Daily Writing Check-in: May 16, 2019

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

Compared to how the rest of this month went, today was a very short day. I didn’t get to my writing time until 11 pm, so even though I was enjoying today’s work, it just had to be a short day.

I’m starting this task the same way I did the last 2 on my list of writing goals–reading the first draft so that it’s fresh in my mind. This one is already the freshest, since I wrote it during NaNoWriMo last year. Add to that the fact that I’ve read different parts of it here and there in the time since then, and it’s the freshest in my mind of all of the stories I’ve worked with this year. However, I know there are plenty of scenes that I hadn’t planned in advance that I will need a reminder on, so I might as well read it all the way through.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 15, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 13 minutes finishing the new outline of “Vin”.

Now that I have finished the new outline, I have decided that this needs a re-write, rather than revision. It will flow a lot better that way, considering how many new scenes there will be, as well as how many scenes I cut and scenes that would have needed revision…I think in the end, one scene from the original draft would have been left alone completely. And the opening. I still love the opening.

I will probably start with the opening and re-draft from there. And when I get to the other scene that doesn’t need changing, I’ll skip it. It’s fairly set apart from the rest, so it’ll be easy.

There is also a series of letters from the protagonist to the…I guess he’s technically the antagonist, that I don’t necessarily plan to rewrite. We’ll see how I feel as I go though. I do plan to add actual scenes to bolster the letters though.

So that finishes #4 on my list of long-term writing goals. Tomorrow, I will start on the 5th and final goal on this list.

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

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

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – Time spent: 26 days

4. Re-outline “Vin” – Time spent: 16 days

5. Re-outline “Protector” – I originally anticipated this needing the least amount of work of everything on this list, but after seeing how little time I spent on 1 & 2, that may not be the case. Plus, I’m a little concerned about how difficult it’s going to be to make the decisions about what can stay and what needs to go. 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.

I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I started this list of goals. I really love what this story turned into. I just don’t know how I’m going to separate the original vision of the book from the true vision.

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.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 2, 2019

Words/Time: 49 minutes working on a new list of short-term writing goals. I also spent this time writing up short synopses for 7 different books that are in various stages of development, because I’d like to share a bit about them as I also share my goals related to them. My new list of goals will probably be posted tomorrow. If anyone is interested in the meantime, my story blog has some information that will likely make parts the synopses clearer.

Here is the official list of previous short-term goals, which are now all completed!

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” enough to be readable by a friend.

4. Read through “Pithea” for further necessary changes

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.

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.

goal tracker 12-16

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.

Daily Writing Check-in: December 12, 2018

Words/Time: 60 minutes finishing a spell-check on my 2018 NaNoNovel.

I was less than halfway through after starting the spell-check yesterday, but I decided to get the rest done tonight. Fortunately, I had time to do that. Tomorrow I’ll re-start putting scenes into Scrivener. Even just doing a spell-check, I was reminded about how much I really enjoy this story. I can’t wait to dig into the revision, but it really does need to wait.