My vacation with the bad man

St Lucia sunsets and the PitonsWordPress send out a new year report so you can track activity on your blog over 12 months. It seems I’ve been a pretty inconsistent blogger posting only once a month for the last half of 2013. This is not what I set out to do when I started the blog but I found a weekly post distracted from my ultimate writing goal – finishing my book. It’s still not finished. New year, new deadline, same me!

In the past I have promised myself 500 words per day; set finish deadlines, weekly deadlines. They all slipped. “Tackle writing like it’s your job,” came a recent helpful suggestion. I tried that one but as household technician and caretaker, chef/nutritional manager and head of all childcare (three titles for a gazillion jobs) it’s not easy to squeeze in much more. I would much rather write – my book, this blog and research for My Nerd Heaven – than spend my days in one long trudge of dull sameness – iron, wash, feed, iron, wash, feed…

The most productive time for me to write is when I’m away on holiday. We just got back from an all inclusive vacation to St Lucia. ALL INCLUSIVE with an amazing kids club to boot. To some it’s an eating/drinking fest, a chance to overindulge. For me? I don’t have to cook, clean, wash… Just get up, pack my sunscreen and iPad and head off for a day of anything-I-want-to-do. It also meant we were away for the whole of crazy Christmas and New Year.

Needless to say the trip was productive writing time. I did a little housekeeping – mostly removals of that, then, and, it etc. I didn’t keep a tight wordcount but I think I’ve got around 10k new words. The backstory of the bad man is written. I feel like I’m getting into the nitty gritty of the book now he’s done. Because I understand him, his words and actions will be more true to his character. Strange things are happening and my characters are dictating their actions and words to me rather than the other way around. I’m so happy when I write everyday like that – it’s like taking a super cleansing shower that gets right in between your ears! Zingy!

I feel liberated. I have struggled with the bad man and all his issues for a long while now. He is a pretty upsetting and unsettling character – more than I thought he would be. It’s strange but I think the beautiful setting of the island was a good place to write him. When I previously tried to tackle him I was left feeling low, unable to snap out of his mindset. In the Caribbean it’s hard not to be happy, I was able to go into his zone and snap out of it just by looking at the ocean and my children playing in the surf. Because of the time he and I spent together on holiday I know him better and feel I can move forward and on to some exciting sciencey stuff with my protagonist.

Feels good to be back on it but there is still a lot of work to do. I am currently working on chapters 19-22. I planned for the book to be done by chapter 24 but that isn’t going to happen with the current structure. I wonder if I’m breaking my chapters in the right places? I need to find out the right way to do this. Any ideas?

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2014 fills your life with sunshine and a happy heart.


IMAGE : I’m a sucker for a sunset – The first is a sunset at sea with a little rain off to one side. In the centre is the view from our room. Finally, the glorious Pitons of St Lucia. Awesome holiday. I got a dive in too! …must do more of that.

4 thoughts on “My vacation with the bad man

  1. Sometimes you need to naturally feel for where the breaks happen. I’ve merged and broken chapters a lot after realizing that they go on for either too long or the break doesn’t really do much. I look at each section/chapter with a plot or subplot go to help focus.

    • Hi Charles, so far I’ve tried to section off part of the story and end the chapter on a cliffhanger. My chapters are around 4-6k words, I wonder if they are too short?

      • I don’t really pay attention to my own wordcounts, so I’m not sure. Personally, I think the length isn’t as important as the quality. One of the last books I read had long chapter sections that were 6-7 pages long and others that were 1-2. Depends on the goal, I guess.

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