Not Just Soggy Around the Middle

First read through and rough rewrites on The Department of Curiosities is progressing. I have a long list of notes for the next rewrite, more research of facts and scenes to change or exorcise. Rewriting the beginning is, in a weird way, fun. I can revisit the excitement of a new adventure. Help my characters grow and add more va-voom.

soggy middle notes

But the middle? Argh!

Why do I keep stalling? It's not just the trudging through the myre of the soggy middle. It's first draft is done and discussed in Of the Muddle of the Middle and Other Inconveniences. I thought it would be easier attacking rewrites for this section. During my procrastination-research stage, I read many blogs and articles specifically on writing the middle (act 2) of a story. It seems I am not the only writer to say it: Rewriting the middle is drudgery.

I need to kill my darlings. In every sense of the phrase. Let me just talk about rewrites (or spoilers!) I need more action. I need to consolidate the twists and plots. I need to tighten the belt around that soggy middle.

I'm off to another writing class next month: Power up your writing.  Perfect timing. I need to start my next rewrite with a new eye, new skills and gumption.

But that is not my only hurdle.

I can't believe I wrote Of the Muddle of the Middle and Other Inconveniences over a year ago. To be fair, I have written and published three short stories and a novella, Doctor Jack, while I procrastinated my way around a specific scene. One I am now facing once more.

I thought the middle was a muddle for my head. Act three is just as wracking. Remember the darlings I mentioned. I don't want to part from my characters. They have been with me for over a year of writing and floating in my imagination for twice that. When I finish that last scene, they will have changed. That part of their story is ended. Some will return for another. Some may not.

So it's not just a soggy middle I am wallowing in. There is reluctance to give up my darlings and move on. Time to hitch up my belt, set my sights on the end and exercise those writing muscles.

I can do this.

Calm Before the Storm

It is done!

Doctor Jack rewrites are finished. Major background changes for two characters and ending are sorted. Fifth edit and spell check are complete. The manuscript is now ready to be proof read and checked and analysed for inconsistencies by some very particular readers (thanks to Amanda for some tips on printing out for editors). The torture begins. Will there be a slew of corrections and rewrites? I need to find a vat of dark chocolate to drown my sorrows in. (Fortunately I had organised a massage appointment to start the recovery. )

Doctor Jack Novella proof read copy 150509While I wait for their verdict, I am delving into formatting tutorials and hoping the estimated postal delivery times are vaguely accurate. The paperback book launch is scheduled for the 30th May. Wish me luck!

In the meantime:
  • you can now find me on my Goodreads author page.
  • Jack Tyler's interview with me has also been posted on his Goodreads page.
  • Final touches are being put onto the Doctor Jack and Other Tales paperback cover (soon to be revealed)
Today is mother's day. I plan to lounge around watching Midsomer Murders and Doctor Who, be fed pancakes with maple syrup and bacon and maybe indulge in a little too much chocolate. I'll even share some with my wonderful family. I am so blessed to have them in my life. janes    

NaNoWriMo Wrapup

April Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to an end. My goal for this adventure was to complete as least 15000 words of Doctor Jack (30-35K words). Camp is useful that way - I can write new stories, revise, edit - whatever. But how to record the rewrites?

The official camp information quotes one hour of rewrites equals 1000 words. By this reckoning, I have written over 50000 words! In truth (to date), I have rewritten two short stories (total 7000 words) and over 26000 of my novella. I felt more comfortable with my assessment.

As of 28th April, my word count is  33792 - double my original goal. I am very happy with that. stats 150428 april 2015

What does this really mean? This months camp has left me wondering a few things:

1. Do I write too slowly? I have only achieved half of NaNo's suggested word count for the number of hours I have actually toiled away on my computer.

2. Am I comfortable with the whole 'write the entire draft first then rewrite everything'? Not really; Okay, I admit the first draft outlined the entire story of Doctor Jack. It was the first time I have attempted this  method (often recommended in writing books etc). Honestly, it made rewriting a more onerous task for me. I admit it did make it a lot easier to rewrite background story changes - but at what cost?

I confess I find the whole rewriting and editing gig less stressful when I write one or two chapters, then rewrite. Write. Rewrite. Next section. Repeat. I completely understand that this will most likely mean that more time is needed on final rewrites - in changing background information, changing characters or editing plot points.  On my head be it.

3. Is all of this because I ended up with a much shorter deadline than expected (I lost almost a month due to family issue, dying pets and poor health)? Was it because I felt out of my depth with such a large unedited word count hanging over my head? It was almost claustrophobic.

My main 'take home' from this entire process has been: If I think I need one month for rewrites, I will schedule two (or maybe three?).

So two days to go. 7352 (or thereabouts) words left to rewrite and edit. Then Doctor Jack is ready for the final (hopefully) proofreading.  Then to cross my fingers and hope that the postal service doesn't screw up and take too much longer than expected. Book launch here I come!

Doctor Jack Ch 1 done 150422