I’ll take “Weeks Of Hard Work” for a thousand, Alex.

Well, revisions went swimingly.  It was two weeks of solid, hard work.  I went through each story (Sleep Over consists of 32 stories told from 32 different people; together, they tell a cohesive narrative) and figured out what I needed to do to make each one better.

Mostly this involved amping up the emotional stakes, making people’s reactions become more insane as they lose their sanity (obvious, right?), and further accentuating character’s awareness of the jeopardy they are in.

That last one was what was missing from a majority of the stories.  Jeopardy.  Without jeopardy, things just happen, and there’s no feeling of tension or peril.

Jeopardy is anticipated pain or loss.  The pain or loss must be apparent, as well as plausible; that whole era of villains tying women to railroad tracks was short lived, because the sensibilities of the time didn’t allow for the possibility of that threat could ever be realized.  Since it was obvious that the train would never be allowed to run over the captive, the peril was implausible and thus ineffective.

The character must believe that the jeopardy is real, that the pain or loss being anticipated could actually come to fruition.

As for the other part of that equation, the pain or loss must be anticipated.  Characters must be aware of the stakes at hand, they must fully realize the pain and loss in their future.  That’s not to say that some of the jeopardy can be unknown to them (nothing like a bad situation getting worse to amp up the jeopardy) but the character must have a base level of awareness of just how screwed they might be.

This was the main thing missing from my narrative.  I injected some of the earlier stories with known timelines of symptoms, and various terrible things which might happen, and then did callbacks to them in subsequent stories.

Basically, I just spent two weeks doing terrible things to my characters and making them fully aware of just how awful things will get.  Even with some large cuts being made, I ended up with 10k more words than before.  That’s 10,000 words of jeopardy.

I am taking a few days off to get some distance from it, and then doing a full read through to make sure I got it right.

I tinkered a lot with tempo, and it’s hard to judge the flow when you’re zoomed way in and working on edits like that.  Taking a few steps back and coming at it fresh should give me a better idea of the time flow as well.

So that’s writing for today.  Going splendidly.

In other news, my new kitten, Lemon, is a brat!  She throws little meowing fits if she doesn’t get her way (which is often- silly kitty, NO you cannot make a nest in those cables, NO you cannot eat that tinfoil, NO you cannot climb up there and knock everything off of our bookshelves) but she is learning.  Constancy is key, and we’re getting there, slowly.

Our other cat, Echo, is finally into having a friend.  She groomed Lemon the other day for the first time and I just about died of how cute it was.

Here is a neat video I found of an interesting filming technique:

So that’s all for now folks!  Thanks for stopping by.  Good times ahead for the S.S. HGBleackley ReaderSHIP!

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Stay On Target

Sorry for the long time between updates!  I have a draft of something I was working on, but I won’t post that yet.  For now, news on the novel.

Things have been smoking along at quite the clip.

I have another day of read-through and editing to do, and then my manuscript will be ready for the beta readers!  I am so excited.  I’m already feeling relief; I have written so many challenging things these past few weeks, and I really will be glad to be done.

I have to make a tough call tomorrow about cutting a piece.  The fact that it’s on the chopping block means it’s probably already been chopped, but for some reason my current self hasn’t accepted it yet, so I’m still “considering” it.  I am being careful not to say the same thing twice in this book… so I need to really look at what I said and see if I come at this part of the event at two different enough angles.

Of all the segments I had to write, the pregnancy miscarriages and deaths of infants was one of the hardest.  In the insomnia apocalypse I’m writing, children get a pretty shitty deal.  I wanted to cover it but not dwell on it- because it might come off as shock-value- but damn.  It really took it out of me.  And I fricking wrote the damn thing twice.  One from a paediatric nurse working the neonatal unit, and one from a medical hypnotist.

Guess which perspective is more interesting?

See, it’s obvious.  But my stupid writer brain is clinging to the nurse.  It took so much time to pull that off, it was haaard, it thinks.  Cram it brain, the Hypnotist is better.  But the nurse shows it better.  The Hypnotist is all about The Hypnotist.  

Ugh.  Cutting is hard sometimes.

Sorry, this is all abstract.  Here’s a bat.

This is the most challenging thing I have ever written, and keeping it held together in my mind, dozens of stories, vignettes, characters, locations, research- it’s messing with my brain.  …And my life a little.  Like missing appointments, shifts at work… my brain is just about at its limit with this one.

I got four hours of sleep last night, then went to the cafe, and spent five hours fervently writing (one segment completed) and editing (perhaps 45,000 words read-through/edited.

Once I get this book done I can go back to the methodical agent researching.  I already have notes on several whom I’d love to work with- I hope one of them loves my project enough to work with me on it.

A new apocalypse scenario, who would have thought, right?

Onwards.  Oh god I just devoured The Handmaiden’s Tale.  Man alive, that one will stick with you.

Banished is an amazing medieval city building game.  If you like resource management and seeing your villagers die of starvation, this game is for you!  T_T

It is hard as butts.  But addictive, and also fun.

And also we’re getting another kitty, a kitten.  Will post pictures, of course.  It’s going to be a toss up between news about this book and a kitten.  …I will try and mash them together, maybe like a cute kitten photo with a caption that’s all business.

*

Today I got a full manuscript request from the most amazing agent ever!**

*not my kitten

**is only a caption example, has not happened (for this particular manuscript, yet, as it is not finished).

Ta ta for now, beautiful readers.  I will have a tidbit of good news to share with you soon.  😉

And then, hopefully soon, the best news.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Heading into the home stretch!

Well, I’m nearing the 60k word mark, and it’s looking like, after editing and fleshing out some sequences a little more, I’ll be sitting at around 70k words.  Pretty good; young adult generally falls into the 60-100k range.

I’ve been using my limit breaks well.  Five hours here, six hours there, each time getting 4k, 5k, even 6k words down in a single sitting.  I’m really enjoying this process.

I joined a new Minecraft server, one with a whitelist; no griefing, stealing, killing- just nice people building amazing things.  It’s an interesting counterpoint to the fervour of writing.

For your viewing pleasure, this video, which made me laugh out loud.


Cheers,

Heidi