Daily Writing Check-in: May 29, 2019

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

After posting about how uncertain I was about the way this work was going yesterday, I thought about what I said near the end of the post. I then came to the decision that I did have the wrong plot as the main plot. So I’ve changed some things up in my mind, and while the climax for the book that I have so far is not for the main plot, I think I can add another climax that will be for the main plot. And I even think I can downplay the climax I have so that it doesn’t overshadow the climax for the main plot that I will still need to write. I think.

Today’s time was spent continuing to sort through the scenes, adding in new ones that will need written, and moving some around so that they flow better. I’m still doing a lot of staring and thinking, but I feel like I’m understanding better as I go now. I’m really looking forward to the revision of this book, but I know it will be far down on a list of goals after I finish the current list.

I also started to put events into my timeline for all of the Pithea books, because I realized that some things were really skewed. I am considering cutting out about 2 years of time in this book.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 28, 2019

Words/Time:  59 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Protector.”

I anticipated it being difficult to try to sort through the scenes in the first draft and decide what was extemporaneous to what the story became and needed to be cut. But I had no idea how difficult it would be. I did a lot of staring and thinking today, and trying to come up with how to even sort through the scenes and figure out how to make the story flow without some scenes that I think might need cut. I fear I’m losing too much, but that if I keep some of this just to make it flow better, it will make the real purpose of the story drag.

So I guess I need to decide how important it is for the plot thread that continues from “Pursuit of Power” into this book to be the main plot. But if it’s not, then the climax is not actually related to the main plot…which I’m sure is a literary no-no.

Today’s post is probably more rambly and confusing than normal. That’s because I’m so confused.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 27, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 30 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Protector.”

I finished reading the first draft, making a few small changes along the way. Then I had to analyze the best way to proceed with sorting out which scenes can be kept and which are not related to the main plot, or an important-enough sub-plot and have to be cut. The way this story is laid out makes it difficult to wrap my head around some of this, so I decided the next step is to actually put the scenes into chronological order. That will help me a lot later anyway, because I’ll need to put this story into my timeline of all of the Pithea books at some point anyway (probably before I’m done re-outlining it).

The scenes are now in chronological order, so tomorrow I’ll start color-coding them by plot/sub-plot.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 11, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 3 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin.”

I continued the character interview with Naolin, which was no less insightful than character interviews ever are for me. Then something that was said led me to decide that it’s finally time to put “Protector” into my timeline of all of the Pithea Books, so I started on that. I am not going to put in every event, since the more solid outlining of that story is still ahead of me, but just the parts that connect to “Vin.”

Daily Writing Check-in: May 3, 2019

Words/Time:  3 hours, 42 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

3 hours were spent reading through the first draft of “Vin,” which was written in November of 2017 for NaNoWriMo. I’m now on page 109 out of 137, deep in the climax scene. This time was spent throughout the day, coming back to reading whenever I could, because I just enjoyed it that much.

When I got to my normal writing time in the evening, I decided that with so much time already on the clock for the day, it was a good day to get some writing practice in, so I pulled a prompt. It ended up leading me to a scene that involves a story I have barely even thought about yet–book 3 of the “Pursuit of Power” trilogy*. It actually led to some small ideas for a story that intimidates me, because it’s been in such darkness for so long. It’s invigorating to have some light shed onto it out of nowhere like this.

I also had a crazy, out-of-nowhere idea for the story I’m currently outlining, “Vin,” that solves one big issue I had, and also adds some serious drama and intrigue. After the free writing, I took some time to write that idea down so I didn’t forget it, and then decided that I had plenty of time in for today.

I don’t know if any of these ideas today will make it anywhere, but I’m really enjoying the organic discovery that’s been happening, after weeks of coaxing ideas for “The Seeger Book.” I know both ways of arriving at a story are valid, and it doesn’t make the plot & outline for “The Seeger Book” any less good or worth writing, just because it took more work to shape it to what it is. But the random, out-of-nowhere ideas are just so much more fun and exhilarating. And considering how light on plot “Vin” is, it’s going to take a lot of new ideas to shape it into a story anyway.

*I’m still guessing it’s going to be a trilogy. I haven’t figured out what the 3rd book will entail yet, or if it will be too much for just 1 more book after the 2 I have planned.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 2, 2019

Words/Time:  2 hours, 2 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin.”

I spent that time reading through the first draft of “Vin,” which was written in November of 2017 for NaNoWriMo. I’m now on page 50 out of 142.

I feel a little like I’m cheating, calling this writing work, because it’s super easy to spend a lot of time on it. In fact, after I post this, I may go back and read some more tonight. As I said a few days ago, I really enjoy this book. However, I’m also seeing some major weaknesses in it that I will do my best to write out of it. And I don’t just mean the parts of the story that I know I need to change, but things like one of the main characters being a little…overwhelmingly unhappy and…not exactly whiny, but I can’t think of another word for it.

I did also spend quite a bit of time making some tentative changes to my timeline for all of the Pithea Books. I had to add 2 years before this story, and make sure it worked out okay. It meant seriously extending the time between milestones in a relationship that so far won’t be seen developing in any actual books, but I still want to make sure is worked out. Interestingly enough, I once decided I needed to compress that development…and now I’ve de-compressed it, or at least some of it.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 1, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 2 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin.”

I spent that time reading through the first draft of “Vin,” which was written in November of 2017 for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t get very far though, as I already had to make some notes of things that need to be different, or had to look at my timeline to find out how much time has passed since a certain event in the past. And I found out that it was a lot less time than I had originally been planning. So far, I don’t like that. It just doesn’t give me as much punch where I need it.

Tomorrow I will play with my timeline and see if I can add a few years in there without messing up the delicately balanced timeline for all of the Pithea Books. If only I didn’t have to make my stories intertwine so much…

On the Eve of NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo starts in 4 hours where I am. It has been a hard-fought month of prep for me. For one thing, I was just getting myself back to a place where I could work on my writing regularly again at the beginning of the month. I got back into the swing of posting every day to hold myself accountable to doing some form of writing work each day.

There were 3 main things I wanted to do before November came:
1. Clean my main writing space.
2. Post a synopsis for my novel, along with 2-3 other posts about NaNo, writing in general, and my other novels.
3. Make a solid outline for my NaNoNovel.

Then I got sick. And let’s see how my plans worked out?

1. I did get this done, just today. Initially, my husband and I planned to clean more around my writing space too, but today, he said, “What do you want done, bare minimum?” So now my work desk is cleaned off, so I can put aside work things and focus on writing more easily, and I have even organized various papers, notebooks, and scrapbooking things into a filing cabinet that I’ve had for a while, but was too lazy to do much with.

2. This post is a compromise for me…I had more detail I wanted to share about things I learned during my prep time this month, but some of it has actually sort of been watered down in my mind by snags that came after the exciting moments. I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but that’s okay. Once I get past the first few scary days of November, and hopefully past this flu (I’m just guessing it’s the flu, but it tracks), I will still post some of the other things I wanted to share, but there’s one that will probably never be written (titled “Planners are Cheaters,” by the way).

3. And then there’s my NaNoNovel…The novel I’ve planned to write next month will delve into the mind of someone more broken and dark than any characters I’ve written about so far.  It’s not the first time I’ve planned to write something out of my comfort zone. Two years ago, I wrote 2 murder-mystery themed stories, which was a first for me. Last year, I wrote about the time my dad spent in the hospital for 3 weeks in September of that year. Writing like that was very different for me.

However, the shape and form of this novel has changed pretty drastically about 100 times since I started planning it 3 weeks ago. I have been concerned for most of those 3 weeks that I won’t be ready in time. I don’t need a long, detailed outline, sheets on every character, note cards, or any other such degree of planning. But I wasn’t even sure I would have a broad outline, and I can’t stress this enough–I am not a pantser. (I’ve tried.)

Fortunately, just yesterday, I finished a 2-page, handwritten outline. When I say “finished”…well, I got as far as I could without knowing where the writing will take me. I often (not always, but often) will write 2/3 of an outline, and then start writing, because I’m not even sure what is going to happen next, but I have good reason to believe that the actual writing will bring out the rest. This outline covers about half, maybe more, of the story. The other half(ish) of the story has a fairly solid timeline to help me know that broad plot points.

I’ve decided that I can’t post a synopsis for my story though, at least not more than the early one I already did. The story is still too much of a mystery to me, so much that I can’t even say what the true “main story” is going to be until I write it. This one’s going to be a fun one to edit, I think…

Okay, now looking ahead to tonight, and the rest of the month, I have two key things I want to say:
1. I will be starting right at midnight. I do that every year, and whether I write 500 words or 3000 words, anything I get done before going to bed is a huge mental jump start on the month!

2. I will blog every day about my experience doing NaNoWriMo. This will be the third year I’ve done this, since starting my blog (2014 and 2015). There may be those who are curious about how others get through the month (I know I am). I have also found that I really enjoy being able to look back in later years and read about my progress through the month. And since I already post here every day that I got any writing work done, as a way of staying accountable, it’s not much of a stretch.

I have not yet heard for sure whether or not we will have new NaNoToons this year, but if so, I will share those every day. (If not, maybe I’ll go back and share them from an earlier year!) I will also post episodes from the NaNoMusical throughout the month, because I still love it to pieces and can’t not try to get others to love it too!

I wish my fellow Wrimos well, and hope to hear from some of you during the month!

Are you ready for NaNo to begin? Do you plan to do the midnight sprint tonight?

Daily Writing Check-in: October 30, 2017

Words/Time: approx. 45 minutes of NaNoPrep

I did manage to work on my outline for my NaNoNovel some, though I was still sick today. I think I have a decent start on the main storyline, and the “letters” storyline I think is already sort of outlined in the timeline. So I’m getting close. I’m hyper-aware of the fact that at this time tomorrow, I will be preparing to start the midnight sprint, and I still feel lousy.

My husband suggested I take the first few days of the month off, but I can’t quite explain to him why that’s not an option. I don’t expect to rocket ahead like I have in previous years, but I don’t think I can just not write when November 1st comes.


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!)

My NaNo Survival Kit

I figured with NaNoWriMo drawing ever closer, I’d share my own list of items that I’m collecting for my November survival kit. Some are ready to go, some I still need to get ready.

1. Laptop – The laptop itself is ready; in fact, I have a new one this year. It’s a work laptop, which comes home with me, and it’s very nice. The keyboard is a little frustrating though. I can’t say exactly why, but when I type my normal speed, I end up skipping letters way more often than I do on my desktop.

My writing space around my laptop is what I still need to work on. It’s piled high with papers and notebooks, related to both work and writing. I have a wooden filing cabinet near my desk that I plan to use to start organizing work papers, and go from there. That’s on my to-do list for the rest of October

2. Outline – I keep starting on this, and keep running into questions. I may need to stop worrying so much about a physical outline, and at least think through all of the broad points (it helps that I do have a timeline with key events listed out) to make sure there aren’t any more huge questions that need answered now, while I have more time. And this is just one plot thread I’ve been trying to outline. There will be another one, that I just realized yesterday might actually be a bigger thread than I thought, that I haven’t even started thinking about yet. So yeah, lots of work left to do on this, and I have how many days left?

3. Timeline
timeline Vin
I may not have an outline yet, but, as I mentioned, I do have a timeline. Because my 2017 NaNoNovel encompasses several other books, with some intertwining characters and plot points, I had to get this timeline set up a long time ago. Events have moved around a lot since then, even a lot just in the last couple of weeks, but I think it’s set now. And if I don’t end up with much of an outline, this will at least be something.

4. Notebook, pencil, & eraser

007

And believe me, I has all the notebooks!

I still love the tactile feeling of writing by hand. I don’t do it much during NaNo, because it’s just…so…slow. But I always have at least one notebook with me when I leave the house during November, in case I have a chance to write, or even just a stray idea to jot down.

4-b. Thinkink Pen
fidget pen
The pen is metal and bendable, and comes with attachments that are either magnetic, or at least metal. It’s a fidget pen. I’ve noticed a tendency to take apart mechanical pencils when I’m in a meeting, or when I’m writing and have to stop to think. I’ve broken more than my share of pencils that way. This thing has been great!

5. Leftover Halloween candy & other snacks – It’s become a tradition for my husband and me to go out on the day after a major candy holiday (mostly Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter) and get a few bags full at half-off. It’s really the only times we buy candy, and then we split it between the 4 of us in our family, and make it last as long as we can. I tend to stress eat when I’m writing. It’s not a good habit, but one I can’t seem to shake during NaNo.

6. Full stock of coffee – For me, this is about more than the caffeine. I enjoy coffee, cappuccino, or hot chocolate when I’m settling in for my writing time simply for the taste. And the warmth, since it tends to be cold here during November.

7. Thumb drive – Somewhere I have a thumb drive with my writing backed up on it. It’s probably 2 years out of date, since there’s no way I was organized enough to back anything up during last year’s NaNoWriMo. I’ll have to dig it out, catch it up, and then use it to store my writing on. I tend to go back and forth between my laptop and desktop, because the laptop is upstairs in my bedroom where it’s quiet, but sometimes it’s nice to be at my desktop–more comfortable, amongst the people (downsides there, of course), and usually warmer.

8. AlphaSmart Neo

I did an entire blog post on this already, so I won’t go into much detail here. This will be my first NaNo with it, and I am really looking forward to it. I’ve already gotten quite a bit of use out of it during prep time. In fact, after using it for 3 days to “interview” one of my main characters as a way to break through some blocks, I had transferred the writing to my computer, and tried to finish it there. But it just wasn’t the same, and I couldn’t quite focus. This thing may transform the way I do NaNoWriMo. Or it may just be a fun toy. (Though if nothing else, it will definitely come in incredibly useful for writing away from the house.) Either way, I’m hooked!

What’s in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Are you prepared for November 1st?