Nastyjman's progress journal

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by nastyjman, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Just finished my third draft, and turned it over to a pro. Advice from another author, "Edit it yourself until you can't stand to look at it anymore." I feel your pain. But you will get there, doing all the right things.
     
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  2. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Thanks Lew. I think after the 3rd draft, I will do my line edits for it and be done with it. I will still try to submit it to agents and publishers, but I won't hold my breath. I'm only doing so because I would like to experience what it's like to write a query, send it over and be rejected.

    While that's going on, I will be working on my second novel (not a sequel to the first).
     
  3. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    45% in.

    Lately I've been experimenting with the Pomodoro Technique, basically allotting 25 minutes of writing time, then 5 minutes of rest and repeat. I think it's working for me with how my brain is structured, taking rests between intense writing time. Last night, I found out my word count improved with this technique, but I'm still skeptical towards it. If my output and my mental well-being improves, then I'm integrating it with my writing routine.
     
  4. ToDandy

    ToDandy Senior Member

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    I've never heard of this technique before. Usually I just sit down and pound out a bunch of words in a sitting without any rest. Let me know if you are still liking it after a couple of weeks.
     
  5. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Sure thing. Prior to this, I was experiencing mental fatigue after the one hour mark, and I had to force myself to finish so I can reach my two hour quota. Now that I'm breaking it up in 25 minute chunks, I do feel that it alleviates the stress. In the 5 minutes of rest, I would read through what I've written, browse for a bit or stand up and walk around. Once the rest period is finished, I'm back in writing mode.

    But I'll check back in two weeks or so to give an update.
     
  6. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    55% near completion!

    The Pomodoro Technique has been working for me, and I am loving it so far. Of course, I had tweaked it for my own predilection. When I do my five minute rests, I do a free-writing session where I self-talk on what needs to happen next, and if I'm done with that, I stand up and do some arm stretching.

    Also, when the timer ends while I'm writing, I don't immediately stop. I write until I either finish the paragraph or the sentence. However, if I'm having trouble with finishing the paragraph or the sentence, then I take my five minute rest.

    My personal blog hasn't been updated yet. I think I need to do so, but then again, I don't have to. There's no audience yet except for my Facebook friends and family. Once I'm finished with my 3rd draft, then I will update my blog. Editing and Revising is a long process, but it has been fun so far. And thanks to Pomodoro Technique, I don't suffer from mental fatigue anymore.
     
  7. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Good job, over halfway! Keep up the good work!
     
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  8. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Reading Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield and came across this quote attributed to Linda Ronstadt:

    "Refine your skill to support your instinct."

    I love this quote. Before, I always thought that I was wasting my time writing a very bad draft, but in the end, it helped me find out what my writing process is and what my personal quirks are. The more you do it, the more you learn the ins-and-outs of the craft and your writing persona.
     
  9. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    In my editing process, I found that the long narratives, descriptions of places, political relations between areas, how caravans worked 2000 years ago etc., that headed up a lot of my chapters, served a valuable function for me, even though these are largely getting carved out, synopsized, or turned into dialogue on REV 5. Their purpose was to focus MY mind on how the place looked, how it had came to be, how it worked, so as I slipped into story-telling, I knew where I was etc. I went into a lot of detail, in one case, how caravans coming into a caravansary would draw different colored ribbons and go back and colorcode the baggage based on their next generation, then these color coded bags were taken to a storeroom, and locked up for the next caravan. That will be distilled down to the fact the reader will figure out how that they are colorcoding by destination and think its neat, rather than wading through my drivel. But if I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have known how caravans could have quickly and accurately offloaded 500 animals (125 tons) without getting stuff mixed up.

    The fact that the reader will never see these long and largely boring descriptions doesn't alter the fact that I saw them, and built the story around them. Like scaffolding, and now its time take them down, they served their purpose. And like scaffolding, they are an ugly but necessary part of the construction.
     
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  10. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Agree! I had to slash a lot of stuff after the first draft. But if it weren't for them, then I couldn't have improved what was lacking. Instead of thinking of them as waste, I think of them as sacrifice to my muse.
     
  11. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Checking in. 70% Complete!

    Scenes are still getting fixed, and I am entering Act III. Once I'm finished with this thing, I can send it out to my beta readers to get feedback on story structure. While they're reading through it, I will do my line edits. Can't wait for this book to be complete.

    At this rate, I think I'll be finished in two months. I didn't make my deadline, but goddamnit, it's my first foray in the world of novel writing. I've learned a lot with this baby, and I'll definitely apply it on the next one.
     
  12. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    I'm changing things up again with regards to my writing process.

    Previously, when I get back home from work, I would do a 30 minute line edit of the previous day's progress and then write for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Now, I'm waking up 40 minutes early so I can do line edits, and when I get back home, I will do 2 hours of writing.

    Today was the first time trying this routine. I was groggy at first, but my brain eventually woke up to edit mode. And I'm actually energized right now just because I've worked on my WIP. For now, I'm going to stick with this routine and hope it turns into a habit.
     
  13. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Had to dump four planned scenes from my outline. When it came to rewrite/revise them, my brain just went, "PLOT HOLE! PLOT HOLE! PLOT HOLE!"

    So I did a free-writing session, just writing down what I was feeling, what needed to change, what choices I have and what solutions there are. After an hour of self-talk and self-flagellation, I finally reached a solution and outlined four new scenes that were far superior and more logical than the older scenes.
     
  14. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    84% done with the 3rd draft. Can't wait for this thing to be finished. The new, replacement scenes are working well and have fixed the plot holes that were inherent in the 2nd draft. I feel confident that the story itself is smooth now, but I will leave that to my beta testers if the story is coherent and logical.

    Just finished a scene where the characters are in the mercy of the villain. Can't help but feel the fear once again as I encountered it the first time around when writing this story.
     
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  15. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    It gets really scary when you start connecting with your characters. My wife didn't understand what I was talking about. Then it happened to her halfway through her first WIP. It's neat
     
  16. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Nice. Yeah, it's scary, but fascinating! It sometimes feels that you're reliving their lives over again.
     
  17. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    90% done. Can't wait! At this rate, I will be finished next week. I need to keep that deadline at least.

    As time went by, my revision outline format is also changing. If you look at my previous format, you'll notice that the current one is more involved and somewhat confusing to the untrained eye. This is my method, and it makes sense (for me at least). Just wanted to share two outlined scenes from an upcoming short story that I'm writing once I'm done with my novel.
     

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  18. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    I'm four scenes away from the ending. Argh! I'm not ready to say good-bye yet, although there will be a sequel to this story of mine. Once I'm done, I'm giving myself a one month break from this novel. I'm planning to write four short stories, all of which will be sent out to magazines and epubs, hoping to find a home. After the one month break, I'll be picking the novel up again and finally do my line edits.
     
  19. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Two scenes away.

    I'm starting my email list so I can distribute it to my beta readers. I'm now understanding why some would like to do traditional publishing while others self-publishing. With traditional, all marketing and administrative stuff is taken care of by the publishers. With self-publishing, you'll be doing all of those, and it requires capital to kick-start your business.

    I'm ambivalent as to which I would go for. Traditional seems great, and the gatekeepers are there for a reason. But self-pubbing is also interesting because you have control of your content. I'm getting ahead of myself, but it's good to test these things as I'm nearing completion of my very first novel.

    I won't delude myself that this first one will be published traditionally. I will probably self-publish it, depending on what my beta readers tell me. If it's chock-full of holes that it can be used as a colander, then I'll trunk it.

    All in all, I'm ready for my next projects. Four short stories and a new novel that's not a sequel to this.
     
  20. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    3rd draft is finally done done done!

    YEY!

    I sent it out to my beta readers, asking them to point out plot holes and pacing issues. I'm taking a month break from it. Right now I'm writing the 1st draft on a short story that has been bubbling in my head during my novel. I will be putting this short story through my personal grinder, see if the story I create is up to snuff.

    So, lessons learned on the novel?

    Write the damn thing. It's the first draft, and you can always revise and edit it on the second or third draft. The first draft is exploration and fun. Story-making should be fun! I think some writers secretly have fun despite them saying it's hard, painful and a bloody messy (which I agree, but it's a fun bloody mess). I posted a guide on my rough outline method in the article section. I think pantsing is fine for a novel, but you need to at least have an ending in mind.

    Also, the first draft is easy to create, but the revision drafts are a pain. I've created an outline method for myself to help me out with it. Basically, the flow is this: write the story, then plan the acts, then edit the scenes, then, finally, edit for grammar.

    I can't wait to work on the next novel. I have something planned, but it won't be written until after the line edits for the current one.

    Just keep writing y'all! There will be moments where the flow of words and sentence construction and variety just clicks. At one point, I feel like I've become comfortable in writing, combining, separating, restructuring sentences that it seemed like a game and a puzzle. I like puzzles. It's also a joy to analyze other author's works, finding out how they had reconstructed their sentences.
     
  21. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Just finished the 1st draft of a short story. 5k words. The name of the story is "My Imaginary Friend, Phil Werrell." At first, the character's name was Will Ferrell, but I was afraid that it would be infringement. So I shook it up and changed it. The short is about a little girl who suddenly has a bushy haired imaginary friend who is actually a displaced soul of Phil Werrell after a car accident.

    It was a treat to write, and it's the second short story I wrote that is comedy. Hopefully it will be taken as a comedy and elicit a few chuckles.
     
  22. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Currently editing a short story I had finished before working on the 3rd draft of my novel. The scenes on this short seems cohesive, so I'm doing line edits on this piece instead. Once that's done, it will be ready for submission.

    I wanted to give out some tips too in this entry. Whenever I'm writing a new story or rewriting a scene, I leave myself breadcrumbs on the manuscript itself. I call it breadcrumbs because it's always positioned at the end of my manuscript. Here's how it would look:

    ----

    TIME/LOC:
    MOTIVE/S:

    ----

    The function for this is to keep track of continuity and motives. Whenever I'm done with my writing session, I will update this, making note of the time, location and the current motives of my characters. This is a good way for me to be up to speed for the next day's writing session.

    Since I don't use outlines for my first draft, this was my guide to all of my writing sessions. Sometimes, I would have a note in there to hint on what the next scene will be. Essentially, this was my breadcrumbs, keeping my creative mind fed every time I come into a writing session.
     
  23. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    I have four short stories currently stewing. Two are in the developmental editing phase, and the other two are in the line-edit phase. I want to finish them all so I can have a total of eight shorts that I have in circulation for magazines or e-zines to publish. Just last week, I received three rejections from the older stories I have in my portfolio. I've been numbed with rejections, which I think is good. My mentality has shaped, and I hope it prepares me from the rejections I get when I send out queries for my novel.

    I'm also itching for the next novel that I'm going to write. I think I'm going with the "demon-possession" genre with a twist.

    Keep writing y'all!
     
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  24. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    One short story down, three more to go.

    The one I'm working on currently is in the developmental edit phase. I started this story off without an outline and just had fun writing it. When I read through the finished draft, I made notes (and self-tirades) on it. Then, I created an outline, mapping out how the story flowed. This gave me a bird's-eye view of the 1st draft, and it helped weed out scenes that was dead on arrival and scenes that were misplaced.

    With the reverse outline done, I then created a proposal outline for the 2nd draft. Here, I made sure that the scenes flowed from one to the other. Once I was satisfied with my proposal, I began rewriting and revising the story. Just last night, I had made some minor detours from my proposal outline, but it still stayed the course on how the narrative flowed.

    That's about it for updates. Keep writing y'all!
     
  25. nastyjman

    nastyjman Senior Member

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    Two short stories in the final phase of line editing and one in the developmental phase. I'm experimenting on how I do my outlines and revisions. So far I am satisfied with my process, but things could be better. Tonight is rest night for me. No writing until tomorrow. A writer does need a vacation sometimes.
     

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