wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
Hello and Happy New Year.

2016 was a busy year, full of good and bad. Too much to sum up, even. A few things in no particular order because how can one classify things like this:

We gave birth to Ti'Loup, who is now 7.5 months old.
My mother was diagnosed with esphogal cancer.
My grandmother died.
I wrote a Middle Grade fantasy novel.
We found a house to buy in France (our offer was accepted on New Year's Eve; we have yet to sign the papers).

2017 is the year we leave Egypt and come home, the year we have to declare that we are unschooling Sprout, the year I need to get my picture book finished...

__________
We're in France now, and everyone is sick, so I don't have much energy. I looked back through LJ, but I don't have the energy to comment on everything. Sending good vibes and get well wishes to those of you who need them.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: food for thought)
Whoops! Only remembered it was Sunday because of [livejournal.com profile] frigg's post. Time to post a little something before turning in.

Just tonight I did a couple of sketches of leaves. Nothing fancy, but it felt good to have pen in hand again.

And this afternoon, for some strange reason, I started thinking Witherwilds and had a couple of thoughts that I might be able to work in.  Whether these ideas turn into something useable or not, it just felt good to have the story occupy my brain again.  So, did some note-taking but no real writing.

I'll take what I can get.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: scrabble - novel)

First things first: This is by no means a how-to or "lesson." This is me rambling about story structure and process because I keep promising to show what I've been up to with my writing. If this navel-gazing brain picking can be of use or interest to anyone else so much the better.

Writers are always saying (paraphrased), "You never learn how to write books; you just learn how to write the one that is currently eating your brain and wringing out your soul."

I do believe there is truth in that, but I would like to nail down a basic process that will give me consistently good results, translate: that will give me a decent first draft that does not require me to start over fifty times before ever once typing "The End."


Diagrams, plot cards, and links, OH MY! )

Fom here on out, though, apart from the time consuming "prewriting" of finalizing each scene and sequel, if I apply what I've learned to other works, I should be able to plot faster and, more importantly, better
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: scrabble - novel)
As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing a lot in terms of rethinking certain story aspects. Today, after reading a couple of blog entries, notably "Too Much of a Good Thing: Over Plotting Your Novel" by Janice Hardy, I decided I need to get rid of the 6th POV I introduced in Book 2. That is an ouchie realization since I've already written over 10K words from her POV. Yeah, sucks. But better to be hit upside the head with that particular 2X4 now rather than after writing all of book 2, or worse books 2 and 3.

The introduction of that POV will expand the scope of the story too much and take the plot wider, instead of deeper,* and deeper is where I need to be going.  That extra POV also takes some pressure off one of my other MCs, and that is BAD.  I now understand why, all of the sudden, I started flailing around so much with his arc when that arc was clear enough before the "brilliant" idea of including POV #6 swamped my brain.

I'm also reading the Story Structure Series on Storyfix and getting ideas and much needed clarity on the 8(!) parts of the 3 (which is really FOUR--yeah, my brain hurts, too) Act Structure. Another site mentioned 8 parts, too, but said parts weren't labelled or described in a way I could get my head around. I couldn't figure out where that eighth part slotted into/expanded the 7 point plot structure that I already linked to.  I think I pretty much have a handle on it now, and I'm seeing things I instinctively did right and others than need tweaking to maximize impact for the reader.

More than that, I'm seeing the holes I left (deliberately, intending to flesh them out later) must be filled now because whatever I come up with should (dare I say must?) impact the story.  So, a lot more brainstorming for me.  

Brainstorm, plotting, and all other planning must be set aside long enough for to come up with at least a snippet, which I'll be posting on Sunday. [livejournal.com profile] frigg and I have decided to do Snippet Sunday on our LJs.  I'd love it if other creative types on my flist did the same.  I get pumped up reading about/seeing others' creativity at work. No obligation or pressure of course.  

__________
* The "deeper not wider" is also from The Other Side of the Story, Janice Hardy's blog, which was advice from her agent Kristin Nelson.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
I don't know that I deserve to be called a domestic goddess today (even though that is what [livejournal.com profile] frigg says I am) because I'm not the one who straightened the house. J did that.

But things I did or participated in:

- went to the farmer's market bright and early
- put S down for a nap (she didn't sleep) and headed to the health food and grocery stores to do the rest of the shopping.
- made cinnamon rolls and shrimp cockails, both completely from scratch
- fished for calamari; caught none
- made supper
- nursed S and put her to bed
- prepared veggies in brine for kimchi
- cut up and salted lemons for preserved lemons
- tidied the kitchen

I'm very ready for bed, but I'm going to relax with a tisane first (homemade, too, but not tonight :P) and try to do some plotting on index cards.  Yesterday, I spent over an hour working on my timeline. No new words on the story, but I am going to count it as a day's work, just like tonight's plotting will count.

This time, I'm going to write the scene goal, conflict, etc (actually going to try the Scene/Sequel thing: Goal --> Conflict --> Disaster -->Reaction --> Dilemma --> Decision).  I know this is a useful approach for writing focused scenes, but every time I think of doing it, I freak out, sure that I'm going to write hackneyed, formulaic stories. Still, it will be a good exercise to make sure I have goals, conflict, etc. I'm not sure my innate sense of "what makes a good chapter" is as honed as I would like for it to be. :P

Does anyone else have success using the above approach, or do you have another way of making sure your story moves forward instead of meandering too much?

__________
* see above comment about this being [livejournal.com profile] frigg's term. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: book)
since I finished writing well after midnight, but here are this week's stats:

Tonight's words: 507
Days of writing: 5
Weekly count: 2648

Woot.

Here's to an easier week next week. 
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
That's all it took for the house to look like a bomb site again. *wails* Why can't I be a neat freak, who gets things done immediately?  Why must I say, "later," and then later becomes too late?

ARGH.  *kicks self soundly*

We are taking some stuff to J's mom's house tomorrow, so I have to, um, pack it first. We don't have a full house worth of stuff here, but we have enough for several car loads. I have to be smart and pack the car well to make sure we don't end up having to rent a truck.

Today:

~ Vacuum and mop floors
~ tidy kitchen and living room(Still have to tidy the dining table,but it is full of stuff to pack)
~ fold laundry
~ Pack up books
~ pack clothes and bedding that will not be needed before we leave here
~ write 750(794)
~ art journal (finished Mirco)
~ exercise (bike ride)
~ make fungi post
~ make bits and bobs post

As I said in the subject line, I've only somewhat slacked off. I've been writing and have 5838 words to show for my first week of [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90. My character sketch of Mirco has been taking up my art journaling time, and it is looking pretty good. So, yeah, some accomplishments.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
I couldn't connect to the Internet Monday or Tuesday night to report my progress, so I'll lump it together here. First off, I'm still enjoying the story, but I fear I've fallen too deeply in the edit-as-I-go trap and am not able to immerse myself in it as I should.

On Monday, my reading went much more slowly, and I ended up cutting 14 pages (not consecutive--mostly doing the kind of deletion that saves you a line and after a while adds up to a page. Though one cut was a 4-pg scene I decided to do away with.)

Tuesday, we had to take our car to GT, and the shop kept it all day, forcing us to kill time in boutiques. When we got home, I was too exhausted to read more than 55 pages, two of which I cut.

So this morning, as of writing this (already started the read for the day), these are the stats:

Pages read: 627/873 
Pages deleted: 23
Biggest deleted chunk: Training scene

B&N are coming over for dinner tonight, so this arvy will be spent cooking and cleaning. *sigh* I guess I won't finish reading until tomorrow. Unless I resist the urge to cut...

*puts down the scalpel and gets back to reading*
 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
I took yesterday, as planned, to start reading TTD. And you know what?  I like it. My writing is more than competent; I've moved myself to emotion, and I already know what is going to happen. The pacing is good for the kind of story *I* like.

I had a few surprises--almost first-time reader discoveries--in a few places because I can changed some names and terms at the last moment.

Even though I said I was only going to read, I can't help but fix typos and delete flab here and there. (Coming back after my break, I see more of what you mean, [profile] magicnoire, about trimming back on the "style." I'm also keeping my eyes open for repeat of info. Sometimes I have to add just a sentence or two, like I did for you [profile] mindseas, to hopefully make Casindra slightly rounder.) These are some stats so far:

Pages read: 362/890
Pages deleted: 6
Duh! deletion (or one of, since I didn't really try to memorize this stuff): He wore a tattered brown robe, which resembled the garb of Sehma’s Emissaries, and a cape of ragged furs slung around his shoulders

I know that one of the biggest things I will have to do is tweak the opening chapter. In the past, I got a lot of feedback to the effect that I give the reader a slew of info there. I'll wait, though, until I read the crits to make any changes. Maybe someone made some good suggestions on how to better it.

Anyhow, I mostly wanted to do this update so I could look back on it and say, "Hey, at one point I liked my book."  [personal profile] friggkeeps insisting that I probably won't want to speak to her after I read her crit.  With that threat in mind, I need to have a reminder that hack I may be, but not a hack without bursts of confidence, misplaced though they may be. [personal profile] kmkibble75, at least, is good at bolstering my spirits. It'll be you I turn to, bud, when I can't speak to that evil sickpea any longer. :P

Let's see what today's reading yeilds...
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
Wrote a grand total of four words today. Yep. Four. No madlib there, (fill in user name :P ). Our lunch guests stayed for seven hours, and my morning was filled with rolling out and cooking the tortillas (was smart and made the dough last night), putting the pie together (same smartness with the tortillas applies to cutting the apples and making the pie crust), doing the rest of the cooking, and a spot of cleaning in the kitchen (oh, and I did a crit). By the time the guests left, I was beat and had a splitting headache. The meds have finally kicked in enough that my head has stopped spinning. Alas, it is 5 to midnight and I'm still beat. 

So, the ending is not for tonight. But I'll get it tomorrow. Just watch me.

ETA: I wanted to edit this and now can't remember why.
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
For those of you who do not know it, [livejournal.com profile] frigg is E.V.I.L. I'm not sure what I ever did to her, but she seems to be engaged in a personal crusade to make me waste spend my time on things besides writing (can anyone say, "Livejournal"? How about, "Girl Genius"?)

Now, I have a few hypotheses as to why this is. I will spare you the convolutions of my logic and present here for your contemplation my final conclusion: She is on a mission to spare the world from my prose.

So, I suppose the question becomes: Is she *evil* in wanting to thwart me, or is she a *saint* for thwarting one for the good of many?

Despite her nefarious schemes, I am pleased to report that I got 27K in January, 2K over my target, and all that with sick days and a novel crit. Here's to hoping Feb. is just as productive now that I must needs read Girl Genius thrice weekly.

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