Because I don’t.
Like, honestly, truly, what is going on?
Let’s go back in time a little. I know I haven’t been blogging about my writing a lot. There have been other things—-the weight loss blog, the tea blog (finally!), the wrap-up for June reads, but none of those things are writing things. Back in June (wow, it really has been a long time), I talked about two different things. In the beginning of June, I was writing Saints at sea. I was about 75k words deep of a novel that I’m planning around 110-120k for, so getting pretty close to the end. I was writing an Avery chapter when I accidentally introduced three new characters that I liked enough that I wanted to give them their own prequel novel. Accidental novels and all that jazz.
A quick aside: I was rereading that blog, and there’s this little thing at the bottom
(I’ve got five spin-off ideas right now, it’s obnoxious
five but we’ve only heard about four WHAT SECRET NOVEL)
Dear writers, please write your ideas down because I have no idea what the fifth spin-off novel is. I know about four of them, and I OH WAIT. Oh. Okay. There is no fifth spin-off. It’s part of Saints at sea now. HA, oh my god, write your shit down so you don’t forget.
So, fast forward to the middle of June, and I’ve both started and stopped writing the bookstore romance. I was swimming in uncertain waters, and then I had a weekend with Erin, and suddenly I was editing the Pen boys. It’s been a wild ride since then.
After I wrote that Avery chapter, I wrote another one in Gordon’s POV, and I started figuring out ideas for the Gordon & the bastards novel. I figured out the histories for each of the bastards, gave them names and lives and issues, and was really excited about them. That kind of high fantasy is where my writing started and where it will eventually lead, I think. When I started to drift away from Saints at sea, I’d thought it was because it was too high fantasy and it was drawing me too quickly back to Ronan.
But before we get to that, I’d like to say that though I started and stopped the bookstore romance in the same week, I’m actually still writing it. I opened the fourth chapter the other day and dashed out a quick half-chapter for one of the two main boys. They switch off POVs throughout the novel, Will and Emilien, and it was really easy to drop back into that flow. I’m still writing it, too, though not actively right now. Because, for the first time in my life, I’m actively writing three different novels at the same time. Normally, I only do this with reading, and though I tried very hard to get away from that habit, it’s kind of come back to strangle me. With reading, this time around, I’ve been reading a YA fantasy and an adult fiction at the same time, and it’s actually been really nice to bounce between the two.
When I stopped the bookstore romance, though, I was really uncertain of where I wanted to go. The Pen boys seemed like a godsend, like of course this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and by the time I got up to Maine for Erin’s bridal shower, I was deep in edits. It’s been hard editing it. There’s a lot that’s getting changed for this third draft. My original villain was Quinn Arkwright (goddamn, I love his name), and while he is still in the novel and is still kind of a jerk, he’s also not the main villain. In my Accidental Novels post, I talked about Jasper totally not on purpose giving me the actual plot for the series as just a sidebar kind of thing that he says. Family demons? What? Well, yeah, actually, that’s totally a better and more well-constructed idea than the political theme I was going with. So, Quinn’s taken a back seat, the whole central focus of the plot has shifted, and, somehow, the actual hardest part of all the edits has been the fact that James now is no longer in a different room. In the first two drafts, James is in Quinn’s room, and this causes a huge uproar, buttttt that didn’t really work in the third draft. Jasper and Jensen are now at odds, and it didn’t really make sense to have Jensen still hanging around, so it was an easy decision to swap out Jensen for James, but like, WOW, they’re not even kind of the same character. They have vastly different personalities, and trying to just swap out the names was not even kind of something I could do. I’ve had to literally rewrite entire scenes. And that’s not even to get started on the timeline! Everything was happening so quickly in the beginning of the Pen boys, which just didn’t work. So, everything’s been moved back, which sounded easy since I’m getting rid of a lot of the Halloween stuff, but is actually turning out to be pretty tricky.
I’m enjoying it, I swear. I like the hard work. I like the fact that I’m basically taking this novel apart and putting it back together. But damn, it takes a lot out of me. I feel so exhausted when I’m done with a chapter that requires a lot of changes. Can anyone guess what happened when I got to chapter 15, which is going to be actual hell to edit?
heyyyyyyy, new novel time
Okay, listen, you cannot fault me for this one. IT’S THE SISTER WITCHES GUYS. Have I ever talked about the sister witches? Like maybe once? Yup, literally once, in the second edition of my current projects post. Sigh. Sister witches is my jam. Can you tell when a Pinterest board was created? No? Oh well. I don’t know how long sister witches has been floating around in my head, but it’s definitely been several months at least. And it’s totally fully formed, all the characters, most of the plot, time period, location, everything. I just wasn’t writing it because I wasn’t ready to, or whatever, but once I got to chapter 15 of Pen boys edits and I went oh boy no way in hell not yet, I took a look at the bookstore romance, decided nahhhhh, and then started actually outlining sister witches. THERE’S A DEMON WHO TURNS HIMSELF INTO A CAT WHEN HE’S FEELING MOODY. Oh my heck, I love this book. It somehow turned into more than one? I don’t know. It’s so dumb. I love it so much. It’s literally just about three witches who live together (Henley, Adelaide, Margot) and their significant others (Luciana, Roman, Eliot), all of whom don’t know that our demon (Theodore) is a legit demon (the boys don’t even know that he lives in the apartment), and all of whom are threatened by seriously evil witchy stuff via Adelaide’s wicked sister Wren.
I seriously cannot keep a straight face right now.
This is such a campy, ridiculous novel, and I love it to little pieces, and I swear it’s actually going to be good, just a little
a lot silly sometimes.
So, I get five full chapters into sister witches, one for each of the main POVs, and then kind of give it a yawn, pretend I’m going to go back to Pen boys for a hot second, and then I’m back to not doing anything.
I hate everything.
Alright. It’s Thursday of last week. 7/18. On Wednesday, I got into work at 3PM because I was out all morning going around to the different summer programs for the Peabody Rec Dept teaching the kids yoga. (I’m going to blog about this at a later date after I’ve done another day with them.) I was exhausted when I got to work on Wednesday, and I woke up pretty tired on Thursday. I didn’t want to read on my breaks. I didn’t want to do much of anything but hang out on Tumblr and just be tired.
Clearly, that translates into opening the first chapter of Saints at sea and starting a full reread of everything I had written.
Sometimes, I wonder.
Does my brain know what’s coming next? Is there actually some kind of early warning system that I’m just not privy to?
I hadn’t touched Saints at sea for a month and a half. I’d started two different novels instead, and worked on edits for the third draft of Pen boys. I told myself I was just going to read a little because I missed Julian. What else did I start reading on Thursday, though? Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman. Yup. Can you tell where this is going?
Julian doesn’t look, on the outside, like he’s been thieved from Norse mythology. On the outside, really, he looks like he’s been thieved from Nikolai Lantsov from the original Grishaverse trilogy, but I promise, I just loved Nikolai so much that I wanted to write about my own pirate king. Except, if you look a little closer at Julian, he’s kind of my version of Thor and Diana Prince all wrapped into one. I just hadn’t quite realized that yet.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t ready to be writing that kind of high fantasy yet. It was that I hadn’t actually gotten to the truth of Julian, and figuring that out was going to take some time.
Over the weekend, I finished Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which will show up in this month’s wrap-up review post with me wanting to give it 300 more stars than it got. I listened to the Wonder Woman movie soundtrack while I read it. On Monday, I started listening to the Thor: Dark World soundtrack (spoiler I’m listening to it right now, too), and something yawned open inside of me.
I only had a few chapters left of Saints at sea to reread, and then I was back where I’d stopped originally. This still pisses me off. I was at 78k of a novel that’s probably only going to go 10 or 20k over 100k. I was so close to the end.
I get to that Gordon chapter, edit nothing, and then just start writing the next chapter. Like, no problem, I knew what was going to happen next all along. I mean, I did, but not enough that I could write it. A storm starts, chaos ensues, SURPRISE JULIAN IS POSEIDON
Not really, chill out, he’s Aquaman. I’M KIDDING. But he’s something, and it ain’t natural, and I just kind of stopped for a second and was like girl whaaaaaat are you doing right now. What am I doing? I don’t know! Changing everything, I think! Whoops, I guess we’re going into the siren kingdom and the end I had outlined doesn’t actually make sense anymore and WOW OKAY.
What’s my plan, is the real question we should be asking. My plan is to finish Saints at sea right now. I know where I am, and kind of where I’m going. (I need to actually figure out the new end of this novel now.) And when I’m done, I’d like to go back to the Pen boys to finish editing that. I’m really going to try to do that, but there is no telling what will happen when I finish Saints at sea. My writing brain might just go galloping off into the distance and demand that I start writing the second one. I’m going to try not to, though. Because after Pen boys edits are done, I really, really need to edit the first Saints so that I can start sending it out.
I have so much to do. But it’s all doable. I can, and will.
Until then, I’ll be on the high seas.
PSS (post-script spoilers): things I’ve researched this week include how long it takes hypothermia to affect you in different water temperatures, the city of Atlantis, POSEIDON, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, sirens aesthetic on Pinterest, and what the different sides of a ship are called because I cannot and will never remember.