Catrin Lewis's Progress Journal

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Catrin Lewis, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    2,108 more words today. That includes my Cuban-American general/old C.O./mentor telling my MMC an extended story over dinner. Not a lot of action, but this bit I think I'll keep. It'll go a long way towards explaining the general's motivation for doing something that might seem odd later in the novel.

    You have to produce around 1,700 words a day to keep on track with NaNoWriMo, but I'm going for 2,000 or more most days of the week. That's to even out for Friday. With my schedule tomorrow, I doubt I'll get to my keyboard till 9:30 PM or later.
     
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  2. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    More verbiage on Strong as Death today. Made my Friday NaNoWriMo goal of hitting at least 1,000 words: 1,082, to be exact, banged out between 10:40 and 11:55 PM. (I was supposed to get off work at 9:00, but with everything there was to do, I didn't clock out till 10:11 PM.) I'm up to 14,652 words towards the 50,000, which isn't too bad.

    I'm trying to show my lovers inching towards reconciliation after a terrible quarrel. Valid novel fodder, but I'm working blind. I'm such a social failure that I've never been in the kind of relationship where a fight would matter that much or mean anything more than my avoiding that person in the future. I'm trying to get my MCs into that stage where needing each other is taking priority over the Very Important Principles they fought about, but I don't want them to break down and say they're sorry just yet.

    Is there a stage where your heart and gut are telling you to talk it out and get back together, but the rift between you is like an entity in itself, keeping you both mute, like you can't say what you need to say?

    I see more rewriting in this book's future.
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Pure old squallid terror. Cowardice. Yes, I'd say there is sometimes. If you know that there's something you need to say, which doesn't leave you alone and constantly nags, knotting your gut so that it's impossible to ignore. Until the pressure gets so great that you can't.
    A friend just said that it can also be that the partner is still acting weird. Nobody says that the process of forgiveness must happen during an equal period of time between both partners. If you are ready to talk, maybe the other isn't, just yet.
     
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  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You (and your friend) are right: Bringing them to the crisis of reconciliation at exactly the same time might be pushing reader credulity. I once read a novel where the writer had the protag and his nemesis (an annoying boss) going through the same emotional states at the same time, complete with the same bodily postures, but at a distance and unbeknownst to one another. E.g., Bill is banging his fist against the wall over here, while Ted is banging his fist against a table over there. I think the author was trying to say, "Hey, look, they're the same, they just don't realize it! They're both tragic figures!" But after the second or third occasion, I didn't believe a word of it.

    That said, I can't get my lovers too far out of phase, due to the timeline. But I could definitely look at revising for this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Forgot to ask: You are still in Antarcticaticaticatica, yes?

    I have a cyber friend who posted on Facebook yesterday that her doctoral dissertation on sex with robots, published in book form, is now on WorldCat and can be borrowed from academic libraries on four of the seven continents. One of her friends wondered hopefully if one of those four was Antarctica. Alas, no, said my cyber friend, there are no academic libraries there.

    Not as far as I know, there aren't, but I told her jokingly that I would find out.

    The other friend of hers who asked the question thought the "classy penguins" and the "murderous scientists" of Antarctica should not be deprived of her book. Me, I dunno. The whole subject leaves me . . . cold.
     
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  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Another 1,535 words on Strong as Death written on Saturday and 848 more after midnight. Not as many as I could of/should of/meant ta write, but hey, I was doing laundry and catching up on social media.

    I've gotten to the place where, barring the rewrite referred to above, I have to tackle the part I've been putting off since last May: Restoring the scenes I lost in the Great Mysterious Final NaNoWriMo File Disappearance of 2019. The difficulty is that the sequence begins with a scene that's not exactly crucial to the plot. It's my protags' wedding, and it's there primarily as a payout to the readers who've been cheering for them to get to that point since the middle of the first book in the series (With a nod to @jannert--- she'll know what I'm referring to).

    It was easy to write the first time. I was getting down to the deadline and just splurted words all over the virtual page. Now I'm paralyzed by the idea that I have to recapture all that, and without a main point to grab onto, I'm lost at sea.

    Maybe I just need to work a plot point into the wedding scene. I'll think about it the next few hours. Maybe the focus will be that now, after the struggles and scares of the first half of the story, the sun is out, the clouds have fled, and my lovers can plight their troth publicly and be blissfully happy. Which will make things all the more painful for them in the second half when their happiness (and their lives) again is threatened.
     
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  7. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Yep, for another two-and-a-half months, and we have a lot of books and even a small dedicated library—but without academic texts. We can get them from our library back home via email. If we have that much energy to spare from the daily groundhog day (keeping the base running).

    As for murderous scientists, maybe she's mixing us up with the base some time back where one of them assaulted a colleague because he was in the habit of spoilering books. Won't happen with us on my watch ;). Classy penguins, I don't know they'd be interested.

    And as for sex with robots :eek: in technical discussion... meh. I believe I'll pass.
     
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  8. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No reason you can't slip in a bit of foreshadowing. Maybe your protagonist thinks this might be too good to be true.
     
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  9. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Oh, golly. I just remembered what I did last year in the first missing-scene-to-be-recaptured. Groom all in a fidget at the front of the church, keeping himself focussed by singing the words to the processional march(organ arrangement) in his head. Will I do the same again? Yeah, if it gets the words on the page the fastest.
     
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  10. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Feeling pretty miserable about my progress on my NaNoWriMo novel. I had all day at school to write and only produced a little over a thousand words. And that represents three different attempts to start the same chapter.

    I'd feel better about it if I thought I was on my way to furthering the plot. But most of what I struggled to write today is a proactive defense against readers who might not like how I've chosen to have my characters conduct their wedding day. And against those who will pick holes in the planning because it shows I've left something or someone out. "Look, the writer said nothing about their doing X. That proves she knows nothing about wedding planning whatsoever. What a loser. " And, "Why didn't the author say something about So-and-So from Book 1 being there? Did she forget they existed? How unrealistic!"

    It's making me very unhappy about the novel writing and the NaNo word count, both.

    I have to go to my retail job in about 40 minutes. Maybe between now and the time I get home from that I can pull myself together. Maybe make a list of what must happen/be made known in this chapter and the next, write those segments separately, then come back and fill in the transitions.

    I am not having fun.
     
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  11. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Never think of people criticizing your work while you are writing! Think about how much they will enjoy it. Visualize success, not failure.
     
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  12. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I know, I know. It should help to remind myself to stay in my Catrin Lewis persona when I'm writing. I invented the pen name partly to get myself out of my own, everyday, nebbish-y head.
     
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  13. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Very good advice. Thank you.

    I believe I'll be following that one, too. My writer's personality should take care of insecurity and fear of rejection. It's his/her proper responsibility after all.
     
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  14. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    After a slow start, today I got 3,727 more words in on Strong as Death. Up to 31,910 on my NaNoWriMo count, and 85,795 on my book ms as a whole. Trying not to panic at the length, though it's tempting, seeing how I haven't started Part 2 yet. Reassuring myself with the thought that a lot of those 85,795 words are in strikeover text, meaning they can get deleted once the NNWM file is validated. And a lot more is me blathering off-plot and can be cut.

    I'm determined to bring this book in at under 100,000 words. I don't need to publish yet another brick.
     
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  15. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Only 1,631 words today, and 600 of them I wrote in the car getting a ride to and from church.

    My slowness this afternoon and evening had to do with errands to be run and a kitchen that needed cleaned, and then a protracted lingering over dinner and YouTube videos.

    The real issue was that I was putting off writing the scene where I broke off last year. I mean, the one I was partway through and stopped in order to enter my file for validation on the NaNoWriMo website.

    You might think I pulled away from the keyboard last November because it was approaching midnight on the 30th and I was running out of time. No, actually, I submitted my count for the win at around 2:00 AM on the 30th. I had plenty of time that day to write more. But I didn't, because I wasn't sure how I was going to put this scene, or what I was going to say.

    I still wasn't sure when I resumed writing tonight after 9:30 PM, but I pushed through and got something to revise, at least.

    Oh. You're wondering what scene this is? It's my protags' wedding night.

    Yep, that. Could have been really fun, right? But I'm writing for a Christian audience. For a segment of that audience that isn't super-strict, true, but they wouldn't be thrilled with a blow-by-blow, insert-tab-A-into-slot-B account. And frankly, I'd be scandalized myself if I pried that closely into my characters' intimate business. Given the expectations of the genre, it would be tacky.

    At the same time, I couldn't just shove them through the bedroom door and close it behind them, End of Part 1. The whole point is that they've waited till marriage to have sex and are just itching to get each other into the sack. Moreover, in the first book of the series they get carried away a couple of times and nearly do it, regardless. I think the chemistry is pretty stirring in those scenes, and the writing is very "adult" in the sense that any grownup with any experience will be able to read between the lines and figure out what's going on, even if I don't go into detail about it.

    So if I did that with the extracurricular encounters, shouldn't the wedding night, the moment they've both been waiting for for months, be equally or more sexy?

    Well, I've tried. I need to go back and amp up with physiological aspects of it (no, not that kind of physiology!): I couldn't do it trying to crank out words against a time limit. And I've started Part 2 with them in bed together on their honeymoon in Paris. Oddly enough, that's proving easier to write.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  16. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I got past the difficulty yesterday and went on to write most of three new chapters. Over 3,300 words total.

    Today I'm bogged down again. Oversleeping does nothing for my creative juices, nor does not eating until late afternoon. I'm telling myself that's why I've got fewer than 900 words cranked out today. And where I am now---

    Well, I like how the plot is going. Things are coming clear with that. But I don't feel like Showing at the moment. I just want to tell, tell, tell, and get the story moving. I don't feel like depicting how my characters are feeling, or describing the setting they're moving through, or giving a picture of what the new people they're encountering look like, or how they're reacting to them. I just want to set out the next event in the plot and get on with it.

    Yeah, yeah, I'm hungry. I'll feel and write better once I get my breakfast/lunch/dinner into me. But in the limited time I have between now and my night job, I may give myself permission to write the next scenes as narration and go back and flesh them in later.
     
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  17. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I ended up extruding 2,438 new words on Tuesday, for 39,232 towards my NaNoWriMo total. I could have hit 40,000 if I'd gotten out of bed and got some food into me sooner, but that's past mending.

    Eating definitely helped. Instant switch to Showing mode. Trouble is, I'll have to go back and determine if all these scenes are necessary. But accompanying my characters through them is a heck of a lot more fun than playing them like chess pieces from the outside.

    One thing this NaNo business is proving is that I have no excuse not to write at least 2,000 words a day; 1,200, maybe, on Fridays. This Saturday I have a sermon to write for my pulpit supply gig the next day, and I can sit down and produce 2,000 words for that in an hour and a half. So if this fiction-writing thing is something that's worth my doing, there's no "don't have time" about it. "Stay off YouTube, kid, and write!"
     
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  18. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    2,517 words Wednesday, 2,316 on Thursday, but only 659 today (Friday). Not surprising, considering how late I got home from work and the fact I tripped a breaker trying to use the electric kettle on the already overloaded circuit in the bedroom and had to go down the basement and untrip it . . .

    And it probably won't surprise you when I say that those 659 words were even more rambling and meaningless than what I just wrote.

    The problem is that what I produced on Thursday took me down the wrong road for my characters at this point of the plot. I've hit them with a crisis, but I had them reacting in ways that will land them 180 degrees opposite to where they need to be in time for the next crisis.

    So I decided to switch the reactions between my POV characters. Good idea, overall. But merely changing names and pronouns isn't going to cut it. Each of them have their own issues that will influence how they feel and act at this stage.

    I'm aware of this. But I was too tired to communicate that this evening, or even to know what I should communicate. Especially with only an hour or so left to get it written before midnight.

    I'm up to 44,724 words for NaNoWriMo. I should get done in three days. Maybe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  19. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    1,311 words for Saturday. Could have done more, I suppose, but I didn't start on the novel till after 9:30 PM. More like 10:00.

    What I wrote was a restart of what I tried to grind out on Friday. They say "don't edit your work during NaNoWriMo," but I maintain this isn't editing. It's crossing the wrong thing getting my plot onto the right path so it goes where it has to go. I have to be able to look back on my story's past and say, "That happened; that didn't." I can't proceed, otherwise.

    46,035 towards the NaNoWriMo goal; 99,920 on the ms as a whole. I've at least a quarter of the book left to write so I'm taking comfort in all those strikeovers.
     
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  20. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Only 1,209 words today (Sunday). Had all sorts of big plans about what I was going to get done, but I fell asleep over YouTube videos on how to take care of your perm. Till 9:15 PM. (BTW, some of that is like, what? If it's really that much hassle, why not keep your hair straight?)

    Frankly, I'm to a spot where certain stuff in my story has to happen, but it's not exciting stuff.

    More awkwardly, I might be running into a factual mess. Like, the locations I'm putting my characters in and what they're doing there and the distances between them. I've pulled out my maps of Europe but my eyesight is lousy when I first wake up and I couldn't read them.

    Upshot? I nearly said "To heck with writing today" and went to bed early. But I've got my pride, foolish as it is. I wanted to keep my streak going. Anyway, one of the points of doing the NaNo thing is to get me into the habit of writing every day. Whether I feel like it or not.

    It looks like I'm going to have to consult a train schedule and determine exactly what my characters are getting into for travel time. But I don't want to do it until after I hit my 50,000 words.

    47,244 up, 2,756 to go.
     
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  21. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    2,950 words today (Monday), which pushed me over the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal. I knocked off to enter the tally at 11:30 PM, and it occurred to me that I might go on to extrude another fifty words, just so I could tell myself I had a 3,000 word day.

    But the reason I stopped was that what I was writing tonight after work was taking me way off track from the dramatic, gut-wrenching dialogue I imagined putting in this scene when I was thinking about it this afternoon. Much better to pick it up again tomorrow when I'm less tired and don't have to worry about achieving the 50,000 words.

    The joke is that the winner's certificate you download off the website speaks of you having "finished" your novel. Oh, no, people, this thing is not finished. In fact, I'm in the middle of a most unfinished, amorphous mess of words, a yarn-tangle of ideas that I have to go back and unravel.

    Anyway, I hit the 50,000. 50,194, to be exact. Yay, me. So now I have no excuse not to finish this thing. "I have no time to write" is bull. I just proved it.
    NaNo-2019-Winner-Web-Badge.jpg
     
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  22. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Congratulate me. I continued writing today (Tuesday) on Strong as Death even though I don't have the carrot-and-stick of the NaNoWriMo goal to keep me moving anymore.

    Or don't congratulate me. I ended up with only 1,242 words to show for maybe three and a half hours of sitting at my laptop supposedly writing. And all but 30 words of that was a rewrite of what I produced yesterday.

    The rewrite was necessary. The scenes in question mark the initial appearance in person of a woman who is (speaking between you and me and the progress journal) one of the bad guys. But my protagonists don't know that. When they first meet her in the flesh, she presents herself as a lady in distress who desperately needs their help to set her still-beloved ex-husband free. She has to appeal to them as winsome and open-hearted and a little pathetic, and they have to feel that whatever decision they make, they're making it of their own free will.

    Trouble was, Monday I wrote her the way she "really" is, formidable and spell-bindingly persuasive, kind of a cross between a Valkyrie and a Lorelei. And my female protag, being who she is, was reacting against her with her usual snark.

    This is not the time for her to react with snark! She has to feel sorry for the woman and want to help her, even if at the beginning she doesn't know how she can.

    So I had to go back and write the scenes between them over again. With a lot of research on local color so there'd be more show and less tiell.
     
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  23. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    1,489 words Wednesday. I've gotten back on track with the scene between the two women, where the new girl first tries to persuade my FMC to help rescue her kidnapped ex-husband (who is also my FMC's ex-college-boyfriend). The writing went well, to the point where, when the school bell rang at noon (it was a half-day, being the eve of Thanksgiving), I stayed sitting there at my laptop, typing away.

    However, I'm getting to the point I've been dreading since I first came up with this storyline two or more years ago; I'm blundering into Terra Incognita; I'm approaching the dread foggy canyon called Plot Hole Gulch. The question looming over me has always been, "How will the ex-wife convince my female protag that it's her bounden [Christian] duty to venture ALONE into the terrorists' lair in search of the ex-husband/boyfriend, and how will she convince the female protag's new husband, my male protag, to give his blessing to this adventure?

    I've got some previous scenes where they've gotten themselves into a mindset where they might just be receptive to such an argument . . . but it'll depend on me having the writing chops to show how a couple of intellectuals can get blindsided by an emotional appeal.

    But that leaves the fact that there's no way either of them will be willing to have her march in if they think there's real danger to it. Not after the misadventures they suffered in the first book in the series. He's certainly not going to let her walk into certain danger, and she's not going to break his heart by taking unnecessary risks. Especially not for an ex-boyfriend who was a total butthole to them both in the first part of the book. And he can't walk in with her, as he has a sprained ankle (skiing mishap).

    The idea will be that the ex-wife says "All ya gotta do is pretend to be a hiker and go by this isolated farmhouse and find out if my ex is there. Report back to me and I'll send in my hired guns."

    But--- and I think this is the solution I'm looking for--- she has to lie to my FMC and tell her she doesn't even need to go near the house, that it will be enough for her to verify that the place is occupied when it's supposed to be empty.

    Or something like that. I haven't hit on exactly what her line will be, what my FMC will supposedly be able to see from a safe distance, that will be enough to tell.

    (Pardon the thinking out loud. I have to get this right or the whole plot falls to pieces.)
     
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  24. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Opened up the file on Strong as Death after I finished my pumpkin pie this evening and managed to get 1,381 words out of the effort.

    Finished the scene with the ex-wife; enter the male protag/husband, ensuing scene with him wondering who the heck was that, etc., etc., that at around 1,230 words diverted into a love scene. Not what I'd planned, but just as well, considering I need to think harder about what's going to happen as they discuss the ex-wife's proposition. I still don't know how to get them both to the point where they accept it, and if I wrote more talk between them tonight it would be words for the sake of words.

    Anyway, I'm happy with today's word count. Anything north of 1,000 would have been fine.
     
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  25. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Only 1,060 words written today, and I extruded them primarily to keep to my goal of Write Every Day. I'm still feeling my way into the Great Crisis, and I didn't leave myself much time today to think about it. I had no business sleeping till 1:00 PM, it was sheer laziness, and I spent what as left of the day annoyed with myself for wasting the time. Which was less than four hours, as I had work this evening. Black Friday.

    Not what makes for creativity.
     
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