I have, however, had some trouble maintaining some consistency in my writing. Work has been hectic (and I start a new job tomorrow, which I’m not expecting will be any easier). I’ve been trying to make more time for family. And writing has suffered as a result. However, I have been making a few changes lately that I think will be positive.
First up, I joined a writing group. Not a critiquing group, but a group dedicated to getting some writers together in a room so we can write. And that is exactly what I needed. Sitting around, listening to what other people are working on, talking in the breaks – it all helps recharge my creative batteries. The group itself is excellent, I felt really comfortable very quickly and there are some fantastic authors whose work I admire attached to the group. I’ve only been once, but even that was a big boost for me. Looking forward to future meetings.
Long term readers might recall that I finished the first draft of a novel, Unaligned, a while back. I’ve been having real problems with the editing process. When writing the first draft, I could set myself modest daily targets (most often one handwritten page per day at a minimum) and I made steady, incremental progress. With editing, I couldn’t find the equivalent rhythm and pretty much all last year I struggled to even get started. Over the last month or so, I’ve been trying a few different things and some of them seem to be working. I was trying to do big, structural edits but the size of the task stopped me getting started. So, I’ve decided to do a run through the manuscript just doing line edits and looking for glaring inconsistencies. This is much more manageable, and I’ve been able to make some progress. I’m hoping that this approach will be more sustainable. I’ll keep notes on any major issues I come across that I just can’t fix in the line editing process, and that might form the basis of a structural review down the track.
I’m also thinking about writing some short stories based on secondary characters in the novel. One of the issues I’ve found is that the secondary characters feel a little too one dimensional. I’ve always struggled with creating “dossiers” on my characters, I’m hoping that a more narrative approach will help. These stories won’t be for publication necessarily (unless one turns out really well). Rather, they will be my way of making the characters a bit more fully realised in my own head. I’ll use jumping off points as I do the line edit of the manuscript to set up the side stories.
And finally, I’ve started work on a couple of very short, flash fiction length pieces. When I was publishing a few flash pieces a couple of years back, it gave me a sense of momentum that I seem to have lost since I started to focus on the novel. I’d like to get that momentum back!
So, that’s me. What have you been up to, writers? Who else is trying something new in the pursuit of better craft?