hit the degauss button

So – time to hit the degauss button.  

This is my new way of describing the need to do an energetic reset between projects. 

I just finished a major revision of Adrift, first Sequence in the Colony series.

The beta reader hadn’t even finished when I asked for it back so I could edit/revise it.

This isn’t how it typically goes.  Normally I use the time the novel is in the hands of a reader to work on other projects knowing that when I get it back complete with feedback, I will look at it with fresh eyes and do any edits/revisions.

If I feel passionately about adding or changing something, I’ll write notes in a separate file and wait til I have the novel back before implementing.

For whatever reason this time I was unable to get a few open items out of my head.

I’d created a file with the notes, but it just wouldn’t let go so I asked for it back so I could work on it.

Over the weekend I did a major revision that included adding a little over 5000 words.  I did the right thing asking for it back.

Though I returned it to the beta reader yesterday.

In addition to fleshing out a couple of scenes I addressed an issue that was like a sliver.  It wasn’t keeping me up at night but as I went about my normal day, I kept thinking there was something missing.

There was.

Short a man.  When I write a series, I consider plans for future novels in the series while working on whatever one I happen to be on.  In general, this isn’t as big a deal with the first in a series as I can easily adjust subsequent stories in the series to reflect changes.  Still, I try to think ahead and lay the foundation for an easy transition from one book to the next.  

This is especially important to do for the characters in a story as opposed to the subplots that each book contains.

When writing characters I consider 

  • What is the role the character has in the story?
  • What is the role the character has in the series?
  • How do I ensure the character has what he or she needs to go the distance?

In the case of Adrift I found myself facing a unique challenge, the number of characters that would participate in an event.  I’ve never had to worry about this type of thing before so trying to address it was hard.

  • I wrote a general scene with the number of characters I thought worked then continued with the story only to circle back and change that number – twice.
  • I wrote in an additional character through a scene revision then cut the scene – also twice

The trouble stemmed from the fact I hadn’t settled on a definite number of characters.  

At one point I had thirty.  Then fourteen.  Then nine. 

Even after I settled on the final number I faced the challenge of adding a character in a way that didn’t disrupt the flow of the rest of the story which was “first draft” finished.  If I got it wrong, I’d have to rip a lot apart and put it back together.

Not a good time.

finally figured out a way to add the character unobtrusively.

Happy with everything I’d done I passed it back to the reader and scribbled notes for next projects.  

I’m the kind of person who likes to be doing so even if I’m not writing – I’m thinking of writing.

Recognizing the benefit of getting some mental rest between projects I may

  • Listen to music
  • Play FreeCell
  • Do housework
  • Do an Event Horizon Session
  • Take a walk

None of those filled the gap this time and while I don’t feel a need to go back to Adrift I also don’t feel pulled to the next task.

But I can’t do nothing.  I’m not wired that way.

Realizing there was a lot of creative noise buzzing through my mind I decided to hit the degauss button. Basically, I’m stepping back and looking at next projects from a high level view rather than the tasks that need to be done.

It’s like looking into the distance and admiring the whole rather than individual elements such as the sky, the grass, a tree, river, or house.

For now, it seems to be working to take pressure off.  

I’m not worried about what specific task I need to do next because I’m taking the time to get clearer on my plans as a whole.

So far so good.

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