Lifeline's Progress Journal 2021

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Lifeline, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    There is Save the Cat Writes a Novel. I've never read the original but the novel one was good quality too.
     
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  2. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Just for curiosity I'm going to look at it and compare :) Thank you for the tip!
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    1.1k in 'A Man of Peace'.

    Combined all the information I need in this short in as few coherent sentences as possible. I don't want a wall of infodump. The reader can ignore these three sentences of speech, they're relatively easy to ignore and I wrote it consciously like that. a) It's not the main purpose of the short, and b) I don't want to be obvious with foreshadowing. Buried in these two paragraphs is a grenade for later ('The Promised Land'). Ouch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    1.4k in 'A Man of Peace'.

    This short is pivotal for my timeline. It sets up, oh I don't know how many cross-connections for later shorts and for the novel. A lot of 'A Man of Peace' is composed of such, and readers ah... should be advised to parse every little detail because they matter; tulips, for example. Go on, google them in the context of Iran. I dare you.

    Nassiri, father-in-law of Liam Hall (who's the father of my protagonist Alexander) deals with the aftermath of events in 'The Greater Good'. Geopolitics tie to personal development, and the man Nassiri who emerges will shape Persia from the Shah's Iran to what it becomes in my alternate timeline.
     
  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    1.8k in 'A Man of Peace'.

    My protagonist has pulled himself out of his grief (finally!) and I'm on to writing the next scenes. They'll play more to my strength than writing about a man crippled with grief that I had to haul out of his misery by one excrutiating word after another.
     
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    'A Man of Peace', done at 1.9k. It has the perfect punchline at the end.

    Again, it's not my longest short but the character arc is complete and the action is, too. It was phenomenically difficult to write, which may have to do with the myriad of connections it leads to.

    Next, I've to—again!—insert another short in the timeline. I've thought on and off about writing this next one as far back as embarking on 'Aptitude' (that's now two years), but I never thought it'd matter. It does. Or maybe it doesn't and I simply want to write it :rolleyes:. It'll be about Izmael, the older half-brother of Micah, my Main Character who gets born at the 21st of March, the day of the Persian New Year. Coming on the heels of 'A Man of Peace', I trust you hear the doomsday bells ringing :D
     
  7. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Timelining. Outlining. Learning Mid Eastern history. Going through the notes on my computer and making a start at cutting the 'file-from-hell' down to size. I called it 'brief' because it was meant to be just quick notes about my story when I was busy doing something else. Then it outgrew the 'brief' part. It's almost 4MB. For a txt file, not bad, ain't it?

    Trying to write 'For God and Country', the next short. It's viewpoint character proves difficult to get ahold of. I still need a good start o_O

    ETA. Oh boy, did I find a fitting start. It ties 'For God and Country' to the prior short 'A Man of Peace' and to 'Thicker than Blood', where Saeed (my antagonist and current pov character in 'For God and Country') meets Micah, my Main Character. Only 200 words, but they're good ones.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    1.5k in 'For God and Country'.

    The reason this short has taken me so long was that I had to reinvent my villain. Looking later into my timeline, I discovered that he has been one-dimensional. Note the 'has been' :D

    Saeed has, let's say, 'issues' with his brother that go above and beyond sibling rivalry. And even though his brother's dead, he's still very much alive in Saeed's and his family's daily challenges. What do you do if you love your brother but his grave gets spits upon, your father loses his job because of him (someone tell me please if I chose right in 'lose' or 'loose' :oops: ), your sister's wedding gets cancelled and the school you've been attending bars you? Is it fair to say you hate him? Saeed gets to find out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  9. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    'For God and Country', done at 1.9k

    Having now a three-dimensional antagonist with a complete arc, I'll need to pay special attention to his reactions and attitudes in later shorts. I'm quite looking forward to the implied rewrites.

    Next on the second-draft-list is a short that doesn't have a fitting name. I'm satisfied with the plot, but I named it 'The devil I know', mainly because it lacks something, and that something is—again—a change for the viewpoint character o_O. It's one of those that features my Main Character in a supporting role, which means it'll be a devil to rewrite because I'm prone to focus on Micah even when he's not the viewpoint character. I talked about this specific shortcoming of mine earlier in this progress journal.

    Repeat after me: 'The focus here is viewpoint character Izmael. Izmael. Izmael.'
     
  10. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Did I say I need only a minor rewrite? I was wrong. It's gonna be a complete rewrite. Maybe I secretly like writing, and that's why the many, many rewrites :oops:.

    Storylining this evening proved enlightening, because I failed to take into account that I—in a much later short—decided to do away with a second-tier antagonist. He was obsolete. Well, if I don't like him later in the timeline, what's to stop me from eliminating him altogether? Nothing, that's what. So will I do.

    For Izmael in the next short, it makes for a much more satisfying opportunity for personal growth, and I can hit two birds with one stone if I write the short I've been telling you I'd write but didn't: because if I'd written it as planned, Izmael would be just five years old and as much as I'm confident in my writing ability (which is not at all), I don't think I could manage to write from the viewpoint of a five-year old.

    So I'll write this short with some major adjustments now, when he's eleven. Much more easy, and fun. Its name is 'A Woman's Shadow'. I have character arc, a story question, and a satisfying conclusion. Next morning, I'll start to write.
     
  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    1.6k in 'A Woman's Shadow'.

    The first words of a new short are always excrutiating. Some days they take me longer to write than others, and yesterday I just started somewhere in desperation because I just couldn't put my finger on where to start. This time, the crucial first sentence was placed at the end of the second paragraph until I spotted it this morning.

    As predicted, Micah has snatched the attention of my viewpoint character Izmael, and hence (hopefully) the reader :D . I shouldn't have been surprised. Izmael finds out that his six-year old brother got given a gun as birthday present. That's a clarion call to action if any is, never mind that Izmael is scared of what their father will do when he finds out that after a heart-to-heart talk between brothers, Micah now realises that he should never, ever think of using a gun and why.
     
  12. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    2.5k in 'Aptitude'.

    This morning, while I was typing industriously on my laptop, the novel thought occurred to me that I can use this current short to do away with the monumental short 'Aptitude', which I'd written last year to astonishingly 10k and which always felt a bit off. I don't need both of these shorts, now that my obsolete villain is gone; I can integrate the parts I want/need and throw away the rest. Also, if I throw 10k into the bin, the last residue of an ugly bit of secondary plot will be gone that I neither want nor need. I've enough horrors in my story without keeping that particular one.

    Delete. So much for killing without mercy. I'm getting to be a pro at this.

    I'm left with the 2.5k of the new 'Aptitude', and a feeling of relief.
     
  13. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    'Aptitude', done at 2.8k

    I'm so glad that I deleted the 10k version. All the important bits are written into these barely 3k, along with a lot of motivation, backstory, and internal characterisation so the next short from Micah's viewpoint will make sense. Tension remains aplenty.

    On to 2nd draft editing 'The Rules of the Game'. This time, I really only need to edit for brevity. Everything else is good to go.
     
  14. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    'The Rules of the Game', 2nd draft at 3.7k

    I'm not quite satisfied with the start of this short even though I don't know quite why. I've a satisfying plot and character arc, and 'The End' is good to go as well. Just... need a proper first sentence o_O.

    Tomorrow will be—again—some serious worldbuilding and storylining. I did away with this villain (still don't regret it, never will!) but he's been having an influence on the settings of various coming shorts. So I need to do some serious thinking before I embark on editing the next shorts, timeline Aptitude.

    As procrastination or something I bought Adobe Illustrator and am now teaching myself how to use it. Gonna edit/create some logos. The one for my story shows signs of improvements since I started fiddling with it. I'm—almost—done with that one.
     
  15. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Finally, finally (see me breathing out as not to disturb the peace), I've finished with the writing craft book I've been reading. That was one waste of a time! I had to drag myself through, and I'm tempted to just delete the entire thing from my ebookreader. I've no patience for an author who jumps around in topics despite having chapter titles. If I want free-flowing thought, I can write it myself. Would probably be of as much use.

    Whatever. Over and done.

    On to new borders, and the next craft book, 'Writing the Breakout Novel' from D. Maas.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  16. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    600 words in 'Equal Opportunity' or however it'll be renamed if at all.

    I need to continually remind myself that I'm writing short stories for a compilation and not a novel in chapters—which means that every one story should have a character arc, a conflict, and a plot. I can't just write and hope, like I did in first draft. I'm rewriting so many shorts now because I forgot about the 'short story' definition.
     
  17. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    900 words in 'Equal Opportunity' and I've had a breakthrough concerning this short's storyline and character arc. The title can stay, as well as a fourth of the prior content. The rest I'm writing new.

    Saeed (the guy who had issues with his dead brother in 'For God and Country') thinks he's risen above all that; until he finds out that he's to work with his brother's adversaries. That shakes him up in a hurry, but, human nature being what it is, he attributes his reluctance to take a job that's really what he's dreamed of all along, to high-minded righteousness.
     
  18. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    I'm not sure how many words I've been putting out yesterday, but it couldn't have been many. I dithered myself all through Sunday; took me ages to find out why I haven't been able to write past a certain point: One of my second tier characters hasn't been defined enough. Once I realised, it took ages to flesh him out. Then I had to decide if to introduce a third tier character—yes—and how. And then start writing.

    Some shorts come together without me having to do anything. Some require a little more work. And then there are some like this short, that feel like pulling teeth o_O
     
  19. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'll read this carefully tomorrow and catch up with you, I promise. Can't right now, I'm working in the morning.
     
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  20. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    1.9k in 'Equal Opportunity'.

    Progress. All through the weekend, I put down 200 words in total. This short has been giving me trouble, though today I broke through the last wall. From now on, it'll be pretty straightforward writing.

    Saeed and his camp commander have been exchanging heated words about their new contract, to the point of Dabeer suggesting Saeed should just leave. Until finally Saeed realised that Dabeer isn't that uncaring. That was difficult, to go from an acrimonious argument to a common understanding. The key to them joining forces was a tiny sidenote I made half a year back. Saeed can't read (which goes back to 'For God and Country').

    See me blowing out my breath. Another difficult short, about to be done. Maybe tomorrow.
     
  21. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    2.4k in 'Equal Opportunity'.

    I'm happy with the way the story goes, though it needs an alpha reader to tell me if the thought processes are detailed enough. I'm too close to the characters and can't judge. The acrimonious exchange between Saeed and his camp commander especially, when they transition to a common understanding is—I believe—understandable, but I don't know for sure.

    The next scene in this short I need to write new as well. Oh well :oops:.
     
  22. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Somewhere at 3.3k in 'Equal Opportunity'.

    I need to decide if I want a specific scenario included. I do, but which? This scenario is the point where a lot of simmering tension comes to a boiling point and my protagonist has to decide if he can go through with this job. Hey, just writing it out like that has shown me that I need to rewrite two paragraphs, which are the reason I've blocked myself—again.

    Okay, first thing tomorrow morning.
     
  23. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    'Equal Opportunity', done at 3.4k

    That was... difficult. I'll be needing a beta to tell me if the character transformation makes sense. To me it does, but I'm too close to judge.

    Tomorrow, on to editing 'Flight Altitude'. This short should be a breeze, only a minor editing pass waits.
     
  24. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    2nd draft, 'Flight Altitude', done. This one was easy.

    Still pondering 'Equal Opportunity'. Probably need to do another pass through because it doesn't quite foreshadow enough towards the next short in the Aptitude timeline. Got notes from @zoupskim on 'Shatranj' and will next edit for clarity and reality. If one person says something's not working it might be an outlier. If two of them say the same, I very probably need to edit. If one of them is zoup... definitely. So will I do.
     
  25. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Did an editing pass through 'Shatranj' and through every short on 2nd draft I've had doubts about. Turns out I did good, especially with 'A Man of Peace'. That short packs a particular punch at the last line :eek:.
     
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