november is for writing

Clearly, I fail at blogging during NaNo. This is probably not that surprising.

But now there are pretty little wordcount widgets, look!

Currently at 36k. Now have five different fairy tales (Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Six Swans, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, & Bluebeard) incorporated and twisted around into knots. I’m guessing that this draft will round out around 75k, and I’m hoping I can get that done this month. I already have notes for things I want to change, of course.

And now, because I know y’all (& by y’all, I mean the approximately three people who read this regularly. Hi Paul!) are interested, a Great Agent Search update:

At the end of October I sent my revised manuscript back to the three agents who wanted to see it, and within two weeks I had responses & feedback from all three of them.

And… I get to go back to revisionland. Everyone say yay!

It’s really not that bad. I think this time I have a much clearer idea of what needs to happen and a slightly vaguer but still pretty decent idea of how to do that.

The unfortunate part is that it’s going to involve completely dismantling and reworking what I have. And I have no idea how long that will take. I’m hoping to do some structural outlining/planning during December and then start in on the new draft in January.

And when that revision is completed and beta’d and revised again, all three agents want to see it again. So it seems like there’s a good novel in there somewhere. I just need to figure out how to write it.

But other than occasional jotting down of notes & ideas I’m trying not to think about it too much at the moment. I have NaNoing to do. And the circus can wait while I’m busy wandering around my war-torn fairy tale mashup of a NaNovel. I am all Once Upon a Not-So-Happily-Ever-After at the moment.

Here, have my favorite illustration of Rapunzel that I’ve stumbled upon in researching:


Rapunzel by Isobel Lilian Gloag

the end is in sight

I’m in revisionland again, in case the radio silence hadn’t made that terrible obvious.

I would like to take a moment to say that I have fabulous beta readers. They found the elusive things that were missing instantly, because they are brilliant. Everyone needs extra pairs of eyes to look at things from different angles, and I have three pairs of great ones.

And even better, I knew as soon as they pointed out the weak spots what I needed to do to fix them.

So I’ve been fixing. Added two new sections which I finished writing today, and now I have to tackle a few changes through the rest of it and then it will be shiny and polished and novel-shaped again.

And of course, there will be another round of index card ordering on the studio floor. I’m sure Bucket will enjoy that.

But the end is in sight. And beyond that, November is looming in a NaNoWriMo shaped cloud of loomy thing. I should have at least a few days to get armed & ready. Hopefully.


I am so close to the end of revisionland I could throw rocks at whatever land it is that lies beyond revisionland from here.

Technically, I don’t have any more writing-writing left. But there is ordering and formatting and fun stuff like that between here and the point of done-done so it doesn’t feel finished yet.

It doesn’t feel finished in general, actually. There’s something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m hoping my team of fabulous beta readers will be able to help with that, and I’ll be able to give it another post-beta polish after they read it.

But for now it is index card time! I am sure most writers do this in outlining phases, but in my wacky, non-linear way I seem to have made a habit of writing out of order and worrying about how to put all the pieces together after the fact.

I’ve added and dropped enough sections from the previous draft that I have some serious reordering to do. So I made all new index cards.

index cards

They’re color-coded by type of chapter (circus tents proper got to be silver this time around, because metallic silver Sharpie is always good times) and then color-coded again by which characters are featured. These still need dates written on them, I have those broken down on a list (in approximate book order and again chronologically.)

Tomorrow I get to spread them all out on the floor and play the “no, this has to come before that” and “too much of this character in this area” and “Bucket, stop sitting on the index cards” game. It’s a good game, until kittens start eating the cards.

I am so ready to hand this off to the beta brigade, and distract myself with tarot kings and NaNoWriMo planning while I wait for feedback.

creative messes

While I’ve been in revisionland I’ve been silently bemoaning how messy my writing process is. I’m not sure what I expect would be better, or less messy, but it seems to tend toward chaotic. I have handwritten notes scrawled sideways on paper in two different colors of pen. I have snatches of dialogue scrawled in between. I have a Scrivener file open with bits of potential new scenes written in no particular order and odd bits highlighted so I know where I need changes. I have a hard copy of the current manuscript that I’ve started to mark up with purple gel pen.

It’s messy.

But when I was working on the bastet postcard (already sold!) yesterday, I realized my art process is just as messy, particularly toward the end stages.

This is a picture of my workbench, taken right after I finished:

creative mess

There are several things in this photo that I didn’t even end up using (the gold metallic worked better than the copper, for example) and yes that’s my hand covered in Mod Podge. There was an incident. I promise my camera hand was clean. Comparatively.

So I thought, looking at this mess, why should I expect my writing process to be different? Just because it’s words and not paint doesn’t mean the process is all that different, I make writing/painting analogies all the time. Of course my writing process is going to involve weird notes and seemingly disorganized bits and pieces. Clearly, I am the type of artist that needs to put paint I’m not going to use on the table and get my hands dirty.

I used to have this complex about working messy with my art. I thought all the paint should actually end up on the painting and not on the table, on me, occasionally on the cats. I got over that somewhere around the time I started splattering things. It’s difficult to splatter things and keep paint properly contained. But I liked the finished product, I liked the way it looked and it’s become something of a signature technique now.

Time to apply the same train of thought to writing, methinks. At least writing messily doesn’t involve as much cleanup.