Sunday, September 8, 2019

Progress - but s l o w

September. Back to school. And we’ve often noticed that after Labor Day it feels like someone flipped a switch from “summer” to “autumn”.

Not that we’ve seen much of “summer” this year. Sure, we’ve had pleasant enough spells, but in many years we’ve practically lived out on the deck from May onwards, and gone months at a stretch without having to cover the furniture against rain. Not so much this year.

And now the evenings are getting darker and cooler, and we are getting used to new routines. Ali is back to a new school year with a new intake of students. Matthew started at college, which is another big adjustment. My own work is unusually intense this year, which often leaves me tired in the evenings.

So, although writing progress is happening, it’s going slowly.

The Long Dark is working its way through the critique queue, getting a ton of feedback. Critiquing is a long process, submitting chapters week by week for comment. Towards the end, my previous novels have generally garnered maybe four or five critiques per week. This time around it’s holding steady at about double that. Which is wonderful, though it carries a cost. Critiquing is a reciprocal process, and I like to make sure I’m giving as much as I’m receiving. But at that furious pace I’m falling further and further behind. I’ll be working to make up lost ground critiquing other people’s work long after my novel is done.

I had hoped to finish and publish Breaking the Block this month, but with all the critiquing effort on TLD that is falling behind. I did manage to go through a thorough round of edits, with just final tidying up left to do, but I have only just made a start on cover art.

All this means I’ve got my work cut out for me if I’m to meet my objective of publishing The Long Dark next summer.


  1. Decided to check in on your blog to see how things are going. Great news about your novel, TLD. You are definitely doing your due diligence with the critiquing. I'm in awe! Partly because I know what you mean about work being unusually intense this year. It's been that way for me as well.

    Sorry you didn't seem to have had a great summer by your neck of the woods. You already know how I feel on the subject. I *wish* we could've traded places. Summer here in New York wasn't too bad, actually. Beginning of July was a burner, but oddly August was a bit on the cooler side. Very rainy, too! September is off to an even cooler start, in fact. So I think we could possibly end up with an actual Fall around year soon.

    Can't believe your son is starting college now. Wow! Where have the years gone? I remember when he was just a little tyke! :-)

  2. We were in the upper eighties today - what autumn?
    A lot of reading ahead for you with all those critiques.
    If Breaking the Block has to be pushed back a couple months, at least it gives you time to promote.

  3. Hi David, yes I know how you feel about the summer heat. I don't enjoy excessive warmth, but a bit more steady sunshine to make it attractive to stay outdoors would have been welcome.

    Alex, I do have a lot of work ahead of me, for sure.

  4. Hi Ian - well I obviously didn't miss much - but we had a scorcher of August here ... I'm glad I was on the south coast - but enjoyed my English summer.

    Good luck with the writing and the critiquing ... but well done on the reciprocation ... it takes time ... also these things will slot into place - no need to become completely exhausted by it all ...

    Take care and good luck to you and the family - cheers Hilary

  5. Hey! Moving slowly beats not moving at all! And you're moving in the right direction, so I have no doubt that you'll get there. You may not publish when you'd hoped, but better it be at its best than on time.

  6. Hilary, I heard August was hot over there. Not so much here!

    Susan, very true.


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