First, an apology for the scarcity of updates recently; my semester was wrapping up, so everything was getting more than a little crazy, but I promise that it will only happen two more times, and not again until mid-December.
Completing project Red taught me a lot about writing. The first thing was that I can write a substantial piece in a fairly small amount of time. From start to finish, I spent about two-and-a-half weeks of writing at least a thousand words a day, and the first draft clocks in at almost 22,000 words. A lot of this was possible because I was able to turn off my internal editor for the sake of making deadline. In this case, my class demanded a finished draft by a certain date. It didn’t have to be very polished; that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to write a novella, and I did that ably.
There were things that happened while I was writing the story that I didn’t expect–I introduced a character I never originally planned on, for one thing–but now it’s done. This was, in many ways, the hardest part. Subsequent drafts are going to be focused on revising what exists and making it better.
Having to worry more about finishing a first draft than producing a great story on my first try helped take away a lot of the stress, though I still had to remind myself that it didn’t have to be perfect when I got locked up on one part of the story or another.
So what’s next for project Red? Right now, I’m just sitting on the manuscript, waiting to hear back from some more alpha-readers. I got a lot of good feedback from my workshop group already, but more feedback is always good, and I’ve asked several people with different backgrounds to look the story over so that I can make the second draft as good as I can. I’m also just sitting on the piece because it’s still too fresh; I can’t look at it anymore right now, so I’m focusing on other projects, including two short urban fantasy stories, which have had time to settle in my mind a bit more. There are deadlines for submissions at various magazines. The important part, though, is that I’m keeping up with my writing. When you finish one project, start another one.
The next steps for project Red, once I’ve gotten the aforementioned feedback, are revisions focusing on issues of pacing in the latter portion of the story and overall clarity and narrative structure. The title also needs work. “Red” was more of a placeholder than anything when I actually got down to writing the thing. It worked in my mind when I originally conceived of the story, but the story has changed a lot in the particulars since that time. The title is something I can work on anytime. Titles are difficult for me (I generally borrow appropriate song titles), but they’re something I can think on without actually having to think too much about revisions.