As many of you are aware, I’m trying to transition to being a full-time urban fantasy indie author. I’m currently also a freelance developmental editor. I’ve been ill for a while now, a month maybe? Too long anyway. That’s meant I have far lower energy than I’d like and haven’t been up to carrying the workload I usually like.
This indie author thing means I have deadlines. I’m going to release Infernal Alliances in early – mid November. I need to release Stolen Ink in February, and I’m really tempted to throw something into Kindle Scout next year too. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I need to have Stolen Ink drafted by Samhain (Halloween), and Infernal Alliances polished and edited by then too.
You’re seeing where this is going aren’t you?
I’ve fallen behind on my drafting of Stolen Ink. The freelance editing comes first. My clients come first. So I’ve been using all my energy on that.
Today, I need to write 9,000 words on Stolen Ink. Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll have to do the full developmental edits on Infernal Alliances, so that my editor can begin copy edits on Monday.
Due to IA being the last book in the Infernal Hunt series it was, quite frankly, a bit of a bitch to write. The main problem was I hadn’t decided if it would be the final book or not, until I was halfway through writing it. I was also insanely stressed when I wrote it. That means that there is a subplot in there that I wasn’t entirely sure about. It could go either way.
By either way I mean – I could have extended it and woven it into the plot, or I could cut it out and extend the main plot. I went over that draft and tortured myself going back and forth for a week before I finally decided to let my editor decide.
He decided that we should cut that subplot.
I completely agree with his decision. That does however mean that this weekend I have to do all of the other necessary developmental edits, cut that subplot, and extend the rest of the plot to fill the gap. I’ll have 48 hours to do that.
If push really comes to shove and I just can’t do it all that quickly, then my editor will copy edit behind me so to speak. He’ll begin copy editing chapter one and work behind me as I continue my developmental edits later in the book.
Quite simply I’m going to break it down into bite-sized chunks. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by something like this. You look at the entire huge project and panic. It’s ok, one step at a time.
Today, with the writing, I’ll be doing a series of sprints. I have ADD so I need controlled stimulation and changes to keep me focused. This means I will be active on Twitter between short bursts (I write for a maximum of 15 minutes at a time, my focus won’t go past that). I’ll also be alternating between writing straight into Scrivener, and using Write Or Die.
I’ll be switching between my two primary playlists on Spotify. I flip between them depending on the scene I’m writing.
I’ll write scene by scene, this makes it manageable chunks. It’s no longer 9,000 words, it’s a collection of linked scenes.
I do have other things to do today, errands to run and such, so they will be done when I need a small break. That way I keep on top of everything, and remain fresh.
If I can maintain my focus, this should be perfectly manageable. I can write a chapter in 15 minutes, it really does come down to that focus. Given I’m still ill, that’s going to be my main obstacle.
Tomorrow with the edits, I’ll do a similar thing, break it down into smaller steps.
First I’ll read through every editing note with particular focus on the end of chapter, and end of book write ups. I’ll drink a cup of coffee and allow those notes to sink it. That will give me the broad focus of the edits that need to be done.
From there, I’ll start by cutting out that subplot. That will be a blunt, brutal, hack and slash. It needs to be removed entirely, no point wasting time.
Then I’ll go through the early chapters that come before that subplot emerges and tidy those up.
So far so good. After that, the real work will come. That is where I’ll have to tidy up the remaining text, and begin filling in those gaps. That time drinking my coffee will have given me the ideas and scenes that I plan on writing and putting in there. It’ll be a case of weaving them in, while also dealing with the other imperfections.
It’ll be a chapter by chapter process. One step at a time. I’ll take a deep breath and have a small break at the end of each chapter, that’ll keep me fresh and act as a small reward. It’s not one huge undertaking, it’s a series of smaller ones.
This is the biggest change I’ve ever made to one of my books during editing. It has never been more than a few tweaks here and there before. Usually I just have to extend the fight scenes, touch up a little dialogue, and tweak a couple of out of character moments. So I’m not going to lie, this is a bit freaky.
I understand why it needs to be done, I know why the draft didn’t come up to my usual standards, and I’m learning from that.
I can do this. 🙂
My anemia hit me like a freight train this morning. I wasn’t feeling particularly good on Friday, but I managed to get 6,000 words drafted on Stolen Ink. Not the 9,000 I wanted but given how horrible I felt it wasn’t bad.
I’m having the delete a lot more of the book than I initially expected. I wove the subplot in more entirely than I’d remembered, which means that thus far I’ve deleted some 10,000 words. I’m going to end up rewriting roughly half of the book, and what I write has to be publishable as it’ll go straight to copy editing.
I feel like death. Not even death warmed over, just plain old death. I feel like a complete failure for having put out a draft as it is, but I understand why it happened. I should have decided what the purpose of the book was the moment I began writing. I went back and forth on whether it was going to be the final book, or whether there would be sequels coming after it. That diluted it. I’ve removed a subplot from Stolen Ink to stop this from happening again.
I worked for about 12 hours yesterday and did enough for my editor to work through on Monday. I can’t pull another 12 hours today, I really don’t have it in me, so I’ll do what I can.
Lesson learned – know the purpose of your book, don’t screw around.