Work in Progress

I’m currently working on two novels, and I thought I’d share a bit about them here.

The first is a collaboration with another writer, and that’s progressing steadily – we meet once or twice a week to plot and draft, and we aim to have draft one ready by New Year’s Eve. It’s becoming increasingly clear that this isn’t going to happen, but we haven’t set a new goal yet, so New Year’s Eve it is šŸ™‚

This one is urban fantasy/detective type novel, featuring a new species of humans. The novel’s set in Denmark and Bialowieza in Poland, so we’re both on our home turf and out to sea writing this, since none of us have been to Poland. Fortunately we’ve had good help from one of my collaborator’s friends, who comes from Warsaw.

The second novel is an old monster with which I’ve been in an abusive relationship since 2009. It’s been locked down on a hard drive, it’s been revised, it’s been read by my writing group, it’s been shelved, and it’s been rewritten again and again.

Recently I figured out what to do with it, though.Ā The main character never really had a voice of his own before, but lately I’ve been able to hear him speak in my head, and that has made his story much easier to write. So round about now, the book is becoming readable, page by page, and I even think it’s exciting to write it again.

I have two additional novel projects lying around, but I’m not working on them at the moment.

One of them is a YA novel in Danish, for which I just got a favorable batch of notes from beta readers. I’m still waiting for two sets of comments, but sometime this year I’m going to do a relatively quick revision and send it to a Danish publisher. An average publisher in Denmark receives about 800 manuscripts a year, and some of them publish only a handful or two. I’ll brave the odds and post about progress when there’s more news.

The fourth novel is thoroughly on standby for now, but it’s a new and dear friend whom I’m looking forward to spending more time with. I’ve only met this story twice, during NaNoWriMo in 2015 and 2017, but we’re getting along really well. And once I’m done with the other three projects, I’m going to finish the tale of how three very different people deal with being enslaved by a race of aliens who are also saving us from annihilation.

Sometimes Writing Is…

Whether you’re writing a short story or a six part series, there’s no substitute for words. You need them, and you need them on the page in at least a semblance of order. You use them to shape a story, to write theĀ important scenes, and to flesh out your characters with actions, choices and dialogue. After many, many words you end up with a story.

I love this part of writing. It comes relatively easy to me, and when I can write several days in a row without interruption, I get things done quite quickly. My daily goal is 1000 words, but often I end up with more. That’s what I’ve been doing the past few weeks, and I estimate that I’m about halfway through a middle grade novel about kids fighting monster surveillance on their school.

It’s easy to get in the zone with this story, and I think it’s because I’ve had the main character in the back of my head for nearly three years. I know him pretty well, and I know what he would do in most situations. Ā Moreover, I know his friends and his problems and his enemies, and figuring out how he solves his problems is quite fun.

Getting words on paper depends on my ability to ignore the nagging voices in the back of my head saying that the first draft sucks, or that no one is ever going to read the story, or that I could be using my life to do something much better. You have to ignore those voices.Ā I mean, imagine a bus driver having that kind of doubts when drivingĀ . “Someone’s going to run a red light and hit the bus, so I better pull over.” That’s not going to get anyone anywhere, so the driver ignores those doubts, and so do I.

For me, doubts are always easier to ignore when drafting new material. Revising stories is where it becomes really difficult, because I start looking for all the mistakes I’ve made and all the things that suck.

But that’s a problem for later. Right now I’m writing a first draft, and I’m really enjoying it. Writing is always work, but sometimes it feel like really fun work.