I’M BACK (and exhausted, please send coffee)

I’M BACK (and exhausted, please send coffee)

Katie is a tyrant.

It’s true.

Wanna know why?

She won’t let me work on Flame of Burnt Brandy right now. She won’t let me work on the query or synopsis or… anything.

Because she says I need “rest.”

What is this rest?

But really, I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted anything. Blame Edie and Evelyn, my two main characters in what Katie and I affectionately call, “BB (Burnt Brandy)”.

I have been working like a fiend. I haven’t been doing anything except writing and reading and editing this book.

And it’s possible… I’ve burnt myself out a bit.

When I saw the light at the end of the tunnel (or novel), I upped my word count from 3,000 words a week to 5,000 (sometime in February?), with the goal of having the novel written and ready to query (including a query letter + synopsis) by the time I leave for Paris (now in 11 DAYS) for my sister’s graduation from grad school.

It’s been a lot. I’ve been working nights and weekends, every spare moment I have has been poured into this book. I finished my first draft (well third, but the first one I wanted to show to others), sent it to beta readers, and took a break for a week or two. I got their excellent feedback and started to work on a heavy revision which included changing the beginning fairly dramatically, and adding about 21,000 words.

I upped my word count to 2,000 words a day, plus 5,000 on the weekend. I completed the additions quickly because I am excellent at following schedules and not listening to the advice of others (who recommended I slow down…). Of course, everything I added had to be revised/worked into the current material and then read through again.

Finally, I had to do my final polishing edit where I print out the pages (SO. MANY. PAGES) and line edit them by hand. Not all writers do this, but I find I catch so many more things in print than I do on a computer.

I nearly cried when I saw how large this stack was…

This is the part where I work on the individual sentences. I focus on word choice, rhythm, and how it sounds when you read it out loud. I also make notes of any scenes that I think need to be expanded, or continuity errors (since a book can change pretty dramatically from the first draft to the last.)

I did this for about 12 hours last weekend… which was every speck of free time I had.

I finished my edits on Saturday, input them on Sunday, sent the draft to my final beta readers… And collapsed? Not literally, but I’ve been pretty exhausted all week.

How my floor looked once I finished inputting the edits…

You would think that after finishing a book (or draft) there would be a deep happiness/satisfaction… and there is… but usually several weeks later. When I actually finish a draft the first thing I usually feel is… empty. I’ve poured all my emotions/thoughts/brain power into the draft and the only thing I can do is lie (lay? laid? line? lain? -ENGLISH IS THE WORST) down and stare at the ceiling. This has happened for each novel I’ve written and I assume it will continue.

But honestly, that’s the reality of writing. It’s not all staring dreamily out the window and drinking lots of coffee (although that does encompass a lot of it). Writing can be brutal, and this novel has worn me down. This past week I crawled into bed at about 7, played nonsense games on my phone and watched the Great British Baking Show, which I’ve found very soothing. No one is stressed (over anything more than cake), when someone’s dessert falls apart they get a hug. It’s very civil and genteel.

So, yeah. That’s what I’ve been doing. This book has gotten to me in a way that none of my other books have. It has demanded a level of emotion and honesty that none of my other novels have, and while I’ve found it rewarding (I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written), it’s also been stressful and draining.

Now, I feel a bit like I’m emerging from a cave and into the sunlight again.

Either way, it’s good to be back. I hope to be blogging more regularly now, and I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of BB.

Here’s hoping Ian wins this season of the Great British Baking Show.




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