Making Progress

After a very difficult week on a personal level Owen and I made some serious progress with the Space Watch yesterday. We’d batted a few emails to and throw this last week and wasn’t getting anywhere and made more progress in a twenty minute phone call on Friday night than we had done with a dozen emails. We arraigned that Owen would come to my house and we’d go through the draft, which we did. It took us about five hours (with a few interruptions here and there) but we got through it. I read it allowed and made red-pen notes for alterations as and when I saw them and Owen weighed in with plot problems, character details, and world building. All the disagreements we had on the story we’ve resolved and the only heavy lifting that is needed now is to re-write the final scene, and make the final edits. Owen wrote his version of the ending and we’ve realised that if we merge the one I wrote and his then we should have a stronger ending. I’m going to do that today and get it emailed off to him. Then once he’s okay’d it I’ll get it into the text of the story and then go through and make the edits we made yesterday.

The week as a whole has been a loss. As I said at the start of the post it’s been a bad week on a personal level, there has been a couple of good points to the week but I didn’t get much writing done at all. I did get some more work done on an outline for a story that Owen and I will be working on. The story itself is outlined, and now I’ve just got to work on character profiles, some world building details, and go through it and tweak a few things that have changed due to world building and character details that I’ll be adding. I did have a really good conversation with a few of my writer friends on Facebook about character gender in reference to one of the characters in the story and it really opened up some ideas that I’d never thought about and I’m going to run with one of them because I think it’s going to work really well for the character in question and give an insight to a species that is in this universe we’re creating. That said I haven’t ran the idea by Owen yet, so he may totally veto it. I think he’ll like it though.

I’m back in a period where I haven’t written anything for a few weeks again, and I’m getting twitchy about it. I’m actually thinking about moving this years NaNoWriMo idea to next month and start getting stuck into that once I’ve finished the edits on The Space Watch. It feels like a long time since I’ve just got cracking with something. Aside from the short story for an anthology submission I’ve not really written anything for quite some time which wasn’t working on already written drafts that needed work. I know all this prep work that I’m doing will pay off, and the editing is all part of the process but I’d like to just get some writing done. Hopefully I’m doing the right thing with working on outlines and when I have a first draft done it’ll be cleaner and more coherent and not need extensive editing.

That all said, time to get cracking on with my ‘to-do’ list for the day.

 

19th April 2017

I’ve only written about 500 words today, half on the fanfic piece and half on the short story I’ve been working on.

I was working on the fanfic tonight, while watching a bit of TV, but it was more editing than writing. I added a few words at the end of the scene I’d been rewriting and the next one was more editing than writing.  This is something that I’m hoping outlying will help me with. I seem to have to go back and do a lot of gap filling with my writing and that’s got to add to the time it takes me to get a story done. I know I can write pretty fast (three NaNoWriMo victories in the last three years), but I’ve got to learn to write a coherent first draft.

I’ve got a couple of short story anthologies I’m going to try and submit to, so I’m going to get this short story wrapped up and then focus on those anthologies and get the stories written. I am brainstorming and scribbling down ideas for them but I want to make some time to focus on them properly in the next week or so and give them the proper attention they require and deserve.

It’s been a busy day at work, and a slower but busy evening with writing. I’m feeling beat, but I’m feeling energised and enthusiastic. 

(I’ve not proof-read this, so please excuse any typos). 

17th January 2017

Not a lot done today. I wrote 505 words on Penal Earth during my lunch break and have edited about a 1000 words of The Space Watch this evening.

I didn’t really get started on the editing till about 9pm this evening and I’m pleased with how many words I did get through and the next bit is quite an important part of the story and I’m nearing the final straight now. Starting this next stretch fresh is important I think, trying it tonight I think would have been a mistake as by the time I got to it I was feeling pretty drained.

I don’t think I’ve got anything else during these weeknights this week now, so hopefully I can get myself into some sort of routine. I learnt a few little things about getting into a routine during NaNo that seem to work for me. Like when I get home not diving into the writing straight away. Instead have something to eat and watch something that’s no more than half an hour long and then getting stuck in. That little routine served me well during NaNo and I’m keen to see if it can continue going forward. It worked well last night.

Right, that’s this done for the night. I’m going to read a little and then bed.

January 4th 2017

Today was a good day. I wrote the final sentence in the first draft of The Space Watch rewrite during my lunch break and have begun editing it this evening. Word count wise I’ve written 538 words for the day.

Editing has had a slow start, but after I switched to my laptop from my desktop I’ve made some good progress. I think it’s going to be harder to edit than I thought. I was hoping to get this initial edit pass done by Sunday when I’m meeting up with Owen to touch base. I’m not viewing this as a true edit as Owen hasn’t seen this completed draft yet, but it’s not in any way an acceptable shape for me to want to let Owen see it yet. I’d like it to just be a little smoother and sharpen it up before I give it to him to add his notes to.

What I’m planning on doing going forward is to edit The Space Watch in the evenings and during my lunch breaks and if I get time before work I’ll write on Penal Earth. That’s one I’m really excited about if I’m honest. It’s something I’ve put a lot of thought into since I finished working on it last year and I am cannibalising it to a degree, but what I’ll be doing with it now is really exciting. The Space Watch is one I am loving and I’m beyond happy its done now. One of the lessons I’ve learnt from The Space Watch is not to stop halfway through like I did when I done NaNoWriMo last year. I lost momentum and a feel for the story which made it a lot harder to get back into the rhythm of the story and I think it’s going to make the editing harder as I’m seeing the style at the start of the story isn’t matching up with what I’ve recently written.

I meant to write in yesterday’s post that I finished listening to vN by Madeline Ashby. Overall I liked it, it had a nice pace to it and quite a humble, down to earth feel to it. I liked where Ashby took the story and how she worked the characters. I didn’t guess the ending at all, but I really liked it. It felt very natural to the story despite being quite out there. It left a lot of questions for the next book and it’s definitely one I’ll be getting in the near future.

With Day Of Chaos: Endgame (a Judge Dredd comic) I’m nearing the halfway point and am really enjoying it. I’m going to finish it before I start on the next novel I’ll be reading.

Looking Back At 2016

I will look back at 2016 as one of the worst years of my life. Now, I am lucky because in the grand scale of things it hasn’t been as bad as some peoples, but it’s been challenging. I’ve had two close family members have life changing health problems. The complications have caused a lot of stress but I’ve just tried to crack on and something I’m trying hard to do is living each days as it comes. I used to worry a lot, and I still do a bit but after listening to Chris Hadfield’s autobiography, An Astronauts Guide To Life On Earth, I learnt that thinking things through from the worst case scenario makes problems easier to deal with. That can sound a little negative but I think it’s helped me a lot in dealing with problems as they’ve come along. One of my favourite sayings of the year has to be “We’ll deal with it when we come to it”. Another one has been “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to”.

Another, self-inflicted, problem I had this year was I decided I was ready to stop being single. This one was an epic crash and burn if I’m honest, but a few lessons were learnt and I’m not even close to being as pro-active on that front as I was. I’m back to how I was at the start of the year and quite content as I am. If I meet someone then great, but I’m not loosing sleep over it.

Writing wise, I didn’t come close to achieving any of my targets from the start of the year. I wrote 195,396 words throughout the course of the year, but didn’t really finish anything. Most of the year was spent on Penal Earth, The Space Watch, and the FanFiction piece. I did complete three short stories. Two from the same universe as The Space Watch and one that is based off a (non-writer) friends story that she wrote for an assignment years ago.

Thinking about it now, I’ve written two novellas (to a degree) this year, but only one of them is in a decent shape. The FanFic piece is all over the shop and needs a lot of work. The lesson I’m taking from this is that I need to focus better. I need to get a draft finished that is coherent and not needing a ridiculous amount of editing.

Something I learned from writing FanFiction is that I need to have better depth to my stories. I need to work on character histories, adding more depth to the settings of the stories, and to more of the plots themselves.

Reading wise I should have done much better. I read/listened to thirty books over the course of the year. I had aimed for sixty but I think as more time progressed through the year it was a seriously unrealistic target. I didn’t finish vN by Madeline Ashby, or Day of Chaos: Endgame before the end of 2016 either.

NaNoWriMo was a success in that I did my best total of 58,558 words. I ended up with a very messy draft for the second year running. Then I had a major NaNo hangover in the early part of December (part of that was hitting a speed bump in The Space Watch). So come NaNo next year I’ve got to focus on getting a decent draft done. I know I can write 50k in a month, in 2017 I need to write a story that is coherent.

My big problem of 2016 was that I felt in a rut for the majority of it. I managed to pull myself out a few times, a few times friends had to drag me out of it. I quickly fell back into that rut though. Some of the reasons were the lack of progress with dating. Other times it was because I was getting stuck with a story and instead of moving over to something else for a couple of days I’d binge watch something (I must have watched all of The Big Bang theory episodes four times during the course of the year). That didn’t help and just sucked me into a deeper hole.

Right now I’m feeling very energised and pumped. I’m trying to be pro-active and get work done. For the first time in quite some time I feel like the stories are talking to me and ideas are coming quite easily. What I’ve got to master is not letting myself get stuck into a rut. I’ve got to become more consistent and get work finished.

December 28th 2016

657 words this evening. I didn’t manage to get anything written during my lunch break due to some errands I had to run, but I’m glad for the words I’ve written tonight.

Those words were a lot easier than the previous couple of days have been. Although I wrote more on the 26th and 27th, both of those days felt like I was pulling teeth a little. Tonight it felt a little more like I had some focus and was able to get rolling with the story quicker. I’m putting this down to me working my writing muscles a little more. I’ve had a very sporadic period of writing since NaNoWriMo and these last few days have felt not just more consistent but like my head is in the right place to be getting words out. Even during NaNo I felt like my head wasn’t really there.

I’ve had a lot of distractions this year, a lot of which from my own making, but I am now feeling much more involved in what I’m working on. I’m feeling more proactive and looking forward and trying to strategise what I think Owen I and should be doing with this series. We’ve got two short stories done (although I want to add to one of them a few scenes) and this novella which isn’t to far off now.

I’ve been thinking about what to do with the world and characters I created for NaNo2015 as well and think that one could be closer to being sorted out than I was thinking (probably after I’ve finished The Space Watch).

There’s a lot going on in my head and I’ve got to learn how to focus better, not get discouraged by set backs, and move forward and get some of this stuff done to a point where I’m thinking about publishing.

I need to be moving forward, whether that’s at a good pace or I’m dragging myself, I’ve just got to be moving forward.

Monday 26th December 2016 (Boxing Day)

Okay, so I’ve been struggling with writing these last few weeks. Since NaNo ended I just seemed to have hurdle after hurdle. Before today I’d only had one day where I passed the thousand word mark in the entire month. I’ve had plot holes, tech related communication failures with Owen, and a few other daft writing hurdles. As well as non-writing related concerns that have had their little say in my time and energy this month. I’ve had a couple of days off from writing though, gave myself a little time to breath and to recharge my batteries a little and I knocked out 1500 words today and done a little work on this years NaNo story. I printed the story off a few weeks ago and tonight I got my guillotine out and cut the manuscript up into its scenes and figured out I need and what I don’t. I’ve still got to go through it and put it in the order that I want it in, but the order it’s in now isn’t far off where it needs to be. Some of it I’ve re-written scenes and I’ve got to decide which ones I like more for the 2nd draft. Then I’ve got to go through and figure out what I need to add to get the story to make sense. At the moment the story doesn’t have any real direction (much like last years NaNo story), but I think I know where I want to take the story. I’ve just got to get stuck into it again and figure out what those pieces are that I need to put into it.

Before that though I’ve got to finish The Space Watch. Those 1500 words today have helped. I did a quick read through this morning and got stuck in this afternoon. I’ve got a pretty good feel for where I need to take the story now. I’ve totally left the outline by the wayside now. The story has moved away from that and I think I’d be trying to shoehorn it into place otherwise. I am still sticking to the same story, hitting the key points that we’ve held in it since day one.

I do feel like I’m nearing a conclusion to it now, either that or subconsciously I’m sick of it now and I just want to get it done. Either way it does feel like the end is in sight.

(I haven’t proof read this cause it’s getting late and I’m wiped out)