On Outlining.

I’ve been discussing in the comments of my last entry my outlining process, and that got me thinking. I really am not that organized.

When I did the first draft of this novel, all the way back in NaNo 2011, I had a process. I had a detailed outline and I didn’t let myself deviate at all. That sucked. I didn’t have well-developed characters, I just had small ideas of what I wanted to do and no way to get there. As such, I had lots of storylines that I didn’t know how to tangle back together and writing it was not fun.

For this, I did the opposite. I had lots of well-developed characters and nothing else. The world, I’m making up as I go along. The plot itself, doing the same–I have an entire religious/capital punishment plotline that came about organically and I really like it. I think that’ll stay through to the second draft. 

I prefer outlining like this, to be honest. I like knowing where each character starts and ends and figuring out the middle.

In other news, I’m going to try to finish this novel tomorrow. I’ve got 65K right now; I can do 20 today and 15 tomorrow and then figure out where I’m at. The last plot threads of this section are tying together; I’m about to kill the girl who is going to ignite everything. I just need to figure out how to kill my queen, and I’ll be set.

Advertisements

and we were dancing, dancing like we’re made of starlight

(The title is unrelated. I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s Starlight for a long time now and I like that line.)

Anyway. I hit 50K! I didn’t write at all yesterday & then did 8K today so I’ve officially “won”. I’m… roughly halfway through? Probably? I honestly have no idea. I have too many viewpoint characters and too much that I want to do with this and each of those characters. Maybe it’ll end up being 150K instead (hopefully, hopefully not, I want to wrap this up this month and get onto the next book which is about totally different characters).

I don’t have too much to say. I got a wrist brace which has been helping a lot. It’s midnight-ish and I think I might finish the chapter I’m on, about a thousand more words, and go to bed before one. Tomorrow I’m starting my reread of Dune which is going to be great. Man, I love that book.

Yes! 50K, though! I’m really pleased. 🙂

I haven’t written anything today. I’m having problems

I haven’t written anything today. I’m having problems with my wrists, so I gave myself the day off (and tomorrow, but that’s due to circumstance rather than choice). 

Instead, I’ve been looking through old documents and stories of mine. I’ve been doing this the past couple of days; my documents folder is woefully disorganized and every time I try to fix it I get overwhelmed and click out.

The other day I found a 48,000 word document with a keysmash title that I had no recollection of writing. I tried to read it, but it in all honesty wasn’t very good and I was cringing too much to finish. That’ll be for another day when I have more willpower and figure out what I was going for with it.

Today, though – I found a 44,000 word novel and again, had no recollection of writing it. (I’m beginning to see a pattern. I’ve written a lot over the years, it seems. At least enough that I can blank out on entire novels.) I’ve never seriously edited a novel other than Retreat, so I assumed it was going to be terrible. I went into it with trepidation.

It’s… not that bad. I’m about twenty thousand words in. I can tell where I was going with it. It’s the sequel to the one that I never finished reading. As a result, the beginning didn’t make much sense and there were some weird bits that I think are related to things that happen in that unnamed novel, but overall it’s not that bad. This is a surprise – usually my first drafts are terrible. I mean, there are run-on sentences and this was during my overuse of the dash and some of my dialogue falls flat… but there are scenes that I reread a few times, just because I was so happy with the way they turned out.

I’m going to finish reading it probably tonight (or the day after tomorrow, as I have to be up at 4 am) and then think about tackling the other novel. I’m also pretty sure it’s related to my 2010 NaNo novel, which is half on paper and half typed and I never got into one document. It’s a big headache and what I’ve read isn’t very good, but I’ll figure out how to consolidate it all and start working on it.

I had such plans for this series – I have maps and mythologies and gods/goddesses and explanations for magic and I entirely forgot about it. For the past two or so years I’ve been so focused on Circuit and all its incarnations that I forgot about Uproar (the name of what I think is the first novel). I have lots of side stories for Circuit; I’ve been reading them and laughing at how different it is now than it was in its inception. But (and I completely forgot about this) I have lots and lots of side stories for Uproar, too. Other than Uproar itself, I have 34 documents in the folder, all of which are at least a couple thousand words.

I think I’m going to try to work my way through reading all of this; I’m not going to seriously work on it until I at least finish the draft of Circuit but I am going to try to organize it. Looking at all the various stories and side stories and AU things I wrote is giving me a headache. I want to be able to read it as I intended but I’m not sure where to begin. Is Uproar the first novel, or is it the thing where Leanhe is a five-year-old (which is what was so terribly written)? I know the one I’ve been reading isn’t book one; in my journal, though, I call it an “AU telling of the Rebellion”, whatever that means. 

That’s my headache of the week. Meanwhile, my wrists are killing me again so that’s enough for me.

40k!

First off, let me say that I am proud of my brain’s ability to figure out how to fix a plot hole. I wanted to wrap up several conflicts at once and I didn’t know how because I went into this part with no knowledge of what was going to happen, just a character and a rough idea of the ending. I had a religious arc, a prison arc, and a capital punishment arc, and I didn’t know what to do unless I wanted everything to take another 50K. So I thought about it and I managed to tie all three of the resolutions together using the son of the first “victim” of the war as a figurehead. It looks a little funny right now, but I think it’ll look less contrived and make more sense in later drafts. Which is awesome, because before yesterday I had no idea how to solve any of this. 😀

So, I hit 40K, and the end of part two of five. Which means I’m now onto the really, really interesting (to me) bits. Part three, Rhiannon’s arc, was originally supposed to be the beginning of this novel but I decided it was too weird to jump straight in and I wanted to tell the story of before, too, on Earth. I was thinking this part would be around 20K as well, but I’ve been thinking about all the stuff that has to happen and… probably closer to 40K. Maybe longer. Eurgh. (This novel is not looking like it’s going to be wrapped up in July if I keep my 100K word goal. My life has become a series of numbers and “how much longer can I write”s.) But to come are woman kings and lady knights and fleshed-out characters that I don’t have to think of on the spot! And… religious figureheads that don’t die in the first few minutes, a prophet that’s more of a queen of the people, and ALIENS! (Eventually, aliens. I keep promising myself that. Eventually you can write about the neat aliens that can kill everyone.)

Along with finishing part two, I did my first 10K day of the month! It doesn’t sound like a lot compared to past things I’ve done but considering I haven’t done much writing at all since my November blitz, and my wrists have been hurting this month, I’m pleased. Also, most of the 10K is usable – there are minor things that are going to have to be fixed (mainly names of people and things – this is supposed to take roughly a thousand years in the future so they wouldn’t have the same cursing conventions we do and there likely wouldn’t be a lady named “Carla”) but overall, plot-wise, I really like it. 

I keep finding myself thinking about what “future readers” will think, though, and I need to stop that. It doesn’t matter what religious overtones are going to be able to be found in it if I never write the damn thing. 

I wasn’t kidding about my wrists hurting – I only have one wrist brace that I bought a few years ago and I keep alternating it even over small bursts of writing, like this blog post. I think that’s a sign that this is enough from me. Bye, all.

A quarter of the way through!

I’m still at my friend’s house until tomorrow, but I told her I wanted to at least hit 25K by the end of the weekend so she’s been letting me write while she goes on the internet. (And yesterday when I didn’t want to do anything she gave me ice cream, which was a wonderful incentive that led to me writing 2K when I would probably have written nothing otherwise.)

I woke up this morning (well, afternoon) rather sick and didn’t want to do much writing. I realize this isn’t really in the spirit of JulNo, but I was feeling awful just looking at lights so computer screens didn’t really seem up my alley. I did eventually get up, though, and felt much better. I didn’t start writing until around 9 though because I am terrible and also was hanging out with people. (And I bought a book called Unnatural Creatures, which is a book of stories about monsters as collected by Neil Gaiman! I think reading that shall be my reward for when I hit 50K.) 

I was really worried to actually start writing because this is my least-planned part of the novel; I decided on a character archetype for the main character and nothing else. I didn’t even decide on anyone else’s names, which led to “Which actress do I like? Natalie Portman! Natalie is now her name” (this despite the fact that I don’t actually like Natalie Portman much at all; ah, well). 

But. I thought about it and decided on the main conflict of the next 10K or so (namely, is capital punishment cruel or necessary?) and now I am rocking it. If my wrists weren’t protesting so much, I’d love to write 5K more tonight.

I hit 25K though, and I’m really pleased. I’m overall rather pleased with my output this month, actually. I have written more in less time in previous NaNos, but I wasn’t as happy content-wise as I am with this. 

On Holidays.

A quick note: apparently this blog is now three years old. Aw.

So today was the fourth of July (still is for about two more hours – and the guys shooting off fireworks down the street certainly aren’t letting us forget it. Hell yeah, America). Now, I’ve never in the past few years had problems with writing on holidays – even Thanksgiving, I can find time to squeeze in a few thousand words (and, to be honest, I’ve never not hit 50K by Thanksgiving). The fourth of July isn’t a big deal in my family. We do small things, have maybe one family member over. I think this is in part due to the fact that my dad died around this time of year? I mean, not entirely, it’s been five years, but I think the chill fourth events started because of that.

Anyway. I woke up this morning expecting to be able to write a thousand or so but my mom called me – we went shooting (archery) for a few hours. That’s okay, I told myself, I’ll write when we get back. But of course when we got back there was cleaning to be done, and then a guest over (and I’m not rude enough to leave the room/hide in my own when we have company) and, all things told, it’s 10:12 pm and I’ve written a hundred words. Granted, this is better than nothing, and I have thought a lot about what I’m going to write. It’s weird, though.

Holidays have never, ever affected my NaNoing (noveling, I suppose). I can always beg off, or hide in my room, or something. This time, though, the events just took over the day. I’m not complaining, though – I got a good workout and got to have a lot of great conversations with my family that I wouldn’t have had if I’d spent the whole time writing.

All things told, it’s 10:15 and I’m going to try to write a thousand or two before bed (by 12, I think, because I am absolutely exhausted). I’m sitting at 17K at the moment. My ultimate goal is 20,000 words, but I don’t know. If I can’t reach that, I won’t be upset at myself.

This JulNo is so chill. I’m enjoying myself, something that I don’t really get to do during most NaNo months – I spend the whole time not being happy with my output, or wanting to constantly write more. It’s a great experience, honestly! I like being proud of myself. I like enjoying what I write. I like writing 1K in 15 minutes and being proud rather than saying “there was a time I could write 1500 words in that time”. Yes, that’s true, but those words would also have been mostly crap while these are… not good but salvageable.

Essentially (or, as the internet kids say, tl;dr): I get, now, why people dread Thanksgiving so much during NaNo. I get it, you guys. (But I also really had a great day. So. Today was a success, if not so much for my writing.)

Circuit, take three.

I haven’t updated this in… what, two years? Oh, well. Life got in the way, I got another blog, I gave up on that as well. Perhaps this will be updated more often now; we’ll see. I’m not going to make promises because those never seem to work. Hopeful thoughts, more like.

Anyhow. I’ve been doing JulNoWriMo this month. It’s day three and I’m at roughly 11,000 words. This is my third time writing this novel – I’ve reworked the plot so much that it’s only recognizable as the same novel by the barest plot (war over water leads a group of survivors to flee to a new planet). I’ve been jokingly calling it a “feminist manifesto disguised as a sci-fi political thriller” because the entire idea of this draft stemmed from the line you could be the king but watch the queen conquer, from Nicki Minaj’s verse of Monster. Essentially, all of the people in power are women.

It’s interesting writing this because I’m trying very hard to put women in important roles, and men in the lesser roles. Not so much that it comes off as forced, hopefully. For example – I had a scene at a doctor’s office, and one of the characters was a receptionist. My go-to thought was a woman because that’s usually the gender you see as the “receptionist” or “secretary” in fiction nowadays but in making it a man it made the scene feel different to me.

Anyway. Perhaps that didn’t make sense. Essentially: in a surprise to no one, I’m thinking a lot about gender while writing the novel that will never be done (as I’ve been affectionately calling it).

I’m going really slowly writing this one. Well, slowly for me. I could do 10K a day if I wanted to, have another draft banged out really quickly, but to be honest I’m sick of entire rewrites. I’m trying not to burn myself out on this, to think about character motivations and how to resolve scenes other than “this is easiest! do that!”. It’s a lot of fun for me but it’s also really difficult; I’m not used to writing in this way. (I did 50K weekend two years ago and while it was fun, most of the writing is not salvageable.) Instead of writing in bursts and then quitting for months, I want to get myself back on track writing every day, even if it’s only 500 words before I go to sleep.

I suppose this is enough procrastination. In the time of writing this I’ve watched four YouTube videos and written two words on the actual novel. There will probably be more posts over the month, most of which will be about this novel (or the other stories I’m working on in between). 🙂