I've made slow progress this week. Manic stuff at work and a week of Trump as President hasn't helped my creativity. There were days where I felt myself sucked into a dark well of depression and it made my ability to be creative difficult to mine. Non-creative types don't understand how important it is to support and encourage creatives. They are not machines who churn out originality at the touch of a button. It takes time. Time to think. Time to craft.
As a result I've pushed my deadline back for WE ARE THE DEAD. I can write 1000 words a day relatively comfortably when I do write but too many missed days had pushed the amount needed up to nearer 2,000 and that's impossible for me except on a very rare day.
If I make this new deadline, then the book will have taken me six months to write a first draft. Very respectable.
I also had the fear last night that what I was writing was crap but I've done this enough times to know that feeling too is par for the course. I've just got to keep going.
I'm making great progress on the book but I doubt I'll make my deadline for the end of February. I'll give it my best shot but I'm not going to kill myself in the process. And I want it to be good.
Writing had been really enjoyable and helped massively by having four main characters. If I'm struggling in one area, I can hop to another POV to keep the momentum going. I like all the characters as well — they feel very different.
On one podcast of The Bestseller Experiment, John Connolly warned about the attraction of the new - how a new idea will come along and tempt you from what you're trying to write and said these new ideas must be avoided until you've finished what you're writing.
Funnily enough, I've had that happen to me. I've had a great idea for dear old Nathaniel Rane. He was the main character in my first book, CRY HAVOC, and I used him again in HE WHO FIGHTS. It's tempting to abandon WE ARE THE DEAD to chase this new idea because it feels so good but I must resist. It can wait until after WATD is finished.
However I have been playing with it a bit in my drawing as a way of feeding the itch just a bit.
Instead of doing random drawings/sketches, I'm thinking about telling a story about Rane, comic book style....
The Bestseller Experiment is a podcast by Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux as they try to write, publish and market a bestseller in a year. Each week, they interview someone in 'the business' - from authors to agents to editors to publishers and get their advice on what makes a Bestseller.
I discovered it because they interviewed Joe Abercrombie and he tweeted a link. Since then I've become hooked on it. Its entertaining, educational and inspiring. I love Abercrombie's quote about making it:
It's so true. There have been dark days on this writing journey and plenty of days when I've wanted to give it up but I knew, if I did give in, then I'd never be published but, if I continued, I had a chance.
The other big thing to come out of the podcast was they talked about a book called Into The Woods by John Yorke.
It's a super-fascinating book about the structure of stories and why they work. It's really opened my eyes to a lot of things and made me think a lot about HE WHO FIGHTS and how I could have made that better. I also rejigged WE ARE THE DEAD because of it and its already made it so much better.
Progress on the book is happening, a bit slower than I'd like as we're super busy at the day job — but it's getting there.
I want to hit 40,000 words tonight - a third done and under my belt.
I'm still drawing too. I got a new moleskine sketchbook for Christmas and I've been doodling away.
I have to confess, like so many people, I'm more than happy to see the back of 2016. I'm full of hope that 2017 will be a better year.
I've made slow but steady progress on the book. It stands at 36,000 words after a bit of back tracking. I'm happy with where it's going and the characters. It still amazes me how characters take over when you actually start writing them. 2 out of my 3 main characters are 100% different from how I originally envisioned them - and a 4th, an early favourite is struggling to find a role to play at all.