1. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    Meg's 2020 Writing Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Andy_Megumi, Dec 6, 2019.

    I know is still 2019, but with 2020 so close, I didn't see a point in making a 2019 journal for only three or four weeks.

    My last writing journal was from 2018, I think.

    I decided to start a new journal because I'll be working on a diferent project.

    I'm currently taking a one-year-long novel writing course, which is different from the ones I've taken before. In this course I have access to all the material from the very start, and I have a year to talk with my tutor and ask her for guidance and feedback while I work on my current project. My tutor won't read any part of my novel during this year, because I'll be working on a first draft, and they are usually not the best material to show to alpha or beta readers until they are complete and revised at least once by the author; but I'll be showing her my planning documents and making some brainstorming sessions with her. And I'll also be asking her questions about theory and practice, and also whenever a hit a roadblock.

    I'm now one month into the course and I've gone through all the material once. I've also told my tutor about the plot of my story, the characters, and the major roablocks I've faced so far while trying to write and complete novels. She has given me feedback on it, asked more questions (some of which I've already answered), and suggested some ideas to think about.

    I've also started to fill some of the worksheets that come with the course material.

    My next task from the tutor, besides pondering on some suggestions she made plus some ideas, is to write a brief summary of each part of the novel: The Beginning, The Middle, and The End.

    The main tools I'm using so far are Scrivener, AeonTimeline, yWriter (both the PC and the Android versions), printed worksheets I'm filling by hand, and the resources at the One Stop For Writers website.

    Besides my main project for the Novel Writing Course, I'll be working from time to time on some side projects.
     
  2. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    While trying to work on the plot summary divided in The Beginning, The Middle, and The End I got confused with some things about theory, so I asked my tutor about it. My tutor's anwers helped me a lot and gave me the clarity I needed.

    As the novel I'm currently working on is part of a series, I was unsure about how much of the series info I should know for writing this particular novel. The conversation with my tutor helped me to detect some key points I should know beforehand, but also made me realize that it's OK to not know the actual ending of the series yet (I was stressing too much over not knowing the ending yet and it was affecting my work for the current novel). I do know the ending of the current novel, though; and I also have a general idea of the macro-story that will be at play throughout the series.
     
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  3. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    Christmas season took a toll on my writing progress.

    On December last year I sent my tutor the plot summary divided in The Beginning, The Middle, and The End. She gave me very useful feedback and a new task. My current task from the tutor is to write two chapter-by-chapter summaries.

    The first chapter-by-chapter summary follows this format:

    Chapter #
    Summary
    Main Scenes
    Characters
    Setting(s)

    The second chapter-by-chapter summary follows this format:

    Chapter #
    Beginning
    Middle
    End
    Objectve
    Conflict

    This is my second time doing a chapter-by-chaper sumary of a story. The first one I made was for the first book of a fantasy trilogy/saga and it took me almost two months to complete. That summary wasn't divided in sections like the summary formats above. It was just a brief plot (and subplots) summary of each chapter. It was 11 pages long and included summaries of 51 chapters plus a prologue.

    Fun fact: the prologue's summary for that story was just two lines long; but the actual first draft of it was about 11k words long. That made me get scared about how long the whole book would be and about how long it would take to write. And it is one of the reasons why I decided to try to write a less complex story first.

    As the current task with my WIP seems overwhelming, I decided to add another simpler format as a basis for working on the other two. This simpler format is just a handwritten summary of each chapter and it can't exceed a six-lines limit per chapter. So far, with a total of 5 chapter summaries, I've completed The Beginning part. This was the last writing related thing I did last year. And now, after an almost 3-weeks-long pause, I'm trying to get back into the groove. Wish me luck!
     
  4. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    January seems to be kind of a slow month for me. I'm progressing in my writing but at a snail pace. Maybe it is the post-holidays effect.

    While trying to continue writing the chapter-by-chapter summary, I've realized how much of the story I don't know yet. My tutor seems to think that I know more about the story, the characters and the world than what I really do.

    I do know the general plot for the series and for this book, and I also know some info about my characters and the world; but when I'm confronted with the detail of a chapter-by-chapter summary, I just don't have enough information at hand. I experienced the same void of information when I was writing the chapter-by-chaper summary of my other story/project. For that project I was able to plough through and end up with a finished summary after two months. But then, when I started writing the actual story, the same void of information came back at me, but ten times scarier and bigger.

    I don't want the same to happen with my current WIP, so I think the best plan of action is to start filling those voids ASAP. For this, I've started to create a timeline using AeonTimeline (I love this sofware!).

    I think one of the reasons why I get so confused is because in this story there's a different intelligent species that separated from humans about 13000 years ago, and the history of both humans and this new species is interrelated, but I haven't grasped all the implications of it yet.

    For now I've made a rough timeline with the main events/eras/stages since the new species came to be. It has given me some perspective. With this as a foundation, it's time to zoom in and start working on the part of the timeline that pertains to book 1.
     
  5. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Senior Member

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    I use yWriter! Do you still use it and find it easy to work with?
     
  6. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    Yes. I still use it. Although as, lately, I've been working mainly with the handwritten worksheets and AeonTimeline I'm not using it that much for the time being.

    I wish there was a Scrivener version for Android, but yWriter is a good replacement so far. It lets me keep things organized, available and updated in both my Android devices and my PC. And I also love the text-to-voice reading feature in the PC version.
     
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  7. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    I've been way off track this year.

    I've been dealing with a lot of non-writing related matters and it has been dificult to find the time or the energy to work on my WIP. Fortunately, things are going better now and I'll hopefully have more available time from now on.

    March is usually a month of preparation for April's CampNaNoWriMo. Last year they fused the CampNaNoWriMo dedicated website with the new NaNoWriMo website, so I'm not sure about how things will work for this camp. But it doesn't really matter for now. I'll just think as if everything is as usual and start prepping.

    As I haven't been really working on my WIP I haven't contacted my tutor in two months. I don't want to contact her until I've finished the assignment she gave me (the chapter-by-chapter summaries). And I'm currently nowhere near finishing it.

    I've currently re-started working on my worldbuilding and research. My more immediate goal is to clearly define the characteristics of the humanoid species and the human hybrid (which is the protagonist of the first book).

    I would like to have my assigment finished and revised before camp starts so as to use camp for at least starting my first draft. But I don't know if I'll be able to do it within that time frame. I still have 8 months of tutoring left, and I want to use them wisely; but I don't want to rush things.

    For now I'll just try to work daily on my WIP during March and see how far I've gotten by the end of this month.

    I'll try to post daily updates as a way to keep my motivation high and track my progress.
     
  8. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    Day 3 of April's CampNaNo Prep

    Yesterday I talked with some writing friends about CampNaNoWriMo and we were really happy to finally see some official news on the merged site's forum. Though we still don't know how similar or different will be this camp from the previous ones.

    One important aspect in order to make the most out of this month was to re-organize my time and activities, so I wrote a small plan/schedule, though I'm still making adjustments to it.
     
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  9. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Active Member

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    I hope the march through March goes well!

    I'm interested to see how your chapter summary tactic goes, and what insights that yields. I found myself getting intimidated last time I tried that, but I want to do it again some time.
     
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  10. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    Day 4 of April's CampNaNo Prep

    Yesterday I had a huge headache during most part of the day, but just before going to sleep (when I was finally starting to feel better) I managed to think about my WIP and make a list of the key worlbuilding points that I should know before attempting to write the chapter-by-chapter summaries.

    I'm keeping in mind an advice from a great creativity course I took some years ago: "Don't fake your premake". From my past experience with the chapter-by-chaper summary I did about two years ago for another novel, I learned what "faking a premake" looks like and what are its consequences.

    In this case, my premake is the "Chapter-by-chapter summary". At that time I struggled for two months or so in order to write the 51 chapter long sumary (plus a prologue summary), but I didn't have a CLEAR deeper vision underneath all those summaries. The result: I got blocked when trying to write my novel.

    Because of that experience, now I'm carefully following the advice from the creativity course: "Never fake your premake. Make sure it's just a representation of a solid, detailed, wonderful vision that goes way deeper than the actual premake" and that's why the worldbuilding key points are so important for me at this stage. And that's why I also think I'll need to dig deeper into some characters as well. But that comes after I've finished with my current goals with the worldbuilding part.
     
  11. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    The pandemy situation sent me off track for quite some months because I had to prioritize other things and make a lot of different life adjustments, but now I'm finally starting to get back on track.

    I wrote to my tutor around mid June and she said she's fine and ready to continue where we left, which is the chapter-by-chapter summaries.

    I initially tried to work more on the worldbuilding before writing the summaries, but after talking with my sister I realized I was procrastinating by doing that. Another thing I realized thanks to my sister was that I felt too restricted with the formal plot summary and that was part of the reason why writing the chapter-by-chapter sumaries had been such a sluggish task. I told my sister the whole story of book one, making some additional comments on things I wasn't so sure about yet and she gave me super useful feedback about it. This gave me the idea of writing another summary for book one, but as if I was telling the story to my sister and so I did exactly that. I coloured the main story parts and I left with a white background the additional comments/thoughts/notes that came to my mind as I was writing the story summary.

    By doing that I also realized that another thing that was making me feel blocked was that I was trying to make the chapter by chapter summaries in the final order I expected them to have and not in the chronological order of the events. So I decided to first just write the summaries in chronological order and later think about the best order to present them in the book.

    During the past few weeks I've been working on the first type of summary my tutor asked me to do:

    The first chapter-by-chapter summary follows this format:

    Chapter #
    Summary
    Main Scenes
    Characters
    Setting(s)

    I had initially calculated that it would take me around 15 chapters to cover the whole plot for book one, but when I reached the summary for chapter 15 I realized I still needed around 7 to 8 chapters more before hitting the finish line.

    I've currently finished up to the summary of chapter 20, and I was expecting to have just about three more chapters to go before finishing this task, but while working on chapter 21 I realized that I had to modify a part of chapter 19 for things to make sense in chapter 21. Then, while I was thinking about the changes for chapter 19 I realized I needed to make some additions and modifications to chapters 14 and 15, so it kind of became a domino effect and so now I have to revise and rewrite my summaries starting from chapter 14 and up, which makes me feel as if instead of moving forward as I was expecting, I'm moving backwards and farther from the finish line :cry:. But I know it'll make my story stronger and more cohesive and coherent, so it's worth the time :superwhew::superyesh:.
     
  12. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Senior Member

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    I know how frustrating it can feel when you're plotting and not actually writing pages for real. But you must not see it as moving backwards and farther from the finish line. You made progress , Andy... that's why you're writing it down in a progress journal. :)
     
  13. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    That's a great way to see it! Thanks! :superagree::supersmile:
     
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  14. Andy_Megumi

    Andy_Megumi Member

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    The unexpected setback actually gave me a lot of motivation for working on the chapter summaries and finish them ASAP.

    I completely rewrote the summary of chapter 15 and added a new chapter 16 summary. Then I changed the number of the next three chapters (old chapter 16 became new chapter 17 and so on until chapter 19). Then I wrote a completely new chapter 20, left the old chapter 20 (now numbered as chapter 21), finished the original chapter 21 summary (now called chapter 22) and added the summaries of chapters 23 and 24, and with that I finally completed this task. Yay!!! :cheerleader:

    It took me many hours and a lot of thinking (because when I added/changed something in one chapter there were repercussions for other chapters as well), but I'm really happy to have finally reached that goal. :supergrin:

    Now it's time to move on to the second type of chapter-by-chapter summary:

    Chapter #
    Beginning
    Middle
    End
    Objective
    Conflict

    But I'll start that in a day or two because I first want to take a small break and give myself a reward for achieving the first goal.
     
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