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?