Haven't updated in ages! Mostly because of the fact that The Leavers was shelved til February, and I had no other WIPs going--needed a break. Life was busy, but it wasn't busy enough for me to resist starting editing early...
So I took The Leavers' WIP off the shelf and started editing it as of the New Year! I'm not rushing; I want to do the best job possible and not get burned out, so so far I have completed (to publishable quality, in my opinion) 6 pages, and added 1,100 words.
I do tend to make my first drafts--and sometime completed novels--a little too short, so I'm definitely working on adding to the wordcount--and subsequent development of the characters and plot--in this novel!
First work-in-progress image of my 5th novel's cover! The book itself has just had the first draft finished and shelved.
Finally completed the first draft of The Leavers! I'm starting on sketching out ideas for a cover already. It's only 51,600 words--not near my 90,000 goal--but it's very much wrapped up and if I try to stretch it out more without a break, and some distance from it, I don't see it going very well.
So now to resist editing--and starting on another first draft of something else--for a couple months to give me that break & distance I need from it, then back into it again to edit and make it just a lot longer!
Going to post some work-in-progress shots of my cover ideas soon...
Not technically to do with my writing--more to do with someone else's writing, and my artwork! I was commissioned to do this ebook & print cover, and have finally been able to show it publicly! Had to wait until the book was published.
Check it out here:
Over 40,000 words into The Leavers!! Halfway, according to my goal. Going to be hard to find subplots and scenes to explore to make it to that length--and I'm not pushing it for the sake of adding words; I do tend to write far too sparsely...too keen to get to the exciting stuff!
37,000 words into the Leavers and I'm starting to see what the ending will be! I'm less than halfway my goal of the length of the book - 80k words - so I'm having to find some subplots and flesh them out. :/ I always write too sparsely, too excited to get to the most interesting parts!
Going to begin working on cover art, synopsis, and blurb soon, but still have to wait for a bit more of the story to reveal itself before I do the writing parts. The cover--I've already got that in my head!
It's going to be a very interesting genre of book, too. Swamplands meet purgatory and the afterlife meet dragons and a fight against injustice!
Up to 32,000 words! The story is really starting to take shape, the characters are growing and changing from what they began as...and discovering some pretty shocking plot twists in the interim.
I'm definitely getting better and better at creating an actual cohesive story in the first draft, though I'm still not going back and editing or doing anything else to get bogged down in the details.
It's going to be a much easier time editing this draft, when I finally get to that stage, than any of the other novels I've done so far! My future self will be thanking me, that's for sure. :D
Up to 23,000 words in my current work-in-progress! Working title is 'The Leavers', but that could easily change between now and publication.
Also I've gotten a lot of interesting ideas for the next book...it looks like it's going to be a science fiction! Have to wait until I've finished this current WIP first--argh, the agony of it! Skipping between WIPs has worked for me before, but they were at different stages; one was the first draft and one was being edited. I don't think having two first drafts at once will do much but confuse me. :D
DOUBT AND THE TURBAN
By Evelyn Archer
So this started years ago, with a hypothetical call out on Tumblr by author Nova Ren Suma (who’s books are beautiful and heartbreaking, complex and terrifying). I can’t find the link now because it’s long, long gone into the Internet Ether, but she talked about how even after four novels under her belt, the Ugly Face of Doubt stills stares back at her at some point in the process. She asked Tumblr, “How do you manage it?”
I’m not sure if this is the response she intended.
1. Spend the morning in bed reading Nancy Drew novels, and chapter 32 of Jane Eyre.
2. Wear a purple turban, and dressing gown that doesn’t fit you properly. Draw on heavy eyeliner. Reenact scenes from Sunset Boulevard. Use cats as extras. I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.
3. Write a wildly inappropriate fan letter to an author you admire, about your own fears and doubts. Send it. Panic. Know you should have kept it to yourself. Then decide to feel brazen rather than inappropriate. Now you are brazen. In a purple turban.
4. Write a list of Things That Are Awesome. (Crumbling manors, abandoned asylums, mysterious notes, girls with antlers, an endless library)
5. New notebooks, French ruled this time, and new ink, in a shade of bottle green. This. This will make everything better. This will make everything right.
6. Imagine a trusted reader. She loves your work. At the end of your novel she clutches the book to her chest, throws herself across her bedspread and cries, without even wiping her face. The ending, of course. But what’s more, she’s devastated that the book is actually over. It takes a full two hours to return to herself after reading your book. Imagine that. Imagine harder.
7. Imagine a friend, she is also a writer, she is also trying what you are trying. She understands this doubt, this road because she travels it too. Imagine what color her hair would be. Set up your tea set for an Imaginary Tea Party with her. She may, or may not arrive.
8. Go to yoga. Go swimming. Eat leafy greens and sprouted bread. You are getting stronger. Strong enough to smash the future, to smash the doubt to smithereens.
9. Fail. Then remember the advice about “getting up” and “failing better”, but it all seems very theoretical when you are lying with your face in the dirt.
10. Write a list of all the books you’d like to write. Remember that the one you’re working on, this one — it is not the only one you’ll ever write. Despite what it feels like now, you are not trapped in it, like a Djinn in a bottle.
11. Use a system of stickers, sparkling and bright, to mark the hours worked, the words written and revised. Do not think about how a Real Writer would not have to reward herself for doing what she should be doing in the first place. A child, learning to brush her teeth every day.
12. Prove motion by walking. Left foot. Right foot. One word after another, like stones in a wall.
13. Imagine a writer who works in spite of doubt. In the face of it. Imagine what her Courage looks like. Imagine her Brave Shoes, Her Brave and Magical dress. Find a dress like that one. Make one if you have to. Wear the dress under your everyday clothes, like Superman.
Evelyn Archer is the nom de guerre of a library clerk living in a haunted part of New England. She smokes black cigarettes and tells outrageous lies. Her lipstick is red enough to stop a Barcelona bull in his tracks.
She is the author of THE NIGHT TRAIN, the first in the series of THE STRANGE FILES OF MODESTY BROWN, available on Amazon:
She Tweets as @Evelynarches, or you can find her at askevelynarcher.com
Jenna Whittaker is a fantasy and science fiction author who is on the long journey to be published!