Thursday, April 6, 2017

Deadlines


A little while ago, I set some deadlines for myself. They were as follows: 

Finish the final draft of DRACONIAN by March 31st. 

Finish the second draft of BMT by March 31st. 

Finish the second draft of my super secret novella side project (SSNSP) by April 15th. 

I told you that if I didn’t meet at least two of these deadlines, you could revoke my coffee privileges. 

Well, you can’t take my caramel macchiato away today. 

Not only did I finish DRACONIAN ahead of schedule, I also got back into the query trenches. 

Before starting this draft, DRACONIAN was 96K words long, which was a bit high. As I went through, I tightened the writing, cut one scene, and added another. My end word count? 83K words. It took three read throughs, four months, and at least fifty lattes. You could argue that it was, in fact, not just one draft. Whatever. The point is, it’s done. At long last, I am finally satisifed with the finished product. 

Fun fact: On the day I was finishing DRACONIAN, I was sitting in my customary spot in my church, in the lobby, on the floor, beside a potted plant. (No, I do not want a desk, thank you very much.) A lady from the church came by and introduced me to her grandson, who asked me what I was writing. I told him my book is about “revenge, dragons, and murder.” He then proceeded to sit there and read over my shoulder while I edited, and when he left, he told me he hoped my book got published so he could read it. 

*internal screaming* 

I also finished the second draft of SSNSP ahead of schedule, because I am bad at keeping side projects side projects. It started off as a 103K word NaNoWriMo-born manuscript, which I wanted to condense into novella format. *laughs hysterically* "Why would you do this to yourself," you ask? Several reasons. I have never been confident with short fiction. More specifically, I have never tackled writing a novella before, and it seemed like a good idea to challenge myself. Since unpublished writers traditionally struggle with tightening their writing, I figured turning a 103K draft into a novella-length project would be an effective, albeit brutal lesson in cutting the fat. So what was my final word count on this second draft? 8,200 words. 

Now, before you start telling me that’s a short story, not, in fact, a novella, rest assured I am well aware of this. That is by no means the final word count. My process involves cutting away most of the rough draft so I can figure out the bone structure before going through and, in the third draft, adding muscle instead of fat. In this current draft, there is sparse description, little-to-no dialogue, and a lot of glossed over stuff. That’s okay. My main goal was just getting all the scenes in order and the plot tacked down so I can have a solid foundation. 

My end goal for SSNSP is to end somewhere between 25-30K words. I’m a little worried, with good cause (*cough* DRACONIAN started off as a short story and is now the first book in a trilogy *cough*), that this novella could still turn into a novel. 

"What about BMT," you ask? "As I recall, you were making such good progress on it." 

I know, I know. I was. 

What happened? 

A number of things. First and foremost, DRACONIAN took up more time and mental energy than I anticipated, and I wanted to prioritize finishing it up so I could focus on newer, shinier projects. But the biggest thing that happened was that, as I progressed, I found myself dissatisfied with the direction my story went in the rough draft. I found myself needing to draft new scenes while editing, but I can’t do that if I’m not sure where I’m even going with the overall structure. This means I’ll likely have to write a brand new rough draft. 

There’s also the matter of BMT being a weird, intensely emotional creature. I spent a year planning it and jotting down assorted scenes before I even drafted it in November 2015. And after, I immediately set it aside to let it cook until I felt I was ready. Now that time has passed and I understand the story better, I have to update the book accordingly. 

So what are my plans now? For the next couple weeks, I’m going to focus on sending out more query letters, writing and editing more blog posts, reading more books and watching more Netflix, and possibly editing a short story or two for fun. I also want to organize my hard drive, streamline my blog, answer comments, and tackle other assorted projects that work well for procrastinatory purposes. Realistically speaking I won’t have time to accomplish everything on this list, but I hope to at least make a dent. My creative well is a bit dry after completing DRACONIAN, so while I don’t want to waste time, I’m also struggling to dive right into the next project. 

My new deadlines are as follows (assuming no other time commitments get in the way, which they might): 

Finish draft three of SSNSP by June 30th. 

Finish draft two of BMT by June 30th. 

Finish draft two of DRACONIAN 2 (hereafter known as D2) by July 31st. 


Once again, if I fail to meet at least two of these deadlines, you have permission to revoke my caffeine privileges. 

What about you, my little coffee beans? What are some of your writing successes and setbacks? What are some of your goals?

6 comments:

  1. Wow, you got a lot accomplished! :D I'm so proud of you. :) I hope that the next few weeks go well. And yay for query letters! :D

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  2. Great goals! You've gotten so much accomplished! I'm hoping to finish my rewrite of Starbloods in May. I'm behind as of now. XD

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  3. Wow. I'm forever in awe of you, Liz. You're amazing. xD

    AND I'M SO EXCITED THAT YOU'RE QUERYING! That's such an exciting step! (and means I am that much closer to someday reading one of your novels, mwahah)

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  4. Congrats on reach writer goals! (You're way more industrious than me XD)

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  5. Ironic because I'm reading this quite late xD

    Not that I had a deadline for this, though xD

    Also, congrats on getting work done!

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