Baeraad's progress journal

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Baeraad, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    No further progress at the moment (nor will there likely be for the next few weeks - I've signed up for an online writing course, so I'll probably be busy with writing prompts and proofreading other people's efforts). However, note to self: it will be a downright criminal waste if Sylvia at no point ends up imprisoned in the Towers of Requiem.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
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  2. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    Developing writing skills is also progress.
     
  3. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    No progress per se for already stated reasons, but I did write a scene of 1,136 words for the writing class that explored one of my villains. It turned out pretty well, I guess.

    It did start me thinking about how I can't seem to focus on characters and setting at the same time. When I'm in a character's head, the setting just becomes this misty backdrop to their personal drama - which also has the unhappy effect of making that drama feel less vivid. When I'm writing about the world as a whole, I get more of an ambience going, but I also feel like it's less vivid and personal.

    Not sure what to do about that.
     
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  4. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Still doing the writing course. For this week's assignment I wrote 1,055 words of scene description followed by a dialogue. It was kind of fun, I guess. It let me develop part of my setting that I'd just hinted at before, and toy around with a few characters.

    I was yet again reminded that my inner Gaiman is at war with my inner Pratchett. The former wants to write strange, evocative pieces of surrealism. The latter wants to write snappy dialogues of people being silly and human. When one manages to wrest the control away from the other, the result can be... jarring. :p
     
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  5. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Okay, I've been remiss in posting here, but... still doing the writing class, still writing nothing else because of it. Though it has at least given me a chance to introduce some new ideas into my setting that I might incorporate in my real stories. I kind of like the Citadel of All Hours and the Doge of Intransigent Depravity. Also, I've written the first lines about a character who was always meant to turn up later but that I've never felt I had a grip on, and she came alive wonderfully on the page, so that's good.
     
  6. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Note to self - at some point I need to actually sit down and figure out how modern or old-timey my setting's culture actually is, because a lot of readers have reacted to the way it seems to go from one to the other. I do have a vague idea for how I want it to work, but I need to figure out how to make it consistent and anchored. For instance, in order for one character to accuse another of being a "psycho," there needs to exist a fairly modern understanding of mental illness, and that means that there needs to be people who keep track of that sort of thing, as well as some way that the knowledge spreads to the masses. Newspapers may need to be a thing that exists, and universal literacy, even if it mostly comes in the form of parents teaching their children how to read.
     
  7. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Okay! Writing class is over. I guess I got some inspiration and ideas out of it, but all in all I think it was mostly a waste of time.

    Oh well. This week, it's back to proper writing again! The chapter I plan to start on is called Be The Demon. I feel quite pleased with that fact. :D
     
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  8. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 5,563. Not great progress, but at least I'm back on the horse again. I added a flashback that I'm pretty fond of and some inner monologue. Next week, God willing, I hope to have something actually happen to move the plot along. :p
     
  9. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Uuurrggghh, this week I can claim no progress whatsoever and must strongly question whether it might not have been better if I had never been born. D< I just can't get my brain in gear. For, like, anything at all.

    Just one more week to vacation. Hopefully that will recharge my batteries in all ways, including creatively.
     
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  10. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Ah-hah! I did it! Yesterday, I wrote all of two sentences!

    Sadly, that actually is progress...
     
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  11. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 6,094. Exceedingly little, but at least I seem to have regained some forward momentum. And now my vacation has started so I no longer have any excuses not to write. :)
     
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  12. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 7,069. Not the best week, but at the low end of normal for me.

    I need to figure out how to get Jenna out of Sylvia's hair so she can sneak off and talk to Toin. Unfortunately, I have made Jenna very hard to dislodge. This is one of those times when my mental synopsis goes "Protagonist does something clever" and then when I get to it I can't think of anything clever for Protagonist to do. :p I might need to write ahead a bit just to keep the flow going.
     
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  13. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 8,487. Okay, for me that's a pretty good week. :) I seem to be back in the swing of things.

    I managed to get Sylvia and Toin talking. I like their back-and-forth so far, it's fun to write a scene with an (aspiring) femme fatale from the femme's perspective. :D I might need to make it a bit more vivid, though. Add some more sense impressions, like smell. What's a good thing for a man to smell like? :p

    I am still a little worried that things are moving too slowly - there might be too much spinning my wheels because I'm never quite sure what should happen next. I've noticed that one thing that happens when the author doesn't have a clear direction in mind is that the wordcount goes way up, because he doesn't know what is and isn't important to describe. But I don't see anything in particular that should be cut, though, not unless some characters turn out to be completely irrelevant to how the story turns out. Maybe it is just a slow-burn story.
     
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  14. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 8,994. Not a great week, but not the worst one I've ever had either.

    Next chapter needs to wrap up the first... I don't know, superchapter? Segment? Installment? The first distinguishable chunk of the whole story, at least. :p I'm still a little short on concrete ideas for what should go in there. I need some sort of meaningful conversation, still somewhat sparring and teasing but with a hint of some humanity on both sides. ... so apparently I have gotten it into my head that I'm Jane Austen, oh God, this can never end well. :eek: No, no, positive thinking. I can do this. Dialogue is what I am actually good at! I'll pull it off.

    Somehow... >_>
     
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  15. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 9,247. Yeah, that's just sad. :p I guess I'll blame it on being tired this week due to going back to work and trying to exercise more, though the truth is probably that I've also gotten distracted by this and that. On the bright side, I think I know which direction the conversation should go in now, which should at least let me put some paragraphs in next week too.
     
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  16. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 10,306. That's a bit more like it.

    Okay, time to wrap this scene up. Toin will get called away on something important (actually another stormsinger having vanished from the Towers of Requiem), and Sylvia will leave and compare notes with Mika back at their room at an inn. Then it's time to figure out what the next part of the story will be about. :p All I know for sure is that it will involve secret passages. Because what's the point of a Gothic romance if you don't have secret passages? I ask you! :D
     
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  17. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 11,515. Another decent week. I finished up the last chapter and I'm having a pretty easy time writing Sylvia talking strategy with Mika and Loren. Some more hints about just what Toin's issue is, courtesy of some gossip among the servants. Then I guess I'll need to spread out a little more and describe just what everyday life is for a highborn Semerran gal about town before I can have Sylvia start sneaking around secret passages and eavsedrop on people.
     
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  18. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Senior Member

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    It's consistent progress by the looks of it, too, @Baeraad . August has been good to you,... or so it looks like :)
     
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  19. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Well, I'd have liked to write a little faster than this... but yeah, at least I'm not completely stuck. I know to be grateful for that much. :)
     
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  20. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    All right, so... this segment (what the hell should I call these things? This is getting ridiculous :p ) will culminate in Sylvia overhearing a sinister conversation plotting against Toin in the dungeons of Oculas. She'll discover that Toin is also eavsedropping on the same (the conspirators are wearing charms that block his farsight), they'll get discovered or nearly so and have to run and/or hide. So that's where I'm heading. Now I just have to figure out how to get there in 10,000 words or less.

    I'll need Sylvia and Toin interacting a bit more, establish their chemistry a little. I'll need to widen the scope and include the city more. I could have Sylvia be invited to Marsh's manor for tea - that'll let me reuse a location I've already established elsewhere, and it'll make for a nice counterpoint to Oculas. (Oculas reflects Toin, being exotic, wealthy and harsh; Marsh's house reflects him, being native, impoverished and decadent) And of course she is going to be exploring those secret passages and overhearing conversations between other characters.

    And it would be fun if at some point I could conspire to get Sylvia in physical danger so that Loren has to do his job and protect her, though I'm not sure to what degree I want to imperil her yet. It needs to have some sort of significance so it's not just there for the sake of it, but it can't overshadow the climax of the segment (seriously! That's a terrible word! :p ). Finding someone to attack her is easier, this is Semerra after all. It could be Regina (the villain) getting back at her, or some other noble trying to get rid of a threat, or just some random mugger.
     
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  21. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 12,780. Things are proceeding apiece.

    I'm definitely going to have Sylvia be attacked in her room at the inn. I might need to think of some fun gimmick for her assassin, though - like he's an acid-spitting demon or something, not just a guy with a knife. Right now, I'm having my mandatory once-per-story scene of the main character gazing up at the broken sky and contemplating her mortality. I'm honestly not sure if I'm making that too predictable, but it just feels like it needs to be there, just to remind the reader of the fact that the characters live their lives underneath that thing.
     
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  22. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    I just thought of a problem. Well, a small one, at least. I've had a vague idea that there's going to be some sort of Third Act Misunderstanding wherein Toin finds out that Sylvia initially planned to just use him for money and status and they'd have a falling out only to reunite in the end, but honestly now... what other reason can he possibly assume that her behaviour up to this point was motivated by? I mean, he's not an idiot, and she's not exactly being subtle about it.

    Maybe I'll need to think of something else she can do that he can find out about and have his feelings hurt by...
     
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  23. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 14,060. A pretty solid week, especially since I've been weak and headachey for most of it. Sylvia is being attacked by a berserker. This is, in some ways, easier to write than her scheming - because she's supposed to be at least moderately good at scheming, but she's never been in a dangerous situation ever before in her life, so it's okay if she comes across as sucking hard at it. :D

    I think, after a year of more or less regular writing and at least one story of 35K completed, I can officially say that I'm "writing again." Feels good, man. :) I also think that I may have settled into a different and possibly more mature and sustainable method of writing than the wild scribbling I did in my twenties. Writing a little every day (well... more like every other day, but the intention is there) keeps me more focused on the details, and I have, by and large, accepted where the ends of my talent are. This is never going to be great literature, but it might be moderately entertaining stories with a bit of personality to them.

    And this site helps, oddly enough. It's good to have somewhere to post regular updates, if only so you can look back and remind yourself that you have in fact come a long way even if it doesn't feel like it. :p
     
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  24. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 14,278.

    ...

    ... I had a toothache all week! It wasn't my faaaaaaaaauuuuuuult! :(:(:(

    Oh well. Let's try to be less pathetic next week.
     
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  25. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    So far things are going a little better this week. I'm actually on schedule so far. (yes, I have a schedule, and a weekly wordcount goal. No, I can't remember a single week I've managed to actually reach it, but it gives me something to aim for. :p )

    When I'm done writing these three longer stories and the four shorter ones I have planned, I need to first and foremost sit down and work out the magic system. Also various other bits of worldbuilding and history - I should really draw a map at some point, for instance - but the magic system most of all. I don't want to nail it down too hard right now, because I want to be able to go with any sudden inspiration I get, but when I start actually cleaning the stories up for publishing the rules need to be solidified.

    I have a sort of blueprint for it, whereas there are twelve different approaches to magic, and any particular Gift is really the application of two of them. Brendor's "Perfected Action" is what you get when you combine the path of feral instinct with the path of disciplined self-mastery; Sylvia's "Blood" is really a mix of arrogantly commanding the world and cunningly channeling the power of large groups of people. Take away the reliance on other people and replace it with a knack for timing and opportunity, and you get the "corrupted Blood" of Elora's stormsinging, selfish and mercurial.

    I'm not sure if I want to have an actual united field theory of magic in that way, though. I kind of like the messiness of there just being many different ways of doing magic. And I kind of want the different Gifts to be acquired in different ways, too. I like the idea that Brendor trained for his Gift, Elora and Sylvia were born with theirs, and Desin just had hers in a moment of revelation. I could make that be only skin deep - I think at some points I might even have hinted that Brendor and Desin may just be wrong about where their Gifts come from and they were in fact born with them too. But that feels a bit boring - not to mention adding a further level of complication, since I'd have to make the reader understand both the magic system the way it actually is and the magic system the way the characters understand it. I'm not sure if I'm subtle enough for that. :p
     
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