November is National Novel Writing Month. I've never participated, though I drafted River of Webs (my new working title for A Web of Every Color) in my own personal novel writing month. I followed the same guidelines as NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I just did it during a September. I've never been at a point of drafting when November hit.
I will need to redraft Beyond the Midnight Mountain. But I haven't nailed down all the plot points yet. After the number of years and drafts I've devoted to it already, when I start over from near scratch, I want to get it as right as I can. Maybe December of January.
In the meantime, I've spent a lot of months not writing, and then blasted through the rest of my current draft of A Web of Every Color. I'm now calling it River of Webs. I personally like the first title better, and even have an image in my head of clever cover art, but the second has better potential for match sequel titles. Its current draft has taken a while despite the story being pretty well nailed down on the first go, because I decided the person and tense were wrong. I originally wrote it in first person/present tense because I didn't want to box myself into third/past--and because me/now perfectly reflected the narrator Simi. But it turns out first/present isn't how I write my best fiction. It ended up too much in the character's head, too stream-of-consciousness. Plus Simi's sarcastic, uneducated narrator voice--which I loved--just wasn't the right voice for the more articulate or descriptive parts of the narration.
So I changed it to third/past. I changed each instance in the narration of I, me, my, myself, we, us, our, and ours. I changed each instance of here and now that I could without losing clarity (because I hate past tense narration that still uses here/now). I changed the tense of every verb. Sometimes I had to change "she" to a name because it was no longer clear whether it referred to another character or Simi herself. Sometimes I rearranged whole sentences because they no longer read smoothly. Sometimes I rewrote or cut sentences because they no longer worked without Simi's voice saying them.
I stalled for several months I was also trying to research things for Simi to see when she went to a new location, and also decide a few world building details. Once I got through that chapter though, I sailed through the rest in a couple weeks. So now that that's done, I'm going back through one more time to fix minor time/geography details I still haven't pinned down. Then it's off to an alpha reader.
I'm doing both. Finishing the third draft of A Web of Every Color. Starting to outline a new story while this one is with beta readers. Finishing a semester of school (once I review my notes and take the final exam).
I need to do more. Start to make decisions on creating an author business. Finish various books I've started. Start to set money aside for editing and cover design. Finish re-outlining Beyond the Midnight Mountain. Start a new draft of it. Finish deciding whether A Web of Every Color will actually be titled A Web of Every Color. Start brainstorming possible sequel ideas.
There's so much I feel I should be doing. I have the time to do at least some of them, but it means cutting out time with my husband, who I only see for about 2 hours on weekdays. I have all day on the weekends to choose how I spend my time, but I can only devote so mental energy to creativity and business.
I'm a student again!
I'm going back to school for graphic design. It's online and asynchronous, so I can go as fast as I want. And it's cheap, which was the other main factor in my choice of school.
I have a bachelor's degree, but it's unrelated. In fact, I only had time for 3 art classes in all of high school and university.
I'll end up with an associate degree. I want to work for myself, so I don't need a degree, but I do need the knowledge, skills, and experience. My goal (besides still hoping to publish my books) is to create book covers, art, and maps for other authors.
Fourteen months is the appropriate pace for blog posts, right? I haven't been blogging lately because I have little to share. I've always struggled with it, coming up with something to say that anyone in the cyberworld would care about. But it's more difficult these days because I've barely been writing.
Writing, for me, means any part of the noveling process. Outlining, drafting, reading through the draft, marking it up, revising, proofreading... So, all that. All that's what I haven't been doing. Last May I began the process of working with my cover artist, and a few moths later I sent Beyond the Midnight Mountain to my editor. Last May I also began what turned into a year-and-a-half break from writing.
My editor and I emailed back and forth a lot...and there's a lot of work I have to do. Rewriting. Which I hate. It paralyzes my brain.
The needed rewrites are so extensive that I'm starting over with the outline stage. My editor says I can still use much of my material as-is, so I won't be re-drafting those parts, but I'm shuffling the pacing around, inventing new bits of excitement (or trying to), and re-brainstorming just about the whole story.
It's not fun. I'm the rare fiction writer that struggles with not having ideas. Like, at all. The new ideas rising up are mostly suggestions from her. And that's why my book suffers from chronic blandness to begin with. Characters? Well developed. Setting? Dang interesting. Stuff actually happening? Not so much.
So often I waver in my career decision. I determine I'll sit down and just do the work because writing books is the only thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. Then I remember I'm no good at writing and I should just go ahead let down everyone who believed in me, and save myself any more wasted hopes, because you're not magically good at something just because you really want to be.
In other news, my other novel Simi has a new working title. At the moment it goes by A Web of Every Color. I don't know if I like it, but it's better than Simi.
Yep, it has a cover now.
Beyond the Midnight Mountain is no longer naked! Here is its cover, created by Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings Design Studio. I first came across her work when I read a book just because of its cover. Inside, it credited Jenny and Seedlings, and when I viewed her online portfolio I knew I wanted her to design a cover for me.
The process was interesting. She sent a questionnaire asking about styles/designs I had in mind, then sent an art board of covers (of published books) based on my questionnaire answers. We discussed various aspects of these covers, what we liked and didn't like, and then she designed mine.
I can't wait until I can hire her again for my future book covers.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments.