My writing journal entry for August 15, 2014. You can find all the entries here.
Fiction, nonfiction … the end is in sight.
Wrote 1,600 words of my historical romance novella this morning, and the end is in sight. I’ve planned the final scenes too. And I’ve decided not to turn it into a serial, after all.
I’m sure you’re wondering: a serial? This was the client’s proposal.
Last night I had a call from the client who commissioned me to write the five historical romance novellas. He asked whether we could turn the current novella into a serialized novel — a partwork. I’d mentioned that the novella was running a little long, and that I was (almost) turning it into a novel. He said that his publishing company would be interested if I wanted to extend the novella. Could I turn it into a novel, and serialize it? They were prepared to commission a three-episode serial, and still wanted all five novellas.
I asked him to give me time to think about the story, and how I might do that. I read the novella, trying to read it as a reader might. Yes, I could turn it into a novel, and it would work — with effort — as a part-work.
Then this morning I decided against it, for one reason only: it’s almost done. I know myself. I’ve geared up for five novellas. Tinkering with this story would take at least two to three weeks. I’d lose the thread of the other two novellas. And it would cause havoc with deadlines.
I’d need to change the deadlines on other commissioned work, and that isn’t fair to clients. Reworking this story, at this stage, would only frustrate me.
So, as soon as I completed planning the final scenes of the novella, I sent the client an email message. I offered to create a proposal for a NEW serialized novel after all five novellas are complete. I wouldn’t be able to slot in the new project until early next year.
Writing tip: communicate with your clients — it leads to more work. I enjoy talking about writing, as you can tell. However, it’s often a struggle to convince my writing students that they need to communicate with clients. If I hadn’t told the client that the novella was running long, he wouldn’t have offered me the opportunity to do a serial.
Communicate often with your clients. They’re not aware of how you write, or what else you write. You’ll find that clients often have more work for you, if you share thoughts and ideas with them.
Nonfiction: almost done with the book.
I completed another 750 words of the nonfiction book, and there’s only the conclusion left to write. I’ve exported the remaining chapters from Scrivener to Word, and sent them off to the client. I’ll wait for their thoughts, before I do the revision and conclusion.
Next, breakfast for Honey and for me, and then a quick walk.
Then the morning’s email. Julia’s compiled the material from the beta testers of the authentic writing program, so I need to look at that. With their insights incorporated, I can get the program finished, and perhaps even offer it next week.
I spend 40 minutes on email. Feedback for students, as well as quotes and responses to clients. I’m booked solid until the end of the year now. Julia’s got some “thank you for thinking of us, we’re fully booked” boilerplate she can send to new enquirers. We chat about this. She knows what I like to write, so if anything comes in that I really want to do, she’ll let me know.
We’ve got the Leap into Copywriting program coming up, and I’ve got a full order book of copywriting and ghostwriting too. This year has just zoomed past.
Writing fiction? Write your Christmas-themed stories NOW
A few months ago I outlined a series of Christmas-themed short stories and a novella that I want to get onto Amazon by the start of December. They’ll be published under a pen name. I’ve got three months to get them done, which is plenty of time, but I need to make a start now. Editing takes time, and so do revisions.
I’m in two minds about promotion for the short stories. I haven’t even created a website for the pen name yet. No time. :-) I’m inclined just to let promoting the name go until next year. I’ve published several long short stories under that pen name, but nothing else, so it’s pointless to promote, because there’s nothing to promote. The Christmas material will help to establish the name, but there’s still nothing to promote. That’s OK. It’s best to think longterm.
Maybe I’ll try the “Liliana Nirvana” strategy that Hugh Howey talked about. Or maybe not. I haven’t decided. I’ll do more with that pen name next year, once I get all the ghostwriting commissions out of the way.
Next, work on the video script. I do another cluster diagram, which shakes something loose. I zoom through the script, and the slides. After a couple of hours, I leave it for Julia to proof and send off to the client. It’s a rush job, so I should be able to get it all done over the weekend, if I’m lucky.
Lunch, blogging, then project reports and revisions.
Julia and I go out for lunch most Fridays, so we can discuss finishing up projects and upcoming work without too many distractions.
She goes back to work; I decide to spend an hour in the library, so I can draft blog posts for the coming weeks. I manage 1200 words, which is excellent. On my way back, I phone a couple of clients to let them know how their blogs are progressing.
As I mentioned above, if you’re a writer, you need to communicate with clients as much as you can. Not so often that you’re a nuisance, but enough to let them know what’s happening, and to give them input on their projects if they want it.
So, I go over what we’ve been doing this week with students, and clients. Julia makes some notes for the reports; I catch up on phone calls.
(Yawn.) Afternoon slump. I reward myself for a productive day with some reading, just for entertainment. I always have a couple books on the go at once, so I choose to spend half an hour with Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible. I enjoy British crime fiction. My other current entertainment-read is R. D. Wingfield’s Frost at Christmas.
“Authentic writing” project feedback, and revisions.
I read the feedback that Julia’s compiled from the messages from the beta testers, and make notes for revisions.
It’s 5PM, and I’m done for the day. I do my daily review; good word counts. And that’s it for the work week. (Yes, I write on the weekends. Usually. :-))