Winter is very strange this year. We’ve been veering from storms and intense flooding (not in Dublin, thankfully, but Cork, where my family lives, was hammered last month) to proper icy temperatures. Winter is my favourite season, and I do like the crisp, icy mornings, but I don’t like being cold and damp. The line has to be drawn somewhere! I want my frosty mornings, please, not the rainy ones.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing in Starbucks, as usual, but the wonderful festive coffees have returned. Even better, Starbucks brought the Eggnog latte back this year (it sadly wasn’t available last year) and I’ve fallen in love with it again. It’s strange, though, as it’s advertised on the signs outside, but not on the actual boards behind the counters at all–I only discovered it was actually back by a co-worker remarking they’d seen the cartons of eggnog being delivered. I immediately rushed to get one, and I was so excited that the barista serving me laughed at my enthusiasm.

I’m still working away on the third draft of TWFF. Progress has slowed due to Chapters Eleven and Twelve needing extensive rewriting. But it has to be done–it’ll just take some slow and careful work. My glimpses of the finishing line have veered dramatically in the past week or so, but I’m getting there.

I’m in the middle of writing a blog post about female characters that should be up soon. The romantic subplot of TWFF centres around three girls, and while one of them was only introduced in the third draft, two of them have been around since I wrote the first chapter of the first draft back in May 2008. I’ve learned a lot since then about writing female characters, and how to make them realistic and complex and what makes them tick. Werewolves are normally female in the world of TWFF, while men have to be bitten to shapeshift, and that put an intriguing spin on the gender dynamics of the Pack and how they interacted with each other. Thinking about all this and shaping it into a blog post has been really interesting.

30 Days of Writing

So today is the first of December! Not sure where the year went, to be honest, but I’m looking forward to 2010. Not just a new year, but also a new decade.

My unofficial NaNo challenge last month was to write every day during November, which I did. (I have the sticker-filled November on my calender to prove it, once my camera has recharged.) My word count veered wildly between days, and there was one evening where I wrote two paragraphs at 11.45pm and then went straight to bed, but I managed it.

I learned that it is possible to write every day, even if it’s just ten minutes I manage to squeeze in somewhere. Towards the middle of November, I realised I was automatically putting aside the time in my day based on what shift I was working (if it was a work day. It was obviously a lot easier to find time to write on my days off). In days where the writing wasn’t going well, I went back and reread previous stuff and did a bit of line-editing–anything that would keep the story fresh in my mind.

I also realised that I prefer going back and fixing things before moving on. It’s an anti-NaNo sentiment, but it makes me feel better and more confident about moving on. Being 35,001 words deep in a story isn’t as scary when you know the majority of the problems in the previous 35,000 are a little better than they were. Either way, I’m going to have to fix it, so I might as well do it sooner rather than later. This is the complete opposite to how I wrote a year ago (‘write first, fix later’), but I think I’ve been converted because it’s taken so long to fix the structural and other problems of Draft Two.

That said, no matter how long it’s taking, I’m excited about the third draft. Some characters and events have been put in that weren’t in the first or second drafts. I’ve also noticed I was stuck far less in November than in previous months, and I think the ‘rereading and going back and fixing’ idea was part of that. It’s helped pinpoint problems, or stopped them from causing trouble later on.

I’m still not entirely done, but I’m so close, and aiming to finish as soon as possible–once the Christmas rush starts in earnest I’m going to be so exhausted that writing will slow to a snail’s pace. But it’s been interesting what a month of writing every day has shown me about the changes in my writing process.