Daily Writing Check-in: January 29, 2016

Words/Time:  512 words of free writing. A minor character in “Pursuit of Power” actually just disappears about a third of the way through the novel. I never planned for him to even be there; he just showed up while I was writing. And then there was nothing for him when things started picking up (because he wasn’t meant to be in the book), and so he just slipped away. I’m going to allow that, but I wanted to give him a reason to slip away, which I’ll include in the story now. That’s what I wrote about today.

My updates for the next week will look different and may be sporadic. My husband suggested tonight that I take a week off from writing. He thinks that I’m beginning to stress too much over how long it takes for me to get to my writing time each night. He’s not exactly wrong, but I told him that taking a break from my writing isn’t necessarily going to alleviate stress, since it’s something I enjoy so much. So I’m meeting him halfway. I won’t plan to work on my revision work every night for the next week, so I’m not upset when normal family issues threaten my writing time. But if I do have some time after kids are in bed, I will still do a little free writing.

He thinks of it as a week-long vacation from my writing “work” that might help me de-stress, but I don’t see how it will change anything for after the week is over. However, since it’s only a week, I’m agreeing to it. Who knows what’ll happen.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 27, 2016

Words/Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes listing out the rest of the scenes in “Pursuit of Power” in Scrivener. While doing that, I realized my timeline wasn’t entirely accurate in some areas. I hadn’t referenced the timeline while writing, apparently, and I’d made the first part of the timeline many months before writing the first draft. I had to make some decisions about whether to change the dates in the timeline or to change it in the story. I could have saved that work for when I start reading soon, but it was bothering me.

Scrivener scenes PoP

This is my novel in a very boiled down, zoomed out, and color-coded sense. The different colors are different plot lines. The red is the main plot. The purple is the one I need to work on most. It may seem unimportant and worth deleting entirely, but it’s the personal life of the secondary main character. I always found it difficult to remember to include what was going on in her life throughout the story, and when I did, it seemed like a waste of time. So I need to spend some time figuring out what about her life is important enough to include, and the best way to slip that in here and there.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 26, 2016

Words/Time:  45 minutes revising “Pursuit of Power” during the writing group meeting at the library. To start the real revision, I’m writing out a list of scenes and color coding them by plot line. I’m also tagging them with the characters who are involved, and may add setting to it later. Hopefully this will help me to make sure my subplots are tight (and worth including) and that there aren’t random plot strands that shouldn’t be in the story.  It’s also giving me a chance to re-familiarize myself with the story as a whole before starting to read.

I was going to do this on paper with a pen, and then highlight different plot lines with different color highlighters (I got the idea for this here, but the rest of the process I do in a different order or a different way). But at the library, I didn’t have a pen, only a pencil (which wouldn’t work well with highlighter). So I figured I’d see how it worked in Scrivener. Once I figured out how to color code it and how to add characters to each scene that could be grouped later, it went pretty well. And I can see the whole story board at once, which is nice. I got through about half the story today, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to finish it tomorrow.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 25, 2016

Words/Time:  1 hour, 45 minutes starting revision for “Pursuit of Power.” I scanned through the whole story looking for notes I’d left myself while writing. Broad notes that came up during or after writing were written  down. But more detailed notes like reminding myself to explain something sooner or questioning whether to keep a paragraph were put right into the text with parentheses around them. And there were one or two notes that I literally wrote right into the text with no style difference or anything else to make them stand out. It’s possible I won’t find some of those until I actually read through the story.

Now I have a decently long list of big and small changes I know I need to make while I work on the second draft. I think I’ll keep those nearby while I start to read through the story the first time. This will be a broad revision, focusing on the plot and characters, making sure it all makes sense and flows as a whole. I’ll try not to pay attention to sentence structure and word choice now, though I know that’s easier said than done.

A Monday Moment: The Meeting

There are a lot of names, both people and locations, in this writing, and I realize it might get confusing. Sorry about that.

“I don’t understand why we’re having this meeting again.”

“We told you, Seth. We want to discuss—“

“There is no secret mercenary base in the middle of our desert!” Seth, the leader of Torreo Territory, insisted. “I told you that the last time we met.”

Looks were exchanged between the other leaders.

“Yes, you did tell us that,” Taellyn’s leader Rowena said diplomatically. “However, it is difficult to believe you now that we have eye witness testimony.

“What ‘eye witness’?” Seth asked with narrowed eyes. “That’s impossible.”

“Why is it so impossible?” the leader of the militia in Bhorpal Territory asked suspiciously.

Seth looked at him with even eyes. “Because there is no base there.”

Flynn, the leader of the national government, sighed. “This is getting us nowhere. We can argue the likelihood of this assertion all we want, but without proof, we can’t come to an end to this argument.”

“We have proof,” Taellyn’s militia leader stated. “We have the word of two people, one of whom is well respected.”

“She’s a Cleric,” Rowena said. “And her father is one of the leaders in the Academy. Tell us, Seth, why would she lie?”

“I don’t know,” Seth said with a firm shake of his head. “But maybe you should let me talk to her so I can find out.”

“No,” Flynn said. “It will be simple enough to prove. As she is a Cleric, she can Stormwalk back to the location she claims to have seen the base. She can show us what she’s found.”

“You can’t do that!” Seth shouted, standing to his feet.

“Actually,” Verica spoke up, “we already have.”

“What?” Seth spun to address the leader of his territory’s northern neighbor Jaffna. “You’ve done what?”

“We’ve asked the Cleric in question to take us out to the desert, my militia leader and myself.”

Seth turned back toward Flynn. “How could you let him move against us this way?”

“Honestly, Seth, I don’t understand why you’re acting like this was a personal affront to you or your territory,” Flynn said with narrowed eyes. “If Morano has been hiding out in a secret location in the desert, how are you involved?”

Seth sputtered. “I—I’m not. But to conduct a search in my territory without so much as informing me… That is not in the spirit of the friendship agreement between our territories.”

“I authorized the ‘search,’” Flynn said. “That is well within my rights as national leader, according to the agreement.”

“Well then,” Seth dropped back down into his chair. “What did you find?”

“We didn’t get close, because we were afraid of detection,” Verica reported. “But there is definitely something out there. Not far from the mountain range that divides the desert and the southern shore. There was a wall.”

“A wall,” Seth scoffed. “That’s all? You can’t be sure what it is then. Maybe it’s just a wall left over from a town that used to be there before the Pithean War. Or even before the Tech War. You don’t know it’s Morano.”

“I suppose we don’t,” Verica said. “Not yet.”

“But we will find a way to verify what is beyond the wall,” Rowena said. “And if it is Morano…”

“We’ll need to decide what to do about it,” Flynn concluded for her.


Daily Writing Check-in: January 24, 2016

Words/Time:  665 words of writing practice just to make sure I didn’t go two days in a row without posting. Just sitting down at 11:30 pm, I asked my husband for a quick prompt to get me going. He came up with, “Two men walk into a bar and one pulls out a gun.” Not exactly the most inspirational, but I made it work. Not one of my favorite pieces of writing, but they can’t all be.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 22, 2016

Words/Time:  523 words of writing practice writing out something that was swimming through my mind all day today. I would have done more, but my husband wanted to play a game we started earlier in the week. It’s called Her Story, and we’re very nearly at the end.

Tomorrow, we’re doing another escape room. The owners of one of only 3 escape room companies in our immediate area, and our current favorite, have asked us to beta test their newest room. So we’re going to do that tomorrow. (The room is already open, but they want us to give them detailed feedback after we’ve finished.) Hopefully I’ll be home early enough to get some work in tomorrow.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 21, 2016

Words/Time:  308 words of writing practice followed by half an hour of working on “Pursuit of Power.” Sort of. I got it into my head that the prologue I wrote for the novel wasn’t going to work for it anymore, because it focuses on the greater mystery that won’t be solved in this book. So the prologue is unrelated enough to not be worth including. And then I had a sudden idea for a different prologue. Not that there has to be a prologue, I know, and therein lies the problem. One of the problems. First, the idea I have for a prologue, which is actually directly related to the main villain in “Pursuit of Power” would be a rather long prologue. And second, in doing some research for how long is too long for a prologue (I know there’s no set length, but I went looking for opinions), I found out that prologues are actually strongly disliked in general. I didn’t realize so many people just skip the prologue. I’ve never been that kind of person, but apparently many are.

Is the story of how the villain (who you won’t even meet in the book for a while) became who or what he/she is, which isn’t integral to the story, of interest? I suppose that’s too vague a question, because that could be anything from a kid who wasn’t loved enough and vowed to never be in a position to need anyone again to a guy whose entire DNA was rewritten and he became a literal monster.

So some questions for anyone who comes across this post:
Do you generally read or skip prologues in books? What kind of information do you hate or love to see in a prologue?

Daily Writing Check-in: January 20, 2016

Words/Time:  282 words of writing practice. Also 1.5 hours working on the rest of the timeline for “Pursuit of Power.” There are a lot of places in the story where I wrote vague amounts of time. Something lasted for “several months” or happened “after a few weeks.” Of course it’s much easier to do this while writing than to bother to come up with a specific amount of time. Creating a timeline off that is a little annoying though. I muddled through, and some entries can always be shortened or extended later as I fit other stories during or after this one. I use Aeon Timeline for my timelines, and it’s the most helpful writing software I’ve ever used.

I think my next step will be to plan out a sketchy idea of the events that will take place for Alexander, the main character in this story, after this book ends. From what I can tell from my timeline, the next story involving Alexander has to take place 4 years after this one ends. I think I can make that work

Daily Writing Check-in: January 19, 2016

Words/Time:  20 minutes finishing the grammar check of “Pursuit of Power.”

My next step is to finish the timeline of this story that I started back when I outlined it, but only got as far as the last point that this story connected to “Pithea.” That was all that mattered at the time, because I needed to make sure both stories lined up accurately. “Pursuit of Power” goes past the time that “Pithea” ends, so I need to finish the timeline.