Tag Archive | fiction

ROW80 Check-in: October 10th

Third check-in of the round already (I missed the first, unfortunately)! I still don’t have much to report – I’ve been doing fairly fine with my work on writing here. So far on my goals this week, I’m almost done with the one entry and have outlined two. Since I don’t have much to report yet, I’ll just talk about what the experience in general has been like so far.

The beginning of this is kind of suffering, to be honest. Getting myself to write and stay positive about it is an up-hill battle. I’ve been dealing with a lot emotionally, and the slump is really making it hard for me to write, so I really keep winding up having to make myself pick up my pen and get writing for this. I know for a fact that once I get into the system of this I will be able to enjoy it fully – it’s just a matter of keeping things running and sticking to trying to get comfortable with writing again after so long.

All in all, I have been having a lot of trouble, but I’ve been reaching my goals and getting further into the story to the point where I’m planning parts that I’m rather excited about. It’s a little hard keeping writing at the point where things haven’t picked up much steam yet, but I have to push through this development phase while I push through the “getting used to writing again” phase, so I can fully enjoy the fresher, newer parts of the story once I get in the program of things.

How is writing going for everyone, and if you’re participating, how about ROW80?

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ROW80 2012: Round 4 Goals

I’m not going to go into much detail about that long, unexpected hiatus I took other than that I’ve been stressed and having a lot of trouble these past few months, but I’m finally getting back on track with productivity, so I’m coming back to the blog – for now, it’ll mainly be to keep track of ROW80 and things related to that, but I’m sure I will go back to writing my tips and etc posts eventually when I get in the hang of things again.

That being said, instead of participating in the usual National Novel Writing Month this November, I will be participating in this round of ROW80, since this time around, it’s more than a first draft I’m trying to get done – this one is going to be a second draft to what I did during Camp NaNoWriMo, this time hand-written with each ‘diary entry’ planned out along the way based on that draft I did in June. You can read about ROW80 here. It’s essentially an alternative to NaNoWriMo that lasts a bit longer and gives you more time, along with the option of setting and changing your own goals.

That being said, it’s time for me to state my goals for this round.

GOAL:  Finish 5+ Entries per week

This is really exciting. I’ve never participated in ROW80 before, and I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to finally finishing this first book in the planned series. As much as I’ve enjoyed working on it, four years is a long time and I’m so glad to finally be putting this in the direction it needs to go. My break from it after finishing the first draft in Camp NaNoWriMo was one I really needed in order to get some new ideas to throw in this draft and sort of have the time away from it I needed to be able to be refreshed and excited on the project all over again.

Needless to say, I think I’m going to enjoy this.

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Two

Word-count: 33,875 and counting

It’s Saturday morning and week two is slowly coming to a close. The chirping of birds is practically all I hear aside from the tapping of my keys, my nose is cold and red, my ankles are covered in strange bug bites. I have been having a bit of trouble writing every day this week like I’ve wanted to, and phasing back into a schedule, but today is going to be my little fix for that.

I just finished up an entry to my current novel that I’m working on here, and clocked in my current word-count. This particular entry was taking me a while, and I’m glad it’s over, so that when the next wordsprints start up on my twitter feed, I’ll be able to jump into a new entry and new scene that I don’t have very planned out aside from making it something important and potentially plot-effecting. Thinking about it is exciting, but I’m going to let that build up until the sprints start. Until then, I’ll be working on other things – this post, my current side project, maybe even reading.

Week three is going to be exciting, I think. I’m nearing 40k – that’s really shocking me. Looking at the counter and my progress on the website, however, I’m not satisfied – it’s not steadily improving. I’ve been missing out on writing at all some days, and others, I only write a little, not enough to update on. I’m trying to get back to my entry-a-day thing, so that I can finish at least 40 -45 entries before the month’s end. I’m going to be trying to make a steady and fair amount of progress daily, even on my birthday (tomorrow), and find whatever ways possible to keep the writing fun and exciting.

When July comes, I’ll write a few entries, maybe one or two per week, but focus mainly on reading and drawing throughout the week with writing more prominent on the weekends. Towards the end of next month, I’ll probably start steadily writing more entries to get prepped for the beginning of the next session of Camp NaNoWriMo, in August, which I’ll be continuing this current novel for (adding 50k new words, though, of course!), and after that’s done, I’ll probably flip back to the July ‘schedule’ until November comes around. I’ll still be keeping up with trying to write a blog entry or two per week, and maybe working on short stories, but I’m thinking my other two projects, my big one that I worked on for Script Frenzy and my current side one, will probably take the reins more in-between NaNoWriMo months and after November, which is when I’m hoping to finish this novel’s draft up.

I’ll probably leave it be for a bit, and a few months later, come back to it and work out editing notes, get down a sort of timeline to work from to rearrange and reference during rewrites and during the writing of the rest of the series, so that when working on another book in the series, I don’t have to pull out the full draft and search through it, but rather just look at my timeline/detailed summaries for personal reference. I’m not sure what all I’ll be working on aside from this current project and blog-posts in terms of actually getting writing done, and that is a bit scary to think about – with all of that time in-between 2012 NaNo season’s end and 2013 NaNo season’s beginning, which is when writing will probably take control again, I’m not sure what I’ll be writing to keep myself sharp.

Aside from my planning for the future after NaNoWriMo season for 2012 is over, things have been going fairly well. I’m hoping to improve on all of the things that have been hindering me along the way during week two, and get back on schedule today.

How has week two been treating you? Any problems, or anything opposite of that?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week One: Schedule Adjustments, Story Involvement, and Late-Night Camp-outs

Word-count: 27,963 and counting

I’ll admit, this is a bit late, but I think it’s still close enough to do this.

Week two of Camp NaNoWriMo has officially begun, and the first week of the event has gone fairly well for me.

Despite adjusting to a new sleep schedule and trying to work my sessions and rewards to fit that, I’ve still managed to get a fairly good total word-count so far, and am keeping it up. My story is making wonderful progress, and like I thought I would, I’m stepping into dimensions of it that I haven’t before, on a deeper level than expected, and discovering more and more new things that are making the process even more of a joy to go through. My characters are developing, my plot is twisting and taking leaps I never thought it would, and I’m writing more than ever, thanks to the help and support of my lovie and doing wordsprints to keep up.

I have been faltering on my rewards a bit – movies aren’t working anymore, since my laptop, for some reason, refuses to play DVDs, which I’ve tried every solution I could find to fix, from updating drivers, to codecs, to cleaning the disk drive myself, but I am determined to keep up with giving rewards and having a little bit of fun every weekend to refresh everything. I will admit that I have been slacking on writing sessions and hitting my minimum word goal every day, but I have my schedule change to thank for that, and am working on it. I’ve been able to evade my inner editor thus far, and just letting the words fly – it’s a blast!

Getting so involved with the story for the periods of time that I’m working on it is a blessing and a curse, sadly. Since it’s being written in journal entry format, there are entries now and then that the character gets a bit emotional and cuts the entry short, to finish up explaining at a later time, and sometimes, the buildup and getting in-tune with that feeling leave me dumbfounded on how to start the next one, stuck in that sort of feeling for a little while, but I have been able to evade it by forcing myself to start and trying to write a starting line for the next entry when I finish the prior one, in order to sneak away from the “how the hell do I start this one now” stage at a later session and just get into writing the actual content.

Re-acquainting with my characters, especially the narrator, has been a treat, as well. He’s gaining a lot more dimension and becoming a lot more than he ever was in the previous attempts to get this story done, and I find him a lot more interesting and likable than I did beforehand. At this point, he’s struggling with a lot of things – no one else seems to believe what he sees, he knows near nothing about his real parents yet still feels haunted by the brief memories he does have and the tiny links to him he’s starting to unearth, and approaching him are struggles with things more related to who he is on the (cliche wording oops) ‘inside’, this bit here being the aspect that I think will help make him easier to relate to for the average reader in terms of his struggling with, among the rest of the things, things most people do at some point in their life, specifically teenagers.

There has been a little trouble weaving the plot together the way I wanted to, but I’ll keep working on that and fix it up more in the editing process if need be. I’ve definitely wound up neglecting certain parts every now and then, but again, that can be dealt with in the point of the process where I go back and spruce up those bits. Right now, I’m focusing on pushing the story forward and getting everything down so I can edit and make it worth something more later, anyhow. I’m not sure how many times I’ve mentioned this, but the quote stating that you can’t edit a blank page is one of my favourites, despite not knowing the exact quote or the person it’s credited to, and I like to enforce it as much as possible.

Unfortunately, all of the work on writing and sleep schedule hoopla has left me slacking on my reading. I just haven’t had time to pick up the books I’m currently reading and making significant progress. The fact that I’m reading more than one book right now isn’t really helping – I want to catch up on my goal to read 12 books this year, and I’ve been getting caught up in things every time I start to make progress on that, so I’m trying to juggle reading Lara Parker’s ‘The Salem Branch’, Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, and a little bit of Scott McCloud’s ‘Making Comics’ on the side there at once. Trying to alternate is one of the big problems here, but I’m working on that, as well.

Catching up on that, though, is what I suppose tonight is for – I wrote a bit on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, and am going to be spending the rest of the night trying to catch up on other things I’ve been neglecting lately. I’m currently on page 135 of ‘The Salem Branch’ out of 334, 392 of ‘Dracula’ out of 450, and 101 of ‘Making Comics’ out of 272, and am going to be working on that periodically throughout the night. Speaking of which, I am planning to spend the entire night outside – since my new sleeping schedule utilizes staying up until sunrise and sometimes after, and I’ve been coming outside to get most of my writing done, I’ve decided to attempt to spend my entire night out here on the carport.

It’s currently 1:28 AM, and I’m doing fairly well thus far. I thought that I would wind up chickening out, but I’ve updated my to-do list and got plenty to keep me occupied, plus the company of my lovie to keep me from getting too scared. I’ll be dropping inside – just at the front door – on the occasion to grab a drink or a bite of string cheese, but other than that, most of tonight is being spent out here. I guess you could consider it camping out, if only a little, in the Camp NaNoWriMo spirit. In addition to reading, I’ll be updating things that need updating that I’ve been neglecting a bit, and probably wind up working at least a little on the NaNo Novel as the sun comes up (sleepy writing is always fun).

To keep up with my progress throughout the month a bit better, you can follow me on twitter @TheDerpOfficer and I’ll most likely follow you back (just say the word, hehe). I’ll probably be giving some fairly frequent updates on the late-night “camp-out” throughout the night, as well, if anyone’s interested to see how that’s going!

In conclusion, the first week has been well, and week two is setting itself up to go by great, as well! How has the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo or JuNoWriMo been going for everyone else participating?

Camp NaNoWriMo: My Plans and ‘Supplies’

I’ve already mentioned a few times before that I’m going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this June. I’ve never participated in either of the Camp NaNo’s before, and I’ve only participated in November’s NaNo once, which I wound up giving up on. This year will be different – I’ve got time, goals, rewards, and inspiration. I’m building up more and more excitement for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I plan to go through with this. I’m outside now as I write, sitting on my porch and enjoying the fresh air – something I’m sure I’ll be doing during most of my writing sessions during ‘camp’.

My project this year is the same one I tried to go through with last time, and the same I’ve began several unfinished drafts on, even completing one of them. None of them quite had the right spark – and after a while of immersing myself in a different project along with reading up on the craft of writing a lot more, I’ve figured out how to make it work for me much better. The plot’s being twisted around and recreated, new twists have been added, and I’ve gotten heaps of ideas for new character development, something that was missing from the older drafts (despite my absolute love of it – my characters and their relationships as a whole are some of my favourite parts of writing). Instead of sticking to the same old story that I usually try to tell, I’m starting at the same place and allowing myself to branch out to whole different levels of the story. It is, as I mentioned in a previous post, a continuation of an edited version of a short story I posted on here a while ago, The Angels.

This may not be the final draft, but I have a feeling it will be the best version yet – complete with new dimensions to old characters, and a plot much more fun to get into than before. I am 100% sure that when this draft is finished, it’ll take tons of revising and rewriting to make it into really something, but that’s not really the point – you can’t edit a blank page, and if you don’t start with anything, you won’t end with anything either. NaNoWriMo is a tool to get a draft started/finished, not a tool to complete a polished, ready-for-publishing novel, after all. Now, without further ado, my supplies for camp:

  • A few pre-written entries to the novel

I’ve been doing some pre-NaNo writing, to get the ball rolling on my story so that when the event actually begins, I’ll be past the opening and ready to delve into new and exciting dimensions of a story that I’ve been through several times. My project is going to be written in journal entry format, seeing as it’s one of my favourite formats to both read and write in. It’s a blast getting into my character’s head and it’s a way to make the story very personal – it’s not just his story, it’s his thoughts and his emotions weaved into it on a different level. Journal format isn’t right for everyone, but for me, it makes writing the story much more enjoyable, and that’s what matters at this point – I have to enjoy writing it as much as possible to be able to get things down so quickly.

For camp, I’ve decided to try out a software made for journals, called ‘The Journal’. It’s working very nicely for me – it took a little bit to get used to (which was another reason I started doing some pre-NaNo writing, in order to get used to the program) but it’s easy to get in the hang of and use. Since I’m writing in journal entry format, I’ve created a category for my NaNoWriMo novel and am using the journal features that the program was primarily made for. It logs each entry per day (which I will have to change the dates when I save the draft as a whole, but it is useful) and has a little calendar that you can manage and click through to each entry on, even allowing you to add onto days that have already passed or start entries for days that have yet to come, which is also useful for novel-writing in some ways. It saves your entries periodically, and also has a ‘save as’ feature under the export file section where you can save each entry (or even the entire thing) as a different file-type (I go with .rtf’s for the time being while I just save an extra copy of my work).

Dropbox is how I manage to keep all of my files backed up and in-order. I haven’t had it for long, but it’s a great help – if you save a file in the dropbox folder, it will store a copy of it on your account online and on every computer, phone, etc you have connected to your Dropbox account. It also allows for easier sharing of files and folders. This is where I save my extra .rtf copies of my entries for my novel, in it’s own little folder in my Dropbox. Not only is it easy to use, it’s very useful and helps you keep your files on-hand as easily as possible! I suggest it to anyone who wants to keep their files safe and sound and would like to be able to access their files not only from any computer or phone that they have the program on, but anywhere so long as they can get online and into their account.

  • Drinks and snacks

While I’m not much of one for snacks, I love to have a drink while I write. Coffee, sweet tea, green tea, Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, anything I like, I’ll drink it while I write. It helps keep me comfortable and energized, and the occasional snack is great too. As I write this, I’m sipping on some very, very sweet tea, expecting a little bit of supper in an hour, which will be around the end of a pre-writing session. I’ll also probably go to Starbucks every now and then like I did during November to enjoy some of their delicious little snacks and a mocha while I write (this usually helps me get a lot of work done – going out into a different environment specifically to write both gives me some fresh air and a change of setting, along with motivation!).

  • A friend to participate with

This June, both my sweetheart and I will be participating. Having someone else to participate with is actually very exciting for me – especially since we’re going to be sitting down and powering through some writing sessions together. We have our goals set for our days and will both work towards them together until we both reach the minimum word count goal we’ve set, meaning that if one of us has hit that goal but the other hasn’t, both of us keep writing regardless until the other has. Not only does that encourage writing more than our daily goal when it happens, it also has some motivation for the other person to get their draft down faster (again, as NaNo is a tool for getting things down, not getting a polished, publishable draft, getting the story down quick is a goal for most) since the other person will continue to work despite hitting their daily goal. We’ve also decided that after we both hit our goal, we’ll discuss the work we got done today and whatever problems we encountered/things we discovered during the process.

  • Rewards

I guess this kind of ties in with the last two here, but I have worked out a rewards system for the month. Every Sunday, if we’ve hit at least our minimum goal in weekly word counts, we’ll be able to watch a movie together to relax for a little while. The movies are generally less serious ones and moreso ways to relax and get a laugh after a week of hard work. We’ve also both chosen something to get the other when we finish writing these drafts, which might not necessarily be during NaNoWriMo, but still provides incentive to keep writing. Another reward I’m planning on giving myself is being able to read a little bit once I’m finished with my goal for the day.

  • Twitter/this blog

Yes, they’re distractions – but being able to escape and get distracted every now and then is okay, especially when you’re doing a lot of work around the time. Not only will tweeting and blogging document the experience and how it’s going, it allows me to reach out to others who are experiencing/have experienced the same event before. One of the most enjoyable parts of NaNoWriMo is, to me, learning about other people’s points of view on the event and how it’s gone/going for them.

Daily word count goal for weekdays: 2,000 words

Daily word count goal for weekends: 840 words

Are you going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are your goals and “supplies”? And for everyone in general, what have you been working on lately in terms of your writing, and how’s that going?

Rewriting and Revising: Different editing species of the same genus

Horrible titling, I know, but it’s better than just ‘Rewriting and Revising’.

Rewriting and revising are often talked about together, I’ve noticed, but really, they’re very different creatures. Yes, they do have things in common at times – you may be working from one of your drafts, you may try to think about more details than you do when getting the first draft down that you tend to pay more attention to while revising, etc – but they are still quite different.

To revise is, to me, to modify something, to go in and correct or condense, to fix up the material which may involve some rewriting, but for the most part, you’re just, well, fixing up the material. Rewriting can be a part of revising, but it really depends on what stage you’re at in the revising and the material you’re working on – the idea of rewriting is different than just revising. To rewrite is to completely write it again – some things about it may come out similar or even the exact same as the original, but essentially, you’re recreating the material and probably altering it quite a bit in rewriting, being it in the word choice or the material aside from that, and you could technically edit it as you do this in some departments depending on what you personally consider revising (when rewriting, I do tend to pay more attention to my word choice and edit the plot as I go).

For me, rewriting is more enjoyable than just plain revising, but at the same time, harder. Changing scenes, ‘killing my darlings’ as it’s so often called, trying to even it out and fix it, and trying to use my editorial mind at the same time as trying to change things that need changing to my liking – they’re things I’ve not gotten used to quite yet. I’m trying to revise and rewrite at the same time, but still give myself the freedom of not trapping myself within what I’ve already got set out, to give myself the freedom of making what happens still what I like, even if I don’t like it as much as what I had originally planned. Revising is something I like to think I’m fairly good at when I feel up to it, to go through and find misspellings, odd word choices, choppy sentences, bad grammar, etc, that’s something I can do when I look over something a few times, sure, but changing the overall material to the degree I do when I tend to rewrite can be a little bit hard for me.

But I have to sit down and do it – I have dreams for these projects that I’m working on, and I have to remember that to achieve what I dream of for these things, I need to sit my ass down and work on them, even if some parts of the process feel a little slow and unenjoyable – to get the finished product that I want, I have to get through the parts that aren’t so fun. If it’s not worth getting through the tough parts of the process, then it really isn’t worth working on at all, is how I see it.

I’m not too sure on whether my rewriting and editing process is normal or not – I will admit that I don’t read posts on that often, which I really should, especially while trying to motivate myself to rewrite and revise my current project, so I don’t know much about the process that other’s use. I complete the material to edit – in this case, it’s my script from Script Frenzy, which is for the first chapter of a graphic novel I am working on. I wrote it out in a large notebook I’ve had for years in pen, so it’s a mess of scribbles and chicken scratch, and I rewrite each scene individually. Each scene has it’s own separate file, which I rewrite the material in and when the scene is done – usually between 3 to 7 pages, I believe – I go back and revise it to make sure I didn’t misspell something or make any mistakes, to fix up the scene, before I move on to rewriting and revising the next.

I like getting each scene edited before working on the next one, and while working on this, I’ve been sending each scene to someone to have them read over it and give me their feedback to ponder and fix up the scene some more if I feel necessary afterwards before I move on to another scene. I usually send every other scene to a different person, so all of the work of reading the entire thing isn’t just on the shoulders of one person. It helps me get the feedback of two different people rather quickly, giving them little bits and pieces of the story without giving them the whole thing, again, which can help see if each scene is engaging enough on it’s own and other bits and bobs of information of that manner.

It helps me to both rewrite and revise at the same time, editing like this. Having a sort of mini-audience, or beta readers, to it while you’re editing seems to help quite a bit, at least for me, especially since the two people I have looking at it are pretty big influences and inspirations for my work as of now. I think I’ll have yet another person look at the completed product as is to get an opinion on the whole story and fix it all up yet again before handing it out to the two current readers to get their final opinions before I buckle down and complete it to work on the other chapters/transfer it to art.

I’m sure my editing process will change over the course of working on this entire series (it will be rather long, if it goes as I’m currently planning), but dipping my toes into this way of editing tells me that the water here is rather comfortable and I may well stay in it for a while.

What are you guys up to? When it comes to editing as a whole, how do you get it done, and what do you think of using beta readers?