I have been making good progress with the second draft of Kikimora. I had wanted to crack on with the major rewrite of the crisis that kicks off the climax – but had to admit temporary defeat on that one. It’s been so long since I got properly stuck into it that I didn’t have a good enough handle on the characters and their (constantly edited into different shapes) relationships. So I went back to the beginning, reading through my last round of changes, and adding in some further refinements.
When I did my first draft read-through I thought the second half of the story was WAY better than the first half (which is worse than the other way around cuz once you’re suckered in you’re quite likely to continue reading. But if you aren’t sucked in fairly swiftly, then you will likely put it aside). I made a lot of changes, adding extra scenes and slowing down the story to give the characters more room to grow.
Reading it back this week I was really pleased with the improvements. I’ve also now smoothed over some of the bumps that inevitably arise when you’re chopping chapters into pieces and redistributing chunks of prose here and conversations there – and some of the continuity errors. It’s been really good to get back to it. I need to maintain this pace and enthusiasm into the new year in order to get a readable draft out by the spring.
I normally go to work monday – wednesday, leaving thursday and friday for writing (and weekends to see my family). It’s hard financially, but I have always valued my time more highly than money. The financial demands of Christmas and an ambitiously expensive holiday last year meant that I spent much of autumn working overtime instead of writing (which I’m sure had a bit to do with my New Year melt-down). This year I am determined to tighten my belt and just NOT SPEND ANY MONEY for as long as it takes to get back on an even financial footing.
I want to keep my writing days in tact, so that the story remains fresh in my head each week, and I don’t have to waste time reading back through several chapters to remember what I’m doing..!
So far it’s going well. And I have a new secret weapon in my arsenal: whenever I’m feeling insufficiently Russian,* I listen to Prokofiev’s marvellously evocative and rousing cantata, Alexander Nevsky 🙂 The only problem is that sometimes I get a little distracted – especially during The Battle on Ice.
Seriously, people, give it a listen. I’d say it’s up there with Carmina Burana** in the bonkers, rousing, orchestral/choral stakes!
* Kikimora is very loosely based on Slavic folklore, and on Anatoly Lyadov’s Fairy tale for orchestra, Kikimora (yes, I listen to that for inspiration too. But it’s only eight minutes long, and I’ve been writing this book for two years…!)
** You should check out that link too. It’s the “misheard lyrics” version. Genius 😀