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Writing Rukan, so far

July 22, 2015

I started working on Rukan (working title; I’m still flailing to find a betterer one) in earnest in March 2014, when my son was 3 months old. He became more settled at that age, and his naptimes became my time to write. It was kind of like going back to work… except my desk was now the kitchen table, I could wear leggings & tramping socks, and a small dictator kept interrupting me. But it worked out. The beauty of being a writer while being a SAHM was how flexible it could be. I loved it.

At least, it worked out while there were naps.

The napping/writing routine went really well for about a year. It’s a bit harder now: he doesn’t sleep as much during the day, and so I just don’t have as much time. His one nap in the middle of the day is now my time to do everything, with priority given to eating lunch and writing (and sometimes blogging…) When he dropped to one nap a day, I put him into occasional childcare a couple of mornings a week, which has been a godsend. Those 3 hours literally fly by. I try to squeeze in All The Things: grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, gym… and writing. I constantly feel like I’m not maximising that time. (I constantly feel guilty every second I don’t spend of it writing. Screw you, guilt monkey.)

One day soon my boy is going to drop that one nap & then I’ll have even less time! I’m not sure what I’ll do when that happens – work harder to FIND time I guess – but I do hope that Rukan will be finished by then, and I can start trying to send it out into the big wide world.

I am incredibly lucky to have the support of an awesome partner giving me the opportunity to stay at home with my boy & have a massive go at this writing gig at the same time. I know not every yearning wannabe author gets this chance. It’s been a remarkable experience and I have learned a lot about writing & how I write (& how I would LIKE to write) in the last little while. Even if nothing eventually becomes of Rukan, this book has been a massive leap forward in my development as a writer.

I’m really looking forward to finally finishing the thing (OMG can’t it just finish itself by now?!) so I can start working on the next one and apply all that I’ve learned. I have this – probably totally batshit crazy – idea that it’ll be easier, the next one…


Wednesday writing update

January 22, 2015

Oh dear, poor blog *pats blog*

OK so where was I?

I finished the draft of Rukan. That felt pretty amazing even though I was instantly suffused with fear over how much editing will be required. I was only 10 days over my self-imposed-schedule & that was just down to the story needing more words than I’d scheduled to write. My mini Nanowrimo was a resounding success & it was pleasing to finish the month on target. I can write more words a day if I put my mind to it. And if I know what I’m writing…

Then I started the aforementioned editing. I have a PLOT document which lists each chapter & what happens & whose POV & blahblah. I spent a month going through the plot, chapter one to chapter twenty-nine-ish, shuffling stuff around & deleting crap & making notes about what needs to change. Inventing lots of new words & names that had placeholders.

And now I am back at the beginning & rewriting.

I am up to chapter two.

This is going to be a very long ride.

It doesn’t help that sproglet is transitioning down to one nap a day instead of two. That means I have less opportunities to write. Evenings, argh, are so difficult for this work. Editing requires such different brainpower. Fresh-morning-coffee’d-up brainpower, it seems.

But I’ll get there. This bloody book will be done.


Wednesday writing: mini Nanowrimo

November 5, 2014

OK, I’m doing my own mini version of Nanowrimo this year. I decided on 1st November. Hey, that’s better than deciding on 2nd November.

There is no way I could manage 1,667 words a day right now – snatching writing during naptimes is hard enough, particularly with the currently disturbed naptimes that require a lot of help with this crazy sleep thing. (So hard! learning how to go to sleep!)

So my goal is 580 words a day for November. That will mean writing every evening as well as naptimes. (I shouldn’t be blogging right now…)

That’ll bring me to ~90,000 words and my big goal: end of a zero draft.

I’m excited about that reaching that goal. Also kind of terrified. See, vomiting new words can be done mindlessly. You can deathmarch a story into existence. But the fixing of those words? That comes next and that is difficult. That requires actual mental effort. Sheesh.

I have a huuuuuuge amount of [square brackets] in my zero draft so far. Places where things must be explained. Historical events and persons that must be conjured. Pretty setting that must come to life. Names that must be invented. NAMES FOR EVERYTHING. (Fantasy. The making up of shit is both fun and tiring.) And I want those names to be consistent. I want names in other languages to seem like they fit together. I want a nice selection of names that have different beats and rolls and patterns – names that aren’t all double-syllable-ending-in-A (I do that.)

The naming of things takes me a long time. I flit and ponder. Bang my head on the desk. Drink coffee. Pootle around and This is why I shove stuff in square brackets as I write: rather than stop & think, I can keep the flow of words alive and come back to it later.

As well as my story file, I have a separate doc where I have every single made-up name listed, including the yet-to-be-determined square bracketed names…

[Blahblah] bazaar

Lake [Name]






So when my zero draft is complete, one of the things I have to do to turn it into a first draft is invent a LOT of things. En passant, my distinction is that nobody can read a zero draft – it wouldn’t make sense, there are too many holes & things missing – but a first draft could be read from start to finish. (Although still requires a lot of editing & fixing.)

I feel like it could take me another year just to move from zero to first.

It’s daunting.

But I just gotta get on with it.