Archive for December, 2011


I Have A Fabulous Fan!

I know I already said this on her blog, but thank you very much, lifeinthefarcelane for this spanky, wonderful Liebster award!  It’s wonderful to be liked.  Now I have to think of what to say, which is a problem because my brain is just sitting there, awed at being given an award.  But then, I’ve been posting a lot lately without the benefit of a fully functioning brain, so maybe you all won’t notice too much.  🙂

Now, this thing comes with instructions, I think.  *turns it over and looks*  Yup, there they are:

In accepting this award, the recipient must agree to:

• Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to their blog – Done!
• Copy and paste the award to their blog – Um, look out bellow!
• Reveal the 5 blogs (with under 200 followers) they have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog – This is going to be hard!

It’s a very nice way to end the year (still NYE here), receiving this from one of my absolute favourite people on the blogosphere!  Of course, the list of 5 blogs that I love is going to seem wildly incomplete without putting lifeinthefarcelane on there, but I suspect it’s bad form to pass it back to the person who gave it to you, and maybe I can get sneaky and put her somewhere near the list…  Now, these are supposed to be blogs with fewer than 200 followers, but some people don’t have that information up on their blog (at this time) so I’m doing a lot of guesswork in some cases.

So, without making you dwell in darkness further, I give you my list of favourites:

  1. Crawling King Snake who says some wonderful, honest and very introspective things.  I look forward to reading more of them in the new year.
  2. Limebird Writers who I will admit are a smudge over 200, but I don’t care.  They have offered some very insightful, helpful words to all writers out there, myself included, and I’d like to get more writers reading these fine people’s words.
  3. The Accidental Novelist her writing advice and exercises are always interesting and make me think about my own work, past, present and pending.
  4. Full-Time Musings of a Part-Time Writer This is another of the writing blogs I follow, and have thoroughly enjoyed, found thought-provoking and generally wish there was more (always a good sign if you ask me)
  5. Conversing With Novels I love the conversations she has with her novel, which remind me forcefully of when my characters argue with me about what happens in the story.  Any writer out there will understand what I’m talking about, though I admit it makes us look a little crazy to the non-writers out there…

There are other wonderful blogs I’ve been following, more as I find them, but it’s a good list.  If you aren’t on the list, it isn’t that I don’t love you, honest.  I may have thought you wildly over the 200 follower cutoff.  It’s been a wild year and I’ve enjoyed the community more than I could possibly say.  The people I’ve met, am still meeting, around here are great.  You all bring laughter and thought to my day, and I want to thank you all for that.  I hope I can do the same for you as we go down the path of 2012 together.  Merry New Years!

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I Think I Found My Brevity

So, this is the official announcement.  I did it, the second draft of Dark Mirror is finished.  It’s a lot shorter than I expected.  And by a lot, I mean it’s 73,264 words, while I had thought it would be at least 100k.  I didn’t know I could write a whole story in less than 100k.

For years I’ve known that I tend to, shall we say, over-write a bit on my stories, which tends to bloat word counts beyond what they should be.  This time I tried something different.  I didn’t describe everything down to the last fold of cloth or breath.  It finally occurred to me that it might be unnecessary.  The average reader has a fairly vivid imagination and so I can leave some of the basic stuff to that imagination.  Describing just what was significant or different from normal is a new thing for me, but somewhat liberating.  We’ll have to see what my test readers say when I get this to them.  That said, it gave me more room to write the story.  As much as I’d like to just let a story run as many words as it needs, I never stop being aware that I would like to sell my stories at some point, that this is a business and with that comes certain expectations.

I’m still pondering how I want to go about publishing this, when it’s ready at least, and I’m very torn.  Part of me very much wants to go with traditional publishing, for the support system you’re supposed to get, for the physical object you eventually get, the broader distribution, all that.  And (this is going to sound perhaps really bad) for that stamp of approval that is implied with traditional publishing, that unspoken message to potential readers that it can’t be that bad because an agent and editor(s) have read through it already and were willing to spend money to bring it to you.  And then there’s the costs I don’t have to spend money for up front (money I don’t really have at the moment, to be honest).  But it’s a very uphill battle for someone entirely unpublished for me, and I’m not long on confidence generally.  In fact, I rarely give myself the credit that some of my friends argue I deserve.

There is a definite historical stigma to self-publishing.  I find it in my own attitude, even.  In my opinion, it’s lessening now in this the age of e-publication, but I think it’s still there to at least some extent.  Perhaps it is because you do find plenty of books out there among the self-published that were written by someone clearly delusional about the level of their own talents.  You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that come across as someone’s first draft, with spelling and grammar errors and confused narrative.  And I don’t want to be mistaken for one of those, but I’m aware that there’s a growing tide of those who write very well jumping on this train.

There are several advantages that are definitely starting to make the traditional publishing route look less attractive.  The biggest is control.  I would have control over my work, how long it’s available, where and at what price.  I decide how often I publish a new book.  I can have the cover I want.  It would happen sooner than trying to fight that uphill battle of traditional publishing.  And more of the money is mine (so is the financial risk, but nothing worth doing is without risk), with fewer people being paid a percentage of the book’s sales.  I have to agree with Dean Wesley Smith on this.  He’s talked about it in his blog before.  Actually, he talks about a lot of important business stuff in his blog.  But the salient point here is that I did the work of writing this, inventing it in the first place in fact, spent my time and effort to make it a reality.  They did their job once.  They don’t keep working on the book after it’s published in some cases.  Why should they get a percentage paid to them for however long the book is available?  If I’m willing to learn that business side and find people to do the work for a flat fee, to spend the time dealing with the business end of things, there’s no reason I shouldn’t do it that way.  Actually, the more I write this post, the more I think I’m going to end up going self-publish, e-publish.  I may or may not get rich that way, I may never realize the dream of writing full time, but at least I would get to do it my way.  Besides, even in traditional publishing, being able to afford to write full time is unlikely, as I understand it.  I think it’s time for me to get down to researching and learning when not actively writing.  I have a lot to learn before I get this in people’s hands (e-readers).  And I may change my mind on this.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

In the meantime, as I go through all of this and think about all of the above, what will I be doing?  Digging into another project.  I’m more than a little torn on that.  I want to work on The Ailing Tree, but I don’t think I’m ready.  There’s still a bunch of stuff I’m letting simmer with that one.  I want to work on the second book in the Mirrors trilogy, currently going under the working title Possession, while I’m still very much in the vein of that world, and I’m leaning toward that, working on and finishing the trilogy before moving on to another world.  I don’t expect major story or world reworking to come out of the feedback process for DM (though you never really know), so I could at least start ordering my notes and working on an outline.  I’m also throwing around possible new titles for DM, but not really sure about any of them yet, so I won’t be sharing them at this point.

I’d like to close this post by saying that I’m amazed how much better writing The End feels this time.  It might be because this time I didn’t do it knowing I’d have to do significant rewrites, so it really feels like The End.  There’s still work to do on it, and I don’t yet know how much, but this time it feels like so much more of an achievement.  I like that 🙂

2011 is dead, long live 2012

As I prepare to put 2011 into the book of Years I’m Done With, I really do want to pause to reflect. This one goes in as the year when I started doing things, instead of just dreaming and talking about doing them. It hasn’t been an easy year. On the contrary, it’s been a year of big, scary changes, but I am ending it in a much happier place. Not everything is quite where I want it, but many of the things I do want are in motion. I feel like a better version of myself than I started the year with, and that would be the most important part. The progress upward in life is really all you can ask, I think.

I’ll start on the downside of things, just because I find it’s better to get these things over with so I can end on a good note. The only really bad thing is, well, getting divorced. After trying to make the relationship work for 6 years and the marriage work for 4 of those years, my now-ex and I have called it quits. I am happy to note that we are doing it before we start hating each other and, after some initial pain, I’ve come to the conclusion that it may be the best thing for me. I will fully admit at this point that I married the wrong person. So did he. Now we can both go off and find the Right Person with each other’s blessings. It won’t be official until later in 2012, but it’s close enough for me.

Now, that said, the divorce and attendant reconsidering of everything in my life has led to pretty much every good thing I want to talk about, so I’m not too sad about even that bad thing. Yes, this means that the latter half of 2011 was better than the first half, but I can live with that. Go out with a bang, right?

For one thing, the biggest thing, this is going down as the year I committed to myself as a writer, to the writing itself really.  A lot of my accomplishments this year are, in fact, writing related.  I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time and won (winning is writing at least 50,000 words within the 30 days).  Winning NaNoWriMo comes with no prizes, really, except self-esteem, lessons learned and a major jump in my writing output.  Wait, those are all very real prizes, and ones I needed.  It also seems to have set me on a path where writing is not something I wait for.  I don’t wait for inspiration, or the right words, or the feeling that I can do this.  I go out and do it regardless, I sit down and write, I work on something writing related every day.  I no longer let my brain off with the excuse that it doesn’t feel like writing.  I sit in front of my netbook and start.  And keep going, usually carrying myself unintentionally well beyond any point I had hoped to get to.

I’ve learned so much this year as a writer that it would be hard to encapsulate them all in this post without it becoming excessively long.  Suffice it to say that I feel like I grew a lot and am on my way to at least becoming a publishable author.  Published is a question for another day.

I have, this year, completed now two drafts, beginning to end, for Dark Mirror.  This is a phenomenal achievement for me, as I had never managed to get beyond about 30,000 words on a novel draft before this year without losing the story or my drive or something else vital to getting through it all.  I will be editing the recent version in early January (maybe sooner) then printing it up and sending it out to my two test readers (you know who you are) for comments and then turning my brain over to one of the many other projects that have been trying to distract me from finishing Dark Mirror.  This will serve two purposes.  A) to keep me writing and B) so that I don’t pester my test readers.  They have lives of their own, I’m fully aware of that, but I’m not long on patience when I have enthusiasm instead, they know it and I know it.

There are also signs that this is the year I finally found the process that works for me as a writer (see last paragraph if you really need me to spell out what those signs are), and that is even better than the finished drafts, if you can believe it.  That’s something I have struggled with for years, so it’s welcome.  I’m sure that, in the next few years there will be tweaks, largely for changing technology, but having a functioning core in place is an awesome feeling.

Finally, this is the year that I have let go of my need to be perfect on first draft, to reread and edit as I write the story.  This is the year I gave myself permission to be a human being and understand that writing is very much an iterative process, but that I have to get to the end of a story in order to fix it.  Letting go of the need to be perfect and the fear of not being good enough that went hand in hand with it has done something amazing, it made the ideas and words flow in brain in a way I never expected.  I really do have more ideas simmering right now than I could possibly have time to write, and more show up every day.

I also found out this year that I did actually miss some elements of being single, and am adjusting to my new life better, faster than I expected.  That might be because my head is always stuck in a book lately, either one of mine or something by someone else.  I love living a life of words.

2012 will be the year of more writing.  It will be the year of querying, one way or another.  It may be the year of self-publishing, in electronic form at least, depending on how I feel when I come down off the high of finishing the new draft.  I will be doing NaNoWriMo again, and, if I have something ready at the time, I will probably also do one of the two summer WriMo camps.  I doubt I’ll have stuff ready enough to do both, but I won’t rule it out entirely.

I will, of course, continue posting here about how it goes through the year.  I find amazing the supportive community that exists here on WordPress.  Every comment, every like, every follower is a delight for me.  Thank you all for caring, sharing and for the laughs.  I will see you here in the new year.

This Is Where I Expected My Brain To Die

There was a plan for this post and a reason why I titled it this way, but that has been entirely derailed by a better use for this title.  Be forewarned:  Loopy, sleep deprived author at the keyboard today.

So, the last couple of days have been good, 6,484 yesterday and a best ever 1-day total today of 7,065 (which is a miracle given my present state) and the draft has reached grand total of 67,837 words.  I’m on the doorstep of the climax, and just finished a couple of major, difficult scenes.  I even think I did a good job on them, but we’ll see what I think on later reading.  As always, I reserve judgement. (and in case you’re wondering, the title originally centred around how bloody much I’ve been writing since I hit vacation)

Now, that said, I hear your question.  Why the loopy, sleep deprived comment?  Oh boy.  Where to begin.

You have to understand, I generally make sure that I stop writing early enough (say 10ish) to spin my brain down for sleep, but that didn’t happen last night.  I just couldn’t stop writing (Where is the Writers’ wing of the Betty Ford Clinic when I need it?) and so it was around midnight when I packed it in, only through force of will, and laid down to sleep.  And rolled over.  And tossed, definitely did some turning.  Got up, went back to laying down, rolled over some more.  See, there was no sleeping done by me until sometime after 3 AM!  Why?  My brain would not go quietly into the night and instead kept world-building and story-building away at books 2 and 3 in the Dark Mirror trilogy.  I was pleased by it’s output (all noted down, thank you iPad that lives within arm’s reach wherever possible) but very very displeased by it’s timing.  I mean, come on, midnight to 3 AM seemed like a good idea to who?  Not this writer, who actually likes sleeping.  As I finally did fall asleep, though, I was comforted by the notion that, as I am still on vacation, I could at least sleep in.  Really late.  That was the plan, I swear, right up until 8 AM when my brain woke up on all cylinders and insisted it was time to write.  That bitch.

I tried to argue with it, I really did, but after 15 minutes and only getting more awake by the second, I gave up and made coffee.  Ugh.  I am amazed I managed to write anything today, let alone have it go as well as it did.   I mean, very little sleep and 7k of what I think may actually be good prose?  Seems too much to ask.  I’m just hoping that it doesn’t seem like crap when I end up rereading at least part of it tomorrow in order to orient myself for tomorrow’s writing bender.

I’m also hoping for more sleep tonight.  If I end up staying up until 3 AM again, I might go postal on someone tomorrow, no matter why I end up awake that late.  After a while, some things cannot be borne without protest.

A Very Wordy Christmas

I hope you all had a good Christmas, and Boxing Day if you happen to be in a country that celebrates that one.

You know you have no life when you can spend all of Christmas day writing and no one complains.  Do you know what that means?  I officially have no life outside of my writing.  I mean, that said, it was a very productive time for me, and I’m happy about that, but there’s something slightly sad when you can ignore holidays without social repercussions.  Oh well.

Dark Mirror is progressing well.  I’ve gotten full swing into full-time-writing mode, with some spectacular totals lately.  5,449 on the 24th, 6,346 on the 25th (see what I meant?) and 6,038 today.  Some nice work, too, including some very key scenes, so I’m quite proud of myself.  Thanks to all that work, I now have a total of 54,288 words written of the new draft.  That means I shaved 6 days off of the time it takes me to get to 50k from my NaNo achievement of 18 days (it’s now day 12 of this write-a-thon).  Even I’m impressed by that, especially since the quality has also gone up this time around.

I am, however, starting to wonder when I will learn to stop worrying about length.  You might recall that in the last couple of posts, I had been worried, then not worried about the length of the book so far compared to my outline.  Specifically, I had been concerned that I was writing too much, progressing through the outline entries too slowly, and that this draft would be even longer than the first one, putting it in the territory of being a hard sell for an unknown writer to an agent/publisher (I think that starts at the 125k range, but don’t quote me on that).  I must now revise that statement and say that I’m not worried in the least. In fact, at this rate, it might be shorter.  It’s hard to say, which is why I’m going to try to learn in future to just let it be, but they’re getting ready to leave for the place where the climax happens.  There’s a major scene to go through before they even leave, but it’s not a long journey, not a lot will happen on the way there other than an important conversation, but still, I’m looking at being at almost 55k now and then at how much actual story is left and thinking I was worried about nothing.  Oh well.  If anything, shorter gives me room to add stuff that might need to go in and didn’t make it.

I have ended up reading a few previous scenes, stuff I wrote days ago, generally while looking for specific parts to see if I had mentioned something (I have a piss-poor memory when I write this much in a short time period) and I’m surprised how much I’m liking what I’ve written.  I haven’t read it from start to finish, of course, because this isn’t the time for that, but the parts I’ve read have been good.  I’m allowing myself to be encouraged by that while still remembering that it’s going to need editing, that I’m not done yet and have to keep performing to that same level.  It’s a balancing act, I’m telling you, but I’m working it.  🙂

I’ve been so busy with DM that I haven’t given much thought to my other ideas beyond what comes that needs to be written down immediately.  However, today I did get a small glimpse into something major for a sequel to DM (or maybe it’s for the book after that, because this has long felt like it’s really a trilogy, I just don’t know all the stories for it yet), and it’s something major.  It actually made me sit back and say “Woah” and that’s pretty rare for me.  Don’t worry, it’s safely noted down.  I’m just not sure how much I want to hint at it in this book, or if I want to at all.  I think I have to leave it open enough to be a possibility, but we’ll see.  I don’t want the readers to guess it in this book, for a lot of reasons that I’m not prepared to discuss as yet in this blog, but they’re good ones.  I’m going to keep it barely-there kind of subtle, I think, and then see what my beta readers say.

Okay, I think that’s probably enough of me banging on about my writing for one night.  Sorry, no major inspirational lessons or insights to pass on this time.  Better luck next time on that.  My brain is locked into writing mode right now, I think.

Advice to (a younger) me

Advice to (a younger) me.

 

Beautiful words of wisdom to keep front of mind always.

I should have posted last night, and I did mean to, but I could barely keep my eyes open, so I went to bed and slept in. As it’s the first day of my vacation, so I felt entitled to do that. Given how late I slept in, I probably needed it more desperately than I was aware of.

The past couple of days have been good ones for writing, writing in the 3700 range each day, and I’m up to 36.5k on the second draft of Dark Mirror. As an aside, I can no longer even mention the working title of the novel without thinking how much I need to find a title that works better, because DM no longer even remotely fits. Oh well.

My ten days of vacation start today and I expect that my totals will go up as a result, since I can slip in and out of writing all day now. I’ve written a couple of key scenes in the last two days, and I have some more coming up, so it’s an interesting time. I’m very aware that these are important scenes and I’m trying to sculpt them a little, which is part of what’s slowing me down a bit. I want to come through this draft with something actually readable (not publishable yet, I know that’s too much to ask from even a second draft) plus I know I’m going to be building on these scenes as I work toward the end, do I need to make the right choices now where my outline has room for choices.

On the subject of my outline, I’m surprised to find myself right on schedule from a words versus length of outline perspective. There are 37 entries in my outline (the level of detail and length of storyline in each entry is highly variable, but it averages out mostly I think) and I just finished entry 13. Given I’m shooting for about 100k again for final word count and I’m a little over 36, that puts me at a third done on both scores. That shocked me, because I had felt that I wasn’t getting through my outline fast enough compared to words, that this was going to end up as an excessively long draft, but it hasn’t turned out that way, so far at least. I’m not really sure why it’s worked out this way either. Maybe it’s just a testament to my subconscious’ skill as a writer (yeah right, whatever).

What I currently find most interesting is that it feels like I’ve been writing this draft for a while, though when I sit down and add it up, it’s only been nine days, not including today. I don’t think it’s that I already wrote a draft of this either, because the story I wrote for NaNo had significant differences. To me, the feeling seems to stem from a combination of two things. The first is how much I’ve learned to this point as a writer, which is an immense amount during the outlining and writing thus far, and the second is the amount that has happened in the book, and that too has been a lot. I experience this sometimes when reading a book, even more so when I go racing through a series that spans years of in-book time. I finish, realize I’ve only been reading for a month or however long, and feel like it has to have been longer, because the in-story time was so much longer. It’s kind of fun to get that feeling from my own work, because it suggests that I’m on the right track with it, that it’s managing to engross me enough as I write it to mess with my sense of time like work from my favorite published authors. Highly encouraging to this fledgling author who wants to be published one day.

In other news, I have yet another idea tugging at me, and it’s starting to shape into something more than a character and ability sketch. Time Lord, as I will be referring to it, is starting to develop into a story! The main conflict is starting to shake itself out of the dust, as well as the main character’s more personal conflict. It’s an interesting idea too, and will make demands on me as a writer for growth and attention to detail. I’m not sure if I’m skilled enough yet to write it well, but we’ll see. I also have to keep in mind that the first draft is more about getting the story down than being good. I’m a long way from starting that first draft on it anyway, so I have time to grow. I think The Ailing Tree is more likely to be my next story anyway, as I’m continuing to work on the outline a little, when I need a break from DM. Too early to worry about that though, anymore than I’m thinking too much yet about whether to go traditional publishing or self-publishing for DM. Too much work to do yet for that question to really get on the radar. Hell, I probably wouldn’t think at all about it, but I keep reading in blogs here on WordPress about other writers having the debate with themselves, which inevitably leads my mind to the question for me. Oh well, a worry for another day. First, to finish second draft of DM.

Oh, I hear Fay and Tavis calling, so I have to go now. Take care, everyone.

Lessons Learned: Letting the Brain Ease

I’m sure many of you are impatiently waiting for me to post something.  I did mean to yesterday, but after wrestling all evening with the book, I was worn out.  I’m worn out tonight too, for some of the same reasons, but not as badly, so here I am, typing away at something other than the book.

Don’t get me wrong, things are going well on draft 2 of Dark Mirror.  Monday was fantastic, despite being ill most of the day, got 5,424 words in.  But I might have overdone it a little with that much on a weekday.  Yesterday, I had a lot of trouble concentrating and it really was a struggle to get anything done.  The numbers don’t really reflect that, with me adding 3,317 words to the draft, but believe me, it was somewhat painful and I was exhausted and drained when I finally called it a night.  Tonight, the same, tired and feeling like I wanted to take a break from the moment I sat down with the netbook.  After an hour and a half and only getting about 400 words down, I decided to do something I’ve done for a long time, I listened to my body and brain.  I usually do that when it’s sending a clear, strong signal, which it has been doing since yesterday.

You see, the problem is that I had finished the whole God of War series (the three main games at least) and I had previously been using that as a way to give my brain a break between writing spurts through most of NaNo and all of the current writing binge (until a few days ago).  But when I finished it, I didn’t grab any of my other games to take it’s place.  Between that lack of non-writing and non-thinking-about-writing time and the higher bar I set for myself as pace this time, I was focusing entirely on writing, feeling I had to Always Be Writing if I was at home with my netbook.  Too much for my brain, which was on the verge of shorting out I think.  So I popped one of the GoW series back in and let myself go back to alternately bashing the keyboard and bashing pixels.  And it worked.  At this point, I’ve written 2,729 words, and I’ll probably go back and get myself to 3k, if I can keep my brain going that long.  Even if I don’t, that’s not bad for spending almost the first third of my evening struggling and getting nowhere.  So I’m going to let that be a lesson to me.  Take breaks, stop writing for a bit, let the brain think about something else or not think at all, or I’m going to run into problems.

All this writing brings me to a current total of 28,548 words, which actually puts me about 4.5 days ahead of schedule, and I haven’t even gotten to my vacation yet.  I’m glad I’ve learned this lesson before the vacation though, or I might have either driven myself nuts or derailed myself entirely, either being a bad thing.

I’ve also had a few nice little insights in the last few days, one of which made it onto the wall with the other two that were already there.  Again, it’s one that seems basic, until you add the little asterisk, that is.  Every character in the story needs a motive*, whether you talk about it or not and as the writer you need to be aware of what it is and how it shapes their reactions.  What, you ask, does that asterisk mean?  Simple, that “just because it’s convenient for the writer that things happen this way” doesn’t count as a motive.  It’s easy to sit there and let that be enough.  “Yes, the supporting character tells them to go seek so-and-so because that’s where I need them to go.”  Doesn’t it sound crappy as a motive when you put it that bluntly?  I think so.  It’s making me examine why my characters are doing things as I do this rewrite, and it’s shaping some of the things that happen a little differently than I planned.  But again, it’s in the service of a better story, so I’m fine with that.  The others are story-specific, so I won’t be getting into them, but they were things I needed to figure out.

At this point, I am starting to worry about the final length of the draft.  I’m almost to 30k words and while having my two main protagonists together much earlier this time is good, there’s more story to tell in many ways, and if I’m not careful, this might end up being too long for traditional publication, which would be my preferred path.  I’m still planning on letting it be as long as it needs to in this draft, since it’s essentially take 2 of the first draft, despite the numbering, don’t worry.  But when you’re on entry 9 of 37 in your outline at almost 30k, you start to wonder how long this is going to be.  That said, some entries are longer than others, some more detailed than others.  My outlines seem to become more detailed with every entry I add, so maybe it won’t be so bad.  I’m about to introduce the remaining two major support characters, so things are getting ready to jump off in a big way I think, which is a good place to be so close to a 10-day period with no work.  As it is, I suspect that Friday will be a half-day at work.  It was last year, and I see no reason they won’t do it again this year.  I will be posting in my usual semi-regular pattern during that period, in case you were wondering.

Okay, enough for now on the blog.  I need some sleep at some point, or I really will be totally dysfunctional.  As it is, you have no idea how many starts it took me to remember how to spell dysfunctional.  :p

It’s been a good weekend, with me mostly keeping focused on the task of writing the second draft of Dark Mirror, interspersed with some gaming to keep my minimal sanity more or less intact. I’m very happy with the progress this weekend, both in word count totals and the story itself. A miraculous thing happened actually. This time, it didn’t take me 30k to get Fay and Tavis together. They met at the end of my writing session yesterday, about 11.5k. Much better. And I’m glad to not having to wait that long for him too. I missed Tavis. Crazy, I know, but he’s a sweetheart, for all that he spent most of November driving me nuts.  I kind of wish I could still tell this story partly from in his head but sadly, I can’t.  Maybe I’ll see about doing that in the sequel (yes there will be one, though it’s still vague and nebulous given I’m still nailing this one down and other projects are trying to use what few brain resources are not committed to this draft).

I’m working to develop the relationship more between Tavis and Fay this time, partly because it isn’t the same as last time and the portion of it that was automatic before now isn’t. It’s interesting, and is showing me elements of both their personalities I hadn’t really noticed before, so that’s fun.  Also, it’s challenging them both as individuals, Fay particularly.  It’s making her more aware of her own biases, including how they relate to her own life and situation.

I am spending a little more time on word-smithing this time than I was during November, which I hope will lead to a lesser need for editing when I have this draft done. I feel quite confident that I can make my goal even with that, largely because of how much I beat even my current goal by during NaNo (75k vs 107k, yeah, I win), so I figure I have the time now.  And it doesn’t seem to be slowing me down either (see later in this post) It also might help to reduce the post-draft-completion shock, allowing me to put it in the hands of certain wise readers for comments that much faster, without all the agonizing and the need for a total rewrite that I’ve had this time.  I’m cautiously optimistic on that score.  I have to say, I love the idea of finishing this draft and not having a total meltdown again.

So, now that I’ve gone through all that, I guess I should get down to actual numbers.  I thought I did fairly well yesterday, as I said at the start, putting in 4,709 words for the day.  That was what I would have considered an awesome day at any point pretty much during November, when I was putting in between 2-3k per day for the most part, weekends getting to the higher end of that spectrum.  I figured I wouldn’t be able to pull that again tonight, especially since I couldn’t write until about 11 again tonight because of work tomorrow.  I love being wrong about stuff like that.  I had a slow start but a fabulous finish today, putting in a total of 5,513 words for the day.  That brings me to a total of 17,078 words so far on the manuscript.  To put that in perspective, during NaNo last month, when it’s supposed to be speed demon time, it took me about 7.5 days to do that much, and now I’ve done it in 4.  Some of it is having a better idea of where the story is going, a better outline and all that.  I think some of it is my brain getting into the habit of writing.  It feels a bit like when you’re working out and building any muscle on your body, the more you do it regularly, the more you’re able to do.  It’s a nice feeling, though I’m sure that my fingers will one day place a finite limit on how much I can write in a single day, no matter how good my brain may or may not get at it.

One final note before I call it a night and close out the weekend as far as writing is concerned.  I’ve been spending a lot more time in the last couple of weeks getting out in the blog community and making connections, particularly the writing community within the WordPress blog community.  I’m constantly impressed at the amazing ideas and thoughts everyone out there has.  I’ve learned things from many of you, at least one of which actually made it to my writing epiphany wall so I wouldn’t forget it, and others have written things that confirmed to me that I have definitely matured as a writer (and am continuing to mature) and might be on my way to having a chance to make something of myself in this particular arena.  I hope that one day, I’m able to pass that on to someone else, that feeling that you’re making progress on the path that hopefully leads to one day being a published writer, because I’m all about giving back to a community that gives me so much just by being there and thinking out loud.  To all those I’m following, keep up the good work.  To those I haven’t discovered yet, I’ll find you one of these days.  To those who are following my blog, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time.

So I’m Impatient

Those of you who know me in real life already know this, but for those of you who only know me through this blog or my involvement with NaNoWriMo this year, patience is not one of my strong suits. I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say I have none, but it’s definitely in limited quantities that are quickly and easily exhausted. You’ve gotten glimpses of this already, such as my inability to wait even a full day before reading my NaNo manuscript, or more than 24 hours for my outline of the second draft. So I’m sure none of you are surprised that I started my write-a-thon a day early.

That’s right, I started writing last night. I couldn’t wait any longer, I was ready, really, I was. I must have been, because even though I didn’t start writing until about 8 pm, I still managed to get in 3,067 words last night. I was up until 11:40 or so doing it, and wasn’t all there at work today, but writing is more important anyway. Fortunately, I had found my brain again by the time I got home, and have been tapping away ever since, writing a further 3,789 words, which is more than respectable and easily beats my pace.  This brings me to a total of 6,856 at the close of day two.  I say close because my eyes are trying to close as I write this blog entry.  Thankfully, I’m a touch typist, so that’s not nearly as big of a handicap to blogging as it probably should be.  At least my brain is still churning out coherent sentences.  I hope.  Otherwise, you are all going to be scratching your heads and I’ll look at it tomorrow with complete embarrassment.  Oh well, let’s get back on subject:  Dark Mirror Second Draft.

 

I will say that I’m already so very much happier with this draft.  Whether that will last for the rest of the 100k plus words I still have to write is anyone’s guess at this point, but when I think about my outline and the changes I’ve made to the story, I think it will.  The story is already more dynamic, with Fay being more of a participant, and that’s good since this is, as I said, her story.  She should be the one driving it with her choices, and now she is.  I’m also introducing one of the major conflicts much earlier, and I think that it’s more interesting for it.  There’s so much that I’ve learned and am applying already that I’m finding it very encouraging as a writer.  I feel like the work I put into the first draft, the blogs I read from other writers and the time I spent re-imagining this story are going to pay off and are reflective of real growth for me as a writer.

 

I also find I’m sticking with the outline a little more closely this time, though still not being super-strict about it.  I think it’s more like it’s a natural outgrowth of the greater amount of thought and development that went into this outline over my initial one that very loosely guided me through NaNo.  So I’m ending today in a good mood, and looking forward to getting up and writing tomorrow, though I will have to take a small break for an errand as long as the weather isn’t too miserable.  Okay, I think that’s all the work my brain is willing to do for the rest of the night.  I’ll catch you all next post.

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