Monthly Book Draft Challenge : April

Alright folks, it’s the end of the month,time to check on my handy dandy Monthly Book Draft Challenge graph!

I know the graphs are a bit tedious one right after another, but I feel it’s important not to lose track of my progress and the journey I’ve made so far this year. I promise, soon enough I’ll get into some real discussions and discourse.

But for now, let’s look at April!

Fairytale: 3k
Gingerbread: 10k
Ocean’s Daughter: -2k

Total: 13k

Hmmm. Overall, an additional 13k new words. It’s still not as great as the 16k I managed my first month in February, but it’s still progress, and I’m happy I was able to beef up Gingerbread a bit more as that’s been stewing in my mind for some time.

However, as you may have noticed, the word count for Ocean’s Daughter has decreased. This is not a mistake.

So what happened this month?

  • I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by Ocean’s Daughter. Truth be told, Ocean’s Daughter’s was a little bit of a mess. It was my 2016 NaNoWriMo project, and I went into it without a super clear idea of where I wanted it to go. As a tried and true outliner, this was a huge mistake and I ended up running into some major roadblocks about halfway through.
  • I went back to my original outline for Ocean’s Daughter and began making some serious changes. I cut out entire scenes, moved chapters around and essentially re hauled about 70% of my original plan. To say it was exhausting is an understatement.
  • I discovered a new outlining method! And by discovered I mean I made something up. I LOVE outlining and I won’t start a new novel without one. The few times I’ve tried writing on the fly have always ended in disaster, and I no longer go into a new project without a trusty outline in hand. Unfortunately, not all outlines are created equal (as I’ve learned with Ocean’s Daughter), and I realized if I was going to continue seriously on this series, I needed a method I could rely on.
  • So I’ve already starting using my new method on outlining Tin Heart and Duchess.

It’s difficult to stop myself from going back and start editing now. The writing is so rough and ugly and goopy, and it’s so awful to glance back and see all the places that need serious refinement. But I need to stay strong! Right now, the focus is on my first drafts, and I can’t let myself get bogged down in that now. Hush child, there will be plenty of time for editing later.

Seeing the lowered word bar is disheartening, but in the end, I know it’s for the best for my story. The plot and pacing is ten times stronger than what it used to be, and once I have the time to fully get back to working on it, I know it’ll pay off.

Still, I admit, it’s a struggle.

I’m plodding along far slower than I had hoped. Sometimes it’s so easy to fall into the pit of despair, knowing there are others out there spilling out three times as many words in less than half the time. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s not a competition, and slow progress is better than no progress at all.

In the end, my novels will be worth it.

Have you ever had to scrap a project or start over? What pushed you to make that decision? Have you learned anything about your writing habits or techniques so far this year? 

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