Filling Things In

I’m still working on reading through my story and making notes on where more info is needed. I’m trying to get through it quickly so it doesn’t fade too much. I’m hoping doing it fast will help me remember which sections I thought were going to need more info or added scenes while I was writing.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been thinking about how to proceed after this read-through. I plan to have that done by the end of December 31, and then the story is going to need some time to rest before I start revisions. I’m planning to let it rest through January.

While it’s resting (okay, I’ve already started this), I’m going to read up on good ways of revising a novel. Since this is the first time I’ve actually gotten to the end of a long work, this is going to be my first try at revising one. I’m thinking the first pass will be to go through and add in the scenes and info from the notes I’m making right now. That should give me a more complete first draft to work with. After that part, though, I’m not sure how to proceed. So, research time!

I’m also trying to figure out how to do revisions and write at the same time. Are you really supposed to stop writing while you’re revising something? That doesn’t feel right to me.

I’d love to hear about any methods (books, workshops, anything) that other writers use for their revisions. And I’d really love to hear how you balance writing and revising.

I hope everyone’s having a great writing week!

 

 

Stage Two

Stage two. STAGE TWO! Can you believe it? I wrote a book. A whole book, all the way to the conclusion!

I think I’m more excited now than I was last week. It’s finally really sinking in, and my excitement has grown. This thing is finished! It is complete enough to be doing revisions. I had actually given up on getting here. I have had so many attempts that I never finished. I kind of thought that was my thing–think of a story, do some planning, write some of it, move on to the next. But now I have actually completed a novel (okay, novella for now).

I gave myself a couple of days off, and now I am following my plan and reading at least four pages a day and making notes. I’m trying to not think about how I will fix the things I’m making notes on. It’s working some of the time.

I was a little worried that I would have a hard time keeping on the four-page schedule, but so far I’m finding it pretty easy. I even did six pages yesterday. I think I really will be finished with this part by the end of the year. And I’m going to wait until this part is finished before I plan for what comes next. Small steps, small steps!

NaNo Wrap-up

I’ve started this post numerous times in my head. I have so much to say! It’s all still tumbling around excitedly inside my brain. This might call for a list!

  1. I won NaNoWriMo with 52,513 (52,527 in Google Docs) words.
  2. I finished the story! This one is huge. Immensely, amazingly huge! I have never done this before. Not just during NaNo, either. I have only ever finished short stories before. Every long work I’ve started up until now remains unfinished. But not this one. This one has an ending!
  3. I’m feeling niggling worries about whether or not I know how to do the next steps to add scenes, clean things up, do revisions. It’s all going to be my first try for my own work. I’ve helped other people do theirs, but I’ve never done this on my own. It feels completely different and like brand new territory. I have to remember that finishing a novel felt that way, and I did it by just figuring out and doing the next thing without knowing what I would do after that. I have to let go of wanting to know how every part of it will look before I get there (oh so hard for me!).
  4. I have a plan for what I’m doing next. During December I’m going to be reading through about 4 pages a day and making notes about things that need to have more info or different info, marking places where I need another scene, marking places where a scene needs to be removed or replaced. My plan is to be ready to do the writing and clean-up starting in January. I’m trying not to try to figure out how long that might take right now (oh my control issues!).

 

Slogging

I’m struggling to get to the writing today. I’m exhausted and headachey. But I am so close! Just under 3,000 words left to write to win NaNoWriMo. And I think that’s going to bring me to the end of my story, too, so it’s really exciting. Except I can’t get off this couch!

There are too many of these exhausted and not-quite-well days. But at least the fire is going again, I am not freezing like I was earlier, and I have a plan to put together a quick dinner and get it into the oven so we will have food. Things could be much worse, right? If only the motivation fairy would come and get me on my feet!

Heading Into the Final Stretch

November is almost over, and therefore so is NaNoWriMo. I’m still moving along. I’m no longer sure I’ll reach the end of the story by the end of November, though. An extra episode inserted itself into my story, so I’m not quite where I thought I would be at this point.

This afternoon, I’m going to take a little bit of time to do some planning for the next phases of the story and see if I might manage to still get to the end by November 30. I’ve never managed to do that during NaNo, and this year is the closest I’ve ever come, so I’m still holding out hope that I can make it work.

As soon as I post this, I’m going to take my stack of inspirational books and my story notebook and settle in with the fire going and music and the washer as background noise, and I’m going to get my writing done earlier today because I’ve been leaving it until too late at night all this past week. Things are nice and peaceful today, though, so it’s a good day to spend more time with my story.

I hope you’re having a great writing day!

NaNo Meets Thanksgiving

This week has been really hectic. I’m trying to clean things up for Thanksgiving, and that’s not going well, and I’m really behind. I’ve kept up with my word count–I’m even still a day ahead–but everything is kind of foggy. There’s too much going on in my head, and it’s keeping me from being fully engaged with anything I’m doing. I’m getting writing done, but the having fun part has slipped away.

I don’t know if I’m going to get back to really enjoying it until Thanksgiving is over. I’m really looking forward to not having to prep for a holiday! Thank goodness Christmas is at someone else’s house!

I’m going to set a pre-New Year’s resolution–next year I am *not* going to wait until November to start getting my house in order so that I can have people over. Now I just have to figure out how to actually get myself to get organized enough to not do this again.

Meanwhile, back to my haunted world. Things are easier there.

Ahead of Myself

I have been back to participating in ROW80 again. I’ve been doing my updates on the Facebook page because for a while I had too much going on, and blog posts just weren’t happening. I’m going to try out doing very short updates at least once a week and see how that goes. No promises. Posting might be haphazard.

My goals for this round have been centered on getting back to enjoying writing and building a steadier practice. I wrote about how that’s going yesterday. For a brief recap, I think I’m moving in a good direction.

As for enjoying the writing, I’m starting to again. One of the things I am having to wrangle is my tendency to want to control everything, have everything just so, know exactly how things are going to be and that they’re going to be just right like I need them to be. This really doesn’t work in writing stories. And then I start to get ahead of myself and lose track of where I really am and what I need to be doing right now.

So I am practicing having only a shadowy idea of my ending and writing just a little bit at a time and letting go of the idea of knowing exactly how things are going to wrap up and how exactly to get things to that place. I’m writing every day and hoping things will open up as I need them and get me to a good ending. And reminding myself that I can add and change things in revisions. So far, new ideas keep coming, the story is moving forward, and I’m liking it. I think this is progress.

That’s my update. I am also practicing not trying to explain every little thing either to myself or to anyone else who might be listening. So I’m letting this be just enough.

In Medias Res

I’m feeling in the middle right now.  Of a lot of things. And why am I writing? Probably because people want connection and conversation and to feel like they have community and like minded people around them. And I’m a people.

Every time I think of restarting a blog, I freeze because I feel like I should explain where I’ve been or try to catch up on things. But I’ve decided I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to write. Like a good novelist, I will start with the current action and filter in the backstory as it’s needed and pertinent.

So right now, I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo. (That picture at the top of the page is my novel notebook.) Of course. It’s November. I’m doing things a little differently this year, though, mostly because I’m signed on to a Habitica challenge for NaNo. Writing and updating the NaNo site are on the Dailies list, and I can’t stand losing any digital points for not completing my dailies, so I am actually writing every day. I don’t usually write every day, even for NaNo. This is turning into an interesting experiment.

I don’t know if I could ever be an every day writer all year round. But this challenge has given me a better idea of how to structure the way I write. For the challenge, you can check that you’ve done “some words” although the goal is to get the full 1,667 each day. I added a “reward” where I pay 100 gold coins for days that I write but don’t meet that goal. And it’s working really well. I’m ahead on word count and getting some good writing sessions in. And this made me realize that the way to get writing to be a stronger habit is not to schedule it for certain days of the week or put it in the non-daily habits list so I get points for it whenever I happen to get around to it. The way to do it is to put it on my Dailies list but give myself the option of buying a day off from writing. I like my digital points, and I know I won’t pay coins too many days in a row to skip, so I think this will really prod me to sit down and write more regularly even when I don’t feel like it.  The only thing I need to decide now is what a writing session will entail. I think it’s going to be word count oriented–that’s working really well for me.

Another thing I’m doing, although I’m just starting it so not exactly in the middle of it, is reading Shawn Coyne’s The Story GridThis is going to be especially helpful for editing. So far, from a brief overview and watching the YouTube videos, this looks like an excellent system. I’m looking forward to getting to know it better.

I’m also in the middle of a lot of life. Trying really hard to find a way to make my house organized and welcoming for myself and maybe even for visitors. Bringing a new kitty fully into the family (and there’s this third lovely boy in the backyard whom we feed and who is now letting me pet him, and I don’t know what to do about that sweetie). Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Figuring out health stuff. So much, but life is always like that I guess.

I’m also not in the middle of a book. I just started a new one today–The Tower by J.L. Bryan. It’s the ninth in the Ellie Jordan series, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. They had some fabulous settings and fun ghosts, and they’re fast and fun reads. This one is looking to be the same. It breezes along and pulls me right in.

This is the stuff I want to talk about here. There are so many books I’ve read and loved, but I can’t go back and try to catch up, so I’m going to go forward. And I’ll talk about writing. And probably exercise as I attempt to be a more healthy and mobile author. So much to talk about. Not all today, though.

NaNo Wrap-up

nano-winner-banner-2016

I really intended to write a few posts during NaNo, but somehow it didn’t happen. So here’s a wrap-up instead.

I got my win last night, and it feels weird.  This year, I have been using Habitica to get tasks done (you should check it out–it’s so fun and useful, too!).  So, I joined a writing guild that had a NaNo challenge going.  Because of this, I actually wrote every single day. I did have two days (the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving itself) that I didn’t hit the daily goal, but I wrote.  Then I caught up over the weekend, so I didn’t have to do any crazy, 10K days, or even 5K days to catch up.  This is the first time I wrote every single day of NaNo (yes, I’m writing a bit on my story today so I can really say that).

I learned something this NaNo.  I am not an every day writer, at least not a comfortable every day writer.  My best writing schedule for stories is to write three or four days a week.  Maybe some writing practice on the other days.  Trying to work on my story every single day left me feeling oddly rushed and pressured even though I wasn’t behind on my word count, and I’m pretty sure the days I struggled the most (and wrote the worst drivel) happened because I needed a break from the story.  This is good.  Knowing my best rhythm is important, so I’m glad I did this experiment.

Now comes the fun part of trying to grab hold of this story and bring it together and finish it.  I ended up re-plotting it two different times during November. I think the new direction I found myself going in over the past three days is actually the right way to go, so now I need to figure out what parts of what I’ve written work with this and what needs to change and what needs to be added.  For today, though, I’m mostly going to celebrate.

I won!

 

NaNo 1st

nanobanner

I’m starting a new habit. I’m going to post writing goals on the first of each month.  November’s are kind of easy.

November Goals

  • Win NaNoWriMo
  • Keep up with Habitica NaNo challenge tasks
  • Do crit group feedback and meeting

The hardest part will be the Habitica tasks. Two of them are daily tasks–meet the day’s word goal and update on the NaNo site. I don’t usually write every day, but I really want to win the challenge, so I’m going to do it.  But it’s going to be a little bit odd for me.  It *will* be nice to not need to do any marathon catch-up days.

Now, off I go to get those words started!