Whether you're joining me by writing a new book or simply following my progress, I thought I'd update my word count as proof that little and often is always a winner in writing! This morning, Saturday 9th, I've nearly hit the 13,000 mark for the new book. That's the result of a set amount of time each day and the pleasure of getting lost creativity - nothing more. Simply seeing progress gives a writer a boost; I've managed that without disrupting my main editing task - which feels like a bonus book. That feedback of positivity to the brain motivates us to complete the cycle again and again. I'm a person who always rewards myself on the successes of life, big or small. It might seem arrogant or superficial, but I frequently praise myself for a job well done! Why wouldn't I? I'm the first to praise others when they achieve!
I've started to edit for today so, have placed an asterisks beside the current figure for my manuscript. Editing is going well, it's not my favourite of tasks but I've learnt to embrace it, shall we say. I recognise the difference between my drafted manuscript and the book that it becomes after editing - which helps. That mindset was developed due to a retreat I attended held by Alison May and Janet Glover (excellent mentors by the way). I'd prefer to be writing on a blank page, that's where my joy lies, but editing is a must! In order to make my editing process enjoyable for me, I tend to edit outside of my writing room. I put a boxset on the TV downstairs, sit myself on a big cushion and surround myself like a carpet picnic with everything I need. A very different location and setting to my writing room where I perch at a desk. New task: new location - psychological, in many ways. Anyway, editing is going well. I'm stripping away the dead wood. Plotting works in a similar way too. I use the floor as a desk and literally play like a kid for hours by spreading out my post-it notes before collecting them and organising them into the manuscript book which I create for each new novel. Do you remember being a child and getting lost playing with Lego? Literally hours pass without you being aware of anything other than hunger! That's how I plan; reinforces I'm just a big kid at heart!
Once upon a time, I used to teach fitness classes and each yoga session ended with meditation. I still meditate each day as it benefits my wellbeing plus, I'm prepared to use anything that aids my creativity. After yesterday's meditation, two news ideas, just small plot points, pinged into my head. I wrote them down to prevent forgetting and today, I'll work them into the plot. What I'm saying is, I allow myself space away from daily life and work to simply be for ten minutes and its quite amazing what can result from that dedicated time. Now, I know some have just rolled their eyes, others might snigger - go ahead, but be open minded enough to try something new for a few days and argue for yourself whether it works in your world. It definitely works in mine. The same often occurs with any silent task: knitting, drawing, dog-walking or meditation. Try it, you might surprise yourself.
Right, I need to get back to my editing and my 'The Big Bang Theory' boxset but, should my agent or editor ask if I'm writing a new book, your answer is a steely 'no!' OK? This project is a secret book, they'll see it soon enough.
My working day is currently being split 75:25 between my editing task and writing this new book. My main task for the month is obviously my editing but I’m a creative person who needs to have an outlet - well, that’s my excuse anyway.
I’ve had a good few days. The editing has gone well as I have all the words needed but not necessarily in the right order. Though each hour I tend to it I can see a difference when I compare the manuscript to yesterday’s version. Whilst editing, the book literally emerges from the haze of words and takes on life as a book rather than a draft manuscript.
The new manuscript is behaving as it should. I’ve written the opening scenes for each of my three ladies. I always feel a bit sad for them at this stage; each has an issue/dilemma which she has no idea of how I’m going to resolve on her behalf. Two characters already have clear distinct voices while the third is a little weak at present, but she’ll develop in the coming weeks. She’s got a story to tell so, she’ll find her voice soon.
My new manuscript is a rainbow of pink, blue and green font split by chapter headings and my spreadsheet contains details of scene setting and a snippet of content – enough to jog my memory when looking at the overview. That said, my editing manuscript is also in stripes of coloured font – nothing has changed there.
In the new project, I’ve revised some of my males’ names as two of them simply didn’t feel right once I was writing. That happens to me a lot with minor characters. Some have numerous name changes during my drafting as my taste changes or something significant puts me off a specific name eg. a news story or event. For instance, Joel in my debut novel was called Declan for about a year before I switched his name. How anyone names a baby and keeps its name without changing it a million times is beyond my understanding!
I realised this morning that one of my descriptions is the interior of a local restaurant so I’ve rejigged some details and disguise that fact, but in my mind’s eye I can clearly see what I’m writing about. I know readers won’t ever suspect but it helps me to be specific regards layout and setting.
I’ve had to rejig a couple of business names as well as you want something realistic but not too twee. I ran the new names through ‘Google search’ just to be on the safe side. I do ‘Google’ checks quite a lot to ensure that I’m not including local business details that I subconsciously picked up whilst on a dog walk.
I think that is it; all that I’ve done in the past few days. I’ll continue the 75:25 split working on both projects each day.
If you’ve got a specific question or query which I’ve overlooked don’t hesitate to contact me either on Twitter @ErinGreenAuthor or email: ErinGreenAuthor@mail.com
The photo shows my word count spreadsheet. During editing, if the word count is reduced I don’t use minus figures as it distorts my monthly/annual word count – I insert a zero instead. I'm attempting to maintain a 1400 word daily target for the new project as I can't afford for it to take priority over my editing task; I have a deadline to meet!
Happy New year, folks! I’m hoping you had a glorious start to 2021 and are bursting with vitality for the days, weeks and months ahead. I’m totally ignoring the news and have locked myself into a creative bubble where I intend to stay for the foreseeable future.
My aim for the next 90 days is to finish editing the current Shetland book, deadline is 1st February, and begin a brand-new book. In fact, I tell a little lie there … I started writing a new book yesterday (for those who follow me on Twitter that won’t be a surprise).
Before I was published, I wanted to know exactly how an author wrote, planned and worked on a book. Despite many searches and media follows I rarely found authors who shared their time lines, working hours and the difficulties encountered. In this coming series of blogs, I’m going to share my progress as it happens. I’ll happily be honest about my progress and word count each time.
Two weeks ago, I created three new characters and made up a manuscript book in which I have stuck a glossy catalogue photo for each person. I’ve given each character their own page and filled it with specific details about them. This book becomes my sacred guide to this new book. I’ll write down any research questions, quirks or habits, plot details and even background history which comes to mind. I might not use it all but once its written down I can’t possibly forget an idea - which can come in handy when polishing a book or a little extra is needed.
I used post-it notes to plot the story arc obviously, on three different colours one for each character, and have ordered them into a feasible story line – which I’ve stuck into the manuscript book.
There’s no reason why I’ve waited two weeks to begin; it’s one of my quirks - I like specific dates!
On my laptop, I’ve now created a ms template, complete with dedication and coloured fonts relating to my character. I write in the first-person viewpoint so it’s easier keeping track plus, the bonus is I can feed my brain colour rather than the standard black font whilst I’m creating. I only switch the document to black font just before I send it to my agent and editor.
My manuscript prep includes creating an excel spreadsheet where I log chapter details as I write. Over the years, I’ve adapted my routines and records but this system is currently working for me so, why would I change? I know other authors don’t use additional documents but I like to know exact details while I create as it helps me when I am editing the book later in the process.
I also have a daily word count document which I complete purely as an inventory of my productivity. Again, I know many authors don’t keep such records but over the years I’ve been able to see my own development so, this document has proved invaluable. Last year 2020, I managed to write 315,675 words – I wouldn’t know that without my daily record!
Everything I do aims to improve my productivity and imagination – nothing more.
Anyway, 1st January 2021, I wrote ‘Chapter one’ of my new book. I haven’t got an official title as all my books barring two have changed their titles upon publication. I use a working title purely for my own benefit and discussing with friends as it gets confusing if you have several projects on the go, but I know my working title won’t make it to the front cover. I wrote 1406 words for the new book, edited a chapter of the Shetland book and did a little additional research.
I've already been on my dog-walk so, have pondered what I'll be writing later. Today, I’ll follow on with ‘Chapter two’ and edit more of my Shetland book – simple.