Daily Writing Check-in: December 23, 2018

Words/Time: 25 minutes doing some early revision of “Pursuit of Power.”

I started on the list of difficult things to revise today, but didn’t get very far (they’re labeled difficult for a reason). There are 8 total. The first two I realized I didn’t know if I needed to change at all, so I put question marks next to them and moved on. The third item I just noticed that I didn’t even see, so I’ll come back to that. The fourth item I completed, and the fifth is what I was working on when I stopped.

While I was trying to figure out what to do for the fifth item, I read something that brought me back to item 1, which is at the center of an uncertainty I’ve had about this story for quite some time. And then I had an “Aha!” moment and realized I knew how to solve this issue. I made a note to come back to it though, because it would take a bit more work, and went back to item 5.

This new idea will require even further examination of “Pithea,” but that’s okay, because my next overall writing goal is to read through that book and look for any changes made necessary by books I wrote later.

Today was definitely a “work 20 minutes just so I can say I did the minimum” kind of day. But it’s 2 days before Christmas, so that’s not a surprise. And even then, after I had reached 20 minutes, I kept going for a few minutes, because I was caught up in it. But now I have to go take care of things for tomorrow and Tuesday.

goal tracker 12-23

I have surpassed my goal of 10 hours of writing work for this month!

Daily Writing Check-in: December 22, 2018

Words/Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes doing some early revision of “Pursuit of Power.”

I have a list of 24 items that need changed in the story. These are just the issues I knew about and wrote down either right after I wrote it (during NaNoWriMo in 2014) or when I first tried to revise it in February of 2016.

A few months ago, I went through the list and marked each item as either simple to fix, difficult to fix, or to be left for later. During today’s work, I revised all of the simple items (there were 10). Next, I’ll go through the difficult ones (8). Then I’ll read through the whole thing to find what else needs revised to make it a decent read before moving on from this story for now.

Daily Writing Check-in: December 21, 2018

Words/Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes, finishing item #2 in my list of short-term writing goals, and starting on #3:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2018 NaNoNovel, put scenes into Scrivener while I still remember my ideas

2. Make Aeldrim not be dead in “Pithea

3. Revise “Pursuit of Power” just enough to be readable by a friend who is interested. I have hefty revisions planned for the structure of that book, but it will take a long time, and they won’t affect the overall story of this world, just what goes into that book. So before I dig into the major work that was part of my recent absence from writing, I want to just make it readable.

4. Read through “Pithea” for further necessary changes

Finishing #2 took me over an hour, but I think I have removed all references to the aftermath of Aeldrim’s death. Now he gets to live and drive everyone crazy in future stories (which will mean I have to write him in to some drafts, but that’s okay. Writing him is a challenge and requires me to step out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing).

As for #3, I have to be careful here. The revision of this book contributed to my almost-3-year hiatus from writing. I am not looking forward to figuring out what I have to do to make this book work. But even just making this post, and re-reading my plan for goal #3 led me to realize that I’m doing too much right now. The plan is just to fix it up the way it is, make it readable, not make it “work.” I will keep the small amount of changes I made on the way to figuring out a better plot line, but instead of continuing down that path (for now), I am going to dig out my list of bigger changes that need made before I am comfortable letting anyone read it.

This friend who is going to read it was instrumental in getting me to where I am in writing these stories, and I know he will enjoy the story for what it is, even with the scenes that I will eventually deem unnecessary to the story (or just having the wrong focus). I look forward to hearing his thoughts on this draft.

Daily Writing Check-in: December 20, 2018

Words/Time: 397 words and 1 hour of work, starting on item #2 in my list of short-term writing goals:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2018 NaNoNovel, put scenes into Scrivener while I still remember my ideas

2. Make one obvious change to “Pithea” that is not actually a huge change for that book, but will affect future books a lot. Basically, a side character dies for no real reason, and I’ve realized that future books would be much better if he lived. So he’s going to not die, but because his death did allow a minor plot point to happen that still has to happen, I have to first brainstorm how to make that plot point happen anyway.

3. Revise “Pursuit of Power” partially

4. Read through “Pithea” for further necessary changes

I have the most difficult parts of the change made, but now I’m following rabbit trails while trying to make sure I catch and change any details that are different with the un-death of this character. I tend to get caught up when I go back and re-read my stories that I haven’t read in a while. I’ll try to pull myself away and get through this item quickly.

Daily Writing Check-in: December 19, 2018

Words/Time: 21 minutes putting my 2018 NaNoNovel into Scrivener by the scene, which I finished. Then I spent countless hours doing research for world-building for the same story.

So quick background–my NaNoNovel, “Protector” is the 2nd book in a trilogy, which in turn is part of a larger book series that takes place about 2000 years in the future. It is post-apocalyptic, but not dystopian. A world-wide technology ban has put the world in a medieval mindset in some ways, but also in some ways, the people are somewhat modern.

The majority of the books I’ve written for this world take place on a fictional island off the coast of what is currently Alaska. But “Protector” takes place on the continent of North America.

When I wrote this draft, and really up until this morning, I had planned for it to take place mostly in the New England area of the US. But I had a major realization today that threw off everything I had planned.

I was thinking of the continent as far too small of a place. Far too small. Distances between key locations were too far for what was going to happen, and it put the rest of the stories way too far away for what I had planned. A common enemy draws 2 characters from the main series of books into “Protector,” but they are way over near Alaska and British Columbia. Even with some non-traditional means of travel (for their level of technology), it was just too far.

So I moved the main country in “Protector” (currently called Altmoor) to the west coast of the United States. It took a lot of time to pin down a location where the story would work, given factions and events. But I think I have it pretty close. Details may change later, especially since I’ve never been great at understanding geology and topography when it comes to world-building. But for now, I think I’m settled. And I’m really glad I tackled this now.

Now I’m ready to start on goal #2!

Daily Writing Check-in: December 18, 2018

Words/Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes putting my 2018 NaNoNovel into Scrivener by the scene.

I ran into a huge issue today, in the scene organization I did yesterday. While I am willing to put scenes out of order if I feel the story can be told more interestingly that way, this was just sloppy. However, the way the scenes involved are written, it doesn’t flow the way it needs to go. But I’ve got some ideas on how to make it work, and I made notes about those ideas so I don’t forget some day.

I am actually really wishing I could just start the revision on this story now. I know I can, because it’s not like it’s not up to me. But I know that if I do that, I will be further delaying even the chance for these books to be readable by anyone else in the order they need to be in. So I need to finish this task and move back to the revision of the first books. But man, do I love this book…

Daily Writing Check-in: December 17, 2018

Words/Time: 27 minutes putting my 2018 NaNoNovel into Scrivener by the scene. Also 187 words of writing practice.

I thought I’d finish it today, but it’s a little more complicated than just copying & pasting. For one thing, I’m trying to utilize the tools in Scrivener to allow myself to see summaries of scenes at a glance, so that takes a little longer. But I’m also still trying to make sure I have the story flow right as I copy & paste things over. I don’t want to get too crazy right now, worrying about the flow and structure, but some of the “present time” scenes really need broken down into tiny bits to be spread out right for the “past time” scenes. I’m afraid the story is actually going to end up disjointed because some of the present time scenes are only a few lines. I’ll worry about that later though.

A Monday Moment: Christmas Spirit

For today’s Monday Moment, I pulled another card from my Story World: Christmas Tales set. I pulled this out last night and thought about what to write, but ended up just too tired to think of anything (I had a very long week).

I usually prefer to post these Monday Moments earlier in the day, but I just came to a point where I knew I wasn’t going to write anything worth reading last night. I hoped to have time to write something today, but the card hadn’t sparked any ideas, so I decided to look elsewhere.

Then I picked the card up again and reminded me that what I write doesn’t have to be taken directly from what’s on the card, but can go anywhere, inspired by the images.

Here is what I came up with:

Christmas was always his favorite time of year. It was also the time of year he was the most unbearable. She had grown accustomed to his jovial nature, his generous attitude, and his childish spirit. She could even pretend to like it. But it all went into overtime during the Christmas season. She was most in danger of revealing herself then.

She knew there were risks, but she had the sleeping powder for a reason. Granted, it wasn’t just to give herself a break, but somehow, every year, there was that one night that she had just had enough. She couldn’t handle it anymore. She couldn’t handle him.

After the first two years, she found that she was looking forward to the night she’d treat herself by putting him to sleep for a while. The type of sleep she knew he wouldn’t shake himself out of no matter what little goblins and demons worked around him. She could have her peace, get her work done without hiding, and even have a visitor over.

Maybe this year, she’d treat herself a second night. Or was that too greedy?

Christmas Eve2

I’m not sure I kept with the spirit of the card…on the other hand, that snowman is creepy.

Daily Writing Check-in: December 16, 2018

Words/Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes putting my 2018 NaNoNovel into Scrivener by the scene.

I made some serious progress today! I had to boil down the rest of the scenes in a sentence or so each, and then figure out where all of the “past” events best fit in as flashbacks in the “present” time. It was written all out of order. Sometimes it was obvious where the flashbacks belonged, but in a few places I had to jot down some new things that could happen or be discussed in the “present” time, to prompt a flashback.

I am pretty happy with the layout now, which is basically a new outline. I suspect I will make some further changes when I get into revision, but that’s going to be much later. Tomorrow, I will copy and paste the actual scenes into Scrivener in the order I came up with today, and then I will be moving on from this novel, letting it rest for a while.

After that, I’ll move on to goal #2 in my list of short-term writing goals.

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Definitely not slacking off this month!

Daily Writing Check-in: December 15, 2018

Words/Time: 21 minutes putting my 2018 NaNoNovel into Scrivener by the scene.

The draft I wrote last month was written in a somewhat complicated way, or at least it will be complicated to sort it out if I wait a long time to do it. I may have forgotten my plans by then. The novel starts in “present time,” then the bulk of the story is told in flashbacks, sometimes even going further back during those scenes. But as the month went on, I added quite a few unplanned scenes to the story, and I don’t have the organization figured out yet. So I put in the first half of the story, the organization for which I knew. And now I have to outline the rest of the scenes and see if I can figure out the best order.

If it turns out to not be doable without writing more, or without too much work, I may actually leave it for later and decide that fresh eyes might actually be what’s best for it someday.

I did not post the previous 2 days, because I did no writing work. It was not out of laziness, however, it was due to working too late. I’m trying very hard to balance family, work, and writing for the first time since starting this job, but an overwhelming project came to a head and I just couldn’t get to my writing work until it was too late, or until I was just too tired. I was very happy to get some work in tonight though.