Tag Archives: WIP

WIP Update And Change In Editing Process

I’ve been a somewhat on the quiet side lately as far as Actual Blog Posts are concerned, mostly because of being busy working.

Hey, there are worse reasons, right?

I’ve also reinstated my rule that my work gets done first before I check into the world.  This means no checking Facebook/Twitter/flickr/message boards/statistics/whatever until my work is done.  Otherwise, if I do, it derails my mind into marketing and promotion mode instead of creative mode.  Not a good thing.

I’m in the middle of revisions for MOROCCO.  This is a tricky one both story-wise and editing-wise.  I’ve finished, hrm, a dozen or so stories by now–enough that I feel I have tabs on my working process, how I think, how I revise.  But I know damn well I’d be stupid to think I know everything (or even the tip of that iceberg) or can’t improve, so I’m trying a different sort of revision process on this story.  Anything that helps me find the holes in my story is a good thing.  The problem is in the change of habits.  It’s hard, it’s slow, it’s confusing, and I find myself checking back on the guide I’m following to remember what it is I’m supposed to be doing it.  I’m sure this will go smoother as I find my stride with the new system.

I had the feeling during the writing of MOROCCO (and again after I finished it) that I needed more.  More story, more time in-story, more description, and that feeling is holding up during the revision process.  I’m finding spots where stuff needs more development and to be actually grounded in the real, living world through description.  The story weighs in around 15k words.  My concern is that this will push it above 20k, which seems to be the upper limit for most short story markets that I’ve seen, and in the very low range for novella word counts.  I don’t think I would prefer it to blossom to novella-length for two reasons:

  • I already have one novella in the form of STRANDED
  • I don’t think there’s enough story in MOROCCO to fill out another 10-20k words (to get it up to 30k-40k) without feeling bloated.

This is all subject change as I continue revisions.  Most likely, I won’t know what I have until after the first rewrite.

When I’m not editing MOROCCO, I’m doing planning work for my next book, FUTURE.  Part of the reason for the change in editing for MOROCCO is that I’m going to use a very similar system for planning FUTURE and I’d like to get a handle on it before I begin.

In other news, I started participating in the Flickr 365 days group (see the 365 category and flickr links in the sidebar). Photography is on my list of “things to do and get better at” but often gets trumped by writing, music, and Actually Taking Some Time To Relax On Rare Occasion (see Murder Your Darlings ).  As such, I’m participating, but keeping a tight rein on my desire to excel and be perfect at it (and the time that that would take, which I don’t have).

Daily and WIP Update: 2010-06-15

Let’s see.  What’ve I been up to lately.

The Norton’s Ghost book trailer is out.  It appears to meet with approval, so that’s definitely a good thing.

I’ve been doing planning for FUTURE. I don’t normally outline, but due to the nature and scope of this story, I think it would be a pretty good idea to try this different approach with my writing.  As I wrote last week (I think), I just wish there was a convenient way to measure how much progress I’m making.  It feels like slow going, but right now I’m squeezing in the work whenever I can.

I’m also due to begin edits on MOROCCO.  Eeeep.  I hope it’s not as terrible as I fear.  With any luck, there are good little story nuggets and tidbits lurking in there and the bad parts won’t be as bad as I think they are.

And if the above weren’t enough, I devoted some time last night to musical pursuits (including figuring out some things in Logic Studio) and am now to vacate the computer in favor on doing some research reading.

Whew.

How Do You Measure Preparation?

I began work today in earnest on codename FUTURE after unearthing it a few days ago and blowing off the dust.

How funny-odd it is to come back to the blank page (or screen).  To a set of jumbled notes and thoughts and things ending in question marks.  To a pile of acquired flotsam that I will endeavor to turn into something that resembles a coherent narrative.

I remember a quote (that I cannot now find online; a fail for google and a fail for my own notes) that went something like:

You don’t learn how to write books.  You just learn how to write the book you’re writing.

The idea is that you learn to write the current WIP, but when it comes time to fire up a new one, you’re back at square one again.

And so far, it’s held true.

So I set about revising notes, asking questions and then dredging my mind for answers, and generally filling in breaks and trying to make connections.  I tried not to worry when I asked, “What does this character want?” and had no answers.  Instead, I just moved on to something else.  Right now all the characters are mere shades that should take form as I move along.

That’s the plan, at least.

I also did a bit of research this morning.

The work I did today got me to thinking: How do you measure preparation?  With an actual Writing Day, I can measure my progress in pages or words: I did x. X is good.  Y is better.  And Z is so awesome that I totally deserve a cookie right now.

But it’s harder to do that with preparation.  I suppose if I was writing a codex or other background works, I could measure the progress in words, but for the rest of this stuff that consists mostly of thinking and jotting and arrows and question marks, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of metrics.  I suppose I could measure in hours spent, but that fails to include daydreaming and coffee and petting the cat.

Which are all necessary parts of the workday.

Stranded Is Finished!

stranded boat

http://www.flickr.com/photos/todojuanjo

My Stranded novella is now finished.  Hooray!

After forcing out a mediocre wordcount over the course of about five hours yesterday, I hit a stride in the evening hours and ended up writing 4k words. It was enough to finish the work in rough form. There are some bits that I wanted that didn’t make it in, but I might be able to fit them in during the rewrite.

I’ll set it aside for a while now. I’m looking forward to the rewrite, where I can make it tighter and better all around.

The best thing about a story that’s finished is that you can make it better.

Rough draft wordcount: 34,200.

Daily Musings – May 8th

Today was a good day for productivity.  Ideas and energy to do something with them came from all over.  A few were related to things I’m actively working on.  A few got backburnered.

Some ideas and “plot points” (for lack of a better phrase) came together for STRANDED and I got 1000 words out on it without too much wailing or gnashing of teeth.  An okay wordcount by most standards, but a stupendously and massively awesome wordcount on a project that’s been stalled for a while.

I submitted 5 old poems to a publisher yesterday two days ago.  That feels like progress.

First instinct is to mention where I sent stuff.  Is it bad form to do that?  Who knows–could be.  To be safe, I’ll keep it to myself.

I also did another round of edits on PIPES and its now in the hands of a preview reader before I send it out.  That also feels like progress.

* * * * *

There’s a pile of papers on my desk that I should probably go through.  Story notes, random thoughts and scribblings, lists of projects, and so on.  Rooted through it a bit and found a piece of paper hearkening back to my days of heavy editing on the Norton’s Ghost novel.

It’s a collection of “problem words” and whatnot, along with some numbers.  I was going through the manuscript and using search functions to find said words and eliminate them.  I also wrote them down so that I can revisit the list whenever I edit another story and scrub them out.  For instance, in whichever round of editing this was, I went from 364 uses of the word “just” to 126.  That’s a 66% improvement (or thereabouts).

Some of the other words I worked to remove were:

  • suddenly
  • not
  • really (117 down to 21)
  • very
  • quite (30 down to 9)
  • perhaps
  • maybe (110 to 78; sometime tells me I could have done better there)
  • some of
  • seemed
  • afterwards
  • sat there
  • I feel
  • continued _____ (verb in blank)

The rest don’t have numbers written next to them.  I feel rather guilty for putting them in there in the first place, but think I vindicated myself pretty well overall by seeing to their removal.