So here’s a quick status update since I’ve been absolutely absent for a while.
My university’s fall semester ended 13 December and spring semester started 11 January. While I didn’t write as much for Love in the Ruins as I would’ve liked to during the break, I did do a lot of plot planning and organisation. I deleted a bunch of stuff, figured out where flashbacks go, and stared at the timeline until my vision blurred. About a year ago when I was first starting to write this story, I had about the same number of words I do now. Evaluating progress by word count, I’ve gone backward.
It happens. Sometimes you write 40k then realise 20k of it is shit, or went in a direction you change your mind about. In my case, it also just happens that I went through a series of events (maybe I just grew up a little? who knows) that caused my perspective to change a lot. In short, I didn’t really understand people and how to talk to or connect to them before, but now I have at least a little understanding. When rereading what I’d written, I found myself not agreeing with what the characters did and said. It was a bit like getting to know them all over again looking through the eyes of a more socially aware person.
Guess what that means! Yeah, the first 12 chapters, which I’ve rewritten again and again, were pretty much rewritten again. I basically figured out what I actually want and re-outlined the whole thing. I mapped out how all the characters are related, wrote up detailed personality charts for them, and set up templates I could use to track how they change over the course of the story.
I also did something really wild, something I never do… I wrote out of order. I’m sure you can imagine that with all that planning or staring at timelines, I got sick of it and wanted to write something, but couldn’t write the scene that came directly after where I was stuck. So I put on some haunting music and wrote a scary flashback scene. Honestly, the flashbacks were so helpful in allowing me to just get something down, since those are plug ‘n play.
The new goal is about 30k shorter at 50k, but we’ll see what happens. I’m still drowning in coursework, and being an English major means lots of writing already. I have to take a full load of courses in the summer to graduate on time since a bunch of credits didn’t transfer so I can’t even look forward to having a break for just writing until next winter break… There’s also my part-time job, and I’m not often in the writer headspace once I get home from work, so I’m writing maybe 200-300 words every three days right now. Slowly but surely.
Funnily enough, my musical muse has decided to come back, though. I’ve been playing guitar hours a day without realising hours have passed and have come up with a bunch of new songs.