Writing has been slow of late. As writers' complaints go, this one is unsurprising in the extreme, but yesterday was a palliative. Yesterday was the first day I took a wide-angle look at the manuscript, a real LOOK - not reading, not stopping in any particular place, but simply running my eyeballs across it not for comprehension but to see where it is blue.
There are authors who outline and authors who have expectations and a set process ... and then there are authors who have nothing but a timeline, and whose expectations change as they undergo the process themselves, the novel working on them rather than the other way around. Some call themselves "pantsers" (seat of the pants writers); I don't gravitate to the term, but when asked I pretty much fall in this category.
This doesn't mean I have no structure. But the scaffold of my WIP is not one many others would feel safe climbing onto.
Research on this novel dates back to the very earliest days of working on The Ax and the Vase; the idea for this work was born of that reading, though it is in no way a sequel (and thank goodness, considering that Ax is languishing inventory). So I found bits and bobs along *that* way that I dropped into a Word doc which someday I would bring off a back burner, and which now has become the WIP.
Research is blue.
While I still acknowledge that at this point, anything "written" (self-generated and not in blue - in short, scenes, sketches, and snippets dealt with and contributory in some way or another to the novel) remains at this point strictly draft work: it is at least written, and folded into the work in some degree.
It's the blue text that hasn't been dealt with, that doesn't contribute yet.
Yesterday: I was pretty gratified with the level of blue, as I scrolled through 234 pages of pants-tastic not-yet-a-manuscript.
For all these years, the WIP being a backburner item, the Word doc nothing but a bin into which I'd toss occasional research and ideas, to be cleaned up "someday" - I have not had the courage to LOOK at it.
Turns out, it's not a bad view.
And now, to dive back into the trees. The forest is not on fire, and I feel safe exploring.