Time to get into a higher gear

I took the opening of my novel to writing group on Monday. I was pretty okay with it – I knew it was a good, sound idea. I knew my rendering of it wasn’t anywhere near as good as I would like it to be. I thought I was prepared for any sort of criticism that might come.

In the end, very little was said about the writing itself, but a lot was said about the idea. Some very interesting questions were asked, showing me other areas that I need to explore and understand for myself. I was left feeling that yes, I had an idea well worth pursuing. Yes, it’s a very meaty idea, and will be an incredible challenge. And yes, I really, really want to work on this project. I nearly said I want to complete it, but while I do of course want to be able to put THE END on the page and continue with the process of polishing and publishing, I’ve got a long way to go first. I’m determined to really enjoy the journey, to relish working out storylines, characters and settings and to really explore the world and develop my writing in the process.

I’m using Scrivener for the writing and planning process, and find it really useful to be able to lay out the different scenes/chapters for three different story arcs and be able to label them and move them around to work out the best route. It contains templates for characters and settings, and I’m finding them useful too – just the simple question under the Setting template – what does the place smell like? – encourages me into more detail and more research.

So far I’ve been building in a regular writing session on a Friday morning, when after my morning swim I go to a cafe on the seafront for a bacon roll and mug of tea and sit scribbling for half an hour, but that really isn’t anywhere near long enough to make any serious indents into the work. Now it’s getting cooler in the evenings I can sit with my laptop on the sitting room, so maintaining a semblance of sociability with my family while still working, but while I have time on my hands I need to make the most of it. This feels like a snowball going downhill – the more time I spend, the more engaged I become and the more time I want to spend. The time I spend swimming is of course taken up with planning and thinking about my work. I wish I could record my thoughts as I swim!

As I beta read, I’m really starting to appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the completion of a project, and to feel excited that I’m actually on my way with my own project. My aim is to plan thoroughly over the next few weeks, then to force a new draft through for nanowrimo, before really pulling it apart and editing it thoroughly. I originally wrote this as a nanowrimo novel a few years ago, but I have really adapted and developed the story since then and it will be very different from that original first draft. Draft 1B perhaps?  I will, of course, be looking for my own beta readers once I have enough of an edited version to make it worthwhile, as beta readers will give feedback on plot and characterization, then there will be more edits, then hopefully I’ll feel confident enough about my project (and be earning enough) to look for an editor and proofreader to finish it off.

If anyone is interested enough to want to be involved as a beta reader/writing partner from early in the process, feel free to drop me a line, by the way.

I’m really looking forward to every step of this.


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  1. Good luck to you – I just downloaded the free version of Scrivener last night and am navigating through it in an attempt to be more organized with book two – which i plan to do during my first ever NaNoWriMo this November. I have the dreaded feeling though that being so organized this time around will make me want to go back and do a major re-write of Book One – even though I’ve already sent it for querying.

  2. Come November honey you should come to some Write Ins. A couple of hours in a coffee shop with fellow writers all beavering away on their laptops is soooo inspiring, and i can easily get a couple of thousand words done 🙂



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