Whatever does a writer do over a summer vacation? Let me rephrase. Whatever does a writer who doesn’t have the funds for world travel do over a summer vacation? That’s right! That’s what I did, along with some other stuff.
The summer of 2018 hiatus was wanted, necessary, and productive, especially for my writing. Last May when I was contemplating taking a leave of absence, the need to update the website so it was GDPR compliant was the excuse I most seized upon. I was already simultaneously suffering burnout and facing a major life change. Given my lack of tech savvy, I knew having to figure out all I had to do for GDPR was going to be a time consuming undertaking.
So, for the first time in five years I stepped away, not from fiction writing, but from the blog.
What did I do with my time? First, the other stuff…
The weather has been a case of Missoula outdoing itself. It’s been gorgeous, making time outside a necessity. Thankfully, my health remains the best it’s been since before I became sick in 2009. This summer I’ve walked or biked four to six times per week. My most beloved bike ride remains to the library where I can look across the street and see where they’ve cleared the lot that’ll be the new library in 2020. Between here and there they’re putting in an underpass beneath the only street that’s difficult to cross.
The library means books and I gobbled up books, some that were great, some that weren’t so great, and one that reduced me to unexpected tears and continues to haunt me.
At the same time, beginning in late June, I started working again for the first time since late 2013. That alone eased my stress considerably, and it came with the added benefit that I’m in a pleasant office with great people. It’s a quiet, part-time position in the morning so I then have the rest of the day to fit in appointments, exercise, and, most important, writing.
Actually, given the summer I’ve had I should say, editing. I’ve been an editing machine all summer and have now made at least one pass on all four of the Ontyre novels.
It went something like this…
In early June I finished the first edit of the periphery novel (same location/timeline, different characters), Torment Surfacing. At the end of that month I concluded the first true edit (outside the rewrite) of Bk2, A River in Each Hand. Over the course of July and into August I performed the first edit of the prequel novel, Exhuming Truths, along with more than half-a-dozen short stories. Currently, I’m simultaneously plotting Bk3 and writing the revision map for a rewrite of the second periphery novel, Essence Stone (working title).
Got all that?
I continue to hone my work with Deep 3rd. Each time I revisit a story I haven’t touched in a long while I’m amazed at the voice errors I find. It was most dramatic when I read through Essence Stone, which was written thirteen months ago. It was agony.
My one editing innovation over the summer, if it could be called that, was discovering Alpha Wave music. It makes for soothing background, but keeps me focused. When I pull off the headphones it’s a jolt returning to the real world. There are multiple hour videos on YouTube and channels that broadcast it all day long.
One decision I made over the summer was that I want to better convey the heart of my writing and not just the nuts and bolts of world building, maps, magic, etc.. Above all else, my stories are character driven and the themes topical.
Talking about that, though, is me heading down the road of what my plans are and that’s the topic for next week when I’ll share my plan for this autumn. It’s a lot.
See you then!