Okay, or going on holiday. Had a wonderful week in Nova Scotia with my sister; but hey–we DID go sea kayaking, which I have never done before, and one needs a plethora of experiences as a writer, right? Also, very cool to go to a ceilidh and see the locals just get up and square dance as the music moved them.
This has been an interesting process. I was unable to get to book 2 because of too many other deadlines and family responsibilities, but I WAS able to dictate into my voice recorder while on a motorcycle trip. I created 22 documents, some of which were plot threads and reminders, and some of which were text, mostly chapter 1 starts / scenes, or a new idea I had to slide in somewhere later.
When it came time to outline the plot (on my 6-day writers’ retreat) I used these docs and other scraps of notes. Done! For chapter 1, I then took the 5 scenes (inciting incident, complication, crisis, climax, resolution) I had outlined and shoved them into a document with my noodled chapter 1 text, and have been worrying away at it a bit at a time over the past week. Again, as I am traveling with family (out-of-province at a family wedding) there is little time to write, so I am stealing an hour here or there (on a flight, in the car going to an event) to mold the text into shape based on the notes from my outline.
So far, I’ve finished scene 1. Tortoise-and-hare-style, I’m tortoising, but it’s working!
This is about the 4th year in a row I’ve gone to Montana on the long weekend with 4 friends for a writers’ retreat–this year we got away for 6 days. It was AWESOME! This is the best place to plan out a novel because we write morning noon and night, stopping for a break when we make lunch, go out to dinner, and to have about a half hour of social time at 10:30 PM.
You can really get ideas in your head, keep them there, manipulate them–all with no distractions. And the writerly conversations on the drive down and back and at meals are super-stimulating. There is no internet, but there IS a group of writers of whom to ask questions. I got a ton done, not only putting together a scene-by-scene outline of the next novel, but getting about 75% of my last novel edits complete. I want to submit well before my deadline, so this helps tremendously!
Got novel edits, both global and line edits, yesterday and I managed to get through the line edits this morning (accepted almost everything). Now I am working on the big picture stuff–cut the first 2 chapters (may cut more) and need to see what needs feathering back in, as well as 3 new scenes (nice to have the word count space to do that). A few nits on geography and character names to finalize as well.
Camping is awesome. Something about relaxation making your brain more creative, I think. I woke up yesterday morning with the four scenes (inciting/complication/crisis/climax) for chapter 1 of the next novel.
Of course, I was over-booked. Not conflicting, but just so booked that I didn’t have time to go to any panels. Sigh. However, 2 people offered to take over jobs for me next year, so instead of 4 jobs I will be down to 2. Yay! I ran pre-festival registrations and attended Sam Hiyate’s session on agents and took him to lunch; ran a party for IFWA; sat at the shared-author’s table for an hour; did 3 panels and read for Live Action Slush; attended two book launches (including The Sum of Us); introduced the judges for the Robin Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest; was Guest Liaison for Will Ferguson (who is AWESOME); attended the banquet and autograph session; ran a SFWA meeting; and attended the parties (sat next to Guy Gavriel Kay at the bar). I think that’s enough.
Got a blog post for Mary Robinette Kowal (My Favorite Bits) done on what I learned by editing the Sum of Us, and now on to line edits for Shades Among Us. Five down, 15 to go. I think this book is going to be another real winner. As the structural edit requests come in, most of the authors have worked really hard to meet our editorial requests, and the stories are jumping to life.
Publishers Weekly reviewed The Sum of Us! They didn’t love every story (but why they picked out Bottleneck to dislike is beyond me–that is one of my favorite stories), but picked out four for special praise: “The Dunschemin Retirement Home for Repentant Supervillains,” “The Healer’s Touch,” “Blinders,” and “The Oracle and the Warlord.” All of these deserve the praise they got–but yeah, so does every other story in this collection.
I was away for a bit on the motorcycle, but got home and caught up on the last zillion tiny details for When Words Collide. I invited a bunch of panelists to moderate their panels, signed up for my pre-festival workshop choices, organized a list of all my duties for the festival weekend, and took notes on the panels I am going to be on–I always like to have a few ideas of things I’d like to mention, going into a panel. There! Ready!
Back to dictating on the motorcycle as we ride through western Canada and the US. Stunning scenery. However, I think I have solved all the plot problems for my next novel, and just need to get home and write it all down. Love my voice recorder!