good morning, cyberspace!
Aaaaaaand we’re back! Turns out November was not the month of intense creativity that I had so auspiciously predicted back in October. November has miraculously come and gone in a blip, and I’m sitting here at the end of it wondering how on earth we ended up here so quickly.
Back in October, I told y’all that I was going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I even went so far as to announce which project I would be working on, shared many of the story world’s nifty details, and even promised that a whole bunch of NaNo crazy was going to be coming your way within the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, none of this happened. Which is a shame, obviously, but–as I mentioned above–November was nothing like I had planned. There was a lot of personal growth done, as well as hitting a severe creative slump during the first half of the month which crippled me creatively for a solid two weeks. But I’ve finally started to break through it, and even though my manuscript isn’t near as plump as I would like for the final day of NaNoWriMo, I am definitely all the wiser and–dare I say it–healthier than when I started.
So today, to jump back into blogging and reorient both myself and you guys into the project I’m working on, I’m going to be participating in Part Two of Christine Smith’s Know The Novel linkup! You can read Part One right here, or just dive right in to find out how my writing went–or, more accurately, didn’t go–this month!
KNOW THE NOVEL – PART TWO: PROJECT GOBLIN’S STEADY DECLINE
i. How’s the writing going overall?
Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. To be honest, not very well. XD As I mentioned above, this month was pretty bad creativity-wise for me. I totally thought I’d be able to crank out a solid 15-20k before the end of November, but it turns out that I’ve barely managed to write *checks notes* 10,000 words.
…which is actually a lot less depressing than I thought it would be.
Knowing what I’ve been going through this month, I’m actually really proud of the progress I have made on this story, and also with all the love and enthusiasm that I’ve continued to hold for this project. I still have a LONG way to go before hitting the end, but I’ve been wanting to write this story for so long that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to keep plugging away at it until I eventually find my way. It just might take a little longer than initially planned, and that’s okay. Every story is different, as they like to say, and if this book takes me a whole year where Project Sunset only took me a few months, I’m going to be okay with that.
ii. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?
The discovery! I’ve made many little discoveries just within this month alone–such as the fact that my one character, who, for as long as I could recall, was mute, actually can talk. And not only can she talk, but she’s also extremely snarky with what few words she chooses to say.
Or the incredible epiphany I had about my villain, which I wholly and 100% owe to the beautiful Phoebe, who introduced me to this song right here.
10,000 words isn’t a whole lot to find discoveries within, but the ones that I have found have made what little progress I’ve made so entirely worth it.
iii. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?
Okay, so this one is easy: I adore them. Each and every one is so weird and quirky and odd, and it’s so refreshing to write a cast that freaks me out as much as they fascinate me.
As far as who my favorite is to write about … I would probably have to say Todd. He’s by far the toughest nut of a protagonist that I’ve ever had to crack, but there’s something about his confusing personality that intrigues me. And I know that once I finally crack him open, I’m going to absolutely fall in love with this weird, awkward individual.
iv. Has your novel surprised you in any way?
I don’t think I’ve written enough of it yet to truly be surprised, but I definitely have had some AHA! moments that really helped deepen my love of this universe. As I mentioned above, I had this absolutely delicious idea for my villain, who–up until this point–had been nothing more than a vague blip on my radar. But now I have his character pinned down a little better, and I am SO. STINKIN’. EXCITED. to get to him within the narrative!!! It’s going to be amazing…
Another thing that surprised me was the fact that my goblins have voices. And use English. I was thinking I was going to have to create an entire goblin language for these weird little creatures, but alas. They popped into the story speaking words and talking about ripping out spines and I just adore them to pieces already.
v. Have you come across any problem areas?
I have, actually! My main problematic area has been struggling to get into Todd’s head, especially within the first few chapters of the story. These are the pivotal scenes where we learn his character and motives and what and who he’ll risk everything for, and I feel like I’ve done a rather poor job of setting that up before the adventure begins.
However, as I write this, I now realize that things like this take time and finesse–two things which don’t typically come with a first draft. So maybe my problem is more my inability to let myself to move forward and enjoy the discovery of it all. Maybe I’m clinging too much to the idea that this draft has to be perfect that I’m not giving myself the chance to discover who Todd really is.
….and I think I just blogged myself out of my writer’s block, guys.
vi. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
Aside from the fact that I just figured out where my writer’s block came from, I think my biggest victory has been in creating an outline that works for me, rather than against me. I suppose this could be attributed more to the planning stage of this novel, rather than the writing of it, but outlines have always been so negative for me. So the fact I’ve been able to create one which I actually enjoyed writing and–more importantly–following feels huge. I love my outline. I love how vague yet stable it is. I love knowing that if I’m ever stuck, I can follow my Plot Checkpoint map and get myself back on track within a matter of minutes.
But as far as actual writing goes, I just really love getting to know my characters better. They’re all so strange and different, and I’m loving every second I get to spend with them.
vii. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
Okay, Christine, WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO ASK SUCH FASCINATING QUESTIONS. I am in awe over here, okay.
But I digress. I’d really like to answer this question as truthfully as possible, and I’m not entirely sure what the answer is.
Part of me says I’d be Iniko–the strange old wizard who likes hitting people over the head with his cane and saying things like “aye” and “ye bloody idiot”. But then another part of me says I’d be Jasper–a scarecrow with a horrible sense of humor and a penchant for setting things on fire.
And then, clawing in the back of my head like the annoying little turnip that he is, Reality tells me that I would most definitely be Todd. Because he is awkward and strange and does virtually nothing with his life until two knobbly goblins come crashing through a crack in his wall.
And I mean, if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is. XD
As far as actions go, I honestly can’t say I’d do anything differently than any of these characters. If I was Iniko, I would 100% do everything he’s been doing (including dying, which … I mean, we’ll get into that later). If Jasper, I would probably accidentally set my hair on fire, but I’d definitely still pester Martin to the end of days and continue to make a fool out of myself willingly.
And if I were Todd … well, I think I’d still make the choices he’s going to make. What those choices are, I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have p l a n s, and out of most of those plans, I think I’d make the same calls as he will. After all, it’s not like I’m giving him much of a choice…. *insert mysterious snickering*
viii. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!
And here’s where things are gonna get scary. XD Oh goodness. I hate sharing first draft material, but I guess I must. You know, since it’s part of the tag.
please don’t judge me, peasants
She wouldn’t smile. That was the thing about girls—no matter how hard you tried, they refused to smile, especially if they were in a a sour mood. And the girl staring back at Bartholomew Todd was in the sourest mood of them all.
A gush of wind whooshed through the room, whipping Todd’s hair back against his forehead. The crack in the wall was now a solid three feet wide—large enough for Todd to make out the creatures standing on the other side of it.
There were two of them. Short and crooked, with long legs and stubby bodies that sat plumply above their thin, knobbly knees. Thick, square heads perched atop their chubby torsos, made even larger by the size of their enormous, gleaming eyes, thick as dinner plates. Cinched ears poked out on either side of those enormous heads, thin and stumpy in comparison with the rest of them.
Todd’s heart snagged in his chest, and his hand instinctively reached for the first thing he could think of to defend himself: the desk light.
The plug yanked out of its socket, and the metal burned cold into Todd’s skin, but he hardly noticed it as the creatures within the crack poked their large, knobby heads into his apartment. Their giant eyes caught the moonlight and reflected black, catching on Todd almost immediately.
“It’s another one,” the first one hissed, his nose cinching in disgust. “Rotten smellies. Should have known from the stench.”
“We should takes it with us. Give it to his Highny-ness. He wouldn’t chop our toesies off if we broughts him a present…”
“Or perhaps we could eats it. Snap its little head off and drink from its inner juices. It’s been far too long since we’ve eaten real flesh…”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t like that very much, no-how.”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t have to know. We could break his spiny ridges and make his Highny-ness a nice new comb.”
“Is he dead?”
“How do you know?”
“He looks dead, don’t he?’
“That don’t mean he’s dead.”
“Poke him with a stick.”
“Yer the one who dodged in front of that curse, my dear,” Iniko said from the fireplace, where he was throwing an extra bundle of wood onto the sad smoke pile. “I didn’t ask you to do it.” His voice broke through Todd’s examination of the room, startling him enough to make him jump. The shadow eyed him warily, and Todd fidgeted, wringing his hands together to keep them from trembling.
The potted tulip was not amused.
“I saved your life, you idiot,” she sniffed. “You didn’t have to ask. But a simple thank you would have been appreciated.”
“I did thank ye.”
“You put me in a pot!”
“And thereby saved yer life in return. Yer welcome.” Bouncing up onto his tip toes, Iniko grabbed a watering can off the mantel and waved it towards the flower, driblets of water plopping to the creaky wooden floor. “Speakin’ of, ye need a drink, love?”
The tulip scowled, her eyes becoming slits in her petals. “I loathe you.”
“You look dry.”
…I’m not entirely sure what to think of these snippets, to be honest. XD
ix. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)
Oh goodness, I wish I’d changed projects entirely. That might have helped me through some of my writer’s block. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that switching projects this early on only feeds my bad habit of never finishing anything, so the only choice I have is to persevere.
However, I think the most interesting thing that I’ve witnessed so far with the creation of this novel has been how difficult it is to sink into this story world I’ve spent so much time dreaming about. It’s like I’m so invested in what I want this world to be that I can’t allow myself to write the world as it is. I know in my heart that things never come out on the page as they are in my head, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I could just splat everything I’ve ever conjured up about this book into a document and sift through it, stitching the pieces together until its in some semblance of coherency.
So I guess that’s my next step moving forward: stop pressuring myself to write everything perfectly from the get-go. Stop romanticizing the perfect worldbuilding and plot twists. Stop holding myself up to a standard which will come in later drafts and just write.
I feel like I go through this with every single first draft I write, but now that I know this is what’s causing a block, perhaps I’ll be able to actually write through it.
x. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!
Oh goodness. A normal writing day this month looks like me glancing at my computer, yawning, and then picking up my kindle to watch Netflix before inevitably taking a nap. XD
This month has been a strange one, guys, I’m not gonna lie.
But a typical writing day for me normally looks like me grabbing my laptop and bullet journal sometime in the afternoon or early evening, sitting down at either the desk by my bird cage or our dining room table, and popping in my earbuds before writing for a solid hour or two. If I’m REALLY trying to push a specific wordcount, I’ll stay up until 10 or 11 writing. If I have to work the next day, I’ll write earlier in the afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep.
Back when I worked at a thrift store and typically worked the night shift, staying up until well past midnight was the norm for me and my writing. I would camp out in my room with a blanket and my laptop and write late into the night, listening to the night sounds outside and reveling in the fact that I was doing something magical while the rest of the world slept. Now that I work at a coffee shop and open, however, I’m in bed by 9 o’clock. Which, you know, makes writing into the night a tad bit difficult. XD
It does come with its perks, though! For one thing, I’m typically home by 2:30, which means that the rest of the day is open for my creative endeavors. and now that I’m finally beginning to settle at my new job–YEET!–I’m excited to start using those afternoons for my writing.
So, swiveling back around to the point of this ramble, I don’t really know what my current writing day looks like. But by golly, I’d love to find out. Perhaps I’ll have to experiment and write a blog post on it someday…. *side-eyes teetering future blog post pile*
talk to me, peasants!
And that, my friends, was part two of the Know The Novel linkup! I know my answers were a bit vague and mysterious, but like … I really haven’t written that much this month. XD Ah, well. There’s always December, right?
Anyway, let’s talk, shall we? What kinds of projects have you been working on this month? Have you been productive, or did your brain–like mine–decide you needed some unforeseen rest? Is anyone else sort of freaking out that Christmas is only 26 days away? And what sorts of books have y’all been reading? (i’m on a massive book binge, so any recs are wholly and completely appreciated XD)
For everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, I’d LOVE to hear all about your stories! And if you’ve written any blog posts about your current projects, PLEASE send me links! I’d love to read them!
As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…
18 thoughts on “Know The Novel – Part Two: Project Goblin’s Steady Decline”
Heyy! Loved reading about your project. I only wrote 10k words this month too *high five*
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YESSS!! 10k twinsies!!! Congratulations on the 10k, though! Whether or not we won, we still did amazing with all that November through at us, and I stand by that. XD
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*SHRIEKING* GIIIIRL!!!! *I* felt like a ravenous goblin devouring this post because I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! This was a treat and a half getting a closer peek into it! JUST. A cranky wizard and a scarecrow who sets things on fire (I’M DYING. SO MUCH BRILLIANCE) and the hilarious goblins themselves I CAN’T. I LOVE IT.
That opening line was GENIUS and so sets the slightly eerie but utterly whimsical and witty vibe of this thing to PERFECTION. And I seriously adore the goblins. “Highy-ness” had me cracking up. Also “Poke him with a stick.” Bwahahaha! I mean, OF COURSE that’s how you tell if someone is alive. *nods sagely* AND I WANT MORE OF INIKO AND THIS PLANT LADY. I ADORE THEM ALREADY. I should have made the question ask for TEN snippets because we needs moooooore, preciousss!!!
Also this line: “They popped into the story speaking words and talking about ripping out spines and I just adore them to pieces already.” is such a Kenzie thing to say and I’m grinning so very much. XD You gotta love your dear murder children. OF COURSE.
THIS STORY JUST SOUNDS SO AMAZING, KENZIE, AND I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE NOT GIVING UP ON IT BECAUSE THE WORLD NEEDS IIIIITTTT!!!
Flailing about the story aside (if I can force myself to stop)… I am SO sorry a creative slump hit you this month. BUT your attitude is a beautiful thing. Because YES. Sometimes we just have to step back, re-examine things, and learn from it all. Instead of pushing ourselves to the point of breaking. I often get too caught up in the stats of things instead of just realizing what my story and I need the most for a better product and healthier life. It is a terrible habit and something I really need to work on… So I am so in awe and proud of you for not pushing yourself and working through it.
And, man, I relate SO hard to being discouraged when the picture in my head just isn’t appearing on page. But you are absolutely right that it DOESN’T have to be perfect. Once the words are ON the page THEN we have all the freedom in the world to rearrange and change them until they’re what we want. And maybe even BETTER than what’s in our head. But the first step is just word-vomited everywhere so we have something to actually work with. (And suddenly my analogy is getting gross so um…we’re just gonna move on.)
ANYWAY. This was the absolute BEEEEESSSTTTT getting more of Project Goblin! And I’m so proud of you for not pushing yourself this month and working through everything. PLUS. 10k words is A LOT OF WORDS and absolutely something to celebrate! I always find the beginning the hardest, so here’s hoping all the rest will run much smoother. You’re doing amazing, girl, and I know this will ALSO be amazing. Just keep being patient with yourself. You’ve got all the time in the world!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING THE LINKUP AND SHARING!!!! I hope your December is a utterly FRABJOUS one!!! <33333
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Oh my goodness, Christine!!! Your beautiful enthusiasm is EXACTLY what I needed tonight… Just…!!! ALL OF THE LOVE FOR YOU, GIRL. <3333
Oh my word, my scarecrow is, like, one of my favorite characters EVER created. He's so dorky and weird and kind of psycho, and I'm so excited to continue developing his character. XD AND OH MY GOODNESS!!!! You liked my snippets!! You honestly have no clue how much that means to me… Seriously. I'm always so nervous to share pieces of my writing, but your enthusiasm makes it SO worth it!!! (also oh goodness, I'm really glad you didn't ask for 10. XD 3 was hard enough for a smol bean such as I XD)
"a Kenzie thing to say" << OH MY GOODNESS. Okay, but as someone who hasn't felt much like herself lately, THIS just made me grin from ear to ear… Not gonna lie, I think that just made my whole week…
AND EEEP. You honestly have no clue how much this means to me…! It's been such a struggle this past month, but like…I know it's going to get better. I just need to keep reminding myself that writing isn't a race. That I DO have time to write my stories. That nothing has to be perfect–ESPECIALLY a first draft. And I so so want to start word vomiting this story now. I started writing again–truly writing, not just sitting down, pounding out three sentences and calling it a day–today, and oh my GOODNESS. Todd started talking to me, my characters started bantering…it all felt so good and natural and MESSY and chaotic and amazing…
And overworking IS such a hard habit to break. Especially since–with writing–there's such a fine line between "overworking" and "pushing through", because no one wants to be caught beneath writer's block. But somehow my brain seemed to know what I needed, and it was definitely strange, but I'm so so glad I didn't push myself. It was a rest that I definitely needed.
And honestly, just THANK YOU for this entire comment??? Your encouragement honestly makes my whole entire day, and I simply cannot thank you enough for being such a wonderful friend to me… <333
(also YOU USED THE WORD FRABJOUS AND NOW I'M FANGIRLING SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME. [why does everything Alice in Wonderland related make me super happy inside? it is a conundrum we may never have the answer to. XD])
I’m sorry your NaNo didn’t turn out like you were expecting, but it sounds like you still made some progress–small victories!
And I loved the snippets! Gorgeous, girl.
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MEEP! Thank you so much, Samantha!! It definitely was a small victory month, and while it was slightly upsetting that I didn’t hit my overall goal, I’m still so so happy with the progress that I DID make–even if it was smaller than anticipated!
EEP! Oh my word, THANK YOU!! I’m always so nervous to share snippets, not gonna lie. It’s downright terrifying. XD
I hate when I have a project I’m really excited to work on, and then I sit down to work on it and it’s just a Terror >.< I hope you get all the wrinkles ironed out! 10k words is still a milestone, and it's WAY better than nothing at all (which is the amount of words I have written this month, outside of essays). The snippets are really cool!
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Oh goodness, same. It’s honestly the worst sort of thing. I’m definitely smoothing some of the wrinkles out, but it’s gonna be a long battle, I’m sure. XD
Aww, thank you, Becky!!! I definitely am pleased with the progress I made, but it’s still difficult to hit a burnout. And DUDE. Essays are HARD. 10/10 you deserve a prize for that. 💛💛💛
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I am so sorry your NaNo didn’t go like you’d hoped! *sends hugs and cookies* But 10,000 is still an amazing wordcount! You SHOULD be proud for achieving that with whatever was going on! :D
Yay for discovering things about your characters! Especially your villain! That is something I have trouble with, my villains are usually very vague, if I know anything about them at all. XD ’tis a problem, but one I hope to remedy at some point.
“However, as I write this, I now realize that things like this take time and finesse–two things which don’t typically come with a first draft. So maybe my problem is more my inability to let myself to move forward and enjoy the discovery of it all. Maybe I’m clinging too much to the idea that this draft has to be perfect that I’m not giving myself the chance to discover…” <– THIS. This is me exactly! I stuggle with needing my first drafts to be perfect. I struggle with allowing them to be the messy little kids they are and then letting them grow up through editing. (Where did that analogy come from? <.<) I think I'm afraid of messing up so badly nothing I do can fix it.
Iniko and Jasper sound amazing! And those snippets! I'm dying over the tulip lady and the goblins! The goblins sound like Gollum and we loves it preciousss!!! <333 Your story sounds so epic! ^_^
My current project is a Sleeping Beauty retelling. I was working on a different project for NaNo, but discovered it took place two books after Sleeping Beauty and had to stop. I know you asked for links, but I have a LOT of posts about my projects, so I'll link to the category and you can read whichever of them you want, if you, you know, want to. :)
Okay, but villains are HARD. XD It always depends on the book for me, but I don’t typically know all of my characters, and my villains more or less always seem to shape themselves last. (this could be, of course, that I don’t normally come to the villain until the second half of the book, but alas. it’s fine. XD)
Oh my word, same!! It’s a really complicated balance of trying to write good words, but not letting ourselves get bogged down with the perfectionism that we’re unable to write anything at all. That’s definitely something I want to start working towards during the new year!!
MEEP! Thank you SO much, Jen!!! That legit means the world to me!! And oh my word, your project looks incredible, as well!! I’m definitely going to browse through these!!!! <333 (thank you for the links!!! I want to start reading more posts, but I love seeing which posts people are most proud of or excited to share!)
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Villains ARE hard! I have two-ish villains in my current WIP but I don’t really know who my main villain is. He or she is just a vague, slightly foreboding, shadow in the background. XD Most of my characters show up as I write, I don’t even know where some of them came from. XD
YES! It’s something I’m going to be working on too! :D
You are so welcome! <333
Awww, thank you!!! It means so much to me to know others are interested in what I write! ^_^ <333
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Oh my goodness, yes!!!! I feel like that’s typically how my villains start, as well!! In everlost, especially, the villain was just kind of a name that got tossed around occasionally–similar to Voldemort, I suppose XD–until finally he appeared on the page and I was just like…”huh. you’re actually kinda just a weirdo.” And the whole relationship grew from there. XD
Oh my goodness, YES. I am always interested in other writers’ projects, and I absolutely adore getting to hear more about their process and progress!!!
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NaNo may not have gone as you planned but OH MY GOSH THIS STORY. I’m in love with these goblins (in a…..weird way. I mean, nothing’s better than some good creepy goblins with snappy dialogue) and just….all these characters sound amazing *heart eyes*
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Oh my goodness!! Thank you SO much, Bernadette!! I’m in love with these weird little goblins, too. I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out on the page, but so far they are….quite something. XD
Honestly, I think that 10,000 is amazing wordcount. I’m sorry to hear that writing has not going well as you hoped, but I think you’re doing well! It took me months to reach almost 16,000 words (with many breaks in-between).
OH MY WORD, your story, your world and your characters just so awesome and crazy and just plain fun. I know I am a too logical person to write such fantasy as yours. But I LOVE reading it. The snippets you shared were so good!!!!
And are two links to my WIP that is taking forever to write. XD
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Eep!! Oh my goodness, thank you! Sometimes life just happens and we aren’t able to write as much as we would have liked–and sometimes I think it’s a challenge to write some stories, simply because the worlds and ideas are too big in our heads. But that’s something I’m trying to work on–writing the thing even if it isn’t everything I dreamed of at first, because that’s what editing is for, right?? ……right? *distant sobbing*
OH MY WORD!!! Oh my goodness, thank you!! You honestly have no clue how much that means to me.. I’ve been in such a writing rut lately, so just knowing that there’s someone out there who enjoys reading my words and is excited about my book makes ME excited to keep writing it!!! <333
OOOH! I will definitely have to check these out!! Thank you so much for the links!!! (and I'm so sorry about your comment not appearing for a few days. WordPress decided that because you'd posted links into your comment, apparently it was spam. *eye roll* I still found it, though!!)
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I completely agree on this! Right now in first draft the most important thing is definitely to just keep on writing. Also, yes, that is what editing is for. It may be long and boring and tiring but it is so worth it cause editing can transform a story heaps!
You’re welcome. I know what it feels like so I am happy to help with this. Your story is truly a good work. :)
No problem! (It’s totally fine. I’m glad you found it in the end!)
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Oh, absolutely!! And I think that’s where I come up short on occasion. Sometimes I get so caught up in the perfectionism that I don’t let myself enjoy the chaos. But as writers, we need to learn to embrace the chaos, because I truly believe that’s where most of our best work thrives.
Oh my word!! Well, you just made my whole day… Thank you!!! <333
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