1. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Improving

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by BookLover, May 10, 2015.

    Thought I'd start a new progress journal since my last one didn't get me anywhere.

    A few months back, I buckled down and really tried to finish the novel that I have furthest along. It's something I started years ago and jump back into occasionally.

    I was going to finish it this time. I made myself a very complex motivational plan full of deadlines and rewards and punishments. It was crazy. It didn't work.

    Just trying to read through what I already wrote, some of it written years back, was depressing. It wasn't good. I wasn't interested. I moped for a while. Thought maybe I should stop writing altogether since I didn't seem to have the innate passion and motivation that other writers have.

    Then two weeks ago, a fresh story idea popped into my head. I was interested. I was motivated. I knew in order to keep the motivation going I needed to jump on it, ride it out. See how long it would last. This time I didn't make any complicated motivational plans. This time I gave myself two goals.

    1. Have fun
    2. Finish it

    And there's one rule.

    1. Write at least a half hour EVERY day

    It's working! I'm obsessed with my story. I think about it all the time. I'm in love with my characters. My overall mood has improved tremendously.

    Being inquisitive, especially when it comes to my own psychology, I'm trying to figure out what it is that I'm doing now that I wasn't doing before with the last three novels I started and stopped.

    My guess is:
    1. Have fun. I've stopped obsessing over writing strategies like I was before.

    I've stopped getting hung up on things like "show don't tell" and other well known writing techniques. Sometimes it's just easier to summarize with "She thought this" or "He realized" or other thought words instead of trying to show every little thing. Those well known techniques are helpful, sure, but they're slowing me down and messing with my creativity. Things are flowing now.

    2. The half hour time commitment. It's short enough so as not to be intimidating if I'm not in the mood, but long enough so that I actually have time to "get into" my story. It's pushed me to start writing on days I didn't want to, and I've gone past my minimum time requirement every single day since I've started this story. Some days I write for hours before and after work spending almost every free minute with it.

    3. I've titled it "Practice Novel." I have no intention of publishing it. It's too twisted. It's too dark. It's too me. I don't know why not showing it to anyone is so freeing, but it is. I always thought having an audience or future audience was a motivating factor for writers, including myself. It always seemed to excite me before to think that someone might read it. But now I see how it might have also held me back, to think that someone might read it. I'm a bit shy. Always have been. Knowing it's for my eyes only means my characters are unchained. It doesn't matter what anybody thinks anymore. It's just pure euphoric fun over here.

    So I'm still writing, and I feel absolutely giddy about it. As of today I'm at 15891 words. That's a pretty good start. I'm pantsing it, but I generally know where my next plot point is.

    I'm not exactly sure how it'll all tie together in the end. I have vague idea, but it might change. Things change a lot in this world I've created. This book reminds me of clay. I'm just molding it and changing it as I go. It's all very flexible. I fear if I stop molding it, even for a day, the clay might harden (like all my previous half finished novels) and I won't know how to wet it again or move it around anymore. Right now it's as flexible as ever. It'll take any shape I want. It's fantastic!

    Anyway, I was posting my word counts daily somewhere else, but I think I'll start posting them here. It's a poor way of gauging progress, but it's the only way I've got. And I do like seeing that number go up. ;)
     
  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd like to see more people, who are "stuck on writing," saying exactly what you're saying here. This is EXACTLY right! Don't stress. Don't force style. Let it flow naturally. Probably, you're going to find a lot of shit and few brilliant bits on your first read through the first draft. Then you can edit, and hopefully attain style based on the good parts. Nice job!
     
  3. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Total word count for tonight: 17620
     
  4. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    Thank you for attacking "show, don't tell". That advice is so meaningless and trite. I'm very happy for you. It's always nice to see someone free and energized.
     
  5. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Word count: 20689
     
  6. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Words: 21462
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's not meaningless if you were a new writer and all you did was tell. Then someone showed you 'show' and it was a eureka moment for you.

    You're a good writer @BookLover. I know, I've seen your work. Keep going. :D
     
  8. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    In my experience, it's what people say when they can't give you a real or specific critique. It's like the writing world's version of "work smarter, not harder".
     
  9. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    Aw, thanks Ginger. :) I could be better though. There's definitely room for a lot of improvement.

    23917 words for now. I might write some more when I get back from work today.

    I randomly "research" things as I'm writing, and by research, I mean lightly google. And for some reason I open up a new tab every time I do it. So I'll open up tabs to look at pictures of things to help me better describe them, or pictures that inspire a certain feeling, or random articles that explain things and usually also have pictures in them. Just tab after tab of randomness.

    Then when I'm all done writing for the moment, I start closing the tabs to shut down my laptop. One at a time, I'm closing these tabs, and it's hilarious to me, all the randomness but all of that randomness now being in my book. It's like seeing pieces of my novel in picture format. A bowler hat. A mansion's toilet. A blue eyed man. European cigarettes. Click. Click. Click. I don't know why, but I get a kick out of that.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This isn't the thread to discuss it in, however, a lot of people give a lot of bad advice. That's a separate issue from what 'show, don't tell' actually means.
     
  11. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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  12. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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  13. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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  14. GingerCoffee
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    :)
     
  15. BookLover
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  16. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    28422 words. I seem to be slowing down a little with this novel. The last few days I've only met my minimum half hour writing limit.

    Part of the problem is I started working on a side story. I finished it. It was just a short story, but I thought it was rather good. I decided I'd try to submit it somewhere for pay, and that's what I've been doing all morning. What a hassle.

    I tried searching the grinder for possible magazines as well as other submission lists. Mostly I hit a bunch of dead ends. Either it wasn't the genre they wanted or it wasn't the right word count or they wanted me to pay to submit (which I won't do) or they only accept hard copies through the mail (My printer is out of ink, and ink is expensive) or, in a lot of cases, they are currently not accepting submissions until next fall. What is it with these places closing in the summer?

    I know what it is. A lot of them are university based, but still... Made me mad. So in the end, I only managed to submit my story to one potential publisher. Hours of searching, and I only submitted to one place! The only one that made it easy, but also one of the hardest ones to get published in, Glimmer Train. I expect my rejection email in two to four months.
     
  17. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    29519 words. I should have a lot of time this weekend to write. I'm hoping to really immerse myself in my story and maybe even churn the bulk of the plot out that is if I don't get burnt out.
     
  18. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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  19. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    31047 words. And I wrote another short story. I don't know why I keep getting distracted by those. I might edit it tomorrow, and see if there's anywhere I can submit it. It happens to be sci-fi, so I might have better luck with it than my other one.
     
  20. BookLover
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    31226. I deleted some stuff and added very little. Been super tired.
     
  21. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    And I edited my sci-fi short story. I think I'll let that story sit a week then read it over again before I send it off. Usually I send off my short stories almost immediately, and then I'll read them over later and find things I should have changed. Tsk. Tsk. I need patience. Looking at things with fresh eyes can be very beneficial.
     
  22. BookLover
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    35601 words. I didn't get as much written over the long weekend as I had hoped. :(

    I'm having an issue with short chapters. I know there's no set rule on chapter length, but some of mine are pathetically short. I guess I could combine them with my longer chapters and separate the scenes with blank space.

    But still, it feels like a scene by itself shouldn't be this short. I could throw in an extra hundred words with description alone, but that doesn't add anything real to the scene. Fluffing up the dialogue would make things worse. I already have too much dialogue. The scene is complete, it's just short. And there are multiple short ones. I can't help but feel like I'm doing something wrong.
     
  23. Victoria Griffin
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    Hi, BookLover! I'm new here and just stumbled on your thread, but I love your attitude toward writing. That element of fun is something I've been trying to reclaim, myself. My rule is one word a day, no matter what. It's nice to see someone taking a similar approach and making progress; it makes me feel like I'm on the right track!

    As far as short scenes, they pop up in my work as well. I've never noticed short scenes to be jarring or distracting from a reader's perspective so I tend not to worry about them. I do typically include two or three scenes per chapter, though, so that could make a difference.

    Best of luck. Keep writing!
     
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  24. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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  25. BookLover
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    BookLover Contributing Member

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    38427 words.

    I've just now decided to change my POV from third person omniscient to multiple third person limited. Every chapter is going to be from a different character's third person point of view.

    I think it will work better, and I was already sort of doing that. It will require some editing later to fix what I've already written in omniscient.
     

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