Posts Tagged ‘progress’

It’s Progress

November 11, 2009

Last night was another progressive work session. I cut 1,000 words of useless content and then added double that fleshing out telling sections.

It’s not that I don’t EVER like to write in a telling format. Sometimes it’s useful, but most of the time it disconnects the reader from the story. I know that’s how I feel when I’m in the role of reader.

The scenes I focused on last night were battle scenes. When I reread them, the scenes felt more like a dictation or debriefing report. That is so not what I want the reader to feel. I want them to feel like they, themselves, are going through the battle. I want them to forget the main character is Nettie and start thinking [insert readers name here] is the main character.

Example:

…The bent metal cut into Nettie, causing pain

The last part of the sentence is telling, but the scene really calls for a connected experience. I needed to show how and what kind of pain Nettie felt. I want to make it obvious and real to the reader.

Solution (for me):

…The bent metal tore into Nettie’s arm. She winced, biting back a scream. Her eyes watered as the pain shot through her forearm and up to her shoulder. Warm blood pooled at the ripped flesh then ran off, dripping onto her flight suit…

When you’ve finished your draft and start the revision phase, take a look and see what you’re telling versus what you’re showing. Then ask yourself if it’s the right format for the scene. You might find the story more enriching when you’re done.

Good writing all!

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Letting Go

November 10, 2009

My creative muse is back. Yesterday I commented on my vibe search through my various industry sites. It worked! Yay! I started feeling the creative flow yesterday afternoon and after work…wrote like a madwoman.

I also did something more important. I let go of the remaining core of my story concept. Galileo has been a project I’ve been “working” on for over 16 years. Last night I was finally able to cut the last pieces of the original story and close a long-opened and quite drafty door.

There are still fond memories of that story. The characters fit in it because, like me in my writing, they were innocent and new to there “world”. But as I grew and evolved, so did my characters. They no longer were those young adults tossed into war, but adults tossed into political conflict.

My understanding of the world now, with all my experiences and knowledge gained since those first drafts, surpassed the ability to keep the story as it was.

Oh, I fought it. It was like a bittersweet romance that, although you knew it was over, you were afraid you’d forget the feelings after goodbye. But yesterday I realized those feelings and memories are apart of me, at the infrastructure of the writer I am now.

I’ve kept a version of the original story and will probably bind it…to look at from time to time when I’m feeling nostalgic. But as for right now, I’m honoring the memory by writing the correct story in the correct setting.

I feel released and finally free to wholly delve into the writer I’ve become. Today is definitely a good day.

Are You Thinking Outside the Box?

November 9, 2009

In my quest to overcome my extreme and quite aggravating writers block, I’ve been searching through my writing links. This in hopes that immersion into the “writers” realm will inspire my characters to break through the mental walls of my brain.

During the journey I ran across a great list of Potential Cliche Story Concepts. Strange Horizons created and maintains this list. As I read through the expansive content I found my head bobbing in agreement. Strange Horizon editors/participants put together a thorough, well worded description of “the same old hat”.

Oddly enough, I think this list really triggered my inspiration to explore some unique concepts. My writers mold is in hand and I’m ready to break it on the ground.

Wish me luck, and good luck to you all on breaking your own molds.

Just Can’t Find the Words

November 9, 2009

It’s all there….brewing in my brain. I just can’t find the right creative circulation to write it down. There are just times, I guess, that a writers needs to let it simmer and brew.

And only when it’s boiling over will it come out, in a mass of energy and creative mania, into pc or onto paper.

But I’ll be honest…it’s causing a little mental fragmentation. I’m started to feel like several other people live in my head.

Progress During Chaos

October 30, 2009

have been working on edits for Galileo and thinking about changing over to Sorcerer’s Carnival for a bit. My creativity is on the border of boredom. I guess I’ll never be one of those writers that works on projects one at a time.

With the holiday’s, school, and work, I’ve had little time to keep progress here and write.

Chapter 13 is coming along well. With the subplot and character changes outlined in earlier entries here, I’ve been busy making a lot of modifications. I’m hoping to have Chapter 13 completed by next Friday.

Then I have to decide, as mentioned above, whether to trek through to Chapter 14 or change over to Sorcerer’s Carnival for a bit. I guess my creative flow will veer in its own direction when I get there.

Good writing to all and I hope to bring a more thorough entry tomorrow or Sunday.

Progress Update

October 15, 2009

Galileo War is going well, finished the last two scenes I needed for the chapter. Now I just need to flesh out the transitions between them. Then it will be moving to the editing marathon phase.

I’ve been so focused on Galileo, once the characters and I started conversing again in my head, that I’ve neglected my short story Sorcerer’s Carnival. I need to find time to finish those revisions. The deadline is not until March, but I’d like to keep some breathing room for brain freezes and character tantrums.

Well, signing off for today…good writing to all my fellow writers out there.

Starting Back Up

October 14, 2009

Yeah…eventually it’s going to happen. You’re rolling along and rocking out your story when WHAM, you’re hit with life.

The kids get sick, you get sick, your day job demands overtime. It happens.

Then after a week or so you’re kids get healthy, you get better, your workload lightens back up.

Now what?

You’re staring blankly at your work that just a week before you were pouring your brain into with a realization you’re lost and not sure where to start.

This is what I faced last night. So, I took the time to really think about this, so I could document it here for future use.

My first instinct was to just start from the beginning of the manuscript to “get back in the flow”. So I started reading. After 3 chapters, I felt further behind then before. I stopped to reconsider my approach.

This is what got me started back up…maybe it’ll work for you.

Goal: To zone in from big picture to a manageable “bite”.

  1. Scanned the storyboard for that chapter
  2. Reviewed last 5 paragraphs written (ignoring editing mistake, which is ripe with distraction potential)
  3. Mentally checked off accomplished bullets from the storyboard
  4. Then, integrating earlier advice from a commenter here, I started the next big scene in the chapter (worry about transition paragraph later, after the flow has opened back up)

Whoa-la! My creativity is flowing and my story is moving along.

Focusing: The Big Picture

September 30, 2009

I’m breaking from novel progress reporting to discuss a topic that affects all writers at one time or another.

Focus.

The greatest strengths a writer can contain. Without focus, a writer has nothing but daydreams and visions. It takes focus to grab those creative thoughts and transfer them into words, then to edit those initial words into a clear and concise story. And finally, to push the finished product towards publication.

This entry will be on the big picture focus. Every writer as a lifetime goal – to be a published author. This may vary on level, ranging from small potatoes to the big time. But it’s there, in the back of every writer’s mind. “I want to be published.”

It’s a great and lofty goal, however, reality has to reach us at some point. To achieve this goal, you have to find the story, write the story, then finish the story.

For me, the tactic was to break down that life goal of publication into manageable milestones and tasks. Yes, I’ve approached this as a project manager. I am a project manager in my day job, so it’s allowed.

The following is the methodology I suggest to you.

First, break up your lifetime goal into incremental milestones. It could be year, two, or five year increments…you’re the boss here. At those milestone points outline a statement of where you want to be in your writing career. Example: In two years, I want to be published in at least one magazine and two anthologies.

Second, break your milestones into actual activities and tasks. This could include blocking writing time, completing grammar or other educational courses, and/or the research and industry knowledge you’ll need to gain.

Now, from this point, you can break it down as far as you need. There are times when my workload gets so heavy, I have to pause and actually define daily goals until I get back on track.

Okay, so you’re ready to try this. Where to start? Two options: paper or pc.

Below are several great articles on focus.

How to Focus on the Task at Hand

How to Focus: Five Levels of Mental Focus You Might Not be Aware of  

How to Focus

Goldilock Syndrome

September 29, 2009

It must’ve been poetic karma that all this changing and major story revelations kicked off with lucky Chapter 13. I’m sure it’s there…somewhere.

Any-who.

Lot’s of rearranging done tonight. Chapter 13 started out at 6,549 words. For those of you who are familiar with my writing, this is way longer than any chapter I would do. After the replotting and overall enlightenment of the last few days Chapter 13 was cut down to 980 words. This, of course, is way to small for my chapter taste. Adding the fact that it was just a Hodge-Podge of remaining scenes I was really stressing about the Chapter.

So, tonight. I went back to the basics. Paper, pen, index cards. It’s the easiest way for me to focus and streamline my creative thoughts.

  • I separated each scene and laid it out on the coffee table
  • I took some index cards and put a plot point on each one, then lined them along the coffee table
  • I ordered my scenes along the plot, where they fit best
  • I then took a different color index and identified transitions and missing scenes to complete each plot point for the chapter

It was then I moved to the computer:

  • I put a bold plot outline 
  • I moved the scenes to their appropriate section
  • Then I entered highlighted text summarizing the needed scenes to add

Whoa’la…rough (very rough) draft of Chapter 13. From that point I’ve been busy fleshing out the missing scenes, and smoothing out transitions.

In summary: I ended up with Goldilock syndrome. The first version was way to cold, the second was way to hot, and the third? It is just right! (As a new draft, that is)

Replotting the Subplots

September 27, 2009

Subplot: a secondary or subordinate plot, as in a play, novel, or other literary work; underplot. (As defined by Dictionary.com)

Yesterday’s personal honey do list started with a review and revision of my subplots.

Okay…there is a main plotline the two sisters follows, where they push and trigger drivers in each other’s story. But for the most part, they have individual stories independent of each other. For the purpose of my sanity, I’m going to treat each one as their own plot with timed exchanged points that have to happen (Back to the Future comment anyone?).

Nettie: Her story had three main subplots. I cut one subplot out all together because is was unproductive and…well, retarded in retrospect (yes, I’ll admit it). Okay, one down. It was decided (through an internal conversation between me and the character) that the other two subplots must happen. I will be working out the other kinks mentioned in September 26th post to strengthen these two.

Annie: Her story had what seemed like fifty zillion subplots that were pointless and counterproductive to the story. I took a huge mental machete and chopped away all but three subplots. These three are vital to the storyline and Annie’s motivation in the last half of the story. They need major renovations, but at least I have them identified and ready to go.

Once I worked out both sister’s plot lines I adjusted the exchange points, eliminating one of them, and moved the climax to a better position. I also ended up cutting out several secondary characters. By doing this exercise, I also managed to strengthen the theme, reduce the repetition, and delete several implausible scenes.

Plot and subplots are now strategically laid out. Today will be all about revising, smoothing, and fleshing out what’s left.

I feel like a writing surgeon…