A Writer’s Journal: March

Number of Words Written:

  • I’m not going to count every, single word in my Moleskine, but trust me when I saw it’s A LOT

Stories Worked on:

  • A super, secret novel that I can’t talk about yet
  • Buried Among Stars

Is anyone else shocked by how quickly 2019 seems to be going? It feels like just yesterday I posted my February Writer’s Journal post, but somehow April starts this upcoming Monday! I feel like if I’ll blink it’ll be December or the start of 2020!

Anyway, March was devoted mostly to world building and outlining for a novel that I plan to write next month. I’ll admit this novel isn’t that secretive. There are a few people who can figure out what I’m working on and they may have even read scenes from it. But recently, this project underwent a major reimagining, which I’m excited to tackle in future drafts.

I started this month on a strong note. I was never really much of an outliner. The whole process seemed daunting and took the fun out of the creative process. I understand why people like to outline and of course, there are many of reasons why it’s best to start with an outline. And having just finished a book about outlining, I was inspired to outline this novel before April.

I was mildly successful. This was my first serious attempt at world building and outlining before a draft. Using the world building questions from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website, I slowly worked through the questions, fleshing out this fictional world where my novel takes place. There are hundreds of questions, some of which I ignored because I didn’t think they applied to my current project. The Word document I used for my responses is over 40 pages long and there are some questions I still need to answer. (By my estimates, the final document will run close to 50 or 60 pages.) It was surprisingly fun discovering these little tidbits about the world, which will impact my overall story even if I never directly address them. But it didn’t take long for me to grow bored with the process, which usually happens when I try to outline. It quickly felt like a chore, something I needed to do, instead of something I wanted to do.

So I stepped away from it for a day, which turned into a week, which quickly turned into the rest of the month. And I’m okay with that decision. I’m not an outliner, or rather, I’m more of a reverse outliner. I work best when I write a draft and use that as a template for an outline to help me in future drafts. Of course, the work that I did this month will help me as I go into this draft. But I’m looking forward to organically discovering a lot of this world and these characters while writing. And once the draft is complete, I plan on revisiting the world building questions and filling up more of the Word document. I just have to accept that this is how I approach a new project, but stay open to changes in my writing process as I mature as an author.

What else happened in March?

I received my first rejection of the year (it was for Clarion’s summer workshop) and I’m happy I have that out of the way. I mentioned this before, but rejection sucks. It can be demoralizing and difficult to work through. But I think I’ve developed a thicker skin these past few years and it’s (slightly) easier for me to move on after a rejection. (Usually I just need a night to decompress and some Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream).

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Hands down my favorite type of ice cream!

 

Despite how rapidly we moved through March, I’m excited that April is just around the corner for many reasons. First, the first Camp NaNoWriMo of the year takes place in April and I’m participating in it! I even joined a cabin with some writers that I follow on Twitter, so I won’t have to struggle alone. I have very low expectations for Camp NaNo; I just want to complete a draft, even if it’s a sloppy mess that needs lots of love. But even if I fail to complete a draft, I’ll be satisfied with whatever word count I reach. Next, I’m taking a short class on line editing, which will help me during the final draft phase. I’m also going to start reading the Witcher book series, so be on the lookout for those reviews! I played The Witcher 3 years ago and loved it, so I can’t wait to read the series that inspired the games. Lastly, if I have the time, I may be able to submit a short story to a magazine I’ve been eyeing for a while.

Slowly, but surely I’m checking things off my 2019 goal list. I think April will be an important month for me in terms of my novel and I can’t wait to put my ideas on the page. And once this draft is complete, I may go into more specifics about it. Until then…

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