WIPmarathon Check-in No. 6

July has been an amazing writerly month. I stayed at home, safely behind my PC avoiding the summer swelter that finally found its way to Finland. I did attend FinnCon in my old university town, which was super awesome. Not only did I take part in one of the most well attended panels of the con (LGBT in SF/F) with Cheryl Morgan, but I also met a bunch of cool people, some of them foreigners like me living and writing in Finland. FinnCon was immensely inspiring and I think it kicked my Muse into over drive because I’ve since managed to finish the book I was working on!

Last report wordcount: 51, 039

Current report WC: 78, 965 – which still gives me a bit of wiggle room in revisions 🙂 And to think I was so concerned I didn’t have enough story to make it past 65k!

Writing Issues This Month:

None really. It was one of those rare and wonderful months where pretty much all I did was write and climb and have evening picnics in the park.

Four things I learned this month in writing:

1. Outlines are great! As Ifeoma pointed out on Twitter this morning, I wrote this book in less than three months and there’s absolutely no way I could’ve done that without having had an outline and a synopsis before starting out. Go outlines!

2. Outlines are awful! Around about the half way mark I realized that my characters had it way too easy so I threw in some curve balls which ended up derailing my original outline. I panicked. How could I continue without an outline? (despite having pretty much pantsed all my other novels) So I re-outlined and re-outlined again and wrote out chapter summaries, chopping, changing, reordering and rewriting as required. In the end, I tossed out the original outline altogether and the story is much, much better for it!

3. Being inside the head of four characters, each going through emotional and psychological hell, is exhausting and breaks are required. As much as I often wanted to cancel arrangements with friends and forget about climbing, I actually needed those interruptions. My writing was always better for the break and the writing sessions post climbing or post wine-with-friends were also much more productive. In short, sometimes distractions can be a good thing.

4. Music. Music is essential and I would not have made it through some of the heavier scenes without the character playlists I built. This will become a thing from now on, building playlists by chapter, scene and characters rather than just by book.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Not much to be honest. Although I have done a lot of reading as well. I read some amazing books, namely Made of Stars by Kelley York and Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn (I deliberately avoided YA sci-fi this month). I’m seriously considering trying my hand at a YA contemporary again – but first, the SNI…

Goal for next month: Recover, think about that SNI awaiting proper attention and possibly maybe start a revision read through toward the end of August.

Last 200 words: Well, I obviously can’t share the last 200 because that would give away the ending of the book, but here’s a snippet from one of my favourite scenes…

My pulse quickens as I stare in awe, not at the picture, but at the girl who painted it so effortlessly in less than five minutes.

Do you like it?” She stands back and adds a few touch ups with the red and blue. I wish I could put into words what I’m thinking, to tell her exactly what I’m feeling as I stare at a small robot with blue circuitry along its skinny arms holding out a heart-shaped red balloon to a formidable yellow tank with ‘Humanity’ scrawled on the side. Beneath the mural she’s written, “Have a heart; we do.” 

And that’s it for July. How did you do?

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