Episode 21 Banner

Episode 21- Are we there yet


In All Jest,
Episode 21, episode 21, broadcast on
at 26th of March 2021

Intro

[00:00:00]

Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

This is episode 21 recorded on March the 26th, 2021. In the back of my head all I can hear are my children saying dad, are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Since Last Time

[00:00:48]

So what's happened since last time? Well, it's been three weeks since I recorded the last episode. I did take a mini break in the middle of that, a long weekend away; did a bit of fishing, bit of camping, just being away from things. I still managed to write a little bit, while I was away, but in general, it was a break away from everyday working life and did impact on production and where I was at. It also impacted on recording.  Not only did I not get in between episodes, but the end result was not long after that I got a little unwell and ended up having to miss last week as well. Voice wasn't too good and health in general was just a little bit lower than it could be.

So that set me back a little bit, but not too much as far as my writing went. In the last three weeks, I wrote 24,348 words in 14 writing days, which works out just over 1700 words a day. So still consistent with my daily goals, working through where I want to be. As I outlined in the previous episode, 200,000 words was the target, but I wasn't sure that that was going to get me to the end of the story.

Right now I'm at 207,005 words, and I am not done yet at this stage. So I was very accurate there in understanding I wasn't going to complete everything at that point. But I did pass 200,000 words, got through that and I'm continuing to work on where I'm at. So, now what? Well, first up, there's a lot of frustration and disappointment for me at not being finished.

It is almost the end of March. I had aimed for the end of February to hit my 200,000 words. I was a little bit behind that and everything's cascading down from that. Playing catch up is never fun, and I know I'm very close, but I'm not done. And even though I can talk to myself and encourage myself and recognize that I've still achieved a massive amount in the timeframe that I have, it is hard to live with or reconcile - that's probably a better word - the fact that I'm not done.

I'm finding it quite annoying that I'm not there, and the frustrations of not being able to write full-time at this point in my career, it just plays on that and it makes that feeling exaggerated. And I know that that is a long-term goal and it's not feasible early in my career that that would fund everything on its own.

And it leaves me in that position where I'm caught between wanting to publish in a timely fashion and continue writing with discipline, but also running my businesses, doing the other ventures that I'm involved in, including my volunteer work. And that's difficult to reconcile sometimes. And it just plays on that.

So when you don't meet a deadline, you don't meet a goal and you feel behind, it does feed or fuel the negative feelings that go around it. It's deflating to hit these types of obstacles. I do know it affects lots of other writers that life or missing deadlines and things affects them. It affects everyone, I think, when you set goals and don't really achieve them.

So I have to try and balance that and not let it affect what I'm trying to do. It's probably no different to any other side hustle when you have daytime job and you're trying to do something on the side, you're always being challenged with those feelings.

I want to be here. I want to be doing that. It doesn't necessarily support what I'm doing. You're constantly battling between that. You want to give good energy to what you're currently doing, but you're also looking to move away from it. And it's difficult. It kind of feeds the enemy within. The voices in your mind.

And because of it, other doubts get more air. Because you're vulnerable in those moments, your feelings bubble up, there's a lot more exposure of them. Some things that you might easily be able to brush off or rationalize, get more air, take a bigger grip, get more focus. So that can be difficult.

Voices around the writing. Is it worth it? Am I any good? This isn't your thing. If it was, you'd be able to get it done. They all get more air time. And you're not just then battling the timeline, your own pressures that you put on there to meet timelines, but you're also now fighting all those voices and doubts. And when they all come together in these critical moments, it does make it a lot harder.

Through the whole creative journey, you tend to get elements of them bubbling up one at a time, maybe a couple. But as you get into these critical moments, they will kind of come together and it can be quite difficult.

I typically put a lot of pressure on myself to complete things as it is anyway, to have goals, try and meet deadlines , and work through all that. And when I miss them or the deadline passes, it does make me feel like I'm failing. The reality of it though, is the deadline was an arbitrary date that I put there to keep my focus,  keep my nose on the grindstone so that I kept working out.

I had a daily work goal, gave me something to keep me honest and to do the work that's required. And, yet then it kind of used it as a rod to beat myself with. It's kind of a strange dichotomy of two things there.  I guess your mind is a really funny beast to tame and sometimes the mechanisms or tricks you use to get you to do one thing actually become a negative later on in the process. Like now, the way that I keep my feet to the wheel, keep doing the writing, now makes me feel like I've failed. And I know I haven't failed.

The truth is, I've got all of this done in less than a year. The first book took, the better part of five years to go. So it's significant achievement that I've written now a bigger piece of work, probably in better quality for the first draft than the original book. And I've done that in six months. Not even six months at this point. So I should feel really good about that. And that's just what I'm coming around to, but right now I'm still trying to finish it.

So the only way around it is I just have to keep writing and I just have to keep going until it's done. Everything else has to wait. Editing has to wait. All these other things have to wait. I'll shuffle my dates. I'll shuffle my deadlines. I'll play with things when I need to. Right now, finish the manuscript. That's all I'm working on. That's what I need to do. And nothing else can really happen till I finish the first draft.

What's happening in the story? Well, I've been working through the main plot lines, the character journeys and bringing them to a close within the story. I've been talking about that in the last couple of episodes. They're really all coming together pretty well. Some of the smaller plot lines involving  secondary characters are all done. Some, a few just need a little bit of tidying up.

But everything is coming together. And then, little doubts are sitting there. Not much resistance, I wouldn't call it resistance. It's just the doubts now. And I recall in the final throes of book one, having concerns about how to bring it to a close, the ending of the book, was I covering everything off, and I'm in the exact same place now.

What's different this time is I have the experience of getting through it last time. What worked for me, what tools and techniques I used to get through it. Albeit that last time it took a lot longer to resolve all that because I was working out what I needed to do. Recognizing right now that the same thing is happening and knowing what I did last time in the end and how I got through it and what's required is great.

And fundamentally, I just have to keep writing, but having that experience is allowing me to keep writing. Still, I worry about the ending. Where the story is gone/going and whether I've written it well. That's natural, I think. You get these doubts in the creative process, but I do know that in the next stages I'll address all of that.

And that's  what I mean in that previous statement about, I know what I'm going to be doing. I know how I resolved these things last time. A lot of the things that I might be concerned about now get fixed in the editing stage anyway. So I don't need to worry about them. Just get on, get it finished.

And I do enjoy the editing process as well. It's a separate process. It is quite different to the core writing task when you're doing the first draft, which is just write, write, write, write, write. The editing is, reviewing, analyzing, working out what is, and isn't working within a scene or a beat or a full chapter and adjusting it to suit. The beauty of it though, is that, you know what you set that scene or chapter up to do.

The analysis portion of it says, is it working or not? And why not, if it's not? And then you just adjust it. And while it's writing, you don't necessarily write the whole thing again, sometimes you do, but you're adjusting things and you're manipulating it. And I do like that. It's less directly creative in the sense that you're just not flowing, but it's the polishing.

It's the crafting of the rough gem into a beautiful gem, and that I enjoy as much as the first draft pile. So I know everything will come together. I know that will happen. I'm happy with pretty much all of the characters and where they've got to in the story. I'm pretty happy with, what's been left, open, what's been closed.

I'm comfortable that each of those things is pretty well covered; subject to going into editing. There's a little part of my brain that wants to rush into outlining book three, because I'm already got threads that are flowing that way, that extend past this book or parts of the story that do. And so naturally now, as I get to the close, my brain is going, "Oh, and this and that, and this and that". And I just have to bring it back, focus on what I'm doing now and not get distracted with that. And this time I'm much better at it than I was last time.

I've recognized how much of the world and background has been exposed in little pieces through this book. And I think that's really good. Having had some conversations with people that have read book one and they have questions, "Oh, what about this? And what about that?"

Naturally, I've exposed some more of that in this story. So it's going to help a lot with that continuation, which I am glad that it's worked out that way. I didn't put too much in book one. I had enough, I think, that brought the world through in the way it needed to. And now, hey, there is questions that need answering. So, book two is answering a number of those.

It's all about winding up. Getting from drafting to editing, as I said before. So what comes next? Finishing this draft. I think from an estimate  there's, less than 10 chapters needed to resolve what I have to do, which should be approximately another week.

That's where I see it sitting right at the moment. Because of these delays, I'm not going to take a break at the end of it. I won't get time to sit and pat myself on the back. As soon as it's done, I'll be turning around, pulling out the spreadsheet for my story grid method and starting to go through it.

And that's what we'll follow on from this. My goal two weeks time, when the next podcast episode comes together, will be - first draft done, I'm now editing. And that's where I would like to be. That's what I'm working towards now. And hopefully you got a sense of the struggle, all the challenges I'm going through right now.

It is a challenging period. It's a frustrating period. Not in a negative negative way, it's just, part of it drives me, part of it is encouraging. Within two weeks, we should have that all wrapped up and done, and I should be into the editing cycle and I should be feeling a lot more positive about where I'm at.

It's not that I'm feeling totally negative. It's just the frustrations and those things sitting in the back of my mind. It would be good to get to that milestone and then move past them and get into the next phase, which will take a decent amount of time to get through the editing. So I'm looking forward to being in that place the next time we come together.

One Bite at a Time

Chapter Eleven  (Audio Only). [ 00:13:42 ]

 

Outro

[00:20:40]

Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.

 

Episode 20 – Did I make my deadline?


In All Jest,
Episode 20, episode 20, broadcast on
at 5th of March 2021

Intro

[00:00:00]

Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

Hey there. This is episode 20 recorded on March the fifth, 2021. And the big question in everyone's minds is did I meet my deadline?

Since Last Time

[00:00:42]

And so did I meet my deadline? Does anyone I eat chocolate? No, they don't. First off, I didn't even get to record an in-between episode last week. I'm sorry about that. But it was a crazy week and my focus was pretty much on trying to get the first draft finished. So where did I end up? Well I wrote 26,449 words.

Which was okay, over the last two weeks. It was a net gain of only 21,778, which means in theory that I only have 12,035 words left. However, I do not think the story will be done exactly at 200,000 words. And frankly it's anyone's guess how many more words I will need to write? I could knock over 12,000 words in the next two or three days easily, but right now it's more about getting back to my consistent 1800 to 2300 words a day and  just do it and finish the story as it finishes. I would like to think the next five to 10 days will be enough. I'm going to keep trying to work on that, but we will have to wait and see.

Where is the story at?

I'm completely in the final act of the book. The ending payoff, the resolutions, that's where I'm at bringing all of the story parts to a close or those that are going to completely close out in this book or the resolutions or partial resolutions for some of the story threads. Being a long form series in multiple volumes, there are continuing threads, in some instances, of course. And not everything closes out, but the things that need to close out, I'm working through getting those done. There's a lot of them to work on lots of plot threads that are happening. Lots of situations that are going on that I have to work with. I'm also having to work with a number of the older chapters.

I did mention in the last episode that at the end of the book, I had a number of older chapters. They really slow me down. I mentioned that before next time around, I won't have that situation. And the rework changes the way I have to do things in my brain, and I prefer not to be doing it, but they do exist and they have a reason for existing and I'm rewriting them around that.

But it means my gains after writing 3000 words might be 300 words, which can be pretty frustrating.

There was an interesting resolution in something that happened. Something that I worked through in the last fortnight, which was enjoyable, was I needed to continue something that was happening in this book. I needed a way to make it fit into all the timelines and inadvertently it turned out that something I had written in book one, matched up perfectly with this and allowed for this to happen.

I would love to say that I completely planned that when I did book one, that wasn't the case. The thing that I am talking about stood on its own in book one perfectly, and the beginning of book two it just worked. It was what it was. However, the situations that's come up now at the end of the book for a character needing to do something there needed to be an Avenue to achieve that.

And it'll tie it up really nicely. And I really enjoyed that. I would like to think I had done it totally planned, but I didn't, it does feel though the, when it fits together nicely like that, that the story is progressing naturally. And it's almost like things weren't contrived and that they naturally came together because that was a good conclusion of things.

And it was just a natural way to use it rather than, or how can I twist this event to work that way. I was working out what would need to happen, how long it would take. And I had a, how question? How will that work out? And it went, Oh, it'll work out by following this path. So I'm very happy with that.

There's been a number of things continuing on that I'm learning about the problems and the good things about what I'm doing in this book, which will set me up for book three. I'm pretty happy about what that will look like. I'm excited for when I do get there that I'll have a new process again, to continue writing in a better format.

There is a bit of stress I'm carrying around because I didn't meet my deadline. I do like to achieve things when I say, I'm going to do them. I am a little bit bothered that I didn't, it took a couple of days to get past that. Now I'm just trying to focus on finishing, but it's disappointing, ultimately though it's about getting the story, right, not just meeting a deadline. So as long as I don't let it drag out, it's just the way it is. And I can only do it one bite at a time.

I did mention that I'm trying to bring all these threads together and I'm going through some issues with that. I'm, just having to line things up and it is complex.

And I mentioned it before, so I can imagine in the future, by the way, I'm going to outline things that I'll have less issues with that because I'll be working sequentially. And I think that's an important part for it. At the moment, I don't necessarily write sequentially. I do things in chunks based around how the writing's going.

Whereas with the outline and writing from beginning to end following the outline or albeit there might be a little bit of movement in there, and the story will still evolve. I feel like I won't have these particular obstacles or delays in the way that I'm addressing things. And right now, as I try to bring all threads together, I'm crossing over and double checking and having to go back.

Whereas if I do that in the outlining phase, and I know exactly what's crossing over, when I sit down to write, I think that'll work out really well. There's a death coming. It's part of the story I know about it, but I have been procrastinating around it.

I think I know why there might be other reasons. I do think it's part of the sequencing issue that I just mentioned and that, because a couple of other situations, haven't quite caught up to where that is, I don't want to finish that off because there's going to be, a crossing over of timelines and things that will bear into that.

So now I'm trying to bring everything into sequence and work through from a point in the timeline down, and I know where this particular death is going to occur and who's involved.  But I believe I just need to get that right, but it is being procrastinated on maybe it's because of who and what it is and how it's happening, but I'll have to learn about that when I get there.

And, with all these threads, I do have one small concern that maybe I've completely missed something that's hanging around, from earlier in the book, in my notes. And I just haven't brought it through. At this point in the story, that's gonna be something, I pick up in my editing cycle. So there's not much I can do about that really. It should stand out in the editing process, particularly the way I spreadsheet out my first story grid review of it. I'll be able to really identify those quite quickly so that I'll be able to tick off that concern when I get there. But that is something that's floating around.

What comes next?

Pretty obvious I think. I've got to finish the story. So just getting completed  in a way that I'm happy with. I don't expect it to be a hundred percent perfect. It is a first draft, but I need to make sure that I'm not just rushing through it. I need to get it done. Just work through. Finish those scenes and chapters that I need doing take a couple of days off and then just get straight into the editing process.

So over the next few weeks, until it is done, I will be writing every day and bringing it to a close.

One Bite at a Time

Chapter Ten  (Audio Only). [ 00:09:01 ]

 

Outro

[00:22:15]

Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.

 

Episode 19 – Tears and Laughter all in a fortnights work


In All Jest,
Episode 19, episode 19, broadcast on
at 19th of February 2021

Intro

[00:00:00]

Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

Hi there. This is episode 19, and as it turns out, it's being recorded on February the 19th, 2021. It's been two weeks when I laughed and cried while I wrote and not because of my own stupidity.

Since Last Time

[00:00:50]

Since last time I recorded an in-between episode, go me. I'm actually getting it done. As I promised I would, which was chapters seven and eight from A Fool's Errand or book one. That episode is episode 17, which you can find in the podcast episodes. All right. In the last two weeks, I have written 23,502 words, which is about eight or nine thousand less than the fortnight before. My current total is 166,187, according to Scrivener, which sits at 83% of the story. Assuming 200,000 words is my end word count. If you like to do the maths, then the net difference is 21,898. So not 23,502. And that's because of course I keep taking stuff out, putting words in, there's a fair bit of culling in this bit.

There was a number of chapters and scenes that had been hanging around from before, which I got rid of. The biggest problem I have is that to meet the February 28th deadline, which is only nine days away and that's less than nine days of actual writing, I would need to do around 4,400 words a day. So you can see that that's blowing out, past most probability. I do have time this weekend in theory, to smash out some words, but if I  do 4,400 both days, that's, nearly 9,000 words, which is about the maximum I get done on a weekend unless I really go nuts. So pray for me, folks that I actually get to sit down and just go bang straight off and not have to do lots of poking around and research and fixing things.

Where is the story at? I have been completing what I call the middle build. I like that term from Sean Coyne's , story grid, also known as act two. It's the main journey section of the story. It's sort of 50% of the story. So the way it's broken up Act one roughly 25%, act two 50%, act three.  25%. So I'm now heading towards the climax and resolution that happens in act three and bringing the book to a close.

I pretty much have the ending already written, because I did that originally, although there is going to be change to what happens in it.  Some of the things that I did originally wouldn't stack up now I have a lot more ways I can bring that ending out and make it even better. So I'm looking forward to getting to that point when I get there.

And what is different to book one? Was that because I cut the book when I did book one, I didn't have an ending anymore, that was enough of a climax resolution and it was really just, Oh, I'm stopping at this place and now I need to write it. So the whole time I was editing book one, I was uncertain about the ending.

Whereas I'm a lot more certain about the ending I have in place at the moment. We'll see if I'm a certain when I get there, but I'm not there yet. One of the most enjoyable and yet saddest set of scenes I've written about happened this fortnight and it relates to something known as the Fool's Cart, C A R T.

It was mentioned a little bit in book one, but only slightly more of it comes out in Fool Me Twice. And during one of the chapters, I actually shed a couple of tears while I was writing it. That was new or unique to me. I haven't actually experienced such direct emotion while I was in the midst of writing.

But this particular chapter really got to me and the follow-up chapter as well. And a couple of preview people that,  look at my work, both experienced similar things in one or the other of these combined chapters. Another set of scenes I had myself laughing out loud and a lot. I was able to pull off a flip of something in the way that it should or could have played out.

If I let it run its course about how exactly, how things were going to happen. It would have been much more of what you would expect and the way I got to resolve it was different. And the interactions between a couple of characters were I really enjoyed. I felt they were crackers and I just made a lot of fun and it was a real kick to write.

A number of the characters in the series have been facing and resolving, to different degrees, a lot of obstacles to their goals.  There's been a lot of heat turned up on them across the whole of the continent.  Almost felt like I've been deliberately poking them and antagonizing them and trying to get them at their worst and then forced them to be at their best or to fail.

And, you know, that's kind of fun. I'm deliberately and actively doing it while I'm writing, not in the editing sequences. And as I've said in the last couple of episodes I've recorded, I'm really hoping that's going to give me the ability to,  be better about the way I approach the editing cycle. I have hit some difficulties bringing certain plot points to a close.

Yeah. Now that I'm getting towards the ending of the book, I suppose what I mean, is that I'm having to think more about the sequences and options, before I write particular scenes.  I don't have the freedom to just write them and let them bubble out. The, the need to be across the impact on this, in the timeline, doesn't match up.

How will I get all those things lined up? And I'm having to refer back to the timeline a lot to see where everyone's at and make sure the idea that I want to put in there is now going to play out in the light outlining that I did.  Now that I've got all of these other pieces lined up,  I'm just having to adjust that.

And so in some days when I'm writing, I could spend an hour or so, just getting clear about those elements. It does mean that I've also thought a lot about how I will outline for book three. And I am looking to do a bit more learning and practice a more detailed form of outlining. That will help me resolve a lot of these issues before I sit down to write the story itself, which will be another progression.

I can see how that'll allow me to power through without the same number of blocks. I know I can write in really good chunks if I didn't have to think too much about what's going on. So I will be looking at that. Now's not the time to do it. With so much of this book written and a deadline that I want to meet.

So I'm just going to keep going the way I am.  Reflecting on the, the issues I'm talking about, they are really small in comparison to A Fool's Errand. In book one, I was learning so much having to think so much at each stage of what I was doing. So it took a lot longer. What's happening here is I might be half an hour, an hour where I'm having to think through things, but I'm not getting stuck to the point that I can't write, or I don't know what to do next.

And I am actually excited about getting the manuscript finished and moving into the next phase. The next phase for me will be using the story grid template and mapping out the whole book. I'm going to combine a couple of things as I do that. I'm going to do some minor Wiki updates, particularly around,  new characters and settings that are in there so that I get them in at this stage because they will help all of my editorial team, as well as my self in reflection on the book, but I'll do the story grid and then I'll get into,  resolving the issues I bring up and just starting editing, scenes and chapters as I go.  Having a new process with more outlining and a simpler path to completing and getting it published well, helped me get to my long-term objective, which is at least one novel a year.

If not, 1.25 or 1.5. And clearly that means I'll just be speeding up the pace,  without the ability to just stop doing everything else. There's only so many hours in a day, so the more efficient I can be around all my other activities will be very helpful. What comes next? Well, I'm playing catch up as the numbers at the beginning of the episode said to finish the novel, I got to do a lot of writing.

If I do finish it before I record the next episode, though, I think you all need to buy me chocolate bars and I'm going to hold you to, that would be very important because I'll have done some craziness if, I actually get there. I do believe, I think the story is going to run over 200,000 words. So I can't really see it making it by then.

So you're not really up for too much, but I will keep writing exactly the way I'm doing five days a week, as many words as I can heading towards the end of this manuscript. , in other exciting news, we have an interactive map coming for you, the readers and listeners. I'm not going to say too much about it, but I've had my team working on it.

And once we've ironed out the final bugs and got the design implemented,  we'll be loading the data. And I'm really excited to share that with everyone. I haven't seen anything done, like the way we're doing it. It's pretty neat. My team has been excellent at it.  Bringing the idea up and helping put it in place.

And when I share it, I hope you'll find it really cool as well. Well, for now that's about it. I've got to go and finish this draft, hang around for one bite at a time.

One Bite at a Time

Chapter Nine  (Audio Only). [ 00:11:13 ]

 

Outro

[00:23:07]

Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.