#WIPmarathon check-in No. 4!

May has felt exceedingly long. It was the end of the school year for us and the involved grading a bunch of projects and putting together all the marks for around 100 students and getting those into various report formats. It was also my birthday and we spent a weekend away in Tallinn, Estonia. Despite all that, I somehow managed to start writing a brand new novel and it’s all thanks to Ifeoma!

Last report wordcount: 0

Current report WC: 40, 004 (I’ve updated this as I’ve been writing today. Finally hit 40k!)

Writing Issues This Month:

Fending off the many distractions and actually finding the time to write. I usually write a little every day but I couldn’t this month and ended up binge writing 5-10k in a day, one day a week, which actually resulted in a higher word count than if I’d been ambling along at my usual 1k a day.

Four things I learned this month in writing:

1. The glory that is the outline! Because this novel is a sequel and I had to send a proposal to my publisher, it needed an outline and a synopsis. I actually worked on the outline last month while I was editing I Heart Robot. Having that outline made all the difference and allowed me to write those first few chapters super fast.

2. Writing a synopsis before having written the book is as excruciating as it is enlightening. The whole process was painful but it really helped, especially helping me connect the dots between plot points I had in the outline and fleshing out character arcs. This may be something I adopt as common practice for all new works.

3. Writing 4 first person perspectives is a peculiar kind of madness that often leaves my head spinning. It’s tons of fun, but it has also slowed down my process because some days I just don’t want to be a certain character even though their chapter is up next. Also, being multiple people in one day is exhausting and is emotionally draining to the point where I sometimes have to stop writing and walk away for a few hours to recharge.

4. Writing chapters out of order is okay. You know why? Because I have an outline! Now I can write the chapters from the POV I want and just slot them into the story as required because I know where they fit thanks to that trusty outline. Best. Thing. EVER!

What distracted me this month while writing:

The day job. The other day job. Life. Travel.

I also had to fend off a few shiny new ideas for that older ms that’s been collecting dust. I finally wrote a blurb and synopsis and sent the first few chapters off to my agent so it puts me under some pressure to actually finish the damn thing (the story about Raleigh and Crow from last year). Now I’ve got all these new ideas for that story so I’m jumping between the two works at the moment.

Goal for next month: Finish Scardust – or at least attempt to – it’s sitting at 50k and now that it has a new and improved outline and a shiny synopsis, it’s just a matter of rewriting and finishing it up.

Hit 50k on the sequel I started in May. I am travelling a lot in June so I don’t have that much time for writing but I’ve got about 26 hours of plain travel time and I plan to put that to good use.

Last 200 words: Okay this is tricky because I can’t post anything too spoilery, so here’s a short excerpt from the scene that actually made me cry to write. The characters involved shall remain nameless though.

See, people think they have the power because they can inflict pain, but what they don’t realize is that we have the power because we let them hurt us.”

I don’t understand.”

You’re a robot. Titanium bones, right? You could’ve snapped the guy’s arm in half, you could’ve crushed their skulls if you wanted, but you didn’t, you let them hurt you because you knew you were stronger, you could take it and not be destroyed by it. Same as us.” His fingers tighten on my arms. “We snuck out plenty of times, we could’ve disappeared and avoided the Basement, we could’ve plain refused to submit to the sessions, but we didn’t. We went back over and over, we let them hurt us because each time made us more powerful. Surviving each new torture was a testament to our inner strength.”

Only wish I had the scars to prove it.” Tears spill over my lashes and down my cheeks.

You do. Except, they’re on the inside where only you can see them.” His hand splays on my chest, directly above my hydrogen guzzling heart. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to wear all my sins on my skin.”

But at least you have something to remember.”

Like you’ll ever forget.”


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

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  • Emma Adams

    Wow, you’ve managed to get an impressive amount written even being so busy (the magic of outlines! :D). I write a synopsis before I start each book and although it’s defiintely not my favourite part of the process, it’s so helpful later down the line!

    I’m impressed that you can juggle 4 POVs! The most I’ve done is three (and one of those was a minor character), and in 3rd person, not first.

    Strangely, although I outline, I can’t actually write out of order. My mind just works in a linear way for some reason!

    Wow, I want to read the rest of that book! 🙂

    • Thanks – the synopsis has definitely helped even if I’m straying from it more and more as I get deeper into the story. These characters have a mind of their own and keep derailing my carefully constructed plot, but in a good way – I hope!

      It’s definitely been a challenge, but I like getting inside the heads of these characters and experiencing the same world in four very different ways.

      Thank you!! 😀 I hope I get it finished soon!

  • Krystal Jane

    Ooh, Estonia! So nice!
    Isn’t writing a synopsis first so helpful! I know it really helps me keep my head on straight when I’m writing, having a clear path from beginning to end like that. ^_^

    Oh my goodness, FOUR POVs! I did that once, in third person, but I understand. Sometimes I didn’t want to go to someone else, even though I found all the POVs really exciting. Actually, I had 5, but one of them was just two scenes so it doesn’t count. It IS quite draining.

    ^_^ I really like the exchange between your characters. Very emotional…

    Congratulations on all the progress you’ve made this month! I soo hope you write Raleigh and Crow’s story. I love them. ^_^

    • It was lovely 🙂

      5 POVs!? Now that’s really pushing it. I’ve actually managed to get away with only three for a large chunk of the book because *stuff happened* so one POV went on a little holiday for a bit 😉

      Thank you – it was very emotional to write too!

      Yay! I love them too – just got to get back into their world now and sort stuff out. I actually can’t wait!

  • Ifeoma Dennis

    So many quotable lines in your excerpt! And 40K in one month is the most amazing progress EVER!
    I’m still awed by how you get to manage four characters at a time. It definitely calls for breaks every now and then. But you have it handled.
    Just like Emma, I can’t write out of order too, even though I have an *ever-changing* outline. It’s like my brain can’t just move from here to there, until I get there.

    Happy traveling and writing next month! I’m pretty sure you’ll achieve your goals 😀

    • 😀 Thank you!

      I think I can only write out of order because I’m writing from different POVs. If it was all one POV I probably wouldn’t jump around. The multiple POVs is actually giving me a weird kind of freedom.

      Thank you! And happy travels to you too! 🙂

  • Amy McNulty

    Congrats! 🙂 And yay, another outline convert! It seems like we all started as pantsers and then discovered that outline writing isn’t as bad as we thought! I won’t write without one again. (I mean, especially since you don’t HAVE TO stick to it if you come up with something better!)

    That’s an interesting approach–the one day mega-binges! Glad it worked out for you! Good luck with everything this month!

    • Haha, yeah! I was always so anti outlining but now I think it’s absolutely necessary, especially if I want to meet deadlines. And no, you definitely don’t have to stick with it 😉

      Thanks – hoping I can get this book finished by mid-July at this rate + breaks for travels.

  • Amanda Shayne

    So many words!! I keep saying it, but whatever I’ll say it again: I don’t know how you do it! And with all those points of view too… amazing!

    Those last three lines of dialogue are excellent–definitely something I’d highlight on my Kindle. 🙂

    • Hah! It seems the Muses have been kind to me. Also, Ifeoma has been a great source of inspiration and encouragement 😉

      Aw, thank you! That really makes me happy to hear! 🙂

  • Ooooh, congrats! Fantastic work this month! I love what you said about outlining, and writing out of order. I’m really embracing both of these things. I think starting with a pseudo-query, and a short synopsis gets your brain whirring on all the big plot points, and then gets you excited to write those flashy moments! The only trouble I’m having right now is getting motivated to write the scenes in-between… but that’s only reminded me those in-between scenes need to be as exciting, just maybe in a different way. Hmm. Thanks for some food for thought. Good luck in June! 🙂

    • Thanks!

      Those in-between scenes sometimes don’t motivate me either, but as you say, that’s when I know I need to do something special with them to make them fun to write and read.

      Happy writing!

  • Cat York

    You re on fire, Suzanne! So amazing!

    I used to be a pantser and now I couldn’t begin to start something without some kind of scene backbone and visualized ending in an outline form. It makes writing toward the end goal smoother, IMO. And I write chapters out of order for that reason too!

    Hugs to you and Happy (belated) Birthday!


    • Haha, thanks 😉

      Exactly how I feel too now. Guess my pantsing days are over 🙁

      Thank you!! 😀 😀

  • Yael_Itamar

    I like that excerpt.