Switching Writing Gears

There’s been a lot of different writing projects I’ve been jumping to lately, and it’s getting a bit dizzying to keep track of them all. Here’s a quick outline of what’s been going on:

  • Around the beginning of February, I started on the first draft of UTOPIA, a Clockwork Orange-esque piece that was going quite well. I was 45,000 words into it, give or take, and getting my 1,000 words a day in pretty easily. It’s always great to get into a groove and just churn through the word count.
  • In the last half of March, I got the copy edit for THE MEMORY THIEF, and so I had to drop UTOPIA and turn my attention to that. It wasn’t too complex, but when I don’t have a lot of writing time (compared to people who do this thing full time), I have to spend what time wisely. There was a deadline, and so the deadline had to be met.
  • While I was in the middle of the copyedit, my agent got back to me with some feedback on MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET. He was liking a lot of what he was reading, but there was a fairly major issue with the book that needed fixing before he wanted to finish the read. (The main character had a sister who was derailing the plot. Pesky sisters.) I debated waiting to make this edit until I was done with the first draft of UTOPIA, but in the end I decided to give myself some more space from UTOPIA so that I could evaluate it with fresh eyes later on.
  • I started the third draft of MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET at the beginning of April, more or less. When I do a new draft like that, my process right now is to print the book off and read it through from the beginning. I make a list of all the big changes I want to have happen in the book, incorporating any feedback I’ve gotten from readers up until then. With MAGIC, I knew I needed to do three big things: eliminate the sister, fix the ending, and add some more complexity to the plot. (The ending was completely lame, but I was still stumped how it could be fixed. And the plot itself was too linear. The main character went from problem to problem, solving or failing to solve each one in the order he encountered them. I wanted to mix that up a bit. Add some variety.)
  • The third draft was wrapped up in the middle of May. I sent it off to my agent, hoping for the best. In the meantime, I figured I finally had time to work on UTOPIA again, so I printed out a hard copy and started reading.
  • A few days later, page proofs from MEMORY THIEF arrived with another deadline, so I had to set UTOPIA aside to work on those.
  • While I was working on those, my agent got back to me with more feedback on MAGIC. All was well with the world, except the ending still stunk. (The denouement, technically.) So once the page proofs were done, I fixed the ending one more time. (In this case, it involved retroactively saving the lives of most of the people on the plane. Some days I get to do nice things as the author. Which is good, since in the third draft, I’d killed all the passengers. What can I say? The author giveth, and the author taketh away.)
  • I finished the page proofs, made the edits on MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET, and sent them both off.
  • In great news, the edits passed muster with  my agent, so now the whole book is being read by other agents. (I really would like to insert the term “special agents” here, but I’m somehow not figuring out a way to pull it off. Still, with so many agents running around, it’s only a matter of time . . .)

Which brings me to today. Looks like it’s time to pick UTOPIA up again and see where I am with the novel. And then, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to actually start writing new material again. It’ll be a bit before I’m back to the “churning through the word count” stage again, though. Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later . . .

Thanks for reading!

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