January to March 2022: This was a period of rapid progress in my novel. I was working on several pages at once: the manuscript itself, a similar document full of running notes, and a Notion page with the following subpages:
- Series Wiki, where I put all my worldbuilding elements as subpages
- Plotting Page, where I jotted down plot threads and made ‘scene cards’ (basically pages for each scene, that you can re-order as if they were physical index cards)
- Plans and Processes page, where I put all my to-dos and Kanban boards
- Inspirations and Research, where I listed books and webpages I wanted to read, and took notes on them as I read them
- Practice Experiments, where I tried writing sample scenes and dialog, brainstormed titles, and worked on the prose.
- Drafting Notes, which tracked the status of each scene (whether it had been outlined, drafted, polished, etc.) in a table.
- Book budget, which tracked what I’d spent on the project already, like on editors.
I started with just a few of these pages, and added more as I needed them for all the ideas I was having. It was quite a thrill, this stage of the project. I had all the pages open on different tabs, and kept jumping between them as the ideas flowed! I could barely type fast enough to keep up.
Around mid-February, I felt ready to draft Act I in detail. I started going to writing sprints with Sarra Cannon’s writing community, and plodding away at the manuscript, using the Notion pages only for reference.
I was excited about how Act I was shaping up, but soon I got stuck again. I slowed down and let my mind wander, to let the ideas bubble up again.
Soon, I started to get some glimmers of answers, so I wrote a lot of scenes in my note-taking apps on my phone and computer, and as voice memos, until I finally felt confident in the story. In late March or so, I had checked every scene off the list.
April to July 2022: By this point, I’d been working frenetically on the novel for a while, and needed to make time for other pursuits, like blogging, sustainability research, and general life-maintenance. So I slowed down on the novel and set myself a more manageable (I thought) goal of organizing all the writing I’d done on Acts II and III.
I was able to do about half of what I had planned, so some of the scenes still need pasting into the manuscript.
And this is when I started telling this backstory! I wanted to share my novel writing progress with this blog’s readers. To do that, I first needed to catch you up to the present day.
Which I have – now!
Now, it’s August, and my goal is to paste in the stragglers and start polishing up the scenes. I’ve also been drawing some of the scenes to help me visualize them. (It’s a lot easier for me to get into the atmosphere if I do!)
So I hope to share progress updates and some of the drawings (if they don’t give too much away) along the way.
(Oh, and if you’re wondering, I don’t have a title yet. That’s something I find difficult in general.)