The Best Way To Checkmate & The Book To Be

The Book To Be

“There was a war in my head, thundering between my ears.

This had to be the ultimate fool’s errand.”

– Sara Litchfield, The Night Butterflies

Lots of lovely things happened this weekend, large and small: I finally finished Draft 2 of The Book To Be; I gained a new, lovely, editing client; I beat Partner In Crime at the chessboard; it was sunny on Sunday; we made stuffed potato skins; and we finally watched episode 14 of season 5 of Breaking Bad (aaaaaagggghh!!!).

I was (uncharacteristically) aggressive on the chessboard this weekend. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the fact I’m trying to be more aggressive in all of life’s challenges. Sometimes the only route to success involves pushing fiercely forward. I sacrificed quite a few pieces up front in order to give myself the space to manoeuvre and I didn’t end up regretting it.

Life is very chessy at the moment, especially with Project Get Published. Some people agonise over their opening, but I’ve always found making the first move relatively easy. It’s the battle that follows that can get bloody and messy. It can be frustrating that you can only control what you can control. You may think you’ve done everything to force a certain outcome, giving the opposition surely only one sensible option – only to find that they can still surprise you with their response. Sometimes, their move might seem completely counter-intuitive. But they’re playing their game – not yours. And you can’t rush them. They’ll move when they’re ready. All you can do is prepare your onslaught and keep plugging away every time they foil you. You have to not get distracted by anything shiny and concentrate on the goal, using all your powers of prediction to take the best possible position.

Sacrifice with care – you might think capturing the King all important and worth disregarding the other pieces of your life, but it might be better in the end if it takes a little longer but you emerge still having your friends, your partner, your clients and your colleagues to celebrate with. Sacrifice is necessary – I’ve certainly sacrificed the vast percentage of my social life, and it will be worth it. But it’s important to nurture the relationships and still do the chores that you might think slow you down, but in reality are really integral to your long-term success. I don’t want to achieve checkmate but have lost my mate in the process. It can be fantastic to be single-minded, but I think it takes more than one thing to give life meaning.

So I’m sure you’re dying to know. The Book To Be is a dystopian thriller of sorts. ‘Boy monster meets girl monster in post-apocalyptic university town and their fight for survival turns into a fight to bring down the system.’ It is taking *so* much longer for all the pieces to be in the right place to publish than I planned. But the time-investment and dollar-investment and the sacrifices along the way will be worth it. The best way to achieve checkmate is persistence and patience.

Is anyone else struggling to make the right moves at the moment? Anyone struggling to sacrifice the right pieces of life? Keep your eyes on the prize. It will be worth it. 

And, *deep breath* is there anyone out there with the time and inclination who would consider being a Treasured Beta Reader for The Night Butterflies? I have 2, I’d love 3 more. Haters of the dystopian genre / books told from several POVs / people with absolutely no time to read / people who are gleeful and lack tact when pointing out other people’s flaws need not apply lol. Please get in touch, if you would like to help me search and destroy poor plot & character points pre-publication. Do it for the karma / your name on the acknowledgements page. 





18 thoughts on “The Best Way To Checkmate & The Book To Be

  1. Pingback: The Best Way To Checkmate & The Book To Be | Right Ink On The Wall

  2. Tam Francis

    Love this post. I have lately been feeling like I am sacrificing my friends and family for my artistic pursuits. It’s so hard NOT to be single-minded. Thanks for the reminder.

    Good luck with your novel sounds exciting. Are you going to do ABNA contest? Sounds like your novel’s ready?

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Ah thanks Tam! Ah trust me I know how you feel – I keep worrying that I’ve become super boring and that no one will want to be my friend anymore because I no longer offer any fun. Just a book. Which they probably won’t buy because they’re mad at me :p

      Thanks for the luck! And thanks for the question… off to google ABNA!

  3. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Sara, I know exactly what you mean. I’ll lose hours and hours editing and writing and editing some more, only to realize I’ve been at it for days, actually, and haven’t seen another human being in all that time.
    Your dystopian novel sounds interesting — is there a touch of humour there as well?
    This past weekend has been full of great things — one of the coolest has been meeting you! I love meeting writers and readers!

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Lol I definitely forget to surface for air / food / sleep / human contact when I’m in the editing zone… I’m nervous excited about my novel – mmm I don’t think there’s much humour in there, maybe a smattering of dark humour.. But hopefully it’s not all doom and gloom!! Absolutely brilliant to meet you too! I’m excited for your book – just loving the sordid tale so far! Just the biggest fan of people who make me snort out loud :p

      1. Helena Hann-Basquiat

        I love dystopian – especially the classics. One of my favourite books is Fahrenheit 451. I’m not so much into the recent trend of dystopian as a setting, but no substance. Many disagree with me, I’m sure, but I thought Hunger Games was horribly written, and was terribly upset with the writer selling Katniss out in the end.

        1. Sara Litchfield Post author

          That’s one of my favourites too! I wrote a whole dissertation in my final year at uni on utopia, just so I could roll around in dystopian literature. I did like the Hunger Games but, as I commented on a blog reviewing the 2nd book just the other week – I felt the trilogy took me in a dark spiral, the extent of which I didn’t quite expect after the first installment. Heavy for YA! I needed to jump into a bucket of kittens and rainbows afterwards to recover. Hopefully my book comes with at least a few rainbows thrown in, so there’s no need for the extra expense :p

  4. Aussa Lorens

    I wish I had time to be a beta reader! But I understand all too well this manic game of deciding what the sacrifice and what moves will be the most strategic to get me where I want to be… I feel like the next few months will be all about trying to keep my head above water and then I can be more chessy 😉

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      I wish you had time too :p but I know I know – if anyone asked me this month I’d have to so regretfully decline. Or split myself in 2 somehow. Or stop sleeping, though that plays havoc with my productivity. And quality. Good luck with the heading-above-water!

  5. saraletourneau

    I was wondering a little while ago what you were working on! Now I’ve got an answer. 🙂

    Sacrifices I’ve made… The biggest sacrifice I’ve made to work on my WIP has been to save most of my weekend time for writing. That’s meant cutting down on outings by myself as well as cleaning. (I keep my place NEAT, though. Trust me!) That’s been immensely helpful so far this year, especially with the snowy, stormy winter we’ve had in the Northeast U.S. And, by cutting down on outings alone, I’m saving money!

    When would you like beta readers to complete their reviews? I could start reading as soon as I finish the book I’m currently reading, but I admit I’m on the slow side…

    Oh, and beautiful website btw!

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Ah thanks for visiting!! Cleaning was a sacrifice I’ve always made – but then I get stressed out and go on a tidy binge when I can’t bear it anymore :p And I always think that whenever I work rather than go out I’m *gaining* money! 4 weeks would be epic, end of March still super helpful! Hoping for beta reviews pre editing and querying editors with a 4 week plan… Let me know if you’re keen – it would be so nice of you! It’s rough draft because I’m keen for input for revision pre-editing so I can discuss suggestions with editor 🙂 It’s on the shorter side of noveldom too… Thank you for the compliment!! I don’t know if you were in Laird’s session? But Laird as developer & Jay as host – winning website can’t help but happen 😀

      1. saraletourneau

        I know what you mean when it comes to cleaning. After a while, the dust annoys me too! *lol* So I just do my best to keep things simple and neat in between (if you don’t count the organized chaos of my desk, of course), and that’s helped.

        I might be able to do 4 weeks / end of March. Will contact you privately in a few.

        No, I didn’t attend Laird’s WANACon session. I didn’t want to be over-zealous and attend one for every time slot – my head would have exploded from all the information! *lol* I focused on craft and technique courses, since I’m still in the middle of my WIP.

        1. Sara Litchfield Post author

          Organised chaos lol – that’s my desk too. Actually, it’s my life! Awesome – thank you *so* much! Will get back to your email 🙂 Good luck with your WIP! I found the revision sessions so helpful for the stage I’m at & I’m now stalking editors from the conference to see if I can bag one!

  6. Pingback: WANACon Vs Whistling Frogs | Sara Litchfield

  7. bethteliho

    Oh chessy. I totally get that. I’ve been chessy for a few months now – ugh. I’m blogging while doing revisions on my novel, while being a mom, while…..blah blah blah everything. Same as you. It’s bananas. But I love it because I’m writing, which means I’m breathing. 🙂

    Nice to meet you on Aussa’s blog. Loving it over on yours! Did you get all your betas? Good luck with your book!

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Nice to meet you there too 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Did get my betas thanks! And thanks for the luck – Loads right back atcha for the novel 🙂 lol it is bananas, but in a good way… Good bananas!

  8. Pingback: How Time Flies | Sara Litchfield

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