Title pending

500 words a day gets you here. Sitting down in front of a keyboard every day for…no I’m not going to backtrack and look at exactly how long it took from when I got serious about finishing this damned piece, let alone when I even started it. A few false starts along the way and more time off than I could justify to a project manager. By time off I mean procrastination, of course.

But it’s done, finished. Ok, not finished. Not even close. Let’s say rather it is complete, it has a beginning a middle and an end. In more or less that order. There were some strange parts to this writing experience. I found I couldn’t write with music playing anymore. Used to be able to, can’t anymore. Weird. I’m writing this post to music and even that is distracting. Having an established canon and continuity that you can’t mess with, that’s new. I’ve written plenty of sequels before but this stuff is published, man, and people can call you out on that. So you gotta stick with the established rules of the universe which is limiting, defining and probably a good thing. But a very new experience. I wrote three different openings to this thing, at least three. Maybe four. I think one of them is still in there. Except that what was meant to be the beginning, somewhere around chapter 2-ish ended up becoming the end. I mean I’m used to my writing going off on it’s own direction but this got a bit nuts.

Here’s a David Eddings reference/quote, my characters don’t march towards the resolution of the plot. They steadfastly refuse to even go in the same direction as each other, small groups of them will periodically break off to go exploring. Don’t ask me to explain it, I don’t understand it either. I had a list of rules and themes and things that were supposed to happen, some happened and some didn’t. But the point where I wanted the story to start became the ending, for a couple of reasons. One was just to annoy me because now the title I was quite proud of was now meaningless and almost irrelevant because it barely appears now. So I have no title. But I also found I needed and wanted more time with these characters, on this part of the ride before…well, before. Because things happen and half the fun of making impossibly bad things happen is seeing how your characters survive it. If they survive. If they’re smart enough to deal with it. If. Ther’es some Neil Gaiman referneces in there somewhere.

An untitled first draft, that’s what I’m left with. And it’s off to the test readers to the get some actual feedback. I have two picked out for this round. In fact I hadn’t even managed to get a copy to the second reader before the first one had finished reading the draft.  In less than twenty-four hours. Seriously? It takes over a year to write and you finish it in a night? I won’t even see the second reader for two more days. Spoilers…

But I do need to de-immserse (is that a word, I’m making it a word, it is now a word) from my own little fictional world. And listen to some music without feeling like I’m procrastinating from doing my daily quota. Which incidentally is now 750 because I’m getting better…well, faster, at this thing. And read, because I haven’t done so much of that year. Mostly because if I get caught up in a book I find I start to want to emulate the narrative and style which is very bad if you are halfway through a project. It’s how I found out I’m not quite up to the point where I should write epic fantasy. It got away from me, way away from me. Thanks for that, Steven Erikson and Glen Cook. File that under ‘to be continued.’ Later. Much later. But a day after sending the draft off the printer I’m through the first book and a half of the Hunger Games. Yes, I know, I’m terrible, not having read them. Boo, hiss, etc. It’s fine, the last movie doesn’t come out for another day or so, I can finish the rest by the then.

I also had to keep up my daily writing quota because it’s summer and I’m whatever the beach body equivalent for writing is. Probably the opposite of beach body actually. Probably an unhealthy white colour and more beach ball shaped. But moving on. I could keep going on the draft, tweaking and rewriting but that’s rather counter productive until the beta-readers get back to me. With actual feedback. So I decided I needed a change of pace and switched over to one of my older, back burner projects. I won’t say which other than to say it’s an old favourite, one I know the world and characters better than anything else I’ve written. Even though it does keep changing because I keep rebooting. The advantage of something not yet published. Not established canon! An hour of staring at a blank page later…this is hard. This is really hard! There’s an opening scene I wrote an age ago but I’m rebooting it yet again while still keeping the general timeline intact and I don’t know how to start. There’s a whole story drafted out in notes and bullet points with quotes and anecdotes and I don’t know how to start.

That first line takes another hour to write. The first line is not only one of the bullet points, it’s also a quote AND the working title of the whole thing. And it took an hour. The next 853 words don’t take nearly so long. Except that it’s all in first person. The time I wrote anything in first person was 2002, admittedly it was set in this world, part 3 in fact, but there two installments since, both much more substantial in my much preferred third person. So what the hell…?





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