Lifeline's 'Progress' Journal

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Lifeline, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    See the small, dark dots on top, facing North and the sun as she sank below the horizon? One of them is me :D. Not that we saw much at windspeeds of 35kt and drifting snow the height of our station.
    20190520131920.jpg
     
  2. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    2,158
    I just showed that photo to my school age kids (2/3) and told how writers around world - Finland, Antarctic, China, Iran, Puerto Rico, Germany... - can talk here. They liked the idea.

    I told about your wind, temperatures, kaamos (winter darkness)...

    I showed distance between Finland and Antarctic from globe.

    They were fascinated.

    So... Thank you, you small dot on top about giving my kids some inspiration.

    P.S. How much Neumayer Station, Aboa Station, Svea Station and Wasa Station are in contact in summers? What about Troll & Neumar year around? How hard it is to travel in winter time there?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    Lifeline likes this.
  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    There's always radio. As for how hard: Well, if we run into trouble we only have ourselves to pull us out. No flights, nothing reaches here during the winter. And in summer you need like a real good reason to get someone to send you here. There are no tourists on our station.

    If your kids have questions, you could PM me. Kids are special, and they deserve to grow up in a free world where they can ask any question without fear and know everyone as a fellow human being.

    And I'll stop now answering questions in this progress journal. I'm supposed to be writing and talking about writing :)
     
    Shenanigator, Some Guy and Alan Aspie like this.
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Yep, I definitely needed to change Izmael's job. His relationship with younger brother Micah just got a whole lot more complex and the next short will be even more poignant. *evil author alarm!*

    traipses off to write some more.
     
    Shenanigator likes this.
  5. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,078
    Likes Received:
    1,347
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I was following an editor's recommended steps in drafting, and the 2nd draft was a developmental draft. I was lukewarm about doing it, but it proved to really productive.
     
    Shenanigator, Alan Aspie and Lifeline like this.
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    I've no idea what's recommended or not, but I do know that I can't write the next short until this one makes sense. That doesn't mean each word has to be polished, but it should reflect events, characters, and stakes accurately. Unfortunately, that alone makes for an awful lot of writing.

    I never understood how someone can simply in mid-novel write as if e.g. character x has been there the whole time when, in effect, the writer just had the idea that this character should have been there from the start. If story-continuity and coherency is compromised, if the foundation of earlier scenes and chapters is wrong, how can I ignore it?

    Okay, maybe some people can but I don't belong to this group.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  7. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Thy rod and thy Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    10,963
    Likes Received:
    21,350
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    I saw some awful robot uprising SF movie on cable last year that constantly had characters appearing and disappearing without explanation. It was like somebody went through the film and cut out every prime numbered scene or something.
     
    Catrin Lewis, Some Guy and Lifeline like this.
  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Thank you for this mental image :D Yes, that's what I feel I'd do if I'd just hack out a first draft while changing strides every few scenes.
     
    Shenanigator and Stormburn like this.
  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,318
    Likes Received:
    6,366
    Location:
    Procrasturbation Nation
    Yikes! That's my nightmare scenario. Editor or publisher gets their own idea of what the story is (for it to sell), and Bam, some freakish hack of my labor of love.
     
  10. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Aargh. I am so fed up with my story. I need to finish just because, so that I can flip it the bird and say: There, 'you happy now?

    If I wouldn't see that it's getting better, that with each hundred words the story is getting more what I envision it should be, I'd be tempted to just write the aggraviating thing and not care. But I do. And that's why I'm now going into my room and attempt to catch the next hundred right words. Masochism, advanced :wtf:
     
  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    "There's nothing that can go wrong. Piece of cake."

    Yeah, and pigs can fly. See me snickering. Evil Author Alarm!! :D
     
    Alan Aspie and Shenanigator like this.
  12. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,318
    Likes Received:
    6,366
    Location:
    Procrasturbation Nation
    :superlaugh:
    Got me with that one. I feel like that sometimes - Just... arrrgh
     
    Lifeline and Alan Aspie like this.
  13. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    8,220
    Not just you. For a while I found it harder, once I knew the ending, because suddenly it was like trying to fit tight puzzle pieces together, instead of letting things flow and evolve. I had to step away for a while and just let things percolate while I did other things, because the writing started to sound forced and stilted. Now things are on track again. Glad stepping away worked for you as well! I think sometimes letting our creativity batteries recharge is helpful. ETA: I'm stubborn, so it was really hard for me to learn to do that.

    Keep going, you stubborn cat!!!! :) You got this.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
    Stormburn, Lifeline and Alan Aspie like this.
  14. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    At least I learned to listen to my inner editor so that I now realise when I am in writer's block and why. Some progess *snort*. It's always like that with my story: If I am blocked, some puzzle pieces don't make sense and I need to figure out which (either written ones or future ones) so that I can change them—and as soon as that's done I can write further. That's virtually the only sort of writer's block I encounter, but it's one I encounter regularly. My hope is that things will get easier the more I write in my story world because facts pile up and the storyline is evolving. There's only so many ways events could shape up out of the same border conditions, which I am setting with this and the next few shorts. I am intentionally limiting my options.
    Yeah, you'll get there in the end, never fear. Because you're stubborn like me, we'll go over the finish line together.

    Word count: 5.7k. About halfway through this 'short', or whatever. What can I say other than *Aargh*?
     
    Stormburn and Shenanigator like this.
  15. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Oy. Y'know that I wrestled with the title of this short (6k as of now, still about 2-3k to be written)? Well, I did. I've been thinking and thinking about the theme of this short and consequently about the title (vice versa, one can't exist without the other) for as long as I've been writing the current version. Was never satisfied though, because either the title felt too general or the story as planned felt incomplete. No longer.

    'Keeping Promises' is the second short in the timeline. Sometimes I need to let my subconscious run free, some times I need to plot, and sometimes I need to feed my brain to get it to make creative jumps. This time it was half an hour in the sauna, and a felt thousand hours of brain-running-around-in-circles during the last month.

    What made the difference? Two whimsical sentences that ran through my brain. 'I promised to bring him back, Gramma. Looks like you get your wish.' They tie 'A Woman's Shadow', the first short in the timeline with 'Keeping Promises', this one, and give 'A Woman's Shadow' an even stronger undercurrent as it already has. I can hardly wait to write. Geronimo.
     
    Shenanigator, Some Guy and Stormburn like this.
  16. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    You know a secondary character is well developed, if you want to drop everything and write a short from this person's POV. I'm looking forward to write Grandmother's story. Someday. After I keep my promise to myself and finish 'Keeping Promises' :)
     
  17. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    A word on routine. I am not the slowest and by far not the quickest writer (that title belongs to Moose :D ), but what I am is persistent if nothing else. Each day, every day, I have a timeslot set aside for writing, after phys and before evening movie, a minimum of an hour during which I am engaged exclusively with my story. During this time, I'm intolerant of being disturbed. I go into my writing room and barricade the door. If I need to go to the bathroom and meet someone in the corridors and they try to talk to me, I am liable to answer in monosyllables. And you know what? My teammates know why I do this. In the beginning they tried to treat this time as negotiable. I explained that I give priority to my story for this time, because something or the other always would need doing which is more important than try to catch words. My story would never be told. After I explained a few times they got it. And now they approve, even.
     
  18. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,303
    Likes Received:
    2,428
    @Lifeline -- Routine has been my friend, too. I find that it really does increase my production a lot more than promising myself I'll write tomorrow only to make the same self-promise the next day. I've been struggling a bit lately, but still sticking to a routine as much as possible even if all I do is some scribbling. Even as life gets harder or things like that, I like to get up early and write something. I know I do some of my best work in the morning and keeping the routine is am important part of that. I've posted this quote before, but I think it's so true.

    “Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph Keyes
     
    Lifeline and Stormburn like this.
  19. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Even if all you do is edit and fudge single words. Even if at the end of this timeslot you have only twenty words more, or a negative even. Still. Some days it's slashing through my text and sacrificing words on the altar of pertinence, some days it's getting intoxicated with new ones. The end result over a few days is always the same—you end up with more words.

    And there's one benefit more, which I count almost as important: I stay in practice. My skills don't rust, the 'blank page' hurdle, the fear of not being good enough stays pleasantly small (I don't believe I'll ever get rid of it, but oh well) and each succeeding day of writing I face not a wall that gets higher each day but maybe smaller. I don't know about you, but if I don't do something for a longer stretch of time, weeks or months, I hesitate to start again. I don't want that to happen to my writing. It's too much a part of my life. I love it. It's going to stay with me.

    Keep writing, no matter what life throws in your way, and you'll always have a home with yourself :)
     
    Catrin Lewis, deadrats and Stormburn like this.
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    11,911
    Likes Received:
    13,624
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    I wish - Craig Martelle is currently releasing a book every four weeks - i reckon 6-8 weeks to first draft and about 4/5 months to fully ready to drop

    on the other hand James Blatch has been working on the last flight for ten years
     
    Shenanigator, Lifeline and Stormburn like this.
  21. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Surprised myself today with the way I wrote a certain telephone call. I've never seen it written like that in any book I've read (and I've read a fair few), but it seems to fit the situation. If I now look back on all I've written, there are now three different ways I've written telephone calls, with usage of style reflecting emotional involvement, disengagement, or plain old information exchange. Then I've found a way to use a download bar to amp tension, and I've learned how a photographer can take shots during the narrative without boring or confusing the reader. Every now and then I stumble over a new way to express my MC. I love these moments, because I don't know they'll happen before I read what I wrote.
     
  22. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,318
    Likes Received:
    6,366
    Location:
    Procrasturbation Nation
    Can you give us an example? I just avoid comms all together.
     
  23. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    Bad examples of the two non-standard ways ahead. I'm not as good as ChickenFreak with pulling examples out of thin air.

    Italics:
    I only tell the call from MC's's perspective and mark the other side with italics. The reader is never in doubt who talks. It works for long calls with a lot of information content, because I get rid of the usual tags and endless repetition of 'he said' gets avoided.

    Terse:
    Works for short calls with a predetermined outcome. Notice that the MC is already resigned to that he'll get a call before (indicated by the terse statements), and still resigned afterwards. Ideally prose should flow before the ringing of the cell as contrast. And afterwards, prose should pick up flow again, as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    Stormburn likes this.
  24. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,318
    Likes Received:
    6,366
    Location:
    Procrasturbation Nation
    Aha. Gonna have to experiment. I tried the one-sided approach. It was like, three sentences. Lol
     
    Stormburn and Lifeline like this.
  25. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Location:
    Antarctica.
    I cracked first sentences! After almost five years of learning to write! In all this time, I wrote two first paragraphs with which I was satisfied. Read everything there was to be found on the web on how to craft them. Without any success. I don't know what changed, but I'm not gonna argue with success :)

    First sentences should make the reader curious enough that they want to know what will happen next and here are...
    ... a few pointers:
    • make it a statement of facts, best if contradictory. Works also with small contradictions each person has in his/her character.
    • something out of the ordinary happens
    • if something ordinary happens, make it move, because movement inherently asks for a destination which the reader doesn't yet know
    • or alternatively, make it so specific that the reader is alterted that something extraordinary is about to happen

    The first paragraph should:
    • specify rules (genre, realistic, style)
    • not give backstory
    • not be too complicated
    And my personal favourite is to pack the key to the theme of the story into the first sentence. But for that you've got to know the theme so well that you can condense it.
     

Share This Page