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Tales from the Writing Desk: updates in no particular order

Hi there! How's ya momma and them? Good to hear. Oh, me? Nothing much, just working away, as always. Y'all want to hear what I've been up to? Ok then...

Did you know that Spanish moss isn't actually a moss at all? I learned that recently, in my day of research for the rewrites of the story. For me, first drafts are just a expulsion of all the ideas in my head that I'd like to see, and then finding a way to fit them together. That causes more ideas, and eventually I'll have a novel. In the case of this one, some of those ideas were very wrong. Impossible in some ways. The second draft has been the research draft. I looked up flood season in Louisiana (surprisingly I guessed correctly on the timeline for that), alligator breeding habits, common sounds of the bayou, etc. It was a fun journey that put me squarely back in the mood of the story.

With that done, I jumped into starting on the rewrites. I told myself this weekend would be the beginning, and made it happen. It was slow at first, and I'm already thinking of things that need cleaned up in the new chapter, but it's been started. If it works, the entirety of the novel may take a different shape. In the first draft, the killer was a hidden character in a way. We only learned his name for the first time at around the halfway point in the book. Scenes were few and far between, the focus on the main character and his acclimation to his new surroundings. As I talked over the book and the characters with my friend, coworker, and idea bouncer, I realized that the killer is intriguing and needs to take more space. So, in this new direction, the first chapter is an introduction to him. I'm still on the fence about if this works, or if I'm trying to force things too much, but only time will tell on that.

Speaking of time, I feel like it's slipping by at an alarming rate. Especially with this new reorganization. My goal was to have edits and rewrites done by August, so I could have a beta or two read the story before I attempted to query, but it's looking like that may get pushed back a bit. On one hand, I'm upset with that thought. Self imposed deadlines are the only way that I can focus on getting this thing done, and if I can't hold to them, I worry that I'll let the entire thing slip away. I was proud of how far ahead of the curve I was when I finished the first draft, and now that lead is slowly slipping. On the other hand, if no agents want the story and I self publish it, I have until March of next year to get everything squared away. I simultaneously have plenty and not enough time.

At least I've started on it. I've given it a few weeks to rest, and have gone through and done the read and small edit, so any chapters that I use from the first draft are ready and waiting for me. Today has been a day off from working on it because I needed to make this blog post instead, and then tomorrow will be back at trying to piece this monster together.

In other news, I've become a tea guy! I've always been interested in hot tea and the vibe associated with it, but I've never been willing to branch out and try it. Finally, after a discussion at work, I've done so. So far, I'm really liking it. It fuels my caffeine addiction, it's calming at the same time, it's a process that's enjoyable, and something about having a cup of tea and sitting down to write meshes perfectly together.

Also, I have a week off work coming up next week, which I plan to spend hunkered down and trying to carve through this rewriting process. On one hand, I struggle with the fact that I'm taking a week off of work and will spend it working on something different, but on the other, I appreciate these breaks where I can focus and live the life of a writer. The work feels...better. I enjoy it more. So I'm excited for that.

In the mean time, I'll be slogging my way through work this week, and I will see you all next Monday for vacation!


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