Monday, 29 April 2013

Sunday Check In - 28 April 2013

Friday night I passed the 25K mark - woo hoo! And I managed it through small bursts of writing throughout the day, one of which happened while my toddler sat on my knee and pretended to be putting the holes in my foolscap with his fingers. He was happy; I was happy.You just can't ask for more. :)

The wordcount has been validated and so I'm officially a winner of April Camp NaNo. I'm looking forward to the discount for Scrivener because that is going to be my reward for winning. I've been playing with the trial version and I can see the benefits of having Scrivener for the re-writes and for moving scenes around once they're written. There's also a couple of books I wanted to buy as a treat also - Michael Hauge's "Writing Screenplays that Sell" and Noah Lukeman's "The First Five Pages".

I haven't stopped writing - Goal No 3 is to have a finished draft completed (or nearly) by the end of June. Three months for a first draft seems like a reasonable amount of time to accomplish this.

Goal 1: To write at least 4 pages longhand in each writing session
Every writing session bar one I've written at least 4 pages of longhand. And I can't remember from my spreadsheet, but I think there's only three days max when I didn't write at all. And that's where Goal 2 comes into play...

Goal 2: Do some writing-related activity even if for only five minutes a day
This I have done. Even if it's only something as small as writing down some questions I need to answer in the novel, or jot down some islands to write about, or make notes about worldbuilding.

Goal 3: Have a first draft almost complete by the end of this Round
One month over, two more to go!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Midweek ROW80 Check In

I didn't get any writing done last night. Another priority was placed ahead of it. So I tried something new today. Small bursts of writing all day long. And I think I reached the highest daily wordcount this month by doing it that way!

The plan was to sit down and write for small bursts - maybe five minutes or so six or seven times a day. That would be the time equivalent of one of my usual writing sessions in the evening after Toddler is in bed.

Only it didn't work out like that. I managed two fairly long bursts of writing instead which, between them, got my "four pages of foolscap" goal reached. And then this evening, after Hubby had gone to bed, I got out another four or five pages. So I've more than made up for last night's non-writing.

As regards my goals, then, I'm on track. Camp NaNo is in its final week and I've already passed the 90% mark so I'm well on my way.

Hope you're all having productive weeks too. :)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

ROW80 Sunday Check In - 21 April 2013

I spent most of today planning learning activities for my toddler, designing and printing planners, surfing the net for teaching ideas, filling in aforementioned planner... I am completely drained after that.

So, it's not a great night tonight in terms of wordcount. 204 words. (I wrote more in my novel notebook than I did on the actual draft.) BUT, on a positive note, those 204 words did give me some ideas about events to come in the novel.

And onto my goals:

Goal 1: To write at least 4 pages longhand in each writing session
Er, no. Not tonight anyway. I'm at 83% in terms of wordcount goal for this month, but this is where my writing streak ends in terms of this particular goal. <sigh>

Goal 2: Do some writing-related activity even if for only five minutes a day
Yes. I mulled over the situation as it stands in the novel right now and wrote up the ideas in my novel notebook, so I can definitely tick this box!

Goal 3: Have a first draft almost complete by the end of this Round
Step by step. That's how I'll achieve this one.

I'm reading an EXCELLENT book right now - For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. EXCELLENT. It's YA and it's inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. It's set in the distant future in a society where there are two types of people: Luddites and the Reduced. But times are changing and a new class is emerging, the Post-Reductionists, who are beginning to explore the world and challenge the beliefs and traditions of the Luddites. There's a de-railed romance between a Luddite, Elliot (named after her grandfather), and Kai, a Post-Reductionist. It's an Unputdownable book. A keeper. I'm reading a copy from the library, but I'll be ordering one to buy and keep on my bookshelf. It's that good. :)

Hope your week has been going well.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ROW80 Midweek Check In - 17 April

The writing streak is still continuing - and the main reason for the success is that I picked a goal I believed I could reach. 4 handwritten foolscap pages per day is doable. The other reason for the success, of course, is due to me following the advice in the poster I put together especially for Camp NaNo - "Just Do It!" (Otherwise known as: Butt-In-Chair.)

Tonight I wrote the scene that is the inciting incident. And it didn't quite pan out the way I'd thought. I'd imagined Emer (yup, she's Emer again. I've changed her surname though, so she's not a 1 in numerological terms) purposefully striding towards the event that makes up the inciting incident. But what actually happened is that her grandmother's cat went on the attack and she stumbled into the situation. Interesting development.

The more I write about her, the more I'm coming to know her, too. And I like that.

There are a few things I'm doing this time round on the stalled novel that I've not done before. The first part of my pre-planning involved fitting some key plot points into the W plot arc. (Do you know this? I read about it in Mary Caroll Moore's "Your Novel Starts Here".) My aim was to first of all find the pivotal scenes that fit into the arc. This was easy enough as I already had an idea of some big scenes, and then I could see just how these scenes fit into the bigger picture.

Another technique I'm using from Moore's book is the idea of an island list. An island is a piece of writing that is written in isolation to any other piece, but which is part of the whole, although the link between the islands will only be recognised when they're all written. It's a wonderful way to discover the depths of the story - where theme and arc and motivations reside. I brainstormed a list of islands prior to Camp NaNo and started writing one each evening. Sometimes they inspired a follow up scene. Sometimes they inspired more islands where I could see the scene I was working on would have a mirror equivalent near the end of the novel.

And this post is getting long (and my husband is making growly sounds in the background because this is actually his laptop I'm using) so I shall bid you all Good Evening and hope you've been having a productive few days. :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday 14 April ROW80 Check In

It's been a productive few days since the midweek check-in, I'm happy to say!

Goal 1: To write at least 4 pages longhand in each writing session
I managed this every evening, although I REALLY struggled on Thursday evening. The problem was I hadn't thought about the scene I was going to write. I didn't even know WHAT I was going to write. I came to the session cold. And it didn't flow. I jotted down some sentences, but they were empty.

So I took out my novel notebook (as I'm calling it) so I could write down what the problem was. And I discovered that I had this niggling feeling that there was another scene that needed to be written before I could move onto the inciting incident. I came to the conclusion that I hadn't developed her inner and outer desire very well, and I wrote down what I knew about these two elements. Then that led to the idea of a scene where her inner and outer desires could be expressed to another character. And that's when the writing session took off with gusto. :)

I find it very helpful to have a notebook to work through my thoughts like that. It makes everything clear. But I didn't count the words in my notebook, just the words I wrote for the actual first draft.

Saturday, I discovered my female character is not Emer any more, but Emma and that works for me. Emer makes her a 1 in numerology which is about authority, wanting to be in control, and could also signify a loner. But Emma is a 6, which is more about healing and compassion. And that fits in way better with her character arc. It's only a small thing and I don't usually take the numerology into consideration, but for some reason this time (probably because I happened to have done it after reading an article) the 1 bothered me. It didn't fit with the way her journey was going to unfold. But that's all sorted now. And it wasn't a conscious decision, Emma just ended up on the page. :)

Goal 2: Do some writing-related activity even if for only five minutes a day
Yup, this one has been taken care of every day. I'm maintaining the writing streak.

In other writing news, I watched some of Brandon Sanderson's lectures on YouTube and they helped me no end develop some details of Emma's character and what she is actively involved in trying to accomplish when the novel opens.

I've also signed up for his online lectures which will begin on June 1st and I'm looking forward to the weekly classes and how they might help me develop the story. By the end of June I'm hoping to have my first draft roughly worked out, so the idea is that the workshops will help me fill in a few blanks or give me some ideas for the edit and rewrites.

You can sign up for his 2013 lectures here if this is something you're interested in. I've read several of Sanderson's books (not Mistborn, though, 'cos it's not in the bookshops I go to - sold out, probably!) and I've thoroughly enjoyed them and his 2012 lectures are really good too. They certainly upped the motivation factor for me.

And in terms of reading, I've started The Pledge by Kimberly Derting. An excellent read so far. Plenty of conflict, potential love triangle, a dystopian society, a ruthless monarch - ticks all the boxes for me.

Hope you're all doing well and have had a productive week!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Wednesday 10 April - Check In

Goal 1: To write at least 4 pages longhand in each writing session

I'm pleased that I've managed this every day of Camp so far. Tonight was a challenge - it was Date Night (one of our rare evenings to get a couple of hours to ourselves) and the babysitter was booked. No writing done BEFORE we left the house, so I sat down to do it when we got home. (It wasn't a late night but it was great to catch up!). I flew through the scene and surprised myself with what flowed out onto the page at the same time. And I managed it tonight without the aid of background music from my playlists spilling out of my earphones. Having some idea of what I want to write before I sit down to write it is definitely a big help. It's a focus. I've been thinking about the scene off and on all day and that is perhaps why everything flowed so easily once I sat down to write. And who knows? Maybe that triggers something in the subconscious and that's where the surprising elements sprang from?

Goal 2: Do some writing-related activity even if for only five minutes a day

This goal was meant to cover those days when I couldn't indulge in a full writing session of four pages of foolscap. On those days, I don't have license to forgot about my WIP completely - I want to keep it in mind and ask and answer questions about the story or the characters etc.

Goal 3: Have a first draft almost complete by the end of this Round

As long as I keep up my wordcount and keep thinking about my WIP, this one is taken care of!

And that's my first update for this Round.

(I'm not quite sure exactly how many fellow ROWers I'm supposed to visit, but in order to keep it manageable, I thought I'd follow up with the blogs listed in the linky that share the same (second) digit as mine. e.g. if my blog is listed as number 46, then I'll follow 6, 16, 26, and 36 and so on.)

Ah! The link is up this morning (Thurs) and here's the linky.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Goal Setting

We're 8 days into April's Camp NaNoWriMo and it's going well so far. It's made me think about what happens after Camp finishes on the 30th. Where do I see this WIP going? How long is it going to take?

I've decided to join #ROW80 (Round of Words in 80 days) so that I'm part of a writing community who are all doing the same thing: setting goals and keeping each other informed as to how well the journey is going for us.

Accountability and support and encouragement all in one go!

My writing goals for this Round are:

  1. At least four pages of foolscap (I write long hand) each writing session (800 words approx)
  2. Some writing related activity (be it writing, plotting, worldbuilding etc.) - even if for only 5 minutes - every day
  3. A first draft almost complete (no matter how rough) by the end of this Round