Applying Lessons in 2020



The problem with taking time off from the blog is how easy it is to forget to come back when you’re busy. At least I only missed my mark by two days. That’s why there was no poem posted this past Tuesday.

Okay, it’s 2020 and I’m hitting reset as of this moment. (That’s obvious if you’re reading this.)

So, what’ve I been up to?

Cover: CA Hawthorne

Following the novel and sequel novella in November, I turned my attention to what was supposed to be a month of short stories in December. It kinda sorta happened. Maybe because my brain had locked in on the novella length, I launched into another novella in December, Night Train to Talonspear. I completed it on the 22nd of the month.

After that, I regained my short story footing, drafting two by the end of the month. Memory in Silhouette was a Pannulus holiday story. Year of the Executioner, despite its title, was a light mystery also set in Pannulus. At the end of the month I finished with almost 57K words. Not bad for a leisure month.

In the past, January has traditionally been a month when I indulged whims. The last couple of years that’s meant working on a map. Believe it or not, I woke up on January 1st with no idea what I was going to do.

Being a glutton for overworking myself, I’m now working on two projects. How did that happen? Well…

I won’t go too deep into the first project because I’m doubtful anyone will ever see it. Long ago, as in 2001-05, when my life was in great distress, I drafted a story called Revision. Oddly enough, it was my second novel begun, but my first completed. I then shelved it. The writing was, in a word, awful.

Thing is, the idea was excellent. The problem was my writing skills were in their infancy. Maybe it was year end nostalgia, I don’t know, but I pulled it out near the end of December and reread it in two days.

The writing remains profoundly terrible. Beyond that, the story is also deeply personal and painful, a past come to haunt. At the same time, I found the sting to be a little less. Over the years I’d glanced at it periodically, but it threatened depression so I’d slide it back on the shelf.

On New Year’s morning I woke up, poured coffee, and decided it was time. In truth, there’s a therapeutic element to this project. No, it isn’t about a murderer and I’m soothing my homicidal tendencies. It’s actually set in this world about forty-five years ago, though there are sci-fi elements. 

Thus, using the original as an outline (at best), I’m drastically rewriting it. Too, because the name is confusing for a story, I’ve changed it. And changed it again. It’s currently called Fallen Leaf Rising. I’m doubtful that one is going to stick.

Moving right along…

NaNo cover Image: CA Hawthorne
NaNo cover Image: CA Hawthorne

The second project is editing Riparia’s Bk2, A River in Each Hand. I’m editing and drafting at the same time? Yup. It’s requiring some time management since they’re drastically different tasks. I’ve been editing in the morning before work and right after lunch. I then take a break (usually for a walk) and turn to drafting in the late afternoon and evening.

In a way, this is a bit of nostalgia too. It’s been long since I’ve worked on a Riparia novel. I have truly missed her and the other characters from the series.

The novel is also special to me for other reasons. River was the first sequel I ever wrote. I’ve done it since, of course, but that first time is a treasured memory. It was also an exercise in frustration. I rewrote the beginning countless times. Sequels, as I learned, are a different beast, especially the opening.

Oh, did I info dump even though I was trying not to! I kept wanting to recount Bk1. In the end, I trained my brain to view Bk2 as a unique book. Bk1 had its own backstory that I used sparingly. I eventually realized that Bk2 had to be approached the same way, but with one difference.

Bk1 was a part of Bk2’s backstory. I know, elementary. Once I adopted that mindset it all fell into place.

The other special aspect to Bk2 was it was my first time advancing the series without considerable lead time before writing it. I’d been mulling Bk1 for years while I was sick. When it came time for Bk2 I had the irrational fear that I wouldn’t have enough good ideas.


Ideas exploded.

Another lesson I unconsciously learned in Bk1 that became conscious in Bk2 (after more frustration) was writing what I call my opening sequence. I’ll save that for a different blog post. Hopefully next week (if I can remember).

One Reply to “Applying Lessons in 2020”

  1. Pingback: Applying Lessons in 2020 | Christina Anne Hawthorne

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