Another Monday Marathon

So it’s Monday again, and critique meeting is Tuesday. The weekend was a good one, filled with friends and family, but, alas, no writing time, so that means we are, once again, staring down the barrel of another Monday Marathon, in which our intrepid author crams several days’ worth of second-drafting into one day. This will usually result in crankiness on Tuesday, somewhat counteracted by the benefits of a mutually satisfactory critique meeting, which will also fill said author with even more enthusiasm for the next chapter’s work. Normally, I like to tackle these marathon days right from the early morning, but this was also a critical laundry day, so the plan looks like this:

  • Do laundry 
  • write blog entry
  • lunch
  • work on actual book

I already have one item crossed off that list, and the blog entry is, as of this writing, currently underway. I can blabber for a minimum of 700 words, easy. Lunch, that’s easy, too. The kitchen is a mere few feet from where I’m currently seated. Granted, I will have to get past the extremely patient kitty (hello, Skye) waiting for me to feed her first, but after that, I can have lunch put together in a matter of minutes, and consumed in short order. Optional break to debate whether I should risk taking a break to read or view an episode of Poldark (spoiler alert: I know myself; Poldark will have to wait) and then into the trenches.

The original plan was to have spread the prep out over the weekend. but that’s not what happened, and so I’m facing down another marathon day. Not intimidated by that; it’s become the norm by now. Maybe not the healthiest thing, but it’s what I’ve got, and I do like the focus on Ruby and her hero and what they’re up to this time. Last week, N gave me a project folder like the one she uses to keep her current ms with notes from our sessions, with a chart where she can track what scenes she brought to what session, and on what date. Let us recap: there is an office supply that has a tracking system built into it. I am going to want to have some time with this wonder, especially because the printouts have long exceeded the slender pink folio in which I used to carry them to our meetings (prior to my finding the glittery pink folio I now use for that purpose.) That’s for tomorrow, though.

Today is for diving into that first draft, reading what I already have, and noting what needs going over, smoothing out, reimagining, moving around, all that good stuff. I love that stuff. Love it more, even, than some of the first drafting, because, this time, I actually know what I’m doing. I know where the story is going to end, and how, and who’s still standing, and where, and all I have to do now is make it look pretty/make sense/flow together, etc. Sometimes, this involves doing a quick bit of research to estimate what X would cost in 2017 US dollars, then transpose that into 1784 Russian rubles, then into British pounds for the same year. The results of said research may result, not only in a ballpark figure that will work for the purposes of the story (writing historical romance does not normally involve this much math, but there are exceptions) but a mental sticky note on what the numbers have to say about the contrast between the economies of the two countries. I am not writing a book about Anglo-Russian economic parity, but it is nice to know that the reason I had to look into the matter does bear out what my imaginary friends have to deal with on this one.

Today, my Spotify “discover” playlist (I like starting Mondays off with a chance to find new music) is overflowing with wedding songs. While it is entirely possible that Spotify has figured out I am a romance writer, I am not at that part of the book yet, so dial those songs back a while. Few more chapters to go before we can think about weddings. For today, I am focusing on the chapter in front of me, which will probably be my lunchtime reading, and then it’s on, baby. I’ll probably start out poking things with a metaphorical stick, while I circle the extant chapter, eyes narrowed. It’s probably sizing me up, as well, so I need to be alert.  Never can tell when it’s going to spring some forgotten bit of dialogue at me, or that thing I was going to look up but never did (:points to above Anglo-Russian currency question:) or, trickiest of all, one of those moments where something entirely new stands up, waves its arms and whistles at me, because of course that’s what should have been there all along, and we have got some work to do to make that fit in with the rest of the chapter, the one before it, and the one that comes after.

I’m not complaining. This kind of thing comes with the territory. I would far rather do the feint and parry with a first draft, and segue into an Errol-Flynn-Robin-Hood swordfight that spans banquet tables, staircases and parapets, until we both collapse in utter exhaustion in the wee small hours. Then it’s time to print said pages, while the rest of the house sleeps, slam down some caffeine, and head off through the park to swap pages with N and put the first pair of eyes-not-the-author’s on said pages. Two hours and change of that, and it’s time to head back home, ostensibly to grab a nap before diving back into the fray once more, but there’s momentum in this kind of thing, and, at the very least, I can read through the chapter that follows this one. Once I’m in 1784 for that big a chunk of time, I kind of want to stay there.

 

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