Last week wasn’t as successful as the previous week in terms of getting on with the editing of The Partnership.
I had to go to Malmö for some dance-work purposes, so I lost Monday to packing, faffing, and travelling…and Tuesday was filled with teaching, planning the following classes, and socialising with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in seven years.
However, on Wednesday I managed to spend three hours reading through the changes I had made so far in chapters 1-3 in Malmö’s public library - a beautifully renovated/extended building - before more teaching and watching a show.
On Thursday I taught, then travelled home. On Friday I cleaned and tidied the apartment (I also hoovered and mopped the floors!). And yesterday and today I had my head in other things (Big Plans For the Balcony!).
I’m still daunted by chapter four and I think I’m procrastinating working on it because I know it will be a battle.
Tomorrow is a new week, though, so let’s see what it brings!
I learnt two things this week (which I actually already knew): I am productive when I go to the library or a cafe to work. I get distracted and find it harder to work at home.
For the past few days I’ve tried working at home. Yesterday, I was back and forth to my laptop because I had the laundry room booked and so worked in 30/40 minute stints. At least I worked, though.
tried did some editing before ‘it got too hard’ so I took a break - of around six to eight hours - and watched several episodes of a TV show. Then a film. Then I washed my hair. Then half-heartedly tidied the kitchen. You get the picture.
I was easily distracted today because chapter four is being difficult. I’ve added in a scene at the beginning, therefore I have to do some big changes to what the character goes through during the rest of the chapter.
I was trying to re-write what I already had but ‘flogging a dead horse’ came to mind. After all the TV watching, I came to the conclusion that it’s probably hard because it shouldn’t stay in. I need to let it go. Delete, delete, delete. Then write afresh.
Anyway, so far in chapter four, I have added 1029 words and deleted 1341 - meaning a reduction of 312 words. The total word count now stands at 128,069.
I ended up going back to the library, mainly because it is a good (free) place to work in despite what I said earlier. This time I put softer music on at a lower volume to make sure I wouldn’t disturb anyone - but most of the other people had earphones in anyway, so I think I’m unnecessarily worrying!
It was a good few hours. I got through the editing of chapter three, beginning with deleting the first three pages!
By the end, I had reduced the whole manuscript by another 1464 words and 4 pages. This brings the total words cut to 4429 words and total pages cut to 12.
It feels strange to cut so much, I’m almost having to detach myself from the fact that it’s my work. However, I do understand that it needs doing. Once someone points out something that needs changing (even if it is in their opinion) I can’t ignore it. Naturally, I’m not just going along with every suggestion, because some things I can justify having in, but some things are so obvious now - it’s like the Emperor’s new clothes!
I went to a cafe (rather than the library) today to do more work on my book, and I found a nice one which was quiet, but not too quiet. There were other customers even though it looks empty from my photo!
Again, it was quite a productive few hours and I got through editing chapter two. So far I have managed to reduce the manuscript down by 2965 and 8 pages.
Next time, I may go back to the library because even though a cafe is more relaxed I don’t really want to have to buy something each time I go to do work.
This week has been good so far. I committed/planned for myself to stay out to do some work for a couple of hours each day rather than be at home because I know that I lack motivation and can get distracted there. If I can keep it up over the next several weeks then I may finish this edit and be in a good rhythm to continue writing the sequel.
Yesterday, the second day of being back working on my books, I went to the City Library here in Stockholm.
It’s a great place to work in and I had a productive few hours (I finished editing chapter one of The Partnership). The only drawbacks are that you have to pay to pee, it’s very quiet, and people unconsciously make annoying little noises. So I put my music on to drown everything else out.
Unfortunately, as well as not being able to hear other people making noise, I had no idea if I were also making annoying little noises (from the perspective of others). From the glances I kept getting from a woman sat next to me, I think I may have been. Ooops.
Next time, I’ll go to a cafe - where making noise is acceptable and the toilets are free!
I mentioned my manuscript for The partnership was long…but how long is long?
132,810 words to be precise, in 18 chapters over 414 pages (in times new roman, 12pt, double spaced).
Two days ago I started cutting words, sentences, and paragraphs and yesterday I got through chapter one already, managing to reduce it by 1452 words and 4 pages.
Not a bad start.
Top photo: Last year, I sent a digital copy of the manuscript of my first book, The Partnership, to a friend to give me feedback. She printed the whole thing off to read it.
So very long.
I can understand why she thinks I need to cut a lot of stuff.
We spent over four hours discussing it one afternoon recently and she gave me so much food for thought.
Bottom photo: I came away from that meeting with four chapters of the printed book (one, two, three, and twelve). They were the ones that she had scrawled most notes on and which will be a starting point for me to go through and undertake yet another edit.
So, after somewhat of a hiatus from working on my writing, I have begun the edit, which I will be doing alongside continuing to write the first draft of the second book, The Collective.
Yep, this is yet another post about how I’ve been silent over the last couple of months.
Since the end of January I’ve been pretty busy with other stuff going on in life, so my writing had been put on hold. However, in all honesty, since mid-March my schedule did get much lighter and I could have gotten back to my writing sooner but motivation has been a hard one to find.
I have had several people ask me recently about how my writing/books are going and I’m starting to feel a little guilty about not getting on with them. Or at least, regretting a little about telling so many people about what I had done/am doing.
I know that if I feel like it’s too difficult to motivate myself to do this work then one option is to not do it. To admit to everyone that I can’t do it and leave it at that. BUT I want to do this. I want to have a book published. And I can’t leave it unfinished like this.
So, that leaves me with having to do it. Having to put all the insecurities aside, all the self-consciousness about whether what I’ve done is ‘any good’, and just do it to finish it so that at some point when someone asks ‘How’s your book going? Can I read it?’ I will be able to say to them:
'Yes, it's great! I've finished it and it'll be available to buy soon!'
The Great Unanswered Question:
What the hell happens to every country on the planet that isn’t the US in YA dystopias
I think I read somewhere that they all live happily ever after and just watch in enjoyment as US is destroying themselves.
Haha! I’m sure there are non-US dystopias out there (I haven’t looked - I’m just hopeful). Anyway, I have a book/story in mind for a kind-of dystopian novel set in Europe…so you have that one to look forward to!
Writing is weird.
One minute you are telling a story.
The next minute you are researching the average amount of snowfall Edinburgh gets.
or how to kill someone with a piece of barbed wire and a tomato
Or how much force it takes to dent a human skull with a can of Pepsi.
For me, for The Collective and The Partnership, it’s been researching dark-/anti-matter and quantum physics…and I am in no way a scientist! I sometimes wonder why I chose to incorporate such complicated science fiction into my story…and then I remember the ‘fiction’ part and worry less about getting the facts right and more about writing a damn good story instead.