A’ight, I can’t sleep so it’s time for a super quick update.
It’s been a weird week. A frustrating week.
The first significant development is that I’m taking a break from work. There’s no way I can talk about this without sounding like a privileged twat, so I’ll go ahead and sound like a privileged twat. After venting (once again) to my long-suffering fiancé about mental health, physical health, stresses and general frustrations, we devised a plan that would see me taking a break from work until the start of next year. We have some financial breathing room at the moment for reasons too personal to get into, and after crunching the numbers we’ve realised that while me not working isn’t long-term sustainable, it’s possible short term.
That means I’ve got just shy of 3 months to sort my shit out and see if I can solve the age-old problem of “what do?”.
This is as terrifying as it is exciting and, in the most predictable of fashions, I seem to have short-circuited and can’t quite grasp what an incredible opportunity this is.
Unsure of how to process everything, my brain decided that the sensible thing to do was to have monumental panic attack at the start of this week. At least it was probably a panic attack, underpinned by some as-yet uncertain health wibbles. There might be something bigger going on relating to hormones and blood pressure. Or maybe not. I’ll update if I anything new and/or exciting comes through. Otherwise assume that my brain can’t handle good things and is determined to sabotage me.
I’ve also had tinnitus for the last three weeks. I managed to see a doctor yesterday and now have an exciting nasal steroid spray to see if the problem is in my brain tubes.
To my amazement I have been able to do some writing-related stuff. This is surprising because I’d fully expected to waste the first month or so of this unexpected chunk of free time becoming one with the swamp. As is, the swamp has been relatively kind to me, and without having the stress of work hanging over me I’ve been able to lurch towards something resembling productivity.
It’s nothing too exciting, but it’s something and ‘something’ is more than I’ve accomplished for the last few months.
Earlier this year I got myself a Campfire account and started pulling together the basics of the story I want to tell. While Campfire was very useful for the early brain-dumping stages and it made me feel good to see things come together, it’s also been limiting with a UI that seems geared more towards RP-related world-building projects than writing.
This isn’t to shit on anyone that uses Campfire, of course. Different minds respond to different tools.
This week I decided to give Scrivener another shot and I’m finding it much better. Sure it’s not as visually exciting, but it works much better for the stage I’m at. I’ve graduated from brain dumping to architecture as I piece things together. Having something as crunchy and simple as Scrivener is helping me see where the foundations are weak.
The main issue I’m facing at the moment is that I’ve reached the stage where I’ve been refining the plot for so long that it’s started to feel predictable and boring. I’m excited by some scenes and am looking forward to these characters coming to life, but damn if it isn’t hard to sustain enthusiasm. The plot of the book is basically a murder mystery with much of the interest coming from the twists and turns the narrative takes. When you spend so long with the events running through your mind so much of the excitement is lost.
I’m torn between trying to throw in some extra stuff to keep myself invested, or keep it as “pure” as it is. Risk being of course that if I do throw in any new elements, I’m just as likely to get bored with them in time and they’ll dilute the beats I’ve already got.
The other issue is that there’s a distinct lack of eldritch horror. Given as that’s a key part of the intended series, I’m not doing myself any favours by being coy about it. I was hoping to keep it as a slow reveal over the course of the series, but by not being upfront I lose the interest of people who would be hooked by the concept and readers who aren’t expecting it might feel put off by the direction things go.
It’s a tricky thing to work with. I guess the correct answer is whatever is most likely to help the book stand out and increase its chances of getting through querying.
The other correct answer is whatever helps me write the fucking thing. I can’t really pitch a manuscript that hasn’t been written with the promise that some gnarly stuff is planned for several books down the line.
EDIT: lolwait, I realised that I have the perfect opportunity to insert one of my favourite tropes which answers a few of the points I was wangsting about. It conveniently sets up one of the core plot threads across the series. 3am is the best thinking time.
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! Sounds like an interesting project! Love some eldritch stuff. It does make sense to include some of it earlier on for the reasons you’ve said. Interested to know what the fun trope is heh.