October 24th, 2020 – 760

TWR hit 70,000 words today. Crossing the novel threshold is nice, but man, this story is not ready for prime time by a long shot. A dear friend asked me if I’d like them to go through it with a red pen. God no was my response, and not just because I don’t much like sharing first or even early drafts. To be frank, I write with the door closed, but this work when it’s done might need to go on ice behind a locked door for a while. It’s not like WAN where I would quite like to shut a safe door on it and never look at it again, but this is not my best work by a long shot, and it’s going to need so much surgery to keep it from keeling over the moment it leaves my control.

I didn’t use my walking stick once today, which was a big step up (heh) on where I was even as recently as yesterday. But it’s a good thing I can work from home, because there is no way I can venture much further without repainting the pavement with my face. Not an inviting image…

October 24th, 2020 – 759

I’m knackered but ok. My foot is a bit of a mess still, but I’ve tried to switch off for today and rest up. I’ve had a quite relaxed day that all said, but I do need to take time to do more resting tomorrow. That’s my queue right now: rest, rest, more rest. Writing is of course in there too but I am shattered and need it so bad.

On that note, ciao.

October 23rd, 2020 – 758

At some point in the next two days, I will get TWR to hit 70,000 words. This is pretty cool, as previously discussed it makes the novel ‘novel length, but there is a big caveat. I am quite sure I am going to be cutting a lot of this book in the rewrite. I like he characters, the setting, and the premise. I like the present day, and I like the characters’ chemistry. What I am far less sure of is the pace at which information should be drip-fed to my protagonists, and what I want a final confrontation to look like.

The good news is I wouldn’t be uploading this story for at least a year on my old schedule, so if I stick to that then I’ve got plenty of time. The bad news is that while that may be true, I am still in a bind where it comes to upping my Wattys exposure with multiple new entries each year. That will become even more key when I can no longer enter some of my older stories, assuming they keep moving the current cut off point of 2017 forwards, which would in two years if a steady increase annex TUS from my entries into the void.

Ok that’s hyperbole, but you get my frustrations. I do not feel uploading a sub-par product is the right move, and I do have my editing plan which should help out a lot, but the fact I won’t be serialising WAN means I lose a whole book from my backlog.

…Which is a roundabout way of coming back to NaNoWriMo. Yes, this again. I am still against the idea of piling more work on myself, particularly as I am in a state of ‘functional burnout’ at present, despite some holiday. Adding an extra 1,700 words to my blog (200~), journal (350~), and 1K itself (1,100~) means I am close enough doubling the length of my daily requirements, even if I do also feel that the condensed nature of the novel would help, as well as no emotional links to a wider series.

I would select A Planet Named George if I was to write anything for NaNoWriMo, and just serialise it as I go on WattPad, in the hopes that the algorithms wouldn’t punish me for that. If I view it as a bit of fun that couldn’t hurt to add to my catalogue, then it sounds appealing. If I remember that 1K+ more or less gave me a chest infection I got so run down, it becomes, less appealing. Jury’s out. I need to sleep on it. Actually given I pulled an all nighter to watch the debate, I just need to sleep.

October 22nd, 2020 – 757

Well it’s a good thing I’m staying up for the last debate anyway because between work and where my head’s otherwise been at I still haven’t written yet. Griiiiiiim, and so avoidable. After Friday I’m going to need to hard-reset my biological clock pretty hard. Time to give it my best stab…

October 21st, 2020 – 756

Good news! The swelling continues to go down, so the odds of this being a fracture are close to zero. That is an IMMENSE relief, as you can imagine given I live on the 5th floor of my building. I just needed to catch a break and not having a break will do for now.

I’ve gotten to 66k in TWR now, so we inch ever closer to what could be called the ‘novel threshold’. 70k is about the minimum new sci-fi should aspire to and about 10k short of what general fiction starts at. The story is zipping along nicely and I even think I’ve managed to eek out a decent break-into-third-act model. This book is not my cleanest first draft but it’s ended up coming out a lot better than expected.

See that’s the funny thing. This is the book I had the least concept in mind going into. I knew it would flip between a short present-timeframe and a longer past one, but aside from that and it’s key cast, I didn’t really have much going in. I did once write an abridged version of it, but that was back at the start of 1K and well, this is day 756 I’m a bit further along now and stuff’s changed. For all that, I’m happy with how it’s shaping up.

Another later night isn’t great, and it is making me a little more stressed and reducing my sleep, but honestly given what happened on Monday I’m amazed I’m holding together as well as I am. I keep getting these images in my head of my ankle snapping that make me flinch something bad, but truth is aside from being back on my walking stick and WFH, not much has changed. Business as usual.

October 20th, 2020 – 755

Well, my foot looks horrible. It’s a swollen mess, and there’s every chance I’m going to have to sit in A&E tomorrow waiting to get an x-ray. That is not an inviting prospect, even if hospitals are working to be as safe as possible. If nothing else, I still have a beard, and masks are so uncomfortable with facial hair, as well as less safe. I’ll try and shave if I can stand at the sink. My foot is turning blue, which sounds a lot worse than it actually is. It’s a horrible bruise on the side, one I can’t help but flinch when I think about.

This week is getting off to an even worse start than last week, and as such my writing is slipping again. It doesn’t help being in pyjamas all day – too painful to change unless I have to – which always saps my motivation If you want to be motivated, get dressed every day, even the lazy do-nothing days should you do those. On a plus side, I found my letter paper after months of searching, so I’ll at least be writing more letters again even if I won’t be blowing off any barn doors with my wordcounts in-project.

Saying that, with 1K from today, I have a 1,100 average for October. I also had a bit of an amusing realisation how bad at maths I am; turns out I never dropped below a 1,100 word average. September worked out as that by the skin of its teeth, and October is looking to be about the same. Not explosive mind, but the win is still a win, and I needed that epiphany with where my head’s been at. Letting my stress levels get so high that I ended up nearly breaking – at least hopefully it’s ‘nearly’ – my ankle isn’t great, but at least it shows I’m functioning.

Let’s finish on a lighter if torturous note. There’s a special edition of the Monkey Island series coming out at the end of the month and boy if the temptation monster ain’t roaring its head off. At £125 before postage though I imagine this will stay a sad little dream, though I am honestly tempted to try selling stuff. All well and good except nobody be buying stuff I have to sell. I don’t need need it, but boy, do I want it. Look at this beauty:

October 19th, 2020 – 754

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.

I goofed. I’ve sprained my ankle pretty darn bad, enough I had to call mum to come help. Given how I’ll often shrug off injury and say ‘eh it’ll be fine’, me making that call gives you an idea how bad it is. Irony is I was looking at my Oreacle journal earlier today, and in that the small piece I wrote on October 7th, 2018 – finally got round to checking the date – about how I wrote through a migraine, so can write through anything. Well, I can add nearly fractured ankle to the list of things I’ve written through, so, woo?

No rowing for a while though. That sucks, as I had a great chain going there. 68 straight days, and now no chance. I would go sit on it and rock back and forth and be happy to count that, but man, I can’t stand up right now, the slightest movement sends waves of NOPE all up my leg. I would rather break the chain than break my, well, yeah. Well, thousand words, blog, journal and edit a whole chapter whilst feeling like someone sledgehammered my foot ain’t half bad, I will focus on the positives.

But seriously come on, it would have been day 69. Fate is cruel.

October 18th, 2020 – 753

This was a great start to the new week, given I treat Sunday as my kick off day rather than Saturday. I managed to write 1,500 words of TWR, which is the highest daily total in 22 days, and the highest for one single project in 29. Before those two, you have to go back to my sprint to the finish on The Wanderer – August 23rd, 6,250 words – for a day that breaks past 1,400. That seems like a big leap up, but remember, I sprint to the finish, so huge days like that are pretty common. The point is, I’m also hitting 1.5K at a time my head is starting to go back on straight, and I have a solid editing habit embedded.

I think the most important thing I can do for myself for the remainder of this project – still with a soft deadline of November 15th – is maintain. I’m still not firing on all cylinders, and now is not the time to push; that time is coming soon however. If I can keep a level head, turn out maybe a couple more 1,500 days between now and say the 11th of November, and then sprint to the finish, I will be in a great position going into writing The Way Out. And on that note, in the spirit of not pushing right now, I plan on doing the hand written version before I start typing, not in tandem. I am in no rush, and will still have a long time to edit TWO before it goes live.

All in all, I’m feeling quite positive at this moment in time. Monday will be busy at work because I kept having to flip between tasks, so my big ones are still incomplete and there’s a deluge of smaller ones to contend with, but at this point I’m kind of used to the vomitorium that is my in-tray. That itself isn’t good, but again, now’s not the time to push, I need to maintain and then make incremental change as and when it is feasible. When looked at from that perspective, I’m not doing half bad. Here’s hoping nothing major explodes in the wider world beyond my front door and work desk to mess with the plan this time. And yes, I am well aware it could any day now.

October 17th, 2020 – 752

So yeah, today was, interesting. It’s not often you wake up to a news story that fundamentally changes a key plot point in one of your novels. I won’t go into the details too much as I’ve linked the Imgur post I did on it below for context, but suffice to say, Betelgeuse is 530 light-years away, not 642.

The funny thing is, the rewrite I did, which included a tweak to future-proof the story if not the numbers against further changes, I think comes out as a significant improvement on what I’d already written. More, the burst of energy I found to get this rewrite done at such short notice not only made for an earlier target, but a 1,300 word day and a deep feeling of fulfilment once it was done. I took to my white board, listed the problems the new discovery created, and in about 5 minutes I had a solution.

Moral of the story is twofold: if you base a story on science, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out for new developments in the field; buy a white board. Trust me on that last one, nothing liberates your mind like having a huge drywipe blank canvass and being able to sketch out any problem on it. And, to make it a nice trio, if not quite a moral, this reminded me just how much a jolt to your system – or star-system – can tap into willpower and enthusiasm reserves. Honestly, this was the best thing that’s happened to me in months.

October 16th, 2020 – 751

This working week was, weird. My head got into a darker and darker place as it went along, and that does not bode well right now. I’m quite sure in fact that the weekend is going to either see me sleep through most of it, or will only get more dark still. And of course, late targets mean I’m seeing more literal dark outside. I don’t have SAD but reduced exposure to daylight is not a good idea all the same.

TWR getting to 60K is a good step forwards. What I have noticed though is my latest “addition*” to 1K might be having a negative effect. I now try and edit one chapter a day of a precious project before I start target, and well, that’s having mixed results. I’m getting it done, but it’s also acting like a barrier between me and writing. Not sure what to make of that. One to think over this weekend.