I made an important discovery about the effects of stress on my ability to write — and it’s not quite what I expected. Also, I should be in the final weeks of writing Evolution’s Hand Book 6: Unnatural Crypsis’ first draft. Is that still on track? And what about the new series, Sword of Sirius? Is it about ready to get kicked off? Let’s talk about that and more after the infographic!
Progress Report 2023 Week 41 By the Numbers
It’s been a while, but I finally hit 10,000 words again for the week!
I had to go back into time (plot-wise) to add a chapter or two this week, and part of me wants to complain that I should have caught the need for those chapters when I laid out the plot. Another part of me is just relieved I realized the need before readers noticed that I missed important pieces!
In all honesty, I want to blame stress from the other areas in my life. I rarely have much time to just sit and think. Even when I’m writing, I have to manage more or less constant interruptions. That’s just how my work and family situation are at this stage of my life. I’ve come to expect missing details up front as a consequence of that stress.
A consequence that I didn’t foresee was forgetting completely that I wrote this or that chapter. I wanted to better foreshadow the techniques that Melchizedek Conrad, Matsushita Sachi, and Mariam Al Khatib used in Unnatural Crypsis’ climatic scenes. So, I jumped back to where I thought those scenes should be — and found I’d already written half of them!
I guess the good news is that after I re-read them, I managed to remember at least part of the day I wrote them. For context, this isn’t a new experience for me. Back when I was a programmer, I’d go for several days straight and have no conscious memory of what code I’d written — but I’d still have a fully functional application at the end. So, it’s strange, it’s a little unnerving, but it’s apparently part of my standard operating procedures!
The Sword of Sirius
I’ve settled on The Sword of Sirius as the title for my next space opera/military science fiction series. I had wanted to carve out more time to plot this while I was still writing Unnatural Crypsis. I think there’s still time, so I’m not giving up yet. What I don’t want to do is wait until I’ve finished writing book 6, then go for three or four weeks without writing again to work out the plot. That’s not good for forward momentum. It ain’t great for my mental health, either.
I have at least one of the main characters selected: Ira Malhotra, who starts the book as the Director of the Twentieth Fleet. The first book, Firebreak (tentative title), deals with Bilskirnir’s rising threat (which will make sense after you read Evolution’s Hand Book 5: Split Infinities, which should come out this year).
Talk about giving you early access! I haven’t even finished casting for Firebreak!
I remember Stephen King talked about his efforts at unearthing a plot — seeing it as something pre-existing that he, as a writer, simply brought to life. I buy into that, at least to a point. It really does feel like I’m discovering sometime that already exists, both when I plot a book and when I’m writing individual scenes. Whether that’s objectively the case, I can’t really say. But it feels like that.
Whatever the underlying reality, I don’t want to rush it. I know that results in a way less than optimal reader experience. So, it’ll take as long as it takes. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to optimize the process, with a view toward increasing my creativity.
Progress against Last Week’s Goals
Here’s how I did against last week’s goals:
- inish Mariam Al Khatib’s Plot Turn 2: I suspect I’ll need to beef up some of her older scenes to support whatever happens. Done and done! I did have to add an older chapter to better stage her Plot Turn 2.
- Finish Noam Katz’ Resolution: Done! And I feel bad for the guy…
- Finish Catalina Ojeda’s Resolution: Done!
- Finish Magali Suarez’ Resolution: Done!
- (Stretch) Start Matsushita Sachi’s Resolution: Not started; I had to add a previous chapter for Catalina Ojeda instead.
Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 41
Here’re my plans for this week:
- Finish Mariam Al Khatib’s Resolution
- Finish Matsushita Sachi’s Resolution
- Write a previous chapter in Melchizedek Conrad’s arc
- Write Melchizedek Conrad’s Resolution
- Evaluate the results of the Fussy Librarian ad scheduled for this week
- (Stretch) Continue working on the plot for The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Firebreak
What Do You Think?
Do you often run into passages, or maybe even entire chapters, that you just don’t remember writing? Or is that experience unique to me? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!