Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ROW80 Update 7 - Shifting Priorities

This half week saw another flash of hot weather, and then finally a break!  Whoo hoo!

Sunday, Day 21 - Figured out the character relationship arc in Starling and Marquette for the next 6-9 books.  Did maybe 500+ new words on a Swashbuckling novelette.

Monday, Day 22 - Over a thousand words on the Swashbuckler. And plot work on Starling and Marquette -- a whole concept and arc for book four or five. It's perfect. 

Tuesday, Day 23 - Uhhhh, didn't keep track.  Quite a lot on The Man Who Stepped Up, and a little on the Swashbuckler again.

Another Series. Why'd It Have To Be Another Series?

It's pretty clear that swashbuckler which I did the first week of this dare -- which is growing right now -- is probably the first of a series. And it also seems pretty clear that it's something that belongs under my own name.  It's a fictional historical country, retro-adventure tale.  (This time a kind of pastiche of Scarlet Pimpernel or Zorro type story, only in a little fictional East European country maybe a half century earlier.)

And as such it seems perfect for writing more novelettes in the same series.

Like I need another freaking series.

However, this summer project is sorting out a lot of issues for me.  For one thing it has revived my interest in my most commercial series, which is also the one that is the s-l-o-w-e-s-t to write -- Starling and Marquette, otherwise known as the "Man Who" series.

A couple of things in the overall character arcs for the series have busted loose, and now I see a clear path of 6-9 stories to get to a certain point in the series.

Of all the series I have, that's the one I would most like to actually focus on.  Except, you know, that it's so freaking slow to write.

But I feel like something about this summer exercise has changed that, and I can maybe make that series priority one again.   And that my other series now kinda make sense to fit around that -- because all of them actually kinda fit into a shorter format. (More about these other series in another update.)

When You've Got Way Too Much on Your "To Write" List

I would say that creative gridlock is probably my biggest problem.  But I haven't really thought about it since I lost the Day Job.  In some ways it got worse because I thought "Wheee! Now I can get at everything at once!"  Um, no.  I can't.

What I have discovered is that 1000 words is the new 500.  It is now something I can accomplish even when I am lazy and migraine-y and obsessed with something else.  That's a non-work day now.

And at 1000 words a day, I have two books and 6 novellas (or 12 novelettes) done in a year.

I should be writing 2000 words or more in a day.  I can do that in the effort it used to take to do 1000.  But I also have more business and planning and art on my plate. 

So here is what I really want to do right now:

For the remainder of this quarter's ROW80, I am technically sticking to my original goals (though I might change them in August).  I can't meet those goals without doing about 2000 words on most days.  However....

I want to get outlines for the mystery aspect of the next several Starling and Marquette stories.  (Mystery outlines, for me, are different than plot outlines.  They aren't so much about what happens as what has happened off screen -- the killer's story.)  So any day I do two hours of concentrated work on that, I will be happy with 1000 words of actual writing.

Once I feel ready with those outlines, I might just ditch the current goals altogether, or I might finish whatever I'm working on first, but then I plan to dive into The Man Who Stepped Up.  I'll continue to sometimes split my time between writing and other work -- only it'll probably be publishing work on the novelettes, rather than outlines.

But even if I only write about 1000 words a day, I should be able to finsih that next Man Who book before Christmas.  We'll see.

See you in the funny papers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think the best thing to do is to set realistic, doable goals. Nothing like getting frustrated! Set it so low that you barely even have to *think* to make it...then, if you surpass it, all the better. :)

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

You seem to know yourself well, and how your process works.

Whatever your goals, or how they shift, you are moving forward, and I love the excitement in this post.

I'll be looking forward to hearing what's coming up,for you! =)

hellotammy said...

As Shan said, you seem to know yourself, your strengths, your limitations, and your needs. Set goals that stretch you, but not that stretch you beyond what you can do and maintain. If 500 words is easy, 1000 words is a good stretch goal if you can maintain it, but maybe 750 would be easier to maintain daily.

For myself, as long as I'm doing something I can honestly tie to my novel, I can consider that 'novel work' and count it toward my goal, which is working on my novel every day. It's the 'every day' part that is my stretch at this time.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Elizabeth and Shan. Yeah, you sense a lot of excitement here.

Tammy: My actual goal is 2500 a day. That's a reasonable target that currently takes more attentiveness than I have right now - but it's not at all hard when you don't have a day job or kids.

I was just saying that 1000 seems to be what happens when I don't actually pay attention and I screw around -- like 500 used to be when I had a day job. It's not a stretch goal at all. It's a fall back.

But this is because I do not have a day job or kids.