On good beginnings – January ’20

I am yet to master the craft to the level necessary for the tales I wish to tell. More on that realisation later. This has, all things said and done, been a good month.

Hello! The first month of the year has come and gone, which means that the time has come for an update from me, to you, dear reader.

The good news first. That seventh draft is done. What a labour it was. More than once I thought of putting it down for good, yet press on did I. Gladly so. The most important thing for me was to write it to the end, to complete the story, so when I next grapple with its many challenges, I grapple with ink and words, and not that pure white demon we know is the blank page! Huzzah!

As the drafting of this book, which I shall continue to call BOOK 1, has taught me so much, I choose now to turn my ability to another, simpler, story. It is evident that if I wish to tell an epic, there is much I have to learn about telling a story well from captivating beginning to satisfying end. Not yet, is how I would assess my skill in relation to the challenge. Please note, I am fine with that.

Therefore the key is: deliberate practice. I need to put in the hours. Write, but something else. Train, with a coach. Read, good books to learn from the masters. And trust, that over time, through dedicated effort, my skill will develop to a level sufficient to the challenge of BOOK 1.

What else can we discuss. Yes, the 500 Word Story for January. Work in progress. After I publish this one, I am going to reassess if writing such stories helps my practice or detracts from it. Now, now, do not misunderstand me, I enjoy writing them as much as you enjoy reading them. Given my changed family composition, time is scarce and I must make – tough – decisions. Putting the scarce hours I can write into the project that will give me the biggest leap for for my run, so to speak.

How does my output to date compare to my 2020 writing goals. I’d say I am working on the things I set out to do. This month has shown me that it is not going to be possible to work on a BOOK 2, write a 500 Word Story every month, and keep up with my writing coaching assignments every two weeks, all at the same time. I should take my own advice and: take the world as I find it and act accordingly.

Books worth reading? I just finished the audio version of The Silmarillion. Blew my mind. The depth and scope of the tales, as well as the language used to tell them. Incredibly well told. Still working on Ulysses; at the rate of a page a day. Sometimes the same page every day for several days. Dreyer’s English is another one I am happily gleaning once in a while.

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THE END – of draft 7 means the beginning of draft 8. This is a big moment for me. After eight months of painstaking revision and redrafting, the 7th draft of my story is done. A couple of things stand out from the experience so far. I’ve been on the verge of giving up several times during this process. The same story. The same characters. Dead ends. New beginnings. Ideas that did not work out. It has been hard, but… I am very glad I stuck with it because I love the way the characters have developed, the way the world and the magic have come alive and most importantly, the fact that I have story that is fully told. It comes in just shy of 90K words, which is triple the word count of my last draft. If anything, that just shows how many words an additional p.o.v. character with a full arch adds to the story. Coaching and developmental editing have been a huge part of this process. I think the jump from draft six to seven with professional help is as big a leap as I made from draft two to six on my own. It is a learning process. What’s next? Well first of all, I am putting this baby down for at least a month, probably even longer and I am going to work on another novella. I want to get back to reading this draft with fresh eyes and having almost forgotten about the story, so that when I read it next, I get a good sense of where the challenges lie. If you’re interested in what is to come, follow me here and I will get back to you with updates. In the meantime, I wish you a week full of writing and inspiration. T.G. Ellis #writersofinstagram #writing #writer #writers #writingcommunity

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