peartreealley: (journal)
I've been having a dawning reality check the last couple of weeks, which finally crested over the horizon yesterday. I did the FateNet series (five novellas, total of 190k words) in 14-15 months from planning to publishing the last installment.

And I've been flogging myself with the Persephone Station series (three novels, estimated total of 180k) feeling like a total slacker because I'm not meeting my goals, with the delusion that I should be able to have it all out in... six months?

I mean, I understand somewhat where that delusion came from. It's only three books, my brain said. And you've gotten through some of the learning faff from the last series! But I didn't seem to taking into account that those three books were twice as long as the ones that came before them and so they might take... twice as long? I'm not actually sure if that's a straight multiple or if it's longer (more narrative complexities) or shorter (less shifting between activities). Twice as long is at least a somewhat realistic estimate that I can adjust from.

So I was talking to G the Project Manager about this yesterday, and he said, "While I do believe you can increase efficiency from the last series you did, perhaps you should consider a 10-20% increase in efficiency? Not... 60-70%?"

A long story short, I'm now aiming for twelve months from planning to final installment publication. (For my editors reading, don't worry--I still plan on having the first book to you in the timeframes agreed on. I'm just not also planning on having the first drafts of the second and third books also done by October.) If you're wondering, I'm counting twelve months from June to June. I technically started PS in April for a couple of weeks, but then shelved it until July to finish off FN, so I think that splits the difference.

Well, you learn. Eventually.

And twelve months is a lot friendlier for being derailed by relocation than six months.

***

G has three job interviews next week, only one of which is in London. I'm making peace with potentially relocating this autumn.
peartreealley: (writing)
I adore getting a peek behind the curtain on how creative projects are made, so after a bout of illness a few weeks ago that resulted in re-watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I’ve been re-watching the Appendices in bits and pieces, too.

Here are some bits that resonated with me today as a writer/creator:


  • I’m fascinated with the amount of storyboarding they did—from synopsises to story beats to sketched story boards, to animated versions of the story, to digital models of what the scenes would look like. I love it. It reminds me of a painter starting with loose sketches and eventually building toward the actual painting. It’s a process I’ve been trying to build into my own storytelling—one that works very well, at least, until I get caught in deadline panic.


  • At the moment, I “build up” with free-writing, sample outlines, and story beats. I want to keep expanding on that process, trying out different versions of the story before I piece together what I think might be the actual story. Speaking of….

  • And despite all of that planning ahead they did, the actors were getting revised scripts on a daily basis. And the changes by no means stopped once the shooting was done--there was recutting in edits, and eventually doing pick-up shots.

  • They were moving around scenes, cutting sections, and adding new scenes, all into post-production. This is so much harder and more expensive to do for a film! I must remember this when I am in the angsty throes of revising a novel. No, revising isn’t easy, but compared to revising a film in post-production? What on earth do I have to moan about?

  • The sections in which they talk about gathering at Peter Jackson’s house to talk about characters, over scripts; where the artists would bunch together, on site or in the office and just draw and sketch… it increased an existing yearning and longing for a local creative community. (Although, at this stage of things, I’d be happy with an online one, too. I’ve been feeling very lonely lately, in my writing.)

  • I also liked the commentary about Tolkien and how he was not training as a 20th novel-writer, and because of that, he broke all sorts of rules. That makes the ~artiste~ in me squee—but pragmatic me also remembers that he was a professor by trade. This stories were an expression of his obsession with creating languages and world-building. They were not to pay the bills.

    Although I’m enjoying (and grateful to be) writing as a full-time endeavor, I have to admit sometimes I wonder if getting an appropriate job to support my writing would take pressure off. It would decrease my time freedom, but might increase my creative freedom. That’s a long term thought, though, and not one I plan to seriously investigate in the near future. But it’s something I may be keeping in mind more than I did before.

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August 2017

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