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So, we’ve been in lockdown since mid-March. My wife works from home from my old desk so I’m working on one half of the kitchen table. I get up early before my wife and daughter to fit in a few quiet hours to get some writing done and fit in what I can throughout the rest of the day.
I finished that alien short story the end of March. It came in at 45k words so I guess it’s not a short story any longer. I wrote a fourth story which I initially thought might be as an epilogue but is probably a separate story.
I then did another draft of a fantasy short story which I’ve been working on for several years. I’m still not happy with it, but the current draft is a big improvement on the last one. I’ll tinker at again at another time.
I also started editing the first book of my six book fantasy. Draft 2 took until the end of April. Draft 3 took about two weeks. I enjoyed Draft 2. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the first draft. Draft 3 was less fun. It was staring at the individual strokes of an impressionist painting. Stare close enough and the structure disappears, the dots lose their meaning. I was glad to get to the end and send it off to my beta readers.
Anyway, on to Book 2. I have a feeling that parts of this one will take a lot more work, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. *crosses fingers*
It was all so simple. I had an idea for a story—an alien invasion story with a twist. It would be the first story in a second Alienity collection. But then I had an idea for a sequel, a continuation. It was easier to write than the original story, so I wrote it while the other matured.
I finished it. It was good. I wrote the second. I had an idea for a third. So, now I’m thinking instead of another Alienity, I’ll write a collection set in this particular world. I could see ideas sprouting around it. There were at least a couple of other stories that I might pursue. They weren’t outlined. I couldn’t put them neatly into sentences. They were more intriguing whispers.
The first two short stories came in at the 10k-12k range. I always write short. My stories always expand in editing. The second had the potential to expand, but that could wait. I had this third story to write. I had the exact ending already. It would probably come in around the same size as the others.
The third is now over twice that and still growing. It moves ahead like a rainbow. I go to where the finish appears to be, but it’s still teasing me in the distance. It could need another 10k words, maybe less, maybe more. I doubt it will reach novel length, but it could.
I tend to pants short stories. I instinctively know what I want. All I need to know is where I want to finish. But in this case, getting there is taking a lot longer than usual. The logistics of getting the characters where I want them conspires against brevity.
So, on one hand, I’m really intrigued by this story and at the same time I’m annoyed with it for being so long.
The big crunch is coming though. I am closing in on what I had intended to be the end. Do I finish there and continue the arc in another story, or do I keep this one going? My original ending was ideal for a short story, but as this story moves towards a long novella will it will it be sufficient? Does what would have been the next story become the next section of this one?
I guess I must write it to find out.
My fantasy novel series isn’t forgotten. I’m just leaving it alone for now so I can get some distance from them. In April I’ll start the second draft of the first one. Waiting until then is a chore, but it’s the right thing to do. I need to come back to them as a stranger, seeing them with fresh eyes.
I’ve come to the realisation that the best way to write a first draft is to assume everything written is either brilliant or can be fixed later, and not worry too much about the relative percentages of either. Cold, hard reality can wait for the second draft.
I finished Book 6 which is now *cough* Book 5. I’m very happy with the ending of the book, but after already experiencing the high of writing the series finale, it felt a little anticlimactic. Nonetheless, the first draft of the full series (6 books) is in now complete. It’s kind of luxurious to see the story from start to finish. I plan to start work on the 2nd Drafts early this year.
I was kind of at a loss what to do immediately after I finished so I toyed about with a short story about alien invasion. This has turned into three stories and more will possibly be added. I have no outline for them. I find that if I know the ending it’s relatively easy to put the rest together. But sometimes, I don’t know the ending or rather I have two diametrically opposite endings that both will fit the story. I don’t know which one until I finish. This sort of story is the most exciting for me to write. It’s like I am reading the story for the first time as I write it.
Overall, in 2019, I wrote 209k words, comprising mostly of the first drafts of three novels. That beats the previous year by about 25k words. I missed writing only ten days in the year. My philosophy is to be honest with myself and not to overly worry about streaks and so on. I write whenever I can but sometimes life intrudes and I have to accept I can’t. On the other hand, there are days when I have the time but not the inclination. On those days, I grit my teeth and write; I write my quota clinging onto every squeezed out word for dear life. It’s amazing what can be achieved in little steps. I have to say having Scrivener on my phone made a huge difference to my productivity.
I plan to achieve the same rough word count this year (ca 183k words or roughly 500 words per day for the entire year). I also plan to start overhauling those first drafts. I am approaching the first book of the series with excitement. I’ll probably end up changing every word I wrote, but, as I remember it, the backbone of the story should hold up pretty well.
I also published Alienity this year, finishing out four short stories. I plan to publish more as I finish them.
On Amazon until Saturday 27th July. Make sure to grab a copy!
Here’s the blurb of my new collection of short stories.
H.G. Wells faces judgment by one of his creations. The Earth’s first tour guide for aliens encounters the planet’s worst ever tourist. The fate of Humanity lies in the hands of the most isolated man in its history. The Kefloins, having secured membership to the Galactic Congress for the Earth, now turn to the planet’s ambassador with their most terrible secret in the hope she can find a solution.
Four short stories about aliens ranging from humorous to deadly somber.
Currently available on Amazon.
If you squint really hard you can possibly see me tottering at the top of that tower of books. I had a very busy first four months of the year. I finished the first draft of the Book 4 in the series about a week ahead of schedule. It came in about 62k words and was the probably the easiest to write since Book 1. I’m confident of finishing Book 5 by the scheduled date. I’m really looking forward to revealing the main villain. It is my concept of him that really transformed a standalone short story into the prequel of a five book series.
However, perhaps of more immediate interest, I am going publish a bundle of four short SF stories that I recently finished. It’s been a while since I published anything so I am really looking forward to releasing them. They range from humorous to quite dark, but they all center around aliens in some way. More detail to follow on the very near future.
The Gadium Emergence Committee ‘manages’ the transformation of other planets to a higher evolutionary state. When a group inspired by a survivor of a car crash threatens to discover this process too early, the team assigned to manage the Earth’s ‘emergence’ has to try to stop them. To further complicate things, another faction on Gadium is bent on perverting the process.
It took a few chapters to grip me, but once it did, I couldn’t put it down.
The book is reminiscent of the Culture Novels in that it involves a clash between the Earth and a far more advanced Alien society. At the start, some of the early conversations on Gadium were a bit opaque, but as the story unfurls, its society and its political shenanigans flesh out in a satisfying way. In the meantime the antics of Louise, Jeff and Mike kept my interest. They were engaging, believable characters.
The names of the some of the aliens were peculiarly human. Some terms like beta, alpha and triple alpha were never explained fully though their general meaning are relatively easy to infer. However, these minor quibbles didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book.