As it’s almost been a year since my last blog post, I figured it’s about time for another update! I’m pleased to report that I have been neglecting my blog in order to write my novels (rather than neglecting my novels to write my blog posts), so although that sucks for my blog, it’s been great for my novels!
I have been much more focused on writing during this past year, and have written almost every day. I’m finally at the point where writing is now a part of my daily routine, and I actually miss it if I don’t get a few words down. For that reason, I have made huge progress on all of my projects this year. My writing tracker spreadsheet tells me I’ve written 66,000 words so far in 2020.
What projects am I working on?
I have four writing projects.
- 1 YA dystopian (Yup, I know these aren’t as trendy as they used to be, but I’ve started it so I’m going to finish it…)
- 1 romance
- 2 domestic thrillers
Where am I at with each of my projects?
Thriller 2 – my main focus
This year, I am excited to announce that I am currently taking a novel-writing course: the Faber Academy Work in Progress online course to be precise. I am loving it, and it has gone a long way in making me stick to my writing deadlines. Each month, we are expected to submit a new batch of 7000 words with hopes of ending the year with a full and well-developed draft. I am working on thriller number 2 for this course, which I started during Nanowrimo 2019. I got about 30,000 words during Nano, but have re-written most of it during the course so far. Thriller number 2 currently stands at 43,000 words (I’m at the midpoint), and I am feeling so good about it! Without sounding too optimistic or delusional, I am hoping this one won’t need the massive structural changes that have plagued my other novels. My writing has improved drastically with every passing year, and I’m excited to continue on this upward trajectory.
My romance novel currently stands at 26,000 words. I am hoping to get it up to 70,000 and self-published by the end of the year. Again, I’m probably being overly optimistic (there’s a theme here…). I have it all planned out and have designed the cover already. It was originally planned as a novella, but the more I wrote, the more I realised I needed more words in order to give the story the space it needed. Thus far, I’ve found it really easy to write, so I’m hoping this continues…
This thriller is 81,000 words as it stands, but I’m doing a huge rewrite, so I will be editing the lot. I am keeping the main story, but tweaking some of the setup scenes, as at present, it takes too long to get started. I am hoping to have this new draft finished by the end of the year.
As you might know, I’ve been working on this blasted novel for six years now. I’ve changed the whole story, characters, tense, POV, and practically everything else (often more than once), but I finally feel like I’m on the right track. As previously mentioned, I know this genre isn’t popular anymore (it was when I first started writing it…), but I will finish it and either keep it as a learning experience or self-publish it (but only if I feel it’s good enough). It is currently 30,000 (‘good’) words, and 60,000 overall. I don’t have a strict deadline for this, as I’m already worried about spreading myself too thin, but I will play around with it in my spare time and see where I’m at in a few months.
I’m also happy to report that my colouring book has sold about 55 copies (some in the USA which blows my mind). It’s not a huge sum, but considering I haven’t really marketed it, I’m chuffed.
And that’s it for now! See you in another year, I guess (or hopefully sooner…)!
I know I have recently updated you on my self-published colouring book, but I thought I’d do a little post about where I’m currently at with my writing projects. I thought I’d done one of these before (a long time ago), but I can’t seem to find the post, so perhaps I just imagined it!
Up until about a year ago, I only had one main writing project on the go. I had also written a handful of short stories, some of which I submitted to competitions (with no success), but mainly, my whole focus was on writing my YA dystopian novel, which is called Zone Seven. Here are some photographs which hint at the plot, without giving too much away (all images downloaded from unsplash.com).
So, what’s new?
Well, for starters, Zone Seven is still not finished (lol, whoops), but it has come a long way since then. Over the past 5 (!) years that I’ve been writing it, I:
- Wrote a terrible first draft of 55,000 words. I’m using the term first draft rather loosely here, because to be honest, it was more of a zero draft.
- Re-wrote it (second draft), and cut about 20,000 of those first awful words, maybe even more – it’s been so long I can’t really remember.
- Muddled on for a bit, before I stopping to re-evaluate the whole thing using the notecard method. There’s a whole blog post devoted to that which you can read here. It is one of my more popular blog posts, so hopefully, you will find it helpful.
After I was somewhat happy with the new scene structure, I participated in and won (woohoo!) Camp Nanowrimo 2017, where I wrote 40,000 new words, bringing my total to roughly 71,000 words.
Since then, I have been sporadically re-writing my chapters. I’ve changed tense twice and am now back with my original tense (because of course I am!). At this point in time, I have edited the first 34,000 words, most of which I now need to go back through and re-write the tense again. WHY AM I LIKE THIS?
So basically, to finish this next draft, I need to re-write chapters 1-23 in present tense and then edit the remaining 40,000 words. I am still a long way off, but I will finish this novel, even if it kills me…
Why has Zone Seven taken me so long?
About a year ago (April 2018), I started writing another novel. This is now what I refer to as my ‘main’ novel, because honestly, I think it’s better than Zone Seven and has been so much easier to write. It’s a domestic thriller which was originally titled Can’t Say No, but I have since changed this, although I’ll be keeping the title a secret for now! The story seed for this novel, came to me in a dream (all my ideas seem to come to me this way, which is great!).
I was originally going to write a different thriller (too many ideas, send help) because I thought Can’t Say No would be too complicated as it has more than one narrator, but before I realised it, I was outlining it.
I wrote the first 11,000 words pretty quickly and entered it into a novel writing competition, and then was going to write it for my Camp Nano 2018 project. I started really well, before stalling at around 15,000 words. I pulled out of Nano and spent months re-structuring, before plunging back in with actual Nano in November 2018, where I succeeded in writing 50,000 words, bringing my total to about 70,000 words.
I thought that would be me done in terms of word count, but this novel is looking to be about 90-95 000 words, so I still had 20,000 left to go. Over the past six months, I have managed to reach 81, 000 words, but have stopped to edit what I have. I am very specific about my writing process and see no point plundering onwards without first ensuring that the foundations laid at the beginning of the novel are strong.
So from now on, I’ll be methodically editing my draft, until I feel ready to write the remaining 10-15,000 words, which I’m hoping will be easier once everything else is as it should be!
Those are my main projects.
Am I working on anything else?
So to make life even harder for myself, I have another few projects on the go, which probably explains why I haven’t finished anything yet. I am working on a novelty short-story anthology (I think I’ve decided to do an anthology instead of another colouring book for now, but knowing me, I’ll change my mind again. In fact, I just had an idea for another activity book…), and have also started two shorter romance novellas. These novellas are ‘on the back burner’ for now, but if I have time, I like to add a sentence or two to them on my phone, using the OneNote app, which is super helpful. I’ve written two chapters this way, and it seems like a stress-free way to write and is more productive than browsing Facebook in my otherwise ‘dead’ time. I am hoping to write a blog post on this, as it might be a process that others find useful.
So yeah, that’s it really! Now you’re all caught up. I’d love to know what you are all working on in the comments!