Novel to story to outline

I’ve finally completed the initial rewrite of Guardians of Paradise and despatched it off to my long-suffering beta-readers. Now I wait for a couple of weeks then go back and rewrite again, taking into account their comments, as well as tidying up what is still a somewhat messy ms.

Whilst it took longer than I’d hoped to apply the initial changes from my crit group to get to a beta version of the novel, the timing has worked out well: we’re away in Portmeirion all next week (so there might not be much online activity from me then), and, unlike last year, this will be a holiday where I won’t be spending six hours a day writing. That’s two proper holidays in a row … I could get used to this.

I’ve spent the last couple of days catching up on short story admin. I’d forgotten how much work is involved in the whole round of researching markets, reformatting stories to match the submission requirements, querying markets who’ve presumably lost my stuff and logging actions and responses. I was lucky enough to have one market who asked me to sub, rather than me sending them a story on spec; they didn’t buy the stories I sent, but they responded quickly, and it was nice to be asked. I’ve tried to resist the temptation to get into serious short-story rework, because if I do then I won’t get that proper break I was enthusing about. I have re-read enough to realise how out of practice at the short form I am.

What I need to do next is come up with outlines for the next three books in the Hidden Empire Series. I do want to do this, but what I actually want to write (or rather rewrite) next is Epiphany Night, because I want to go back to the origins of the Sidhe, and also, being mercenary about it, a near-future near-disaster book would probably go down quite well right now. However, my agent advised me to stick to the main series. (There’s probably an astronomy-based joke in there, but fortunately it’s too early in the morning to for me to attempt actual humour.)

Plotting is an activity that should work well at Portmeirion, as the seventy-or-so acres of woodland walks on the peninsular are perfect for ‘plot walks’, being somewhere I know well enough that if I disappear into my head I won’t get seriously lost, and having the other requirement of plenty of picnic tables, fallen trees and other flat surfaces for me to rest my notebook on when I feel the need to scribble. Of course, knowing how my brain works, I’ll probably come up with a short story idea on the way up there, and spend the whole week writing that.

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