on with new scenes. The lack of continuity upset me too much to ignore and come back to later.

4. The days when I have tons of time to write are inevitably spent staring blankly at the flashing cursor and will result in more words deleted than written. The days when I have to squeeze writing in between day job stuff is when I am most productive. I write better under constraint. I’m going to try to use this to my advantage in the future.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Shiny new ideas. I want to finish this WIP now so I can move onto another novel, which I’ve already been working on – jotting down snatches of dialogue and outlines of scenes etc.

Also, my new obsession. A high school sci-fi show about aliens called Star-Crossed! I blame the awesomeness of the Atrians for the sudden appearance of something intergalactic in my own WIP – although in a very, very different context ๐Ÿ˜‰

And… I’m having trouble with the title for this ms. Originally it was titledย Postcards from Mars. Now I’m thinkingย Scardustย might be more appropriate and less esoteric. What do you think?

Goal for next month: Finish this novel! I’ve got about 10-20k to go – revised estimate – so I’m almost there if I could just figure out how to end this convoluted story.

Head-in-the-clouds goal:ย Finish this novel and be satisfied enough to send it out to betas.

Down-to-earth goal:ย Realistically, it’ll probably need to sit for a bit and get another round of revisions before I give it to anyone else to read. Figure out what to name this story!

Last 200 words: A little over 200 words and surprisingly un-spoilery considering how close to the end this is…

I follow Crow out of the lab. He stops before stepping into the corridor and stares, bewildered, at the carnage.

โ€œDid I do this?โ€ He rakes trembling fingers through blood clotted curls.

โ€œI think so.โ€

โ€œI donโ€™t remember it.โ€ There’s a quaver in his voice and I know how he must feel, that sick twisting in the gut of knife-blade guilt when presented with the reality of becoming a monster. As much as I might’ve enjoyed smashing Wayne’s head in for what he did to me, part of me hated what that made me. Almost murderer. Better than actual murderer. But this wasn’t Crow’s fault. They never should’ve messed with his head in the first place.

โ€œProbably a good thing you don’t. Let’s go.โ€ Go where? A million questions hurtle through my thoughts like a meteor shower, leaving craters in my mind, pockmarked voids in my logic and understanding.

Crow picks his way around puddles of blood and calls the elevator.

โ€œShould we get Ida?โ€ I ask as we step through the doors.

โ€œI donโ€™t trust her.โ€ Crow hits the button for reception. โ€œLetโ€™s just get the hell away from here, before they call in the cavalry.โ€

The elevator opens on a thicket of fire power. Weapon-bots focus their lasers on our chests. Human soldiers fan out across the lobby in full riot gear and at the front of the formation, Preston wields a semi-automatic.

โ€œHey, boys.โ€ She smiles. โ€œGoing somewhere?โ€ย 


And that’s it for the month of February. How did you do?

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  • Emma Adams

    I love the title “Scardust”! Oh, those pesky characters. ๐Ÿ˜› This kind of thing happens to me, and I’m supposedly a plotter! One small deviation creates a crazy ripple effect across the manuscript…and I always have to go back and edit if I figure out something later on, or it keeps bugging me. Hope you figure out your ending soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Woot! Vote for Scardust! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you – been working with mind maps today trying to figure out various possibilities. Kinda fun but mostly a headache until I decide on the direction to move in…

  • Ifeoma Dennis

    Postcards from Mars made me remember a Lighthouse Family album called “Postcards from Heaven”. I’m partial to it but Scardust also sounds great!

    Great excerpt up there, Suzanne!

    I’m like your opposite. I can only write well when I’m relaxed. But since that works for you, you’re really in luck!! And you can totally finish your WIP next month. I feel it.

    Hope you make great progress this month (and yes, I vote for revising it before sending to betas— it’s also my plan)!!

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Hm – don’t know that album – cool association though!

      Thank you!

      Lol, I always want to write when I’m relaxed and have time but the Muse never co-operates.

      Thanks – that’s the plan, hope I can stick with it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amy McNulty

    Great progress this month! Hope you can finish in March! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hmm, I DO like Scardust a lot, but Postcards from Mars is cute and quirky–I guess it depends on the mood you’re going for! Scardust seems more hardened and serious to me.

    Ha, yeah, I hate when I feel like I COULD write when I have tons of other things to do and I don’t feel much like writing when I do have time… But whatever gets the words on the page!

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Me too ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Hm, in that case Scardust might be the better title but I might wait and see how this story ends before making a final decision.

      This is true! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • amanda shayne

    Oh, no–I heard about that show and was avoiding it so as not to get obsessed with yet another show… but now I might just have to watch it…

    Your excerpt is awesome as always, Suzanne! Good luck reaching your goals!

    • Suzanne_Writer

      I’m loving it! But then I was a huge Roswell fan ๐Ÿ˜‰ strongly recommend Star-Crossed though – so fresh with so much potential.

      Aw, thank you – much appreciated! May March be an awesome writing month for you too!

  • Krystal Jane

    Yes!! I love it when the characters take over the story!!
    I can’t continuity issues either. I think it’s better to go ahead and take care of it. You have to do it at some point. Might as well do it now.

    Yes! Action! Lol! I love that excerpt. It’s so exciting. ^_^
    I like Scardust, too. Postcards for Mars sounds like a cute, quirky romance, doesn’t seem to fit with the tone of the excerpts I’ve been reading.

    • Suzanne_Writer


      See, that’s how the story started out – cute, quirky romance and now it’s become this other beast entirely. I sense a title change on the horizon. So glad you like the excerpt ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Cat York

    Ooo. I like Scardust, too!

    Even the best-laid outlines can go off-track. I think you have the right instincts when you say you’re giving your characters space so you can get more story out of it. Just keep sketching it out and it will come.

    Great excerpt! Preston sounds like a BAMF. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Yay! Looks like Scardust might win ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yeah – as frustrating as this is, I’m going to have to give the story some breathing room if I want it to work.

      Thank you! And she is ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Cheyenne

    I love Scardust!! I’m with you on working well under pressure… I’m trying to instill better habits that keep me focused on long stretches of writing time, but haven’t mastered it yet. I always hear that knowing the end first is so important, so you know what you’re working towards… And that would be great if brains just gave us all the best ideas up front but it doesn’t quite work that way, does it? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck for March!

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I know the direction in which the story should go, but not how to get there and that influences the ending quite a bit. Had a good writing day today and I’m hoping that’s going to set the tone for March ๐Ÿ™‚