Friday, January 24, 2014

What They're Saying

It has been fun to rediscover that once I start working on a project, the characters will come out of hiding and start talking to me.  I've done roughly 1600 new words and continued to work on my timeline and organization. This time around more of them are talking, rather than the chatty main character. I discovered over the last couple of weeks that my secondary character is using an assumed name! That was interesting but has created a real problem writing it.

Think of it. He's using an assumed name that some characters know but the bad guys don't. I have people talking about him and other's talking to him. I'm now in a quandary as to how to address this problem. It never occurred to me really. I mean, I've always referred to him one way, knowing he was "hiding" but never considering that he was using a fake name. It is very sad when a character is smarter than you. And a bit annoying. Had I thought about it I'd probably questioned how he hides from them in plain sight. Anyway, he's presented me with an interesting problem. 

My female character has also become more vocal. About time, thank you very much. She's having some interesting interactions with the antagonist that were unexpected. This helps as her scenes are far too sparse in the first half of the story and too many in the later half.

Doug told me about an app for his phone and at the last writer's meeting he shared it with me. I downloaded it this week. I really like it, even though I've only used it once for what I wanted it for. It is called. ListNote It lets you speak your notes, converts them to text and... drum roll please, then lets you email it to yourself. 

How is this helpful? At 1 a.m. one of my characters got chatty. I grabbed my phone, brought up ListNote and dictated the scene into the app. It became text and I emailed it to myself. Next day, I dropped it into my story. Viola'. Perfect. Yes, I had to do some editing. Quotation marks, some punctuation marks because I hadn't figured out how to do it with speech (you say "question mark" to get one), and formatting, all of which I'd have had to work on when I typed it in anyway. Overall, I was very pleased with it. A few more trial runs and we'll see it continues to appeal to me. 

So, my writing week has gone rather better than I expected but not as well as I'd hoped.Seems my accountability agreement with my friend, Doug is working. Overall, a good writing week. Haven't had that for a long time. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

No Matter Where

We traveled to Mena, Arkansas on Friday to be at my youngest son's wedding. I have to tell you, that's the longest trip by car I've had in a long time. I carried my laptop because my WRoE requires that I make time to write, no matter what. We were to go down on Friday and come back on Sunday. I knew there would possibly be a time I could just sit down with it for a few minutes. It was a good thing I did.

We left at 7 a.m. and a 9 hour trip took 12 hours due to an accident on the highway that detoured us over an hour around noon and we finally got to stop and eat around 2 p.m. Around 5 p.m. I opened my laptop and started working. I was able to get +400 new words in the work I'm editing. I was kind of elated. My oldest son, Mike, drove all the way there and back. So, since I had a full charge on the laptop, I had no excuse at all. I didn't need light as my keyboard is back-lit. I found I actually like writing in the car. I carried a lap tray and my car is roomy enough I had room in the passenger seat.

The wedding was Saturday and was rather hectic but later that night, when we got back to the house and everyone was gone, I sat down and did some more editing. I was pretty tired and managed to only edit a chapter. I'm not finished with it and because I was so tired, I want to go back over it.

Today, since I'm home, I'm going to attempt to get in a lot more done on the editing. My writing buddy, Doug, is really cranking out the words and says just writing seems to be helping. I think that's always true and even I've finding it easier to just stick to it. The editing makes me want to write but I know if I stop to do that, the edits will never get done. The goal is to finish a work.

So, no matter where I am I probably can find a way to write if the time is there.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

WRoE: Working on the Goals

My writing buddy, Doug and I met online on Thursday and set up an accountability plan. We met for two hours! I didn't think it would take more than an hour but we really had a lot of ideas to share and things to discuss. 

We set our goals and decided we will initially meet once a week to see how it is going. The meetings are to share updates, address any problems we're having, present any excuses, and probably chastise one another for making excuses and set new goals. We set up calendar to post goals and progress. Google is great for this because you can share the calendar with your partner and both of you can update, make changes and post progress reports. 

He's doing better than I am so far at meeting his goals. His was simply to write 500 words five days a week. He did +1000 on Friday. My goal is that three days a week I will write at least 500 words and to revise one chapter. I was sick on Friday evening and did not get started but I spent most of Saturday editing Chapter 3 in The End of Winter. 

The story is my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel. I use Scrivener to do my writing these days and I realized that rewriting was going to be a bit different. I mean, once you delete it, it's gone, right? In addition to revising, for accountability purposes I have to keep a word count. Scrivener has a word count feature but it isn't exactly designed for what I'm doing. The document word count is set and was met during that NaNo. So, I can't reset it.  However, the session word count is flexible. I can start typing and when I'm done I can see how many words I've written. 

The next problem I faced was that if I typed 20 words and deleted 20 words, the session count went to zero, effectively canceling my word count. I had to find a work around. Although I might, in fact, remove huge amounts of text, I still need to track exactly how much new text I'm typing. 

My solution was what you see here. Any text I wanted to delete, I scored through and changed to red. It isn't really gone and it isn't counted in the session count. I can remove it later if necessary. It is a bit more labor intensive but, this way, the session counter keeps an accurate count of new words typed. I still delete at times, usually things I added that I changed my mind about or that I know won't be kept for any reason. 

So far, it seems to work great. This chapter is full of junk and I'll have to divide it into more than one scene but at least I've solved the problem of keeping track of my word count. Now if I could just get better prose. Reading some of the text above I see more that needs to be fixed. I hate rewriting, revising, and editing my own work. When I go back and read it everything sounds wrong. I know it isn't all bad but I find fault with all of it. 

Still, I've made this pact and it is one of my goals for the coming year to get one whole novel finished and revised. 

Did you make any writing goals this year? Are you working on them? What are they and what are you doing to help you meet those goals?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Plotting the Plan

I've been doing some writing today. Not a lot on my primary project, The End of Winter, but I'm OK with it for now. I'm a bit under the weather and depressed so writing anything is a major effort.

In the spirit of planning, today I tracked down the calendar I've used for the previous two years to help me plan my writing time. It actually helps if I stick to it. I'm going to give it another try. It can be downloaded here:

I usually print it out but right now the Amazon price is reasonable and much cheaper than if you print it yourself. And it has a lovely cover on the purchased version.

The site is really a great place for all kinds of ideas. For example, in light of the new year and setting goals, here's a article that is filled with lots of ideas:

Hope you can find a use for these. As for me, I'm getting back to my writing.

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