Sketchbook #33

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into May.

I finished April feeling good about how I was approaching my goals. I was feeling really good about the first draft of The Black Sun and my writing routine in general, but not so great about Violet Lane. And kind of awful about my photography. And I wasn’t exactly clear on my goals for May; I knew I wanted to keep moving forward, but beyond that…?

So I have no real metrics with which to judge May. Vague emotional impressions, it is!

I’m still really happy about The Black Sun. I’ve done a second read through, breaking down each plot line and character arc and planning the first round of edits. That’s going well so far, and if everything goes according to plan, I should be able to start those edits next week.

And I think I found my way back into Violet Lane! On the advice of another writer (writer friends are the best), I spent some time brainstorming and figuring out what I still loved about the story. It took some time—and a lot of frustration—but I eventually remembered the original spark of an idea that made me want to write this particular story. And realized how far from that I’d drifted over the past year and a half. (Or more?)

But that original spark is still fantastic. I really love it, and even though it’s evolved (a lot), I can see how to make it work. I can see a way to make it better, to make it into something really cool.

That said, it does mean I’m basically starting from scratch. I don’t have to throw out all of the work I’ve done… but I do have to throw out a lot of it. (The entire current draft—and all the prep work I’ve done on it—has to go, but the initial draft still has some good stuff.) I have to do a lot of worldbuilding, most of which won’t end up in the story (most of it isn’t actually about the story-world itself), but I still need to be clear on it, because reasons.

(Sorry for being so vague. I want to talk about this. I want to give you all the details about this story, and explain to you exactly how it fits together in my head, but it’s too early in the process, and it feels like too much of a spoiler at this stage of things.)

I’m starting to think that the new and improved version of Violet Lane is going to be my 2018 NaNoWriMo story. I’m not sure yet; that feels like a good target to aim for, but if I feel ready to start writing before November, I will. (And maybe use NaNo to finish the draft? I’ve never been a NaNo rebel before… I kind of want to give it a try.) In the meantime, I’m going to dig into the worldbuilding and outlining process, and keep working on editing The Black Sun.

Now. Photography.

I’m taking photos again! And I’m enjoying it again!

It’s not all amazing, and I’ve still got some anxiety around the entire process—and I have to put effort in, every single day, to make sure that anxiety doesn’t stop me from taking pictures—but I’m doing so much better than I was. I’m seeing progress in my 100 Days of B&W project, and I’m actively moving forward on the Big Secret Project That I Can’t Wait to Announce. (Though that’s moving a little slower than I’d hoped; I changed some of the logistical plans for it mid-stream, which will be good in the long term, but slows things down in the short term. But it is moving forward, and, fingers crossed, I’ll be making some big announcements by the end of June.)

So May was a good month, creatively.

Next month, I want to start (and make significant progress on) editing The Black Sun. I’m under no illusions that this is going to be easy or quick, but I’ve got some good momentum going right now, and I want to maintain that. (I also know that editing a draft is kind of new for me—I can’t remember the last time “editing” meant something other than “a complete page-one rewrite”—and I’m learning as I go, here.) I want to start (and make significant progress on) the outline and worldbuilding process for Violet Lane.

I want to keep going with the photography project. And I want to reach a point where I can at least announce the Big Secret Project That I Can’t Wait to Announce… and the other, less big project that I’m still really excited about.

It’s going to be a busy month, but that’s good. I’m looking forward to it all.