Hello again to any and all people who read these words on this particular corner of the internet. I did what I set out to do and finished the first draft of my book last week! It took a little over eleven weeks in total, which isn’t as fast as I would like for a first draft, but is faster than I’ve written anything in the past — so onwards and upwards.
And so begins the process of rereading, rewriting, editing, cutting, pasting, hacking, slashing, chopping, felling — I may have started typing about being a lumberjack. Note to self Matt; You’re writing a young-adult dystopian novel and not taking an axe to wood in order to build a cabin.
That’s a 2019 goal.
I’m sure writers will be able to relate to the simultaneous feelings of accomplishment and anxiety; The two As. I could’ve thrown ‘achievement’ in there too, to round it off at three As, but really it’s too synonymous with ‘accomplishment’ to even consider — So it’s 2 As and that’s the last I want to hear on the matter, okay?
Sorry, that was a little aggressive. It’s the duel sense of accomplishment and anxiety that has me all on-edge. I find myself wanting to celebrate; Not because I deserve to have some R&R time, but in order to avoid rereading all 98,876 words.
Even though this is my most well-rounded, straight-up story to date — Which manages to be a genre piece with modern social commentary, all without losing the integrity of my own “voice” — I’m still nervous to go back to that first chapter. Don’t worry, I’m absolutely going to, just as soon as I finish typing these words.
I’m excited to revisit some parts because I know how I’m going to “fix” them. I stuck to my basic plan throughout the writing process, but made a few improvised improvements along the way. So I’m looking forward to revisiting earlier chapters in which I can better telegraph those future-events.
The main problem is that I’m worried I’m going to have author-blindness (not a medical term), where I’ll read through a chapter and decide that 80% of it is fine just because I stuck to the original story structure. Sure, I’ll change a few adjectives here, and a few lines of dialogue somewhere else — but should I be scrapping most of the chapter to try and write it all better?
I don’t have the answers to any of the anxious questions swimming around my skull, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out along the way. I’ve only ever seriously edited and scrutinised screenplays I’ve written. I wrote a feature film for my final project at university and I remember spending the better part of a year redrafting and rewriting the one-hundred-some pages until much of the dialogue (of a dialogue-heavy movie) was completely different.
It doesn’t feel as though I’ll be doing that with this novel as much — and I don’t know if that’s right or wrong. Or if there even is a right or wrong answer beyond — “just get it done and make it better than it was last time”.
A positive is it still feels like a story that people other than myself would want to read. It’s still a dystopian novel, set under an authoritarian government, in a boarding school at which students must use VR to attend lessons. Our teen protagonists have to combat threats from the regime, and uncover secrets which may put a stop to the death and violence of the real world, all while they attempt to have a “normal” education in the virtual one.
At least, that’s what I currently have drafted in an email to send to literary agencies, as soon as I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with the 98,876 words I currently have (final word-count subject to change, refunds available on request).
I love the world I’ve created, and I love the obvious-yet-subtle allegorical meaning — Obvious to an adult, but slightly less obvious to a young adult. Actually, that’s disrespectful to my target audience, young people are extremely perceptive. I’m just going to leave the above words in so that this paragraph feels more conversational — and so I can hit my 1,000 blog words for the day and crack on with my editing.
I like the punchy start and high-impact end. I don’t like all of the clunky, slightly meandering plot in the middle. It does feel as though I’m treading water once or twice, so a lot of that will have to change. But then again, the downtime and schoolwork is a part of the juxtaposition between the real and virtual worlds — so, who knows?
I’m sure it’ll all be fine, if I keep putting the hours in then it’ll eventually turn out alright, readable and maybe even (dare I say it) — good.
Oh wow, I cannot wait to write about certain things on this blog over the next week. I’ve really got some catching up to do on world events — I picked a bad week to take a break from these morning warm-up posts.
Burning shoes…Nike ads…Whitehouse source…Brett Kavanaugh…Elon Musk…No-deal fears…Woodward book — I feel like I’m in a flippin’ Billy Joel song!
“We didn’t start the shoe fires, they were always burning, get the racists learning.”
Or, you know — better.
Okay, that’s enough, I’ll write about something proper tomorrow, spew my thoughts on some societal event before beginning the cycle all over again.
To any writers who’re still writing their first-drafts — If I can do it, you can too, keep plugging away and before you know it you’ll have it finished and you can join me at the two As.
To any writers who’re now editing a WIP — I feel your pain, so let us feel this pain together in an attempt to lessen the overall burden of reshaping our work.
To any writers who’ve finished their WIPs and are now querying — You’re amazing and an inspiration to us all. I’ll call you in a couple of months for advice though, yeah?
Today is Monday, September 10th and I’m having a lot of fun learning how to record and edit podcasts.
Tip My Jar?
If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?