Tag Archives: word count

On track…so far

Quick update via my phone as I’m not connecting my laptop to the wife – too distracting!
November 1 was yesterday, in order to achieve 50,000 words by 30 November you need to average 1667 words per day. Last night I got 1780 before I really had to go to bed. Time to get moving on today’s target.
Sending inspirational vibes out to all participating in NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month) – it can be done!

There’s something to this planning thing….

So the dreaded planning stage has actually proved helpful. I was talking to a school mum the other day and she mentioned a book she had recently read, she said it had a fantastic premise but really had nowhere to go after that, she’d enjoyed the read but the flaw stood out.

I thought the rest of the day and realised that was exactly the problem I had with the story I had planned for November, and was also (one of the many) reason I was struggling so with the planning. There really was no plot at all.

I sat at the computer on Wednesday, totally stumped. What was I going to write? There were four days until November started and I honestly thought I was going to have to skip it this year. But I really didn’t want to. So I read the paper online, panicked, almost called BMan to appeal for help.

And then bam. A news story that I read and said – what if? – what happened after that? why? And a character name popped into my head, and another one. There needs to be 3, of course, him, he needs to be there too. I stream of conscious wrote the idea out – there was story, there was conflict, there was crisis points, there were 3 characters that are different from each other but have similar roots to the dramas in their lives.

I started planning, yes I did. I started with the character sketches from the Snowflake method  I added in a category to establish the inner, interpersonal and physical conflict needed for each character. One was easy, one took a bit, I was making him far too nice, once I roughed him up a bit it was easier. But last night the third had me stumped, I had the same problem as the previous story idea, a great reason for her, a great set up but no depth, I couldn’t see her. I would have realised this far too late if I hadn’t been doing the planning exercise, she just would have been a weak character and would have frustrated me no end.

It was late (it’s always late, so sorry BMan, Novembers are a challenge for you too!) and so I decided to call it a night. Hopped in the shower, the story running all through my brain. And then it came to me, how to solve the 3rd character’s problems and the realisation she doesn’t need a crisis point, hers starts the manuscript, the rest of her story arc is getting past the drama. I had to go back to the computer and quickly type it out before I forgot it all . The world needs some sort of shower proof computing system, I often solve writing problems in the shower!

So 3 characters: Helen’s crisis starts the novel and then we see her deal with the fall out, realise what she thought she wanted was actually her worst nightmare, and start to rebuild her life. Evie’s crisis comes in the middle, forced into finally making decisions, her life that she hated is forced into change and she gradually starts to build a new life. Walt’s crisis comes right at the end. His life is on a gradual decline throughout the story until his crisis point.

There’s still time to do some more planning. I know I need a couple of minor characters, I know I need an ex boyfriend, a best friend, a husband and a son but they are shadowy at the moment, none of them have names yet.

But it’s better, I stand a chance of getting something half decent out of it now!

I may do a flash fiction from one of the side stories as a warm up, bring on Sunday November 1!

 

You Googled what??

After my recent adverb rant I have been trundling along nicely on my rewrite. I’ve even been able to use the odd sentence from draft 1, and I’ve passed the 10,000 word mark.

Today as I typed away I realised I’ve done some Google searches this week, that while are not strange as such, as a group they present an odd picture. While it doesn’t really give you an insight into the story (at all) I thought it interesting as a snapshot of the complexities of novels. Of the little bits and bobs authors include in order to make something seem seamless.

So over the last week or so I have Googled:

  • how to describe dull blonde
  • travel first aid kits
  • do australian citizens need a visa for hawaii
  • themes of moby dick
  • volcanic zones of the world
  • volcano zones
  • amazing fantasy 15 cgc 8.0
  • can you open a CGC graded comic?
  • storing graded comics
  • films released in 2002
  • darwin awards

 

Getting closer, I think

This redrafting process is throwing up unexpected challenges that are taking me time to work my way toward a solution.

Challenge 1 – While others in the Refine Your Novel class seem able to fix portions, add scenes, ramp up tension in existing scenes and shuffle stuff around, my redrafting means starting from scratch. Writing the entire manuscript over. This didn’t take me too long to figure out, a couple of hours tops. Trying to fix an existing opening chapter is tough, writing a new one the way it should be written – hard but in a different way, slaughtered darlings and all that.

Challenge 2 – Rewriting is massive. The task befor me seems so huge, I keep finding other things to do than to get the job done. This is a biggie and something I’m still figuring out. I think I took decent step today towards dealing with this one. I have been listening to the Writing Excuses podcast on my way to work (as well as The Moth and Dear Sugar Radio – get into those,  they are awesome!) and a couple of phrases really rang true for me today.

Remember the fun – it’s not a chore, remember how fun it was to write the first time, it can be that fun again. Sounds obvious, but I’d been approaching the rewrite (because that is my means of redraft) as something I have to do, rather than something I want to do.

And quit looking at the end product, the task look huge from up here, but get up close and start telling the story. Start with chapter 1. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the enormity of writing this novel all over again, it’s a huge thing to write a manuscript. But I need to stop looking at the end point. Like eating an elephant – one bite at a time.

I emailed my tutor and said that the chapter and a half I’d rewritten felt like filler until the story starts, that maybe I needed to start with chapter 2. I figured that the act of asking this question also answered it, go with your instincts, start with chapter 2. So I started another rewrite, wrote 120 words and stalled (this was yesterday). Tonight I went back and reread the first rewrite, 3700 words. And you know what? It’s good. I really like it. I think the doubts were another manifestation of procrastination, of not doing the work.

So, I’m renewed, refocussed. 3,700 words down, about 70,000 to go. One bite at a time.

You know you’re obsessed when….

image

The view out my train Window

You know you’re obsessed with making a word count target when you have an unanticipated hour long train journey and spend the entire trip typing a scene on your smart phone and then emailing it to yourself. Nanowrimo 5 days to go and 12,000 words needed!

Writing retreat here I come!

It’s time to gloat a little. Tomorrow night I head off to a wonderful bed and breakfast along the coast here for two whole nights!

Intended as a gift to celebrate a recent birthday that ends in a 0, the booking ended up coinciding with the tail end of nanowrimo. I have two nights planned with nothing to do but make sure I feed myself every so often and the remainder of the time I plan to work up the RSI in my fingers and WRITE!

This is the room I stayed in last time, so lovely!

This is the room I stayed in last time, so lovely!

Prepare to drool as you see the fabulousness that is Cimarron – I linked to the room I will be staying in. Yes, this is the same bed and breakfast I stayed at when I self styled a writing retreat two years ago – you can read about that here.

The fabulous Bman swapped his day off and is driving me down there tomorrow morning. It’s the first time I’ve left him and Little Man for two nights – they’ve gone on interstate trips to visit family without me for longer periods that that, but this is the first time I’m leaving them for more than a night. Little Man will not mind in the slightest, ah the fickleness of a six year old. Bman will get to watch shoot ’em up movies that I don’t particularly enjoy. Funny anecdote – the first night I spent away from Bman was my sister’s hen’s do (nearly ten years ago). When I spoke to him in the morning he said he’d fallen out of my side of the bed during the night! He’d rolled and rolled and without me as a bumper he’d just kept going!

I’m nearly at the half way point in word count, but the observant of you will notice that we are well past the half way point of the month. So I gots me some writing to do!

I want to get a flash fiction piece or two done while I’m gone as well. It’s funny that the 1000 words needed for a flash fiction piece tend to come in around an hour yet 1000 words in the nano novel (or any novel-length project I’m working on) take a heck of a lot longer than an hour. What’s up with that?!

So it begins

Pre-saved post>>

Cobwebs – dusted. Today the fingers moved on the keyboard, the standard dune-plant-seedling_2542011procrastination distractors (mostly) ignored, and words were written.

It’s early, there are many, many, many more to be written. There are notes to be made, hair to be torn, teeth to be gnashed and joy to be had.

But a seed has been planted.

I’ve returned to my last project that I had abandoned. It’s a novel in two intertwining parts that got too messy to continue with last time. The two voices became too similar, seeds planted early in the manuscript made no sense later, plotting flaws were cracking it apart and the task to continue to the end or recommence just became too huge.

But some time away, the story still itches to be written and here I am again. I’m writing each story independently this time, taking notes, letting one character know what they need to reveal about the other as I go along. Let’s hope they play nicely this time, well, actually they can’t ultimately, they are in opposition.

I’ve also made the first step in arranging two mini writing retreats for myself. I have contacted the wonderful b&b I visited last time to book two weekends, a few months apart. It’s exciting!!

Nano update for you: word count creeping up slowly – a different project from the one described here, not planned at all and ideas are presenting as I need them. There are a couple I know will need to come up soon, things that have been alluded to, but I don’t know what they acutally are yet, hope they arrive at the right times!

Don’t go telling me how to write, I already know it all, don’t I?

I hate those posts where bloggers apologise for not having posted in a while. So I won’t.

Moving on.

Nova Ren Suma posted about pumping up your daily word count and directed to this rather long and at first daunting seeming post about a technique of increasing your daily word count from 2,000 words a day to 10,000 a day.

Now word count is a really personal thing, and I find those numbers astounding, mindblowing in fact. There’s no way I write anywhere near those kind of figures, and to be honest I’m not even going to attempt it.
But I’d love to increase my word count, with good, quality words of course, and once I got past a scary looking graph, the tips the author wrote about were actually really good.
The way I write is perfect for me, of course it is, but it evolves and changes, maybe only little bits, but nothing stays the same, especially when it involves personal creativity. And it would be incredibly conceited of me to think I know it all and couldn’t improve my processes.
Once I got over myself, the one thing that I found worked particularly well for me this week was a tip I genuinely never thought would suit me at all .

Of course I also look this great in my jeans 🙂

I am a proud pantser. Write by the seat of my pants, minimal planning. I kinda know where everything’s going but the writing of the moment generally leads me.

However the idea of writing down a really rough plan of what needs to happen in the next bit (I can’t bring myself to say that I actually write scenes, that sounds way too organised for me – silly isn’t it) – the sketching out was incredibly helpful.

I had been stuck at a point for quite a while and consequently hadn’t really written anything. On Friday I say down in a fabulous coffee shop I just discovered and scribbled down where I needed the next bit to get me to. And then suddenly I could actually see a way to get there, My current WIP (work in progress for my non-writing friends out there) is in two voices, I was able to scribble down what I needed each of the two view points to achieve.

Revelation.

Simple, simple.

How can something so simple, something so anti-me.

I guess it’s true, it’s all about timing. If someone had suggested to me I needed to sketch out a scene in order to help me write it I would have responded negatively, don’t put me in a box man, you can’t make me conform to your rules man.

Sorry, apologies again.

But you know what, I say down and wrote, a good number of words for me, scenes I was happy about. Even better, I was crazy excited to get to the next bit, cos I knew what I was going to write.

Great motivation for writing and almost by side effect, an increasing word count.

So thanks, Nova and thanks Rachel.

You have helped me evolve, and I have to go now cos I want to write more!

If David Mitchell can do it…

So my wonderful husband, BMan, suggested that he loved my flash fiction pieces so much I should write a short story compilation. Bless his cotton socks, I had to explain how that the ridiculously difficult to crack publishing industry becomes nigh on impossible when presenting short story collections.

We have many books in our home, many books. We also have many ebooks and now that BMan is an audio book convert, we have many of those as well. I then asked him how many short story compilations he had bought in his life – nada. Hmm.

However, I have a cunning plan. My wonderful host, Wade <I will link to their site as often as I can to encourage visitors, go there, now, no after you finish reading this post, then go there straight away!> related a brilliant family anecdote at my recent Cimarron Session that sparked the germ of an idea.

Essentially it’s a novel in stories. Sneaky sure, but hey if David Mitchell can do it in Cloud Atlas then why can’t I? Don’t mistake that I’m actually comparing myself to David Mitchell, good lord no. But it shows that novels in stories can be done, mine will not be anywhere near as literary and clever as David Mitchell can write, the narrative thread will be much more obvious, but I’m sure it will have its own beauty.

I’m chuffed with the concept anyway and really would like to start it. Finish your current damn manuscript Bel!

Ok, then self, good advice, I’m off to up my word count 🙂

Cimarron Session – building the word count

WIP word count at the start of the Cimarron Session 32,286

Let the writing commence!

SO this morning after the most divine home made, home toasted muesli, chock full of nuts and other yumminess (yes I’m a wordsmith, and yes yumminess is the correct word choice in this instance), some great coffee, an almond croissant I didn’t need but still had to eat, I brought my shiny red lap top to the verandah.

The scene – tiny grey and red finches hopping around my feet where the rosellas had been that morning and the kangaroos had been last night. Native bushland stretching down the hill in front of me, the sweeping bay and grey ocean just beyond that. I can’t see a road, a power pole or another house from where I sit. It’s pretty cold, but if I type fast enough, I’ll keep my fingers warm. The softest rain is falling, I hope it clears as I want to ride my bike into town later!

Anyway, stop distracting me, I need to write! Here’s to the word count climbing.