While it’s true that I still have to go through the earlier chapters of A Marriage of Land and Sea to polish them up, I can say with confidence that as of today I have seven chapters written in this book. My goals, as I’ve talked about elsewhere, is to finish this trilogy up by the end of June, to get back to the edits on Poseidon: A Narrative, and to get a few more stories written. Those of you who’ve signed up to get A Marriage of Land and Sea via the subscription service will receive the second and third books at no charge — because, damn, do I appreciate you.
I’m excited, because this weekend was my first weekend implementing my plotting and chapter mapping, an idea that I came across in 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. Oh, I’d already sat down and figured out where I needed to go with the whole series — the end goal, the signpost stops along the way, the overarching plot along with the individual, building the story up as we go plots of each book. I even figured out my typical chapter word count range (4k-5k), figured out how many chapters the book would have, and outlined what needed to happen in each one, for the first book, to keep the pace going. Much of Rachel’s advice was stuff I’d heard before, though I’ve been clinging to the idea that I am a Pantser, not a Plotter, all these years. And, yeah, maybe I am, but I’ve said again and again and again that I want to increase my output — so, maybe that had to change.
What really floored me in Aaron’s book — which should really be so obvious — was the idea of sitting down during each writing session and planning what your goals are for that specific session. In any other job, this would be your work list. Your tasks for the day. Why wouldn’t I do that when writing? Why would I sit staring at a blank page without any idea of what I need to accomplish beyond some vague notion? Why would I be willing to write thousands upon thousands of words, only to realize at the end of it all that they were all of them utterly wrong? There’s this idea that there is not such thing as wasted writing — I’ve said this mantra time and again over the years. It’s true, in that sitting and writing hones your skill as a writer, and in that having the dedication and discipline to park your arse in the chair and write is never wasted, no matter the wordage you end up with. But, it’s also wrong — or, at this point in my life it’s wrong for me. I work full time, I write part time, and I have another part time job besides that. I cannot give my time to words that aren’t going stick if I want to increase my output beyond the story subscriptions.
Er. I digress. The point is, this weekend was the first weekend that I was producing new material, rather than getting chapters two and four straightened out. It was the first time that I sat down, spend fifteen minutes jotting down what needed to happen where, and going along that list. It wasn’t perfect — chapter six came out of nowhere once I realized I needed to fix my pacing and give Roern another pov chapter before what I had planned as chapter six could take place. So, yesterday I sat down with a surprise! chapter, and did I take the time to plan that out? Did I take advantage of my new day off home alone to fly through writing?
Ha! HA I tell you!
I managed just over 2k yesterday. Frustrated, I went to bed, then mapped out the rest of surprise!chapter six. I finished it off (it’s awesome!!), mapped out chapter 7, and wrote it. It’s taken me all day, so I’m still slower than I’d like to be (I started around 11:30 today, and it’s 5:10 as I write this, which clocks me at just under 1k an hour. I want faster than that, but not at the quality’s sake) My hands are killing me, so I’m stopping. But, I’m pleased with this week’s work, with the result of taking the time to sit down and figure out before I start where I want the writing to go.
I think I’m going to like plotting out chapters.
Neech the Anti-Muse does not approve of the Plotter method. He will use his powers of Chaotic Neutral to thwart your progress.