The End Of All Things

The End Of All Things

(Well, the end of my summer, a novel, a poetry collection, and my patience with formatting and synopses, anyway.)

I think it’s finally hitting me that I leave for uni at the end of next week, because I’m suddenly realising how many things I haven’t done or finished that I meant to do this summer. My Buffy watching has been appalling intermittent, and with only a week and a half to go I haven’t even finished season three, and as for the work I was meant to be doing for my parents…

Well, let’s just say I prioritised writing over stuff that would have actually earned me money, which is pretty much the story of my life. You wanna know how much I’ve earned in the last three months from writing? You really wanna know?

98 pence. I have earned £0.98. Living the high life here.

Anyway, apparently I’m a sucker for punishment, because I’m still intent on trying to make it as a writer, and yesterday I decided to get cracking and finish a few things before the inevitable black hole of university that will swallow all free time until Christmas. I planned to write first thing in the morning, but as soon as I opened the document I remembered why I don’t normally write first thing in the morning, and decided instead to work on formatting until I hated myself enough to actually write.

Recipe for success right there, clearly, but formatting is supremely frustrating, especially using unfamiliar tools. I was formatting Broken Body Fragile Heart for Blurb, a print-on-demand service I decided to investigate after growing increasingly frustrated with Createspace because of how impractical their system is if you’re British. Actually, mostly I was just fed up of constantly having to convert all their prices into pounds from dollars. I have no idea what Blurb are like as far as quality is concerned, but I’ve placed an order for a proof copy, so with any luck that’ll arrive before I go and I can check that out.

I’m pretty excited, actually. Formatting was killing me, not least because my glasses have been sent off to be mended and I’m wearing my old ones, which makes staring at a document trying to work out if the margins are symmetrical somehow less fun than normal. I didn’t know that was even possible. But now it’s done. Until I get the proof copy and realise the font’s too small/large or something. We’ll see.

I haven’t yet formatted the ePub version for Nook and Kobo, and there are a couple of typos in the Kindle edition that I need to update before it’s released on 1st October (you can preorder it now) which I only noticed while doing the PoD formatting, but … we’re getting there. Hopefully. I do kinda feel like print-on-demand is more trouble than it’s worth, but who knows? Maybe it’s what I really need to occasionally sell some books.

(That’ll be the day.)

I also finished the first draft of assassin!trilogy book two, known now by its working title of Bloodied Wings. This involved writing about 8,500 words yesterday alone, and I honestly felt like the novel was trying to finish me before I could finish it. I love a heart-wrenching ending, but I really struggled with this one, to the point where it was making me feel physically unwell and I had to go and work out to distract myself.

This ending made me exercise. That probably means it’s also going to make my beta readers yell at me, so it may be worth the blood, sweat and tears that went into it.

I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to writing, and in a novel about assassins, there was plenty of murder. Deaths were left, right and centre. But that just means you have to be more imaginative to provoke an emotional response, so I had to fall back on all my knowledge of manipulation, emotional blackmail, and abuse. Yay. I feel sorry for my protagonist, I really do.

After that was done, my celebrations were somewhat curtailed by Mother Person pointing out that really, I should use this time before I go to university to do things like brush up my CV to reflect the fact I actually have qualifications now (it was last updated before I’d done my GCSEs, even). Not to mention tidying my room, working out what I’m taking with me, reading the library books I really have to return before I go, and generally being a useful member of society.

She’s right, I know, but I’ve got one other major writing task to do before I leave: finish my query and synopsis for The Quiet Ones. I was going to query it in August and I didn’t, so I’m going to do everything I can to try and send off at least a couple of queries before I leave for uni. With any luck, the hectic chaos of my first term ought to ensure that I don’t spend all day staring at my email inbox, waiting for a reply, so it seems like good timing.

I just hate writing synopses with a burning passion that I reserve for very few things, except perhaps mushrooms. Man, mushrooms are gross.

I spent some time working on that this morning, and honestly, I think I’d rather be formatting. There’s something therapeutic about arranging a poem neatly on a page that you just don’t get from trying to squash a 98,000-word novel into less than a page. You know what you get from that? Pain. And rage. And that horrible sensation of having to cut out beautiful subplots entirely because they don’t fit.

*distant sound of Miriam crying and hitting her head repeatedly against a keyboard*

Fortunately, we have the interference of something resembling a social life to stop me from spending all day on this. I know. No kidding. I’m going out and staying out until tomorrow. Radical. So that synopsis is just going to have to wait until Friday. I will not miss it while I’m gone.

Quick note: I’m planning to make a series of uni diaries on my YouTube channel to give people a bit of an insight into what it’s like at uni, particularly Cambridge, as well as to provide updates on my life and studies. I want a fun, potentially pun-based title for the series. Maybe a pun on “Cam” being short for camera and Cambridge? I don’t know. I’m lost. Suggestions in the comments, please. :)

5 thoughts on “The End Of All Things

  1. Enjoy your time studying and being a young person (sorry if that sounds like such a lame old person thing to say). This is a great time in your life – don’t make it more difficult than it has to be by forcing an outside framework on it (for example a self-imposed writing schedule on top of your studies). You have plenty of time to make it as a writer, but only these years as a student. Remember, Maggie Stiefvater even recommends this too. It is easy to multitask your life to avoid actually living it – if that makes any sense. Take time to live, you and your writing will be better off for it.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks, and I know. I just have so many novels that I want to write (and many that are first drafts waiting for edits) – I feel I have to get started or I’ll never manage it! Ha ha. I also feel like the whole starving writer years would be better spent at uni to avoid the minimum-wage day job years immediately afterwards… we’ll see.

  2. Call it “punting from the Cabridge end”. Because “punting” is a thing that is done and it sounds like other proclamative jobs and also magnificent hidden insinuations.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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