(My fellow "Supernatural" fans will appreciate the title of this post, but come on...it fits, I had to use it!).
This is another one of those "glimpse behind the curtain" posts. Sorry. Had to be done.
This past week has been a total nightmare for me. I've been in week three of fighting off a head-cold, the kids have had stuff going on, I've had stuff going on, the hubby's had stuff going on, work never ends, it's been chaotic to say the least...and yet, the show must go on right? As it happens, the show went on (for awhile at least) to the detriment of my sleep. Then I just got so tired, the show stopped altogether and I got into a real funk about it. I took a few nights off, to catch up on said sleep, and hoped I'd be able to throw myself back into things. Which sorta did and didn't work...well, it didn't work out the way I planned it, anyway.
So here's the thing. I have written possibly about 10 maybe even 12 drafts of this story. In each version, the story changes somewhat (a good thing, I hope - certainly seems a natural progression, as I get to know the characters better each time). But with the current draft I'm working with, the first 15 chapters were written already and I just needed to edit them. So I did, which inevitably changed them...yet again...and we're onto draft 13 now (or some such thing - gah!).
And then I fell into that trap that I suspect most writers do at one time or another: I tried to edit as I was writing. Now this is just silly, for lots of reasons. Firstly, when you write, you really need to throw caution to the wind and get the gear onto the paper (or the screen). The editing process SHOULD BE seperate from this. Otherwise, you get to that stage where you just can't go forward because you're too busy looking back. So that's what happened to me - I got stuck. And because this story has changed soooooo much during the past few months, I had no clue where I was going with it.
So how did I fix that? Well, I took some time out. I caught up on some sleep. I tried to get myself well, so I could concentrate better. And - one of the best moves yet - I actually ALLOWED myself a few nights off, just to mull things over. I ended up spending a couple of hours last night, writing up draft chapters with the key issues in each, so that I had a purpose. I now know where everything fits into the second half of the story. I have a direction. I know what happens next, right up to the end of the book - and (now this is a big one for me) I know how it ends.
That may sound stupid, but I write for fun. Sometimes I don't know how it's going to end, because I get so caught up in telling the story that I personally don't care (this is why editing is so important - you get to laugh at yourself and use the delete button and say "Yeah, I don't think so..." alot). So important.
So what happens next? Well, I get to flesh out each chapter, according to my plan. I don't have to stick to my plan rigidly (and probably won't, as inspiration strikes), but at least each chapter has a direction now. Hopefully, that will make the editing process that much easier.
And what chapter am I currently up to? That would be chapter 20. At last. Yay! How many are left? I think around 10, maybe less. So technically, I'm over halfway there. And it feels good.
Oh - I keep meaning to mention this. Just so you know, the publisher has only seen the first 4 chapters and the synopsis. They signed me on that basis, knowing that only the first 15 chapters were complete. So really, you are all sharing this journey with me, as I edit and write and tear my hair out and rejoice and cry and basically throw everything I have into this book...and then some.
So welcome to the merry-go-round - thanks for riding with me :-)