Keeping Your Head Down

Sometimes the best thing to do as a writer is to focus on the writing… Okay, perhaps not a revelation, but a truth that can easily be forgotten in the world of forums and Twitter, interviews and Facebook. Concentrating on writing is what I’ve been doing lately, hence the somewhat sparse content here of late.

It’s not just about hitting deadlines. Maintaining focus makes the writing process run more smoothly overall. If your head is somewhere else – like thinking about that review or worrying that someone on the internet has said something you don’t agree with – then it isn’t in the story and characters.

After two months of slaving away to get back on schedule (and keep the bank off my back) the last few weeks have been a joy. I’ve agreed a reasonable deadline for Path of the Seer, and I’ve been (pretty much) keeping to my weekly targets. Writing a few hours a day is a lot more comfortable than writing all day, and evenings, and weekends!

The other lesson learnt recently (again) is that whatever shortcuts you take early on come back to bite you later. Usually it’ll take me two or three days to do a rewrite on a novel. I banged through the first draft of Caledor so quickly, it took a whole week of rewrites to straighten in out. Similarly, there are several scenes in Path of the Seer that overlap with Path of the Warrior (only they will be from Thirianna’s point of view, not Korlandril’s). To start things off, I copied those scenes into the draft for Path of the Seer, which made the word count look healthy. However, these words in the hand weren’t worth two in the bush. I rewrote one of the scenes yesterday, for example, and after three hours of work I had 300 words less than when I had started! Editing and rewriting in this way is just as time-consuming (if not more so) than doing it from scratch.

Still, the novel is well on track for the midway point next week, and I’m keeping to my (for me) leisurely schedule of 20,000 words a week after that. Following a brief period of time off (to play Call of Duty: Black Ops, gotta get my priorities right 🙂 ) I’ll be instituting a change of regime. My old PC was so tired and worn out I had given up in it and have written the last three books on the laptop, sat on my sofa. It has been nice to find out that I can write while not sat at my desk, but with the purchase of a new PC, I will be returning to my little room upstairs and a more organised approach. Keeping work space and living space separate is important to me and the two have blurred over recent months.

In September, being a writer was painful. Last month it’s been bliss.

For those interested in the gaming side of things, you may be pleased to find out that I’ve been working on a new ruleset. No details to announce yet, but I’ve found it immensely enjoyable to get back to the world of D6s and to hit rolls. I have another rules project that’s been on the go for quite some time too, which will hopefully be brought into the light at some point in the future. I’ve gone from being a games designer who wrote novels in his spare time to a novelist who writes rules in his spare time.

Now if I could find a bit more time to paint up toy soldiers…


Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Cool.

    Congrats on the rules writing : I appreciate you can’t say much.. perhaps.. but to clarify is this a pet/personal project or actual contract work for a company ?

    .. Crown of Blood the TTG already eh ! 😉


    • There are two ruls systems on the go. The one you’ll see soonest was commissioned and written for contract. The other is something I’ve been tinkering with for some time and have been working in conjunction with a company to see it in print some time in the future.


  2. you’ve been missing out Gav. I’ve been on the internet the entire time and people have been WRONG! Sometimes I wonder if the internet is the enlightened gathering of the worlds greatest minds that I was sold. What we needed was a ruggedly average looking, sophisticated puppet to a crazed mechanical hamster to turn up and put the internet in it’s place. Too late now I suppose, look at the American election results, I’m blaming you.


  3. Great to hear that PotS is coming along well. The three-part Eldar Questions blogs were excellently informative and thoughtful, I’d say! (Even accounting for the bias that it included my questions featured…!)

    The rules-side sounds mighty interesting too. I wonder if it’s GW or beyond? Though, truth be told, I’d be over the moon to see a revised “Inquisitor” released. (Accompanied by Horus Heresy novel covering the early days of Promeus, Moriana & Co.?)

    I’ll stop wish-listing and simply restate: sounds excellent! Stay focussed!


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