Category Archives: writing accountability

521 new words

Total so far: 10,557.

Yep, I’m back at it. No, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. I just thought it was time.

Okay, okay, I will admit that I’ve been reading blog posts about NaNoWriMo, offering encouragement and support. I’ve also been reading comments from other writers and wanna-bes who are slogging their ways through their own writing projects (both in and out of the program. And they’ve goaded me more than a little to get back to my own novel-in-progress.

I don’t know how long the momentum will last or how far I’ll get this time, but progress is progress… and I’ll take it.

Any of you taking a stab at NaNoWriMo? Or just, you know, writing on your own? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment? Thanks.

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Progress… and a problem

654 new words, which brings my total so far to… (drumroll, please)…. 10,036 words.

That’s right, I broke the 10k barrier this morning!

Imma take a moment to bask in that.

Ahhhhhhh!

OK, that’s enough of that.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to have reached a milestone like this, even if it is only about 10 percent of the usual word count on a finished novel.

My lack of more effusive celebration is due entirely to the problem I alluded to in the post title. And that problem is also the reason it took me so long to get past this significant-seeming milepost. (Errr, wordpost??)

The problem: I don’t know what my main female character’s deepest motivation is. In other words, I don’t know what she really wants. And as a novel is generally best when the main characters all want something very badly and spend the book interacting and affecting one another as they try to get those things, it behooves me to figure out what my gal wants.

At this point, she’s more drifting than moving. I need to get to the core of the woman’s motivations, because nothing stalls a book (or a life) more than having no idea where you want to go.

Can you say “fiction mirroring the author’s psychological state”? Because I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up… except very, very old.

Until I get this sorted, I fear my writing is going to be done more in fits and starts than in regular progress.

It’s a little scary.

Can anyone suggest a tool I can use to psychoanalyze my heroine? I could really use the help.

Thanks.

And, one last time: YAY for 10K!

Life happens

I haven’t been writing since my last post.

My house has been unusually quiet, so I’ve had time and few physical distractions, but my brain has been scattered.

The most I’ve been able to do is go through the eight chapters I’ve written so far and create a character spreadsheet, so I can keep track of names, descriptions, relationships. It’s not on any specialized writing software, just Excel. And I expect I’ll keep adding to it until I get to the point where I don’t add named characters (even “extras”). It’s also given me a chance to look at the age/racial/gender roles I’ve assigned, so I can avoid the mistake of making everyone generic. I want the book, set in modern-day Florida, to reflect the diversity of people who are actually here now.

So no writing, but progress nonetheless. I feel like I can move forward now without worrying that I’ll contradict or repeat stuff I’ve already committed to pixels. (I’d already forgotten some of the details, and I’m not even 10K words in yet!)

And I’ve been fantasizing about future developments for my characters, as well as background details/episodes that might flesh them out. Unfortunately, later I don’t remember most of the ideas, although a couple of strong ones resurfaced when I was going through the pages to do the spreadsheet. I scrawled a few keywords in the margins of those pages, so I can develop them further.

I feel like I’ve let myself get distracted by busy work, but it was necessary busy work. I mean, it was going to have to happen at some point. And in the future (if/when I write a different story/book) I’ll start the character spreadsheet waaaaay sooner in the book-writing process.

That’s all technical stuff, though.

The real reason I haven’t been writing, and that my house has been quieter than usual, is that life has interfered in an unavoidable way.

The Hubs has been in Tennessee, at his parent’s house. His dad was diagnosed about three weeks ago with pancreatic cancer, late stage, so he was terminal when he got the news. The Hubs has been there this last eight days, helping his mom with his dad physically, as well as with the work of sorting his belongings and finalizing his arrangements.

And this morning, around 5:45, my father-in-law died in his home, attended by his wife and the Hubs and a hospice nurse.

I’ve been here with our teenage son, taking care of the eight cats and three dogs, working my usual schedule. I couldn’t take off from work on such short notice (due to needing coverage, not due to a lack of leave), although I will be automatically approved off for three days of bereavement. Now I wait to hear what arrangements have been made in Tennessee, so I can take our son and join my husband and his family there.

It’s been hard for me to focus on a romance while I’ve been waiting for news about a family tragedy. Understandably.

Until life settles again, in whatever pattern that may be, I don’t anticipate much creative output. Busy work may be all I can manage.

Because my family is more important than the story.

And the story will wait for a while. I’ll just have to keep a notepad handy, so I can jot down some of my ideas when they’re fresh. There might be gold in there, just waiting to be mined and shaped. I hope.

520 new words!

New total: 9382 words!

717 new words!

Current total: 8862 words.

417 new words!

Current total: 8,145!

448 new words!

Current total: 7728.

Also, I wrote 347 words on the flash fiction challenge I mentioned a couple of posts ago. If I get my crap together With any luck, tonight I’ll finish it and get it posted before the submissions deadline.

Between the two pieces, I wrote 795 words today!

769 new words!

Current total: 7280.

645 new words!

Total now: 6511.

Oh, and I did a very broad “outline” of sorts, scrawled on the back of my Fandango receipt for my ticket to see Star Trek 3: Into Darkness** last night. My youngest son, the hubs and I were waiting for the seating to open up on our theater, (first in line!), so I took a minute to write down the overall planned arc of my story, in a cryptic shorthand that I alone can decipher.

It’s an outline only in the sense that it notes some things I don’t want to leave out and also the order in which I plan to present them.

Still, knowing as I did (and still do) how inadequate my jottings are as an actual outline, I felt like I’d accomplished something writerly or authorial by putting on paper somethings I plan to put in my novel. And that feeling? That was a good feeling.

** No spoilers here. Just a definite thumbs-up, from all 3 of us. Loved it!

442 words added

For a total of 5866.

Weirdly, my Mac word-processing program (Pages) counts words differently than the PC-based Word program I opened my document in at my work on last night. I’m not sure what the algorithm is on each, so I don’t know how to convert it myself. Instead, I’ll just have to open the doc on my home computer to get a true apples-to-apples comparison. (Pun intended!)