Thursday, 26 July 2012

THE STATE OF THE WRITING CAVE

Today's blog title comes from the 'State of the Nation' address made by the President of the United States. Obviously the work that goes on in my Writing Cave is far more important than running a country or whatever, so I thought I'd flatter that poor Obama guy with some imitation. It'll make him feel important.
Aw. You can tell he's moved.
Anyway! Happy Thursday to all. Since the FrostFire Blog Tour is now officially over we're back to our regular posting schedule of Tuesday and Thursday, and it seemed like a good time to update you on what's going on around here and what I'm working on.

So back in this post I told you that my editor decided to do a sort of awesomeness-overhaul of The Night Itself (Katana Trilogy Book #1) at pretty much the eleventh hour. Working on that has kept me extremely busy for a large chunk of time (and I went through four highlighter pens. Dude) but I finished the initial - and hopefully most difficult - revision and returned it to my editor. She's going to collaborate on marking up the new version of the manuscript with my U.S. editor, because Walker and Candlewick have been working closely together on this project in the hopes of reducing the wait between the book coming out in the UK and being published in the U.S. I probably won't hear anything back about the improved version of The Night Itself until late August.

I imagine there'll be another run through of the book then in order to smooth it and polish it and make it as good as possible. I'm really crossing my fingers that I'm not asked to make any more major changes, re-think any characters or add any more new scenes at this point. Not because I don't want to do the work on TNI, but because I'm obviously trying to work on the second Katana Book (which does have a title, promise - I'll probably share it when I have a cover design for The Night Itself to show you). Before I was asked to revise the first book I was about 65,000 words into the second one, which I expected to be about 73-80,000 words long in total.

With all the changes that I made to the first book, the second one now not only needs to be finished, but also completely overhauled itself (above and beyond the normal revision process) because in many key areas it no longer matches the first book, and THAT means large chunks of action and plot and characterisation no longer make the slightest bit of sense.

The problem is that because I'm not entirely sure if the new version of the first book that I've turned in will be the FINAL version (or if I'm likely to have to make more radical changes) I don't really know how to overhaul book #2 yet. And it's hard to imagine being able to push on and finish it without overhauling it, knowing that everything I'm writing is most probably fundamentally *wrong*.

I've got a fat manuscript of the incomplete second book printed out here, in a smart plastic document holder. It's been my constant companion for the past few weeks, but I've not yet been able to bring myself to open the holder and look at it because I literally have no idea what to do with or to it. Not to mention that printing it out breaks my Number One Cardinal Rule for myself when I'm writing, which is DO NOT LOOK BACK.

Looking at any part of an unfinished manuscript has been known to cause total paralysis in my writer's brain (accidentally reading a page from the beginning of the first draft of Shadows on the Moon caused writer's block that lasted for SIX MONTHS). In this case I know I have to re-read the manuscript before I go on. There's no way I can move forward with it otherwise. But that doesn't stop my whole brain from lighting up with red flashing signs saying DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

So... *Sighs* I've basically spent the last few weeks grinding my teeth and procrastinating to the utmost extent of my ability. Which is great. Finally acknowledging that I've also been ill for a bit (once again, kids: denial doesn't work like antibiotics!) and getting some pills has helped, because it's made the headaches, dizziness and constant nausea (which my mother insisted was caused by stress - thanks mum!) go away and now I feel slightly better. I think I'll most probably bite the bullet and try to start re-reading this weekend. Eeep.

In the meantime! Remember the Summer Scream Event in London on the 4th of August, at Foyles Bookshop at Charing Cross? Where I will be part of a panel event also staring mega-stars L.A. Weatherly, Karen Mahoney and Michelle Harrison? Well, now some new authors will also be coming along to take part in a second panel event - Ruth Warburton and Laura Powell. And this is happening - Good Lord - SATURDAY NEXT WEEK! Where did the time go? I'm getting more and more excited the closer it gets. I'll probably do a post about it on Thursday next week, just to give a bit more detail for anyone who is coming - and I promise to take pictures and write up a detailed event report on the Tuesday after I come back so that even if you couldn't attend you'll get a flavour of the whole thing.

My publisher has been kind enough to get me a later train back from London on the Sunday and I'm hoping to use that time to do some Katana Trilogy research, specifically for locations I'm planning to use in the final book, which is brilliant and I'm really looking forward to it. It will, of course, be even more brilliant if I've managed to un-chicken myself and re-read Katana #2 by then. Wish me luck with that...

How are things with all of you, Dear Readers? Unload in the comments!

15 comments:

Q said...

*whispers* Union! State of the Union! *copy editor self slinks away*

You can do it! You can beat the writer's block (if it comes)! You are a writer; thus by definition you are tenacious.

Zoë Marriott said...

Q: Oh, is it? Silly me! Never mind, though - it can just be an adorable English mistake on my part. And thank you. I will give it my best shot.

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Good luck with the manuscript, but we've got the utmost faith in you :)

I've been quite excited this week, as I entered the "Wicked Young Writers" competition. I'll hear back from them in October if I've been shortlisted "crosses fingers* :D

Zoë Marriott said...

Rebecca: Thanks! And the very best of good luck to you as well!

Rachel Balcombe said...

Wish you all the best with your re-writes. Remember, the phrase 'denial makes it worse' can be applied to almost any situation. Also looking forward to seeing you and the other fabulous authors next Saturday (as in feverishly counting down the days). Also also hoping you feel better. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Rachel: Thank you. And yes - denial pretty much always makes things worse. But it's so warm and snuggly, like a fluffy blanket... Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to seeing you too! Whoot!

Isabel said...

I can imagine what an annoying situation you're in right now, but, as always, I know you'll be back on track soon enough. Good luck!

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: Thanks, hun :)

Emma Pass said...

Oof, sounds as if you have ALL THE WRITING to do. Very best of luck with it - I'll be cheerleading you on from here! And glad you're feeling better, too.

Zoë Marriott said...

Emma: How well you put it! Thanks for the support - I really do need all I can get :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

A Backwards Story said...

I would love to see the US/UK dates be closer. For now, I'm okay with Book Depo, though! *hugs currently-being-read FROSTFIRE to chest*

I wish you the best of luck on this looming revision. It sounds so scary. I'm not looking forward to this process if someone ever wants to publish me!

Zoë Marriott said...

Bonnie: We're working on that, believe me. My agent hopes one day there will be simultaneous release, but at the moment even Patrick Ness doesn't get that, so it might take a while! Thanks :)

amycelestia said...

I hate looking back too, but you can do it! Sometimes the thought of doing something is much worse than the thing itself turns out to be, so have some faith and get stuck in :D We're all rooting for you!!

And I am really excited about Saturday :p I need a day of awesomeness after how much I've been working lately!!

Zoë Marriott said...

Amy: I'm so keyed up about it that I feel slightly sick - I can't wait! Eeep!

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