1. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Stephen's Progress Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Stephen Gazzard, Oct 21, 2015.

    This is a neat little section, didn't realise that it existed :)

    I've been working on the same novel for 3.5 years now. It was born when I sat down one day and thought, "I'm going to write something, that I never show anyone else, just for fun." I had no idea when I sat down what I was going to write so I just went with the first thing that came to my mind and let it grow, and I ended up falling in love with it. This ended up yielding, in under a month, about 20K words / 70 pages featuring two main characters and a bunch of side characters that really interested me. I decided I would take it as far as it would go while I still enjoyed it.

    Now, 3.5 years later, I'm in the middle of a major rewrite and hoping to complete a proper first draft. Previously, I had run down a few hundred rabbit holes, turning side characters into POV characters to better understand them, giving them their own side characters, then turning them into POV characters. The story got lost. In this revision, I am getting it back.

    My goal has been to write daily. My daily goal is pretty fluid, as long as I am writing and not losing momentum I am happy, but generally I aim for around 500 words per day, but (for example) a few days ago I was revising some stuff from a previous iteration and moving it over into the current stream, and I was happy with that.

    Yesterday I hit 39 days in a row writing ... today aiming for day #40


    The story is mostly a fantasy story, but it sits more along the lines of works of authors like Guy Gavriel Kay than JRR Tolkien. The plot is character driven, and although there is some magic, it is in a much more ethereal sense than wizards flinging fireballs at each other.

    The main character is Georgina, an orphan who is a whore at the beginning of the book, but her luck changes when she is attacked by a man, kills him, and discovers he had a purse full of gold. Long story short, she ends up involved in some political intrigue, but also spins up some around her as crime lords grow interested in the gold.

    As secondary characters, there is her 'sister', Elise (they grew up on the streets together), Finn, a teenaged boy who has family drama and ends up involved with one of the crime lords, and Sylvia, a noble who ends up being connected with a spirit animal. I had plans for a couple others, but I think adding them in would increase the scope too much.

    My goal is a standalone novel, but my word count keeps going up :) I'm hoping when I get to the editing stage, I am able to bring it back down to a reasonable level.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  2. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Wednesday, I hit day 40. I didn't write a lot - in my first run of the story, there was a sequence of scenes (about two chapters worth) describing the backstory of Sylvia, one of my main characters, and how she got involved with The Stag, which is a spirit animal that exerts influence over her and a few other characters over the telling of the tale. I spent Wednesday night revising this and updating it for what is currently canon, and then integrating it.

    This was originally near the beginning of the book, but I reached this point around the 50K word mark this time ... so not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing. I suspect this novel will hit 200K due to the amount of story I have left to go so it is still in the first quarter of the book.

    Last night I wrote on the train ride home, got about 550 words in, wrote a scene that is supposed to be setup for the next major plot event, but it ended up becoming a marital spat between the Mother and Father of a character who is going to be more important later than he is now. Going to leave it as is for now but I highly suspect when I return to this scene during editing, most of this spat is going to get reduced in the interest of expedience and not distracting the scene from its true purpose. So I am now at 41 consecutive days.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  3. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Another day where I had to squeeze my writing in on transit - this time heading from home to an early Hallowe'en party just after getting home from work. It boggles my mind that I used to sit on the train and browse facebook - just wasting my time and waiting to get home to write. These days, I do some of my best writing while stuck in transit. I'd been thinking about getting a car for some time, but this makes me almost want to second guess that!

    Got just under 750 words in, and tossed away the marital spat I was writing the day before between a POV characters parents. I managed to convey much the same information, but through the actual POV characters point of view, and even gave him some agency / motivation / reaction to what happened. In short I actually think it's a real scene? Whereas what I had written before was basically just me sorting out some of the underlying issues that define this characters life.

    I am now at 42 consecutive days.
     
  4. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Yesterday I got 739 words in and wrote the 'bridge' scene between the fight and a big plot point. Today wad 1354, todays scene involves the main antagonist basically fleeing the novel for a while as his plans fall down around him and he is forced to re-scheme. This brings Finn's story to the forefront and sets him up for the growth he is going to undertake the leads him to his role at the end of the story. Basically he loses his parents as a result of this (not dead - just taken away) and is going to be forced to raise his little sister by himself, which is going to be a big challenge for him and make him more aware of the political situation as it regards the poor folk at this time.

    I have now written every day for 44 days in a row
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  5. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Yesterday I did a big purge, removing all the scenes from my book that no longer lined up with the current direction, and folded in the last of the scenes that I want to keep in (barring one or two).

    Now I'm in kind of a scary place ... for the first time in quite a while, I don't know exactly what needs to happen next. I've surpassed the point I was at around 170K words last time (and at only 70K words now) so I'm in uncharted waters. I imagine there'll be a bit of flailing about as I figure out the correct way to handle the next few events that need to happen, probably a lot of words tossed away.

    I have now written every day for 45 days in a row.
     
  6. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Last night was another night of working on the bus, or in this case, in an uber, on my phone. As I noted, I am past the point where I know what exactly is happening, so rather than diving right into prose, I spent the first half of the trip just spitballing the current situation, the problems I need to solve, and some possible solutions. Basically just writing my thoughts out as they come to me, free form. I find this is helpful, especially when I have a character that needs some fleshing out beyond what they already have. So for example from last night this was part of my writing:

    "Ok, but Boom can't just fall into a trap. We're doing this whole song and dance again. What is he really up to? I think he's going to turn Leone in. That's his a plan. B plan starts after Leone escapes. Give him two days to figure out what he's going to do with the money. Then Sylvester lays the trap.

    For part a he needs evidence of Leone's involvement. This is easy as he's friends with Rick. Hence helping him get out is on the house.

    Afterwards, time to turn things around. Or maybe not. Maybe the coins become a distraction at that point. Too much else going on,"

    So very much stream of consciousness stuff. Once I had worked through that to the point I was satisfied. I switched gear to prose and wrote a conversation between him and another character. Purely exploring his feelings about what he wants / how he's going to get it, not sure if it will actually make its way into the book.

    I have now written every day for 46 days.
     
  7. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Thought last night would be a good night to really get sucked into writing, being as I was at home (even got home early), but a friend came over with a bit of an emergency so that ended up taking priority. Still managed to find the time to squeeze in 300 words. A bit below my goal of 500+ per day, but I'm going to count it. The whole point of this writing every day thing is just to keep the momentum go and make it harder to make excuses ... given yesterdays consequences, I think I succeeded.

    I have now written every day for 47 days.
     
  8. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Thursday was another 13 hour work + 3 hour in transit day so once again I got all my writing done on my phone on the train, 500 words. Yesterday was date night with my wife so again got my writing done on the bus on the way home, about 700 words.

    I'm enjoying the scene I'm writing right now. It's the first time two of my characters, Finn and Elise, meet. They are supposed to fall in love but this is hard to balance as at this point in the book she's a prostitute and he's being sent there on a mission by his employer to extract information from her, with money to bed her (he's not going to though). There's a potential imbalance of power between the two due to the circumstances, and I don't want that to factor into their relationship.

    Tomorrow is day 1 of NaNoWriMo. During NaNo, my goal is to add 50K words to this novel, so my goal today is to wrap up a couple of loose ends and edit a chapter that needs to be modified a bit to reflect some changes I made recently, so that my word count changes are easier to track.
     
  9. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Your story sounds fascinating. :) I'd also forgotten about NaNo, and you've inspired me to use it as a reason to bash out 50k too.

    Regarding your second paragraph, I had the same issue - a sexual relationship between a boss and his employee. I dealt with it by bringing it out in the open right from the beginning, to show he was aware of the problem and taking active steps to try and rebalance it - i.e. making it clear that he saw their professional and personal lives as totally separate, and not affecting each other. In your case, as long as he doesn't pay her for sex in the beginning and isn't paying her when they continue to meet, I don't think it will be a problem.
     
  10. Stephen Gazzard
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    Thanks! I've been working on it so long I sometimes wonder if anyone will like it other than me (although even if that was the case, I'd ultimately be ok with it). Glad to know it at least sounds interesting to someone else as well!

    Yeah, that's how I'm hoping to pay for it - he's self aware enough to realise, in this situation, that even though paying for a quick tumble with her might bring him immediate satisfaction, it would ultimately go against what he really wants. There will be enough bumps in their relationship later on - they are both relatively young (although he is younger), and having had very different life experiences, both mature and immature in very different ways.

    Good luck with NaNo!
     
  11. Stephen Gazzard
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    Done writing for the day. Actually came pretty close to what I need to hit daily for NaNo - 1500.

    Entering NaNo, I have now written for 50 days in a row. I start NaNo with 73,974 words already written. To succeed, I must reach at least 123,974.
     
  12. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Day one of NaNo, I have written 2500 words so far. I'm trying to get a few more in - I anticipate at least three days this coming week where it may be challenging to hit the target 1667 words a day, and I'd like to alleviate the pressure on those days by taking advantage of the fact that I have no other plans today. Still gotta write those days though, as I don't want to break my streak :)

    I have now written 51 days in a row.
     
  13. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    In the end, I reached 4200 words yesterday. I've hit 1800 today, going to put in another hour and see if I can get an extra days worth of words in. I find I typically peter out pretty qiuck during NaNo and have a lot of stuff going on this month, so I really want to get as far ahead as I can while fresh.

    Been working on the aftermath of my initial antagonist leaving the novel. Basically, my current antagonist got caught do something bad and is forced to flee, but the 'true' antagonist (who up to this point has been presented as helpful to the main character, if a bit morally dubious) tries to pick up the pieces. He's not the only one, so it's chaotic for a little while and the main character makes a decision which ultimately decides which of them end up on top.

    It's weird because in a lot of ways I view my 'main' antagonist as a protagonist. He's genuinely helpful to many of the characters in the book, and his intentions aren't even particularly wicked - but ultimately he fails to follow through on what he intends and risks bringing ruin down on the city, yet is unable to acknowledge his own ineptness to change the system he viewed as broken.

    I have now written 52 days in a row.
     
  14. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    I've now reached just over 10,000 words in NaNo. The first 6000 or so came really easy but the past couple days have been hard. I'm trying to gestate where I'm at and where I need to go, but NaNo kind of needs you to sprint sprint sprint. Before, when I wrote, I'd usually end after hitting one or two plot points with an idea what the next one could be - so when I'd sit down to write next, I wouldn't have to think hard about how to start and build up momentum quickly.

    In NaNo, I'm coming pretty close to exhausting all my ideas each day, so the first part of each writing session is reviewing where I'm at and deciding what to write next. This + the pressure to write more has me questioning what I'm getting out of it. Today, I found myself writing garbage because I had no idea what to write. It got me where I needed to be, but then I kept the garbage (just marking it with a red font) to remove after NaNo.

    Well, I'm 1/5th of the way there. The next couple days I'll have less opportunity to write, so hopefully my brain will have an idea what to do.

    I have now written 54 days in a row.
     
  15. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    I'll try to be a bit more coherent today :) My brain was very tired Wednesday night.

    Thursday ended up being a great day. I was out of the house from 6:00 am until 10:30 pm with no break other than transit time between stops (I'm really excited to finish these long days), so I had to squeeze my writing in wherever I could. This was one of the days I had expected not to meet my word count for, which was why I had written ahead last weekend. But between three bus trips, an uber, and twenty minutes before the doctors office, I actually managed to write 1800 words - a bit more than my NaNo goal. Forcing myself into the world and having time in between sessions really got my brain percolating, so I got a bunch of notes about how to write the next little bit figured out.

    Yesterday I only got 300 words, but that was intentional. It was my 5 year wedding anniversary, another day I had planned around not writing much. So I just set aside fifteen minutes to make sure I didn't lose my streak.

    My story right now is really focusing on Finn. At first I was trying to resist this, but I think it's ok. Georgina / Elise have a couple of scenes, but they've pretty much owned the story up until this point, and Finn's plot doesn't really 'kick in' until the recent events where his parents disappear. So how he deals with that, and how he is forced to swallow his pride and deal with Gustav - his Mom's boyfriend, who he doesn't like - is a lot more relevant to the story than anything Georgina and Elise are up to. They've been through enough, and hit all their plot points until the next thing happens. Although I did get to re-unite them. My only concern with focusing on Finn so much, is his plot starts later than I originally intended - around the 50K word mark. He was mentioned a few times, and I think I've made his story relatable and connected enough, but I worry introducing kicking a character into gear at that word count may be too late.

    It's occurring to me that the way I've written this story, Sylvia may not end up having as much of a role. I always pictured her as a main character other than Georgina, but I'm finding I'm hitting most of her story points just through Georgina's point of view chapters. She may end up having less POV time than I expected, at least until the last few details resolve and we jump forward in time a bit.

    I have now written 56 days in a row.
     
  16. Stephen Gazzard
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    Day 8 of NaNo, and I've almost clawed my way back to being two days ahead of the curve again (which is where I would like to be given that I still have two days a week where I don't feel guaranteed to hit my goal - even though I did both days last week).

    Today was working on Finn's story some more - specifically, the final downfall between him and complete despair. Georgina's plot takes about 400 words before she's in the thick of things, his has taken me about 10,000, but there were more pieces. I completed the last major plot point between Part 1 and Part 2. I think there are some holes in Part 1 - especially in regards to what every character other than Finn has been up to in the past three days. I know I don't need to include everything but I feel I should include _something_, as they all have some big stakes in what's going on right now. At the very least, they should be aware of and reacting to Leone's eventual escape.

    But that being said, I'm super pumped to be just about on to part 2. This is where Georgina and Elise get their inn - and it has, I think, a nice, calm start. Some establishing what it's like for them to run the inn, the cast of characters that make their way into the inn, how the inn ends up becoming a staging ground for the revolutionaries, which Finn ends up leading as a result of the things that have happened to him and how he recovers (and is manipulated). I think Part 2 is probably shorter than Part 1 and Part 3 is the shortest but we'll see. Part 1 is at 91K words right now, which is kind of long.

    I have now written every day for 58 days in a row.
     
  17. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Just about three days ahead of the curve in NaNo, and I haven't broken my streak, which feels great!

    Last time I wrote in here I think I said I was just about to start part 2, but there were a couple gaps that I am trying to close before I start part 2. One of them involves introducing one of the characters greatest secret - I'm trying to avoid making it too cliche though. Basically, one of the characters is actually the illegitimate son of the king - and yes, this will matter to the plot. I think the key to making a cliche ok is justifying it well enough, from a plot / character / circumstance perspective - so I'm hoping his specific character / circumstances are interesting enough to make his story relatable (especially given he has no interest in having his secret be generally known).

    I have now written every day for 61 days in a row.
     
  18. Stephen Gazzard
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    I've still been writing, and I'm officially on to part 2 today. Finn lost a finger, which I wasn't expecting, and he lost it in prison, where I wasn't expecting him to be. I like the way it's going though, I feel like his story right now is the most interesting to me. AND! AND! Georgina and Elise have their inn. Finn's going to work with them (tomorrows scene introduces that). So they're all brought together. Of my POV characters, only Sylvia is not drawn in yet. I don't actually know if she's going to be involved so much at the inn; the stag is going to be taking up a lot of her time.

    About 3 days ahead of the curve on NaNo, which is despite the fact that I decided that November seemed like the perfect month to add going to the gym to my regular routine. Takes up more time than I expected and wears me out, but I think in the long run will be worth it. I've heard exercise does wonders for the mind.

    I have now written 65 days in a row.
     
  19. Stephen Gazzard
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    Yesterday was a blah day. I was actually at part I was really interested in - the villain kills the King at sea. So setting that up, hinting at where things will be going, and then the actual confrontation. But I was just so tired. It was a teaching day, which means at the office 7-10, then teaching 6-9 - long long day. In the past I've made these days work by writing on the bus, but yesterday I ended up taking an uber home instead and arriving home too brain tired to write. Luckily, I had managed to squeeze in ~600 words during the day so my streak wasn't broken, but it was the first day I didn't hit my goal where it wasn't a conscious decision to dedicate a nearly-uninterrupted evening to my wife.

    That being said, I was three days ahead for NaNo, and even with that hit, I am still almost three days ahead. This morning I got in about 1000 words and I have no commitments tonight, so I think it's reasonable to think I could pull myself back up to three days ahead today.

    Playing an interesting part here. Leone has been the villain up until this point but now I am actually revealing his backstory and why he has been a villain up until this point. It's convoluted but the long story short is that he was painted as a hero in Aqita (the country the story takes place in), marking him as a traitor in Engleham (his homeland), so he's been stuck loved by a land he hates and hated in a land he loves, and his motivation has been to find a way back into the good graces of his homeland. He got a couple POV scenes (necessary, I think, for moving some aspect of the plot along + revealing his backstory, which has geographically moved well beyond the range of all my main characters). It also sets him up for one or two more during the course of the story, and for him to be replaced by the proper villain later on.

    We'll see if it all works out or not.
     
  20. Stephen Gazzard
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    Been a hectic little while. I've lost a bit of momentum, surprisingly, since I finished teaching - just lots of other things, and that didn't have the convenient little windows on the train to make progress on my phone.

    Ended up bringing in a couple characters that I had thought may get left out. Given the trouble I had the other day, actually moving forward with part 2, I realise it was in (in large) because I had no idea what to do, so I reverted to things I did know (even if I had previously decided to cut them). I think they are ok, but we'll see if they play out in any meaningful way when I enter the revision stage.

    I hit some bad writers block last night, and was physically and mentally exhausted so couldn't really get my brain in gear. So instead of writing proper, I just spewed thoughts on the paper, and in the end figured out pretty much all the things that need to happen in 'part 2'. This counts towards my streak, so I'm not at 76 days in a row. In terms of NaNo, I have about 1 days worth of words to go until I finish, so I'll be a bit early.

    Not really sure what's in the after. At first, I hated doing the 1600+ words a day vs the 500 I was doing before but I managed to make it work. I think aiming for 1000+ a day would be a good, sustainable compromise. I do feel like I'm actually just going to keep going until I finish, which is a new feeling. Probably a still a few months to go before I'm really done though.
     
  21. Stephen Gazzard
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    Finished NaNo yesterday, although I had won on Saturday ... going to need to go over what I wrote and do some processing. Weed out the chaff. Still writing today, got another 650 words in.

    This was my most successful NaNo ever. I got ahead of the curve at the beginning and never dropped below it. I didn't have to any crazy heroics, like I did last year, where I wrote 7000+ words in the last day and still failed.

    Giant mess...and no energy to talk about the specifics of what is happening / coming up yet. Something things are happening I didn't expect. I think they work with where the story is going. We'll see.

    I have now written 81 days in a row.
     

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  22. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Let's both commisserate then on being satisfied ;) Be proud, take - maybe not a day off but at least a few hours - you have earned it really!

    I also don't have energy yet after successfully finishing essentially the setting - which lets me start in with the buildup to the the mid-game, and then the end-game. Any scene now.. *sigh*
     
  23. Stephen Gazzard
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    Ooof. I figured once I finished teaching, things would calm down and I'd have more time for writing, but the end of year push hasn't made things easy - nor has flying to a conference, as I did last week. Been working long hours and had lots of obligations. But I've managed to write every day (even though there have been a couple of days where it's been a close thing and I've only gotten 300+ words). There've been a few days where I was so tired, I wouldn't have written at all if I wasn't trying to keep this streak going, which is the whole point of course - to keep my mind in the game.

    I read an article about how to write a book in 100 days. It was actually pretty simple; 1. Outline it, 2. Target your word count, 3. Write 1% of that word count every day. I think I'm going to attempt to do some real outlining during the break and see if I can make this happen for me. I would really like to finish a first draft, and 100 days seems within reach.

    In the meantime, I've been kind of floundering. I wrote a scene about how Finn lost his home, but I don't think it adds anything so it's probably insta-cut. I'm writing a scene where Finn and Elise' romance begins to happen, but it feels forced. I'll probably keep it and then revise it later though.

    And then, Rick has just been demanding to be let back into the book. He's the instigator of the whole plot, who gets Georgina involved and whose history is deeply intertwined with why things are happening. He's also mysterious and manipulative and and even I don't always know what he's on about, which can make him a difficult character to write. I put him in prison to avoid him for a while, but he's out now, and ...

    and I have no idea what he's doing yet :) so exploring him for a while today. It's important that I understand what he does in the middle of the book, as I know what he does at the end and its pretty important.
     
  24. Stephen Gazzard
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    I hit 100 days in a row a couple days ago, today I'm at 102.

    The break is in full swing. I haven't written as much as I had hoped - Christmas related activities (gift buying, gift making, gift wrapping, family visits) are taking up more of my free time than I expected, but also, I'm just hella tired from this year and actually want to do things like lay on the couch and veg sometimes.

    Which hasn't given me free reign to break my streak, I'm still writing 500+ words a day, had just hoped I might get back into NaNo levels of productivity.

    That aside - I did some outlining the other day, per my goal stated above of finishing a draft in 100 days. Today is the first day on that run so I'm shooting for being done my first draft by the 201st day in my streak (March 30, 2016). Unfortunately I'm no good at outlining. I know a bunch of major points that I want to happen but a bunch of the minor points are still missing, especially as to what happens right next. Part of me says "Just write the major parts", part of me says "the minor parts are important as things aren't quite _there_ yet".

    So what I've done is in Scrivener, created chapters and scenes for things that I know are going to happen, and I'm writing whichever one feels 'alive' to me. Today that means I actually jumped to the first scene in part 3. I suspect this will get messy as I change my mind about how certain things go down between scenes and end up with some inconsistent plot points, but that's what revision is for. In the meantime, I don't feel unstuck, and as I find things that are missing when I get to the major scenes, I can just add placeholders for scenes to fill in the blanks. I think I have a clear enough idea of what happens that, in this way, the story will get where it needs to go.

    I have now written for 102 days in a row. 99 days to go.
     
  25. Stephen Gazzard
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    Stephen Gazzard Member

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    Yesterday, I (finally) finished reading A Dance With Dragons. I'd been on it for over a year, I think, and I made a point this break to finish a couple of books.

    I have such mixed feelings about the book. While I read it, I feel 'you are not worthy' all over - George RR Martin has written such a finely detailed and well peopled world, with so much history, that my world feels like it has no history in comparison.

    But on the flip side, I feel like I'm on my first draft of my first serious novel and I've already learned a lesson that he hasn't. A big part of the reason why I through away 100K words at the beginning of this year was because whenever I'd introduce a new side character, I'd feel the need to explore them, and I would do so by giving them a chapter, and in that chapter their own story and ambitions would be introduced, and they would have their own side characters, and those side characters chapters would be introduced...

    And at a certain point, I realised I'd written like 20K words to cover what happened in a single day in my story that touched on neither the original plot, nor the characters the story was supposed to be about. Instead of talking about Georgina and how she was trying to get her inn to live in with her sister, I was talking about Shui, a Chu trader (from Chufei, a country with an amalgamation of the parts of Chinese and Japanese history that I needed to serve my plots purpose) and how he had special dealings with the King, how his Father was putting pressure on him, his strange relationship with his servant, and how there was a rival Chu trading house that wanted to break into the market. His servant ended up having some of her own chapters - and then he met with the wife of another secondary character and she had a plot and that had its own chapter -

    and oy ve. The only reason I was thinking about him in the first place was because it's important, for my plot, that Aqita, the country the story takes place in, to be basically be the only one with reasonable amounts of gunpowder. And I was exploring how that had come to be the case. This time? "King Louis had negotiated an exclusive trade deal with the Chu, and they only sold him gunpowder. It was an expensive contract, but his plunder from the battlefield made it pay off." (or something along those lines). Show don't tell applies, but you can't show everything or you'll never finish your story.

    So back to George. He, too, scurries down these rabbit holes, and my Lord, are there a lot. In the second back he added Davos and Cersei as POV characters, in the third Jaime and Brienne IIRC. In the fourth / fifth? He just kept throwing one-off chapters at us from various characters points of view. And he didn't even bother to name them, which somehow made them seem more pointless. "The Spurned Suitor" oh ok this guy doesn't even get his own name? Why do I care to read about him?

    Yet I read the whole book. And got really involved in the world and at the end did care about (most) of what was going on. But my Lord! Was there a lot of it.

    So the lesson I am beating into the ground here is don't forget to reign your story in!

    Speaking of reigning your story in, a character I had thought I was going to remove has come back in this iteration, but I think she's really cool and she's actually moving the main plot forward so I think it's ok. Her name is Ain, and she's from 'The Cradle' / Akhemar, which is my worlds version of Egypt. She came to Aqita with Princess Shariq, who was betrothed to Prince Henry for political reasons. For the first part of the book, she appeared a couple times but in disguise, and while I hinted at that, I never really even explicitly said what was up with her because I wasn't sure if I was going to go down that road.

    Her disguise is called 'the cream'. It's a gift her boyfriend buys her so that they can meet in secret. When she applies it, it disguises her to look caucasian rather than Egyptian, even changing her eye and hair colour. In my original draft, it stopped working and she got stuck in caucasian form and had to abandon her life. In this version, I had figured if she didn't become a POV character, I could just have her appear in the background of various different scenes and tell her story as a little hidden Easter Egg.

    She came back, though, and she's going to end up working at The Swan after the cream changes her permanently. However, she's loyal to her Princess, so she's going to be sabotaging some things as The Swan becomes a bit of a revolutionary hotbed, as she considers revolution would be dangerous for Princess Shariq (and rightfully so - the revolution leads to a large event that takes us to the third and concluding part of the story). As well, she gets to be a bit of the 'eye in the sky' that shows us what the beginning of Henry's reign is like, as most of my POV characters are stuck in The Swan, rather than out with Lords and Ladies.

    In the end this bumps me up to five characters with more than passing POV viewpoints - Georgina (main), Sylvia, Finn (secondary), Elise, Ain (tertiary) with a couple characters (Edgar, Marylise) having a handful of scenes.

    Even with this few characters, I'm at ~135K words already, and I think I'm gonna finish the first draft somewhere between 200 and 225.

    I have now written every day for 109 days in a row. 92 days to go.
     

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