1. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC

    Quanta's Quill

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Quanta, Jan 15, 2017.

    WIP: The Willow Dreamer - YA novel

    A girl’s artistic path takes an unexpected turn when she gains access to non-ordinary reality (the Dream).

    I decided to write this story after I read something odd in one of the Twilight sequels. I wanted to prove that there can be magic in real life without dreaming of being whisked away by a handsome vampire.The story and characters came to me as I spent days stacking an Everest-sized mountain of firewood.

    Draft 1 – 2009 - 60 000 words

    In here, I wrote down ALL of my ideas. (Note to self: work with an outline next time.)

    Draft 2 – 2011 – 60 000 words

    Didn’t pay too much attention to the story as I am not a great typer and needed to keep an eye on my fingers.

    Draft 3 – 2015 – 35 000

    Deleted all that didn’t make to story progress. After a couple of years of deliberations, I finally got a laptop exclusively for writing. I was worried that wanting one was only an excuse for not working on my novel often enough on my desktop. Now that I’m imposing some extra electronic garbage on our poor planet, I’d better put my investment to good use. So far, it’s working.

    Draft 4 -2016 and ongoing – 40 000

    I still call it a novel for now, though I’m aware it is on the short side. I’m just about halfway through, so it should grow a bit more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  2. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    3,980
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    A novel with a long, slow gestation. I know how that works.

    Having a laptop you can take anywhere is a big help. I've got one, and I find I can get fifteen minutes of writing in here, ten minutes in there, wherever I am.
     
  3. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    My manuscript should be the size of a baby elephant by now, but it isn't. Oh well... I'm pushing as hard as I can to deliver my final draft into the hands of publishers.
     
  4. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    I sent three more chapters via pony express this morning (my grade 7 daughter to her class's teacher's aid to her mother, my beta/editor friend.)
    I have reached the mid-point of my story, thought page count says I'm more than halfway through the fourth edit. I find it hard not to focus on my word count, since I have learned that it was problematic for a novel, if my manuscript could be called a novel at all. I suppose I should be glad it takes me so many drafts to come up with decent writing. I have gone up to 42 000 for now; still short, but better.

    My husband is coming home for a week tomorrow. I suppose we'll be working on The Never Ending Story a.k.a. the house. We have a variety of projects to choose from, any of which will certainly involve making dust, like enough to fill a garbage bag (my advice: don't ever let a table saw cross the threshold of your home). This is just as well (the time off writing, not the dust); next chapter is a complete rewrite and is fairly barebone for now. By the time I can sit down and write again, it should have fleshed-out in my mind and will only need two or three more goings-over.

    I am beginning week two of six of my ESL Grammar on-line course. It consists of two lessons per week, each accompanied by a five questions quiz and ending with a test. The learning material seems to be written the teacher himself and is not very concise. At one point, he writes that "he will try to explain..." Just explain, please. I dusted up my Painless Grammar and bought an English Grammar Workbook for Dummies so that I can practice a little more.
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    3,980
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Falling over laughing, @Quanta, because I'm working on my novel and playing here on WF when I should be in the front room nailing window trim back up and cleaning up the baseboards so they can be painted. But the worst of the dust is over. I think. I hope.

    Though I wouldn't be without my table saw. I just keep it in the basement.

    Well done, you, for spotting that bit of unnecessary fluff in the ESL teacher's work. "I will try" generally can be cut out of every sentence, unless the trying (and maybe failing) really is the point. Otherwise, it's just--- trying.
     
  6. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Makes me think about a title for a story: Dust Sisters. I'm not sure what it's about, but if I ever find out, I will write it. It won't be about dusting, though. Dusting is boring. I am dust friendly.

    I gave my current chapter a rest during my week off. I rather thought about my next story, a ghost story that will be more fantasy than horror. For inspiration, I'm reading Peter S. Beagle's A Fine and Private Place.

    I'm back to work on my WIP now. About 4 hours spent on chapter 27 and I need to go over it at least twice more. I think I am slow! I don't dare calculate how much time it will take me to finish this draft. Hopefully it's done by the end of winter, as there's always a million things that need to be done outside in the spring...
     
  7. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    I stopped by Books & Co. (my independent bookstore extraordinaire) and pick up Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman/Puglisi. The latter lists 75 emotions and accompanying body language, thoughts and visceral reactions. My character smile, or nod, or shrug way too often. This book should help.

    I am more than halfway through my ESL grammar course. I don't like the way it is presented, but it drives me to find my own resources and learn in a manner that suits me better. Perfect English Grammar is a good learning website.

    My beta sent me a few reviewed chapters. One major problem that she sees is overuse of simile. I searched up the word "like" and it comes up 175 times... That's another word added to my watch list, for when I do my final edit. 60 words on the list so far.

    I'll be too busy to write for the next few days, but I have reread a couple of my upcoming chapter. I have a few details to work on. They should be ripe when I sit down at the computer once again.
     
  8. Shimario

    Shimario Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    13
    Damn, that sucks that you've been working on it for that long. I've been working on mine since 2013. I think i'm on like the 5th draft by now, lol.
     
  9. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Well, they say that it's the journey that matters, not the destination... It is a great learning journey. At least, in sticking with the same novel for so long, the destination has to be getting nearer!
     
  10. Shimario

    Shimario Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    13
    Well, it doesn't help that i kept coming up with new ideas for other books either. Plus, at one point, my book was completely different to the point where it was taking place on earth and that it was about an academy that existed in the 2070s, lol.
     
  11. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    At some point between drafts, it just seemed easier to start on something new than hack away at all the useless junk in my WIP. Now, I'm glad to have gone back to it, as it's finally taking decent shape. I recently discovered that I can't be thinking about two stories at the same time. It's like reading two novels concurrently. One just overpowers the other, so first thing first: finish my WIP then on to the next story.
     
  12. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Chapter 23 was tough. I had even stopped "seeing" the story. I'm glad to be done with it (for now), thanks in part to great help on the workshop. I have sent it to my beta. She said it was good reading, but I know that not a page will come back untouched by her editor's pen.

    This time around, I have decided to work on a few chapters at a time, at least for the first couple of passes. One of them is a nightmare scene that I originally wrote "just because" and kept through subsequent drafts because I felt that it reflected my MC's mounting anxiety. With a few changes, I have tied in images in the nightmare to details from past events and added a sense of foreboding for what lies ahead. I'm feeling like a bit of a genius right now:rolleyes: Not a writing genius, but at least one smart enough to catch those ideas that seem to float down from the sky as if by magic.

    p.s. I'm sure I will be much humbled after I reread my work of the past few days, but I'm feeling positive. I may just manage to finish this draft before Spring!
     
    Dracon likes this.
  13. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Five chapters sent to my reader. So far, so good as far as the story goes. She thinks my chapters are short (avg. 1500 words) and wonders if this is a sign of the times. Short chapters convince me to read “just one more” before turning in for the night, and I usually end up reading several more… I will leave mine as they are for now. Most of them end up on a cliff-hanger, and I hope this will make readers want to turn the page and read one more.

    After reading about forums members using text-to-speech apps, I have discovered the Speak command in Word. The voice is a bit robotic, but is still a great tool for editing. I’m pretty sure I can write without an accent, but when I read my texts out loud, I have to make too much of an effort at proper diction to be able to hear how the story flows.

    I am moving to the climax of my story. There are about twenty pages to go until the end, at approximately two hours per page… I might be able to finish by the end of the month.
     
  14. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Just a few more chapters to go. After hovering below 43000 words for a while, I've finally reached 44. I'll be meeting with my reader on Tuesday. She'll bring back a few chapters with her notes and I'll have a few more to give her. The girls are having spring break and they're late sleepers, so first thing in the morning, I make coffee, turn on my laptop and edit for about two hours. Today, I worked an extra hour in the afternoon and two more this evening.

    Even if I can't work actively on two stories at the same time, my back burner is turned on to simmer, and in the last couple of days, two important pieces of story #2 bubbled up to the surface. It will be exciting to start on something new, hopefully by next fall.
     
  15. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    My reader was unwell, so she's coming tomorrow instead. I printed the fruit of 25 hours of hard labor. It came out as a surprisingly thin wad of paper. I'll try to finish one more chapter before she comes.

    My brain says "I'm overheating"; my butt says "get off me"; my heart says "get your MC out of this mess!" I'm off to write...
     
  16. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    6000 words edited in the past twelve days, or about 30 hours of work. Am I slow or what? I won't be able to finish before the end of the month after all, but I have at least reached my very minimal goal of 45000 words. 2500 words to go before The End.
     
  17. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  18. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    I thought I'd made one giant step forward, but my reader informed me that one of my plot twists was way too far-fetched. I had been hoping for praise, but had to agree with her, mostly. I backtracked and made some changes, for the better I think. Because this is a YA novel, she wanted me to take all adult characters out of the equation, but my whole plot is building up to that moment when one specific adult barges in on my MC's beautiful dream, and ruins everything. If I take that out, I may as well cut it down to a six word story that reads: "And they lives happily ever after"...
    I'm not feeling too enthusiastic about my writing now, but I make myself work on it for at least an hour every day. Hopefully, the drive will come back before I get too busy doing outdoor work.
     
  19. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Draft Four: completed
    Beginning word count 35K
    Current word count 47K
    Next round of edit: working the changes suggested by my alpha-reader. After that, line edit then beta readers. Do I dare give myself a deadline? I'll think about it.
    What will I do now? It's not like there isn't a hundred other things to do around the house and the garden and the fields... I'm taking a week off writing anyhow but if I must, I'll work on the outline of novel #2
     
  20. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    I have started draft 5, in which I'll fix the story based on my alpha reader's comments. She had told me that the ending was good, but I ran into her yesterday and now, she says that my iy sounds too much like "and they lived happily ever after." It reminds me of a story my daughter wrote when she was in third grade about a turkey who escaped a farm where she was slated to be butchered. That story ended with "and the turkey lived happily for the rest of the year."
    This is the kind of ending I like, to know that the characters have overcome their struggles and are on the mend, that even if life won't become perfect as if by magic, they can at least look to the future with hope of good things to come.
    To help me with my revision process, I have enrolled in the Jennifer Manuel's (The Heaviness of Things that Float) Reimagine the Page Course. The last part of the last module is about restructuring ending, so hopefully, I'll gain some insight from that. It will be a while before I get to this part, as there are a lot of changes I need to make in my early chapters.
     
  21. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Messages:
    691
    Likes Received:
    939
    Location:
    England
    Surely that is just a personal thing though, right? I'm not averse to a 'happily ever after' either, because that's the norm that I expect. I don't think that makes it wrong. If you think it sounds right, then perhaps it is. Maybe you can get some other opinions on the ending. Or you could write both, and compare which one you like the best once you have them both in front of you.
     
  22. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    You're right, it might just be her personal preference, and she also has in mind that I'm going to write a sequel and for that, I suppose I would have to leave a few ends loosely tied... I hadn't planned for a sequel, but now that she has mentioned it, I can't help but to explore the idea. My next story will be something entirely different, though. I will let the ending rest for now, and if I decide to rework it, I'll do as you suggest and write a separate one for my betas to compare. Thanks for your advice.
     
  23. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Almost a month has past and I'm only 22 pages into my revision. June is always a busy month with the gardening , the fence fixing, etc. Now, I'm watching the weather channel like a TV addict and waiting for five days of good weather in a row to start cutting hay.

    I have decided to listen to my alpha and cut the number of chapters I have, so now, I'm at chapter 3, which at draft 5, still needs a lot of rewriting. It's the perfect chapter to practice what I'm learning in my revision course, as it is lacking in so many ways. If I'm up to a couple sleepless nights when I'm done with it, I might post it in the novel critic forum.
     
  24. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    It took me over two months to revise one chapter, but I have completed my revision course. I was going to post the last scene of chapter three in workshop, but I'm getting an internal server error message. I looked it up, but I don't feel like bugging anyone about it for now.

    I'll turn to chapter four instead, which also needs a lot of work. On the upside, my word count is increasing and I'm pretty sure most of what I'm adding isn't just fluff. I think I can risk giving myself a deadline now. I would like to hand out my manuscript to betas before the year is over.
     
  25. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    BC
    Chapters 4 now revised and edited. I find it hard to believe I once thought these chapters were written to the best of my abilities. I still need to work on character development. The good news is that it increases my word count. It was at 47 k when I finished draft 4 and 30% into draft 5, it now stands at 50 000.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice