January 30th, 2022 – 1,222

This month has not been one of my most productive. In fact it’s been dire. My average daily wordcount has been 1,075 words, 25 below my 1,100 norm of 2020 and I believe all of 2021, or at least most. There are several reasons for this, not limited to the emotional upheaval that hit over Christmas when I was already at negative-batteries, and then the onset of Project4. The latter is a drain on my emotional wellbeing even when I am not acting upon it directly, and I imagine will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. That’s the bad news. The good news, is none of that matters. I like to aim for 1.1K, but target is 1K. Averages and statistics have their uses, and I am a data driven person, but when it gets down to it, I am still on my feet and fighting, even if it does not always feel that way.

I’ve said a lot over this month too, that what I’ve written for the day or over the last few has been of poor quality. This also does not matter. 1K is not about always meeting a quality threshold. 1K is about keeping the habit, so that my natural ebb and flow allows for my above average times, as well as seeing me through the demoralizing lows. With that in mind, I feel I have been in one of those lows since at least midway through TBS, and I felt it during some of MAL, though that was my best book of 2021. If I were ranking them I’d say:

  1. TWO*
  2. MAL
  3. TBS
  4. HOR

The * is that TWO was really a 2020 book, that I just rewrote in 2021, but in terms of OG manuscripts, MAL comes out on top. And you know I like most of TBS. I think you might be able to see what I am trying to say without out and out saying it, but I guess I should rip the band aid off:

I’m not enjoying writing the Horizon books.

I’ve kind of hinted at it or even said ‘right now’ versions of that a few times in recent posts, but this is as much me admitting to myself that a part of this or more has not jelled with my brain. So rather than waiting to post-mortem this, I want to do a long post mid-mortem’ing it, and maybe figure out from that what needs to happen. That will follow on below, but I’m gonna post this blog entry at the end of this paragraph as it’s almost midnight, so stay tuned.

OK so I’m going to try and keep this spoiler free, if only because one day this old relic might be found by someone and they may not have read the books, but might want to. Also, I might make drastic changes for all I know, so I don’t wanna hype up an aspect I take a hatchet to later. With that in mind, this isn’t an essay, so I don’t know all that I’m gonna write about and therefore can’t list points here, so let’s just dive in.

Writing stories not set in East Sussex doesn’t seem to work for me. This one is a little controversial a point for, myself, because my inner voice is throwing her hands in the air and jabbing an angry finger at WHT. Yes, ok, I enjoyed writing that one a lot. Or, well is that true? I had to restart that one, a month in in fact which should still be documented on the end of April 2019’s posts here. That was because it went off a bit into the weeds though rather than the setting. A counter point I suppose is I find the presidency and therefore the White House fascinating enough that it pulled weight in my mind and got me past it. Also of note, my stories do not feel grounded enough in East Sussex yet. There’s not enough fairy dust that even TUS needs to be happening in Ore, or even TSS at Sussex. That’s on the page though; in my mind, they are, I just need to translate that part better.

That touches on what I think the actual problem is: Horizon 1, where the stories all take place at least in part, is not a location I have grounded in my mind. So an exercise from here for me might be to figure out that a bit more, draw a map, get more perspective and understanding of the world and how it works. I intended to do this after writing the book so it wouldn’t turn into procrastination, but it could be that it just needs to come further up front. Writing lore exposition won’t get direct use, as I avoid those passages. Even so, I am still hoping to make a wiki, and this would help that. So location bios might be a task I count as ‘editing’ and start doing instead of pointless ‘minor tweaks’ I keep making to TUS at the moment.

Another problem I’m having is the cast. The characters themselves, not so much, but the way they fit into and interact with the world – ok that’s an epiphany, my problems with the cast are the same problem as above, I need to flesh out the world more. Ok, ok that gives me a good roadmap. I need to get a detailed lore dump and even history of Horizon 1. Cool.

Plot is a big one. Now, I tend to these days write plot just as I go, and then tighten it up in the rewrite. I just chuck a bunch of exciting events in there, and then I can cut like a third of them, meld them into others if needs be, and figure out the ‘why’ to string it all together when I’m not under pressure to figure out what happens next anymore. I guess the hold up I’m having is, I don’t do those kind of edits at the moment for my past books, so I’m filled with some level of dread I’m leaving a job on the table that I will never get back around to. Ok that’s feeling as I write it like a significant hold up.

I think I see the issue. Horizon’s three books are a far grander story than most of my other novels. VOL and TWO rival it as single volumes, but like, VOL was a huge struggle to write for that exact reason, and it’s why I don’t share it with people – even the ones I have I’ve rescinded since. VOL is a better book than most of them but it needs far more work because of the scale of the story. And I think the scale of the story, and of the worldbuilding I still need to do, is what’s holding back Horizon right now. I need to do some serious worldbuilding. I’ll keep chipping away at it, but in my headspace where I get it this week – I’m off on Wednesday – I need to figure this out.

Ok good talk.