Tag Archives: writing schedule

NaNoWriMo Update: Slow and Steady

After a week of writing on a story I’ve been working on for almost a year, I can already tell this NaNoWriMo is different than the last one.

I’m uncertain if that’s just the nature of a different story, or because I’m writing under pressure for a story that’s so dear to me (what I talked about in my last post). While last year I wrote in great swaths and then took minor breaks, this year I’ve written consistently almost every day in smaller sections. I’ve been really having to push myself to write every day. It’s a strangely novel feeling, deliberately setting aside and creating writing time, versus taking time I have available and writing for as long as I keep steam.

The first few days I struggled, partially due to my mood at the time, and partially due to the difficulty of the scene. But as the week progressed I’ve gained some momentum, and got ahead of the game where I could. Last night I ended up writing several hundred words beyond where I needed to be, but will try to continue that today.

Alright, I must be off to continue on this adventure.

I hope all of you are having fun and doing awesome! And hey, if you feel like it, come be my writing buddy!


What Is It With Those Pesky Emotions

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Writing was a bit off last week…

Yes, again. I’ve been in a wee bit of a funk with that whole done-with-college-now-need-a-job-also-didn’t-write-for-two-months-because-I-was-in-DC thing. Coupled with personal relationship stuff that rather exploded, that was a no on the whole writing subject.

What is it about emotions that really screws everything up? And how interesting is it that they meld with different people’s creativity in such a variety of ways? I can’t write when I’m depressed. Angry, happy, excited, amorous – definitely. But sad or depressed? Forget it. Yet I know a few people who churn out pages the best when they’re depressed.

(Hey that rhymed)

Moving on, Monday was FINALLY a break through. I sat down (actually, laid down in bed) and wrote for about four hours. I fixed two holes. Did some editing. I think, between Monday night and some spotty writing the day before, I added about 1,500 words. Coupled with yesterday, another great writing day…I think I added another 1,000.

This brings my total to a little over 103k words. Yeesh! I think this book might be long. Is it too long, do you think? I’m not sure why this particular one got so much longer – and why it keeps getting longer. I know how long the ending scene will be since I’ve basically written it already…and that adds quite a bit of length. I’m starting to realize I’m going to have a problem on my hands when I get this thing finished – I’m going to have to start cutting. Maybe a lot.

But! I make myself focus every time I go down that rabbit hole. I’ve got to finish the thing before I can figure out what can be cut and/or rearranged.

The length has a lot to do with how many different seeds I’m planting in setting up for later books. There’s so much more with this one I’m actually trying to say, and coupled with the tendency of my characters to take off running, it’s turning into a giant epic. Hopefully not a giant epic mess. Sometimes I worry I’ve got way too much complexity and mystery going on here.

In an attempt to counteract this, I’ve started enacting a Rule of Three when making sure the reader gets something. If I’m trying to relay a point, portray something about the world they’re placed in, or set up for further mystery or revelation, I’ll mention it three times. Maybe it’s a very discreet three times. Maybe it’s more obvious. But I put it in there three times.

. . . Hopefully that works.

Needless to say, the end is in sight for this one. What are your thoughts on length of novels? What about complexity and sewing seeds for future books – should an author stick to a simple and elegant plot for the book, or can they drops things here and there that only come to fruition in later books?


Writing Schedule, Activate! (?)

I’ve had a horrible writing week, which makes me cranky. I do have a few excuses, mostly revolving around finishing up my last week at my student job and the awful traffic that has sprung up due to the rain returning (seriously, it’s just rain people. Not all of you will melt).

I’ve also let myself be a little lax because I FINALLY finished up rewriting this section I’ve been working on for a while. There’s a sense of shit-eating-grin relief that always pops up afterwards, of finally being able to return to moving the story along. I’ve been riding on that for a while. I really cannot get over that fulfillment of taking the story the next step, or being carried along as something evolves in an unexpected way. It’s kinda of perfect for my lazy-OCD brain: I obsess over getting certain things written or done, but just let it happen when the story takes a sharp turn to the left.

Since I rewrote that section, there is some light rewriting to do to make sure that the tone and style moving forward with the story fits into the rewritten part. The character dynamic is a bit different now, so I’ve got to run through and do some shifting.

It’s time to get back to work.

I hear advice all the time about setting up a writing schedule. A specific time, like a job or appointment, that is just for writing that is free from distractions and obligations. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had much of an opportunity to do that, but I’ve never really written that way. Sometimes, with a particular schedule, I’ll know I have a free hour here or there and will sit down to write. But most often I write in spurts and starts, where I’ll spend a week writing for hours every day, blocking out everything, and then maybe an hour every two days.

(What do you think – if I paced myself better would the flow last longer?)

Even beyond that, a lot of times my best writing times will be the impromptu sit-downs in strange or new places. (My laptop is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me – I take that sucker with me EVERYWHERE) And often, a lot of noise or a corner in a crowded room is one of the easiest places for me to write. Maybe it’s the white noise. Listening to a song I know well over and over again also seems to work in this way.

It’s the change in place or time that seems to facilitate writing. But, I’ve never had much of a schedule that I could hammer out around being able to write.

That is about to change. We’re going to see how this schedule-writing goes.

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P.S. I just sent out another batch of query letters. Wish me luck!