TAKING STOCK: WHAT DOES PROGRESS LOOK LIKE?
Earlier in the day, after watching my washing machine stuck in a repeating slow spin loop, I’d switched the thing off, gave it a kick, and switched it back on again. At that point I judged progress as seeing my washing machine complete the cycle. Later as my bus rattled into town, and I sat daydreaming out the window enjoying the sight of the beige brown wheat stubbled fields in the morning sun, the thought struck me – I’ve almost finished my second book, and I began to reflect on how different my experience writing this story has been from my previous one.
My first novel, One Summer in Montmartre, was born out of fascination with how objects from the past connect with the present. So when I had the idea of a love letter being found one hundred years after it was written, I wanted to write a two stranded novel and tell both stories; why the letter was written, and what happened after it was discovered. With the current WIP, having decided I wanted to try the paranormal genre, it was a character who appeared first. Although my initial thought was this person was the protagonist, as the idea developed it became clear that wasn’t going to be his role.
One Summer started as an assignment on a writing course, but went on the back burner for a couple of years while I completed two more creative writing courses. Despite knowing the skeletal outlines of the plot, I had to go back after the first draft and add more dramatic events, flashbacks and details to flesh out the story. I edited endlessly, taking a long time to be satisfied with my decisions. And when I thought I’d finished editing, I discovered Pro Writing Aid, adding months to the process as I put the story through the program twice. Now two years on, the book is published.
With my second novel, Tatya’s Return, after a period of incubating ideas I outlined the plot in far more detail, and wrote the first draft during last year’s November Nanowrimo while I rested One Summer. I completed One Summer in January, and nine months later, Tatya is almost ready to publish.
I’m still mulling over why the second book was easier and quicker than the first. Was it because I’d included more action? Was it because the genre or the protagonist excited me more? One Summer was a labour of love, but one where I felt the weight of putting my work out in the public arena, but as I’ve relaxed into the role of writerpreneur, writing Tatya has felt more playful.
I’ve heard other writers say your stories are like your children. Each one is precious to you, each has their distinguishing traits, but you love them equally. I’m experiencing the truth of this as I prepare to send a second one out into the world, and realizing that as with people, you give most of your attention to the one in front of you. My plan is to write the first draft of the next book in the Samsara trilogy during this year’s upcoming Nanowrimo. It’ll be interesting to see how long this one takes to complete!
This week I’m going through the WIP, making sure I’ve dealt with the red highlighted sentences. When I read aloud, most corrections are straightforward, but now and then a sentence or phrase warrants more time. I highlight these for consideration afterwards as I dislike interrupting the flow of reading for too long.
I’ve chosen the title of the trilogy, Samsara; and having finally settled on my protagonist’s name, Book One is Tatya’s Return.
After the red highlighting is sorted, a final read through and tweak, checking the protagonist has a strong emotional journey. And there will be a map – paranormal novels don’t usually have maps, unlike the fantasy genre, but the story seems to call for one. Then there’s formatting, and the cover, where I’m wondering if one aspect of progress is relief at knowing you’ve made fewer mistakes than last time?
I’ve set myself the target of achieving publication in three weeks – with a little leeway, but Halloween seems a good opportunity to release a novel featuring supernatural beings. So, with anticipation building and adrenaline levels high, I shall be working as hard as I can to make that deadline.
fresh leaf greenness fades
summer wanes - late September
sun pleasures my skin
For those of you bedevilled with grammar issues, here’s an article to confuse you further. (I’m still making my way through G. K. Pullum’s thesis.) The writeintoprint website has plenty of other tips as well.
And more encouraging news for writers already on, or considering, self publishing.
I’d love it if you checked out my debut novel, One Summer in Montmartre, or popped over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories... just click on the links to the right.
Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku
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To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
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