Thursday, February 25, 2016

Changing the Game

I've said this before, but I'm a very Type A person. Which is weird, because I'm also really creative and go-with-the-flow on lots of things. But I'm very focused and driven when it comes to setting and meeting goals. I love goals. I set deadlines, and create to-do lists. I know that it's important to break a big deadline down into steps, and I love to celebrate accomplishing one of those steps. When I'm writing a first draft, I usually set a daily word count goal. Something like 750 or 1,000 words a day, with the intention of finishing the draft in about 75-90 days. I've often written even faster first drafts, my record being six weeks (and that's with a full time job, a kid and other responsibilities). It's worked really well for me.

Until it didn't. I've been working on my Zyan Star series, trying to get books two and three done, with the anticipation that my agent could sell my Huntress series at any time, and I'll need to shift my focus to that. So I want to get as much done on Zyan as I can before that happens. I'm on the third book now. But the second book was a struggle honestly, and the third was starting out that way. Part of it is me learning to write a series. And part of it was just me putting too much structure and pressure on it. Which brings me to that thing we all know as writers, but still surprises us (or at least me): every book is different. And sometimes you have to change the game.

So I hid my word count from view. And I'm writing each day until I feel done. Sometimes this is probably just a couple pages (and obviously I'm guessing here since I can't see). And sometimes it's a lot. The story is flowing much better now, and I've put in several really great writing sessions where I felt like really good stuff was getting onto the page. I was getting way too hung up on word count, and writing to meet that instead of letting scenes unfold naturally. Since I've rebooted my process, it's going great. 

Do you change things up from time to time? What ways have you found to change the game?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Unique Hell of Writing a Series

I was under the weather yesterday so my post is a bit late for Insecure Writers Support Group, but here it is!

Series. Have you written one? If so I imagine you'll totally feel me on this. There are so many things that are great about writing a series. You know the characters. Hopefully you like some of them, since you created them. Or at least hate them in that good way that our best villains and anti-hero(ines) make us hate them. Worldbuilding should be pretty set. Plot should somewhat be easier - even if you have a different story each book, there should be overall characters arcs and relationships that carry on and deepen with every book. It's sort of like a favorite pair of shoes that you can slip into, well worn and comfortable.

But then you start comparing the books to each other, like picking a favorite child. Shit, book two is way shorter than book one. Is everyone going to notice it's shorter and be annoyed? Book two doesn't have quite the carefree humor of book one. Well, everything got more serious on a very personal level. But I don't want it to be too different. Then my readers will be disappointed. What if book three is the same? What if I get sick of the whole thing and kill off all my characters like George Martin?

I've said before that each first draft process is a little bit to a LOT different than the ones before, but within a series, it gets even more crazypants. It still won't keep me from writing them - I love series. But it's a learning process, that's for sure. 

What about you? Have you written a series, and did you like it more or less than a stand alone?

TTFN, writer friends!