1. DeviouSquirrel
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    DeviouSquirrel's Nuthouse

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by DeviouSquirrel, Sep 23, 2014.

    Hi! *waves*

    So, I wanted to start my progress journal for a few specific reasons:

    1. I've just started doing a BA in Production Arts and Design, which means there's a chance I'll lose focus/struggle to find time for my writing,
    2. I've also started working part time, which also impedes my ability to find time for writing,
    3. Due to 1. and 2. I need some help keeping focus and motivation to keep going.

    I've written 3 novels so far. Number 1 was a futuristic zombie YA story set in Glasgow, with both sci-fi and fantasy elements, atrociously badly written, but an idea that I still really like. Number 2 was steampunky YA about a boy who made mechanical friends and put the souls of dead people in them, and it was a story I really love, but it just needs so much editing it's probably a re-write, and I think my time's better spent trying something new than labouring over something that was probably best left as 'practice'. Number 3 was a fun modern 'advanced technology makes a normal girl into a superrobot' story, and supposed to be the first in a YA series, which I like but just wasn't as keen on when I got it finished. Didn't think it was worth editing, because I feel like I'm still learning and all they were was just practice.

    All of them were YA, so I went for between 70-80k with them all.

    Now, I've started working on a project I'm thinking I want to be my first real attempt at getting published. I feel like I've got the process down, I've got a story that I think is a lot stronger than my others, and this one isn't YA its a more whimsical adult novel.

    It's called Clerical Error (Adult Fantasy in the same sort of style as Discworld and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but just... different...)

    The God of Destruction chooses the wrong champion, and is more than unimpressed to find he won't kill anyone or indeed cause people harm in any way. So the story is mostly about the God trying to convince his 'chosen one' to do what he says and kill the rather attractive champion of the God of Creation. It's a little silly - intentionally - with loads of D&D tropes references and the occasional modern day reference that really fits even though it ought not to.

    I'm a bit structure and planning crazy. I started out pantsing and it just went horribly. I tried the Snowflake method and it really worked for me - I love the structure to it, but I've also been sensible enough to know that being too rigid doesn't help anyone and I adapt it each time to fit what I want to do. But having a scene spreadsheet is the main thing for me. I have a spreadsheet with a line for every single scene and a place for me to map where each of my plot threads are, how they're progressing, and make details about the world, the characters etc. I need that to keep everything consistent and having it planned (though it often changes - I just go back and edit my spreadsheet) means that I don't have to sit and wonder where the hell the story's going. Which is especially good if I'm writing during half hour breaks and things - I don't have time to sit and think about it too much, and re-writing the spreadsheet doesn't take long.

    I've been aiming for about 1k words a day, but realistically when Uni and work get into full swing it won't be possible. So an aim of 5k a week might be more appropriate for now.

    I've always gone for the 'get it done, then edit it until it's good' approach, but I think it's the reason why I just can't face editing up my other novels. They're too bad and I just can't get my head around fixing all of the plot mistakes and the fact that the characters are all bland and etc etc. I want to aim for a bit of editing as I go this time, so I've been editing the previous scene before writing the next. So far it's working.

    I let my boyfriend read it when I reached 5k whilst we were on skype and he actually laughed so hard at one point his glasses fell off. So... I think editing as I go is probably best for me so long as it doesn't halt my progress.

    Anyway, enough of that. I'm currently on 5k. It's a start, and I think it's going well, at least, I don't feel that the idea was so amazing and now I'm writing it's sort of meh (which is how I usually feel when I start writing). I'm going to spend a wee hour or so writing now so will see where that takes me.


    Leah
     
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  2. DeviouSquirrel
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    Turns out that breaks during uni have given me 3 hours off today and I've done lots of writing :) Well, when I say lots I mean 'more than my goal of 1k'. Sitting on 1200 today with another hour of time to go.

    And the thing is that because I'm editing the previous scene before writing the next, not only is it flowing better but it's also a lot easier to read over because I'm catching a lot of the simple mistakes before I move on.

    Happy happy :) Over 7k words now.

    Leah
     
  3. DeviouSquirrel
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    Just got to 10k, and also introduced one of the characters I was desperate to start writing about. Marb is a zombie who's there to be an evil wizard's butler-come-bodyguard but he's too afraid to actually fight because he can't be healed since he's dead... He's posh, english and rotting, but he's also really kind.

    I also dropped my MC's best friend off the back of a pegasus ten miles up in the sky and killed him, (but he's not out of the story- we're going to follow him through the process of death.)

    Glad to see it's coming along quickly though. It's coming to me so easy I don't have to fight with it at all, which I've not really had before.

    Leah
     
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  4. DeviouSquirrel
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    DeviouSquirrel Member

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    How sucky is it that we have to work to live? Tonight is my first proper shift at work and I didn't start uni till 2 but I was too nervous to write this morning :-( Hopefully when I settle in it won't make a difference anymore but...
     
  5. DeviouSquirrel
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    So, today I had a break 4 hours long during the day at Uni, and I spent most of it writing. I love writing in cafes! I just can't seem to write as well when I'm at home. I got another 5k done to bring me up to 15k now.

    However, I had STRESS!! When I got home from the cafe I opened up my laptop to find that my ywriter file AND my microsoft word file had both corrupted/disappeared at the same time. And I hadn't updated my google doc since yesterday, which meant my 5k was gone.

    I was so upset. But then I searched around and found that ywriter - though the file was corrupt - had made backups of each of my scenes and saved them as RTFs individually as well as in the overall file, so I could copy and paste them into my google doc/make a new word doc and fix my ywriter one.

    It just goes to show that even 3 backups can be too few... I might have to start using a pen drive too... >.<

    Thankfully I got my words back, but I was crying and everything when I thought they were gone. I'd written an awesome scene where they go to visit the unicorn homeland which sits atop a rainbow in the clouds...

    Man, I love my story.

    Leah
     
  6. DeviouSquirrel
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    I was really busy working all weekend and had a LARP party on the Saturday night. So it was hard to find any time to write. I have had my boyfriend reading it every 5k or so, however, and he gave me some feedback that the bit about the Unicorn homeland was a little unclear. So, tonight I re-wrote the couple of scenes around it and made it a lot clearer and more detailed, and changed another couple of bits of things that had implications across a number of chapters just to bring it in line with where I want to be. I find if I say I'll make all these changes when I'm done I just can't get my head around them all so I wanted it done now whilst I can make sure it's all consistent with the rest of the book.

    In editing about 3 scenes I managed to add a good 1.5k to my word count, so even if I don't get any more writing done tonight at least I've contributed. Tomorrow I start uni at 9.30 and I'll be working until 10.30pm so I probably won't have any time for it, unfortunately. But I was so knackered when I got home from uni today that I slept for 4 hours so I don't think I'll be going to bed for another hour or so at least so I hope I'll get a bit more done in that time.

    Of course, I have a sore throat and have been sneezing all day so it looks like I might be coming down with something too. Which is just peachy, you know, considering the 13 hour day I have tomorrow... >.<

    My favourite geeky reference in Clerical Error tonight was bout Magikarp from Pokemon using 'splash'... ^.^

    Leah
     
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    Been ill all week and Uni has gotten so busy so suddenly. Had a project Thursday-Friday that was crazy and then I was running LARP yesterday so I had absolutely no time to write.

    Today I slept for 17 hours and when I woke up I felt a lot better so I finally got to do some more writing. Took me a while to get myself into it again, but when I did I managed 2.5k and brought me up to just over 19k. Today's bit had a rather 'Your Highness' feel to it, and some quite blatant references too but it was still a lot of fun to write.

    I've been thinking that (and I know I'm being premature but...) if this ends up being good enough and I'm able to edit it up as I'd like I would quite like to self publish it. I've always known I wanted to be traditionally published and I still do really want it, but this book is super niche, super geeky, and has lots of modern references in it that some other threads here warn not to do (and I agree that it dates books quickly). Which to me is another reason to go with the quicker option, where I can hopefully reach out to the target audience better/easier etc.

    We'll see how it goes, I suppose. I'm not even a quarter of the way through, anyway. :) I keep thinking that I'd like to put some up on the forum for some critiques but I'm really nervous! Especially since it's supposed to be a bit silly and quirky I'm afraid not getting a sense of the whole thing will make it read badly.

    I'm only in uni 11.30 - 1 tomorrow so I hope I can get my head into it again and make another dent. I'm really wanting to push to get a first draft done before uni gets super busy.

    Leah
     
  8. DeviouSquirrel
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    Yay. Another 3.5k down. At 22k ish now. Just wrote an awesomely fun scene about Pokemon... It's really hard to get my head into it after Uni and stuff. Really hard. I had to force myself to start writing today and just delete the wee bit I had to force out. When I got into it I haven't stopped but my brain seems to be in 'making things' mode, which can't translate to 'writing things' mode without lots of effort.

    For the record, I did make a thing in my first little project at Uni today which was worth the brain fog at night (though nothing to do with writing at all really). Dobby from Harry Potter made out of foam and latex and with added hat. He's soft and squishy like a stress-Dobby. Which I may need if I want to complete this novel quickly! :D

    [​IMG]
     
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    So I was very busy with full time Uni and working and also being ill for the last couple of weeks. I was crap and just couldn't make time to write. I started feeling like it's all really pointless because I'm not good enough and I'll never get published and all that rubbish.

    I know what I'm writing just now isn't going to get me a publisher. It's fun, it's silly, and it's super niche. But I know that I'm enjoying writing it and I think that's all that matters for now. I mean, sure, I'd like to finish it and self publish it, but as long as I'm enjoying working on it I think it's okay.

    I hit 28k tonight, done a solid 3k today and 2.5k yesterday. Hopefully this signifies me getting back into it properly. Tonight I was making fun of the Hobbit... My boyfriend read it and was all 'how dare you destroy my childhood!' But said it was funny as well as hating me for it. So I think that's okay.

    None of it is obviously about anything, I'd say. I never mention the original stuff from what I'm talking about. I don't want it to be obvious or invite getting sued. I hope it's all subtle enough that folk will 'get it' without it being said explicitly. And hopefully if you don't 'get it', it won't impact on the enjoyment of the actual story. Hopefully. Who knows...

    It's ballooned though. Given where I currently am in the story I had projected to be at about 10-15k... I'm at nearly 30k... I think this is going to require a lot of cutting out, and maybe to split the two sections into two separate books. But it's a good thing, I think. Normally when I write I am very to the point get it done and I think sometimes I struggle to make it a natural progression. So, scene 1 they meet, need to make them friends by scene 2. Just do it, whether or not it feels rushed.

    But with this one it seems to be flowing easier. The scene spreadsheet I have that lists all the scenes is flexible enough that when I want to expand I just split one scene into three or whatever and alter the outline. I couldn't do it without the outline as some folk can, but I also don't feel stifled by it. I can know the goal of the scene without necessarily knowing how they get there, so it's still creative and flexible.

    Next they're going to do the big evil ritual that the last some number of scenes they've been finding random ingredients for WoW style. Should be fun.

    Going to try taking my laptop to uni and doing some writing at lunch. Not sure how it'll go with folk being there and noisy and stuff but it's worth trying.

    Good times ahead. :)

    Leah x
     
  10. DeviouSquirrel
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    Whilst it's been 10 months since I posted here (wow) I thought I'd update it because I'm still working on the same project and have made a fair bit of progress on it. I'm at just over 74,000 words now and I'm on the home stretch. It's going to have a 'choose your own ending' sort of bit at the end with 4 different possible endings, (as well as some 'you die, uh oh' sort of endings) and I just finished the first one of the four, which means that I actually do have one completed story now! It feels good :)

    Still a fair amount to go and lots of editing to do but this small victory seemed worth sharing.


    Leah
     

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