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A Glacier's Progress

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Dracon, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Didn't progress as much as I'd have liked: typed up what I had for Chapters 15G and 16G - about 2.5k worth, but it's a mess of fragments and strange transitions. I really need to clear all that up first before moving on before that because it's becoming a bad habit of mine. I was still too tired to fill in the blanks, so I called it quits. I'll try to finish it tonight and hopefully make a start on finishing the rest of 16G too
     
  2. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Mopped up Chapter 15G enough that I'm happy to concentrate fully on Chapter 16! After that, I move onto the climactic Chapter 17, which I can mostly copy/paste from the first draft because it is pretty much the same if a little short; it will need some added bulk to it. Same goes for Chapter 18 (possibly a 19, not sure) which is the resolution, but that will require a fair greater amount of work since there is more to tie off now, and I also fudged the end since I was keen by that point to be able to write "The End". The epilogue remains the same as it was - it's possibly my favourite part of the novel.

    I came to a stark realisation today: barring the Act 2 finale involving a large setpiece battle, and the climax, I've pretty much rewritten the entire book in some form or another. Over 90%! And as more of the plot is elucidated in this second iteration, that has led to more changes I'm going to have to make, mostly in Act 1. Part of me wants to believe this is simply how the story has evolved and improved over time, and the old part of me can't help but think "Wow, that's some spectacularly bad planning." I don't think the story I have now would ever have come out of a fully planned novel, of course, but I think I'd be hesitant of going in this blind again.

    I suppose my musing ultimately boils down to 'planning' and pantsing', as they say. When I started, I thought I was a planner, but maybe it turned out I am actually a pantser, since the original plan was pretty bad (though the initial ideas had legs, and the general story arc has generally remained true to that). I think I'll have a much better idea what makes a good story when I finished, and perhaps next time I will be able to re-write less. Live and learn!
     
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  3. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love fantasy, and would write it if I could wrap my head around the way people speak in olden times.

    I wanna beta, or alpha read this! Are you anywhere near that?
     
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  4. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    I don't really think you need to write fantasy differently as to how you'd write anything else, other than taking away a few modern expressions. I haven't treated it much differently anyway. I haven't really used any Old English, nor is it the setting, and I don't conlang either.

    It's a long way off that stage I'm afraid, but I'm working hard at it! I know there are some problems that I might need help identifying, and yet more I haven't identified, but I'd rather have it coherent and somewhat respectable first, since it would be such a long read. Thanks for the offer though; I didn't really expect anybody would want to read such a lengthy book (pretty much first-time too) when everybody else is writing at a much more conventional length. I'll do my best to get to that stage! It certainly gives me extra motivation.
     
  5. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Quite a different update today as I came to an exciting epiphany today. I finished Chapter 16G today, and I couldn't help but think (quite dangerously) to myself: this is actually a pretty good story I've got here! It might be a fragmented, unreadable mess at the moment, but I really believe I have all the elements to make it work. Often, we as writers often don't have faith in our ideas, or lose it along the way, and there were times when I thought maybe I should just save my frustration and abandon the thing altogether. This moment has been a true turning point, I think. After writing this emotional scene, I was surprised by how heavy-hitting it was. And then came the thought: my story actually works! (Or I'm entirely delusional, which is a distinct possibility!)

    At first, I was very much aware that my novel was firmly a plot-driven novel. It is jam-packed with action, moves quickly and is very eventful. That was at the cost of my characters, and I knew that that was a weak element in the first draft and they weren't nearly unique enough, and seemed as though stuff was just happening to them and the outcome would be the same if you transplanted anybody into their place. And though when I first conceived the idea, it was very much world-driven, that has sort of fallen away too, and later I will need to distinguish my cultures a bit more, and some research will also help with that.

    So in this re-write, I've been trying to breathe more life into the characters, with more interesting interactions between them, and impactful character decisions - right or wrong - that have significant repercussions on the story, and develop the relationships I already have. Now that I have finished this most recent chapter, it really feels like the perfect culmination of what I had set out to do in the second draft.

    So I enter the weekend in a very good mood, even if the progress has been a little slow! Stay positive about your stories everyone!
     
  6. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Slow, slow, slow, too slow as I make as I write a retrospective scene I realised I needed for Chapter 15A, and now starting on Chapter 16A (I've made a short plan of what to write, and I think that it builds into the climax well for the both main characters). One I punch through this subchapter, I'll be on the home straight, since the climax remains quite similar, and I'll enjoy writing the resolving chapters afterwards.

    However, I'm not sure how much time I'll have to devote to the novel over the next couple of months, since I have my thesis to write, which will be very demanding of my time and attention. We'll have to see how things go. Still, I imagine I'll keep moving along at my titular glacial pace!
     
  7. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Due to lots of interferences from university life, I have not made much progress. I've only added about 800 words this week, though of course I've been thinking about my world every day, which is the most important thing. (Most of the daydreaming regards what I can do in future novels rather than focusing on what I'm doing now! It's important to have such a plan for where to take things next, of course, but it's not helping the most important problems in the present story.) The start of this week promises to busy, but I hope to get back on track later in the week as I feel I have lost quite a lot of momentum lately.
     
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  8. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    1200 words clocked in tonight! I think I could have been more productive if I had really set my mind to the task, but I'll take that. So that brings the chapter total to 2600. Still half of what I want, but getting there...

    I can't help but think that perhaps this cluster of scenes I'm writing might better function somewhere towards the beginning of the third act rather than the end, but I'm going to resist the temptation to start fiddling, and just carry on for now, as whatever I choose shouldn't be too difficult to tweak.
     
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  9. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    800 more words today. My MC finally manages to come to a somewhat appropriate epiphany (that I've been struggling to find!) as we leap towards the climax. The penny has finally dropped! I just hope by this point that any potential reader won't have already figured it all out, and that there's still some surprise factor. I look forward to finishing this chapter, hopefully tomorrow.
     
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  10. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whenever you want a BETA, I'm here
     
  11. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Still not finished Chapter 16! Perhaps I deserve someone standing over me ready to have me hung, drawn and quartered if I keep falling short of these targets!

    I think I've decided that, of course, I have decided recently the chapters are too long, and need doubling. The current state is that my two main characters would get 2 chunks each per chapter, but each chunk has ended up too long, so I think I'll double up, so this would be Chapter 32. Also, I'm still on the fence on the subject of having named chapters. On the one hand, I like named chapters in novels, and have thought of a few good ones here, but on the other chapters, I'd be unsure of coming up with anything suitable.
     
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  12. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Chapter 16A finally broke 5000. The stall was finally broken when I shuffled some scenes around. Also managed to 'check in' with a few characters before the climax, which is good. Still not quite finished that subchapter, but wrote enough to finally let myself rest tonight (and I sort of cheated anyway by moving on a bit to Chapter 17 too!)
     
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  13. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Chapter 16 is just about done now. I've got the scenes (with some quite poor transitions, but I've got the content, and that's all that matters right now). The third iteration is when I'm going to tidy everything up, and actually make it a readable book. I'm expecting I should get through Chapter 17 faster. Almost everything can stay from the first iteration, since the actual climax hasn't changed. Maybe one or two bits to add, but overall it just needs some clean-up, as it's quite messy due to the sheer excitement of writing it the first time around.
     
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  14. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Chapter 17G edit took little more than an hour to look through, and it's nearly good to go, with only a couple of blind spots. Well, that was easy! Makes a change to how it has been for the past couple of months. Will get to work on Chapter 17A, which will require a bit more fitting to bring in line with the second iteration but the content's all there really. There's no reason why I shouldn't be getting to work writing the final chapter by mid-week!
     
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  15. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Here we go, people! Chapter 18... of 18!!! However, I wouldn't say it's the final hurdle. Just that I've jumped two hurdles on the Olympic track, know that I can clear them, but now the next eight right ahead of me.

    And now I'm having uncertainties as to the ending as I write the resolution. I think I'm changing my mind again. On reflection, I see now that a more open "To be continued..." ending is quite bad form, especially for a first novel in a series. I think it's good etiquette to have a more standalone-ish ending for a reader while giving them the option of carrying on, should they wish, and then with further novels, there is more leniency.

    I think I was thinking too far ahead in what's next for the plot, in being excited for what I could potentially do next, rather than focusing on closing off the matter in hand. It's been fun foreshadowing future elements, future antagonists. And if I plan to write a series, I have to have some sort of overall plan. But now, I think, it's time to refocus. Concentrate on this novel only.

    So now I have a more 'closed' ending in mind as I write this final chapter, although that leaves one big subplot unresolved that would have been the big hook into the next book. I won't try to explain it here - because it's difficult to do so concisely - but it's more complicated than simply carrying it over to open the next book with. So that's yet another problem I need to mull over.

    Maybe I should write both endings, but I find such a process unappealing. Though looking at how much I've already re-written, I'll hardly be winning any awards for efficiency in any case!
     
  16. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    I had another one of my breakthroughs again at about midnight last night, and ended up writing with pen and paper some five pages, so I will spend tonight typing that up. The final chapter seems to be progressing quite well; I’m almost about halfway through writing it.

    This was after yet another drought of writing, partly due to stress (I have to be in a calm, normal mood to write!) and just not finding the right words. I’m still trying to get into a writing routine, but after several attempts it has never seemed to quite work out. Sometimes, these sudden breakthroughs will just come, and I wish I knew the formula to controlling them, because I’d crank out a full book I was happy with in no time at all… but I doubt I’ll ever know.

    I’ve also signed up for Camp Nanowrimo with a writing friend, and we’ve created an online cabin again, as we have for almost two years now! I won’t be writing like crazy, but Camp is a much more modest affair than the real deal in November, and you can set whatever goals you like, as well as a little writing community with up to 11 other writers. I’m hoping that this extra accountability will drive me on even further in re-writing/editing the third iteration, as well as keeping up with this journal! I recommend it. It can be hit-and-miss with regards to how active your group actually is, but I’ve had some invaluable support from it. I doubt I would have persevered so long with writing without the support I had from it having been the catalyst.
     
  17. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    ...Ah, crap. I've had plenty of writing time this week. But none of that writing my novel!

    After a good run, and about 5000 words off from ending the second iteration, the wheels have well and truly fallen off. It had to happen at some time. I've got to have a draft thesis by the end of next week (the reading for which I probably could have done more before this point, in hindsight) besides still having a fair amount of labwork, and plenty more planned this next week. So most of that time has been devoting to writing... my thesis. And tidying up my data and combing for more journal articles.

    I could probably have made greater inroads into the writing and almost been finished, but then I stupidly, stupidly started reading a novel, when I knew it would be crunch time. Bad idea. I think you can already guess the result: I ravenously gobbled it up in three days and couldn't force myself to put it down! (The Air War, Adrian Tchaikovsky, curse you for writing such a riveting book!) So, it really is nose to the grindstone now - but not for A History of Artesia, sadly.

    Could I snatch an hour here or there and hack away at in small bursts? Yes, probably, but I'm not a person who can write to relieve stress; I have to be completely calm and focused to write, and if I try now, I know I'll just be wasting my time because the words wouldn't come. And I think I write better in longer chunks anyway - two or three hours to really get into it. So the novel will have to be on hiatus for another week, at least. I've still been thinking of it though in my spare moments. Mainly adding layers to the history; milling over ideas for future stories in this world.
     
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  18. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Went the extra mile to make sure I got 1000 more words locked down this weekend. Thesis: 6700 words (though that wasn't all just from last week).

    Also, I just had a curious flick through my files, and found out that I have 11 more ideas for other stories, arcs, sequels and the like. So despite myself commonly feeling like I am bereft of ideas, I have enough to keep myself writing for the rest of my life! That's a good feeling.
     
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  19. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nice word. If you're this creative, I wouldn't be worried about creativity drying up.
     
  20. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    I don't think command of vocabulary equates to coming up with good ideas though. In all my years, Artesia is only the second of two premises I have ever come up with. I find it difficult to come up with new ideas. I know it's impossible to say I'm not a creative person having written almost a full length novel(!), but I know it's not one of my strong points, both in and out of writing. I don't mind. It means that I can focus on constructing this world and history alone without any other writing projects diverting my attention.

    'Bereft' was just the first thing I thought of that seemed accurate. :) I find I do the same in conservation sometimes and there it's more noticeable, of course. I occasionally get that when I am speaking to somebody: I'll throw out a word that nobody really uses in conversation and it throws them, and I just say "it's just the most accurate way of describing it!"
     
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  21. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Just another couple of thousand words off now (how many times have I said that before...). Seems to be wrapping up nicely; these scenes seem to be bringing more closure to the novel than I originally anticipated.
     
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  22. Dracon

    Dracon Member

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    Another 1000 words in. Now I've just got to knit together and wrap up a few scenes, and write the closing scene, and then onto another set of rewrites. I've also been creating a to-do list of things that need addressing in the 3rd iteration. And it's been two and a half weeks since I started the final chapter. I know I've pretty much rewritten all of it, and it has been crunch time at university, but still... it feels like I could have been making progress much quicker than this. The challenge I set myself to have had the second iteration finished over a month ago now seems particularly ludicrous, both in the naivety of the promise and stagnation in progress!

    Also, Daylight Saving Time in the UK meant that I spent 1 and a half hours doing some midnight reading only one chapter of a novel rather than half an hour. It never ceases to annoy me - an hour, just gone like that...
     
  23. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... Wait a minute... if you lost an hour in the Olde World... that means that here in America... I lost...

    ... nnnoooOOOO!!!!!
     

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