I finished the first draft of the next Codename Omega book a while ago and I took a break to give myself some distance, so that I could come back to the story with fresh eyes. The problem is that I’m now struggling to find the inspiration to pick it up again when there are other shiny, new stories I could be writing.
This is a problem I have, because I always find the first draft the most fun part of the writing experience, as it’s the part where I’m figuring out the story and see how it all works. A second draft is an essential part of the process, but it’s more about fixing things, and I know with this book that that’s a large chunk in the middle that will need strengthening in a serious way. It will either need to be given more emotional impact or trimmed down so that the section doesn’t last as long. Or both.
I’m hoping that by publicly admitting on my blog that I need to get on with the next draft will nudge me into doing just that. After all, the book will never be finished unless I sit down and work on it, and I do want it to be finished because I had a lot of fun with a shift in perspectives in this book, compared to the rest of the series. I want to see how other people react to this change.
But I can’t publish it for readers until I’ve finished the writing process.
So this is a message to myself: get on with draft two.
I have been working on edits for A Monster’s Kindness this weekend and it feels like I’ve crossed a boundary point. I moved a scene from a little way past the mid-point of the book to a point about eight chapters earlier, which necessitated a significant rewrite of that scene. I’ve now reached the point I stole that scene from so I’ve had to do another significant rewrite to fill the hole. This is probably the largest point of rewriting in the book. Most of the rest of the edits are fixing the odd sentence here and there, putting in a few more details, or adding a few paragraphs occasionally where tension needs to be increased.
So having just completed this rewrite of a whole scene, it feels like I’ve crossed over some threshold and what’s coming from this point on are the quick changes, the short fixes. It’s starting to feel like the home stretch.
That’s a nice feeling. I’m seeing the story come together and I’m looking forward to sharing it with the world.
I just wanted to give you a quick update of where I am with my writing right now. What feels like quite a while ago now, a novella of mine called A Monster’s Kindness was accepted by Less Than Three Press. I’ve just had edits back from them, so I will be spending a lot of time in the near future going through those.
I don’t have a timeline for the publication of A Monster’s Kindness. It will depend on many things, including how long I take to go through the edits and whether another round is required after this, but this book should definitely be published sometime this year. I will keep you posted as it gets nearer to the time.
The third book of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy is finished. I’m just putting the final touches on that one before I send it to the publishers. I’m sending it to the same publisher that published the first two books in the trilogy, so I’m hopeful that it will get accepted quickly, but there’s no way to know for sure. Like any submission, I have to keep my fingers crossed. Again, I will keep you posted as I learn more.
I said in last week’s post that I’ve finished the first draft of the next Codename Omega book. I’m letting that one sit for a while. It’s actually good timing getting the edits back because it means I can focus on Monster for a bit to get some distance on Omega before going back and doing the second draft of that.
There’s something really nice about having all these projects in there different stages and seeing the progress moving towards all these new books.
This week, I finished the first draft for the next book in the Codename Omega series. The working title of this book is Codename Blank Slate, but that may well change before it comes to publication. The story carries on from the events of Omega Rising, Traitor in the Tower, and Hidden in the Signal. It actually starts shortly before the end of Hidden in the Signal and we get to see some of the events of that book from a different perspective.
That’s actually the big difference between this book and the others in the series. The previous three books have all been from Jenny’s point of view, but in this story I switch and we get another character as the protagonist, telling the story of Jenny’s war from a different angle. I don’t want to give too much away, especially in case anyone hasn’t read the earlier books in the series, but it’s been a really fun perspective to write and we get to find out a lot more about some of the characters who have been a mystery in the earlier books. I’ve really enjoyed writing this book and I hope that comes across on the page.
I think it’s a really good sign when I finished this draft already knowing how the next book would begin.
There’s still a lot of work to do – I really need to tidy up some scenes in the middle – so it will be a while before this book becomes available, but I’m still really excited and I thought it would be good to share my progress with you.
Watch this space.
My biggest problem with writing is not writer’s block, but new ideas. I will have a half-finished first draft that needs writing, or a second or third draft that needs edits, or a fanfic that’s half-posted with people in the comments saying they can’t wait for the next chapter, and a new, shiny idea will pop into my brain and go, “You’re writing me now.”
That idea sits in my brain, soaking up all the creativity energy, demanding to be written, taking up the space where I can think about writing things and crowding out all the other stories.
And I know I should be finishing the half-finished things, but this idea is just there and writing it feels easy. I can force out a couple of hundred words of the thing that I was supposed to be finishing, or I can blast out a couple of thousand words on the new thing with no apparent effort. And it all seems to go great until that idea is no longer so new and shiny. It’s become another half-written story and there’s another new idea jumping up and down in my brain going, “Me! Me! My turn!”
It’s very easy to have a hundred half-written first drafts with nothing ever finished. It takes discipline to force yourself to go, “Yes, I know that the new idea is shiny and exciting, and I will write a bit of it today, but I still need to dedicate some time to the other thing.”
One of the reasons I’m posting this now is because I’ve recently written several thousand words of a new and shiny idea, while the third Shadows of Tomorrow book is nearly finished, requiring edits on the last few chapters. It would be very easy to ignore the editing while I go write the new thing, but I’m putting this post out here as a commitment to myself that I will do the editing. If I just play with the new and shiny, nothing will ever get finished to the point of being read, so I will be getting this editing finished and I’m posting this publicly to try and hold myself accountable.
I tend not to set new year’s resolutions, but I do like to come up with goals for things I would like to achieve in the upcoming year. Here are my writing-related goals for 2019.
- Finish editing Shadows of Tomorrow book three and get it accepted by the publisher.
- Finish at least the first draft of Codename Omega book four.
- Run another writing workshop.
- Earn out my advance on Wolf Unleashed.
- Successfully launch A Monster’s Kindness, which was accepted by Less Than Three Press earlier this year.
Of all of these, the Wolf Unleashed one is going to be the hardest to achieve but the point of having these goals is to push myself.
While I was on the writer’s retreat which I posted a review for last week, I finished off a novella. This was a gay, fantasy, romance about a man being sacrificed to a monster and finding that the monster showed him more kindness than his former neighbours. I submitted it to Less Than Three Press, a publishing house that specialises in LGBTQ+ romances (a number of their titles are on the queer reading list), and I received the automatic response saying that I would hear back from them in approximately six to eight weeks.
When I saw an email in my inbox less than a week later, my heart sank, because the response was so much quicker than I expected and, from experience, rejections are always significantly faster than acceptances. I saw that email and I knew that my story had been turned down.
Apparently acceptances can be that fast because they had said yes. They sent me a contract to publish the novella as an e-book, which I have now signed. The book still has to go through the editing process, but watch this space for more news as it comes out.
This is the fastest I’ve ever had a story accepted and it’s made me more than a little excited. It’s always a thrill to have a story accepted, but to have it accepted in less than a week on its first submission is something different. I can only assume that it means they really liked it and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
I have next week booked off work, which will be awesome, and I’ll be using the time as a writer’s retreat. My intention is to get some peace and quiet and really focus on writing for a few days.
I always have several projects on the go but there are three in particular I intend to focus on for this holiday:
- finishing the second draft of the final book in the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy
- writing the first draft fourth book in the Codename Omega series
- getting the m/m monster romance novella ready to go out to publishers
I will probably work on all of these at some point over the week, but the question is where I should prioritise my efforts.
The first of those projects is probably the most urgent one as it’s been ages since the second book came out and the publishing process will take about a year even after I’ve finished it. One of my coworkers keeps asking when that book will be out, and since she’s still not forgiven me for killing her favourite character, I probably should finish the book at some point.
But having said that, tidying up the novella will probably be a shorter task. If I focus on that, I can probably get it done and have the book ready to go to publishers by the end of the week and it will feel great to have something definitively done out of this focus time.
But it would also be amazing if I could buckle down and get a complete first draft of Codename Blank Slate written.
I want to set myself definite goals because otherwise what will probably end up happening is that I’ll flit between all three of these and spend half the time writing fanfic instead. I will write some fanfic this week, but that’s not the point of doing this.
I’ve decided to set general writing goals as well as specific goals for each of these three projects. My goal is to spend at least half an hour a day on each of these three projects. That’s a small enough target that it doesn’t seem too daunting and over the course of the week off work, I should make decent progress on all of them, but it allows me the freedom to work longer on whatever happens to be flowing better that day.
I’m also going to set myself a word count target: 10000 words a day across everything, including fanfic and whatever other random stuff I end up writing. They won’t all necessarily be new words if I’m editing the novella which is why I think I can get away with setting the target so high. I can reevaluate after a couple of days if that seems like it’s going to be too much.