Tag Archive: Challenge


Going To Need A Second Brain

I’ve been working for the last few days on The Nine, just working out what the major events are, the threads I need to juggled and keep track of, which has resulted in the title of this post. ¬†I’ve got a lot going on here ūüėģ

This is not a new thing for me, I should mention, writing down the major events. ¬†I did this when I was figuring out how I needed to rewrite DM, and I did it to some extent with Possession, but I know I have a lot to deal with in wrapping the trilogy, and that’s making me do this part in a more serious fashion. I’ve actually pulled out index cards so I can make notes on each of the threads. ¬†Every thread has it’s own card. ¬†There are several (I’m not going to count, I’m not going to go count them, I’ll only scare myself). I’m slowly figuring out how to tie it all together, the places where the threads meet, knot with each other and then go back on their separate paths, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little uncertain about pulling this off. ¬†It’s going to push me as a writer, but I see that as a good thing. ¬†The only way to grow in skill and maturity is to push yourself further, to make yourself try to stretch for that greater achievement. ¬†Damn, though, it’s scary.

I’m still letting myself have a bunch of downtime, of course, so I can recharge. ¬†Notes and outline stages seem to be like that for me though. ¬†I’ll make a few notes, go do something else, come back to it. ¬†Outline a couple things, then do something else. It’s just writing draft that I pound myself (and keyboard) into the ground on, and even that’s only on first draft. ¬†That’s mostly about that internal editor, the same one who makes me wonder if I can pull this off. ¬†Mine’s semi-trained in a professional sense, since I once wanted to do that for a living, which seems to have sharpened her teeth and claws. ¬†The only way I can get a book done, I’ve found, is to write at warp speed, which is what leads me to do all of this planning, of course. ¬†I can only write that fast if I’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about what needs to go where. ¬†It’s when I haven’t done that that I end up slowing down and getting caught by a combination of exhaustion and inner-editor. ¬†It’s really a one-two punch, which is part of what happened at the end of Possession. ¬†I didn’t spend enough time thinking about how I would handle the ending. I knew what the ending was, the things it had to be, but not how I would approach it or pull it off. ¬†With so much at stake in The Nine, I have no intention of doing that again, leaving the state in which I crossed the finish line last time totally aside.

I have no idea when I’ll start writing this one, and I’m not going to speculate, as I don’t want to feel I have to rush to it. It won’t be until I’m ready, until I know where I’m going and how. ¬†I need to check something in both books that I’ve already written before I can get too far into outlining, but I can’t do that right now. ¬†I’m not pulling Possession out of the drawer yet, as it’s not time, not even close, and I know I’ll get caught up in it if I open the file to check for that one thing. ¬†At least I know my own weaknesses, I guess.

What I find most funny, to me anyway, is that in spite of how intimidating I’m finding The Nine at the moment, I’m seriously looking forward to writing it. ¬†Or maybe it’s because of that intimidation. ¬†I love beating down a challenge, standing on it and saying “Yeah, that’s right, I won.”

And now, before I get back to trying to weave threads without tangling them worse than kittens, tonight’s picture, for your enjoyment.

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.

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.

Second Draft On Deck

Definitely news for me on the writing front today, so here I am posting before bed. ¬†Yesterday I managed to finish the new outline for Dark Mirror, in preparation for the total rewrite I need to do. ¬†I put it away, as I said I would, with the best of intentions to let it sit for a while. ¬†And, like I also said, I didn’t wait nearly as long as I had planned. ¬†I’m fairly impressed that I managed to hold myself back for slightly over 24 hours, which is better than I did with waiting to read the first draft. ¬†I can’t even take credit for that, though, as it was mostly courtesy of some gaming keeping me occupied. ¬†In any case, as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, was that I have read the new outline and I am still very pleased with it. ¬†I think it’s a great deal better and reflects better choices that spring from greater thought put into those choices. ¬†It’ll give me a good basis for a better story and better draft.

 

With that in mind, I’m about to embark on another write-a-thon. ¬†NaNoWriMo worked well for me, so I’m going to go with that model again. ¬†30 days, write every day, have an overall goal and daily pace, and then see how far I can go. ¬†I’ve even made up a tracking program similar to the tool NaNo offered us. ¬†I’m not going to bother giving it a name better than write-a-thon, because it doesn’t matter. ¬†The goal is higher than it was with NaNo, for a couple of reasons. ¬†First, I think we can all agree that I proved 50k words in 30 days isn’t a challenge for me. ¬†I went so far beyond that as to nearly double it. ¬†Also, I’m off work for 10 days between Christmas and New Years (yay vacation!) so I will have a lot of concentrated writing time, which means I need a higher goal in order to be pushing myself appropriately. ¬†So I’m setting my 30-day goal at 75k words. ¬†I still did a fair bit more than that for NaNo, and I think I can this time too, but I wanted to keep it reasonable and not shoot myself in the foot by over-reaching. ¬†That will give me a daily pace number of 2500 words, which I think I can do if I remain committed and willing to push myself. ¬†I’m still kind of in the swing of writing all the time from NaNo (I hope) and the last half of NaNo, I was hitting 2500 most days, more on plenty of days, even ones I worked on, so I think it’s reasonable.

 

I’m almost tempted ¬†to sit down and start now, but I’d like a day or so to get my brain locked into writing mode, so I’m going to start Friday after work. ¬†30 days from that takes me to January 15th as my finish date. ¬†As with NaNo, I’m going to be reporting my progress back here on a regular basis. ¬†My only real concern at this point is whether my brain is sufficiently recovered by now from NaNo, but I think it’s in good enough shape for this, and it wasn’t that broken at the end of NaNo anyway (no one was more shocked than me to find I could still formulate sentences after the book was done). ¬†So, here goes, wish me luck. ¬†I’m hoping my test readers will have something to comment on by maybe mid- to late-february, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. ¬†I have to remember to do this the way I did NaNo, one day at a time. ¬†Let the adventure and blizzard of words commence. ¬†My supply of hot chocolate (writer’s fuel) is ready, and the Netbook is charged up.

%d bloggers like this: