- Shadows & Ink: Ed's Weekly Newsletter
- Can I Be More Than Just A Fool?
Can I Be More Than Just A Fool?
Shadows & Ink 2024-01-21
We’ve got past Blue Monday and now it’s got to get better. Right?
Think I’ve put these in before, but I’ve been listening to them a lot. This is one of my favourite tunes by them (Under the Pressure would be the best one), An Ocean in Between the Waves by the War On Drugs:
There’s often a lot of beauty in melancholy. Hope you like it!
Okay, so I wanted to get about 20k done this week, which would take me into the final quarter of the book. I’m not quite into that section yet, but I did pass through the midpoint, which was a nice feeling. I’m writing this bit at 9:40 on Sunday morning and my spreadsheet tells me I’ve managed a solid 20k+ week this week. Interestingly, my first drafts were 14k, so I add on 50% on my day 2 edits, which is where the chapters are coming to life.
Not sure what you lot will make of it, though! It’s hard to get a gauge of its quality when it’s at this stage – all I can do is to try to fix little bits and bobs here between writing and editing. One particular section was a bit sticky and people were doing stuff for plot reasons, so I took a chapter and shoved the reveal from that into the previous one and some update stuff into the next one, which makes it flow a LOT better now.
A side point about outlining vs writing... The outline is a map. It points me in the direction I think most suits the story, which lets me try out whether I want to write it. I think I’ve got about 15 outlines for books I haven’t written for that reason, but the books either are just messy or don’t want to be written yet. I’ve got two sci-fi projects I’ve wasted so much time on which won’t see the light of day. (That said, one of them has been taking up a massive amount of my grey matter in how to reformat it and I’m going to devote a chunk of time in the summer to writing, after I do Marshall 6.) So it’s okay to realise you’ve made a mistake in your outline and tweak it. It’s also okay to realise it’s rubbish and needs to be rethought – it’s much easier fixing an outline than a botched narrative.
But the bitter truth is until I finish the book and give myself the chance to do a read-edit of it, I just won’t know how it’ll play out. I’ve got to take a certain amount of blind faith. But each book is different and I think the work I’ve done in this is solid, I think – the main characters all up to their various things here and it’s one of those books.
Hoping to actually finish Marshall 5 this week, which might be a tall order. Just needs a week of rhythm – wake, work, walk, work – and I’ll get there. I always do.
Definitely worked myself into a groove with this book, after my stinking cold. And the daily cycle is how I manage to get through so many of them. I’m planning on writing three books to be released this year (plus possibly one to be released next year), plus another two “punts”, so having my method nailed down is super crucial for that.
And I’ll be rewarding myself from finishing this by writing OPERATION HIGH CONCEPT after this, which will be a really solid palette cleanser. That’s one of the few books where I spent a lot of time to pull together a solid outline, which I hope will turn into a very solid novel. I’ve got a few ideas on how to do a few things a bit differently from previous books, just to keep it fresh for me.
I’ve been watching a lot of films recently and enjoying a good chunk of them.
Stuff I loved:
Saltburn (poor Oxford student infiltrates a posh family over summer and some grim stuff happens);
Promising Young Woman (same director as Saltburn, a perfect crime thriller);
Infinity Pool (a twisted Black Mirror take on posh holidays like in White Lotus);
Emily the Criminal (lovely little crime thriller, with low stakes but high drama);
Brian and Charles (a daft thing but moving in places);
Where You're Meant To Be (Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap performing old folk songs across Scotland);
Welcome to the Darkness (the story of the rock band – very moving in places, daft in others).
Stuff I hated: Triangle of Sadness (just tedious); Killers of the Flower Moon (so slow and confused – should’ve been a murder mystery like the book rather than a tedious retread of Goodfellas); The Creator (great setup, but mediocre execution).
I’m also mainlining The Boys on Prime, which I’ve avoided until now because I’m such a fan of the original comics, but it’s probably the best thing I’ve watched since when The Walking Dead was great (anything before Negan).
Anyway, hope that’s interesting. Have a cracking week, y'hear?