Progress And Distractions

Progress And Distractions

It’s been nearly a week since I told you I was rewriting the first Death and Fairies book, so I figured it was time for a progress update.


I’m a fast writer, but I’m also an inconsistent writer. Sure, I can write 5,000 words in an hour, but I’ll only write for one hour, and then I might not write again for a couple of days. Part of this is due to my wrists — some days I have to take days off, because my wrists hurt. Part of it is depression and anxiety and not wanting to turn the computer on at all, let alone sit there and think about stuff. I don’t seem capable of writing slowly but more consistently, but binge-writing suits me well enough. So I’ve had some days where I managed 10,000 words and other days where I managed fewer, and some days where I managed none.

That said, I’m quite proud of myself because on more than one occasion, I started writing when I felt entirely unmotivated, and figured I’d maybe write 1k or half a chapter or something, only to stop an hour and a half later with 6.5k. Getting going really is the hardest part.

Wordcount and pages

Current wordcount: 76,714.
Wordcount at this point in previous draft: 86,519.

I’ve managed to cut about 10,000 words out of this draft so far. I managed this partly by drastically reducing the opening chapters, because they were pretty slow and got bogged down in unnecessary details, but also by just being less wordy throughout. Despite the cuts, I’ve managed to add several major bits of dialogue to explain new worldbuilding changes, as well as add a prologue at the beginning that provides some vital backstory (and eases the pressure on the opening chapters to explain things). My main aim with this draft was to be less wordy than the previous one, so I think I’m succeeding.

Current page of new draft: 186
Previous draft: 136 of 155

The disparity of page count can largely be explained by font and spacing, since I decided to make it a bit easier to read than the previous draft, which was fairly close-typed. But it also gives a decent impression of how close I am to the end. In that draft, I had about 15k left to write. I’m imagining it will be similar in this one, perhaps slightly shorter to account for my newly pared-back style.

Worldbuilding changes

Another of my aims with this draft was to work in some significant changes to the worldbuilding that I’ve made since I wrote the second draft in April 2014. I’ve managed that, mostly. I had to get out my notes at one point to figure out what it was I was trying to say about a particular group of people — I knew it was different, but I’d forgotten the details. Unfortunately, my notes are spread across multiple notebooks, handwritten pages, typed documents, and messages to a Facebook group chat with some of my beta reading friends, so it was quite a challenge to find the details. I decided to take a morning to just amalgamate all those different documents together on this particular topic, and make sure I knew what I was doing.

I’m definitely too honest when I file writing notes.

That said, I know there are a few things I got wrong and will have to fix, either in quick edits once this draft is finished or in a future draft. I also know for sure that this won’t be the last draft of this book, because there are some crucial worldbuilding questions where I just don’t know the answer right now, and I can’t go back and fix those things until I come up with an answer — which might take a while. When that happens, I’ll have to rewrite.

The problem with writing an 8-book series is that sometimes you find yourself making worldbuilding decisions seven books in advance of the plot they actually affect. There’s one question I’m dwelling on at the moment that really doesn’t become important until book eight, although it’s gaining some significance in book seven. Trying to make a decision that will shape the series that far in advance is seriously tricky, and the only reason I know it’s a decision I need to make is because I drafted those books first, a long time ago.

So I’m in awe of authors who write long series and plan them in advance, having written the books in the right order. I don’t know how you do it.


Marvel’s Defenders, which was okay, although I felt the first couple of episodes were rather slow and I found it hard to follow some of the backstory because I didn’t watch Iron Fist.

Knitting, because there’s a scarf I’ve been working on since about March that I really need to finish, and never will at this rate. I haven’t knitted in weeks, so I’ve gone all slow about it.

Dance, because I’m still trying to practice as often as I can. Found myself practicing trebles in a thunderstorm the other day, which was kind of epic. Since my practice space is in the conservatory, I was well aware of the rain, especially as the roof in there leaks. Had to stop and find a flowerpot to catch some of the drips at one point. Also, I finally understand hornpipes.

And finally, going to a book launch for Pride: The Unlikely Story of the Unsung Heroes of the Miners’ Strike at Gay’s The Word in London. Then reading it. Then reviewing it. All those kinds of things.

So, that’s what’s happening here. At my current speed I should probably finish this at the weekend, although my parents have just left for Canada and I’m alone in the house for two weeks, so I may end up writing more by virtue of having nobody to talk to. (You may also see me blogging more for the same reason. Human interaction is going to be lacking.)

What’s happeng in your life right now? Any ongoing projects? What are you being distracted by — are there any good shows on Netflix I should binge now that I’m done with the Defenders?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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