1. Jillie415
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    Jillie415 Member

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    Dystopian future novel - progress journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Jillie415, Aug 5, 2015.

    I've always been the kind of person who's terrible with good-byes. I'm that awkward person who never knows how to end the conversation, even when it's well past its expiration. Saying good-bye to my coworkers at my last job was a clumsy affair full of weird smiles and sentiments that, while meaningful, didn't signify the end of the conversation. In the end, we all just walked away from each other. I knew my last relationship was going to be one hell of an awkward ending, so I dragged it out for an additional eight months in a desperate attempt to avoid it. And don't even get me started on dating. How does one casually end a first date? That's a question for the ages that I'm convinced will never be solved. (Thankfully, after many failed attempts, that one's not a problem for my anymore. 324 days left! But who's counting?)

    And though I only started seriously getting into writing a short time ago, my need to avoid good-byes and endings has already become a very big problem. In the last four years, I've started as many novels and haven't even gotten half way through any of them. I took quite the hiatus between novels one and two (at least two and a half-years) and when I started with the first novel, my attempt was half-hearted at best. I still think that story has potential, but it's not the one that I'm focusing on right now.

    The fourth novel I've started is a dystopian future novel. They seem to be very popular right now, and it's definitely a genre I can get behind. It makes the perfect back drop for protagonists to overcome some sort of external as well as internal struggle. I've got one very rough chapter down. I posted in the novels section of this site and despite its desperate need for polishing and rewriting, it got some positive words of encouragement that made me want to see it through to the end.

    I have a semblance of an outline started. Just a few pages of legal pad outlining some major plot points, background information, and characters. But I can feel the ideas starting to storm in my head and I like where it's going. I don't have a title, but I feel like that will come in time.

    I decided to keep myself more accountable by starting a progress journal. It's true that it will only be to myself. Unfortunately, my time is limited due to other responsibilities so I can't commit the time I would like to writing. I'm not trying to use it as an excuse, but I do need to be realistic about what I can achieve and when.

    I've always been a task-oriented person. One of the most satisfying feelings to me is crossing something off a to-do list. I believe that setting myself small obtainable goals rather that just one overall task of "write a novel" will make it easier for me to accomplish my dream, even if in the end it's just for my own satisfaction. With that in mind, here are the first goals I will set for myself:
    1) Polish up the first chapter of the novel
    2) Expand the outline
    With perseverance and a visit from Lady Luck, I'd like to have these done by the end of August.

    Wish me luck, universe!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
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  2. Jillie415
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    Even though I only just started this last week, I have to say I like the progress I'm making. It's holding my feet to the proverbial fire, so to speak. And I don't want to get burned.

    I've gotten about half-way through the rewrite of the first draft. It's changing directions and tone a little bit, but I think that's for the better. I listened to some of the advice I garnered from posting the original posting and I feel it's made both the story and myself as a writer better for it.

    I also expanded the outline somewhat, though it's far from complete. True to form, I'm having a hard time figuring out where to take the story so it reaches a satisfying conclusion. As of right now, I feel like all of my idea are cliche and cheesy. I'm also concerned about some plot holes I feel are forming which I'm afraid I won't be able to adequately explain. I feel like the best thing to to for this is to trudge on through until I finish the first draft and then work on fixing things in the rewrite. Already I feel like the first chapter is better. Despite some changes, I feel like the original point and story is still there. That's what I'm hoping will carry through the whole novel. I'll get the skeleton form done and then fix what's broke as I rewrite the heck out it.

    I'd like to add a new goal for August as well. Part of this experience for me is about becoming more well read, especially with regards to fantasy novels. I recently started The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan and I'd like to be half way through it by the end of August and finished with it by the end of September. I've currently only read the prologue and about half of the first chapter. I'm hoping to see positive improvement in my reading speed by making this a goal.
     
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  3. Jillie415
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    Well, another week in the bag.

    It's been a busy week, so I didn't get as much done as I had hoped I would. But I'm choosing to focus on the victories and the successes and my ability to improve upon them rather than focus on what I couldn't do. So, with that being said, here's what I was able to accomplish this week:
    • I got through about 85% of chapter 1 for a rewrite. I like the tone it's taken on. Evie is tougher now. I don't know if that means she'll be easier to break or harder, but I'm interested in finding out.
    • I started chapter 2. I only got two sentences in, but I started it.
    • I expanded the outline a little. I added a few events to the plotline and a few pieces of background info to bring things together.
    • I'm on chapter 4 of The Great Hunt.
    • I read close to two dozen different threads on here, both the original post as well as the replies/critiques. It taught me what I don't like/doesn't work (and therefore what I should avoid), where I know I need improvement, and what I do like/should aspire to emulate.
    • I critiqued one of the items I read.
    New goals for next week:
    1. Complete rewrite of chapter 1
    2. Add more to outline
    3. Get through Chapter 8 of The Great Hunt
    4. Critique another post
    Another busy weekend ahead so I won't be on here much. But here's to a productive next week!
     
  4. AspiringNovelist
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    Is this the one with Evie and Mona? If so, you're moving at awesome pace.
     
  5. Jillie415
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    Yes it is! :)
     
  6. Jillie415
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    I feel like this week was not best as far writing and meeting goals are concerned. But I've made my peace with that. I've been pretty busy and something has got to give. Again, I'm choosing to focus on the positive.

    II did manage to accomplish my first goal. Well, sort of. I did complete the reqrite of Chapter 1. But I've read it over quite a few times and there is a glaring plot hole. It is plausible to explain it away in a later chapter. But doing so would require changing POV and while I've done enough research and read enough books to that that can be done, I'm not a fan of taking that direction. Instead, I've started Chapter 1 fresh. It's still from Evie's FP POV and probably about half of the material is still the same. In fact, there are a few sections that I was able to copy and paste (that I'll read through again a few time to edit to the new events). That rewrite is probably about a quarter of the way done.

    I added almost nothing to the outline. I'm not sure if I should start a new one since this will lead to a slightly different series of events (think Fringe). This item is to be determined.

    I only made it through Chapter 6 of The Great Hunt.

    I did do sort of a mini critique of some writing a friend sent to me. There wasn't much to critique as she had done a fabulous job. I'll consider that goal half done.

    Weekends are not my friend in this venture. Ever since we bought the house in the beginning of the summer and have been either going away or hosting events, I haven't had much time for anything other than cleaning and laundry. This weekend is equally busy, so I'm going to lighten up my goals for the week. I feel like I bit off a little more than I could chew with those. I'll work my way back up to them. But in the mean time, my goals for next week are:
    1. Complete another quarter or so of Chapter 1, Rewrite 2
    2. Decide on how to go with outline and then do it (either add more or start a new one)
    3. Read through Chapter 9 of The Great Hunt
    4. Critique one post on this site
    Cheers!
     
  7. Jillie415
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    Zomg, vacation is coming up! I definitely need a bit of a break and I am so excited. You know what's on the agenda? A whole lot of good old fashioned NOTHING! We're going to be visiting my fiance's family who live about 10 hours away from us. So we get to relax and see some wonderful people. Plus, some of our best friends are getting married at the end of our trip! It's going to be a great week.

    Why am I mentioning this in my progress journal? Well, it's because I'm preparing myself for how little writing I'm actually going to get done next week. While it's true that we're not going to be doing a lot of sight seeing or any kind work, we will be seeing a lot of family and (more importantly) just trying to spend quality time with each other. As much as I love writing, I love my fiance more and I treasure the times that we can spend just binge watching TV and cuddling rather than either of us or both focusing on other things. When we're not doing that, my primary focus is the wedding. I'm hoping to get a lot of stuff done and a lot of decisions made regarding that. When we started this whole process, I didn't expect it to be so stressful. But it's totally worth it. :)

    Well, now that that's our of the way, let's get down to what this journal is really all about - my writing. This week, I must say, I think I did quite well. I finished the first draft of Chapter 1, Rewrite 2. I found a friend who is willing to read both versions and do some critiquing/comparing of what she likes better for me. I've already sent her Rewrite 1. I decided to keep the outline and just make the changes I needed to make. I also added a bit to it. I critiqued one post on here, as well as sending a friend some critiques on some very good prose she's been sending me. (So addicted to her story!) The only thing I fell short on was reading. I only got through Chapter 8 of The Great Hunt. But nobody's perfect, right?

    So with my mind already on vacation mode, I'm setting my goals for the week.
    1. Type up outline (I currently have it written on a few legal pages)
    2. Read a few more chapters of my friends writing
    3. Read through Chapter 11 of The Great Hunt
    Again, trying to keep it light since I'm going to be on vacation. I do have a pretty good feeling that I'll be able to at least do one read through and edit of Chapter 1, Rewrite 2 and get some rewriting done. But I'm not 100% sure and I don't want to set myself up for failure on my vacation week.

    Have a lovely week!

    Wishin' I was knee deep in the water somewhere
    Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
    Only worry in the world: Is the tide gonna reach my chair?
    Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
    Never been so happy, never felt so high
    And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise
     
  8. Jillie415
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    Well, it I had to sum the last two weeks in a word it would be this one: lazy. But you know what? I can't say that I care that much. It's probably been the least productive I've ever been. But I got myself some much needed R&R. I feel like my head is clearer and I can more easily get back in the game.

    When we got from vacation, we hyper focused ourselves on the wedding. My fiance (who was a groomsman the wedding we attended at the end of vacation) had a bit of reality check when he saw how much work we still have left to do. Granted, we've got about nine and half months left, but I know it's going to be by quickly. We want to make sure we get everything nailed down early so it doesn't become an issue. Plus it gives a longer period of time to pay for things so it's not one giant expense all at once.

    So needless to say that I didn't accomplish any of my goals for vacation. And here I am a week later! Given how focused we are on the wedding, I'm going to keep the same three goals for now. I need to make our upcoming nuptials my priority!

    Don't worry, you'll still hear far too much from me than you really care to. You can't get rid of me that easily. ;)
     
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