Remembering How to Chillax

I know I said my next post would be about my adventure in the mud, but that was when I thought I’d have time to post it two weeks ago. Which I didn’t. Because I have been blessed with a great deal of paid writing work this summer (part of the reason for that muddy adventure, actually), and was so busy writing to deadline that blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.

However, right now, I’m in the middle of a family vacation. It wasn’t ideal timing as far as some of my deadlines are concerned, but the timing was decided by a family wedding and a family reunion that went with it. And boy, did I ever need this vacation.

As such, the only writing I’ve allowed myself to do while on it is plotting and writing on my new book, The Sphinx’s Heart, and, on impulse, this blog post.

First of all, I am getting super-excited about how the plotting is going. I’ve decided to actually plot the rest of the series in detail before I start to write. When I tell people this, they get surprised, like, “I thought you would have to do that before you started.”

The thing is, I started my writing career as a pantser. In other words, I plotted and wrote by instinct. The more writing I do, the more I understand plot structure, and the more times I’ve broken my stories, the better I’ve gotten at plotting and the more detailed my plotting gets before I begin writing.

Side bonus: I’ve discovered that the more prep work I do before I start writing, the less rewriting and revision I’ll have to do later.

Plotting a novel is a lot like solving a puzzle… except you’re creating the pieces as you go.

Plotting a novel is a lot like solving a puzzle… except you’re creating the pieces as you go.

So, yes, I did do some plotting for the whole trilogy before I wrote book one, The Undine’s Tear, which is how I knew I had the material to make a trilogy. But that plotting was more like general “plot movements” rather than “plot points.” In general, I knew what would happen in the series. The details were less specific.

On reading the last word of The Undine’s Tear, one of my ARC readers texted to demand what happened next, and I was like, “I would tell you, if you really wanted, except … I don’t actually know. Not the specifics, anyway.”

Well, now I know.

And it’s going to be awesome!

Seriously, I’m so excited to start writing this. I’ve just got to do a little more refining on the plot, and I can get going on it. And, with some of the growth I’ve had in my writing skills, I have the lofty goal of getting through the first draft of book two (which will likely be at least as long as book one, which clocked in at 164,000 words) in less than three months.

So… I’ll keep you posted on that.

Secondly, I’ve been using this vacation to feed my soul. I’ve reconnected with loved ones I haven’t seen for years at the family reunion, plus met some new additions to the family (new partners, new kids). I got to hang out with my sister, which is always awesome. I’ve been listening to podcasts, hanging out with my kids, reading a novel (Good Omens), and just remembering what it’s like to relax.

It’s pretty fantastic. :-)


So, three days have passed… I love holidays. :-)

I was going to write more. But really, the holidays have been a whole lot of visiting and not much else. So I’m going to get back to enjoying it with my family.

Dumbledore and Hagrid enjoying the Edmonton skyline from the Fantasyland Hotel.

Dumbledore and Hagrid enjoying the Edmonton skyline from the Fantasyland Hotel.

Enjoying supper at the Old Spaghetti Factory in West Edmonton Mall.

Enjoying supper at the Old Spaghetti Factory in West Edmonton Mall.

Maybe the mud will come out next time…