It’s been a shockingly long time since I wrote a proper blog post. Apologies, but I’m not quite sure where March and most of April went!
I think the last time I mentioned my NaNoWriMo draft from November 2016, Murder At The Playgroup, was when I’d done a read-through preliminary to beginning THE EDIT (I finally read my NaNoWriMo draft and it isn’t terrible!). Be thankful. The MS has now been edited, with enough passes to make a terrible round on Mastermind, and is in the hands of beta readers before I take it back and mess with it again.
I have spared you the frightful tale of the filtering verbs, the continuity checks, and the other minutiae towards the end of the edit which make me wonder why I do this at all. Overall, it wasn’t so bad; it’s just that end bit. I do like refining and polishing and rewriting, but when I get to the point of changing things, pondering, and changing them back again, I figure it’s probably time to stop. Anyway, preliminary beta feedback is good, and I’m quietly hopeful for a May launch. There, I said it.
The other thing I’ve been beavering away at is my Camp NaNoWriMo project. Well, hardly beavering; largely slothing, to be honest. My project is a novella, the sequel to A Jar of Thursday, and I’ve set a word target of 25,000, which is pretty puny beside the (to me) behemoth of NaNoWriMo’s 50K. But there was method in my slackness. Honest. Let me explain.
- I suspected that the month I’d set aside to edit Murder At The Playgroup wouldn’t be quite enough, and I was right. As well as my usual tutoring commitments, I’d taken on a couple of extra sessions which took a day out of my writing time, and also attended a day-long Amazon Academy event in Manchester (I’ll write a separate post about that soon). Oh, and there were some bits and bobs in the evenings too. So it was 7 April when I finally sent the book-so-far out to beta readers, and rolled my sleeves up to get cracking with Something Blue. As you can see from my Camp NaNo stats below.
2. Lack of prep time (and possibly inclination). I started the project with maybe three A4 sides of hasty outline and character notes, done in March and covering some of the first half. At least I know most of my characters from the first book! Basically, I wrote up to the point where I had minimal plot left, and then outlined the rest of the book in about an hour, since by then I knew much more about the story. It’s a simpler book in structure than A Jar of Thursday, and I think part of the not-quite-a-block I was having was that I forgot I only needed to plot for 25-30,000 words, not a novel.
3. Easter and other life events. I’ve actually managed to write more than I had planned over the Easter break, but with the SATs coming up for my eldest, and both their birthdays within three weeks, I decided to set a writing goal on the easy side.
4. Launching the next book. I mentioned earlier that I want to launch Murder At The Playgroup in May, and that has been given extra focus by the Kindle Storyteller contest. So I have a cover to sort out, a marketing plan to write and implement, and advance reader copies to send out. If you like cozy mysteries, drop me a line and I’ll send you an e-copy when it’s done, in exchange for an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads!
5. I’d rather under-promise and over-achieve than the reverse. So far, I’ve done 2 full NaNoWriMos and one Camp, plus 2 unofficial JanuWriMos, and hit my target each time. I’d far rather aim a bit lower and achieve it than set an unrealistic goal and beat myself up about it for the rest of the year. Plus, given my lack of a detailed outline, I really wasn’t sure what length the book would turn out to be. Setting 25K as a minimum gives me the freedom not to worry if the book’s shorter than anticipated. I want to write a good book at the right length, not pad it. And let’s be honest, if I need to write 2000 words to finish the book in the first week of May, it’s not the end of the world.
So there you have it. Today, after a day of squeezing writing in before breakfast and while the kids were at a Lego-fest, my Camp NaNoWriMo word count finally met the projected line. If I keep going at the same pace, I will finish on April 30. I might even have the whole first draft done by then. But the fact that it’s taken me till April 18 to get there makes me think that I was right to be a lazy so-and-so.