Today is the October meeting of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which convenes the first Wednesday of every month to commiserate over worries, fears, doubts, and struggles.
Ever since August, I’ve felt more and more pulled away from my WIP. I’ve still worked on it sporadically, but I’m almost back to how I was in the months before I went back to it full-time. There really is no excuse for not having finished it or having gotten it close to finished by now. At this point, the majority of the work left is Part IV and a few unfinished chapters of Parts II and III.
I already put Green Sunrise and Justine Grown Up on indefinite hiatus, and don’t want to keep putting books on hiatus after a very strong initial burt of motivation and passion. The release date I’m committed to is 12 August, since that was my protagonist’s birthday. I feel like I’ve been such a bad fairy godmother to my dear protagonist, after the suprarational soul connection I’ve felt to him for over 20 years.
I absolutely am still committed to giving this dear boy a happy ending and transforming him into the epitome of an underdog hero. I was never one of those people convinced he would’ve died young anyway or been some invalid unable to rule in his own right. The will to live is so strong, even against all odds, particularly when you know an entire empire is counting on you to survive and be a benevolent Tsar. Something tells me Aleksey would’ve wanted to be remembered for more than having hemophilia and being murdered at thirteen.
Instead, I spent a lot of time plotting my fourth Russian historical (no USSR scenes slated, but the majority of the characters are Russian or Russian–American), doing the last major edit of The Twelfth Time (my second Russian novel), and starting the first edit of Journey Through a Dark Forest (the massive third volume).
During my edits of The Twelfth Time, I discovered a bad habit I’d never realized, frequently starting sentences with “And.” That really shaves off word count, gives me something to watch out for in future, and forces me to think about when it makes sense for a sentence to start with “And” vs. when it works better without it. I’ve also discovered other usually superfluous phrases, like You know, Apparently, I mean, I know, Remember, and Of course.
I’m editing Journey Through a Dark Forest in four parts, so I don’t have to create the master document till the end. I shaved Part I down to 149K, Part II to 272K, Part III to 219K, and Part IV plus the Epilogue to 238K so far. I’d love to try getting the entire book down to at least 800K, but I’ll settle for 850K. Each of the four rounds began with formatting, which was the most annoying part.
Other than this post, all my October posts will be Halloween-themed. My Weekend Writing Warriors posts on Sundays will feature Halloween scenes, and on the other days, I’m spotlighting classic horror films of the silent era with landmark anniversaries this year—The Golem (1920), Frankenstein (1910), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), and of course The Monster (1925), The Penalty (1920), and The Phantom of the Opera (1925) with my belovèd Lon Chaney, Sr. Since TCM has always shown both versions of Lon’s The Unholy Three at unholy hours, I’ll be unable to spotlight those.
For the remainder of the year, most of my posts will be about films from the silent and early sound era. A number of important films have landmark anniversaries in December and November, as well as two classic albums. Expect to see somewhat less writing-centric content and more focus on my other interests. I’ve already got plenty of films lined up to cover in 2016 and 2017, including a series on a film which turns 70 next year. I’m lucky I saved my ticket stub from its last theatrical re-release in the U.S., since the studio now treats its existence like a dirty little secret. Most younger people have probably never seen this film.