Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Mistress Novel, On Writing: Craft and Commiseration, Pentamerone (Tale of Tales), The Fourth Orange, The Green Bird, WoC | 0 comments

May flew by. Flew! And yet my concept of time is so tenuous that yesterday I asked my husband if the Fourth of July fireworks were this weekend so somehow I forgot June was a thing? My brain is a mystery.

I have no idea if any of you find these little monthly recaps helpful or interesting at all but I find them tremendously useful so let’s just dive in, shall we?

May 2016

Here’s what May 2016 looked like in writing…

Yearly Goal
385,040/600,000 words (64%)

Monthly Goal
 I didn’t set a goal this month. Last month was such a huge word count month, I figured this one would be a chill, recovery kind of month.

Total Words Written
74,140 words
Yeah… about that chill, recovery kind of month. Not sure what happened there but it turned out to be my second highest word count month of the year so far and my highest non-NaNoWriMo month ever! And yet, it annoys me I didn’t got for the even 75k…

Average Words Per Day
2,392

Things completed:

  • Four freelance articles
  • The final version of the Vardiello adaptation for the Tale of Tales play (which I’ll make available for productions soon, I literally only finished it yesterday*)
  • Outline for a new short play that’s an adaptation of a popular novel
  • Final pass through of The Green Bird before I see the publisher’s proof

*=I wrote this post on May 31st

Other Works Actively in Progress this Month:

  • The MG novel nicknamed WOC1 (I look so forward to the day this is not on this list anymore!)
  • The Tale of Tales full length play nicknamed 4th Orange

Overall

As we discussed in this post, May did not go as planned. I didn’t get my novel done by the end of the month. In fact, I ended up pausing my revision entirely (after devoting the majority of the month to it) to concentrate on getting the play nicknamed 4th Orange (which is itself six tales / one-act plays in a frame story) done first. Many of the reasons I did this are because working on the play instead of the novel just made more sense from a career and financial standpoint. But one of the biggest reasons is I realized I needed to regroup and rethink how I write because something about my novel-writing process is broken and I’m wasting too much time trying to stumble through it on my own.

I’ve talked a zillion times on this blog how playwriting comes much more natural and easier to me than writing novels. I’ve been taking a closer look at my process for both genres to figure out why one works smoothly (plays) and the other involves writing and rewriting and wasting thousands of hours spinning uselessly in circles (novels) when, in theory, they should be pretty similar storytelling processes. Part of the problem, I realized early on, was that I do more outlining and prep work with my plays* so I’ve been trying to implement this more with my novels as well.

*=The silly thing about this is that I don’t actually outline my plays either, really, other than rough notes and synopsis before I start. But I do write my rough drafts for scripts in such a way that I think they are mentally serving like an outline or zero draft, meaning my second draft is usually only a few tweaks away from my final draft instead of the thousands of rounds of rewrites between the first and final drafts of my novels.

I tried for many months to organically figure out my outlining process without success and now I have reached the desperation phase where I’ve put the book on hold while I read a zillion books on craft and outlining in the hopes that I will figure out, once and for all, what the ever-loving heck I am doing wrong. In other words, I’m taking a break from my novel until I re-learn how to write a better way than what I’m doing now and going back to what’s more comfortable, plays, as a confidence booster / working example in the meantime.

Of course, it’s ironic that this was a record word count month because this is yet another month where I would have told you I got absolutely nothing done were it not for the fact that the numbers don’t lie. It was a frustrating month and I spent mostly stuck and, just like last month, my word count is only so high because I forced myself to keep writing in the hopes I’d get out of the hole I was in. That said, there is irony in the fact that I spent most of the month like “Burn it all down! I don’t know how to write!” at the same time as I completed multiple paying writing gigs and did final edits on two more published works. You’d think the external validation would help with the self-doubt and dithering but, apparently not.

But the good news is that, once I switched over to 4th Orange, that project immediately started coming together quite nicely. I still don’t know if I’ll have it done by the fall, but it does feel like it will be ready sooner rather than later. I actually could have finished one more tale play tonight but I took a break to read another book on outlining instead. But it should be done in a week or so and then there’s only two plays left to edit! Woohoo!

And while I have no idea what you’re all going to make of this strange little fairy tale nerd play, I’m having a lot of fun with it so my hopes are high that you’ll love it too!

Up Next

It’s all 4th Orange, all the time, for the foreseeable future. The one exception is that short play I mentioned above, which I’ll be squeezing in between tale play revisions. The only other wild card here is the one tale that was stretching into a full length. If it does become a full length, I’ll be working to have that finished as soon as I finish 4th Orange because it just makes sense to do it while I’m still in the headspace for this project.

In the long-term, once I finish up 4th Orange, I’m looking to do all of the following: finish the revision of the MG novel to ready it for beta readers, outline the other Tale of Tales play (the one that mashes up all 50 tales into one “new” story), do a rough outline of the rest of MG novel’s planned series just in case and then do a revision of good old neglected Mistress Novel and the new dual POV version I wrote… whenever the heck I wrote that. That book was another big reason I’m teaching myself to outline. I’ve written it so many times already, if I’m going to write it again, I want to make sure I’ve really and truly got it right this time.

So there’s no danger of me being bored at any point in the near future, is what I’m saying! 😉