01 July 2013


This was the plan: Shelve the Tilly with the Others serial once it got to #50 (and its conclusion, natch), work on something else, and then start turning Tilly into a novel starting 1 June.

It was a good plan, but of course I wouldn't be starting a blog post that way if things had actually gone according to plan.

The "something else" I've been working on is coming along slowly, but it is coming along, and I'm loathe to interrupt it because I'm learning a lot of stuff. It's the first long-form piece I've ever done where I'm making myself figure out the entire plot before I start writing scenes in earnest.

One of the things I learnt is that I have a hard time with antagonists. Because, you know, they're the bad guys, and who wants to hang out with them? Readers, that's who. Not much of a story without conflict, after all.

So I'm sticking with my spreadsheets and notes for now. I still want to have the next draft of Tilly done by the end of this calendar year, but I'm not worried about delaying it. Tilly as a character has existed since the autumn of 2007, when she was created for a collaborative novel project I tried to get off the ground with five other people. (Despite our luck in having some brilliant writers on-board, it crashed and burned. I still think the method could work if people were willing to commit to it, but that's another blog post.) She's had the same biography and the same character arc the entire time; the difference with Tilly with the Others is that the action starts just before she moves to the Annex, whereas in the collaborative effort she was already there. The only thing I've changed is her last name, because "Zondernaam" is a better name for her and, as a name, has a very cool place in history.*

Writing-wise a lot of things have got better in the last year or so. I'm starting to learn how to write when I'm sick. I'm in less pain overall, but I've figured out a few ways to write while I'm in pain too. The one thing I haven't figured out yet is how to get more writing time in, but I keep trying.

*What is Zondernaam's place in history, you may ask? You could always Google it (although I just tried and couldn't find any references on the first results page, perhaps because I'm querying in English). Maybe I can cover that in another blog post too.


  1. Sounds to me like you're doing everything right. Everything being: continuing to write; getting a plot sketched out; trying to develop areas where you know where you're deficient.

    I didn't realize you have chronic health issues! :-(

    1. Thank you for saying so -- coming from you, that means a lot.

      Re: health issues -- well, who doesn't have them? (Okay, maybe some super-fit people who are also in denial. But besides that.) Yeah, I got hit by a drunk driver a few years ago, and have arthritis and some other things wrong with my back from that. I can last a full day + the usual overtime at the day job, but then I'm done. There's some other stuff, but meh. I'm not really into health issues -- they're just so boring and frustrating, not to mention totally opposed to how I like to live (ie: healthily).

  2. Progress is progress. Can't argue with that.

    Interesting hearing you talk about your process. I'm not very good at planning everything out in advance (at least not writing those plans down in much detail) and I think that means my first drafts take a lot longer as a result. I'm often too impatient to start writing!

    I guess what I'm saying is that I hope this new approach works for you but if it doesn't then that's okay too.

    1. I'm kind of surprised you say you're not good at planning, because you appear to be organised -- but I guess that's more of knowing when it's time to make things public?

      I totally agree it's all about finding what works.


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