I’m having a hard time concentrating on my work on RDAD (The Shattered Ones: Book 3). I originally wrote the three books as one overly long book, but there was a time jump from 1986 to 1990 before the third act, so when we split out the story into three shorter books there’s only a second half of a book for book 3. So I’m writing at least 25k of connecting material that kind of shows what the new normal in 1990 is before setting all the machines in motion toward the final act (at least for these three books).
The world of The Shattered Ones is extremely big in my head. I not only have all the characters that appear on these pages but the history and future events of this world and far more inhabitants that don’t have page time in these books. This works for me and against me. I have a great deal to draw upon to make the world feel real and big and drop hints for other things… but I also have to make sure I don’t screw up my ability to tell other stories in this world later on. I also have to make sure that I don’t have feature creep so to speak with these details because I need to tell the story of Alex and Hannah first and foremost and adding any details that undermine this is not helpful.
There’s also the mental dance of knowing that I feel really good about Book 1, and reasonably good about Book 2 (because it is in final pre-copyedit edits), but know that Book 3 is nowhere near done. Logically I know it is publishing in February and I have time to make it sing. Emotionally I feel like I’m letting everyone down by not having it to that point already. This is ridiculous. I absolutely understand that. I need to put one word in front of the other and do my edit passes one at a time. I can’t jump to finishing polish when I’m doing a zero draft. That way lies madness. I just can’t seem to quiet the impulse to feel like I should. I’m hoping that admitting this publicly will quiet it more than trying to go round and round inside my own head about it is.
My zero drafts are done with a pen on paper. I do my first edit pass as I type up my words. I find I do a lot of “oh, I meant this” edits and “ugh that sounds awful let me make it better” tweaks. I’m arguing with myself if I want to do absolutely everything on paper first and then type it up, or if I should start typing up a bit every day after I find myself tapped out for new words. I’ve been sticking with paper up to this point, but I think that typing after I’m tapped out will make me feel a bit more of control of things.
I’m also lucky enough to have my brother Chris living with us over the summer. Chris is my alpha reader so he basically sees or hears stuff before anyone else. The reason he has that position is that he does not critique, he only asks questions for clarification. Basically I can work out plot and character stuff by reading him new material out of my notebook and he can let me know what’s on the page and what isn’t. I’m sure there are people who don’t need this step, but I need to think stuff on the outside of my skull when I’m having problems and the only way that seems to work is if I have someone I can talk it out with. Chris reacts to the story, not to the writing and that’s super helpful to me in telling how things are going.
I thought I’d hit a really bad snag the last couple days and I spent 20 min reading the two scenes in question out loud to Chris as he ate his lunch… and found that both scenes just need to end slightly sooner so there aren’t dangling details. I’d been stuck trying to move each scene forward and now I know that I just need to end them a little sooner. Never underestimate how much help reading something out loud can be. I also know from Chris’ response that the scenes work really well, so that makes me feel a lot better too.
Starting to get a lot of replies back to queries for guest blog posts and it’s making me a little anxious. On the one hand it is exciting and cause for celebration, but it’s also putting things on to my To Do list with every response and that’s feeling a little overwhelming. I’m having to compartmentalize the promotion stuff mentally. I look at the emails as they come in, and know that they’ve been logged into the beautiful spreadsheet my lovely publisher has made for me. This is for my information and I will deal with it when I decide to, because nothing is currently hanging fire with that. I’m just being kept in the loop so that I can properly schedule my time. *deep breath* Everything is Awesome and I’m part of a team. (ha now that’s stuck in your head too!)
Any questions, comments? Words of encouragement? Things you’d like to see me blog about in the run up to publication?