Daily Writing Check-in: April 8, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I have been struggling hard with this outline. In my last post, I suggested that more character interviews might help, even though I had still come up short of how to fill out the middle of the book by the end of a long interview with Jonathan, the main character of the book. I thought about who might be good to interview, and decided to just start with the character who has the greatest antagonistic influence on the story.

My thinking was that even if the conversation came up flat and cliche, I could always give up and move on. It took me a full page of my half-size notebook to get past her annoyance at me even making her talk to me, but by the end of that page, I had already had my first niggle of a break-through. The next few lines came slowly as I began to realize that this idea could be exactly what I needed…and then began to question if what I was thinking was even possible. I started following that thread, and now…I’m sold!

After a couple of weeks (of days with actual writing work, not real time) of just having no clue what I was missing in a story that was  already in desperate need of an interesting middle and lead-up to the climax when I wrote it 3 1/2 years ago, this kind of eureka moment is just amazing! I’ve said it before, and I will never stop saying it–discovery is my absolute favorite thing about writing!

I didn’t write the last 2 days, so I’m a little behind for Camp NaNoWriMo. But I have a feeling it’ll be easier to get back to it now that I am excited about this story again. That doesn’t mean I won’t still skip days this month, because of the difficult and draining “end game” work I’m doing before I leave my job, but I doubt I’ll be dreading getting to the writing anymore for a while.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 5, 2019

Words/Time:  37 minutes working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

Today involved mental brainstorming again. I eked out a few more ideas for the dead zone of this story, but am still missing what pulls everything together. I keep telling myself that I can just write out the plot points that I do know and leave some spaces to fill it in later, but I just can’t quite seem to move on.

I’m wondering if character interviews might help me, because they have gotten me through some serious blocks in the past, but even while interviewing Jonathan, the main character of this story, I was left with this hole. Maybe I need to talk to a different character, but I’m not sure who.

I’m on par for Camp NaNoWriMo. I suppose that since my daily goal is the same as it has been, this isn’t terribly exciting, but I still like having somewhere else to hold myself accountable.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 1, 2019

Words/Time:  35 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued my conversation with Jonathan about the events of this story, and read over my brainstorming from when I wrote the first draft. I think I might just have a more solid grasp on this story now. In any event, I’m ready to start laying out the plot points and see what it looks like.

Camp NaNoWriMo started today. I set my goal at 30 hours for the month, which I’m already behind on. But I am okay with that. I take Camp NaNo seriously, but not quite as seriously as NaNo proper. It will help me push myself, and that’s all that matters.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 31, 2019

Words/Time:  20 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued my conversation with Jonathan about the events of this story, which I had not finished at the point that I took an unplanned break. The conversation is still proving very insightful, though I think its usefulness is coming to an end. Not because I have the events figured out, but because I’ve run up against the big, empty 2nd half of act 2 & beginning of act 3. The same late mid-section that I left empty in the first draft of this book. I just feel like there’s something missing, but I haven’t hit on what it is yet.

I don’t know if this means I’ll need to do some more broad brainstorming, or if I need to pick a different character to interview, or if I just need to let it sit for a while. Or even if I need to go ahead and write the outline I have so far, and even draft it from that, and see if more plot points come up during the actual writing (it happens a lot for me). It will be difficult to even decide where to go next.

It has not been the most stellar month of writing for me, but I’m really glad I had enough self-motivation to get even 20 minutes in today. Since I officially quit my job 2 weeks ago, but agreed to stay on to help finish a huge project and train other people, things have actually gotten worse at my job. I have taken refuge in the game Stardew Valley most evenings as a coping mechanism. As much as I’d rather say I use my writing, story world, characters, etc. as a coping mechanism…this is just too much to cope with.

Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and I hope to be able to push past my emotional and mental issues caused by work, and be able work on my writing every day this month, with an ultimate goal of an average of an hour a day. I know that might be unrealistic at this time, but if I don’t set my goal higher than what I do outside of Camp, then it’s almost pointless to participate. I’m also well aware that I might end up crashing and burning in this attempt, but it’s worth trying.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 12, 2019

Words/Time:  23 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

First, I wrote out a couple of big questions about a major event in the book–mostly asking when and why this event happens. Unlike other times when I write out a big plot question that I’m stuck on and brainstorm all possible solutions, this time the answer didn’t readily present itself. I sat and stared at the page for little while, trying to decide how important this event was to the story at all. But I do think it’s crucial to the climax. And I think I have figured out the why, though I am going to wait to commit to the when.

I then continued my conversation with Jonathan about the events of this story, hoping it will lead me to the when.

I cut my time short tonight, even though I still have an hour and a half before midnight, because I have a headache and had a frustrating, emotionally taxing day. Figuring out the plot for this story is a marathon, not a sprint, so no need to push myself on a rough day. I’m going to veg out on video games now.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 11, 2019

Words/Time:  50 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued my conversation with Jonathan, and we started to talk about the events of the story. We cleared up at least one mess caused by a terrible first draft, and then I realized I had a huge question about when a pivotal event should happen in this new, hopefully much better outline.

I also spent a little time tracking down a backup to my outline for “Unexpectedly” because I thought I had lost a lot of information somehow. It turned out it was just a setting in Scrivener that I didn’t realize I had triggered. Boy, did I panic though, because the info that I thought I was missing wasn’t in the backup either. But it’s all safe, so I’m good.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 10, 2019

Words/Time:  25 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued my conversation with Jonathan, talking through the major players who are working against him in this story. I think we have them straightened out, so tomorrow, we’ll start focusing on the events. I may be ready to work on the outline relatively soon.

I didn’t do any work yesterday, because I just didn’t have the desire to do it. I’ve learned in the past that if I push past a strong feeling to not work on writing, it can lead to burn-out (in fact, it was NaNoWriMo 2015, when the first draft of this story was terribly written, that I learned that lesson). It can be a delicate balance, because if I just ignore my writing for too long, I can end up in a months- or even years-long slump, but I knew I was still enjoying doing the work, just didn’t feel up to it yesterday.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 8, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 5 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I finished reading the first draft of the book that was written during NaNoWriMo in 2015. I actually did that yesterday; it took me 8 minutes before I went to bed. Then yesterday, my husband and I went to a concert and we’re home until after midnight, so I didn’t do any other work, and decided it wasn’t worth typing up a post for 8 minutes worth.

The rest of the time was spent, both before I went to bed this morning, as well as this evening, having my first one-on-one conversation with the main character of this book–Jonathan. He’s been included in a group discussion in the past, but I needed some time alone with him to try to get a handle on this plot. It’s kind of all over the place. We’re making progress, but I anticipate this conversation lasting several days.

The Pithea Books

Go here for an explanation for this post.

“Pithea”

This book introduces the island country of Pithea, and its citizens’ dependency on Power, as well as their eternal struggle against the Madness. Our narrator, Drear, tells us about his friend Missy and his brother Naolin, as they attempt to find their places in society, but are met with the harsh realities of life in a series of unlikely events, menacing villains, and both triumph and tragedy.

Current status: Final draft completed, but pending future first drafts could force changes

Pithea

“Outcast” *

In this book, Drear introduces us to some people who are important to future events, and shows us how they are connected. Natos Morano has been a member of a band of mercenaries known as the Class of Morano since birth. He is faced with a personal crisis, as a woman he’s never met tells him that he is not meant for this life, and forces him to choose between the only family he’s ever known, and his true family that is long gone.

Remiel Azrael finds himself caught between family and his own morality as he attempts to help a woman who is in desperate need. But when her situation turns out to be more dangerous than he realized, he faces a crisis of his own, and is forced to face his demons.

Current status: New outline finished, second draft currently in progress

Outcast

“Pursuit of Power”

Drear introduces us to Alexander Surett, a driven man with a tendency toward obsession if given the right target. In this first book of the trilogy, Alexander’s drive to find out about questionable circumstances surrounding his dad’s death leads him to ignore some of the region’s highest laws, which regulate Power usage. In doing so, he attracts the attention of the leader of the Class of Morano, who wants to recruit him. When he refuses, she takes it personally, and he has to set aside his search for answers about his dad’s death to try to stop this madwoman. The result is all-out war.

Current status: Draft 3 completed, structural changes ahead

Pursuit of Power

“Unexpectedly” **

The small island nation of Pithea has been at peace with its neighbors for hundreds of years. However, when a destructive force rises up from within, the rest of the country has to decide whether to choose sides or remain neutral. What follows is a civil war with a high body count. In this book, Drear tells us about some of the men and women who fought in the battle, on both sides, and the effect the battle had on their lives afterward.

Current status: Outline finished, first draft pending

Unexpectedly

“The Seeger Book”

Jonathan has been given an amazing gift in the form of exclusive access to a highly desired instruction manual written by a master blade smith. When it comes to light that someone has been making copies of the priceless book, tensions rise between Jonathan and the friend who owns the book. The mystery deepens with the death of someone involves, and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect. Drear shares this tale of intrigue in which no one is who they seem to be, and years of trust will be shattered.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

The Seeger Book

“Vin”

There was a time when Missy was plagued by mysterious men who seemed to wish her harm. They spoke to her as if they knew her, and seemed to be connected in some way, but she had no idea how. In this culmination of smaller events from previous books, Drear tells us of the shocking events around the revelation of the mystery that these men created around themselves. He shares glimpses into the mind of a dark, twisted, lost soul, and the final outcome won’t be what anyone expected.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

Vin

“Protector”

Drear takes us outside of Pithea and the union of nations it belongs to for the first time. Altmoor is a country that has never even heard of the Power, and certainly does not use it in any way. Altmoor and its king are entrenched in a centuries-long war with their northern neighbor, but suddenly learn that there is much more to fear than a mere border feud. When a single man wreaks havoc on the entire region with a sorcery that they cannot combat with swords and bows, it draws the attention of powerful people in Pithea who offer to help, but also open their eyes to a whole new world.

Current status: First draft done, at least first half will need rewritten (purpose of story changed by the end of the book)

Protector

*The order of “Outcast,” “Pursuit of Power, Book One,” and “Unexpectedly,” relative to each other, is subject to change. They all have some commonalities that could spoil each other, so I have been spending a lot of time trying to decide which order they should go in. I’m settled with this order for now.

**The title of “Unexpectedly” came from a fanfiction that is the basis for this book, but it will be very different than that fanfiction. So the title is a working title, and most likely won’t stay.

Daily Writing Check-in: October 29, 2017

Words/Time: 308 words, and approx. 45 minutes of NaNoPrep

I did some writing practice with a prompt, in the hopes of drumming up something for tomorrow’s Monday Moment. It turned out to be a little too cryptic to share, but incredibly interesting to me for a backstory of another character who has always been a bit of a mystery to me (his past has been…not so much his present).

I also started from scratch once again on trying to outline my NaNoNovel. I got through about a page, and then had no idea where to go next. Even though I have made some amazing and insightful strides with part of this story, the other part is still such a blank in my mind. And the part that is shaping up is not nearly enough to be a stand-alone story.

I’m still shaking off some sickness, and need to be back to work tomorrow. My mind has been fuzzy for 3 days, so that most likely has something to do with my difficulty in figuring this story out (at least I hope so). It just seems like every time I think I figure something out, more questions come up. I can’t even say this is the most unprepared for NaNoWriMo I’ve ever felt, but I still don’t like it.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)