Author Journal 12th – 25th May 2022

This week’s entry covers the next two weeks, which can only mean that I’m taking a break and plan to do sod all during that time (other than catch up on your comments ๐Ÿ’– and some blog and book reading ๐ŸŽ‰ ).

Last week was my first one away from writing the actual story. I’d thought it would be relatively simple and not too taxing on the brain… Until I sat down at my desk at 0600 on Thursday…

Review 5th โ€“ 11th May 2022

Hereโ€™s what last weekโ€™s goal looked like:

  • Update all scenes, including editing and research notes, in NovelCreator, Scrivener, and the scene blocking book.

Here’s how that looks on my Kanban board:

When I put all 63 scene cards on my board, I started to panic. I had all of that to complete in five days.

I’d lied to myself about how much work was really involved. It seemed like a simple case of transposing my latest pencilled in blocking sheets for Acts I and II A to the computer. And, for Acts II B and III, it looked like all I had to do was make some minor tweaks to the digitised notes to reflect the changes I’d made as I wrote.

No, no, no.

Reality is a bitch, and she showed up Thursday morning with a piping hot cup of screw you. The problem came to light when I looked at what the latest outline showed for the opening of the book…

It sort of resembled what I have written, but not quiet. You may remember that ages back, I’d rewritten the story’s start; if not, you do now. The second version (now known as the dud) is nothing like the one I want, and the original has some of what I want, but not quite. It would take a lot of time to iron out the wrinkles.

I’ve learned that if I do the hard, time-consuming work at the start of the week, I’ll never get anything else done. So, I thought I’d approach things the way I did when I worked as an editor. Backwards.

There’s sound reasoning for this. When editors do sample edits, we ask for a middle chapter. This is because the writing in an unedited book gets better the closer to the end you get. So, a middle chapter is that sweet spot that lets you know how good or bad the writing is.

I knew that Act III was pretty close to what I had on my blocking sheets, so I decided to start from there and work back to the nightmare of Act I.

On Thursday, I worked through Act III, adding new notes from the three scenes I’d added that weren’t in the original outline. Friday was a similar task for Act II B, but I had to make a few changes to some of the scene notes.

Act II A was my goal on Saturday. It was my first significant cut and paste job to blend scenes together to streamline and cut some bloat.

Then came Act I.

On Sunday and Monday, I butchered my manuscript. Slicing, dicing, and splicing until 25,000 words landed in the bin (aka cut text file that never gets deleted because I’m a hoarder).

Yesterday I printed out my scene outlines/editing guide for the whole story and read it from start to finish. It was the first time since finalising the new and improved outline that I’d read it in a oner. I’m going to toot my own horn here and say that I love the story and the characters, even in note form. (I guarantee that I’ll be panicking and second-guessing that horn tooting in two weeks.)

My 54-Page Editing Guide for Running the Asset

Thatโ€™s it for today. The next Author Journal is on the 25th of May. Thanks for stopping by, and take care.

PS Remember to sign up for my newsletter to gain early access to cover reveals, Things in Scots snippets that are too hot for the site, and more.

Author: Susan T. Braithwaite

Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband,, and our squirrel army.โ€‹

14 thoughts on “Author Journal 12th – 25th May 2022

  1. My goodness, Susan! 25k words is a heck of a big ‘dump’ (what I call my ‘bin’) – of course I still keep them in a file: mustn’t waste those words. Relieved to know you love the story and the characters. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, Chris! Yeah, 25K is pretty huge. I knew in March there was a lot going, but hadn’t quite anticipated that many in one area–one of them being a sex scene that I loved ๐Ÿ˜ข. But, yeah, you can’t throw those words out… because, you never know. (Plus they’re great for newsletter extras–like DVD deleted scenes.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I used different coloured pins to cover each of the Acts. It’s so I knew how much I still had to do as I worked through them. (I’d thought of putting that into the photo caption but thought no one would be that interested… so, thanks for the question!) ๐Ÿค—

    1. Working backwards stops me getting lost in the story. When I’m proofreading, I take one paragraph at a time and go from the very end all the way to the beginning–it’s so easy to spot mistakes that way.

  2. I think I just learnt a lot about how I can de-clutter my thoughts when working on a longer piece of writing, be it fiction or non-fiction…

    25k words! That sounds like a lot to an inexperienced onlooker like me.
    The hoarding part I find consoling though, as I tend to keep all kinds of creative bits and pieces, too – whereas 25k words would make a very big bit (which means there’s even more in it that might find use in a different context).

    1. That’s awesome, Stefanie! ๐ŸŽ‰ I used to have massive issues with getting the tangled web of story from my head and onto the page. I’m so happy you’ve seen a way to deal with that–it took me so long to find something that worked for me, and I’m always refining it.
      25K sounds huge to me, too. But for some reason it didn’t hurt like I thought it would. Maybe it’s the hoarding that makes it okay… Plus, those words helped me connect with my characters on a deeper level–and improved my writing overall. I don’t think any words are ever wasted. ๐Ÿ’–

      1. True, I don’t think those words are ever wasted, either. They bring depth to the story. Maybe the reader does not see them, but they notice their existence. Even with the very short stories, I have seen this.

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