#Writeabookwithal: an update

stop talking start writingOn the first of June, I began writing a new manuscript and invited everyone to join me under the #writeabookwithal hashtag. One month later, I thought it was probably time for a short update on how it was all going – and to check in with you.

I had hoped to have around 30,000 words by the end of June, which would have me tracking to finish the first draft in around six weeks. As it turns out, I’m sitting on 29,000 words on 5 July, a little behind where I’d like to be, but still progressing and that’s the main thing.

I have found this one to be a ‘sticky’ manuscript, for a whole range of reasons but mostly because the story is revealing itself to me in bits and pieces, rather than in slabs, as it often does. It’s been a ‘back and forth’ process, whereby I’m discovering things along the way that need to be seeded right back at the start of the manuscript, so back I go to the necessary spot and write in a new scene or an important piece of dialogue. This is not rewriting or editing, it’s always just the insertion of new material, sometimes clumsily wedged in at the right spot, awaiting some smoothing attention in the second draft.

Large chunks of time have been difficult to come by as I managed a raft of deadlines in the lead-up to the school holidays, and now the school holidays are upon me and the slivers of writing time become even thinner. But that’s a writer’s life. Entire books can be written in 500- and 1000-word slices; 30 minutes here, an hour there. I know that I will have some serious work to do come the second draft, but I’m ready for that. At least I’ll know where the story is going by then.

In the meantime, I have also begun the structural edit for book #4 of The Mapmaker Chronicles, with a deadline looming. Much of the heavy lifting for this has already been done, in my garden, as I spent hours cutting back swathes of greenery ready for winter, allowing my subconscious to draw threads together.

One of the great things about #writeabookwithal has been the community that has sprung up around it, all cheerleading each other through the process of writing a manuscript. Have you joined in? How is your writing progressing?

Do tell.

And if you’d like to join us to make some progress on your own manuscript, you’ll find daily updates on my Facebook page, or on Twitter.

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  1. Excited for you, Al!

    I started a week later after my other book was sent to the publisher, and am up to about 22K words now. Same as you – an hour here, 15 mins there. Also very similar in terms of the ‘seeding’ stuff, but I’ve decided to write a list of those things to go back and modify and just press on with getting the first draft down.

    Love having this community and your daily posts to help stay motivated. xx

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  2. Hey, Allison,
    This might be a random question, but do you ever cringe because of the horrible things your antagonists do?

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      1. I guess so. While I was writing the character profile for my antagonist I couldn’t help but think: God I hope no one sees this! LOL

  3. I joined in a little late…as in a few days ago! I was waiting for the school holidays, actually! And the end of soccer season for my kids. And the end of an editing project, which I finally knocked off my to do list a couple of weeks ago.

    So my manuscript sits somewhere between four and five thousand words. I’m so happy to finally be writing fiction again! It has been so long!

    Your writing process, as you’ve mentioned on the So You Want To Be a Writer podcast, really encourages me. I tried outlining once. It was great fun! And then I lost all interest in writing the book because I already knew what was going to happen.

    Thank you for inspiring me!

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  4. Hello Allison, good on you for plugging away! But then you are a professional writer, yes?
    I don’t think I’ll start writing seriously again until the next nanowrimo. I’ve study deadlines to get through and my casual work has been taking over for the moment.
    I do love reading your updates and rooting for you – and all other writers, bent over their laptops or notebooks, coffee close at hand and trying not to be distracted by everything else happening around them!
    Cheers, Trish

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