Had another idea for a post today, something about taking care of your body while writing, but since I also felt terrible today I figured I would follow that advice for a few days first before posting my findings. That’s what real scientists do, right? They experiment and come back with results and post them? Maybe analyze them? Gonna do that for a few days.
Anyway this seemed like a good time to do a writing project check in.
For those that don’t know, I codename all of my projects. 1, because I think it makes me sound cool and not like that dorky kid in your class that had a comic book they were drawing called Project: AWESOME AND NO PARENTS ALLOWED. And, B, one of my writer heroes, Warren Ellis, does it for his (That’s his newsletter link. BE WARNED, he sometimes has a potty mouth.) My projects are title whatever was in my head at the time of inception and offer no insight to the writing at hand. My thought is they’ll keep the writing secure in case I manage to sell one of these projects to a publisher after obtaining an agent.
Because that’s the goal, right? My dream is to take the traditional publishing route. Write a manuscript, query it to find the right agent, sell it to a publisher, wash, rinse, repeat, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and so on. In preparation for that lavish lifestyle I don’t want to give away the name of the books I’m working on.
Anyway, currently the big writing piece I’m working on is called Project: HARP, a middle grade fantasy novel I’m expecting to be somewhere between 45-55,000 words long. The idea’s been in my head since last October, I slowly brought it to full outline around the end of April-beginning of May, and planned to write all of it in the month of June. 8 pages a day, handwritten.
I didn’t finish.
But that’s okay! Books take a while to write, and sometimes, you don’t feel it on certain days. You can force it on others but it’s important to be aware when things like family, friends, and maybe even other jobs need to take priority.
In any case, I gave myself some slack and said to myself, “Hey! Robert! You’re standing on top of a mountain in the thunder and lightning and rain! (some bits may be exaggerated for dramatic effect.) You’re turning 31 in month! Finish your book before your birthday! You can’t have another year pass without finishing a book!”
It’s gonna be tight. REAL tight. I have a three day grace period after the box ends, and I need to stick to my schedule if I’m gonna finish on time.
In the meanwhile….I’m working on potentially 3 other middle grade books. *head explodes
Yeah! I know! Crazy, right? Project: PAN I imagine as a 20,000 word horror novella of sorts. Project: GREY could be the start of a completely different series for me, sci-fi and maybe clocking in around 30-40,000 words for the first book. And Project: BIANCA? That could be the story I was meant to tell.
Now, I’m going about these novels in different ways. That’s helping alleviate the pressure and making them all seem fun. Honestly, if you look at my white board, I’m on track to hit those deadlines for those projects easily. PAN is being done completely on the computer. Outlined in full, done in a sort of summary style a la R.L. Stine and his MasterClass teachings. It’s less “artsy,” but definitely efficient.
Project: GREY I could probably hand write again. I imagine that book being zany, but, having a structure that I could replicate again and again. With that knowledge, hitting 40,000 words doesn’t seem so hard.
Project: BIANCA, on the other hand, is a story that needs the details clear and the rules laid out. It’ll be a story playing with the foundations of the world and if there’s one thing I know about kids in this day and age, it’s they notice when you mess up.
*immediately thinks back to his first year of teaching and cowers in the corner crying
I think writing in all these different styles is beneficial to keeping me sharp. No Project is the same, so it doesn’t feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over and over again. I’m experimenting, and finding out what works for what story. Do that and you can do all sorts of things at once.
So, that’s where I’m at. A lot of stuff coming up, and a lot of things I’m excited to get to work on. This is it, right? This is what I set out to do. Write. Tell stories. Polish them up. Send them out. Write the next one. It never stops. It shouldn’t stop. And I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can.