A Brief Map Out Of The Rest Of 2016

This week hasn’t been too bad writing wise. I’ve pretty much kept up with the thousand words a day I’d been aiming to hit and I’m getting those idea snippets popping into my head at random moments again. I’m hoping this bit of consistency will help with NaNoWriMo just a few days away.

My plan for the rest of this year is to finish this draft of The Space Watch, finish the short story I’m working on that is set in that same universe, and to get a second draft of my FanFic piece I hand wrote earlier in the year typed up. Last years NaNo novel is off the table for the moment. After getting really stuck with it last week I spoke with my friend and writing partner Chrystalyn Borgsmiller and did a little brainstorming on it. That gave me a few ideas but I need to get some research done and I think I might break the current novel up into two parts, but I need to think it out a little more first.

The reason why I want to get those other three pieces wrapped up this year, aside from getting them done, is because I had what I think is an idea with a lot of potential a few months ago and I’d really like to be getting stuck into that very early next year.

So that’s my aim; get those three pieces done by the New Year, and then I can start 2017 with a new piece in a universe I’ve not written in before.

Focusing On The Process

I recently wrote a short story in the universe Owen and I have created. It was based on two characters that we have a little history on but we haven’t gone into much detail with and as an exercise I thought I’d write their story. This is the story that I wrote on my phone (I think I mentioned that here) but it didn’t work. I think the core of it is good but it’ll need a lot of attention to bring it up to where it needs to be. I knew how it was going to end, but aside from that I had no real idea of how I was going to get to the ending.

When I printed it out to see what shape it was in I saw just how disjointed it was, so I decided it would be best just to rewrite it (yes, I seem to be mainly focusing on rewrites at the moment). Something I’ve learned of late is that I’m not anywhere near prepared enough before I start writing. So I’ve been working on brainstorming some the stories I want to work on in the near future. Most of them are collaborations with Owen at the moment and I’m hoping this will help us when we get down to the actual writing stage. We can spend time adding the details to a brainstorming file and start to develop the story as we go. Something I’ve noticed about when I’m writing is that my first drafts change quite a bit from start to end. Mainly in tone but I also want to add more detail to earlier segments while I’m many chapters past them.

I’ve also found that I write better when I’m writing longhand and that’s something that I’m going to try to do with first drafts for a while now. My plan is to write out a story, making notes along the way and then read through once I’ve got the draft done, making further notes as I go. So, in theory, when I begin to type it up (which’ll be my second draft) the story will have a direction that I found as I wrote but might not have had at the start of the story.

I’m really hoping that raising my level of preparation will help when I come to write the actual story.

Tonights Words and Looking To The Next Few Months

I wanted to write 2000 words tonight, and I wrote 2042. Which I’m happy about. It felt like I was back to where I was a few weeks ago and it put me 2000 words ahead of where I should be. At just over 29,000 words I’m less then a 1000 words from my 30,000 word target for the month. So if I keep this momentum that I’ve carried over from NaNoWriMo then I’ll have this draft done by the end of January, which is the time target I’d set myself. Why the end of January? Because come the 1st of February Owen and I want to start writing the Project Apollo re-write, but the outline isn’t done yet so that may not happen on that day. I don’t want to stop writing though, so what I’m going to do is start working on the outline for a story that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m only going to set a word count of 30,000 words for this novel so I can knock it out in about a month if need be.

So basically the early part of next year will be me plotting stories, writing other stories and editing others. Don’t ask me how I’m going to time manage all of this but I’m looking forward to finding out. This next year is going to be an interesting one, but hopefully a productive one also.

Tomorrow I’ll be aiming for another 2000 word day as well as start looking at plotting out the 30,000 word novella I mentioned.

Eased Off

These last two nights have been real slack off nights. Last night I watched Guardians of the Galaxy (still, an awesome movie!) and tonight I’ve watched a bit of football, but I did manage to get a couple of key points well outlined. I’ve also been working for half an hour or so in the mornings before work.

This outline is nearing 4000 words now, and I’m maybe about halfway through it. I’m not really sure if an outline is meant to be this long but I’m guessing it’s like writing in that each person has a way that works best for them.

Tomorrow night I’m going to try and crack on and get this outline done. I’ve had a couple of nights off (for the most part) so I want to get back in the saddle tomorrow.

Re-Writing the Ending on my Synopsis

Although I have stuck to my general outline for this years NaNoWriMo I have deviated from it a few times and as I’ve been writing I’ve realised that the ending I’ve had outlined wasn’t very well thought through and didn’t have much depth to it. I was even almost at the point where I’d be approaching the end of the novel soon and it’s not ready for it. It would feel rushed and very sudden if I had done it that way.
So I spent forty-five minutes looking through my bullet points; adding some, taking others out and totally re-working the ending of the novel. It’s still going to end in the same way, but now I know a little more on how that’s going to play out and how I get my characters there.

Editing Frustrations

Tonight I spent a good three hours working on edits for Project Apollo. In that three hours I got maybe six or seven pages done, meaning I’m still on the chapter I was working on last night when I called it a night. To me that does not seem like a lot of work, but when I break it down it is. Last night I added about 600 words to this draft, there are a lot of gaps that need filling, but tonight it was not even a 100 words. I did delete a good 400 words though, so that means I’ve written about 500 words tonight. That’s about average for me when I’m editing. I still feel like I have not made any progress because I try not to measure progress while editing by word counts but by how many pages I have edited and six or seven is not good enough for me.

This is where I sit myself down and slap myself about for a few minutes and point out that although I’ve only edited a few pages it was a tough few pages to edit. There was a lot of paragraphs which needed re-writing, a little bit of character development was required. That did not flow out of me as easily as I would have hoped. The character in question is one I have not really put much time into and does not really hold much of the weight of the story, but she is a character which will be of use further down the line when me and Owen are working on other adventures with these characters.

A major issue I have discovered with how I am editing this came to the surface tonight as well. I have been making notes on a paper copy with a red pen and then reading through the draft on my laptop as I make the red pen alterations. On Saturday I knocked out four chapters of hard copy reading. So last night I started off with four chapters ready to go, but tonight I’ve been altering things in the story which I haven’t noted on the paper copy. Now what I was doing was getting confused. My head was telling me that I had made certain changes to Apollo when I had only made a note on the hard copy. So I’m only going to do one chapter at a time from now on. Hopefully this will not confuse my feeble brain.

As for NaNo Prep, I have read through the two attempts I have previously made at writing this story, both attempts were made with no idea of how I was going to end the story, that’s a bad habit I need to break. The exercise of reading through those two, very different, versions of this story has not changed my mind on how I have planned the story out but it’s reminded me of some of the minor little world building elements I want to include. It’s also served to convince me that this story will be best told from a first person point of view.

That’s it for now, tomorrow will hopefully be much of the same. NaNo planning is now into character development and Apollo will be cracking out the changes that as needed.

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No More Early Nights

Last night I was feeling a little more tired then normal, so I thought I’d get an early night. Waking up this morning I am feeling shattered! So now more early nights for me, that aside me and I got Owens notes back on my Project Apollo notes and I’ve sent back my thoughts on his notes. Hopefully we’ll be back writing the story very soon.

I think I’ve mentioned that I have started planning my NaNoWriMo story, so far I have a list of notes and an idea of the layout. As well as word count and a little planning of the first chapter I have not got much done. Neither of the two main characters are named yet but I have them pretty well thought through. I’m setting this one in my home town so location I know very well. This and Project Apollo are at the front of my mind at the moment. This new project is Project Sheppard.

I Need to get cracking on one or the other very soon.

Reading wise I started His Only Star by Christopher Stocking last night. It’s started off well and I’m looking forward to being able to get stuck into it tonight 🙂 I’m also listening to the We’re Alive podcast. This is a zombie apocalypse story in a radio drama format. Some of the content of this show is a little annoying, there are plenty of cliches and some of the characters are a little more annoying then I’m normally tolerant of, but its a very good story and I love some of the things the creators have thought about. This is the second time I am listening to this one, series 4 is out in the next few months. I’m looking forward to it 🙂