Towards the end of last year I had an idea for a short story. I scribbled it down in my notebook – see my blog post on Forbes for how I’m trying to get the best out of my notebook – and promised myself that I’d get it finished by the end of the holidays. I spent quite a lot of falling-asleep-time planning it out and coming up with a half-decent ending, notes about which I was careful to make as soon as I had had the ideas, but I didn’t get a chance to write it until the year’s end.
Tentatively called The Lacemaker, it’s the first actually short short story I think I’ve ever written, coming in at around 1,500 words. Usually my ‘short’ stories turn into novellas before I know what’s happened to them, but this one behaved. Well, mostly.
I had also promised myself that I’d finish the second draft, aka total rewrite, of The Queen of the May before the end of the year. It’s been a bit of a slog, in part because I’ve just not had the time to set aside to do what needed to be done. Freelancing and running what is essentially a non-profit and trying to start a writing career can turn into a bit of a clusterfuck if you’re not careful.
However, I dutifully found the time in the dying days of the year to sit and finish the rewrite, rounding it off mid-afternoon on 31 December. It has come in at a bit over 32,000 words and I have to say I’m moderately pleased with it. I immediately sent it off to John Rickards, a friend who helped me get over a major hump a few months ago when I hit a brick wall with the whole rewriting process. John read the first 8,000 words, gave me some great feedback and helped me see how to finish it off.
A proper published author himself under the name Sean Cregan, John has begun providing editorial services. I commissioned a detailed critique and am now in possession of an excellent set of notes that will help me with my next draft. John is great, by the way, and I can’t recommend his services highly enough.
I haven’t had much time to act on John’s notes, as January has been pretty much solid with work. (Yay!) However, I’m hoping to find the time next week, whilst travelling and without internet, to sit down and start the next draft.
Finally, I have also started analysing the script that I wrote years back, Tag, ready for novelisation. I billed it back then as ‘Buffy meets Highlander in Reading’, and that pretty much still fits the bill. But although the core is solid, there are a lot of things that need rethinking, adding or developing before it can be written as a novel. That’s a fairly slow process at the best of times, but it’s coming along nicely.
Overall it’s been a pretty good start to the year. I hope to have The Lacemaker rewritten by early February and once it’s been through a few beta readers, I’ll post it here. I hesitate to put an ETA on The Queen of the May, which still has to go through the next rewrite, beta readers and copyeditors before it’s even vaguely ready. Hopefully it won’t take me as long to do all that as it did to do the second draft!