Daily Writing Check-in: April 30, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 27 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin.”

It’s kind of like deja vu, really. I figured I’d start this task by reading through the entire first draft of the book, which was written in November of 2017 for NaNoWriMo. But somehow, I managed to forget that I hadn’t touched this after the month ended, so it’s still in what I call “NaNo-form.”

Sometimes I’ll spend the first few weeks after November ends doing a quick clean-up of what I wrote–mostly removing things I marked as NaNo fodder and at least doing a quick spell check. This is usually better to do while the story is still fresh, and then it’s good to let it sit for some time. I didn’t do that after NaNo in 2017. Or apparently after NaNo in 2015, because this exact same thing happened when I started on #3 in my long-term writing goals list, when I wanted to start out by reading through the first draft of “The Seeger Book.”

So just like then, I started with a spell-check through the whole story today. That took almost the entire amount of time I worked. Tomorrow, I’ll start reading through the entire story, removing the NaNo fodder as I read.

Unlike with “The Seeger Book,” though, I’m really looking forward to reading through this draft. In the time since I’ve gotten back into my writing again, any time I needed to open up the draft of “Vin” to remind myself of something I wrote there, I ended up getting caught up in reading more than I needed to. Unfortunately, it’s not a solid story, just…fun scenes with some of my favorite characters. So it’s not good enough to stay like it is, but still fun for me to read, at least.

2019-Apr Camp Winner-Facebook-Cover
I am pleasantly surprised to be able to say that I did complete the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. The goal was to average 30 minutes of writing work per day. It was dicey for a while, considering how many days I skipped, but I finished today, and even went 20 minutes past. It helps that the work was easy on the brain (spell-checking). It also probably helps to be starting with a fresh story, after spending so long on the last goal.

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.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 6, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 48 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

Today I continued with reading the first draft of the book that was written during NaNoWriMo in 2015. I’m near the end and plan to finish it as soon as I have posted this.

For the last 2 days, I complained about how bad this was, and today was no better. But reading the climax, and reading through the last 6500 words of the draft, which was really just my “out-loud” brainstorming what I was missing in the story, so I wouldn’t forget my thoughts in the future, I at least remember why I was excited about this story in the first place. Which is a great place to be when starting to work on the new outline.

The main thing I’m learning from the jumbled mess I’m reading, though, is that I don’t really need to try to hold very strictly to what was already written…because I clearly had no clue how I wanted the story to go. So I might as well start from scratch with the very vague idea of the Seeger Book being at the heart of a murder-mystery. The culprit will be the same, and that’s pretty much it.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 5, 2019

Words/Time:  53 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.” (Same exact amount of time I spent yesterday…weird.)

Today I continued with reading the first draft of the book that was written during NaNoWriMo in 2015. It’s a pretty terrible first draft, even as first drafts go. I can tell I had no real focus, no solid plot. Just a few points to hit and a lot of boring stuff in between.

Developing sub-plots is going to be a necessary task for the development of this plot. The only one that exists right now involves nothing but a bunch of emo-fodder for the 2 secondary main characters. And then one of them said the most horrific line I’ve ever written (and I’ve written some doozies), and I just about gave up. I suppose it wasn’t what he said, but how he said it.

I also may be seeing some of the near-burn-out I experienced that year, which is just a sad thing to be able to feel in the writing. One of the reasons I’m reading through this is to remember the ideas I had for how the plot should go. Ideas that came up during writing, and thus can’t just be found in the original outline. Get the whole story fresh in my mind again. That part is working as intended.

The other reason, though, was to make note of any good spots–a good scene, good dialog, good paragraph, even just a good vague idea that I can use again. So far, not quite halfway through the draft…I’ve got nothing. So sad. But hey, I’m definitely learning what not to do in the next draft.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 4, 2019

Words/Time:  53 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

For now, this work entails reading the first draft of the book that was written during NaNoWriMo in 2015. So far, I’m not particularly enjoying it, which is sad, but not surprising. In fact, of all of the 7 books I have planned, all of which have at least some version of a draft written, this is my least favorite. Not the story idea itself, but what has been written for it.

I think the main reason for this is that I wasn’t as prepared in advance of writing this as I prefer to be, so it’s very disjointed. (I’ve said this before and will say it again–I am not a pantser.) But as I’m reading, I’m realizing something else–my long-time two favorite characters, who play a secondary role in this book, are just…annoying. She keeps whining and he’s not really helping much either.

I am now 100% certain this book needs a complete rewrite, rather than a revision, and I fully expect to come out way ahead after doing that. I have literally just this moment decided that I am definitely going to write the new draft for this for Camp NaNoWriMo that starts in April. As long as the outline is done and I feel confident in the mystery set-up. So maybe this. This or “Unexpectedly.” Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just use Camp NaNo to push the amount of the same writing work that I do in a day. Wow, I just talked myself out of writing the first draft of this book over the course of writing this paragraph.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 3, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 36 minutes finishing item #2 in my current writing goals list, and starting on #3.

Finishing #2 entailed finishing the outline for “Unexpectedly.” There are 4 character arcs for this book that I am outlining individually from each other:
Juris
Evan
Acronis
Rusalki

Today I finished Evan’s section, and completely outlined Acronis’s and Rusalki’s. I also hit on an idea for how to start the entire novel, showing the connection between all 4 characters right away, before the narrator, Drear, splits off their stories. I still don’t know for sure if I want the stories to be told simultaneously or linearly, but I’m pretty excited to have the starting point.

Upon realizing that I’m progressing through my list of long-term writing goals much more quickly than I anticipated, I decided to start keeping track of how long each one took as I move on to #3. (This is a count of actual days worked, so not counting days where I skipped working on writing, or worked on something else.)

1. Outline “Outcast” – Time spent: 12 days

2. Outline “Unexpectedly” – Time spent: 7 days

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2015. It was the 2nd book I wrote that month, and came in at 43,672 words. It is a murder-mystery, and only the 2nd one I have ever attempted (the 1st murder-mystery I ever wrote was earlier that month, and it really fell flat). It needs some overhauling and almost an entire mid-section, because I jumped from somewhere in the middle to the climax when the end of the month neared and I realized I was out of time to figure out the rest of the plot. I also think I need to re-think the suspects, clues, etc. of the mystery aspect.

4. Re-outline “Vin”

5. Re-outline “Protector”

I do expect #3 to take considerably longer than the other 2. The first draft was not very well planned, so I have a lot of work ahead of me to figure out how the story even needs to go. I’m starting with reading the first draft to remember all of my ideas. Unfortunately, it is still in full NaNo-form, because I didn’t touch it at all afterwards.

Sometimes I’ll spend the first few weeks after November ends doing a quick clean-up of what I wrote–mostly removing things I marked as NaNo fodder and at least doing a quick spell check. This is usually better to do while the story is still fresh, and then it’s good to let it sit for some time.

So I’ve already done a quick spell-check, and I’ll remove the NaNo fodder as I read.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 4, 2019

Words/Time: 34 minutes working on my new list of long-term goals:

1. Outline “Outcast” – I have the very basic skeleton of a plot, but it needs to be outlined anew. This is going to be more than just sitting down and creating an outline, but doing some brainstorming and free writing along the way. Maybe even some character chats. It’s going to take letting go of a story that was my absolute favorite for many years. I’m not even sure when it slipped out of being my favorite, but it probably has something to do with the fact that the fanfiction it was originally written as is so far in the past, and the world I have created is so much more interesting to me now.  It’s going to be difficult and time-consuming, but it needs to be done.

2. Outline “Unexpectedly” – I have a lot less of a plot in mind for this story, but I think it will be easier to outline than Outcast, because there’s not as much there to start with—not as much that needs broken down and rebuilt. While considering where this book could go, I’ve already hit on some new ideas that I’m really excited about.

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2015. It was the 2nd book I wrote that month, and came in at 43,672 words. It is a murder-mystery, and only the 2nd one I have ever attempted (the 1st murder-mystery I ever wrote was earlier that month, and it really fell flat). It needs some overhauling and almost an entire mid-section, because I jumped from somewhere in the middle to the climax when the end of the month neared and I realized I was out of time to figure out the rest of the plot. I also think I need to re-think the suspects, clues, etc. of the mystery aspect.

4. Re-outline “Vin” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2017. I spent the month before first realizing that this was the story to write that year, then figuring out what on earth this story was going to be about, exactly. I went back and forth on who the protagonist was, who the main character was, and most of all, learning the true motivations behind the title character. In the end, I wrote 69,878 words, but a good majority of it was just the characters telling each other stories about what happened in the past to get them to this place. It was fun and easy for word count, but not exactly a great plot. The plot was weak to start with though, so it needs some more work.

5. Re-outline “Protector” – This is last on the list because I anticipate it needing the least work. It still needs plenty, but it’s got a good starting point. I wrote this for last year’s NaNoWriMo, and it started out as a pure romance, just something fluffy to get me back into writing, since I’d been absent from it (minus NaNoWriMo months) for a few years. But by the end, it had turned into something much more important. However, for it to take its place amongst the other Pithea books, it needs a focus change, because the first half is not driving it toward the 2nd half well enough. So I will re-outline the entire thing with this new plan in mind.

Last time I posted my writing goals, they were short-term goals just to get some necessary, but overall quick work done. This new list is going to take quite a bit longer. Where the last list took about 2 months, I anticipate this one driving my writing work for much of the year. I hope to have #1 done in time for the 1st Camp NaNo session, so I can at least consider writing the first draft of “Outcast” during that month. After that, we’ll see how things progress before I start thinking of what I might be ready to do for the 2nd Camp NaNo this year. Another possibility is that “Outcast” or “Unexpectedly” will be my main NaNoWriMo project this November.

Anyway, back to the list. All of these goals involve outlining. A lot has changed in my plans for my stories in the last few years, and I think no matter what order I write the rest of these stories in, I need to have a decent idea of what’s going to happen in the others to avoid major trouble down the road. I know that outlines aren’t set in stone. I often go far off my outline while writing. But at least if I have outlined these remaining stories, I will have a much better idea of what’s going to happen.

Besides, none of this involves just writing an outline. Even though #1 is the only one that specifically mentions this, outlining on this level is always going to involve first freewriting, brainstorming, talking to characters, asking myself questions to get past plot holes, etc. I should have a pretty good idea of where these stories are headed by the time I’m done.

NaNoWriMo Day 7

The Words: 2100 written today.

I am really happy to keep making par these last two days. I am so tired today. After being sick for a week right before November started, I have had a lingering cough since then. Today my throat started hurting again fresh. I may be getting sick again, but I really hope not. Tomorrow will hopefully tell me more.

The Story: I cut short the story that started causing me trouble yesterday, the one Penny was telling about the events that took place during my NaNoNovel in 2015. That novel is still unfinished, and its events are a mystery to me (pun intended), so Penny telling the story got a little difficult. So I just stopped, ignored any need for a transition, and went right to Nathan, who had gone back to the house that Rogan took them to, planning to stake it out.

Then I accidentally skipped ahead and allowed him to make some progress at that house a day early. So I set aside what I’d written about that in favor of him returning home for the night, with the belief that the bad guy doesn’t have a reason to return to that empty house.

Tomorrow, I anticipate the plot really getting going, as long as I’m well enough to write much.

Total word count: 30,592

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: “The game is a shoe!

And it’s time to share episode 2 of the NaNoMusical!

NaNoWriMo Day 6

The Words: 2323 written today.

I knew I couldn’t sustain the higher word counts I’d been getting this month for long, but that’s okay. Even the year that I challenged myself to write 100k in a month didn’t yield this high of results this early. I don’t want to burn out, so this amount of words today is just right.

I had a rough day of work today. Worse than what I thought was rough 3 days ago. To sum it up, I went into work to drop something off, and was there for an hour discovering a plethora of mistakes employees had been making recently (no one was there when I went in, and most of this had happened Saturday). It was a barrage of bad, and when I got home, almost 2 hours later than I expected to, I still had to do some clean up for a while.

I finally got to my writing around 10:30pm. One 10-minute sprint was interrupted by my husband, for I-can’t-even-remember-what reason. The next 15-minute sprint was interrupted by him again, when he came to tell me that the oven was officially broken and we are going to have to get a new one tomorrow. At that point, I had about 1000 words, and just wanted to hit par for the day, so I didn’t use up any of my lead. I tried a #1k30min with the Twitter word sprints feed, and got interrupted by my son who was just trying to say good night. Poor kid. I gave up a few minutes from the end of the 30-minute sprint, but I’d reached the goal, so I didn’t care.

The Story: More talk. The only plot advancement was that Penny went to go find out if she’d received a response from Rogan’s brother yet. He’s been out of the country for a few months on an extended vacation, but with his brother’s sudden reappearance, Penny wrote him and asked him to come back to Pithea sooner than he’d planned. There’s been no word so far.

The main story this time is Penny telling Rogan and Ari about a bit of a murder-mystery that happened a few weeks prior. It’s actually the book I wrote for my 2015 NaNoNovel. I didn’t finish that story, though, and in the end hashed out a lot of what needed to happen, but never got back to it to finish the mystery. So on a day like today, trying to write about what happened in a mystery story that is still a work in progress…it sort of just fell apart. That’s when I gave up. When I come back tomorrow, I will probably be wise to just put a cap on that conversation and move on to some action.

Total word count: 28,492

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 6th