Friday, August 13, 2010

[Novel Update] Slow-Mo

Note: I have no idea why blogspot takes my finished, published articles and sets them back to "draft," but it's been happening lately with annoying regularity. Anyway, here's the article that was SUPPOSED to be up at 6 AM Friday morning:

I've been in quite a slump, lately. I'm not really stuck, I'm just not writing much. Chapter 16 is quite long and by splitting it into multiple parts, I've had material to bring to the writer's group each week, but that's all material that I wrote months ago. I've written nothing new in weeks. Sigh.

It's a combination of factors, really. Primarily, it's just really hard to focus on something that requires that much concentration when the kids are home. As such, I gradually slacked off further and further, from three hours a day down to two and one and eventually not at all. I'm still taking notes as I come up with new thoughts for future chapters or refinements for existing ones, but that's about all.

Today, however, my parents are taking the kids to the MOST. My hope and intention is to get in several hours of... something. I'm still fairly down that I've gotten so little done and that I will continue to have very little time for the next three weeks to so, and being down like that makes it hard for me to sit and focus. Yes, I could do it if I forced myself to, I just don't.

So what to work on? When last I was working consistently, I was in the process of revising chapter 15. It's one of those chapters that I was never really satisfied with and which also got quite a bit of criticism at the writer's roundtable. The result is that I feel compelled to revise it, especially since it's an important, action-packed chapter that leads directly into chapter 17. I really don't feel good about starting 17 without being confident that I know how chapter 15 turns out. I'd hate to use a character, for instance, who may have lived in one draft and died in a later one (or vice-versa, show characters mourning for one who ends up living).

The other thing that I'm finding increasingly frustrating is that the early chapters are something of a mess. I haven't gone back and revised them, but I have written later chapters knowing what revisions I plan to make to the early part. Thus, I currently have no manuscript that I can hand to a fresh set of eyes. It wouldn't make sense, because the early chapters become disjointed at the point where I decided to make some significant changes. So that's another thing I want to do. Plus, I've decided to create a new Chapter 1, which I've got detailed notes for but have not actually written. And, as if that weren't more than sufficient to keep me busy in the time that I don't seem to feel that I have, I've got a growing stack of handwritten pages of notes sitting on my desk where they're practically useless. Unless I get them into OneNote, then all of those good ideas amount to bupkis.

So there's my list of stuff to do, not necessarily in this order:
  • Revise chapter 15
  • Write chapter 1
  • Revise the current chapters 1-5ish, also possibly 7-9 or so (though they should need fewer major changes).
    • Related item: Chapter 6 has been split into chapters 6b and 6c, but I need to determine where to slide each chapter into the sequence.
    • Related to several of the above - re-number all of the chapters to account for the new Chapter 1 as well as the merging of 6b and 6c into the novel.
  • Type my notes into OneNote, organize them, and review which need to be integrated immediately into chapters that are under revision.
  • Write the rest of the damn book!
    • Note: even though I'm closing in quickly (well, slowly, to be honest) on Chapter 20, I still only feel like I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book. And I've been saying that since about chapter 13 or 14. This book just keeps getting longer and longer, apparently.
This project was originally planned to be complete in March or April, in part because I knew that exactly this would happen - whatever I didn't finish by the end of the school year would end up languishing for two and a half months while the kids were on vacation. I ought to be one of Apollo's Oracles. Or maybe I'll start playing the lottery.


  1. You said that you knew this was gonna happen. So . . . stop beating yourself up over it. Accept it, set the book aside for the rest of the summer (there's not THAT much summer left, anyway), and get after it again after school starts.

  2. Yeah, you're right and I know I should just accept what is. It's just that when this is your full-time thing, it feels like you ought to be making more progress. And if I can't make more progress, I can at least grouse about it. :D

    Thanks, though - I appreciate it!