Thursday, January 14, 2010

Progress on JUSTINE

I'm going to have to get used to calling this manuscript JUSTINE, instead of ADRIAN.
I'm 16,600 words into the first rough draft. 
Maybe this sounds like lots of words.  But not so much.   These are wild, whirling, mostly useless words that are me seeing the story in a blurry way and reporting on it very fast as the film runs by.

Most of the words will never make it into the final manuscript.  What the First Rough Draft mostly does is show the shape of the scenes.

First Rough Draft Progress:

Now I'm also about 4000 words into the 120,000 words that will make up the second draft.

Why I'm setting toe into the second draft . . .

Normally I'd finish Draft One all the way through before I started Draft Two,
but I needed chapters to send in with the book proposal, so I took the first four chapters of the rough draft and polished them up a bit.

Second Draft Progress:

The sun came in through the window this morning, so I thought I'd share with anyone who's clouded over today.


  1. Such an interesting glimpse into your process! (And yes, bizarre that you are 4000 words into your second draft only 16000 into your first.)

    The photo is gorgeous; it stopped me for a moment before I read and I felt, aw, that's just what I needed to see this gray day . . . and then you had your nice little note about sharing. Thanks for posting.

  2. The flowers are just lovely IRL. I can't do them justice, I'm afraid.

  3. Lovely photo -- thanks for sharing your sunshine. :)

    And you can call your new ms anything you like, as long as it is chock-full of my Adrian. Um, I mean your Adrian. Of course I do.

    (I think I'm about due for another reread of TSL and MLAS. I need a booster fix.)

  4. Hi Linda --

    So far I have not done much in Justine's POV.

    Crawling into heads. I gotta go crawling into heads.

    There's this program on TV called something like 'Cities of the Underground' or something. I first took a look at it because I was going underground in MAGGIE. Sorry. In Forbidden Rose.

    Anyhow ... let me go working around to the point here which I have just about lost hold of . . .
    this business of getting into the character's heads is like crawling into some of those tight underground places that TV guy goes.

  5. I've seen that show -- "Cities of the Underworld," I think it's called. Fascinating, even if it does tend to tweak my latent claustrophobia. And, yeah, getting into the heads of characters is certainly analagous in a lot of ways. Though right now I'm sticking with first person, so I only have the one head to worry about crawling through.

    Now, she (my mc) does try to delve into the heads of her fellow characters, but I suppose that's more akin to me watching the underground show from the non-claustrophobic safety of my couch.

  6. How exciting that you are starting a new book! And Adrien's story, too.

    I began writing my WIP around the same time you wrote the first draft of Maggie's story. I'm still slogging away, hoping I only need one more draft for this story to be complete. It is exciting to read the parts that feel done, but there is still enough that needs reworked and reworded. (I am being persistent, working my butt off, and learning my craft ;-)

    I enjoy reading about your writing process. Thanks for sharing!

    And I cannot wait to read the Forbidden Rose. I preemptory volunteer to win any contests for ARCs!

  7. Actually, the word is preemptively. I preemptively volunteer to win any contests for ARCs. See, learning my craft. Fixing my adverbs.

    I will ignore the other (certain) grammatical errors in my post.

  8. @ Linda G --

    SO hard to 'get into characters'. I'm writing along and writing along, but it is fairly drab dull stuff.

    Still, you have to lay this set of words down so you can do the next one.

    I envy you being able to do First Person. I'd find that hard.

  9. @ LL

    **I began writing my WIP around the same time you wrote the first draft of Maggie's story. I'm still slogging away, ***

    I wish I were still slogging away at MAGGIE. **jo pouts** It needs more work, really.

    I don't know how folks write so fast.

    I don't know when they will send me ARCs. I don't remember whether these are cut from the galleys or before the galleys ...
    (I don't have the galleys yet ...)

  10. Linda G and I may come to fisticuffs over Adrian! I go all weak in the knees just thinking about his story. I confess I reread his scenes in SL and MLAS regularly--it's for my research! *g*

    (I know it's really Justine's story, but I don't know her yet!)

  11. Annie -- When it comes to Adrian, I fight dirty. Just so you know. ;)

    Jo -- Switching from my usual "close" 3rd, multi POVs to 1st was a challenge at first, but now I'm really liking it. Or rather, my current mc likes it. It's all me-me-me with her. She never wants to share the stage.

  12. Jo, kind of a technical question for you, now that you're actively writing Adrian', I mean, Justine's...story.

    Does the fact that so many of your fans are enthralled with Adrian (totally guilty here) make it harder or easier to write the initial draft(s)? He's obviously a character that comes alive on the page, so I'd think easier in that sense. But living up to reader, that may make it a little tougher. Or are you able to put that entirely out of your head while you work?

    Just writerly nosiness on my part...

    [Verification word: Doozy. Tee-hee.]

  13. @ Linda --

    It is VERY hard to write a story where folks will open the book with expectations. That's why I'm getting Adrian's story out of the way now instead of writing it a couple of books down the road.

    When I write, I'm trying not to think about the readers. I'm trying not to care whether the readers are going to like the direction I'm taking.
    I just wAnt to write.

    It's not that I don't care about the readers -- all 467 of them -- because I do care. It's that it drives me crazy thinking about all that and being frozen with uncertainty is not a good way to approach a manuscript.

    So I put it out of my head.

    I didn't originally intended to write Adrian's story, y'know.

  14. Of course you can't second-guess your readers. Therein lies madness, as you say. Still, I imagine it's hard to tune them out completely.

    I think you just have to trust your gut as far as Adrian & Justine's story is concerned. It hasn't let you down yet. :)

  15. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Even if you didn't intend to write Adrian's story, it seems he needs a story - I could take on almost anyone for him. I love Adrian, LOVE him. It must be hard to find that hook to get into a character's head... but you did so great with MLAS and TSL.

  16. @ Anon --

    I had intended both Adrian and Doyle to be supporting and secondary characters in a series of stories. Not heroes themselves.

    So they're neither of them set up to be a straightforward 'alpha hero' type.

    When I make them MCs of their own stories -- I cannot remember exactly why I decided to do that, btw -- it gets all complex. I have to stretch myself beyond my writing abilities. This is good for me -- I just keep learning and learning -- but it also means I am continually teetering on the brink of falling on my face sssplat.

    'Forbidden Rose' is like that. I know what I wanted to do with the character of Doyle and the character of Maggie. I am chewing my nails down to the quick worrying whether I've succeeded.

    'Justine' -- Adrian's story -- is another of those great opportunites for making a fool of myself in public. I'm trying to do plot structural stuff I've never done before. I am not comfortable in the least.

  17. I don't know what exactly you intended for Doyle and Maggie, but I can only guess that you succeeded! I just finished and started looking around to see whether there was an Adrian/Justine story in the works. I love the chain of the comments here, because I can see how you wanted them to remain as supporting characters, but they're too likeable!

    I was amazed at how you managed to change Doyle from the gruff supporting character into a wonderfully compelling hero. It was a miraculous transformation! You are an alchemist!

    Can't wait for whatever comes next, Madame. And no expectations, content to eat up ANYthing you write.

  18. It's hard to take a secondary character, with all the complexity you've tried to write into him, and find the 'romantic hero' inside him.

    It's like Iron Chef program where they hand out the mystery ingredient -- sea urchin or kumquats or iron nails or something -- and you have to make a main dish out of it.