Saturday, 26 May 2012

Boundless Sea: A Novel Written in Two Months

Having completed the third novel in my series in sixty days, I thought I would share a few brief notes from the frustrating yet rewarding experience. This is less about the content of the novel itself and more about its physical and emotional toll.

Day 1: Way ahead of the game. I made so many notes while writing Fathoms of Forgiveness that this is going to be super easy. I'll keep going so I don't lose momentum. I love these characters, and I can't wait to be living with them again!

Day 4: Still haven't recovered from the last book. My character is acting like everything is fine, but she can't stay this strong forever. She needs to fall apart. I originally intended for her to never show any weakness, but she's been through so much. I'm falling apart just witnessing her pain.

Day 6: I'm stuck. I need a change of scenery and city--maybe I'll write better at my mom's.

Day 8: For heaven's sake! There has been hardly any feedback on the second book after all that work. I can't stop refreshing and waiting for reviews. I need to market this thing. I'll just spend a little time and a lot of money marketing before I get back to work...

Day 10: My birthday! Nothing I'd rather do than spend all day writing. Writing, writing, wait-- phone call? From a friend who hasn't called me in months? Damn. Looks like I'm going out for my birthday. It's just one day... I'll start writing again tomorrow.

Day 12: Okay, back to my house. I can't stay in one place for too long or I get antsy.

Day 14: I'm stuck. I'm completely stuck on this story. I've hit a wall... how can I smash through it? The only way is headfirst.

Day 16: I'm broke. I spent all my money on marketing. Driving to the casino. Won lots of cash. Back to writing.

Day 18: I need carbs. I'm going to eat 5 bowls of rice and that will make me magically write better. And maybe I'll watch an episode of Supernatural.

Day 21: So many people are bugging me to work on my fanfiction. Well, I did say about two months, and it has been about two months. I suppose I should update that... but I just hope it won't get me out of the Sacred Breath series mode.

Day 28: Wow, well that's finally over... a whole week wasted. 20K words that weren't even for the book I'm trying to complete. That chapter was the steamiest thing I have ever written. I never want to write a sex scene again. How do erotica writers do it? How do you get anything done when you have to stop writing every ten minutes to take a shower? Don't their bodies react to this material? They must not be single. Anyway, back to Book #3...

Day 30: Dammit. It's so hard to get back into the rhythm. I shouldn't have paused to do something else. Leaping back and forth from one fictional world to another is too difficult. It's hard enough leaping back and forth between the real world and the story!

Day 34: Title doesn't feel right. I think I'm going to change the working title from Submarine Superpower to Boundless Sea. My readers agree. It's done.

Day 36: My back is killing me. I am going to need to visit a chiropractor after I finish this book.

Day 38: Sick of being at my house. Driving to mom's; maybe the juices will flow better there.

Day 45: Everyone is recommending this "5 hour energy" drink. Does it work? Conclusion: Disgusting. Exponentially increases the need to pee. Four different tests, all with negative results. After the final test, I fell asleep one hour after consuming the beverage. This is bogus. It was, however, effective in getting me to do a few dozen push ups.

Day 47: My mom's apartment is so tiny and I cannot deal with this horrible single bed! Driving back to my house. The drive itself is relaxing.

Day 48: I need meat. Meat will magically help me keep writing. And maybe an episode of Smash to help me relax.

Day 50: Screw my spine. I should move to a desk and chair, but I like having a blanket over my legs and pillows all around me. I think I'm more productive writing in this position. I'm 24, my back will fix itself.

Day 52: Maybe I can live on chocolate. Is chocolate the answer? Lemonade?

Day 54: Can I feed off energy from music? I'm going to put this Linkin Park CD on repeat as I write. Conclusion: Wow, music really is an all-natural booster. Best results so far!

Day 55: Final stretch. Here it is. Time to focus. Fuck the world. Fuck eating, fuck sleeping, and fuck breathing. I'm going to go hardcore and just write. I don't exist outside of the story. I am the characters, and I don't need any form of human sustenance. I eat when they eat, I sleep when they sleep, I bathe when they bathe.

Day 56: I really need a bath. My characters live underwater, so they don't need to bathe as much as I do. Brief break.

Day 57: I should be editing by now. But instead I'm still writing. I'm not going to finish in time at this rate, but I have to keep going. Why do I keep falling asleep so early? Sleeping for a full eight hours? I don't need this much sleep. I need to pretend I'm in university and this is due in the morning. I would do it if I had to do it. Why can't I be disciplined?

Day 58: The pressure is on. I'm writing 10K words in a day, and I've already had three people read and edit up to the latest completed chapter. I'm so close to the end, I just have to push it, push it, push it...

Day 59: I'm living on turkey-bacon club sandwiches from Tim Horton's and coffee. This seems to be working. One sandwich fuels me for five hours, along with the appropriate music for each chapter... I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Day 60: Super-mega-extreme writing marathon. 40 hours nonstop. So much coffee I feel nauseous. I have two friends staying up all night with me on the internet and cheering me on, and reading the updates as I write them. Cecilia is being slave-driver strict and demanding updates from me every half an hour. Melody is being sweet and encouraging, and helping me make decisions about the story. I need this combination of strictness and sweetness.
I'm even managing to make edits between chapters. This is crazy. This is inhuman.

Melody says my writing is better now that I'm exhausted. How is that possible? All of these scenes were mostly outlined and heavily noted, but I imagine my prose is much less complex and symbolic now that I am in a zombie-like state. It's direct and to the point. Bare-bones-essential writing, since I am too dead to do anything else.

Finished. Unconscious.

Waking up after a 3 hour power nap, I go directly back to editing. I edit, and edit, and edit some more. Time to add the complex and symbolic prose I could not manage earlier! I fix up the ending perfectly, then send it to a few readers for their feedback.

It's good. Tearful and emotional responses. =) My work here is done!

Now to edit a few more times and begin formatting for Kindle and Print before I start marketing...

And repeat.

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