WIPmarathon Check-in No. 13

Second WIPmarathon report for 2015 and lucky no. 13 since these check-ins started! February was rather busy given that I got a new day job – teaching music, yay! – and that ate into some of my writing time. Also, procrastination and distraction… sigh…

My plan for February was to write words. Sound the trumpets – this happened! I am going to continue to set realistic goals for myself and then celebrate every small victory. Can there be wine and cake for the completion of every paragraph?

Last report WC for M/M WIP: 31, 765

Current report WC for WIP:  18, 878 – I seem to be ‘unwriting’ this one, but I realized that the story wanted to go in a certain direction and I was fighting that all of January. This month I let the story go where it wanted to which meant axing a point of view character and entire subplot, hence the lower word count. While I cut more than 20k words, I managed to add about 10k brand new words in all new scenes! *pats self on the back*

The SNI has been reworked and now includes a sci-fi element (I seriously struggle to right contemporary stuff) and I’m totally in love with it, but want a proper outline before I dive into this, so for now it’s percolating and has a blurb along with a very rough synopsis. I’m not allowing myself to write a single word until I know how this story ends.

Last report WC for YA fantasy: 2, 779

Current report WC for YA fantasy: 14, 624 – which is pretty impressive considering this story scares the crap out of me because it’s epic fantasy and I’ve never done this before and I feel totally out of my depth.

Writing Issues This Month:

Self-doubt threatened to derail my fantasy WIP every single time I opened the document. I keep thinking no one is going to want to read about this world, that it’s all rubbish and silly, but then I start writing and the words flow and cool things happen and I fall in love with the story all over again, which shuts up that irritating voice in my head telling me it’ll never be good enough.

Five things I learned this month:

1. Writing fantasy is so hard. So much world-building. So many details to create and remember and make plausible. I’m loving it, but it’s seriously challenging. I need to create a support document for myself telling me exactly how the world works because I keep forgetting or making tiny changes that result in the need for substantial changes.

2. Writing fantasy is awesome! I am having so much fun with this – creating my magic system and all the cultures inhabiting my world. I love it!

3. The fantasy novel includes an agender character and I almost gave them a gender just because it would make writing easier being able to use pronouns. But I stopped myself from doing this and am sticking with it even if it’s harder because the default straight, white, male characters shouldn’t populate fiction just because they’re easy to write!

4. The power of pyjamas is totally a thing. This week was a school holiday so I’ve been extra lazy and spent quite a few days in pyjamas. The days I did ended up being my most productive writing days. I think this may become my go-to tactic for whenever I’m feeling creatively constipated in the future.

5. I can juggle two works at a time! I’ve never been able to work on more than one work at a time before but because these two novels are so completely different, I’m managing to share my time between them, working on one and then other depending on my mood. So far, it’s working out pretty well.

What distracted me this month while writing:

The TV show Shameless, which I watch on lunch breaks and makes me want to write my own story about a delightfully dysfunctional big family. Swedish lessons. I’m trying to be diligent and actually study this weirdly idiosyncratic language even though it eats into writing time.

Goal for next month:

Write more words. It worked for February so I’m hoping it’ll work for March.

Last 200 words: 229 words to be specific and these are actually the last 229 words I wrote in the YA fantasy. Not sure it’ll make much sense, but here we go…

They’d taken less than ten steps when the forest fell silent. A chill snaked up Taryk’s spine despite the cloying humidity. Shani whimpered and pressed against Taryk’s legs as the jungle became suffused with a glowing mist, illuminating the overgrown path upon which they stood. The mist brightened as it wrapped syrupy fingers around Taryk’s body and wound golden tendrils about Shani’s legs. She snapped at the mist and it broke apart as if to avoid her teeth, rejoining in golden ribbons beyond the reach of her muzzle. Behind them, the horse whinnied in fear and Taryk’s right hand gripped the saber even though he knew very little about how to wield it.

A low humming replaced the silence, gradually drawing closer. The mist brightened again, the light reflected from the wide staring eyes of bushbabies in the trees and revealing the sleek body of a mamba slung across the branches. Taryk froze, unsure of the new threat yet unwilling to give up so soon.

The humming became a chant, the words indistinguishable, as figures emerged from the mist. They were garbed in pale robes, faces shadowed beneath cowls as their rapid procession continued along the path. As one they seemed to sense Taryk’s presence. The chanting continued, but the figure at the front threw back her cowl, revealing a dark face banded across the eyes with white.


“We know,” she said and Taryk swallowed hard. “We won’t let them get away with this.”

That’s it for February, how did you do?

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  • Jessica Gunn

    Oohh… those 229 words were fantastic. Drew me in! Not too often you see jungles in fantasy stories, either (unless I’m just missing all of them haha). Yes, writing fantasy is hard. I struggle with everything you mentioned, too. But at the end of the day, you’re also right– writing fantasy is fun. And it’s rewarding. You’ve created this new, wonderful world that even if no one else likes (which is doubtful! people will love it!), you can still go home to and write new stories.

    Congrats on the trailer reveal! I got my arc copy for the blog tour and I can’t wait to read I HEART ROBOT. I seriously love the cover.

    • Aw, thank you so much!! Yeah, the setting is loosely based on Africa hence the jungles 😉 And you’re right – even if no one else likes this, I’m having a ball writing it!

      Thank you for participating in the tour – I hope you enjoy I Heart Robot! 🙂

  • Emma Adams

    Glad you’re having fun writing epic fantasy! It can be a bit daunting, but I’d love to write in that genre again. LOVE the excerpt! I’m also about to start reading my e-arc of I HEART ROBOT – I can’t wait!
    Great job with all the words this month! ^_^

    • 🙂 Yay – glad you like it. I’m feeling a little insecure about this one so the fact you like the excerpt means a lot! Thank you!

      Double yay that you’re reading I Heart Robot *nervously awaits your verdict*

  • Amy McNulty

    You’re writing a YA fantasy?! *screams in excitement* it’s my fave genre, so it’s great to see you tackling it. Great job so far!

    I’m too stubborn to “unwrite” in the middle of a first draft, so that’s amazing you can tell when your project needs it. You get so much done when you’re so busy!

    • Thanks and yeah, tackling it is the right word. Feels a bit like a battle but I’m enjoying the fight 😉

      I love my character and concept and want to do them justice so the unwrite rewrite was definitely the way to go.

      I actually find that I’m most productive under pressure so being busy means I actually get more writing done!

  • Krystal Jane

    Teaching music sounds fun! And you still had a very productive month! That’s excellent! It’s okay if sci fi creeps into new idea. We have to follow our trail of interests! Always! 🙂 And by the way, epic fantasy scares the crap out of me, too! Fun, but nerve wracking, for sure.

    Omg, I love Shameless! Yep! ^_^

    Okay, like really, those last few sentences are crazy!! It sounds so dangerous, I love it!

    • Glad I’m not the only afraid of fantasy 😉

      Shameless has me in fits of hysterical laughter and in tears just about every episode. I love the diverse cast of characters too.

      😀 Yay!! Thank you!!

  • Ifeoma Dennis

    Oh wow! Your new WIP sounds exciting from the look of things! Love your excerpt!!

    And yes, fantasy is so hard to write you are a superhero for managing to combine writing it with anything else! But you’re obviously rocking it!

    I know when you keep fighting to keep a character/subplot in when deep down, you know they don’t fit in. Kudos for being brave!

    Yes, it’s our lucky 13!!!

    Happy writing next month!

    • Yay – thank you!!

      I’m even more in awe of writers like Martin now – fantasy is super hard.

      And you too!

  • Yael_Itamar

    Yes to #1 and #2 and yay for #3!

    Also, I love that excerpt. I can’t wait to read the fantasy novel when it’s ready.

  • Wow, love your words!! <3 Very atmospheric!

    I'm trying to apply the goal of small successes to a variety of things in life right now, and I think it's the way to go. Building up the confidence through progressively larger and larger met goals makes me feel happier faster 🙂 (And yes to wine and cake 😉

    Congrats on the new job!!

    • Yay – thank you! 😀

      The small milestone approach seems to be working in my favour this month so 🙂

      Thank you!

  • Jodi Leigh

    I’m giggling so hard at the first two points of your ‘Five Things I Learned…’ You remind me of Rapunzel in “Tangled” when she’s going through her hilarious manic depressant phase.

    LOVE your excerpt. “syrupy fingers…” “golden tendrils…” Such beautifully visual creep factor!