As patrons know from my post last week, or write-in participants from the Saturday before last, I’m rather burnt out. And also aware that the expectations I put on myself are completely unreasonable (like upset that I hadn’t written a rough draft of a book yet “this year”…it’s February lol). I’d worked extra hours the week before last to get a bunch of things done, so I could take off Mon – Wed to write (and celebrate release day, and Shawn’s birthday) and I just…had nothing in the tank. So I reread several books in my favourite series and that seemed to jangle a few things loose.
Tentatively on Saturday, I decided I could at least find something small to work on during the write-in with everyone. The Killing Beach is out in three months and I have to get it formatted, so I pulled that out thinking I’d do another full pass but instead spent the day jumping around, inserting new chapter breaks, working on bits and pieces. There are still lines in there from the very, very first iteration, when it was third person past tense and Waverly was a very, very different character. None of the POV/tense problems are still there, but Waverly as a character changed so much during all the times I tried to write the book, and I know her so well now that I’ve written four and a half books with her, those bits really stood out to me. I’d kept them because I loved them but they belonged to a different girl. My rough drafts are always very lean so I generally have to add rather than cut, but this is I’ve grudgingly killed my darlings. We’re on draft three now, it’s been edited, and there’s no time to be precious.
But then I started having a little flickering thought. Maybe it’s the burnout compromising me, but looking ahead at the series…at some point my brain said, “This is missing someone. You need someone to fill X role going forward. You could introduce them in this one…”
Like I don’t already have enough going on.
Surprisingly, it’s weaving in really quickly and works to give Waverly a nudge at the right time, putting some pieces of the mystery together a little better. Last night I did have a moment of thinking…is this a mistake? Am I out of my mind right now?
But it’s also not the first time. I remember Emperor’s Tomb had been through seven revisions, content editing and copyediting, I was proofreading, but one element wasn’t sitting right with me. In a vacuum, it was fine, but nothing we write exists like that, and taking in consideration what could be extrapolated from it, I considered what else I could do instead. So…something like three weeks or so, before release, I actually changed a small but significant thing that fixed that issue for me.
Emperor has that element in common with TKB, I guess: both were books that went under extensive revisions, that took me a long time to find my way into. I suppose it’s a little more natural, then, to continue to poke at it late in the game.
I’ve added about 3K now to TKB and I’ve got one more scene to write, a little bit more to tweak, then I can review it all and format it for print and then get it out for proofreading. I’ve also decided the hardcovers with the Nancy Drew-esque covers will also have some bonus goodies–at this point, I’ll do a short essay in each one discussing the influences around the main mystery (and possibly each will have a vegan pub recipe for something Waverly eats at the bar during the book). That’s started with this one, but burnout inhibited even that kind of writing.
Anyway, trying to ease some pressure on myself, and you know, if all I do this year is write Hell Fire for serializing at Patreon and then revising Waverly 2 for Nov release and Waverly 3 and 4 for release next year (not the plan, #4 is supposed to slot into 2025, but this is my backup option), I’m still doing okay. I don’t have to write 3-4 books again this year. Relieving that pressure is probably the only way I will get anything done eventually.
Tricking our brains to be productive is very irritating, though apparently necessary.