State of the Thing: May Edition

Confession time: May wasn’t a very productive month for a number of reasons, which I’ll list out for you here in no particular order because I know you’re dying to know:

  • I think I suffered Brain Drain from Camp NaNoWriMo, something I touched on in the last very belated status check.
  • Real Life is stupid.
    Too Long; Don’t Bother to Read

    Our house is weird. The perfect place for a morbid writer to live. We have a “cave” den and a Victorian-style “phobia” display room and what we lovingly refer to as the “blood bathroom” just to name a few features. My husband and I love and take pride in it and most of our visitors get a kick out of it, but our new home insurance company did not and cancelled our policy for dumb, made-up reasons (including accusations that we were running an actual haunted house, accusations that we dug our cave room, and, my favorite–“That murder scene bathroom is a safety hazard because if I saw it, I’d punch someone and run!”). Needless to say, we needed a new home insurance company which required another home inspection, but we found out about the cancellation right as my husband had begun tearing apart our sunroom to renovate it into my writing office, so we weren’t exactly ready for an inspection. This past month, then, has been a mad scramble to get things in order before a deadline and has been massively stressful as a result. Not to mention underlying work stress. Don’t even get me started.

    • Spoiler alert: we successfully got ready in time for the home inspection. Someday, I’ll share photos of the house.
  • My brain is dumb.
    • My long-term memory can be kind of crap, so my brain has already shucked off memories of all the doubt, weirdness, and questionable choices made while working on the first draft of Bloodlands. As a result, I have this (logically false, I know) memory that the book just kind of fell into my lap with most of the pieces already in place. Because of that (really, really false) impression, I almost want to panic when I hit a moment of doubt, weirdness, or questionable plot decisions while writing this draft, then I risk spiraling off into a loop of “Yeah, but what am I doing and why is this so hard?”
      • “Because you’re dumb, Brain.”
  • I started Year 30.
    • And allayed the subsequent existential crisis with a party and lots of rum. Yes, I’m a Gemini. I don’t believe in astrology, but I do believe I am my own evil twin.
  • Writing a sequel is, in many ways, harder than writing the initial book.
    • For starters, see Point B “My brain is dumb,” but even beyond those issues, writing a sequel presents some unique challenges. For example, there’s a two-year gap between book one and book two. While very little happens plot-wise in that time, the characters we leave in Book 1 can’t be exactly the same when we pick back up with them in book 2.  I have to determine exactly what the difference is and what made that difference. Then there’s also the inevitable comparisons to the first book. Is there enough action? Is the pacing similar? People really liked that cannibal city bit; do I have something even better for this book?
      • I’m pretty confident I do.

So while I wouldn’t say I had full-on writer’s block in the month of May, as I did manage at least a few lines daily, I definitely had a leaky writer’s dam thing going on. Sometimes to get my head back into the story/characters, I’ll start a related side story. It might involve detailing an event that happens off-screen (for Bloodlands, I wrote out the events leading up to the stand-off in which we first meet Senora) or some kind of “what if” scenario or slice-of-life character exercise. This time around, I started writing about Senora’s daily life between Bloodlands and Nightlands to give me a better handle on her headspace and to recharge myself for the main story. I didn’t actually finish this side story (yet), but it served its purpose of getting my head back into the game, and I also learned that Senora isn’t really adjusting well to normal life, despite at least some half-assed attempts, and that she’s replacing old unhealthy coping mechanisms with new ones. Also that she’s about as domestically useful as I am:


Spoiler alert for chapter one: wine bottles are pretty useful kitchen-weapons too.

Word Count: 100,615 (out of a targeted 150,000)

Chapters: 9/??


None this time. It’s getting harder and harder to find pieces that won’t give something away. I’ve been trying to refine a synopsis, though, so I’ll try to have that to share sometime soon.

In Other News

I’m going to do Camp NaNoWriMo again in July because I hate myself, but with a target of 25,000 this time because I only hate myself a little and because I’m hoping, by that point, that’ll be roughly all I need to finish out the draft.

I’ve also got a couple of local/semi-local convention spots lined up for later in the year. More details to come!

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