1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    GingerCoffee gives herself another year.

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by GingerCoffee, Jul 28, 2014.

    Three and one half to four years for a first novel, I'm fine with that. It will be three years come November. I still have some work on the ending. I know where the story goes but 2-3 final chapters still need to be fleshed out. That's not a problem.

    It's that I know so much more about writing now than I did when I started. I'm very happy with the flashbacks. I've worked on those the most. They tell the story of my protagonist from the age of 10 to 14. They just need a little tweaking, to put more emphasis on the purpose of those chapters.

    The rest of the WIP I like, a lot. But it's not as good as it could be. It has to be great, not just good. And I know it can be, nay, it will be.

    I was hoping for this November, that would be three years. Looking it over this morning as I complied most of the work into a final draft, I decided it needs more work than I previously thought. I'm not worried that is the case. But I want to give it the proper time. This novel represents me as a new writer. If I succeed, I can write the second book in the duology knowing I'm a recognized writer.

    I know that's going to sound over-confident, more optimistic than a rational thinker such as myself should think. But I believe in the story I'm telling. And I believe that despite not being a natural born writer, I am a natural born learner. I believe I have the desire, the passion, and the story that needs telling.

    So, that's it. That's my sitting in my backyard on a warm evening progress journal dreaming.
     
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I gave myself one more year 4 years ago.... and I have more to do on it now than then. :(
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If I may give you my two cents, don't let it worry you. It takes what it takes, and less is not necessarily better in this case.
     
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  4. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Thanks, but it doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's better for it, and I've never been one to worry about how long it takes. My personal motto is: all in due time.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Well, I've foolishly joined a new critique group.

    Why you might ask, given how much I rave about the critique group I'm in? Because this one is with a handful successfully published authors from the looks of their books. One of them is a best selling novelist, with 22 published novels. (Carolyn McCray)

    I am so intimidated. But at the same time I need to take my work to the next level.
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    In person or online?
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    In person! Not far from here either.
     
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  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Lucky!
    They had a writer's group start up around here but I was too nervous to join. I don't think I'd ever have the guts to read my story aloud. Speech week in school nearly had me fainting.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I used to stop breathing when I had to speak in public. The weird thing is sitting at a table or in a classroom and I talk too much. But standing in front of people, ....

    I've looked closer and it looks like McCray may not be a regular attendee. She's signed in for the next meet but it may be the first one she's attended.

    The group leader has one self-published book, "Grey Girl" that has a lot of good reviews.

    I'm less intimidated and looking forward to checking the group out.

    You don't have to read aloud in most critique groups. You bring in 5-6 pages, everyone reads then comments on.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Sigh, I'm tossing 2 chapters. Oh well, they have to go. Yes, they do tell part of the story, but they just don't fit.
     
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  11. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Impressive. Have you gone yet? Did they have you read, or just settle in for awhile?

    I like the little town I live in, but it takes a lot of driving to get to anything culturally significant. I'd be happy for a plain old writers' MeetUp within 10 miles of me, but that's not available. Gotta go miles and miles into Pixburgh.

    Well, someday.

    And good for you.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    First meetup with these new people is 08-27. But I've rewritten my beginning in anticipation. That beginning is oh so important so this will be a good test.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Eureka! I was trying to figure out where to go with a scene. The conflict was there, but there was no direction for the resolution. So I walked the dogs (my pensive), had a couple glasses of wine, I know, it's not supposed to help, played the scene out in my head, and there it was! And I love it. My protag gets to shine after pages of being at the mercy of others.
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Went to the new critique group tonight.

    The best selling novelist, with the 22 published novels, (Carolyn McCray), was there. She gave excellent advice to people, you could tell she knew what she was talking about. I don't know if she's just visiting different writer's groups or if she'll meet with this group again. But I got advice on my first chapter, the most critical chapter.

    Too many people showed up but the group leader did a good job keeping things on track.

    The only bad thing was we read our pieces out loud. I'm hoping that's not the usual format and it was only because no one had enough copies. Eight people were signed up and I think 12 showed up.

    When you read aloud you lose something. For example they thought my 10 yr old had the same voice as my 17 yr old. But I know that's not true when you read it. I can see how it sounded that way when I read it aloud, du'h, I have the same voice.

    On the other hand, as we were leaving, one fellow with one of the not so great pieces was complaining he didn't agree with McCray's feedback. I always worry I'm doing the same thing when I don't agree with critique advice.

    But then there was the advice I wasn't starting with enough of a bang. I could see how that might be key to getting people to read the rest of the book. It's not an 'action mostly' story. It's a serious political novel first, and the action and entertainment is second.

    McCray started with the comment, "all my comments are with "do you want to make money" in mind. I was impressed when she said to one of the better writers, "this might be why no one is picking up your work" or something like that. I saw excellent writing, she saw what was missing in it.

    So, back to the first chapter re-write. And instead of starting with the earliest flashback, (a short chapter), I'm going to start with the main story. Otherwise that first short chapter risks looking like a cliché prologue.

    I've got to contemplate that one.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So I tossed out plan A. I'm keeping my parallel stories, but that first short chapter, my protag at age 10, really did come across as a trope, protag as a kid then story starts. The new critique group thought it was more like a prologue. But it's not a prologue, it's a parallel story and that I intend to keep. But I don't want the reader to think they are reading a prologue. So it makes more sense to bring it in after the beginning, not as the beginning.

    It had made sense, start with 10 yr old Brin, shift to present story, switch to 11 yr old Brin, go back to story.

    But it did suggest a prologue trope and that isn't what I was going for.

    So I started with the present day story and I'm actually happy with it. It sounds right.

    If you are reading my progress journal here's my little jewel for you: don't fall in love with any single section of your story. Fall in love with the story, yes, but if you need to change something you really liked, change it, don't be so in love with it you can't hear how your readers see things.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I transferred all the stuff that I plan to keep from my loose WIP draft into one coherent final draft (which is really not a final draft but much closer to one than the looser working draft).

    I'm at 83,089 words. There are still several chapters that need to be fleshed out and some that need to be re-written.

    This is good. It means I have a novel here. I have room to cut without worry, and given the unfinished chapters, I shouldn't be looking at more than 100K words.

    There are two different places in the story I can end the book. I haven't decided on which one yet, but that's not the same as not knowing how I will end it.
     
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  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Had another brainstorming session with my son over dinner. Came up with a perfect idea for a major event in the story! The key event was always planned but I wasn't satisfied with the importance of the details as I'd developed them, it wasn't cutting it.

    And now, by George I have the perfect idea, absolutely exactly what the event needed to be realistic and a believable turning point in the story. :agreed:

    :D:D:D:D:D
     
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  18. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yaaaaayyyyy!!!!
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Went through my original files to see what my first draft looked like. Wow, there was 98,000 words of night to the day I have turned it into.
     
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  20. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, you've got a lot done.
    I'm sure you'll have something good in less than a year!
    Congrats on landing a potentially epic writing group. Maybe I should nose around for one around me? Don't think I'd ever be able to read anything I write though...
     
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  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Aaarrgh. It's painful.

    I'm struggling with portraying poverty through the eyes of the protagonist who is in the city for the first time. She has to see it, it's first person narrative. But people don't walk around and I don't yet have an excuse for her to go to the poor side of town.

    I've walked through poor streets in a dozen countries. I can write what I've seen but then I have to make it moving without turning it purple.
     
  22. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    She's driving, then? Can she take a wrong turn or a wrong exit and end up in the poor side of town? Driving 25 mph or less would give her plenty of time to look around. You could portray her shock at the conditions, combined with a perhaps-justifiable fear of what might happen to her if she isn't very, very careful. (Like no coasting through stop signs or making inappropriate eye contact.) Does she feel guilty about taking these precautions?

    This sort of thing happens to newcomers all the time.
     
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  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks, those are excellent ideas. She's not driving and it's in a hover car in the future. But maybe I can still do something else with that.
     
  24. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, bummer. Hover cars and we still haven't licked poverty. Why does that strike me as a realistic scenario?
     
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  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Libertarian capitalist wet dream, of course.
     
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