A new project.
Because the first one wasn’t working.
Writing journey #3.
Tue 30/03/2021 - ‘Bay Tree’ Word Count: 42,150
07.27 Hello! So I established in my last writing update that I was taking a break from my WIP ‘Bay Tree’, to return May 10th, and even though I’m not writing today, I just wanted to say that taking a break feels amazing. I’m focusing on reading (granted, I’ve been reading House of Earth and Blood for like two weeks) and it’s really helping ideas for edits develop.
In my draft, I got to chapter 13 (I think) of twenty-something (because I didn’t fully outline the climax, so I’m unclear as to how many chapters there will ultimately be) but I just don’t think I can get all the way through a draft without first doing some developmental edits. So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to note the changes I think I could make, then figure out which ones I won’t implement, then how I will implement the others on May 10th.
In the meantime, this Thursday, I’m going to start working on a new WIP, which I have quite a clear idea for, but obviously need to develop the plot. So that’s it for today, and I’ll update again for my new project on Thursday April 1st.
09.54 It is Thursday! I’m free for a couple weeks! Which means it’s time to start working on a new project. My goal for the day is just to compile some of the various ideas I have into something vaguely cohesive, then I’ll develop it tomorrow, and hopefully make a skeletal outline on Saturday, scene block on Sunday... I’m going to shut up before I set myself a thousand insane deadlines, but I’d like to have started a draft by the end of my free time. So, let’s go.
Wow. Blank documents really are intimidating, aren’t they?
13.04 I already had my core concept, but now I have almost a justification for it--why it happens, and I think I want to build up my world first, then characters, because knowing the world and its various peoples will allow me to figure out how exactly they fit in and develop their motivations, then finally do the plot. I’ll only work out the three characters I’m currently certain will be integral for the plot, because I don’t want to waste time on developing characters who are ultimately unnecessary, like I did in the earliest days of Bay Tree.
Basically, with a world, I can work out motivations; with motivations, I can work out characters, and with characters, I can create a character-driven plot. I want to focus on creating both lovable characters and a memorable plot--I know all my favourite books have memorable characters, but the ones I enjoy the absolute most are the ones where it doesn’t feel like the plot only exists to drive the characters into relationships (I’m looking at you, Cassandra Clare. Seriously, I love Shadowhunters books, but the technically ‘main’ plots always feel second to the subplots).
08.16 Honestly, didn’t get too much done yesterday. Mostly because I ended up down a rabbit hole of researching (though I do think what I learned will help me to form my world), and I was busier than I expected to be. Regardless, I think I want to make this a series. I have a feeling Bay Tree is also going to become at least two books when I revisit it, but I’m going to go into this one with that intention.
Obviously I don’t know how long it will be right now, but I think I’m going to aim for three books, then let it shape itself.
12.25 I just spent an hour writing out a history of the world and how it got to where it is. This is really fun, but really intense.
16.36 So, I have a rough plot in mind. I have an ending, a catalyst, a backstory for the world, and a few characters. And a lot of things that need names. I waited a really long time to name my characters in Bay Tree, thinking they’d be easier to name when I had then conceptualised, which makes sense, but I’d given them numbers with which to refer to them until that point, so it was a long time before my protagonist became her actual name instead of just ‘3′, despite the fact she technically became 2 because I had to cut 1.
Anyway, going to pick names, then let nominative determinism do its thing.
Jesus, I have no good male names. I keep a list of names, first and last, I like for use, but I have so many more female ones than I do male.
In Bay Tree, I used MBTIs as a starting point for personalities, which I’m planning to do here, especially since I know the types so much better now, but I want names first.
Maybe I just ought to choose this specific character’s surname first. Maybe he goes by his surname, or some variation thereupon (like how Daniel Arlington from Ninth House goes by Darlington).
Maybe he doesn’t need a name. Maybe we literally just call him Hero Guy.
God, screw this. He’s Hero Guy until either it comes to me, or I have no choice but to name him.
11.15 I feel like crap today. I’ve been doing nothing for three hours, and I, quite frankly, need to get something done. So I’m going to write.
12.41 Wow, initial development really is the hardest bit of the process, huh?
08.04 I’d really like to do more worldbuilding first, and character development, but it’s difficult when I don’t know the different parts’ roles. So, today, I’m going to attempt to outline the primary plot points of the three books. Attempt being the operative word here.
13.41 Honestly, yeah, I’m struggling with the plot. I think I managed to get Bay Tree’s plot so fast when I sat down to actually write it because it had been on my brain for a couple weeks, whereas I literally started this project three days ago.
Maybe that’s how I’ll handle this--when I hit a wall with one project, I work on the other to give myself some distance. Working on Bay Tree requires less thought anyway, because that plot’s already mostly figured out. Yeah. I think I’m going to revisit Bay Tree, but for reference’s sake, I’m going to dub the new project... eh... the first thing that came to mind was ‘Feather President’ which is more related to the actual content than ‘Bay Tree’, but it sounds so much crazier. I want to dub it something that actually could be a title, even if it definitely won’t be the final title, because I don’t want people to look at my blog, see ‘Feather President’ in the pinned post and immediately assume I’m insane.
Could always just use an acronym. Let’s go with FSB; those are one of the character’s (also the only character who so far has a name) initials, which may ultimately change, but it works for now. Bay Tree and FSB.
I’m going to end this particular writing stint here and come back in a couple hours, at which point I’m going to switch back to Bay Tree.
I should really stop planning so far ahead when my plans will inevitably change.
15.40 So here’s the plan I currently have that I definitely won’t stick to: at the start of each week, I’ll determine which project I work on (operating Monday-Sunday; if you think the week starts any day but Monday, you’re wrong, and I’m not sorry), and only work on that project throughout the week. So I’ll work on Bay Tree this week, and FSB next week.
I’m going to let myself work on a project for more than one week at a time, but I think I’m going to say I can only work on one for three consecutive weeks before I have to switch to the other. This seems like a good way to stay excited. Yes.
This second? Not completely sure. Might just go read and deal with it tomorrow.
Mon 05/04/2021 - ‘Bay Tree’
11.37 Actually really glad I just sat down and read--I read about 200 pages yesterday in total, which meant I could easily finish the last 100 pages this morning. So I finished Starsight (the recent reads post will probably be up by the time this one is)--was anyone aware the A Court of Silver Flames paperback is £24 on Amazon? Anyone?
Anyway, we’re returning to Bay Tree today, after nearly two weeks (I know that’s not even long), and I’m going to attempt to implement my edits, by which I mean I’m going to put scene changes at the bottom in brackets, then technically implement them when I redraft.
Tue 06/04/2021 - ‘Bay Tree’
09.11 I didn’t exactly accomplish much yesterday. I spent a good few hours just watching YouTube, because I didn’t have any motivation to do work, which screwed up my schedule, and I did no writing aside from transferring my list of edits from my phone to my document. I started reading Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater, but didn’t get very far in--I’m obsessed with Stiefvater’s writing style; it’s the perfect mix between typical prose and fairytale-style storytelling. Anyway.
I’m going to switch to a new Scrivener project for the sake of cleaning it up--Bay Tree is a hot mess right now--and hopefully begin to implement my edits--maybe not today, but certainly this week.
Thu 08/04/2021 - ‘Bay Tree’
16.53 So I haven’t yet had a day where I’ve done nothing (since my break finished), but the last couple days I’ve just been doing tiny amounts of what I’m calling ‘reference pruning’, where I’m just editing and clarifying character, worldbuilding and location documents. I’ve ‘pruned’ five character references, and I hate it. It needs to be done, but it doesn’t need to be done now. I’ve decided I’m just going to completely clear out the new Scrivener project I started for Bay Tree, and add stuff to it as it becomes necessary. I’m going to make notes of overarching edits (stuff I can’t just note at the bottom of a scene), and just get started with draft 1.7, adding and editing references as it becomes necessary. I’m also going to say I just need to spend an hour writing a day, rather than a word minimum.
Okay. Edits established. Things to bear in mind established. I need to go through the character profile for the POV character in chapter one, then we can get started. Or rather, I’ll get started tomorrow, because I need to go cook soon, and even if I do have time after dinner, I’m not going to, because I’m going to read then. Okay. Character.
I’m getting excited again!
Oh, and the setting. I need to do the setting document.
I’d like to draw attention tot he fact one of my character documents describes her as having ‘black upturned gold eyes.’
Clearly I couldn’t pick a colour, but now I’m inspired to give her heterochromia.
Character done, and setting undone, but I need to go cook now, so I’ll pick this back up tomorrow, when I may also do some actual work.
I just hope these posts give someone security in that writing is a messy process, and you don’t have to be perfect all the time to be a) competent, and b) a writer. I’m a competent writer, and I’ve only ever written about 60% of a draft. But I’m still going, still trying, and that’s the point.
Fri 09/04/2021 - ‘Bay Tree’: 484 words
09.15 Okay. So we’re redrafting, and this is like my fourth draft of the first chapter, so let’s just go.
Sun 11/04/2021 - ‘Bay Tree’: 576 words
09.01 Yeah, I missed yesterday. Ironically, having time off seems to be making productivity more difficult, despite the fact I actually have time for it.
09.19 I feel like this project is making me stagnate. I think what I have is almost subconsciously tying me down, preventing me from improving, but I don’t want to just restart, because I want my bases, and it’s so ingrained in my head, I can’t physically start from scratch. Crap.
I think it needs to sit for longer. Crap.
It’s alright. I mean, it sucks, but it’s alright. It’s not like there’s any ideal age to become an author anyway, and I’m a long way off the average. I have time, and if it takes shelving projects now to complete better ones later, so be it. Maybe I’ll return to Bay Tree in a few weeks, or a few months, or a few years, or never, but I’ve learnt a lot from it.
So we move on.
Mon 12/04/2021 - FSB
08.05 This post is such a mess. I’m a mess at the moment. Today, we’re just continuing to work on FSB’s plot, and I think I’m already going to change the name of the character whose initials are FSB, so its nickname will probably change, too.
I had a trilogy in mind, but looking at it now, I think a duology will be best to convey the arc I have in mind.
21.51 I’ve actually accomplished quite a lot today--I’ve mostly been doing character profiles, but that helps me form tidbits to add to the story, which I can eventually string together. We’re progressing.
Tue 13/04/2021 - FSB
08.37 Hello! I think I can safely come to the conclusion I prefer development to actual drafting. Anyway, today I’m going to focus on completing the character profile for my other protagonist and do a little more work on another important figure. Then, I hope to be able to figure out the drive of the main plot in book one.
On another note, I am debating whether to plan out two books or three. Mulling it over, I think three books would give a more fulfilling arc, but it depends if I can work out enough content for the main plot. We’ll see.
Yeah, it’s going to be three. Two just can’t carry the impact I want.
20.00 I made pretty good progress today, but I just wanted to make the point I’m a lot more confident this project will hold my interest for longer than Bay Tree. This was something ruminating in the back of my mind for weeks, that I was desperate to write, where Bay Tree was very much a ‘sit down, make something up’ process at the beginning. Anyway, I think I’m done writing for the day, and I’ll get back to this tomorrow. (Because unlike most writers, I have a functional sleep schedule)
09.19 Honestly, my head is empty right now, so I really need to open my project before determining what I want to do today.
Okay, so we’re basically just going to continue filling in holes.
14.50 Working out the plot, I’m pretty confident I’ve got the A plot covered, which the B plot will fit into, but I need more subplots.
10.12 I want to work this one out mostly on the fly. I have nearly the whole of book one plotted out, but I want to work out the fine details as I write it; as I go, I’ll add more detail to my outlines of two and three. But for now, book one.
15.28 I’ve got basically the whole of book one covered; there’s just a gaping hole in act one, that I’m not sure I can fill. I mean, I can fill it, and I will, but I don’t feel like it’ll be that intentional of a thing. I think it’ll be more of an accidental idea that happens to flourish, but I’m going to keep working nonetheless.
14.08 Good afternoon! I would’ve started writing earlier, but I wanted to catch up on the reading I didn’t do yesterday to make sure I finish A Court of Silver Flames within a week, so I can return the ebook and get a refund, because, despite being £6 cheaper than the paperback, it still cost me £8, and I want my money back. (Seriously, the paperback is fourteen pounds on amazon. Which is nearly twenty dollars. Which is pretty standard for a hardback, but it’s the paperback.) I’m about ten pages off meeting my minimum for the day (though I need to surpass that if I do want to finish it within a week), but it’s writing time.
14.37 I’m still establishing how, exactly, it applies, but I think I’ve solved it!
Definitely happy that as I’m planning, all I want is to make the characters happy, because I already love them so much. But they don’t get to be.
I have a section on a Pinterest board that’s just called ‘Simping’, and is just pictures of couples doing cute as shit things, and I literally just want my characters to dance together. Always. In Bay Tree, in FSB. Just dancing.
15.04 I have book one covered. It still needs development, scene development, but I can now move on to outlining book two, during which I’ll continue to develop one, integrate themes and such.
Honestly, the plot falling into place is absolutely the most exciting part of writing. I get an adrenaline rush (yes, while sitting in a chair, typing), I start to love the characters, the world, the story... ahhhh.
I’m actually really satisfied with how the plot seems to be going.
16.44 The word ambiguous has too many Us in it. Three vowels in a row??? And the vowel sequence is a palindrome?? Don’t want it.
I’m just sat here discovering new music. And it’s all so good and so dramatic and so perfect.
Okay, why do I have to come up with ideas so easily when I don’t need them? Then when I do I have nothing?
17.51 And just to clarify now, this post will actually end with Sunday the 18th, because after that I’m going to take three weeks completely off writing (aside from noting ideas), because I have a lot going on, then I’ll return on May 10th.
Note to self: develop a character who isn’t one of your two protagonists.
10.23 I’m thinking I ought to do a more in-depth outline of book one before doing the basis of book two. Help me set up subplots and so on. Yanno, because other characters need some kind of agency, and I currently basically have two characters.
08.52 I managed to plot out Bay Tree so fast because I’d already done so much development--plot was the only thing I was still missing. Anyway, I’m having a minor crisis. I think I’m a plotter, but I’m not entirely certain. It clearly didn’t work for Bay Tree. I think I may just start a draft of FSB now, and hope that lets me work out the other two books as I go.
In one of my excessive plans I will probably fail to stick to: I think I’d like to write a draft of the whole trilogy, all the way through, before even editing book one. I’ll obviously make notes of edits as I go, write as if I’ve already made them, eg. if, while writing book two, I have an idea for a book one edit, I’ll write book two as if I’ve already implemented it, which means I’ll have a little less editing to do of book two.
I have this all planned out in my head, but I’m probably being overambitious. We’re staying optimistic, though. I don’t believe in manifesting, but we’re manifesting.
14.23 I want to say I tried. I got a few details for the first couple chapters, but when I opened a doc to actually write it... nope. I need an outline to have a starting point. I just need detail.
Scene blocking sucks. But then I can’t write without it, so what can you do?
And I guess that wraps up this update. Writing this section, I’m about halfway through the writing break, and I have so many more ideas for this project. I was excited for Bay Tree because it was the first time I really made progress, but I’m excited for this one because I genuinely love this story. This post is going up May 14th, at which point I’ll be back to writing, and the next update should come mid to early June.
And that’s a wrap.
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