Monday, December 10, 2007

Where I am with my writing

Slightly on hiatus! This is my busy period for work - everyone wants copy for brochures and web sites they hope to have ready either before Christmas or in early January. So I'm writing thousands of words, but it's all commercial copy. There is simply no time or head space for anything else. The good news is that things slow down later this month and most of January is pretty dead so then I will have the opportunity to get back to some fiction.

My aim then is to finish redrafting 'Ghost Boys'. This is a young adult ghost story which I first drafted around the middle of the year. It's now in second draft after some great suggestions from Conduit who very kindly read the first draft. I did 'complete' a second draft, but I wasn't happy with it, so now I'm changing something very specific, which runs through the whole story. I've started doing it, but then the work pressure was on so I had to abandon it. I'm not too perturbed about having to back away from it for a while as I know what I want to do and how to do it. I hope it won't take too long to actually put it down in words!

I'd also like to write a few more short stories along the lines of 'Sand Baby' or 'Preparing the Body' - some of you may remember those from the Crapometer. I should be thinking about writing more womens' stories, as I seem to actually be able to sell those, but I have very little desire to do that at the moment. I want to explore other things. Writing womens' stories does take more effort than some people think and, like all other kinds of writing, you need to be dedicated to do it properly and I just don't have that dedication at the moment.

I also think I need a web site. Now there's a challenge.

So that's where I am with my writing. Where are you?


Robin S. said...

Great, McK! I'll be back in the morning, when wine isn't making its impact, to visit and ask questions and do my own updating back. Thanks for posting this.

Robin S. said...

Wow- you're busy, McK - and I didn't know you'd already had stories published - very cool.

I understand about the drafting - that's where I am now, and apparently my brain isn't wired to redraft - 'cause I've been upset by it a bit - seems like a rewrite rather than an edit, and in places it's been just that- a rewrite. I'm the person who sent the question in to EE about the editing process, and his advice ws spot on for my personality - he advised that next time, I basically edit and draft as I go along, and take my time to get the work close to the place I want it to be before moving on to the next section/chapter/etc. And, although I know the general consensus in "advice" stuff is to move swiftly through the first draft- I think EE's right as far as I am concerned- and I'll go the slow and thoughtful, careful route next time, as I find myself in panic mode right now, rereading the draft of my novel.

I write for a living (partially), though not in a direct way as you do. Sounds great that you write for a living, even though it may not be directly related to your fiction, you're able to exercise your language muscles.

I also talk for a living, convincing people to do what I think they should do, (then following up with the writing part - i.e. letters, notes, following up stuff). Talking 'off the cuff' is a natural thing for me, but I love the writing best - sculpting thoughts and meaning.

So- what's "Preparing the Body" about, girlfriend? Your title is a hook in and of itself - I really like it.

McKoala said...

Hi Robin - thanks for your long reply!

Redrafting/rewriting can be frustrating. I do a little bit of editing as I go through, but somewhere in the middle I get lost and just write. Then I chuck the draft in a drawer for a while and when I pull it out I discover it's not as perfect as I thought. Then it's time for the hard grind.

Having said that, I don't hate rewriting; I've come to see it as a chance to spend more time with my characters and to think up things that can make the story better. I think it's more difficult than the first draft, though, because things matter more. I'm trying to make things consistent and it's so fiddly, lots of to-ing and fro-ing and cutting of stuff I used to think was brilliant (sniff).

People write in different ways and I think once you find the one that suits you life will be easier. There's no need to do things just because other people think it's the right way to do it - it may not be right for you.

Maybe one of the reasons I can bear with the editing process is because I have to make changes all the time for clients in my copy. I think it makes me open to edits, both from my own brain and other people's.

'Preparing the Body' is a grim little tale about an embalmer working on the body of a newborn baby. I'd post it, but I've sent it out to a journal. No idea if it's good enough, but I thought I'd send it to a few places and see if anyone is interested. I'd love to get some different types of story published.

Conduit said...

I remember those stories very well, McK, and Preparing the Body is a breath taking story. It is very, very dark so I think it'll be just a matter of it finding the right home.

As for my writing? I haven't had much time for it lately due to work, so I'm going over a couple of short stories with a view to submitting them, in between waiting for agents to reply to their queries!

Church Lady said...

I finished the first draft of my MG late spring, and edited/polished/submitted throughout the summer and fall.

I wrote a couple of chapters for two other MGs, but haven't done any serious writing since beginning of October, to be honest. I've been querying, recovering from rejects, and trying to meet people on the blogosphere.

I'm just now getting a time management plan (at least in my head) where I don't spend hours on various blogs and do no writing. I have to say that it was becoming an addiction. So after the holidays, I'm going to do my blogging in the morning, write, and exercise. I see my health deteriorating for all the sitting time. That's got to stop.

See how rambling this all is? I need to get back to taking writing seriously.

McKoala said...

Thank you Conduit! If you have any idea where the right place might be, let me know!

CL, I'd say you've managed to meet a few people on the blogosphere! But, as long as you keep your own blog going, I don't think you'd have to roam much, because I'm sure people will come to you, lured by your fascinating facts and winsome wit.

McKoala said...

As long as you keep coming here, of course. I promise not to blog more than once or twice a week, and to keep it short, so it doesn't take you too much time.

Robin S. said...

Well, it's a bit of a relief to feel "not alone" with the tasks of the editing and rewriting and the break-taking and work-intrusions- on-your-writing-time stuff - not that I'd wish this on you guys, but as you have it anyway, it's nice not to be alone.

Conduit, I know what you mean about finding something the right home. I think that's the second half of the battle, isn't it, after writing something well? This is a long slog, but worth it, I think.

December/Stacia said...

Taking a break! Finished the new book, did the first big editing pass and a smaller one. Now I let it sit. Aaaah.

McKoala said...

Enjoy December!

Ello said...

I hear you! This month is kicking my ass! I think I'm going to stop submitting because I've gotten feedback from several partials and I need to revise but I just can't do it again - at least not right now! Sigh. But I did get back to an earlier manuscript which is also YA.

McKoala said...

Feedback - excellent Ello! The holidays are coming, hopefully we will all get some time then.