Saturday, January 31, 2009
Today I pushed as much as I could. It was my full day at work (I work a 6 day week, 5 short days and 1 long day), but I managed to get a chunk written. I don't know if I'll be able to do anymore writing tonight so I'll post my official JaNoWriMo word count.
Drum roll please........
Not quite there, but pretty close.
Onward and upward! I'll continue this wip into next month because I'm really liking it.
It's been fun! See ya'll tomorrow
I have to admit, I love writing like this! It's fabulous to hear about everyone's progress and have the inside track on their developing stories. I have enjoyed cheering others on and even though I haven't been here as often as I'd hoped it has been a wonderful experience.
Also, I have truly, from the bottom of my heart, appreciated all the friendly support I've received. I know that without this commitment to writing and the kindness and encouragement provided here, I never would have completed the first draft of Tango At Midnight this past month. Never. It would have been an idea that I pushed to the back of my mind, one of those "I'll write it someday" novels. I'm so glad it didn't end up in a dusty corner of my head. Thank you for that!
So while I'll be AWOL during the beginning of February yet again (I'm sorry!) I will be working on my February goal from the first day of the month. At least that's the plan. And as soon as I can I'll check in to see how everyone else is doing and to give an update on Madcapped. Fingers crossed this one goes well!
I hope everyone has a great time beginning anew tomorrow morning!
Thanks, Marianne, for bringing this amazing adventure to life. You are a fabulous organizer!
Oh! I almost forgot! Tango At Midnight, the first rough draft, closed at 51,357 words.
I don't know if I'll write today or not, so here's my grand total for January:
Thanks to everyone for the continued support all month - it's been a blast!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
If you haven't looked up at the top of this blog, do so. I'll wait....
..... YES! That's right, we have a new header and a new title. I hope you all approve :-)
I'm excited to look forward to a new month. But, before this one ends, I'd sure love to see EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US post how many words we did in January. How exciting it will be to see what we accomplished!! I can't wait. Whether it was 5,000 words or 50,000 words ... we all moved ahead.
So, yay us!!
Monday, January 26, 2009
At least I have over 10K on this new idea. I already know how I want to rewrite the beginning, too. All I need is...time!
- My son gets his guitar lesson
- My daughter takes her gymnastics class
- My daughter takes her dance class
I’m at 15,300 words at the moment, which isn’t even close to 50,000. But it’s a lot closer than zero. And I have JaNo to thank for that.
I’ve also discovered things I never knew that I knew, such as there really is such a thing as a vintage (circa 1983) Star Wars pencil case. A good thing, seeing as I gave one to the chess club president.
Go on. You know you want one.
At first I found it motivating to just write. Usually I belabor over a story paragraph by paragraph. This seemed like it let me free. I had no plan, a few characters in mind, and a fuzzy outline of a story I had thought about. But, my story didn't seem to go anywhere.
Then I began another one. Yet I think I slid away.
But I feel very motivated about continuing with the group and am more motivated about the commitment of say 250 words a day. It is more how I write, something that I feel I can achieve creatively, and a good motivator.
Count me in.
It's been a busy week full of plenty of writing -- just not much fiction. My report would be so much more impressive if I could count the whiny 2000 words I sent to my writing partner -- the ones where I outlined all the various and sundry ridiculous subplots I've managed to pack into this ... thing ... so far. I practically begged her to say: You're right. It's a mess. Please feel free to give up and go back to your slackery ways. She didn't though. Instead she said something like: I think it's going to be okay. Keep up the good work. Just beware of gypsies ; ) Thanks, C.
I'm still only at 18,801 words. And that is only 7300 words more than what I started the month with. Still, I'm getting at least a paragraph or two down every day and some days the words really flow. I guess I'll keep up the (good) work while keeping an eye out for wandering gypsies.
Although I know I probably won't make it to 50,000 by the end of the month, I'm really happy to have made it this far!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I was getting very stressed keeping up the word count, and I also felt I was spinning my wheels creatively. I've also been dealing with a serious bout of arthritis and stress appears to be one of my main triggers.
So... I let go a bit.
For next week, I'm pushing for 5000 - 7000 words.
And I'm delighted to have done as much as I have this month. This has been a wonderful motivator! My current word count is:
But, as I said, life has a funny way of evening things out. I've been so busy caring for Hubby and home that I've gotten into the habit of falling asleep (passing out, actually!) around midnight, sleeping for a couple of hours, then waking...and writing. I feel like life is getting back to normal here, piece by piece and word by word. It's all good, and I am grateful.
Oh? My word count? Well, as of this morning, Tango At Midnight is 41,938 words long. I know a lot of that will change when I rewrite, but for now it is very satisfying to watch the story grow.
Now, to find some coffee...
Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Not bad but I really had hoped to be further along. Too many skipped days, not enough motivation. I was inspired today, however, to write a scene from my fantasy just so I could introduce a particular character. I have about 1200 words from that so far, so I can't complain there.
One more week left! I'm still hoping it can be done.
And thanks to everyone who's been wishing me well. Slowly but surely I seem to be improving though a coworker is convinced I have bronchitis. Is that contagious??
May not make the 50K, but I'm still plugging along!
Friday, January 23, 2009
This has been a very challenged week--not challenging, as that implies a lot of highs--but challenged, as in I had to push a lot to get through each day and its barriers. I've allowed myself to get into one of those pragmatic moods, where I don't allow myself to expect things to get worse, but I keep saying "isn't something going to go easy?".
So why did all that change with the email from Anne? Simple--she put the week into perspective. She can see my life more clearly than I can right now simply because she's 1500 miles away and looking in via my daily messages. She reminded me of how I didn't kill a doctor I was sent to interview who was a complete waste of time, and still figured out how to get an article despite his attempt to torpedo my efforts. She reminded that I will be able to send out at least 6 contest entries Feb 1st for a big yearly contest one of my writers groups holds for members, and may even squeak through with a 7th--and best of all, several of the entries will mean probable sales in publications, and will definitely lighten my load in future months as at least one of the entries will mean I will likely already have three monthly columns completed way ahead of time. She reminded me that I had an epiphany in my JaNo fiction project this week, and though I may have to push to get my goal by the end of the week, the fact that I hit this "mountain top experience" means "it's tough then to come down from the mountain."
So what if I didn't get my fiction writing goal yesterday. I still have a few hours to double today's output to make it up and congratulate myself.
Part of my way of starting the new year was to get a calendar just to document my writing each day. Mine has beautiful pictures of gloriously green Ireland, and at the end of each day I hurriedly sketch out how many words I've written on each project I've worked. You would think that while I was feeling challenged I would have the simple brain power to go to my calendar, look at the progress I'd made this week, and just shrug everything off. But I didn't. It never even came to mind.
Instead, it took someone half a continent away to bring it all into focus for me. And having to account here makes me push harder each day to not look like a slacker to any of you either. I know that none of you are going to judge me--but if this group weren't here, who knows if I would push through at all. Those stone walls are awfully hard to break down, but luckily I have so many helpful people handing me the figurative sledge hammer.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Still way behind in the overall scheme of things, but I have 22,000 words done in Queen and Assassin. I'm shooting for 65,000 total, and have a long way to go.
Wanna do this again in Feb? LOL...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Thus far I'm up to 33241 words, so I'm nearing the end, but I have to get back to work. I'm still sick and dealing with sick kids. This cold really kicked us all in the backsides.
So, instead of gabbing I'm going to go and write.
Still... I wrote. Only 1007 words -- I wanted more, but ran out of time. I'll try for more later today.
In the meantime, my current total word count for JaNo is:
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Was I supposed to write a novel this month? Uh oh. I seem to have fallen off the wagon and landed in a puddle.
Lots of personal stuff this month, but isn't that true of everyone? Writing should have been an escape from that, but somehow that didn't happen. Instead, the farther I fell behind in my goals, the more desperate I became. The more I pressured myself, the less I could do. I've got five chapters written and I've stalled.
The good news is that while writing my chapters, I laughed. (And I also burned a couple thousand calories on the treadmill.)
I earned some gold stars but there are too many voids. The interesting thing is that pattern of gold stars. It tells me how I work -- and how I don't work. When I get gold stars, I get them every day. When I don't get them, a whole week can pass by. That means I either work every day -- or I don't work at all. That kind of self-truth is pretty ugly but what it says is don't lose momentum. Keep going!
I need to forgive myself for failing to meet my own expectations, let it go, and get back to writing. This little check-in is a good thing (thanks, Marianne), because it allows me to adjust my goals.
What's done (or undone) is undone. But there is tomorrow to do more and to bring fresh hope to my book. So, my goal for the rest of the month (actually, I'll have to stop January 30) is to write 18,000 words.
Did I just write that? Can I erase it? Too many zeroes in that number.
Here I go again -- starting to back down. But, oh yes I can do it. I grant myself a fresh start. And a fresh big fat number. All I have to do is Write Every Day.
Anne AKA smellshorsey, who appears to have give up but has not.
Oh! Actual word count: 26, 201
I warned you, didn't I?
Here are the folks I show as participants and the last time the posted a word count or progress information:
edeevee - 1/16
Keri Mikulski - 1/17
Jen of A2eatwrite - 1/17
Joanie - 1/15
Tiffany - 1/15
groovyoldlady - 1/12
Amy - 1/16
Charity - (videos, but no WC)
Ceri Hebert - 1/18
Karen - 1/7
Melissa - (excused *G*)
Kealie Shay - (MIA)
Sarita Leone - 1/17
Marianne Arkins - 1/18
smellshorsey - 1/7
If you haven't posted a word count, or at least a progress report of some kind since 1/13 -- the hall monitor is coming to get you. Just saying.
We can't support you if you don't let us know how you're doing. That's why we're here... in a group... on a blog. Right? Rah-Rah!!!
So, c'mon folks... let us know how you're doing.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
So, my pitiful total word count is currently:
Anyway, I have the next two days off. I'm going to try to get lots done. I'm shocked that we're past the halfway mark for the month. EEEEKKKKK.
Everyone have a wonderful day!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The only thing missing from the above pic are crumpled up tissues scattered all over the floor. :)
Still...I'm poking along. And you know what? The hour or two I manage to pull out of the day so I can work on Tango at Midnight is, easily, one of the best bits of the day. I feel more myself than almost any other time when I'm writing. Weird, isn't it? But true.
So, my JaNo novel is woefully behind but it is truly bolstering me when I need it most.
Oh? Word count? 14,973...and each word feels like a step toward normalcy in what is a very unusual time for us.
I'm still on target with the word count:
I really think it helps that the rest of my life is kind of out of control and this is a major outlet for me right now.
Friday, January 16, 2009
After picking up speed last week, I only managed a little over a thousand words for this whole week. On top of that I failed in my commenting duties too. And you don't want to see the condition of my hall floor. I'm blaming it on the cold.
And promising to start trying anew ... tomorrow.
Part of the problem is that I'm finishing a book, so I've already got a nicely put-together first half, and as I'm writing the second half, I'm having to go back and, you know, DELETE things. The middle has been very bloated and a bit unfocused (so when you read a tightly written, focused, exciting, book middle, write a note and thank the author profusely...she probably worked very hard to make it that way), which makes it tough to move forward in the last third, but I've been recombining and paring down scenes for the most impact and the writing is stronger for it. The book is stronger for it. The characters are stronger for it. The STORY is stronger for it.
So I have something like 46,446 words to make the JaNo count, which turns out to be 2,903 words/day. Not impossible, but improbable. Though only about 20,000 of that is the current story. I tend to blow through the opening chapters in a new story, so if I can FINISH this one, I might have a chance.
But I wouldn't go to Vegas on those odds.
Of course, after yesterday's word count of -247, there's nowhere to go but up, right?
Two days ago, I cranked out more than 1,000 words on the novel I just submitted. Just a quick scene addition that slid fluidly into place with no real need to edit elsewhere (thankfully), but that added the reason for another--very necessary--scene to have happened. It was easy. I did it in a matter of minutes. It has drama and emotion and a little goofiness, and it rolled off my fingers.
So, why was that so easy, and writing AJFG worse than pulling teeth?
Because I knew those characters inside and out. Knew them, their motivation, their thoughts.
Because, despite having written about Geoff in "One Love for Liv", I didn't really get to know him. I knew he was a stuffed shirt with a good heart, but not much more than that.
Today, I'm writing miscellaneous scenes with Geoff, something I should have done before I started. I like to write scenes with my characters doing a day-to-day task (for instance, in the novel I submitted, I wrote a scene with my heroine vacuuming the floor of her new apartment, and in another WIP, I wrote a scene with my heroine taking a shower and getting dressed for work) Sometimes they get used in the actual work (the shower scene did) and sometimes they don't (the vacuuming scene didn't). But they all have the power to show me small things about my characters. No one showers the same, or even vacuums the same. No one grocery shops the same, washes the car, folds the laundry, or grooms the dog the same. We all have quirks.
So, now I'm off to write about Geoff doing... something. I think I'll put him in his condo, but I'm not sure what I'll have him do. He's quite fastidious, but I don't imagine he does his own cleaning. OTOH, I picture him as being embarrassed at having the place a mess for the maid, and may clean up before she arrives.
Hmmm.... See -- already learned something new.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Here's her list. For her, a good story--
- ends in an action that keeps the characters alive, and keeps her thinking about what likely happened after she's run out of pages and closed the back cover.
- breaths life to everything relating to the work, and keeps a reader believing long afterward.
- offers a full sensory experience, with all five senses addressed throughout each scene.
- offers a valid conflict, with characters relatable on some level to the reader.
- shows change in the character, as no one can go through any level of conflict without changing in some way.
- gives a beginning that hooks a reader, a middle that keeps the story going at a strong pace, and an ending that not only gives climax, but offers satisfaction and believability. The ending doesn’t have to be “happily ever after” but it must show the characters acting true to the way the writer has portrayed them throughout the story.
Call me an indulgent mom, or a writer who wants to share market information with her peers. But most importantly, I am a happy writer who sees that even a young college student can see the things I try to put into each of my works, and looks for those same things in the works of others. The only thing I would add is:
7. Provides surprise(s) for the reader.
Other than that, I'm running slow but steady with my JaNo project, having to fit in work that will hopefully bring paychecks soon, and help me pay my heating bill. But since it's freezing cold outside, I don't want to go anywhere, and that always helps me write. Especially when I can keep my warm laptop on my lap to fight the chill. Unless the cat wants my lap instead, of course.
On the plus side. I got back on track this morning and completed my words early - yea!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
So, I finally set my butt down today and wrote. Not on either of my JaNo projects, but I added a scene to my romance/mystery that I think helps make something that happens more reasonable.
The reason I opted to work on that was because it's ready for submission. So, I'll be double-checking the query and synopsis (ugh) and sending that sucker off soon. Probably tomorrow.
And then, I'll work on my JaNo stuff.
My current monthly (new word) word count is:
Only 42,704 to go!!! And, um... 16 days. So that would be (:::pulls out fingers:::)...2669 words a day.
Not totally undo-able.
How are YOU doing?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I've been a bit distracted by sick kids, but I've managed to get a few thousand words a day out. That's a good thing. The more words the better chance this wip will survive to see the first round of edits.
My current overall word count is.....
Not too scuzzy.
Hope everyone is having a good week. I hope all this quiet means that everyone is writing writing writing!
Monday, January 12, 2009
The funerals are past.
The Christmas stuff is put away.
The hip is healed up (halleluiah!).
The hubby is well now and back to his regular work schedule.
I have a great idea for killing off a character rather unexpectedly. I'm thinking Jason's mom...That would leave him as a suddenly orphaned teen. Will the large, goat owning, homeschooling family next door take him in? Or will he be consigned as a ward of the State?
My computer (along with my w.i.p.s and my brain cells) is in the shop. I am using my in-laws' computer to check email and waste time on the internet.
I am sick with a nasty stomach bug. (Groovy is longing for "normal"!)
My floor is disgustingly dirty.
I suck at writing by hand.
So here's the plan: Get well, get the computer back, kill Jason's mom and report my meager word count, vacuum and mop.
In the meantime, I'm off to handwrite (ugh!) a Valentine skit and come up with a couple of kids' songs for our 4-H group.
You all are doing AWESOME, so KEEP WRITING!!!!
I get to go back down to Boston to get the bag on Thursday.
I'm taking a bus. I'm a real wimp when it comes to city driving, and no offense to anyone from Massachusetts, but Mass drivers are nuts.
Back to writing. Already I have a few hundred words. I'll have to make up for yesterday somehow.
And now, a four book continuity that I was asked to write with three other authors needs to be brainstormed. And since that one is sold with a June deadline, the JaNoWriMo has to take a back seat until we get our ideas to the editor.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I'm not going to give the long version here about how my life has been on hold these past...goodness, it's over a month now. Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long! Anyhow, I'm just going to say that due to a family illness I've been mostly away from my real life--kind of dealing with real life, if that makes any sense. I've missed being at my desk, doing "normal" things like having my brows waxed, doing laundry or walking out to collect the mail, but mostly I've missed writing. It's true. I can deal with the rest of it but not writing? That's been tough.
But this morning I began writing my January novel, so I have high hopes of life returning to some semblance of normal. It may take time, but at least I've got a story churning in my head, characters talking and plot twists developing so the wait will be easier to bear.
Oh? The title? Tentatively, it's called Tango at Midnight but that'll probably change. And my word count? I've got a lot of catching up to do but I've got 3,739 words so far.
Happy Saturday, everyone!
That's my goal, anyway.
But the real reason I posted today is to tell everyone about the best tool I have in my writing arsenal. That tool is really a person--my accountability partner. I live in Oklahoma, she lives in South Carolina, and we met while taking an online class. We've never met face-to-face, but we "talk" every day through email, and I could not accomplish half of what I do every day if she wasn't around for me to toss out ideas to, vent about things I'm irritated about, and share my joy when something goes right. In fact, I wouldn't be in this group without her, as she was the one who found out about JaNo and gave me the means of signing in. Thanks again, Anne!
So, if you want your writing life to improve, I recommend finding an accountability partner of your own. While this JaNo blog helps us this month, a regular partner will help you all the days after JaNo ends.
But you can't have mine! Anne is already taken!
Yes, I'm pleased. Nearly halfway there. I'm liking the story, I have ideas galore to carry me forth. I have to work today, but I'm bringing along my laptop and will type during my breaks (easier to do that rather than handwrite it and type it later.
I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive day!
Friday, January 9, 2009
In between getting a new assignment from an editor I've been trying to get assignments from for a long time, getting a family member's medical problems resolved, helping my daughter prepare for another semester of college, and just getting over the blahs of gray skies and sinus headaches, I've steadily made JaNo progress on my story this week. So, while I can't say I've set the word count world on fire, I've kept the spark going, and that's the best news I can hope for and it keeps me motivated for next week.
Have a wonderfully productive weekend, everyone!
I haven't written today, and may not end up writing today due to a bunch of family issues, a headache, and just plain being exhausted (so exhausted, in fact, that I DUMPED my entire google reader - I just couldn't face catching up. I'm going to start fresh tomorrow).
My total so far is:
I'm happy with the progress, but am even happier with the direction things are going. My having those more abstract things to play with (the playlist, collage) seems to work well for me.
It's also been great to see how everyone else has approached this.
Happy writing, everyone. I'm not sure I'll be able to check in until Sunday or Monday. On the other hand, I may well be snowed in, so if we have power, I'll see you shortly!
On the other hand, dialogue alone is not always enough to carry the scene. And, though I didn't want to slow down, go back and put more narrative in, I really needed to because I was having a hard time picturing what was going on. It wasn't as though my four characters (five, if you count the animal) were standing in a circle, perfectly motionless, and talking. I needed to really SEE the scene.
Still, it was terribly difficult. I do find that I tend to lean one way or the other as I write a first draft, and then must go back to add whatever is missing. What about you? Do you lean toward more narrative or more dialogue in your first draft? What do you find more difficult to write?
With the addition of this morning's words, my total for JaNoWriMo is:
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Still, not a bad word count. I'm not complaining. Got the nookie out of the way for now (this is a HQ Blaze type book, so there will be more nookie), but it's nearly 10pm and my hands have had it.
More tomorrow! Along with a total word count.
But that's not the biggest conundrum. My biggest conundrum right now is: from where do I start my word count? I'm starting in the middle of a book, so I figured pick a starting word count and build from there.
I did not count on the delete key figuring so prominently in my early efforts.
I'd originally posted a starting count of 26,461. Then I started writing, deleted 1,457 words and finished my day up only 413 words from the starting word count, but actually wrote 1,870 new words that day.
Well, they were all new words, so I think I'm going with that.
'cause I can, that's why. Marianne said the count was NEW words. NEW words.
Which would make my progress so far look like this:
Onward and upward, right?
Woke up this morning at 3:41 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. Stoked the fire, loaded the pages for LASR, fed the cat, fixed coffee and wrote.
This morning I worked on "AJFG" -- I really wanted to get the super-soaker scene down, and I did. I also decided that my sisters (that's them lining the bottom of the collage I made) prefer to listen to 80s rocker chicks, so spent my morning watching YouTube videos of Melissa Etheridge (from the 80s -- I loved her first album) and Joan Jett (did you know she covered the AC/DC song, "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)"?).
So, when Geoff -- dear classical music and opera Geoff -- walked into the girls house, he was accosted by much screaming of lyrics. It was lovely.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
So, despite the fact that my kids were home YET AGAIN because of foul weather and my DH decided to take the night off, I managed to eke out 3237 words.
Now my hands ache and I can't stop yawning so I'm calling it quits for the night.
I earned my gold stars with two visits to Dr. Wicked, one while on the treadmill, where I'm writing this though I think I'm about to make myself seasick because I sway from side to side when I walk (I'm not going to call it a waddle but that word comes to mind). Can't say much for the quality of anything but I wrote nearly 2,000 words today -- the first day I've almost achieved my word count goal this month. Kind of sad but overall I'm glad. Will keep going.
If you haven't tried "Write or Die," you might like it. You put in your word goal and your time goal then press "write." Anytime you pause the screen starts turning pink, then will get red, then will play obnoxious noises. Today's noise was a crying baby. You can also set it to kamikaze where it erases your words one by when while you pause, but I'm not that stupid. I've found it's a really good tool when I need to be forced to write.
Now, if only I could figure out how to get off this treadmill..... Burned 156 calories. There. It's off. That felt good and will continue to feel good unless I make the mistake of reading my work.
Looking forward to reading about everyone's success and strategies.
Would anyone like to do a Vanessa Grant Writing Romance book work group after JaNo? I like hanging out with y'all and would like to continue after January.
Anne AKA smellshorsey
I am behind in my words (ah, only a total of 5000 words - much to catch up with), but I feel my character is moving along.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I've discovered that it's much harder to write a fantasy than a contemporary romance. Several times, as I struck out into cyber space for info, I had to wonder if I had flipped my lid by deciding to go this route. It's not too late to turn back but I'm actually curious to see how far I can take this.
Besides I've been getting all Mrs Robinson whenever I see a picture of Edward from Twilight. Yeah, that would probably freak my daughter right out.
Quick! Someone get me a picture of Gerard Butler!!
I'm writing, but not as much as I like. And, I shift back and forth between works because Queen and Assassin is a highly emotional, fairly dark (for me), serious work. And it exhausts me. So I move to A Jewel for Geoff for a bit of fun.
My word count right now for the month is:
I plan on shooting for more today. I can't do a marathon website building day like I did yesterday (until I thought my eyeballs were going to fall out of my head), so I will write some.
I ended a scene in AJFG this morning, and started on Q&A. Fave line today?
A breath of time later, agony stabbed through Starrlyn—pain, but not her own. Death—but no one she knew. And the world wept as she lost consciousness.
And so the fun continues... ha.
For the entire day.
I decided to take the day off and read. I also ran around and did a lot of errands. Actually, I really didn't feel all that guilty about taking the break. I'm back at it this morning and already have 689 words down and still going. I have errands to do later today but I'm determined to finish this short story. I really think I can do it without a whole lot of distraction.
I could almost say that with a straight face. No distraction in a house with three kids?? Yah riiiiight.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I am really six-years-old. I will do anything for a gold star. The more stars, the better.
I'm not motivated by public humiliation, the joy of writing, the excitement of finishing a project or even ice cream (since I was going to have some anyway). But -- a gold star. Now you're talking.
My friend Joan reminded me of Honesty Calendars mentioned in Vanessa Grant's Writing Romance book. These are calendars where you keep track of your real progress. Right there, in front of your eyes. It's either encouraging or guilt-inducing. I set the bar quite low so that it's encouraging unless I do absolutely nothing, and then I should feel guilty.
For 2009, I have two Honesty Calendars. One is on my desk for writing paragraphs or pages in my novel, the other is on my wall next to my treadmill for days I walked. I can't stand to see too many blank squares. Today was going to be a blank square on my writing Honesty Calendar. I couldn't stand it.
So I wrote. Not much. But I wrote. I got a gold sticker.
If I keep it up, maybe I'll get a whole novel.
And the best part is, that little piece of writing seems to have brought my excitement and confidence back. Now I'm all set to earn my gold star for tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I'll even write several chapters.
But the important thing is that I get my gold star.
I will continue. At least attempting to get this pedaling up to speed. The story has wandered. The characters seem a bit lost.
In any case, DH and DD took off to go ice skating for a bit, so I did do a little writing -- not as much as I like, but I kept having to refer back to "One Love for Liv" for details (the drawback to writing a sequel, I've discovered). I couldn't even remember what season Liv was set in (Sept / Oct in case you wondered).
This is what I have as of this moment (and not having written today...bad me):
Fave line from yesterday (and I wrote this on my personal blog to, apologies to those of you for whom this is a repeat):
Liv has just run into Geoff (much to his dismay). And she says:
“Geoff, I need advice.” She grabbed his sleeve and tugged him to the chairs that lined the wall, shoving him into one. “Okay, now pretend you’re a man.”
Ouch. That sound you hear is his ego deflating...
I really pushed myself yesterday, but it wasn't hard to do. Everyone seemed involved in other things and let me be. I'm hoping today will be as successful.
I've decided to work on my short story. It would be nice to get it finished too so I can do a "quick" edit on it and send it off somewhere. This also gives me more time to wrap my mind around the fantasy I really want to do.
Here's to a new week!
Needless to say I got a very late start writing. I spent the morning cleaning and talking on the phone to a guy who went to a rival high school of mine and who I had a huge crush on back then though he had no idea who I was. I found him on Facebook and he just happens to have worked where I'm setting my JaNoWriMo novel. In case you're curious, it's the Balkans. This is the second time Facebook has come through for me with expert research help!
After that phone call I couldn't wait to finally have time to write. Of course I had to wait 9 hours to finally get on my iBook, but the result was 2206 words. I'll be honest. I really wanted to start over at the beginning after learning some things this morning, but I didn't! I just made notes and kept moving forward. I'm pretty proud at my self-discipline over that. Usually I'm not that good! Here's my total word count:
Hope you had a great Sunday! Except for the teeth gritting drive home in the snow, mine couldn't have been better!
My starting word count is: 26,461.
I've got a through-line chart for the story, which plots the different threads that weave in and out of the book. The chart is divided into four acts, and each thread has a complete arc across the entire story. It helps me keep everything straight as I'm writing each scene, which allows me to write the spine (rough draft) of the story faster.
It's been working well so far. We'll see how it does when I ratchet up the daily word count.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I had this moment of clarity about my project. I want my story to loosely (v. v. loosely) mirror Wizard of Oz. So I'm sitting there thinking about how to finish out a scene and it hits me that in wizard everything starts out black and white -- Dorothy's world is gray and blah and what she wants more than anything is to get out of Kansas and get on to something exciting. Well, my character wants something exciting to happen too, and she kind of sees her life as gray and dull. Then I thought, girl, you should use some of that imagery. I went back through the early pages of my story and inserted descriptions that are gray, dreary, blah. My hero doesn't realize it but the only color in her life shows up whenever the guy she thinks she doesn't want arrives on the scene. And then I finally realized what my character needs -- she needs to appreciate what she has rather than always seeking out a fantasy. "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again I won't look any further than my own backyard!"
I'm not usually a very deep writer so it feels a little weird (and a little wonderful) to have this kind of insight into my story at this point -- like maybe I've grown a little bit as a writer. That felt so good that (after I patted myself on the back a few times) I looked over the physical descriptions and mannerisms of the main characters. I was able to add bits here and there to make them seem like their counterparts in Oz. It was easy to put the 'scarecrow' character in rumpled mismatched clothes and give him a scruffy beard, to have the 'tin man' be a little stiff, and the 'lion' to act shy and reticent (that sounds better than cowardly, right?)
The coolest thing though is that I can see this playing out within the confines of my plot. My scarecrow knows the right things to do when they are important but he needs to figure out how to not act like a goofball around my hero every time (brains). My tinman seems uncaring but it's really because he has the biggest *heart* of all. And my lion will go from shrinking violet to full-on blue haired vixen -- and she just might find the *courage* to tell her best friend where to stuff it before it's all over.
So. Word count schmurd count. I'm thrilled and excited about this project again! Yay!
No, I don't know which one I'm going to do yet. Going to glance at them all and then decide. :)
Well, I guess I shouldn't get too joyous. I still have to edit. The sucker came out to 91318 words. Yoiks!
No editing will be done today though. I won't touch it until February 1st.
Onward and upward!
Made it through my goals of the past two days. I am NOT writing late again, however. While I made my 1000 words, they sucked, and I was miserable the whole time.
I did much better writing 1000 this morning and another 1000 this afternoon. I'm really looking forward to returning home on Tuesday and going back to my normal schedule for a few days.
I used to write every first draft by hand, but changed that tactic as deadlines became more frequent, and writing on the computer became more comfortable. Even as I changed over, I knew I was missing the potential for having that quick edit when I moved my words from pen to keyboard. But I never realized what an addict I was to the Recount key until recently.
This fall, I was watching a morning program while procrastinating on an assignment and checking email instead, and the talking female head (don't remember which on it was) mentioned that during the continuous stock market dive she was continually checking the stock tickers and making herself more and more depressed as the day went on. While I don't get depressed by checking my word count (well, not enough to be concerned about), her words made me realize I was spending time stopping myself from being productive whenever I hit that dastardly little button. Worse, if I was near my daily goal, I would mentally start letting myself "shut down for the day."
Writing by hand also keeps me away from the possibility of checking email--or finding new reasons to research while I write (and become addicted to reading new sites that shift me over to other sites that let me click to other sites, and so on).
While I've always edited by hand (I just don't notice things on the screen that I should, and find things--especially repetitive words and phrases--jump out at me when I read them on paper), I'm finding this low-tech re-habit is kind of comforting right now.
That's not to say I'm writing any better. I've found that as I reread what I've written the day before, as I type, I tend to ax much more than I do when I'm just re-reading a previous day's work on the screen. Guess my fingers don't want to bother typing what I know will go anyway. And while I'm "writing" my 2000 word goal each day, I'm actually typing and keeping something between 500 to 1000. But that's okay. The editing I do now won't have to be done later. And I'm not throwing away these handwritten pages until the project is completed, so if I find I absolutely must have something I didn't give enough credit to during the first readthrough, it will still be accessible--if harder to find.
Best of all, doing the retyping the next day gives another deadline to keep me from straying off track. If I allow myself to only read the previous day's work while I'm typing, I'm not tempted to waste the morning rereading and editing a whole chapter.
It's only day 4, so I don't know if this new habit will be the best thing that ever happened to my fiction; but since my nonfiction has "deadlines", and my fiction has only "wantlines," if I don't find ways to make it have some kind of priority in my day, I just work on assignments instead.
Anyway, that's my life at the moment. Now I'll go back to reading about all of your more interesting lives. Love seeing all the collages, BTW.
And then I can get back to my normal writing schedule!!
I'm so happy!
Hope everyone has a wonderful and productive day!
Hope the words are flowing for everyone on Sunday!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I was hoping to come on here and be inspired and I was. I think it was Ceri or Keri, but one of you mentioned how nice it is writing in this manner and getting such wonderful support. I so second this! It's just a great place to visit at the end of a long day.
I played around way too late with a collage last night. I didn't like any of the images I found and power point was driving me crazy, etc., etc.
I really like the collage idea. Tonight, as a reward if I make at least 1000 words, I'm going to start gathering images for an old-fashioned cut and paste collage, which I'll make when I return to MI on Tues. Then I'll take a pic and post it. ;-) I'm such a techno whiz kid.
My mother asked me this evening what my story was about. And I told her. And I'm now thinking maybe I need to rethink some of my plot twists. It also pointed out the places I'm really unclear on. Those were the points where I'd be in the middle of explaining a detail and my eyes would glaze over and I think I probably went slack-mouthed and started saying, "Um, uh."
I'm worried I may have more of those than I realized.
I'm writing this draft in a linear manner. I never do that. I'm going to write out of sequence tonight and see how that goes.
I'm giving myself all these "treats" to write tonight because I am a MORNING writer and I'm so darned tired right now!
But I'm going to write.
1. Somewhere Over the Rainbow -- Judy Garland
2. Geek Love -- Fan3
3. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots -- Flaming Lips
4. The Blizzard of '96 -- The Walkmen
5. Stuck In a Moment -- U2
6. Head Over Heels -- Tears For Fears
7. Suddenly Everything Has Changed -- The Postal Service
8. Over the Rainbow -- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
9. Anyone Else But You -- Moldy Peaches
10. Somewhere Only We Know -- Keane
11. Four Leaf Clover -- Badly Drawn Boy
12. Rockin' the Suburbs -- Ben Folds
13. Somewhere Over the Rainbow -- Israel Kamikawio'ole
And my collage:
Any minute now the words will start to come, right?
My big problem is I'm trying to write this by the seat of my pants. While I know others who do this, I really need some structure. I know the big picture, but I don't know the different avenues I need to travel down. I keep trying to do my synopsis each day--then tell myself how bad it is and hit delete!
I listened to a Vanessa Grant mp3 last night, and I'm trying to take her advice and just focus on the "big conflict," but since I'm writing thriller instead of romance, I'm still having difficulty keeping it down to "just the facts, ma'am."
Sigh... It will get better, I know. At least I'm getting my outside work done and turned in, and still getting at least 500 good words written on my project each day. The synopsis will come. The synopsis will come.
Yes, I know I probably should have completed the synopsis before I started JaNo. Sigh...
No too bad. Still got a ways to go before this story is done though. Then it's off to Fantasyland!
Or really hot firemanland.
Haven't decided. But if it's really hot Firemanland then I'll have to do a new collage. Might be worth it just to do the collage.
We'll see if I can keep up when I don't have holidays to try and work around.
I made it! I didn't cheat and I chanted my mantra. And now I'm loving the feeling of doing this JaNoWriMo together. :) Writing, at times, is such a solitary process.
To be on track, I should really have 4838 words today... but I can still catch up. I have high hopes that once DH is back at work on Monday, and DD is back doing school, and things are just basically back to normal, I will have more uninterrupted time to write.
And, I did a collage for A Jewel for Geoff:
I love collages, but they are a serious time suck. Still... it's done. And it helps organize my thoughts. Yay.
I'm really struggling to turn off my internal editor. I spoke on the telephone with my critique partner, Virginia Kantra, this morning, and she had a couple really good suggestions about intensifying the conflict. But instead of going back and making the changes in Chapter One as I normally would do, I wrote them on my notepad and continued forward with the story. I do not want to go back at all until I reach the end.
At least that's the plan. We'll see how well I execute it!