Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by LinnyV, Jan 26, 2016.
Is still with writing... But I am re-booting my progress journal....
Good luck! How did you do for the month
@Lew thanks for popping in.
On top of picking a word count total I think will challenge me, you've made me think how I should qualify what is countable, and if I need a staging area (yet another Scrivener project) to store this stuff! I really don't need any more projects, if anything, I need to purge a lot of them...
But then I thought, will it be for one primary story or over a multiple of stories?
I am over thinking this.
Anyway, I decided to pick a word count based of 320 words a day - I'm aiming for quality over quantity. So that's the length of 2 full SMS text messages of words, that I feel works towards improving my writing in some form. Maybe thinking about the quota in terms of texting will make it seem less strenuous...hehe
That's a grand total of 106,560 words by Christmas. If I stay on track, I can at least pat myself on the back that I wrote the length of a long novel, if not the actual novel itself!
How did I do this month?
Pretty good for me. After a lot of forum-ing here, I only started writing my own stuff in the last few of days.
Yesterday, I wrote over 2000 words but will probably end up only keeping barely one third of it.
Good job! I finished last fall the first draft of "The Eagle and the Dragon: A novel of Rome and China" which at 250K is more than a bit long. But I have about 25 beta readers who have all been enthusiastic. I am on my third revision, and have engaged my first paid editor. She found the first 40 or so pages and remaining chapter synopses to tell a good well-written story. Let's face it, a 9000 mile sea journey from the Red Sea to China in 100AD is an interesting trip in itself, then there's Parthian intrigue in the Chinese court that gets them all condemned to death. A dramatic escape and trip back overland through the steppes north of China with the Xiongnu (ancestors to the Huns), and caravans around the Taklamakan Desert through Bactria (Afghanistan) back to Rome, that's another 5000 miles of adventure. Not to mention some love, kidnappings, pirates and some incredibly strong women.
Ya gov'ryu po-Russkiye, ni-mnego. And my Romanized spelling is terrible! My wife and I took a river cruise in Russia from Moscow to St Petersburg in 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Learned to love Baltika beer, Mashina Vremeni and other Russian contemporary country and rock and roll music. Took Russian in college (Naval Academy) and kept up with it a bit, but it has gone back into long term storage in my brain for now.
@Lew wow, 250K is a lot of writing over some fascinating places. I have fond memories of trying to include the Taklamakan Desert in one of my earlier attempts to write. Couldn't get it right, gave up in disgust with myself and changed location. ;-)
Anyway, your story sound so big and not only in volume. Mine is definitely much more modest and my writing challenges feel almost trivial. I'm writing from a heroine's point of view and she is suppose to be my opposite. I'm scatterbrained, flighty and a bit of a silly whereas she is organised bordering on OCD, dedicated and too serious. I've re-written a scene from her pov many times now. I don't want her to come across like me but it's like trying to get inside a brain of an alien. So foreign that I am not capturing the essence of who she is. I'm trying to bring across the concerns she has, but Hubby thinks she sounded very unsure of herself. That is not her! I wanted her to come across dissatisfied, not uncertain. So a little frustrated here. *sigh*
Also no globetrotting here. I'm planning on setting the short story at her unconventional workplace...hehe
Already I want to start another story... So a lot of mental slaps!
Need to stay focused and stop breeding new Scrivener projects like bunnies!
Although, I did start yet another new project titled 2016WordCount....Yep, my level of creativity is off the charts...
Relax and enjoy it... My two heroines I managed to capture nicely, with great reviews by women, and I am not a women, so it is possible.
Marcia Lucia is Chinese of Roman descent (captive soldiers from Carrhae were taken to China and settled in Liqian six generations before the story, the descendants grew up bilingual and biliterate) She is translator for the Chinese mission to Rome, and the Romans borrowed her and a few others for the return Roman mission to China. She is 22, was taken as concubine at 12 by a mid-level Chinese official also traveling with the party. Not a nice person, beats her, he is very jealous of her, thinks she is Da Qin (Roman) whore.
Separated from him, she becomes friend with centurion Antonius. She evolves into a very strong woman, learns to fight under a Xiongnu warrior woman, becomes lover with Antonius after the escape from jail (first time they make love, facing death, with ambassador, her brother, and the centurion's companion watching to make sure the guards don't come back for a cell check). Encounter Wang Ming right before their wedding in Liqian, he tries to take her back to Luoyang, ends badly for him. Did I mention she learned to fight under a Xiongnu warrior woman? As she tells him before the fight, "Si Hoar (her Chinese name) died in the jail cell at Luoyang. You may call me Marcia Lucia" Not the same woman.
The Xiongnu warrior woman herself is an interesting character, it was not easy for a 1st century woman to become a fighter, she has a long story to tell. Winds up pairing off with one of their traveling companions, a displaced American Indian he had served as deckhand on the Europa.
I've quit my other social media distractions today to try and channel all my time wasting energy into my 2 sms text worth of writing. It's quite lame I have to work so hard to get 320 words, but there you have it. I failed today too, work got in the way!
Although, in quitting some stuff, I ended up having a more in depth discussion with an online friend. Got to know her better, have recently thought of basing a character of her. She'd make a fun and crazy heroine, and if I asked her, I'm sure she'll be pleased to help. That's the other story I want to write and it's more relevant to what is happening in my life right now. So many events and crazy people to squeeze into that story, but I've been so dead set on writing a certain type of story for so long, it's kind of hard to change tack.
Will persist on current heroine who is too serious and sensible for the next few days, but will do some guilty plotting on the other story because I'll probably enjoy writing crazy heroine more. Already have the hero picked out for her, who is also someone else I know...hehe.
So really, I'm trying to choose between a story where I make everything up, or a story where I base it on people I know and real events....hmmm.
Even reading back my on this post, I can already see I'm falling into the same story hopping trap!
Focus, focus, focus! Are you a "pantser" or planner? If the former, don't try to structure your characters ahead of time, just let them talk to you as you write, and take their dictation. That is my style. When they acted oddly, I asked them why, they told me, and I wrote that down too. Bit by bit, their background emerged. I just read an interesting book on character development: have your character say or do something that you would never, ever do... but secretly would like to. tell somebody off, get in someone's face.
PS. sorry for the Russian blurb... that was for another thread with KateAmadeo, who is Russian. Forgot who I was threading with. Keep up the good work.
So I've worked on two things in the last couple of days.
I've had a bit of frustration with a particular community, and in chatting to another member and sharing some experiences, I came up with the idea of writing caricatures of these personalities. Then I've put them in a ridiculous romantic comedy.
With surprising ease, I had a Heroine, Hero, a Vampire villain, a missing sibling, an imaginary friend, a Cult lead by a witch, and an arch enemy of the Cult. My husband was laughing his head off because he knows the same group. But we both knew what I wrote was never going to see the light of day! Still, it was a fun exercise, all 6 pages of it, detailing the characters and summarized story line. I did share very small details to this member, and the fact she spat her drink all over herself was rather satisfying. I can see myself adding to the story whenever these people frustrated me. So that was my side project, which is really just therapy for dealing with the shitful people of world.
Once I got that project out of my system, I went back to working on my main project, the too serious heroine. I re-jigged everything and I now have 1,186 words I can keep moving forward with. Working on this more made me realize a couple of things about myself:
1) I am a "pantser" and that despite how much I want to plan, I will inevitably be lead by the story as it comes to my mind. I'm more accepting to this fact now, and I can see it really is what works best to me. I'll still attempt to plan but I won't have any expectation I will follow any of it.
2) Everything I write has a 'jokey' voice to it. It's doesn't seem right that my husband is always laughing when the original intent was meant to be serious, dark or gritty. I already knew this was the biggest problem with my writing because I always let my silly humor get the better of me. I also decided to just roll with it - even though I am trying to write a demonic possession - and go back and retrofit the serious, dark and gritty later. Or at least, tone down the ridiculous.
For now there doesn't seem any point in trying to fight my "voice". I'll just stagnate and the story goes nowhere. So I'm pushing along but I'm really enjoying writing at the moment.
I've been doing ZERO writing for a few weeks - this is probably going to be a trend for a few months which will be stressful. As usual I've been distracted by work, family and other hobbies. Got back here, randomly added to threads and generally wasted a lot time online. Did 'research' which is really me starting with a topic relevant to my projects and then being lead through a series of links and before I know it, I'm reading about Pantheism?! Not so relevant to my projects.
On the positive, the very same time wasting also motivated me to rethink what I was working on. And in doing so, I think I've fleshed out a much better story outline. For someone who lacks structure, I need something to keep me on track. I have a better feeling on my latest attempt at planning - thanks @Mckk, you inadvertently inspired me. It's a dynamic plan of course, subject to changes!
Lately I've been trying to figure out what makes me enthusiastic when it comes to writing. I have to keep thinking, if I can only devote all my creative energy on one story and never write another, what would it be? The one thing I am pretty certain of is that my novel will be a Romance featuring strong Fantasy elements. And that stems from my childhood love of Fairy Tales and Myths and Legend.
Wrote the opening scene that is set in the ocean and really loved that. It's nice to know exactly where you want to start rather than umming and ahhing about how to make the biggest impact. Then sent it to hubby, and the best part of his feedback for me was he felt something and typical him, he'd say "You know there's been research that..." And trying to relate that to what my character is experiencing. Hubby being a news/general knowledge guy is helpful in that way.
Feeling more motivated, I wrote the next scene, enjoyed that too. This scene starts in a foyer with bad decor and had room for me to be silly, so naturally I was. I'll probably edit out my bad humour or tone it down at least.
Vaguely, in the back of my mind, I tell myself I should go find a real writing group to join - talk to some real people on writing. Not that I bumped into anyone who wrote and appreciated romances there in my two previous attempts.
The first time, there was a senior who claimed to write romances. I was surprised at first because he didn't come across as the romantic sort. So when he read his stuff and it sounded like an encylopedia, I wasn't too surprised. If I were honest, I felt like I was at a seniors social club in that attempt due to the time of the day the session was run. Which wasn't a problem, but I did sit through a lot of biographies and life accounts of the old days and stories that really didn't interest me.
The second attempt was with a group that was a younger crowd. There was a woman writing a romance that had the heroine eating a baby because she was starving on a boat....Okay... It was the same group that had this one man who wrote 'literature' but all I heard was what felt like his extremely degrading pornographic fantasies. It was so bad, I actually wanted to leave the room - let's remember, I have a dirty mind. This happened for a few weeks and my ears felt abused and my tummy turned every time he read his 'work'. I felt like I was being tortured. So romance novels get constant put downs for the love scenes, but people in that room thought his work was considered literature? I couldn't help think if that was a polite categorization for lack of a better option. And in the same group a very self important female writer claimed to the room "Women don't like that." In reference to women giving blow jobs, she sounded like she thought she was an authority on the matter. I'm not saying I agree or disagree but I was thinking, "Really? Did you just say that in a writing group?" She was backed up by the lady next to her who agreed. At which point I had to start wondering who are these people who call themselves writers?!
In the end I left because when I finally got around to reading my very short snippet, it turned into a fair bit of negativity towards my writing. I found it interesting that the only published author in that room at the time thought it was haunting. The hopefuls were essentially saying it was trying too hard or using obvious plot devices. Thinking back now, I could see what they might mean but back then I didn't take well to criticism. When the organizer sent me a lengthy email to follow up because she obviously felt she needed to make sure I was okay, she ended it with, "you still have a long way to go, but we've all been there."
Well! The very arrogant me thought, "Whatever!"
I never returned, telling myself thank god I ended the torture of listening to porno guy.
In hindsight, with years to reflect and a small increase in maturity, I think it's time I make an effort to find a writing group. It's on my mind a bit at the moment so it now on my list of to-do's in the next 3-6 months. Need to write more content first though.
Anyway, now that I've done another brain dump of writing rambles, the next thing to tackle is my impatience while writing a scene....
Good comments! Be wary of criticism in the early part of your work... of course it has a long way to go, you just started it! The first stages of your creativity is like, I guess (being a man) being pregnant, and you want to protect it and nurture, not expose it to a rough world for which it is not yet ready.
Your story about your writing groups was amazing.... there is a kernel of a short story there, a very amusing one!.
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