writing scarred beauty volume 2
So I am taking a moment to blog about writing, since it’s been a while and I felt you deserved a meaty post after a week of radio silence. Seriously though, I am aware the world does not stop because I don’t post on my blog. I’m just one author in a sea of them. If you read the post I shared recently, you know how I feel about the changes in the self-publishing industry. I feel like some of us get lucky and are able to rise above the rest. But most of us struggle for the sake of the craft (though money really would be nice). I write because I love telling stories and I love a good challenge.
Wylder Tales is the first fully fledged novel series I’ve published and it’s been quite an experience so far. I wrote the first volume, Craving Beauty, a few years back but didn’t know what to do with it. And then last year, I republished with a new attitude and a new name to the story. Wolfsbane’s Daughter, a companion novella featuring an important side character was released a few months later, at the beginning of 2016.
I’ve been working on the sequel to volume one, Scarred Beauty, for months. But I really kicked it into gear early summer. My goal was to be finished a lot sooner, of course. I was doing good to put in a thousand words a day with everything else I was writing/real life happenings.
This last month I changed tactics.
here’s what I done-did
I keep a writing log on an excel spreadsheet, like a real work time sheet. I put in my times and how many words I write and attach little notes about progress, or reasons for the lack thereof.
In order to meet my impending deadline, I decided I had to stop lollygagging around and push myself for 2 thousand words per day. I wasn’t so sure I could do it at first, I’ll admit.
Granted, 2K doesn’t sound like a lot. I’ve read self help books that teach you how to supposedly write 10K per day. As a new mommy I don’t really have time to do that with all the other work I put in online, plus, laundry.
So 2K is a much more reasonable, yet still challenging goal.
Before I dove into this new challenge, I made it past the big climax of the story, which you don’t get any teasers for because spoilers! obviously. This helped a lot though because I was dealing with aftermath stuff. You know, after you put your characters through the gauntlet and then if you’re nice allow them to process what the heck just happened.
Vynasha had a lot to process, but I still threw in some real twisty nasty fun things at her because I’m nice, but not that nice.
To my shock and surprise, I was able to meet 2K that first night, easy peasy. A lot of this was because I was mostly writing dialogue. I can see why so many authors rely on heavy dialogue with less prose these days because it can be easier to write. If you look at your dialogue like a screenplay (hands raised if you took theater in school!) you can catch the ebb and flow better. Also, because you’re writing so much through a character’s perspective, it helps to make sure the dialogue can stand on its own. Can you read what everyone says and it still make sense? Because if you can’t, you may need to give that scene a little extra help. Not like your characters have to describe everything going on in their heads, but it’s easy to dwell too much in the protagonist’s P.O.V. Also, if you make them process certain things out loud, not only is it therapeutic for your character 😉 but it allows you to “show” by “telling” in a way that’s not annoying to picky readers like me.
just a first draft
The other thing that helped me reach my word count goal and which I tried to keep in mind, was that I’m still in the first draft here. I will have to go back and read back through all of this. Some writers won’t write the ending of their book until they revise at least once. I like to write the ending and then if I have to change something, add or take away scenes, I can adjust as I go back along into the story. Sometimes that sucks because you can end up rewriting a ton (like I had to do with Craving Beauty). But it will be worth it. I digress. Because I am writing a first draft, I don’t have to be quite as picky and careful about my words yet. I’ve read before that you should just write everything out without focusing too much on edits except for the story.
Old habits are hard to break though. I usually go back at least a scene if not a chapter to look back over what I just wrote the night before. Especially cause I tend to write late at night and what sounded great to me at 11 p.m. doesn’t always translate so well the next day. This extra step also allows me to go through at least one less extra draft. I do like trying different writer’s methods but some things, like that extra bit of revising is something I’ll probably always revert to.
now that I’ve rambled enough : results
I wrote 2K every day for four days last week. I knocked out all those tricky after the battle type scenes and made my characters deal while leaving enough mystery. Just a head’s up, for any of you who were frustrated by Craving Beauty, your questions will be answered for the most part in Scarred Beauty.
Okay, so I’ll be honest, after four days pumping out eight thousand words, I needed a break. I wrote less than a thousand the next day and let my brain re-coop over the weekend. But I managed to reach over 50K in the novel! That’s a NaNoWriMo badge, you know, if I did that in a month. Still fantastic, though! What’s more, I was able to pick back up again this week after some of those pesky revisions. Could only manage 1K the first night, but last night was back to 2K. Sometimes it really is a matter of bucking down and doing it.
The secret to my recent success reaching word count goals isn’t because I’m a super fast writer. There are some out there who publish like, three novels a year…I can’t even…anyway… I’m no speed demon, but I had a solid outline. I knew my characters backwards and forwards (though a couple still surprised me). I knew where to take the story and how I want to begin Volume 3. Sometimes it just falls together like that.
Probably the biggest motivator is that deadline. It really helps if you have to get your pages to your editor by a certain date. No room for procrastination then, right? In fact, that’s what I’m hoping to use when I finish up my third Heaven’s Edge novella after this week.
Another thing that might have maybe helped is I didn’t write much of anything for a week before hand, just stewed over the story in my head. Meanwhile read a lot, watched good shows, noticed good writing and soaked in a lot of real life stuff. Filling my head with gorgeous art seems to help because then I wanna rush to my computer and create so badly.
So that’s pretty much it for now. I haven’t been online as much as I was because I’ve been doing the writing thing…which is kind of what I should be doing anyway. But rest assured I’m working hard to meet these deadlines.
a final word
If you’re working on your own story and reading this in hopes to glean from this post, I hope you were able to carry something away from my experience. All I can tell you is not to give up or feel discouraged. If you write even five hundred words every day, that brings you that much closer. Surround yourself with different art forms, be inspired by the world around you and most importantly write because you love it. Good luck!