Weekly Writing Update: February Week 4

This week I got to do some writing for “Outcast,” (book #2), rather than revising, which is always more fun for me. I didn’t have as many nights to work on it as I’d like, which I’m really hoping will be better this week, but it was still nice to do some actual writing. So far, I’ve only written 2 scenes, and didn’t even finish either of them. In total, I wrote about 1500 words last week. Not exactly NaNoWriMo pace. I need apply the methods of NaNoWriMo and write in concentrated sprints, I think. I’ll try that this week.

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts,
Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Weekly Writing Update: February Week 3

My primary goal this week was to brainstorm new scenes to add to “Outcast,” book #2 in my series, based on early feedback. There are 2 main areas of the story that I’m going to add more to in some way, and one of those areas is one I’ve focused on in freewriting a lot over the last few years. So I have several scenes in mind that would work well in this story, with some revision.

While searching for some of these scenes, past-me reached out and slapped present-me in the face. I do my best to keep my writing practice all in one place. I may write it in various different notebooks at first, but I try to make sure I type everything into the computer and keep it all in sub-folders of one main folder. But apparently I still fail at this sometimes. So I went looking through some of my notebooks for one scene I remembered writing (it wasn’t easy, because I have so many currently active ones, any one of which I may decide at the time is the best place for writing practice). When I found it, I also found something else…something revolutionary.

Apparently back in September, during the early part of the current draft of “Outcast,” knowing that I needed more words, I used my Writer Emergency Pack to try to generate some new ideas. I wrote ideas using two different cards, but had forgotten all about them. When I recently found what I’d written 5 months ago, I got really excited. The truth is, most of what I wrote wouldn’t generate a lot more words, but I already have enough new scenes in mind for that. I think. But these were some ideas that would strengthen certain parts of the story, and the series as a whole!

So with some new ideas, I knew that what was coming next was not going to be easy. I had to figure out how to fit all this new stuff in to an existing draft.  I had a really rough time wrapping my brain around how best to do that, and kept getting to my evening writing time late. So I put it off. I did very little for my writing for most of the week. Not nothing, just very little, and not what needed to be done.

So today, when some plans fell through, I found myself with a few hours of free time this afternoon/evening. And I decided that the best way to proceed was to break the story down to its basic parts (scenes) and just dig into it. And though normally I am able to do something like that on Scrivener, it just didn’t seem helpful today. So I made a spreadsheet with scene headers and printed them out, cut them apart, color-coded them based on the story arc they were for, and wrote out new ideas on other pieces of paper. And I spread them out over the table and moved them around until they made some sense.

scene break-down

I also remembered how much easier it can be to sort out the scenes in this story when I group them more by story arc, so that’s how I did it. I can’t really decide on the new order of scenes until the new scenes are written anyway, so this is good for now. I now have a new outline. After updating my Scrivener file for this story to reflect what I did with the papers, it’s going to be time to start writing new scenes (yay!!).

While I work on continuing the series, if you’re interested in reading where it all starts,
Pithea is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback (it’s also on Kindle Unlimited).

Daily Writing Check-in: May 30, 2019

Words/Time:  2 hours, 6 minutes finishing the outline of “Protector.”

As it turns out, there is a place for the formal outline style in my life. Though it didn’t work out for me in the past when outlining a story, it worked quite well for this one. Though I have outlined the story in Scrivener as well, that’s mostly because I already have a draft written, and will keep maybe 2/3 of it, so the already-written text can be sorted by scene there. But over the last couple of days, I started making a formal outline of this story as I tried to understand how the scenes would flow best, and it worked wonders.

I spent a lot of time getting this just right today, and marking the places that will need a new scene, or will need a lot added to an existing scene. There are still many other scenes that will need some revision (well, probably all of them to some degree), but that’s a job for another day.

For now, I have finished #5 on my list of writing goals that I put forth on Feb. 4th!

1. Outline “Outcast” – Time spent: 12 days (total of 8 hours, 32 minutes worked)

2. Outline “Unexpectedly” – Time spent: 7 days (total of 7 hours, 36 minutes worked)

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – Time spent: 26 days (total of 20 hours, 39 minutes worked)

4. Re-outline “Vin” – Time spent: 16 days (total of 18 hours, 3 minutes worked)

5. Re-outline “Protector” – Time spent: 14 days (total of 13 hours, 56 minutes worked)

I already know what my next 2 goals will be, and I’ll re-evaluate after that. I’ll post those tomorrow though.

(I went through and added approximately how many actual hours I put into each goal, because I knew that some days I worked longer than others, and was curious about how much time was actually spent on each task. Most interesting to me is that the work on “The Seeger Book” was only about 2 1/2 hours longer than the work on “Vin,” but it took 10 more days.)

Daily Writing Check-in: May 23, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 23 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Protector”.

I continued reading the first draft, making a few small changes along the way. I’m on page 78 out of 172 of this read-through. After several short days of work, today felt great. I was a little slowed down by having to move scenes around in my draft, to match how I had ordered the scenes in Scrivener. And I actually changed them there a bit too, to structure a few scenes better. I am really enjoying how this is shaping up, even knowing that I’ll have some big decisions ahead of me about which scenes need cut to accommodate the change from a pure romance to something much more than that. But I’m enjoying it for now.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 14, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 5 minutes working on the new outline of “Vin”.

I had already put the broad outline into Scrivener from the first draft, so I’m starting with that. Some of it can definitely be kept (not necessarily the writing, but the plot), and some of it is being moved to the end and marked as “cut.” I want to wait until I have solidified the outline before I delete those.

I’m also adding in the new direction the story takes after the first act, which is where I left off today.

I haven’t completely decided yet if I will completely rewrite this story, or keep and revise the scenes that are being kept and just rewrite all of the new stuff. I’ve always struggled with rewriting, because I’m too inclined to try to write it the same way it had originally been written. But I think it’ll be more complicated to just try to make the scenes that I’m keeping flow into the new stuff. So…decisions.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 8, 2019

Words/Time:  57 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

I again started out with the writing practice, which took about 35 minutes. The writing practice I’ve been doing lately have been really interesting, bringing up some brand new ideas for a book I know is past the 7 I already have planned, but haven’t thought much about yet. Today’s prompt led me to write a little scene from near the end of “Unexpectedly” though, and it just solidified one of my plans for that book, because it was incredible. I know there is so much work ahead of me, but I just can’t wait until these books are done and can be read by others.

The rest of the time was spent making some broad notes on how I want to proceed with the outline for “Vin.” I’m struggling a bit with where to go from here though, and from past experience, that usually means it’s time to have a talk with one or more of my characters. It’s just a matter of figuring out who that should be. I do have an idea though, so I’ll start with that tomorrow.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 7, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 17 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

I again started out with the writing practice, which took about 25 minutes. I find it interesting that for the last 4 days, the prompts I’m pulling are leading me to write about events that are more related to “Protector” or its aftermath than anything else. Maybe that’s only because “Protector” is at the end of the books, chronologically, at least in terms of what I have much planned for, so what happens past that is still a lot more open. Maybe it’s just because I like “Protector” so much. Or maybe it’s just the prompts.

The majority of the time was spent putting broad scenes into Scrivener and marking some that will likely be cut completely, or just partially cut. I finished putting in the rest of the story today, and tomorrow will start to look at what I need to do next.

With how close I was to losing Camp NaNoWriMo last month, I’m really surprised I’ve picked up the pace so much this month. I set a goal at the beginning of the month to work for an average of 30 minutes per day this month, and I’ve far exceeded that. I hope a crash isn’t coming, and that this is just a great month!

goal tracker 19-5-7

Daily Writing Check-in: May 6, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 16 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

I started out with the writing practice, a practice that I used to try to keep up with, so I could not get so bogged down by revision (or in this case planning work) that I lost the joy of the actual writing. I have found myself really wanting to do a little free writing, rather than having to push myself to do it, so that’s a good thing. And the ideas it can generate for the stories I still need to outline are pretty surprising.

The majority of the time was spent putting broad scenes into Scrivener and marking some that will likely be cut completely, or just partially cut. I also added in a couple of new scenes I already know I want to include, but I’m trying not to start making big changes like that until the current draft is at least outlined. I’m less concerned than I was even a week ago that it will be difficult to come up with new ideas to flesh out the plot.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 5, 2019

Words/Time:  54 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

Over half of this time was spent finishing reading through the first draft. I then used a prompt for some free writing for 10-15 minutes, which will be tomorrow’s Monday Moment.

And for the last few minutes, I got Scrivener set up to start putting broad scenes into it, to start outlining the first draft of “Vin,” so I can see what I’m starting with at a glance, figure out what needs cut and what can be kept, and decide where to go from there. I’ll work on that tomorrow, because I’m pretty beat right 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.