writing: on finishing draft 5

I can now say that I’ve finished draft 5. New prologue and all. I learn something new from each draft, but one element that really became obvious is how sparse I am when it comes to description. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s just a fact. I tell myself to add more, but end up taking out. My very first rough draft was around 98k words (give or take, I have the numbers saved somewhere). The first draft rewrite clocked in around 90k. The next one was around 79k, followed by around 90k again. Current draft is complete at 83k.

Of course, now I need to do a continuity read, because I edited out of order and things might be screwy in places. But that will wait. For now, I will celebrate and get over the cold that finally got around to me. (I thwarted it for a good two months)

life: mid-month writing check-in

March is underway and my writing is coming along at a really good pace. If I keep at it, the draft will be done by the end of the week (next week, if I rewrite the prologue now rather than later). I’m riding this wave to the end!

I’ve also made good progress on my Camp NaNo plan. I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, but I didn’t realize how long until I unearthed a brain-dump file dated July 2011(!). That’s well before I started working on my current project (which dates to 2012). The idea has definitely evolved since that early document, but the spark remains. I’m definitely eager to delve into this new world.

Next stage: beta readers and drafting!

writing: writing, craft, and motivational reads

I’m writing with a mission in mind: to polish one draft to a submission-ready state. I have two other drafts that are in early stages, and two stories that demand to be written, but I can’t do it all and I need to focus. Sometimes, I get bogged down in the details and forget to look beyond the manuscript to the craft of it. Every hour I spend writing is an hour I spend finding ways to improve and that’s something worth noting.
Right now, I’m building steam, but I know I can burn out fast. To keep myself going, I’ve lined up three books to read.

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I’ve read these authors before and I like their method of instruction. Sometimes I just need a push to keep going.

Are you working on a manuscript? How do you find the motivation to keep writing?

writing: Crown of Ice, Crown of Air, a summary

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Summaries are difficult. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Writing a summary on something I’ve been working on for nearly 4 years, that’s a whole other level.

I’ve written and rewritten this manuscript multiple times. I’ve edited and restructured. I’m looking at more edits to come. Though the details may change, the story remains. So, today, I’m being brave and putting my little draft of a blurb out into the world. No going back.

The day Siobhan tried to kill her, Anúna swore she’d never return. Never seek her power. Never seek her crown. Three years she’s locked her truth away, hiding in the mortal realm, letting the iron drain her magick and steal her power. But Siobhan will not rest and Anúna knows it. Now, the walls she’s built are starting to crumble and her wards are beginning to fray. It’s only a matter of time before Siobhan finds her. When Marek, Anúna’s friend and mentor, and erstwhile leader of the Queen’s guard comes to call, Anúna is forced to make a choice—-take back the crown she lost or leave the realm at her sister’s mercy.

Crown of Ice, Crown of Air is a story of magick and power, love and war… about finding yourself and something worth fighting for.

It needs work, but it’s a start. I also keep debating whether Air or Ice should be first… that’s a whole other set of concerns.

writing: finding the will to go on, or self-motivation

I’ve been thinking about writing, next steps, and how to find the will to go on when there is no end in sight, so here are some of my strategies for staying on task (or trying to, anyway).

What are some of your strategies for staying motivated when working on a long-term project?

Let me know some of your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Now, I’m off to be frivolous (2.5 days of being in proper academic mode will do that to you).

writing: in the middle of things

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I am in the middle of things. I have a solid plan for the next stage of reading/editing/drafting/that mess we call writing, but I’m also in a brain storm of ideas for the next part… When I started working on Anúna (which finally has a working title! to be revealed soon!), I imagined it as a standalone, but it’s grown beyond the borders of its little plot and become something more. I now see it as a set, complete in two parts but with possible side stories that can be developed in future. The main story has evolved into something grander than my original notion, starting with a major change in the ending between drafts 2 and 3, the roots of which took hold as I neared the end of draft 4.The idea is starting to evolve and I see it becoming my next major project (to be outlined and planned for NaNo 2016, because we all know I thrive on deadlines). At this stage, I am focusing on finding readers for draft 4 and gathering feedback for the next draft. I also plan on immersing myself in all their is to know about the query process and all the ins and outs of submission. I am nothing if not a researcher and it’s time I started looking at the business side of writing more thoroughly.

So that’s the latest. Letting things simmer while I explore new possibilities and learn all the things.

chipping away: writing and small assignments

Met my first draft milestone! Only one week behind (but not bad, especially since I flaked out during the first week in February and did NOTHING). Just completed Ch. 8, which was my February goal for the first third of the draft rewrite. Chapters 9 through 11 are going to be a doozy, but here’s hoping that I meet my next small assignment goal by the end of March (rework 9 through 11 and get through 15, if all goes well). My large goal is to have a complete draft by the end of April, though I gave myself some room to revisit chapters and revise details. My self-imposed deadline is June 20th (my birthday, when I will take a well-deserved break from life in general).

round pegs and square holes, or not fitting the mold

So I’ve been wrestling with the idea of editing in passes. I finished reading the draft and reviewing beta feedback last month. I compiled a whole notebook full of notes and an ibook draft full of highlights. I identified the areas that need revising, editing, rewriting, and just plain cutting. I created timelines and established deadlines for the 6 major passes I outlined based on those notes. And then I stopped. Because the thought of working on individual aspects of the draft rather than entire chapters made me freeze. And then it hit me: I can’t edit in passes. I have an editing style. It’s long established and works for me. I edit in chapters and chunks. I edit scenes. I proofread for line edits. But I definitely can’t edit by rounds. At least, not in the way that I was planning… which is a relief, because suddenly I find that I can start working. One chapter at a time. One small assignment at a time.

tools of the trade

When I first started on this writing adventure, I was a strict MS Word sort of girl. Then Google Drive (nee Docs) appeared on the scene. Of course, there was also paper and pen—mostly Moleskine pocket and large ruled notebooks, generally in the color that I most associated with a particular story. I still rely on these tools, but I’ve definitely upped my writing game as my process has evolved.

The new essentials:

  1. Evernote: I love using the Evernote webclipper to save bookmarks and research. I set up folders for Characters, Settings, Research, and more, and clip my findings. I also use it as a handy place to store “scanned” book pages and images. However, for my latest novel, I decided to draft only in Evernote, transferring finished chapters to Scrivener as I went along. This really worked out; it made it possible for me to draft from anywhere, at any time, without having to worry about backups and file conflicts. There is a bit of a learning curve to start… and you have to get creative with your use of folders, file names, and tags, but once you have a scheme, it’s as effective as Scrivener. (caveat, make sure files are fully synced before closing the program to avoid sync issues between machines)
  2. Scrivener: Writing on Word will never work after using Scrivener (at least, not for me). Scrivener houses all your files in a central location, making it incredibly easy to switch between chapters, notes, drafts, etc. Like Evernote, there is a learning curve, and lots of features to get used to, but the trial is worth it.
  3. myWriteClub: I need to track my progress. I use a calendar and stickers to good effect, but I also like the visual appeal of a progress bar. Scrivener has a built-in system to track progress as well, but I generally use an excel spreadsheet to track words written/rewritten or steps taken towards completion. MyWriteClub adds a little extra.
  4. Aeon Timeline: I literally just started using this and I love it already. Keeping track of time is one of my greatest challenges when working on a multiverse type novel (hello, Anúna), Aeon Timeline looks extremely promising as an outlining tool to take care of just that. I started playing with it yesterday (thanks to the NaNoWriMo winner discount) and look forward to using it during my next read-through.

What are your essential writing tools? Have any experiences to share?