Last week, I suggested I’d passed the point in writing The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes where I was treading water and was now in the forging ahead part of the process. This week, I find a lot of my earlier writing doesn’t fit with the forging ahead bit and I’m re-writing as much as I’m writing. You who are writing novels will I’m sure recognize the dilemma. Was the earlier writing ‘right’ and the later ‘wrong’, in which case I’m undoing good work that will some day soon have to be re-written back to where it was and the present work then re-written to match the ‘old’ work. Maybe I should become a useful member of society instead — a plumber perhaps.
Then there’s the plot plan, which now doesn’t align with either the new or old writing. I want to change that plan because I no longer like it but that means even more thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t aim for doing something useful, maybe decorative is more my forte — or maybe not.
Fortunately, I got a break from all that artistic anguish. I needed to make some simple corrections to the Jackson Family Tree in my book Annie’s War and that has given me something simpler to think about and do. I like simple. So this week, because it is newly updated, I’m recommending you all visit my Amazon Author Page and buy Annie’s War: A WW2 Nurse’s Diary.
This week’s update on my progress toward finishing The Modest Proposal Institute: War of the Institutes, which is book 4 of the series, is about arriving at the place I always reach when writing. I’m now writing lots of words — but the story is getting lost in them. It happens with every book. Here’s a summary of my writing ‘method’:
- Develop the plot and events that come from it
- Begin writing and write quickly up to about 20% of the book
- Come to a complete halt — revisit plot, plan, events, and decide the whole thing isn’t worth it
- Struggle on making absolutely no progress
- Revisit revisit plot, plan, events, and see a way to finish it
- Write quickly until I have more than enough words for two books but haven’t actually finished the one I’m writing because the story is lost in all that mountain of words
- Decide the whole thing isn’t worth the trouble
- Edit, edit and edit to get back to the word count
- Write the story back into the words and send it to the editor really quickly before I change my mind again
I’m lost in stage 6 at this moment and still hoping stages 7 – 9 will work out as they have always done in the past. For those of you writing your own novel, I hope this information will help you through the dark days ahead. For those of you just considering writing a novel, be warned! Or alternatively, read a book instead. One of mine perhaps, which you can find at my Amazon Author Page.
I thought the past week had been a good one for Book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute with lots of words written. (How many will survive editing is another matter:-) Then I sat in on a writers’ webinar to listen to authors who regularly do 2-3 times as many words as I do each day. Suddenly, my good week becomes a ‘good’ week. Where I was dreaming of receiving the world’s fastest writer prize, I now think I may be in the running for world’s slowest. Who says education and learning is always good; it can be totally demoralizing.
Fortunately, what I lack in speed I make up for in stamina and The Modest Proposal Institute: The War of the Institutes does march on — just at a very average speed. My plan for book 4 is to have it to the editor by late February and that may still be possible, provided my procrastination doesn’t get any worse. Meanwhile, my slow progress means you still have time to be ready for book 4 by reading books 1 – 3, which can be found at my Amazon Author Page.
Vacations are supposed to refresh us and my Barbados trip certainly has. Writing book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute series (now tentatively titled War of the Institutes) is going well. I may even be on schedule per my 2020 Business Plan, which would be a first for me.
My writing coach’s advice is always ‘write because it’s better to have something you can work on and edit to make better’, rather than just an empty sheet of paper (or screen, in the modern world) that can’t be fixed. It’s advice I always struggle with. Somehow, I find it hard to write after the first rush of enthusiasm has died down. Consequently, I do a lot of words very quickly and then spend a month or more wondering how I’m going to finish the story before getting desperate enough to sit down and actually finish it. I guess I’ve reached that last desperate stage:-)
I’ve also learned that pre-publishing marketing is a big thing nowadays. Amazon has a pre-launch feature that allows an author to put the book up weeks ahead of actual publishing and market it, building excitement ahead of time. That’s what I shall do with this fourth and final book. In the meantime, if you haven’t yet, you can buy episodes 1 -3 at my Amazon Author Page.
This week, I’ve left cold Canada for warm and windy Barbados. I hope the break will spur me to write more. I fear the warmth, the beach, the sunshine, and all, will make me write less. I’m sure Charles Dickens never had these ‘problems’.
My difficulty with this fourth, and final, volume of The Modest Proposal Institute is the same one I always have. I started the story as Alexis looking back from the future, which makes it difficult for each story to slip from ‘flashback mode’ and into ‘current time’ mode. I must remember not to use this format again for future books.
Other difficulties include how to finish the story. Sounds simple, after all I once thought I knew what it was going to be, but now I’m not sure. I have alternate endings in mind that seem to have more going for them. It will be a surprise even to the author when this story ends. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you can find my books on my Amazon Author page.
Welcome to my first The Modest Proposal Institute website post of 2020. I hope you all had a great time over the holidays.
Despite the many temptations of the season, I did manage to keep writing each day so Book 4 (still untitled) continues to advance slowly — unless I decide to throw out everything I’ve written and start again, which is still very possible as it isn’t quite hitting the spot right now.
Writing as a ‘job’ is a bit like working for a large employer. There are a lot of long periods of time when you plod along, interspersed with some short, exciting periods where something meaningful happens, like editing and publishing your finished book. Sadly, that’s a couple of months away for this book at my present pace. My business plan, however, says differently so I have to pick up the pace.
I have some new ‘teasers’ for the series (see below) and if they encourage you to rush off and buy, you can do so at my Amazon Author page here.
Having finally published my aunt’s wartime diary, Annie’s War, and got past all the distractions of the Christmas celebrations, I’m now once again writing daily with some hope of making progress. Slow, but progress.
The Modest Proposal Institute book 4 doesn’t have a title yet but it is taking shape. Maybe a title will come from the writing — who knows, anything is possible. My plan says it must be done by March 31, 2020 so I can’t procrastinate any longer. As soon as New Year is over, I’ll really fly — I hope.
For now, I’ll wish all of you Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. If you’re planning to stay home with a good book, or a series of books, why not go to my Amazon Author Page and buy the first three volumes of The Modest Proposal Institute.
Last week, I wrote about my ‘business plan’ for 2020. It’s finished! I’ve also mentioned in the past the difficulties around getting my aunt’s diary published and, now, it’s finished. My plot plan for The Modest Proposal Institute series Book 4 is also finished (except for the constant updates that it will endure going forward, of course). That’s quite a bit of good news for one post so, before I get too carried away in the festive spirit, I’ll admit the actual writing of Book 4 isn’t going forward at the thousand words per day my plan for next year proposes. Still, it isn’t actually next year so it isn’t a problem — yet:-)
If you’d like to know more about my other books, Diary of a Canadian Nobody, Random Musings, and Annie’s War: the Diary of a World War 2 Nurse, checkout my Amazon Author Page here.
And finally, Happy Holidays to you, whatever those holidays may be.
When I worked, one of the least enjoyable jobs was creating the company’s annual Business Plan for the next year. It always involved arguments between those who wanted stuff, those who needed stuff, and in the end how to share out stuff among the different departments assuming our company sold as much next year as it did this. The one thing the Business Plan did was to unite everyone against management who had the task of drawing the lines.
As an Independent Author, however, I still do a Business Plan but without all the acrimony so it’s pretty well a happy exercise. The only problem comes at the end of the year when I find I haven’t ‘quite’ sold the ‘million books at full-price’ my 2019 plan was based on. Solving that problem, however, is ridiculously easy. I just don’t compare 2019 results to the 2019 plan and spend my time building next year’s plan instead, which is what I’m doing this weekend. Still, if you want to help me achieve those million sales, you can buy any (or even all) of my books at my Amazon Author Page.
And by ‘normal’ I mean me procrastinating over writing Book 4 of The Modest Proposal Institute series. In theory, I could write 1,000 words per day and be finished in 50 days. In practice I write a thousand words, ‘unwrite’ 900 words, and then add another 300 words I’ll ‘unwrite’ tomorrow. As I’ve said before, this authoring business isn’t for the fainthearted. It takes a million words to turn out a 50k word novel. What is particularly annoying is I have great ideas for my NEXT book when what I need is more great ideas for this one.
Equally annoying is the slow progress on getting my aunt’s World War 2 diary finished. Amazon and I have been working at cross purposes on the paperback version for some time now, which has meant revising and re-uploading even the ebook version. However, an Author Copy of the paperback is winging its way to me even as we speak and, provided there are no obvious problems with it, I should be finished with this book by the middle of next week. For those of you interested in buying any of my books, you can find them at my Amazon Author Page. Read them all with a nice cup of tea or coffee:-)