Last night, just before midnight I finished the second round of edits from my editor on Banished.

Today, 1st July, I start officially on book two of the Blackhart Legacy trilogy.  Not that I’m nervous or anything.  Oh no, not at all.  Dreaded book two, the middle book of a trilogy, the UGLY child.

Here my friend Kaz talks about Middle Book Syndrome and it is wise and clever words. Due to various things, the turnaround on book 2 will be short.  I geared up for this by reading Rachel Aaron’s excellent 2k to 10k: writing faster, writing better and writing more of what you love kindle e-book. 

What Rachel really talks bout here is a) knowing your story b) knowing your characters and c)making time to write. I’m one of those people who although you know stuff sometimes you need people to point out the obvious to you.

Liz, I have doubts about this character you’ve written into the first book…said my agent when I met her the first time.  I looked at her and my heart sank.  I knew which character she meant.  I knew I had to get rid of him.  I had known for ages. But without her pointing it out, making me do it I would have been skipping along ignoring my gut instinct.

Same with Rachel Aaron’s book – the stuff she points out is so gash-darn-it OBVIOUS and LOGICAL you totally feel like a fool for not really pursuing it in your own head. Anyway – this is the link to Rachel’s blog where some of what she’s written into the ebook is available on her website.  The e-book has more advice, more how to, more plain talking and such.

I sat this morning before work in my local Pret and drew myself up a spread sheet.  I hope it shows up here without too much hassle….

Writing Spreadsheet

When I write I keep a running tally of my writing – both the days that I write and how many words I write in each session.  It’s a way for me to pat myself on the back and a way motivate myself to keep going.  Oddly, I try not to have a word limit for each day – or rather, for each weekly working day as I work long hours and the time I get to write is crucially 30 minutes before work, around 40 minutes at lunch time if I’m lucky and then from 9pm to 11pm in the evenings before bed.  Sometimes my brain is fried and I’m ecstatic to end the day on 100ok or 1500k.

Weekends are a different matter altogether.  Mark vacuums and dusts around me.  I sit in the dining room and I write and write.  I use a timer and write for forty minutes then take a ten minute break to do stretches, loo break and make tea.  Then back at it for the next forty minutes. Mark will invariably then call it quits around lunch time and drag me out to get some fresh air or force me to walk Sparrow.  Then it’s back at it till about 7pm when Mark demands I make him dinner and Sparrow whines for his food.  And Mark is clever doing this, being a demanding male around dinner time because basically the hour it takes me to make dinner is usually how long it takes me to get my head OUT of the story I’d been working on.  I can then form coherent sentences and talk and be sociable like a real life person.

Sparrow - WTF face
Did someone say F.O.O.D. after W.A.L.K. in the P.A.R.K.?

On a good day I can write 5,000 to 6,000 words.  The most I ever wrote was 9,000 at a one day writing retreat with Urban Writers.  However, my brain shut down for around 2 days afterwards as it felt like I had written All The Words.

I’m looking forward to tackling Book 2 and falling back in love with Kit and Thorn and Aiden and the cousins and the mad magical happenings and monster fights that my books just so happen to be about.  I hope you weren’t waiting with baited breath for a sweet romance, crooning and emo-moments?  Okay, to be fair, there might be a bit of that thrown in because I like a good kissing scene but it’s usually in the wake of mega destruction and blood and gore.

Let writing dogs write!

4 thoughts on “And book 2 gets underway

  1. OMG, 9000 words in a day? Best I’v managed is 5K and that’s only a couple of times EVER!
    Glad to hear Mark’s helping keep you sane. That is VERY IMPORTANT!

  2. Awesome stuff! Good luck!

    I use conditional formatting in my Excel spreadsheet so I have a very faint blue bar in the “total” column that climbs as you go down the sheet. For NaNoWriMo I had daily target colours, too, but that can be depressing when you miss a few days…

  3. @Sarwat – that’s not quite the usual! But it’s happened a few times in the past, mostly when I’m at writing retreats!

    @Andrew – nanowrimo breaks my brain but I love seeing the wordcount go UP though! You must share your spreadsheet – how do you do the conditional formatting? *blank look*

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