Sunday, October 26, 2014

NANOWRIMO is almost here!

NANO is less than a week away. Are you ready?

Yeah. Me, neither.

I do have the chapters of my project in outline form now. Scrivener has really helped me out with that and I've discovered that it is much easier to have a sort of outline than it is to wing it. I have 11 chapters in the outline so far but that will probably grow as I flesh out each chapter with a synopsis.

No actual writing has been done yet, I promise. Even if I don't get all of the chapters in synopsis form, with them all outlined on the virtual index cards in Scrivener, I at least know where I want to go with the story.

One thing I am doing, however, is jotting down bits of dialogue as it occurs to me while I'm doing the chapter synopsis. If I don't and if it's good, I'll completely forget it by the time I get to that chapter. If the dialogue still fits, I'll use it.

I have to say that it's been quite difficult not doing the actual writing at this stage. Much harder than I thought it would be. Doing the synopsis has helped but there's still that temptation to just go with it that has to be resisted if I want every word written to count come November 1.

Starting a new project is always exciting so I'm hoping to make a huge dent in the goal during the first week or two. That way, if I do slow down, I'll still be on track to hitting that final goal and perhaps even exceeding it.

If you plan to participate in NANOWRIMO, I wish you happy writing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Two Week Warning!

Because NANO is only two more weeks away!

Prep is going well. Last night I worked on the first chapter synopsis. As of today, I put aside all other projects so that I can get all of the chapters in synopsis form before November 1.

I'm finding that even though I'm only writing a synopsis, the personalities of my characters are already shining through. My heroine is going be the kind of girl that tries to show a tough exterior even when she's scared and my hero really does have a good heart. The antagonist is showing his jerk side early so all is truly well in synopsis land at this time. Hopefully, it'll stay that way.

Actually, I do have one more plot point to shove into my 3rd draft project before I temporarily abandon it. Came up with it on the the way home from work. I try to go backroads whenever possible, which gives me the opportunity to let my creative mind go to work while the non-creative keeps an eye on the road. I've come up with a lot of good ideas while in the car. Some I've remembered long enough to get them down on paper when I get home. Some, not so much.

This idea is pretty well seated and will fall nicely within the plot of this particular novel. It's something that needs addressed anyway so I don't believe I will lose it before I can get it into Scrivener.

Excited and nervous for NANO. I just don't want to get stuck and let this project fall by the wayside. One reason I'm going about this novel a bit differently. I don't think having a synopsis for each chapter will inhibit creativity but it's kind of nice to know how each chapter will play out so that I don't have to worry about what to write next. If an idea hits that I haven't already though of and it works for the plot, I'll find a way to get it in there, even if I have to just make a note of it and move on. NANO is for a continuous writing flow, after all. Fixing the parts that don't work is what 2nd draft is for.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Multiple Projects or How to Drive Yourself Nuts in One Not So Simple Step

So, I'm preparing my NANOWRIMO project - doing the research, making fundamental decisions about plot and such. All of which means, I'm not working on other projects as often as I would like. World building is no simple task. While a lot can be taken for granted, a lot more just can't. Even the seemingly simple matter of creating a space ship requires many decisions, large and small.

And this is what I'm working on right now.

Google images have helped a lot. I have a good idea of what my hero's ship looks like as well as some of the interior. Unfortunately, there's a lot of Trek in this ship and that's only because those images make up the most of what Google finds for me. But at least I have an idea of what things look like so that I can describe them but only just enough for the reader's mind to take over.

I do have some of the characters created, however, which is a major step forward, along with names and appearances. Appearances courtesy of Google images as well. Again, they aren't all exactly as I pictured but I now have enough to describe them.

I even have some blurbs written for some of my characters to remind myself of their role in the story. Personalities must also be decided, which means lots more blurb writing to get done before November 1. I use Scrivener for my writing but haven't always used some of the more helpful functions since I usually write by the seat of my pants. For this project, however, because of the need for an intensive writing flow once the writing part gets started, I'm using the outlining tools so that I know what happens in each scene. Chapters will be decided later.

Not as easy as it sounds without doing more than just writing a synopsis. I tend to want to go further but I am trying to restrain myself. I want every written word to count once I'm writing scenes next month. I do have a pretty good idea of where things are going to start as well as some of the early plot points. There is a tutorial on Writer's Digest right now about plot structure and I plan to listen to that this weekend.

As for the other projects in the works...

I now have the 2nd draft project more or less completed. The newly written parts are now connected up to the original last quarter so I can now go back and read from the beginning to see where it needs more work. I do know that the first draft ending will probably change a bit. There is one plot point that will need revisited but I'm now thinking it will not be resolved in this book. Since I have a series in mind for this one, that's where many of the loose ends will be tied up.

The 1st draft project is still on hold and will remain so until NANOWRIMO and the 2nd draft project is completed.

That's where things stand for now.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Life Happens - And Then There's NANOWRIMO!

We are less than a month away from the madness that is NANOWRIMO. Anyone else going to dive in? I have my story idea already in synopsis form and it feels pretty solid. Don't think I've ever been able to say that before.

Then again, I don't usually do a synopsis before I actually begin to write something.

The two projects I currently have in the works will be put aside for this. The one that is in second draft is coming along but slowly. Changes made in the first part also changed things in the latter parts. I actually lost a good chunk of what had already been written because it just didn't fit in any longer. But that's how it goes, I guess. I do like the flow of the thing now and I'm about to join up the new stuff with the current last third of the book so that's a good thing.

The other project that is in first draft mode is sitting on the shelf at the moment while I plow on with the second draft project. I have been taking them in turns so that it at least feels like I'm concentrating on one at a time.

Truthfully, I hit a wall with the first draft project and had to backtrack a bit. It was starting to sound like something else I have written that is only waiting for my Amazon library to be built before it's submitted to a traditional publisher.

I must admit that I haven't been writing 2000 words a day lately but I will have to get back to that practice with NANOWRIMO on the horizon. I would like to get the second draft project completed before I have to put it aside to do some further preliminary work on the NANOWRIMO project. I still need to decide my main characters and get to know them before I start writing their story. You know. The little things. Like name. Appearance. Personality. What they do.  Who they are. What they believe. That kind of thing. Kinda makes writing their story a lot easier if I've actually met them first.

How do I make those decisions? So glad you asked.

Always before, I would write the opening scene to see how the hero and heroine will interact. I pay particular attention to how they appear in my head as I'm writing. Once I have a good feel for them, I'll then do a search for a specific look and review image results to see if anything strikes a chord. When it does, I do a copy and paste of the image into my Scrivener and write a short bio for that character.

Can't really do that for NANO. Well, I could but then I wouldn't be able to count the opening scene in my total word count and I want the entire first draft written during NANO.

I have also used a particular book in the past that deals with astrological signs and how they interact with each other but I haven't had to use that method in a while. Instead, I've let the characters tell me how they are going to be with each other. Unfortunately, that seems to give them a sense of power and they also tend to tell me how they want their story written. I don't always agree but when they get obstinate, doesn't give me much of a choice in the matter.

All that said to say this. No matter where the second draft project is, I will have to abandon it in a couple of weeks so I can spend some quality time with my NANOWRIMO characters and do a little ahead of time plotting. This is going to be new for me so I have no idea if it'll work the way I hope it will. All I want to have to concentrate on during November is writing the story. I don't want to get stuck halfway and not be able to finish out the month.

I also don't want to have it written in stone so hard there is no wiggle room. I've always thought that written in stone outlines hamper creativity. We've all read the books where the author clearly had a written in stone outline and doggedly followed it until the end. I don't want my books to read the same way. I want to surprise the reader with a twist they weren't expecting. I'll know I've achieved that when I get surprised while writing the thing. I believe it's true that if the story doesn't evoke an emotional response for the writer, the reader won't feel anything either.

So, here's to NANOWRIMO. May everyone who participates see their most prolific writing ever!