Saturday, October 31, 2015

Where Do I Go From Here?

I've spent my hiatus from Astrid's story resting, reclaiming my physical, emotional, and mental space as a single person, and completing unfinished projects that had lingered for far too long. I've made great strides in those projects. I've cleared out a lot of unnecessary clutter. I've sewn nearly two dozen Brownie badges on my daughter's vest. I've moved furniture around to better reflect our lives now. My goal was to have ALL THE PROJECTS DONE. Then I could begin the rewrite completely distraction free. 

Who am I kidding? That isn't going to happen, nor is it a sound expectation. There will always be things on the to-do list. Instead of feeling like I fell short, I'm reframing my outlook. For one, there are far fewer unfinished projects now than when the hiatus began. That's a victory right there. For another, I know I'll need things to work on when I hit a plateau or need a mindless chore to keep me busy whilst I marinate

So what's it going to look like for me to craft this draft into a manuscript? Last Friday after work, I crawled into bed with post-it notes, highlighters, and Astrid's binder. I opened it and began to read and highlight and post-it. And then I got really overwhelmed. There were some places where the writing was horrible. “Did I write this? Ugh,” I heard my internal monologue start churning. I was overwhelmed by how many pages there were to re-read. “How am I going to begin to keep all of these disparate pages and scenes straight.” 

I set the binder aside, looked at the clock, and turned out the light. It was 7:00 on a Friday night, and I was going to sleep. I slept hard for three hours. I heard a text come in on my phone. I turned on the light. I stayed up for a few hours and then went back to bed for the rest of the night. I'm grateful for the experience. Getting overwhelmed and going to bed with the toddlers in the neighborhood helped me fine-tune my plan for hammering out a manuscript.

I'm going to re-read my entire 212 pages. I'm going to highlight passages and story development I want to keep. I'm going to flag scenes pink for Astrid to tell and blue for Derrick to tell. Then I'm going to number all the flags and create a word document list that contains a summary of what happens at each numbered flag.

Once that's done, I'll take that list and begin shuffling the scenes into the story's flow. Then with the pink and blue flags I'll organize the flow into chapters told by Derrick in first person and from Astrid's perspective in third person.

When that's complete and I feel comfortable with it, I'll open up a new document, name it Astrid's Story Draft two, and begin retyping everything I'm keeping from the notebook and write new content as the story warrants and as my muse guides me.

Just yesterday I renamed the antagonist a name more fitting his character and gave his name to a new character, Derrick's pet Irish Setter. I never imagined adding a dog to the story, but I had a sweet moment with the beloved pet of dear family friends. That experience was profound and has inspired me to give Astrid some canine comfort as she grieves and rebuilds her life. I'm excited.

I have set one goal for this next phase: complete the manuscript by December 2016. I suspect that it won't take me that long, but I want to be realistic and build in time for marinating and living life. I am not counting words or pages this time around. I am writing and reshaping until I feel like I have a solid story. I've learned to trust my gut, and she does not steer me wrong.

"It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all."

- Will Shetterly

"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."

- Terry Prachett 


  1. Sounds like a solid plan. And, where there is a vision, people flourish! YOU ARE FLOURISHING! Great series and so good to get to know you. PLEASE stay active in our survivor group or at least check in now and then.

  2. I agree with Susan - sounds like a great plan for sure!!!! Love the two quotes too!!!! I believe over half the battle is just getting started. And writers gotta write!!!

  3. I love your plan and will adopt some of these as I write my next book. Loved the first quote.

  4. Ooooh yes - that last quote! So good! It sounds like you have a solid plan mapped out and I agree with Susan... you have vision and you are flourishing!

  5. A good plan. Well done for all you habe achieved already.

  6. Your 31 Days were quite inspiring. I applaud the look back and your look forward.