Saturday, July 18, 2015

Today's progress

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 26,022 words

Today's snippet:

“I know my duty; I have for a long time. And I embrace it. Always have. But the only time I wish I didn’t have to bear it is when I am with you.” 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Triangulation: Lost Voices anthology now available!

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 23,072 words

The Triangulation: Lost Voices anthology is now available from Parsec Ink!

My short story "The Bear-Woman of the North" is included in the anthology. It's a magical realism tale with a bit of steampunk flavor about a bear who is turned into a woman.

Pick it up from Amazon and other booksellers.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Plot Struggles

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 20,077 words

Today's snippet:

“You are that good. As strong as they say.” She pulled at Nadya’s grip, but did not move. “I have no quarrel with you, Phoenix. We don’t have to do this.”

“Funny, that’s what most say when they have lost.”

After nearly a week of sluggish writing, I finally got a decent word count today. It looks like we're moving forward. Part of the issue has been laziness (of course), focusing on packing and getting ready to move, and a lack of direction in the story. It's not that I didn't know where it was going; I just wasn't "feeling" the story. It felt slow and boring. I think this is because a major confrontation did not happen until today, around page 60. In revision, I'm definitely going to move it up. Now, there's a new player in the story, one who can challenge my MC and create a lot of inner conflict.

Another problem I'm having with the story is that the main plot doesn't seem to have started yet. The major character conflict is all there, but my main villain hasn't shown up yet, and I'm at the one-third mark for word count. It's another thing I'll need to shift around during revision.

I think what's been happening is that I know one of my tendencies is to move too fast in rough drafts, not taking enough time for character development and establishing the conflict, things I always add in revision. In this draft, I'm over-compensating by moving too slowly. Hopefully, now it'll speed up.

This just goes to show that no two books are written the same way. Some draft easily, revise hard. Some do the opposite, and some do both.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Writing and Packing

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 14,774 words

From today's words:

In her hands she held dual blades, but not weapons that had been forged in any mortal smithy. They shimmered, brilliant white, moving as if a river of light had lost itself in a sword’s shape.

In addition to writing, much packing happened today. I move exactly three weeks from tomorrow, and the thought of it is both exhilarating and terrifying. For the first time, I am actually moving. Not just going away to college for the semester, but leaving. Taking all my stuff and putting it in a new home.

In packing, I've arrived at the conclusion that I have a lot of books. Not too many; there is no such figure. But my library is in the couple hundreds--I haven't counted. And my to-be-read shelf is nearing sixty, and I just keep buying more. I also find it difficult to get rid of books. I only managed to take a dozen or so off the shelves for donation.

There's still so much to do, but I finally feel like I've got a handle on it all. I'm hoping I will be able to finish this manuscript before July 31st so that when it comes time to actually move and unpack and get settled, I won't be worrying about a daily word count. I guess we'll see!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Some more progress

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 12,616 words

A snippet from today:

Here, control did not matter. The wind and the air and the stars could take anything she threw at the them. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Writing update

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 10,638

It's been a slow couple of days due to distraction. (On the plus side, I finally finished Daredevil!) Tonight, pulling the words out was tough. My mind was definitely elsewhere, more focused on preparing for my upcoming move than getting words on the page.

Another difficulty I've had is that I am bored with what's happening. A character popped up, and I decided to keep him. Only that knocked my outline off, and for a while, I was writing mindlessly. Nothing exciting happened. I finally fixed that tonight when I stopped for a moment and asked myself one question:

What's the most surprising thing that could happen right now?

Well, that would be another character showing up, prompting my MC to do a dangerous mission that feeds nicely into the setup I'm doing for the main plot.

Hope everyone else is doing well with their projects!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Easing into it

Camp NaNoWriMo progress: 7856 words

It's been a little over two years since I've drafted a novel (and that was the book I wrote in eight days). Since then, I've revised and polished two separate novel manuscripts as well as written a dozen or more short stories. All of that is significantly different from drafting.

I like writing fast. I find that no matter how quickly I write my first drafts, revision always takes the same amount of time, so I like to pound them out pretty fast. It keeps me focused on the story to the point where I'm almost living in the novel even when I'm not writing it. Writing quickly is like a lot of things, however. It takes practice to do, and when you're out of practice, you really feel it.

Author David B. Coe wrote in a essay in How to Write Magical Words about being an "inertial writer." When sitting down to start a new project, he is lucky to get a few hundred words. The next day, maybe a couple pages. It takes a while until he finally reaches his usual daily word count.

I remembered this essay as I was facing the first draft of this novel. I was rusty, and I had gotten into the habit with short stories of revising as I wrote, and only producing 500 or so words a day. To tackle my own writerly inertia, I put together a plan. On the first day, I would write only 500 words. The next, 750. Then 1000, and then 1500. On the fifth day, I would hit 2000, and that would be my daily word count for July. (With this strategy I had to start Camp NaNoWriMo a few days early, so that on the first day I could hit my 2000 word count.)

It worked beautifully. When I sat down the other day write those first 500 words, it was like I was asking myself to write a ten page essay on the meter of Shakespeare's sonnets. It took a solid hour, but I got those words.

Funny thing is that the next day, it took an hour to write 750.

Every day I got faster as I eased myself into drafting, and today I got through my 2000 words without too much trouble. For those who are just getting back into drafting, whether for Camp NaNoWriMo or their own deadline, I highly recommend this approach. Easing into it can avoid putting too much pressure on yourself to suddenly start writing a lot everyday.