#WIPMarathon April Check-in

Outlandia path in Glen Nevis
Outlandia path in Glen Nevis

Okay, so it’s April’s check-in for WIP Marathon but I’m here to say, we’ve still got four whole days left in this month! And I will finish what I said I’d finish in April by the time the 30th rolls around. Maybe we should start doing these on the last day of the month, whenever that day falls? :}

Oh, and here are more gratuitous shots of yet another set of Scottish adventures.

Last word count:
116,587. What was a first draft of my WIP has become a second draft, really. When I was drafting it in Nov-Jan, I started to change my mind on characters by the time I got to the last third of the ms. And I also began to develop more worldbuilding ideas. So when I wanted to do a quick read for continuity of the first draft before sending it to CPs, I realised a lot more work had to be done for them to receive a coherent story. (Or something vaguely resembling one, anyhow).

I also realised there’s no point in sending out a mish-mash patchwork story to anyone, if those ideas are all likely to change. So rather than work on a new WIP for Camp NaNo, I’ve spent the month giving this story a much more detailed clean-up. Terminology confuses me sometimes, but this was no revision. This was just trying to get all the subplots to make sense!

Current word count:
119,336. I’m happy with this. As I said last month, this is unfolding to be a rather epic tale, and if I have about 120k to send to CPs/betas, then when they tell me everything that’s wrong with it (haha) and I have to turn into Edward Scissorhands to clean it up, I’ll have plenty of buffer.

WIP Issues This Month:
I think this story is a bit schizophrenic at the moment, so trying to fix that has become trying to accept it. It will have several more drafts before it’s ready to go, but in the meantime, it is what it is. And until I chip away at it to find out exactly what kind of story it wants to be (apart from fantasy, obviously), it has a handful of elements in it that *I* would want to read. The fact that they’re currently all mixed together is something I’ve decided is okay, for now.

Loch Tulla near Bridge of Orchy

Four things I learned this month while writing:

1. Get characters talking. I’m pretty sure I “learned” this before, but it’s an important point. I just finished reading RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES by Scott Lynch — second in the hugely engrossing Locke Lamora series. Actually, I listened to the audiobooks for both because the voice actor is perfect. Lynch is one of the most incredible world builders and the detail he delves into makes you believe in his world implicitly (though some might say that detail gets a little rambly at times, but on audiobook I don’t mind it so much since I’m usually multi-tasking).

Lynch is also amazing at dialogue. They’re never talking heads. And what I realised is how much time he spends in dialogue. He has his interludes of descriptive language of setting or how an aspect of his world works; but when the characters are talking, it’s never boring. It’s always entertaining, always revealing conflict, always upping the tension. He’s a master at this stuff and highly recommended.

Of course, not all books share the same style, but it’s helping me be unafraid of pushing the dialogue envelope. I have a tendency to leave them in their heads and that’s BAD, and boring after a very short while, but most importantly, misses out on conflict.

Yes, a character can be in conflict within themselves and that’s often a large part of the story; but it can’t be the only part.

I also read an article by KM Weiland where she discussed one of the easiest ways to fix a boring scene is to get the characters interacting. The most basic of concepts… but I’ll take that reminder as often as I can.

And I’m leaving it at just the 1 item for this month because it’s a biggie 😉

What distracted me this month while writing:
Apart from a long Easter weekend trip to Glasgow (8 hour drive because of traffic so a VERY long trip) and two fun, peaceful, rejuvenating days camping and hiking in Glen Nevis/Glencoe, I’ve not had a lot of distraction. Mostly had my head down trying to plough through the most difficult stage of editing (to my mind) — when ideas are still forming. I find polishing much easier than arguing internally between various characters’ traits or personalities, for instance. Once I know them well, I’m much happier!

The north face of Ben Nevis.
The north face of Ben Nevis.
Buachaille Etive Mor. We’ve been up there 2x! NEVER ceases to amaze me 🙂

Goal for next month:
Send out A SIGHT OF NEVERSEA (this WIP) to my CPs.
2. LEAVE IT ALONE while they have it.
3. Read, brainstorm, and return to the first draft of my space opera.
4. As for other matters of which some are aware, grow in the areas of patience and belief I’m on the right path, no matter what the outcome is.

Looking forward to seeing how everyone else did this month!

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12 thoughts on “#WIPMarathon April Check-in

  1. Gosh those photos are stunning!! I am so jealous. Now I want to visit Scotland even more.

    Your lesson about dialogue and getting characters interacting is a great one. I haven’t read Lynch before but I’m adding him to my TBR pile now. Thanks for that!

    Wishing you all the best for writerly things in May!

    1. Do iiiiiit! 🙂 I seriously need to visit basically the rest of Europe :-l I’ve been here for 8 years now and so far have only been to Paris, Lyon, Cyprus, Corfu, and Fuerteventura. There’s so much more to see!

      I hope you do read and enjoy Lynch! (Or listen). I bought the first two books after I finished the audiobooks because I wanted to *see* how it all worked on the page, but for the first time it really hit home how much dialogue moves the story ahead. Not just with pace, but with information. He’s so dang good at it.

  2. Wow, amazing photos! 🙂

    I loved THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. I need to read the rest of the series!

    Best of luck with the WIP! ^_^

    1. So good!! I had to buy hard copies of both books after finishing the audios, but I’m on the third one now. Just started. I’ll be sad when it ends but I think he’s writing more (many more if I remember correctly) so that’s all good. 😀

  3. Dialogue can be SO HARD. I need to read these Locke books so bad. You did a TON this month, and I’m so proud of you and the overhaul you’re doing with Neversea and, of course, I can’t wait to read it 🙂 You have awesome goals for next month, and I know patience with the last one will pay off 😉 Chin up and good work this month!!!!! 😀

    1. Thank you, friend! NEARLY THERE 🙂 Then I have to dive into the scary world of letting this baby go until y’all have read it and actually *gulp* opening up a new story. Frightening… but thank you, I’m keeping my chin as high as it will go 😀 😀 😀

  4. GORGEOUS pictures!! OMG! ^_^
    I’ve been to Glasglow, and I just loved it! I’ve had the best time I’ve ever had in my life there! 😀

    I absolutely LOVE dialogue. It’s my favorite thing to write. Lol!

    1. Ahhh, so glad you had such a memorable, awesome time in Glasgow!!

      Dialogue has definitely become my favourite thing to write, despite how little I did of it (in comparison to internalisation) in my very first ms. Sad!!

  5. Right with what Suzanne said! Your photos are super stunning! (P.S: What camera do you use?) So thankful to be living vicariously through you!

    Thanks for sharing your lesson of the month! I’ve read it somewhere in the past, but have forgotten, and this was a timely reminder.

    Lies of Locke Lamora is on my TBR list. Just like Outlander.

    Happy writing next month! Also, I love the title of your WIP! Sounds very intriguing!

    1. My awesome husband got me a Canon EOS 550D a few birthdays ago (Rebel T2i in the USA) and I have a few different lenses, all Canon. I know I don’t use it to its potential! I’ve got an iPhone 6 and some of the photos it manages to take (in bright sunlight, anyhow) are really impressive!

      Yay, glad Locke is on your list! Very descriptive, but the world building because of it makes you believe in the living, breathing, massive world beyond the page you’re on. <3

  6. As usual, your photos Cheyenne are BREATHTAKING. I am so jealous of your little adventures and I really want to hate you on principal but you’re just too damn likable. 😉

    I love your writerly advice this month. I just applied that last week without even knowing I was applying it. My scene was moving forward sluggishly, so I threw in some fun dialogue between the characters, and voila! Scene moved forward.

    1. If you come to the UK, I’ll hit you up with all the best spots to visit, and offer my meagre tour guide capabilities 🙂 There’s so much gorgeous scenery here, basically anywhere you point a camera (though, mostly not in city centres) makes a beautiful shot!

      Dialogue is fast becoming my favourite thing to write. It totally makes a difference, doesn’t it? And I don’t know WHY it seems like such an unveiled mystery to me but for so long I felt like it was my weakest area. But as they say, practice makes perfect! 🙂

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