I reached the halfway point in my camp project yesterday, just over 25k words, two days ahead of schedule. I have to say, after a shaky start, this feels damn good. And even better than how the word count feels is the plot itself.
Vacancy has always been silly and loose, so in a way very easy to write–do I feel like goat people? Yup, so now there’s goat people! But in another way that lack of structure can make writing difficult: sometimes having to think within the box forces you to be more creative. This second book in what will be the Vacancy trilogy (series name still pending) has a much more solid plot than the first, and I have a better grasp on not just the climax of this book itself, but of the entire series. Basically, I’m pretty grateful for this box I’ve made myself, and like a cat I’m settling in and calling it home even if a paw extends over the edge once and a while.
I mistakenly didn’t get the details of every mini-arc of book two ironed out ahead of time (no idea why I was having a cupid show up, but they’re there now!), just the A-story was completely planned, but somehow just about every day I’ve been able to do a plotting session on a morning walk using talk-to-text on my phone, and then I sit down and churn out loads of words, going from pre-plotted point to point. Right now is usually where I’d lose a lot of steam–the “fun and games” part (aka the majority of the story lol)–but I’m more prolific than ever and know exactly where I want to go. It’s such a breath of fresh air. Sort of like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Who knew?
I’m also churning out words at a higher rate by training myself to not overthink or stop as frequently for research–an ongoing war during which I do sometimes lose battles. When I have a bout of aphasia, I’m less likely to check a thesaurus until I come across the word I want and instead just sort of muddle through the sentence, knowing I can clean it up in editing. I’ve found that, when rereading, I can usually recall those words pretty instantaneously–future me knows what past me meant most of the time–and if I can’t, then it probably wasn’t ultimately right for the scene anyway. Similarly, when I need to do research like “are there cougars in Massachusetts?” I don’t stop during the sprint to look that up, I just push through and leave a note for myself. (As an aside, I don’t suggest googling that exact question, you won’t get the answer you’re looking for.)
I’m also doing more telling in this draft than showing, knowing when I edit later I can replace those straight forward lines like “Lorelei felt nervous” with “Lorelei twiddled her thumbs” or hopefully something a little better than that. The editing will be more time consuming, but editing an existing piece is more enjoyable for me and a hell of a lot easier when I have a complete draft which is what I’m aiming for by April 30th.
All this leads to a higher word count average per sprint, more sprints per workday, and a much easier time slipping into that writing flow state. It’s sort of amazing considering I haven’t drafted a new project since November 2019 how I’m starting where I left off and am actually improving instead of working back up to my best averages from that month. My expectations have been exceeded.
The only downside to all of this is that I haven’t been editing She’s All Thaumaturgy like I planned. At this rate, I don’t know about the May release date, but I very much don’t want to push it out any further than June. Somehow I need to cram more work into a day. I know it can be done, but can I do it?
I also intended to bring out my draft of The Association for an initial reread and rewrite in May, but that may have to be sacrificed for SAT. I think that should be okay since releasing a supernatural murder mystery in October is probably even better than in September, so maybe the universe is slowing me down on purpose? Yeah, that’s probably it!