It seems like covering one of my walls with plot notes paid off: I finally finished the third draft of Butterfly of Night on Friday night. Well, Saturday morning, really, since it was about 2am by the time I finally wrote ‘The End’. Except I wrote ‘Fino’ because the book uses Esperanto for chapter headers and so on. And it wasn’t really a case of ‘finally’, since I’d only been working on it for 22 days (or 23 if you include Saturday). But you know. It felt like it. And if I go into all the details and start getting too literal, you’ll get bored and leave before the first paragraph of this blog post is finished. I don’t blame you.
Anyway, I finished the book, which seems like a miracle in hindsight. I was pretty sure that thing was going to kill me, because I changed the order of so many plot points and I had no idea how to put the whole thing back together again. At multiple points, the little goblins of self doubt crawled into my mind and told me I should just give up because it wasn’t an improvement on the second draft and I was wasting my time, and so on and so forth. Which, fair, maybe it isn’t — I’ll have to wait for the verdict from my beta readers on that one, because there’s no way I can be objective about it this soon after finishing it. But that doesn’t mean it was a waste of time, because hey, I tried a thing, and maybe the thing worked or maybe it didn’t but it was worth trying. And I’m sure something in there is better than the second draft. Like, there’s one character, Mortimer, who has about twice as many scenes in the third draft, and I like Mortimer, so whatever else happens I know that he’s in it more and I can be happy.
I’ve been in a blissfully writing-free zone since Saturday. Sometimes I’m desperate to get started on a new project as soon as I’m done with one, but I think on this occasion I just need a break. I only took about three weeks between the second draft and the third, and in between times I was doing a bit of planning for another book (which I might write for NaNo this year, depending how I’m getting on with uni), so it’s been kind of non-stop for a while. This took a lot out of me, and I need to give my brain time to relax. So it’s been weird, but kind of relaxing to know that I don’t need to worry about plotting right now.
I’m still internally screaming about the prospect of betas hating it and telling me it needs another full redraft before I can query it, obviously, but I think I’m doing a relatively convincing job of pretending that’s not the case.
So, in the absence of writing, what am I doing? Well, I promised Mother Person that I’d start prepping to go back to uni once I finished this book or at the beginning of August, whichever was sooner. In the first instance, that involves getting hold of a couple of new folders and some other bits of essential stationery, and then the next step is to go through all my lecture notes and put them in some semblance of an order, mainly so that I can figure out what I’ve actually got, and what I should attempt to work on before I go back.
At some stage I also need to do a load of Old Irish translation — or, at the very least, refresh my memory of some vocab, since I know nothing — and return to my dissertation notes and ideas, because I’ve been ignoring their existence since I left uni. Which is what I was supposed to be doing, really. If I spent the months working instead of recovering, I would (a) not get any better and (b) have an advantage over people who didn’t have an extra few months to do all this stuff (though I’m still disadvantaged by my health). So it’s not a bad thing that I didn’t do anything before now. It’s just that now it’s the summer and I’m preparing for the start of the year in October, I do need to start turning my attention to uni stuff, or I risk being just as swamped when I go back as I was before I left.
As well as folders I ordered a major hole punch that should assist me in my filing quest. Weirdly, I’m sort of looking forward to that. I know I’ll hate it when I’m actually doing the filing, and I’ll have a headache and a crick in my neck and so on, but hypothetically, the idea of filing everything and making it neat and logical is somewhat pleasing. It’s the disastrous mess that is my style of note-taking that’ll put paid to that — I’ll start finding things on the back of other sheets of paper and so on. Okay, maybe I’m not looking forward to it as much as I was before I started this paragraph…
And I’ve read a whole load of books recently that I need to review. But more importantly, this weekend is YALC 2016! The Young Adult Literature Convention is running in conjunction with London Comic-Con, just on a different floor of the same building, so I’m hellishly nervous because I know it’ll be busy and loud and I’ll have to get up at 6am to get there on time by public transport. But I’m also really excited. I’ve been putting together a folder with all the schedules, journey planners, lists of books I want to take, and so on — my anti-anxiety pack, I guess you could call it. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I’ll be as prepared as anyone could ever hope to be.
I also ordered a shopping bag on wheels — a ‘granny trolley’, sort of, but not as grannyish because I’m 20, despite the noises my knees make. I was hoping to take that to YALC because it’s a lot easier to wheel a load of books around than to carry them with my dodgy shoulders, but Amazon’s saying it won’t arrive until Friday, and given that 6am start I mentioned, that probably means I can’t take it on Friday. I’m going to YALC on Sunday as well, though, and I have more books to take that day, so at the very least I’ll have the trolley for that.
And that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Any news from you guys? Any projects completed or started? And crucially, is anyone out there going to YALC on Friday or Sunday? I’m going to be on my larry, so I’d love to encounter a friendly face!