Drinking From The Cauldron

February 4th, 23 months writing the book. My goal of getting a workable second draft up and running by the two year mark has slipped a little due to a lack of progress in the last week or so.

Looking back over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that I’m spending a lot of time tweaking chapters, sometimes getting tiny details sorted out before moving on. In effect I’m taking a chapter and rewriting it two or three times. Whilst it’s good to make sure its working okay it does mean I’m making slow progress.

So I had a new idea. For the initial run I’m concentrating on chapter order and getting the overall structure right. Once I’ve got that locked down then I’ll start to go chapter by chapter and sharpen it all up.

It feels a little bit like cheating but it means I’ll be okay for March 4th.

Moderate Elemental Powers

Eleven chapters down, many of them with extra notes at the side in red font to give me a later heads up about bits that will need fixing. It’s full of things like “Would actual humans talk like this?” and “She was damp in the first draft, now she’s completely dry”.

Context is everything.

Whilst it’s not readable to the outside world at this time there are fleeting lines and maybe a couple of paragraphs when it reads like I really want it to. It’s descriptive, it’s darkly comic and it buzzes along.

Then it slips back into the same old and dull formula.

But those small moments are the charm.

Code Wheels

I’ve mentioned before how much this book sometimes suffers a bit from originally being written as a film script. It’s hit home how much this can be the case with Chapter 9.

As I’ve rewritten parts of this Anne, the missing girl in the story, starts aboard the alien craft before getting out, going back to her house which has jumped ten years into the future as far as she’s concerned and then she goes off to find the police officer. On film, where the idea of a scene can be put across fairly quickly, moving through three different areas would seem fine but writing this all down makes it feel stretched out beyond all belief.

The obvious answer is to just do what I’ve done before and split the chapters. My chapter count is already pretty high thought and it would probably leave what feels like two half chapters rather than full ones.

This first rerun of the book feels more like sorting out overall structural issues than actually fixing words.

Back To The Party

Oh man.

I seem to have made the drastic mistake of leaving the rewrite mid chapter back in November. As such I’ve spent the last hour looking between the old and new file and wondering where I kick off again. I seem to have departed the whole thing for Christmas around about the time a young girl gets hauled into the sea by an alien.

This was not a good idea at all.

The section of the book describing all of this in the first draft is wonky. I seem to spend too much time describing the same thing over and over so it’ll need cleaned up afterwards. I had to write a fair chunk of it off the top of my head this afternoon so it reads okay…ish. It’s probably not as good as a pivotal part of the book should be.

The March 4th 2019 two year anniversary date for a complete second rewrite might still be on though.

Pittenweem Harbour in Fife, Scotland. Pretty much the template for the harbour area in my fictional town. Just imagine an alien living under the water.

Glitched Out Boats

Okay, this one might get a little bit over thought. I was going to sit down and bullet point this entire entry out but I was going through the stages of denial in the space of about ten minutes whilst trying to eat my lunch today. It’s probably going to be a winged out chain of thought. It might also sound really like I’m complaining but that ain’t really the case.

I was in the queue for my lunch today having decided to escape work for a while. Whilst waiting for coffee my phone buzzed in my pocket having finally decided it was in a place where the internet existed. An envelope icon appeared in screen from the Yahoo app so I flicked it open.

Email confirmation had arrived, I didn’t get onto the Dumfries and Galloway Mentorship scheme this year.

As a result I was mentally spun out for a good few hours this afternoon. Which is great when your work involves being welcoming for members of the public. If I could have just gone and sat under a table somewhere I would have. As it stood I processed contact lens orders instead. At least that was constructive.

At first I was angry, the certain feeling of ‘How bloody dare they!’ flooded in. I put a fair chunk of time and effort into the application and genuinely had a battle with myself to shut up the inner voice saying it wasn’t going to be worth it anyway. I hadn’t sent the documents off after giving up and saying ‘It’ll do’. I’d tweaked them and edited them to give me the best shot I could possibly make.

Then I calmed down and started to think about things a little bit clearer. Also, I’d had something to eat by this time which probably helped.

Would getting onto this scheme have been essential to getting this book done? Not really, it would have been nice and been small justification for spending this long on the thing over the last eighteen months but it’s not as if getting onto this was the cornerstone.

Does it alter the overall aim? Not in the slightest.

They overriding thing it took me so long to shift today was the fact that this was the first time that a section of the book had been read by somebody else bar me and it had been found lacking. This thought was still battering me around my head as I was driving home this evening. To turn this around into something of a positive I had to tell myself that I’m only on draft two. This book will get better and I’m damned sure I have the ability to do that. It’s a slow process which there ain’t a shortcut for but it is getting there. It’s a process which is happening right now.

By the time I’d pulled into my front drive I had pulled the positive out of it. It’s going to get done some way or another regardless of any setbacks along the road.

The Fundamentals Of The Spectrum Keyboard

Was I not writing the other day about not getting bogged down in writing new chapters from scratch during this first rewrite? What have I spent most of today doing?

Indeed dear reader, I’ve been doing a new chapter.

Well it’s not completely new, it’s the second half of the chapter I split up the other day. It’s the first major description of the alien being (who still had the tree references remaining until I removed them today) and as a result of this being half a previous chapter it didn’t feel anywhere near long enough so I’ve been adding bits to it with descriptions of his body and voice. When we meet him here his body is beat up after a crash landing and he’s breaking apart on the beach. It’s fine though, he’s about to get a brand new one.

Occasionally it’s a matter of working outwards from what I’ve got and I got really into this one today so stuck with it. Anything else I’m going to come back to later has a red font running through it. Currently the draft looks like something I had in school as a result.

I’m waffling now and it’s getting late.

Motorhead, England

I’m kind of worried that I’m not ripping out massive chunks of the book during the second rewrite so far. Originally I was thinking I’d be hacking great stacks out and rewiring the whole thing almost from the ground up. Whilst I have been deleting paragraphs and putting some new ones in (and spent a whole evening rewriting the entire prologue) it doesn’t feel like major surgery yet.

This isn’t to say I’m of the opinion that what I’ve got so far if fantastic. I think it’s rather a case of just needing to get the order of the story correct so far and then layer it from there. This will probably take a hell of a lot of layers though.

Either way there’s something like a book slowly emerging here.