1. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Viridian's start to 2016

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Viridian, Jan 4, 2016.

    I've decided to start a progress journal. It can't hurt after all (can it?). January 2015 was when I started taking writing seriously. Before then, I was just playing at it. On a personal level, I feel I've improved leaps and bounds since this time last year, and mostly with the help of my fellow forum members. This is my next step to actually getting somewhere. Writing started as a hobby, now its my dream job.

    Since mid November I have written nothing. Too busy with work and Christmas, then New Year, then recovering from Christmas and New Year!

    Hubby has bought me a digital voice recorder because he'd read about an author that swore by it. Don't know who she is but apparently it doubled it her output once she got over feeling like a dick! I haven't used it yet (well, apart from having a laugh on Christmas day!), but will happily report back on whether it helps or not (and would be just as interested to hear if anyone else uses one).

    I'm approx. 9,000 words into my novel. Pretty poor since I started it 12 months ago, BUT, in my defence, I have re-started it many many times for various reasons - all of which have improved it. I have a few short stories under my belt, a couple posted on here and a couple not quite finished which I'm hoping beyond all hope to maybe, perhaps, fingers crossed, have published in a magazine.

    Resolution for 2016 - finish my novel. Not just first or second draft. But totally, utterly and completely finished - wish me luck:eek:

    Feels good to be back writing :D
     
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  2. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Picked up the Dictaphone yesterday, mind went blank, put it back down again. I still have another week off work and thought I could get loads of writing done, but every time I start to write, my six year old needs/wants something. Or the weather is so fabulous I have to go out (it would be an insult to the sun to stay indoors). This is where the Dictaphone comes in. I can dictate my novel on the hop, or at least that was hubby's idea when he bought it for me. Yeah right!!

    I did at least get some work done on my current short story. Its horror, but i'm having a little trouble getting the tension right.
     
  3. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    9.000 words are better than nothing! Good luck with you 'novel finishing'! Let me know if the voice recorder helps :)
    P.S. I love horror, what is your short story about?
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I've really enjoyed all your short stories, and the parts of your novel you've posted... though I know you've changed it since then. I know you can finish it this year. AND IF YOU DON'T... well. You don't want to find out what happens if you don't, young lady.*

    With the dictaphone, can you just pretend it's someone else speaking until you get comfortable with it? Everyone sounds very different on tape than how they hear it when they speak (that was an awful sentence, hope you know what I mean) so it shouldn't be too hard. Just pretend you're a secretary transcribing your boss's book?

    *Do threats work to motivate you or do you prefer being prodded with a stick / positive reinforcement / bribery?
     
  5. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Hi @kateamedeo. I don't want to say too much about the short story at the moment in case it ruins my chances at having it published, but, I will say its set entirely in a couple's bedroom on a stormy night (very cliché I know). If I have no luck with publishing it I will definitely post it here somewhere :D

    Hey @Tenderiser, i'm always open to bribery, but threats work too. Stick prodding - I've would've initially said no, but, just thinking about someone prodding me with a stick makes me mad and actually fuelled my imagination, and in turn, gave me a new angle for my horror story - so thanks :supertongue: As for the Dictaphone. I am a secretary, and I do transcribe my boss's work but whenever I switch it on the only thing that comes to mind is 'eerrrm......'

    I shall persevere though. I am very determined this year. I currently have my laptop permanently open on the benchtop so I can keep coming back to it inbetween jobs. Though I had to hand it over this morning to my six year old so he could write a story. It started 'A long time ago in a galaxy far far away.....'. No guesses as to what his favourite movie is at the moment! So gorgeous.
     
  6. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    No more writing on 'Oak' yet, though I do have a few pages of notes to type up when I get the chance. I've been concentrating on my current short story with the intention of submitting it to Glimmertrain in the next couple of weeks. I haven't written the ending yet but I have a good idea how its going to go. Concentrating more on getting the tension/suspense right at the moment given its a horror story. I'm finding the best way to do that is to write what comes to mind, then keep going back and adding a bit, otherwise the story moves along too quickly not allowing for the suspense to build.. I've done this about four times so far.

    I'm taking the Dictaphone everywhere with me. If any ideas spring to mind I quickly record them on there. Its only small stuff at the moment though, such as names or character ideas. Feel a bit silly, but getting there.
     
  7. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Short story pretty much done and much better for @Tenderiser's input (thanks missus). I'm letting it sit for a couple of weeks before i submit it though. Back to Oak last night. Read through what i've done so far (not too shabby, though some of it made me cringe). Jotted down a few ideas, mostly an exercise to get back in the characters heads. Now let the writing commence.
     
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  8. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Update on digital voice recorder. I've used it a couple of times just for small ideas that pop into my head. But a breakthrough yesterday. I had an idea for a short story, it was going round and round my head on my walk back to the car after work. So, on my drive home, I whipped out the voice recorder and dictated the entire story (its actually not very long to be honest). It was easy peasy. I often have ideas for short stories or furthering the plot in 'Oak' on my drive home, so I think driving/dictating may become a regular thing. Pretty sure its not illegal:eek:

    My short story is finished. Tonight I will do the final check through, give it a proper title and finally send it off. Fingers crossed its accepted.

    'Oak' is coming along nicely. Bit too slowly for my liking, but I'm getting there. Up to around the 16,000 word count with approximately another 3,000 words in notes to type up. Hopefully the DVR will speed things along now.
     
  9. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Short story finally submitted. Glad I left it alone for a few weeks, its so much better for it. The things that needed changing jumped out at me straight away. Fingers crossed now for publication.

    Used the DVR on my way home again yesterday and managed a full scene for Oak. Now i'm getting the hang of it i'm finding it extremely useful. Still wouldn't use it where someone could actually hear me though:meh:
     
  10. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Progress over the last few weeks = nil

    Had a lot going on including moving house and a much needed holiday. Back to it today now everything has settled back down - chomping at the bit to immerse myself in a world of fiction.

    Had a reply from Glimmertrain - thanks but no thanks - back to the drawing board i guess. I'm a little disappointed but not deflated. Not decided what to do with the story yet, maybe i'll put it on here for critique.

    Time to get out the ole laptop
     
  11. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    *sigh* super slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Word count = 20,285. Opened my laptop tonight for the first time in weeks - life and its many obstacles in the way as usual. Another kicker, ruddy laptop upgraded to Windows 10 (I think I pushed the upgrade overnight button instead of 'no thanks' by mistake) so just spent the best part of the night sorting that out - so far not impressed.

    Still been dictating even though I haven't been typing, so got lots of that to type up too yet.

    I read that any book should take no longer than 3 months to complete the first draft. Given how long I've already been doing this (off and on - mostly off) I've decided to attribute time already spent to 1.5 months and therefore I have a further 1.5 months to get to the end. So - end of June I should be finished (yeah right!). I'll give it my best shot.

    On that note, I'm now switching off to go and watch Game of Thrones!!!!
     
  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Where did you read the three-month thing? I get so annoyed with "rules" like that because they are basically one person's process, but a person who thinks everyone should write like them. Someone should tell JK Rowling or GRR Martin that they should write a draft in three months or their story won't be good enough.

    Rant over. :D

    What's your target word count? I will cheerlead!
     
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  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    I read that, too, but now I'm beginning to think it's a load of old hog's wallop (whatever that is).

    After six drafts written that way (aiming at three months or less) the seventh took five months and now it's looking like the eighth will take even longer because I'm turning more to the type of thing I suspect you're doing, taking the time to know where I'm going before diving into the next scene/chapter/whatever.

    Bottom line: write the way you write and don't let anyone else convince you there's a better way. Because it's your way that counts.
     
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  14. ToDandy
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    ToDandy Contributing Member

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    After five years, I'm perfectly ready to tell GRR Martin to finish the book in the next 3 months.

    Joking aside.

    3 months to write a book is usually a quote people are taking from Tom Clancy (if I remember right). Tom Clancy is well known for binge writing his novels. In other words he powers through the first draft and then edits it once he has finished. If you are writing around the length of 70,000- 120,000 then, yes, if you pace yourself you could easily finish the book in 3 months.

    However, you have to remember that binge writing is only one style. Everyone has to find what works for them. My last five books I binge wrote (and finished them in about 3 months) but I hated the editing process afterwards. It became painfully tedious. So for my current novel I'm using the technique similar to JK Rowling's, which is doing heavy editing and revisions as I go. As a result my speed has decreased considerably. I'm already 5 months in and only 1/3 through my novel.


    If you binge write, then great, but don't treat 3 months like some magic number. Write at the speed you need to that works for you.
     
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  15. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    It was In an interview with Stephen King where I first heard it and i've heard it from other sources since, but I agree, codswallaop. I suspect its easily done IF you dont have a day job + family + don't have world building and/or research. Even with those things its still possible.

    I'm just trying to push myself and make more time for writing. I have a very busy life (as do most) and time for myself and writing tends to be low on my list. I'm trying to motivate myself to shove it up there.

    I dont like working to a timeframe, but I do respond well under pressure.

    I just wanna get it finished this year. Completely, totally finished, and move on to my next book. Not because im tired of this one, but because I wanna see how it ends. I'm a terrible outliner, i can only get so far then i hit a blank wall - i'm mostly discovery. Exciting and frustrating in equal portions.

    Around 100,000 so a good bit to go.
     
  16. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Word count = 23,375. Better than nothing! Finally caught up with everything I had dictated. Realised it was mostly poo, but typed it anyway and changed it up. Now it aint half bad. I like the way the story's going. I think there will be a LOT of editing when the first draft is finished, mostly tying things in as the story keeps evolving as I type. If I could think up half this stuff before starting to write, I could probably fly through and have it finished in no time. But, alas, the best ideas come as I get more into the character's heads. I guess I'll just have to be patient.
     
  17. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Latest update - I've had a bit of break from Oak (I now actually have a new title, which I love and is perfect for the story - but not sure that I should post it on here? might stick a question up in the forum about it). I spent some time working on a short story for a competition which shall remain nameless (Ahem). Now i'm back to Oak I've realised I'm getting completely tied up with the characters/plot twists and varying details. So - I've gone through the mountain of notes I have (handwritten and on laptop) - organised them all, created a list of chapters, a brief outline (with comments on ideas, possible turns and what should or should not be mentioned in this book, and a list of details/characters (I did do something similar before but the story keeps evolving so much!). I've come to realise that I have that much stuff, and so much backstory before Oak even begins, that it should be split across three books. Book 1 will be Oak - my original story, with an ending that could make it a standalone book OR tempt you to read on. Book 2 will be all the backstory of how Oak came to be (this is where I have to be careful about what I put into book 1 - don't want to give too much away but enough so that when you read Book 2 you go 'ooh, yes I remember that - or ah, so that's whey he/she did that". And Book 3 will start where Book 1 left off. I've almost finished the organisational side and feel much better about proceeding now.

    I've also come across lots of notes for Fred & Milly (working title) and really want to get on with that one too. Not to mention redoing "The Promise" and two other short stories that have been left in limbo.

    I've also changed my writing strategy. I now get up early to write before the day begins - I never thought that would work for me but it really really does. I am just so flippin tired at the end of the day lately with a serious case of brain drain.
     
  18. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Now I've finished outlining all the chapters I at least know what happens next. I'm not sure I could've done this from the beginning as some of my best ideas and character arcs have come from discovery writing, however doing it at this stage I think will help me move forward at a much quicker pace.

    I've gone back to the beginning, not so much to start the editing process but more to tidy things up. Since doing the chapter outline I've realised certain chapters need to happen at different times, so i'm rearranging those and tying details in with certain events so it all runs smoothly. I couldn't move forward until this was done. So while the word count isn't going up much at the moment, the quality and consistency is. I'm happy with my progress.
     
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  19. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Hello my little progress journal. Long time no see! I've been very busy and unable to do any writing for a little while due to time constraints, but now i'm back and its full steam ahead.

    Current word count = 27,937

    Because of the time away from Oak, I've gone back to the beginning, re-reading what I've done so far, just to get back into the flow. Problem is, doing that means I usually end up editing too, which I've been trying to avoid so I can get the story down on paper. Needless to say, the word count hasn't gone up as quickly as I had hoped, but tomorrow is another day. I am now fortunately in a position where I can spend most days writing for a good 4 or 5 hours so hopefully things will start to speed up real soon.

    While I've been away from writing for a few weeks I have at least still jotted down lots of notes and words/phrases that I like that I may, or may not, incorporate into my story. I've also been doing lots of reading, currently re-reading The Passage and The Twelve ready to read City of Mirrors and spend an hour in the company of Justin Cronin on Thursday night while he talks us through his writing process - looking forward to that :)
     
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  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I've had The Passage on my wishlist forever. Let me know if you like it, won't you?
     
  21. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    I've already read it once, this is my second time round, The Twelve too, but it was years ago and I wanted to refresh my memory before reading City of Mirrors. I love love love The Passage. However, I read somewhere that someone suggested you could cut out about a third of the book and it would still be a great book, and I have to agree. There's a lot of unnecessary (and often repeated) description that could be done away with - but I don't care, I love it anyway.
     
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  22. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Today's word count = 29,218

    Not a massive increase (i'm hoping to double, maybe triple my daily count as the days go by), but i'm still going over what I've already done and editing. I'll continue this till I get to the end and then go from there. I guess this is what happens when you leave your WIP alone for a while. I'm eager to get it finished, but not at the expense of the story. It's important to me that this is done well.

    I've also decided to submit one of my short stories to an editor for review and feedback. It won't cost much money and I think the feedback would be very useful going forward. I'm thinking i'll send Eleanor's Curse after i've made a few suggested amendments from folk on this here forum.
     
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  23. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Word count = 30,683

    Same scenario as previously, still editing out some stuff and putting in new, but still did 1,465 words on top of that. I'm happy with that for now. Getting closer to where I was up to before I had to leave well alone because of other priorities, and getting nicely involved with my characters again.

    Happy Bunny :)
     
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  24. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Nice progress!
     
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  25. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Pushed the boat out today and refused to stop until I had done 2,000 words. It is way harder than you think, at least for me anyway, but I did it and have a numb botty to prove it. I'm aiming to produce 2,000 words everyday now, where possible, until draft 1 is complete. More if I can, but that's unlikely.

    Current word count = 35,288
     

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