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!