Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Writing Update

I haven't posted much of anything about my writing the last few months, mostly because first drafts are slippery business. The plot, names, locations, even personalities change. When I start out, most of my characters don't even have names. I leave dashes or nicknames where the names should be. Last night, I realized all of the characters (characters that will have names anyway) I've written but "Floss," "Gloss," (yes, they're girls) and a wicked "---" are named. I've named the locations and will need to draw a map soon.

And this afternoon, I hit my halfway mark for the month. I made a goal to add another 12,000 words this month, and I've added 6,000. Yes, this is pathetic. But I also critiqued a manuscript for a CP during the first half of the month. I think I could hit my goal by Monday night. The story has enough momentum at this point that I'd rather be writing than not because I have to find out how everything is going to play out. Okay, and the boy just met the girl under circumstances that I could never have seen a month ago. Last month, I wasn't sure the story was even worth finishing.

I know that means the beginning will need major revision. I'm okay with that. I wish I could find the first chapter that I wrote last summer. I absolutely loved it, but I wrote it on paper, and I think one of my helpful children threw it away for me, probably the same week I wrote it.

How are your goals for the month going?


  1. I'm not so good with the goals this month. It's sort of a nebulous "Write something else while I wait for the CPs to get back to me." Not my best decision ;-)

  2. Yay, Myrna! I'm doing pretty well in my goals for the month so far. Started querying and waiting, waiting, waiting now so I've started a first draft on a new project. Very sparkly and shiny right now. :)

  3. Okay, so I have this idea for a story in my head, and I keep thinking about it, and composing bits in my head, but have never actually sat down and done anything about it. Maybe I'm scared? But I think its more that other than my basic idea, I don't know where exactly the story is going to go, what's going to happen to them, how they are going to solve the problems I've invented for them. Do you just start writing, and these things work themselves out in time? Because other than the first few chapters, I just don't know where to take my idea...any thoughts?

  4. Adam, I've done that, but this time I thought I'd crank out another novel while I was waiting. Only, it's taking me longer than it was supposed to ;)
    I don't get enough done without the goals, but then I have the same problem if I make them too hard. It sounds like you've had a lot going on this month anyway.

    Yay, Karen! Best of luck with the querying and with that sparkly, shiny thing.

    Yes, Hillari, just write it. If you get stuck, pick a character, ask them questions, and write their story down. Writing about your characters will give them depth, even if what you write never makes it into your story. But when you're writing your story, you can usually see what is going to come next. If this doesn't work for you, you can outline, but I've tried that, and I never follow the outlines. If you want, I'll write a post or even a series of posts on first drafting. Let me know.

  5. Sounds like you've got a great start! My goals are going okay but could be better. Here's hoping this week brings the right amount of time to write.

  6. Well, it sounds like things are coming together. That's awesome. I love how you're as excited as your readers will be someday to see where the plot will take you. Ah, to be a pantser again:) (Although I've actually thought about writing the first draft of my next manuscript more organically, just for a change of pace...)

    Good luck, Myrna. Wishing you only the best.

  7. Hey Myrna- good job! 12k words is great! Living our lives is a busy thing to do, right?

    Thanks for your comment and recommendation to read Robin McKinley- I love to hear about not-so-new books that I missed. Some of my fav books fall into that category.

    I'm almost 30k into my second book, and it's only taken me 3 months to do it, although I've been polishing WAYS TO FALL and starting to query, did a bit of beta reading, etc. And I got a rough outline together for a MG book idea that is seeming more and more intersting to my brain that pounding out words. I love outlining, now that I've gotten used to it. It's so fast and everything least until I try to fill in the gaps;) Have fun!

  8. Since I am no writer I am completely impressed with any story and the ability to write even as many words as you, way to go!

    Glad to see you are accomplishing your goals!

  9. I hope so too, Catherine!

    Thanks, Krista! Are you still revising, or are you going to start your next one?

    You're welcome, Kelly! I love outlining too, but it hasn't ever worked for me. It makes me feel like I've already written the story, and then it takes me longer to get it down, if I ever do. Wishing you the best of luck with your querying and your second book.

    Oh, thanks, Maile!

  10. that would be really helpful and interesting to see a post about first drafting. Last night I couldn't sleep, and I lay in bed, as I so often do, working on my novel in my head. Then the entire night was spent either thinking about or dreaming about my characters and world, and it actually helped me a bit. I just need to sit down and start.

  11. I'm currently just revising, but I'm seriously itching to start a new draft because that's where I get the most fun out of. :( I know editing is the most important step so I take it one chap at the time. So far I'm just about caught up but I do want to get ahead if possible before the end of February.

  12. Boy, I keep wishing my kids would clean up after themselves, but I guess I never thought about the problem of them cleaning up after me! I'm sorry your first chapter was thrown away!!

    Don't worry, 6000 words is nothing to be ashamed of. Especially when you're critiquing someone else's book. I say good job!


  13. WTG on your word count! I accomplished getting over a nasty virus and whipped my writing room into shape. Monday, I'm ready to hit the ground running, physically and mentally!

  14. I'll do it, Hillari. Thanks for the nudge.

    Good luck with your revisions, Akoss!

    Thanks, Amy! I'm up to 9,000 for the month, and I'm hoping to hit 10K tonight! :)

    Thanks, Sharon! I'm sorry you were sick.

  15. I think you meant "amazing" instead of "pathetic" :) It sounds like you've accomplished a lot in the last few months. All I've done this month is jot a couple things in a notebook and daydream about writing . . . but the daydreams led to some big realizations, so I guess they're useful :) I had this big New Years resolution to spend ten minutes a day on freewriting but I haven't done it every day. There's always February...and I predict less academic writing this semester.(I just tallied my word count for this fall: 24,040 highly edited words typed for teachers. I'm not sure how I feel about this.)

    I like your new background, btw!

  16. Thank you, Sarah! I think I'm going to meet my goal for 12,000 words, so I'm feeling lots better about this month's writing. You're going to school. It's so hard to do any of your own writing when you're writing for professors. It sounds like you wrote a lot more during the fall than I did, but I always do better in the winter and summer (when it's not as nice outside).