WIPMarathon Check-in No. 7

Where did August go? This month was crazy awesome – not only did I go to my first ever WorldCon in London where I met some fabulous authors and industry peeps, but I almost managed to get a fair bit of writing done despite going back to teaching as well. This is my level of productivity when all my favourite TV shows are on summer break and I’m left with only Extant, Defiance and Under the Dome to entertain me. Okay, fine, I’m also watching Outlander but that happens on Sunday mornings while I’m still in bed.

Onto writerly things…

This month I started a brand new WIP and I got stuck into the umpteenth rewrite of Scardust, which I have been fighting with for almost two years now!

Last report WC for new WIP: 0

Current report WC for new WIP: 32, 449 (I’m convinced this manuscript is writing itself and doesn’t really need me much at all)

Last report WC for Scardust: 47, 412

Current report WC for Scardust: 60, 392  – Hallelujah! After two years of sweat, tears and swearing, this manuscript is now complete!

Writing Issues This Month:

Fear. I think what was holding me back with Scardust was the fact that I was afraid of the core issue in the story and kept trying to skirt around it. Nothing worked and things just wouldn’t gel, which resulted in much replotting and rewriting only to end in tears again. I finally bit the bullet and faced the thing that scared me in the manuscript and it magically all came together. Tough lesson, but one I won’t ever forget.

Four things I learned this month in writing:

1. Write the thing that scares you. Face that fear and get inside your character’s soul no matter how dark it seems. As an author, I have a duty to tell that character’s story and I can’t do that if I’m too afraid to write authentically.

2. Some books can be written in two weeks, some will take two years and that’s okay. Each story is different and the writing process will be different too. Just because it takes a long time to write doesn’t mean the story is bad or not worth the time – in fact, maybe the complete opposite is true.

3. Consult people who are smarter than you. It was during one of my replotting phases that I sat my software engineer husband down and had a long chat about artificial intelligence. I learned a heck of a lot about programming and coding and things and that helped immensely with my story, giving me the knowledge to take the plot where it needed to go.

4. Don’t give up. I’ve been tempted to ctrl+delete this manuscript so many times, but each time I went to do it, something stopped me and I’m so glad that I persisted with this one, because even if it never gets published, it was a story I had to tell.

What distracted me this month while writing:

The allure of the shiny new WIP that is super easy and fun to write. I deliberately didn’t open it once because I knew I’d keep writing that and ignore Scardust again.

Also WorldCon and London – I did no writing for a week while I was there, but I did write out beat sheets for both novels on the plane trips so it wasn’t completely writing-free.

Goal for next month: Tidy up Scardust and get it into shape for beta readers. Send out to beta readers. Possibly finish the shiny new WIP and I think I might have some line edits on the way for I Heart Robot so that should keep me plenty busy.

Last 200 words: Can’t share those since it’s the ending and all, so here’s the updated blurb. If anyone is interested in possibly beta reading this for me – or even reading a couple of chapters – just let me know. You will be rewarded with my undying gratitude and Internet cookies.

 19-year-old juvenile delinquent, Raleigh Williams, has only ever dreamed of going to Mars. Desperate to escape the life he hates in Dead Rock, Texas and struggling to come to terms with his brother’s suicide, Raleigh will do whatever it takes to join the Martian colony. But everything changes quicker than a cat can lick its ass when Raleigh finds a young man, scarred and with no memory of who he is, lying in the desert.

When Raleigh starts remembering fragments of the stranger’s life, he agrees to help Crow piece together his identity. But the memory share goes both ways and Raleigh becomes inexplicably entangled with a boy who is everything Raleigh’s not. As their world’s collide, reality begins to unravel and Raleigh is forced to face a painful truth, one that could shatter his dreams of finding love and reaching Mars.

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

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