A Week in Writing #5 – Two weeks in writing

I skipped last week’s ‘A Week in Writing’ post (not completely intentionally – I just kept putting it off), so this week’s post is going to be for the last two weeks. And why not? It’s my series, after all.

The last two weeks have been very productive, despite only being able to spend a relatively small amount of time on writing and writing-related projects.

The week before last, I did a good chunk of writing, and I managed to finish the fourth story for OTSOT 3 (which is going in fifth position in the book). This is great – after months of going very slowly with this book (for many reasons, which included getting distracted by other stories), I seem to have sped up again. It feels like I’m getting very close to finishing now.

I did also start on the fifth story for OTSOT 3 (which is going in fourth position in the book) the week before last, and I continued it last week. OTSOT 3 has now passed 20,000 words, and I think this book is going to end up being slightly longer than the other two. I suspect this fifth story is going to be quite long. If I remember correctly, OTSOT 1 is around 22,000, and OTSOT 2 is around 20,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one ends up around 23,000-24,000.

The ‘feel’ of this book is, I think, slightly different to the other two. (Similarly, I think the ‘feel’ of OTSOT 2 was slightly different to OTSOT 1.) I quite like this. To me, this suggests that each book is not just treading the ground of the previous books – they are each introducing something slightly different. I think this is good – I think this expands the world of the stories.

Also over the last two weeks, I’ve had tremendous success with part of the audiobook for OTSOT 1. The week before last, I went through the audio story for Fluncg the Indignant, and cut out all the bad takes. Listening back to what I had recorded, I still liked it – a good sign. Then last week (well, over the weekend just gone), I went through the track and arranged all of the clips – making sure that the timings between them were correct. I also applied all of the audio effects (normalisation, equalisation, et cetera).

I also added the music that goes at the start and end of the story. I was then able to listen back to the story in its complete form for the first time. I REALLY liked it. I thought it had turned out very well – not perfectly, of course – they never do – but really well. The voice, while not absolutely perfect for Fluncg, is funny and annoying – great for a short story like this – it’s entertaining, while also making its point.

And in fact I think this audio story might just be the best one I’ve made so far. It’s difficult to really say, but it might be. (That’s partly helped along by the text of the story itself – Fluncg the Indignant is shorter, with fewer details, than something like Throch the Cunning.) Spending all this time agonising over the audio has paid off, it seems.

The audio story has been exported, made into a video, and uploaded to my main YouTube channel. It’s going live on Wednesday evening at 10:00.

The audio story for Hluthg the First should be a lot easier – I’ve always known what Hluthg’s voice sounds like. I’ve already recorded the whole thing – I’ve just got to finish editing it (which doesn’t take that long, if I make myself do it – I just hate editing audio). With any luck I can get that out in a few weeks’ time (though I’ve said that before).

A Week in Writing #1

The start.

This post is the first in a new series on this blog. Starting a new series is a dangerous thing for me. When it comes to blog posts and videos, I tend to start series’ and then not finish them. Hopefully this one will be different, and I think the format will help with that.

The idea for this series is just that, every week, I will write about what writing and writing-related things I’ve gotten up to in the last week. It will be quite similar to a journal. (I do in fact write a journal too – I write in that every day, and have done for (almost) eight years – I was doing it before it was cool.)

The reason for doing this series is partly so that I have more stuff on this blog. I don’t do very much with this blog – I want to do more with it. But it’s also because, every week, there are lots of things that I’m thinking about with regards to writing, and making videos, and all of the other stuff, that no-one ever knows about, and I think this can make it seem like what I’m doing is quite erratic and disconnected. These blog posts should hopefully connect together the various things I do.

They’ll also end up giving a look behind the scenes of the stuff I do. In the past I’ve tended to mention this sort of thing at the start of videos on my YouTube channel. However, I realised that it tends to stop the video dead if I start out with a long and rambly explanation of how the video came to be and why I wanted to make it, so I don’t do that now. I think that kind of information is better on here.

So that’s the introduction to the series. Will I make it to week two? Who knows.

Now to the actual point of the blog post: what have I been doing over the last week?

The last week has been a mixture of zero productivity and maximum productivity. During the week last week, I didn’t do any writing. Over the weekend, however – specifically, on Saturday – I did loads. I wrote over 2500 words in one story idea.

It wasn’t in OTSOT 3, however – it was in a different project. It was actually a project that I had the idea for more than three years ago. I couldn’t believe the date on Draft 1 when I came back to the project this weekend. I was sure I’d had this idea maybe only one year ago. This idea’s been swimming around in my head for three years.

I have tonnes of new story ideas at the moment. Everything about my stories stays completely secret until they are published, of course, so I can’t tell you anything at all about this one, or any of the others – I can’t even tell you the possible title or the genre. But I’ve got so many story ideas now that I’ve done something on, and may continue with, that I’ve realised that I need some codenames so that I can refer to them. The codename for this project is simply going to be Project 201811 – a name from which absolutely nothing about the story can be determined.

But as I say, Project 201811 is one that I had the idea for more than three years ago, and started writing almost three years ago. All I’d written so far was the opening to the first chapter. On Saturday, I wrote the remainder of chapter one, and started on chapter two.

This story’s just been sitting in my head for three years, and in that time, I’ve thought about it a lot – developed a very clear idea of what happens in that first chapter. So when I started adding more to it on Saturday, the words just flowed onto the page. I’m very pleased with how it’s turning out so far.

While I can’t tell you the exact genre of Project 201811, I can tell you that it is slightly comedic in tone. I seem to have ended up doing a lot of slightly funny stories in recent years – OTSOT has a slightly funny edge to it, as do many of the off-series short stories. I didn’t intend to do this at all – it’s just by accident that a lot of what I’m writing at the moment is more humorous. At some point in the near future I will pivot to more serious stories again.

As for writing-related things that have happened this week, I have continued trying to do more on the audiobook for OTSOT 1. This project has hung around for ages, and I could rant for ages about it. The first two stories for OTSOT 1 have been recorded and edited – they’re on my YouTube channel – and the fifth story has been recorded and edited too, but it’s not online yet – I’m putting them online in order. I’d previously recorded about half of the fourth story too, and that had gone well. But the third story – Fluncg the Indignant – has been a massive problem.

I have not been able to get the voice for Fluncg right. I have tried many, many times to get it right – done loads of recordings of Fluncg’s lines. But whenever I get something that I at first like, when I listen back to it a few days later, I don’t like it. It’s never quite right.

I’ve been trying to get this story right in audio form for months, and it just isn’t working. It’s this story that’s been holding up the audiobook for OTSOT 1, and consequently the audiobook for OTSOT 2. I think I’d’ve finished both of them a while ago if it weren’t for this story. (The story of Fluncg was always a difficult one to get right – even in its written form, it took longer than the others to get right.) I’m tempted to just say that it’s good enough with the last voice I’ve used. At some point you just have to stop spending time on something.

So on Sunday, instead of trying to do more on Fluncg the Indignant, I just recorded more of Hluthg the First. That went astonishingly well – I just have to edit that one now, and it’ll be done.

So that’s been the last week in writing: productive, but nowhere near as productive as I have sometimes been.