Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

The End April 11, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 1:13 pm
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Well, it’s done. I finished the story at 1.20am last night.

I feel a little lost this morning, normally I’d be wanting to dive into the writing by now and today…

My plan now is to let it sit for a week, then start on edits next weekend. I have lots of reading to catch up on for my crit group, and I want to read published books with similar themes to mine to see how they handled it (didn’t want to do that before I first draft as I would unconsciously plagiarise for sure!).

I do feel that I’d like to do something on it today. Maybe I’ll set up a Haven Bay cardfile in a program I have, because this is first in a series and I need to keep my facts straight. I don’t want widowed Sally who runs the pub from Book 1 to be newly married to her first husband in Book 2, or Sadie Briggs the Postwoman to play a key role when she started off as the 92 year old next-door-neighbour!

What I’ve learned-

  • I can do it. This is the longest period of sustained high volume writing I’ve done, and I stayed with it. I worried that if some miracle happened and my circumstances changed allowing me to write full time, I’d still not get anything done. Though a lot of the pressure to keep writing came from knowing no matter how far short of my goal I was, I have to go back to the Day Job tomorrow, I’ve proved to myself that I can do it- produce a lot of words quickly to a tight deadline.
  • I probably do have ways of creating more working time in my “normal” working day, no matter how busy it is
  • Pantsing works for me, as long as I know my characters and their relationship blocks well. Unlike last year’s disastrous Book in a Week where I did a lot of pre-planning yet totally lost the plot, all I had to do this time was keep asking myself the question- how does this affect the hero and heroine and their relationship?
  • Following on from above- if I sit down and have no idea what to write, all I need to ask is- what logically happens next? How would the characters respond to the situation and each other? I never found myself getting stuck and having to worry what to write next. If I feel stuck, I need to get into the characters head and heart more.

So overall, it’s been a fabulous learning experience for me. Of course, I’m not claiming what I’ve written is any good.  There will probably be plenty of cringe moments when I read it back.  And the job is not even half done. Now comes editing, refining, layering in more depth, more emotion, more sensuality, more lusciousness.

But it’s been a fun ride!


Day Ten Progress April 10, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:59 pm
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Frantically typing hoping to make The End before I go to sleep tonight!

Over 6,000 words today, including the dreaded Black Moment. They’re just at the stage where they are about to reconcile and get their Happy Ever After, and I want to taste that sweetness.

Edited to add- finished it! 1.20am.


Day Nine Progress April 9, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 9:31 pm
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A panicked day today. My write-a-thon is winding up, and the Black Moment is approaching. I wrote very close to 5,000 (might do a bit more before bed and go past that), but haven’t quite hit the BM yet.

Two problems- I know writing this black moment is going to be enormously upsetting for me so I think I’m using delaying tactics; plus I started worrying that I was still winging it and had only the vaguest idea what was going to happen.

It didn’t take much thinking to come up with a very rough plan for what might happen between where the characters were and the end of the story. I’m worried what I’ve come up with may seem a little corny and contrived, yet it does seem to flow naturally out of what has come before, and hook into the hero and heroine’s deepest relationship blocks. You know that saying of Chekhov’s (I’m misquoting here for sure), that’s something like “If you hang a gun on the wall in Act 1, it had better go off by Act 3.” Let’s just say all the “guns” in my story go off.

The only question I still have left is that my first thought was to have the heroine resolve her issues with her mother between the Black Moment and the reconciliation with the hero. It works doing it like that, because finally dealing with her key issue with her mother actually feeds into the bigger reconciliation. Then I second thought it for different reasons and had the thing with her mother come before the BM. I just don’t think that’s the best way though.

Maybe with first drafts one shouldn’t “second think”. Maybe I should go with my first thoughts and leave the second thoughts for the edits.


Day Eight Progress April 8, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 9:18 pm
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I’m tired. I want to push on to try and get as many words as I can, but after close to 6,000 words I’m done for the day.

I’m feeling the pressure of my writing time coming to an end soon. I think it blocked me a bit yesterday, slowed me down. I’m on call for the day job starting from 5pm tomorrow then all through the weekend, then back to work on Monday. Next week will be exceptionally busy, as not only will I have the backlog from the week off to deal with, the office is ridiculously short staffed again. So no writing time. I have to get the first draft written before I go back to work, or who knows when it will get done.

The good news is, I should be able to do it. 3 days left (hopefully my on call won’t be too busy!), ten or fifteen thousand left to write. I don’t mind coming up a bit short, as I know there’s so much more I need to layer in when I edit.

I’ve left my hero and heroine enjoying a brief honeymoon period. They made love for the first time since they separated eight years ago today, and it was wonderful for them both. It looks like everything is rosy. Tomorrow it all goes wrong of course, as they build up to the Black Moment.

I’ve set my alarm to get up early so I get as much writing time  as I can before my on call starts.


Day Seven Progress April 7, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 8:13 pm
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Hoo boy.

I feel like I’ve been through the wringer. Only 4,200 words today, but I ended on an emotional scene and didn’t feel up to starting the next one yet.

Does it mean I’m doing it right if what I’m writing makes my chest hurt and makes me want to cry for the characters?


Day Six Progress April 6, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 9:55 pm
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Lots of distractions today- finishing the spring cleaning I should have done the weekend before last but didn’t get completed.So satisfying having everything clean and organised.  Almost. All I have left to do now is one chest of drawers. It can wait.

I still wrote over 5,200 story words, eventually. I didn’t get there till close on 9pm, but I made it in the end. (Also made my husband laugh typing at the dinner table with one hand while I ate my dinner with the other. “Just gotta finish this scene before I stop…”)

Oh, and the hero and heroine didn’t make love. They shared a bed but didn’t do anything, much to both their frustration. She’d had a couple of glasses of wine and the hero didn’t want to take advantage of her, no matter how much he wanted her. Sweet or what? I love this guy!


Day Five Progress April 5, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 8:19 pm
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Slow writing today but I got there! Just under 5,000 today- I set my goal as 30,000 words and I made it! I lost some time this morning because I started off in the wrong POV and needed to rewrite what I’d done. I’m trying to write complete scenes in one POV as my changes do tend to be a bit messy. There’s only one place so far, around 10,000 words or so in, where it seemed essential to change POV midway through the scene and I have a very clunky switch. Will have to work on that one in edits.

Half way point- a Superromance needs to be 60,000 words long.

The problem is things are still rushing along too fast. My characters seem to be on the verge of going to bed with each other. I’m sitting back screaming “Too soon!” , but they aren’t listening. So the sex either has to be a disaster, which will create it’s own problems; or really really good but somehow that has to create another layer of problems. I just don’t know what it will be yet.

Tomorrow’s writing will be interesting!