January Writing Update: New Year, New Focus

My writing update for January: it was a good month. I don’t know about you, but I felt quite relaxed (perhaps that break in December really did help). Also, with the decision to drop Half-bloods for now, I’ve found myself a lot more focused on Ice Cold, and I seem to have more time to improve my craft.

So, all in all, it’s been pretty great.

What’s more: I’ve noticed I actually quite enjoy editing other people’s work, so I’ve been doing that in the past month as well. And it seems to be picking up as I’m getting more and more projects. So I’m thrilled with that. ๐Ÿ˜„

I did have a skin treatment last month, which took up quite some time. But somehow, I’ve managed to combine it with work and writing and blogging. And thankfully, the treatment seems to work! I’m not finished yet, I still have to come two times a week in February, but it’s nice to see improvement.

Anyway, on to the writing!

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Table of Contents

What I worked on this month

So, as I said, I dropped Half-Bloods for now (which I decided last month), as it’s not turning out the way I want to, and I’ll just come back to it once I feel I’m ready to write it the way it should be written.

That said, I have edited two scenes and written two new scenes for Ice Cold. And I’m getting more and more excited about this story! I felt I was just really in the zone while writing, you know? It felt pretty great to see that my scenes are actually improving, not just after the edits but also my very first drafts.

I have noticed I have some more time now, so I’ve been trying to focus on improving my craft (which I think seems to be working?). So I bet you’re wondering what it is that I did.

Well, a couple of things, really.

  1. My editor, Abigail, has been going on about creating more balance between the external and internal. So, to really get a good grasp of it, I opened Assassin’s Apprentice and just started marking (digitally, I also have the ebook; I don’t like marking my physical copies) the actions, internal reflections, narration, and dialogue. While I’m sure some things I considered reflections or narration might be the reverse for someone else, it helped to see the patterns. Action or dialogue is often followed by the protagonist’s internal reflections and/or some narration for descriptions. Depending on the need for your scene, there might be more consecutive action with little reflection (e.g., a full-on action scene where the protagonist is fighting) or the other way around. So then, I started to mark my own scene after I wrote my first draft of it, and I could easily see where I had too many consecutive actions or dialogue and where it would fit to add some more internal reflection or some descriptions of the surroundings. I’d definitely recommend it!
  2. One other thing I did was picking some scenes and analyze them based on the Story Grid method (see my post about that here). I did some scenes in Nevernight and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was quite helpful! You see, after you’ve analyzed the scenes, you can make them very abstract (e.g., the protagonist decided to help the other person with their problem), which could give you some inspiration for your own scenes.

I think for next month I’m going to also look at some books for more examples on descriptions of certain emotions. Especially some nice metaphors or similes, as I find that difficult (with English not being my native language).

It may come as no surprise that I still haven’t worked out a spin-off short story for Ice Cold. But, I have been doing some research, so that’s a start! I want it to take place during the 60s/70s, related to the Women’s Rights movement, so I’ve been looking up a lot of information. After that, I should be able to work out several spin-offs!

My Goals for February

No life-altering goals here. Just the usual writing of two new scenes and the editing of two scenes. Is it slow progress?

Yes.

Yes, it is. But I do prefer it this way over writing the first draft more quickly, only to rewrite scenes continuously because of changes I make in the storyline. This way, at least I know, once the first draft is finished, that this is the story line I’m sticking to, and my edits will just be edits to amplify the story and for some smaller changes.

I’m also going to continue researching for my spin-off short stories and hopefully work out an outline for one of them.

Next to that, I’m hoping to analyze two or three more scenes and go through one book to write down some good emotion descriptions (it will probably also be Assassin’s Apprentice, as I do love Robin Hobb’s prose).

Summing it up

For my own convenience, this is what the list then looks like:

  • Edit two scenes & rewrite two scenes for Ice Cold
  • Research for my spin-off short stories
  • Outline one spin-off short story
  • Analyze two or three scenes
  • Research emotion descriptions, especially metaphors and similes

Helpful writing articles

As always, I have some writing articles I think are very helpful. Check them out below!

๐Ÿ On my own blog, I added to the Hero’s Journey Archetype framework with part 4: The Herald. You can find part 1 about the Hero here, and part 2 on the Mentor here, and part 3 on The Threshold Guardian here.

๐Ÿ Want to know more about Magical Realism? Check out this article by Jessica, where she recommends some great books about the topic.

๐Ÿ One of the most difficult things is writing backstory: how to make sure you’re not writing too much or too little of it? And how do you weave it through your story? This article by Kate gives some helpful insights.

๐Ÿ What are some things you should ask yourself before starting your first draft? Savannah shares the five questions here.

๐Ÿ What is exposition and how do you use it? Find out here on the writepractice.

Tell me about your writing progress

That was it for my January writing update. Any project you’re working on? How’s your writing going? What are you struggling with, or what’s going really well?

Let me know in the comments!

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Thanks for visiting my little bookish corner on the internet. I’m Iris Marsh, a passionate reader & writer. On here, you can find full book reviews, along with monthly mini-reviews, new releases, and more bookish stuff. If you want to know more about me, just click here.

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