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Progress Report
Robert C Roman
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 5:02 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383


Few thousand words done on the WIP since last report. YA Space Opera set to begin work. Edits ready for Part Three of Artifice, and another set ready for Cat's Paw...

So yeah. Progress.

Of course, at the moment, cleaning my classroom is kickin' my arse.
Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 9:27 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Just reposted that transitional chapter that had been giving me lots of grief (and it's chapter 13, to boot!). I had let it sit for a few days, then, while editing another chapter, thought of some changes I wanted to make to it.

Also, I have just two chapters left in the entire manuscript to edit (this round). During this round of editing, I shaved some 8,000 words from the entire book. Hope to finish with the edits in a week or so and post the rest of the book. Then, time to start editing the third book in the series (it's complete; but will need editing, especially since I made some substantial changes to the first and second books).


Sinnie Ellis
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 12:39 AM
Joined: 4/3/2011
Posts: 67


I have 18 active manuscripts in various steps of undress. I have 4 complete projects sitting with editors and beta readers. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye on here. I am in query mode with my completed works. The dreaded query....

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 3:05 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Started chapter 28, but 27 still sits unfinished since my husband is off and has whipped out Skyrim. Even when I'm not playing it, that game is still super distracting. It doesn't help that when I sit down at my typewriter, the dog puts his head in my lap. Sigh. Good news, I did manage to punch out one page for 27 yesterday. I'm creaking along!

I've noticed many writers have procrastination problems. What is your worst offender. Mine, uh, the above mentioned Skyrim.
GD Deckard
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 3:34 PM
Fallout: New Vegas. I've logged over 1100 hours on that game. And Skyrim.... been drooling over screenshots of Skyrim. It looks like what Diablo III should have been.
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 3:48 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


If you want to get anything done, stay away from Skyrim. It's so good. So good. I have lost entire days playing that game. It is a fantasy writer's worst nightmare. An all immersive experience that puts you in a permanent state of awe and makes your work look like utter crap. It is Skyrim. Beautiful, beautiful Skyrim.

I'm going to go pester my husband for the xbox now.
Nicki Hill
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 5:59 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


GD, my husband says your comparison between Skyrim and Diablo III is invalid since they're two different genres/game purposes.  Other than that, nothing to contribute on the gamer front, except to say that my husband's video game distractions are actually my opportunities to be productive (well...I make them be opportunities, to keep myself from pestering him).   

Things that distract me: Facebook.  TED Talks.  Book Country discussion boards (ha!).  Other random internet surfings.  Let's just say the internet in general.  It's a terrible thing (for productivity) to be instantly connected to so much awesome.


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 6:42 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Progress Report: Chapter 27 now done due to the fact that my husband said I could pry the controller from his cold, dead hands. It's his day off, so I let him live.
Angela Martello
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 8:15 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Not a gamer, but I can see how they would be good procrastination devices. I'm with Nicki - e-mail, Facebook, the discussion threads on this site, Google News, certain TV shows, freaking solitaire and freecell - those are my major procrastination devices. Those and other art/crafts projects.

I figure I'm really in trouble if I start using housecleaning as a procrastination device.


GD Deckard
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2012 9:56 AM


SUMMARY TO DATE

Alexandria Brim: "I began writing "The Wedding Game" last July. I hope to have the first draft done by July 1st of this year. Right now, I'm working on Chapter 18, having typed up about 85K words. I imagine there will be another 15 to 20K words to go."

Angela Martello: "Just reposted that transitional chapter that had been giving me lots of grief (and it's chapter 13, to boot!)."

Athys Gage: Exploring the virtues of mitochondrial evil.

Carl E Reed: AWOL

GD Deckard: "Progress report: I just finished editing Chapter 7 Next, edit Chapter 8! Woot!!"

Kevin Haggerty: "I just got the 5th chapter ready to go out in public and added it to my WIP on BC."

Laura Dwyer: "...both of my projects are in their early stages. I only have a few chapters of one and a handful of the other, and they're nowhere near completion."

LeeAnna Holt: "Progress Report: Chapter 27 now done due to the fact that my husband said I could pry the [Skyrim game] controller from his cold, dead hands. It's his day off, so I let him live."

Marc Polquin: "I'm currently expanding a short story called The Fate Merchant into a novel."

Mimi Speike: "I have a lot of work to do."

Niki Hill: "I'm in the death throes - er, I mean, final chapters - of Strain right now."

Rhyll: I had thought that the book I'm posting at the moment (Balancebreaker) was finished, but I've never been happy with it. I began posting, and the feedback started things going again. Thanks to those who reviewed!"

Robert C Roman: "Few thousand words done on the WIP since last report. YA Space Opera set to begin work. Edits ready for Part Three of Artifice, and another set ready for Cat's Paw..."

Sinnie Ellis: "I have 18 active manuscripts in various steps of undress. I have 4 complete projects sitting with editors and beta readers."

Tom Wolosz: "I’m currently going through the 6th draft of 'Agony of the Gods, Softly Falls the Snow'."


Rhyll
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2012 3:40 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 22


I'm just about ready to post chapter 6. I have been doing some changes on the way through, and am keeping a list of comments from reviewers. 

The original version was 15 chapters long, but I've come to the conclusion that there is a major problem with the ending. I've ended up in the right place, but need a better route. Did I mention unexpected things happening?


Alexandria Brim
Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2012 3:10 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


"The Wedding Game" update: I finished writing Chapter 18 in my notebook last night. I need to type it up. Hopefully it'll go up on here this Friday, if not, definitely by next Friday. I've started writing Chapter 19. Can really see the light at the end of the tunnel now!
Nicki Hill
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012 5:48 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Strain update: Thanks to a new goal of walking instead of driving to get my errands done, I was able to think my way through chapter 10 today and got it sorted out to the point where I can finally move forward with it.  Unfortunately, I walked a lot today (11 miles!), so when all was said and done, I only got about 20 minutes of type time before the hubby got home from work, but at least it's something.

Laura Dwyer
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:57 AM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192


I don't have much of an update because I keep getting derailed from making forward progress by edits and revisions to existing chapters. I do, however, have a question: how does one go about writing an effective fight scene? In my fantasy work, Aequitas, my characters have limitless knowledge and fighting styles to choose from. Personally, I know nothing about any sort of fighting, but have begun doing research. Instead of obsessing over details, should I gloss over fights and highlight thoughts, dialogue or other senses during said fight? Or spell it out? I'd love some insight from others who've done this. Thanks!
(Sorry, GD, if this constitutes a thread hijack!)
Nicki Hill
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:26 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Laura, I wrote a really brief fight scene at the late middle/end of the first chapter of Strain - actually, it was less of a fight than a swift butt-kicking.  I don't know all that much about fighting, either, so I went with the things I do know, like anatomy, and the tiny bit of karate knowledge I've managed to retain from, oh, 16 or 17 years ago.  I think it turned out pretty good, but again, it was short and sweet.  I included a mix of emotions/thoughts and actions to flesh it out.

In another fight scene that I wrote (not connected to any type of actual story), the primary main character was not directly involved, so I was able to gloss over the details of the fight by having him cower in fear and hear the sounds around him.  I don't know that it was an especially well done scene (did I mention that no story ever came of it?), but it seemed to work out okay as a rough scene.

Robert C Roman
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:52 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383


@Laura - what you write depends on what you're trying to convey. If you give a precise, moment by moment description of the fight, you give an impression of an emotionless (or very controlled) technically proficient fighter. Focusing on the emotions gives you the impression of either a berserk (if they're angry) or distracted (if otherwise) fighter.

Essentially, you need to focus on what you're trying to show with the fight scene, then write it that way. As for technical details - research fighting styles, get some artists dummies and see if what you're describing is anatomically possible. And... that's about it, really.


Laura Dwyer
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:38 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192


Thanks Nikki. And Robert, the scene as I have it now discusses both fighters "moving in a blur of arms, legs and torsos, striking, blocking, avoiding and recovering, showcasing their speed and inhuman strength. My MC starts thinking about how she doesn't tire, how that's convenient, her opponent possibly having the same strength..." and then she gets stabbed. And then pissed. And she kills her foe. 



Atthys Gage
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:24 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Laura.  It's worth considering just how many details you need to convey your scene.  More often than not, one or two well-chosen details will carry a lot more punch than a long precise series of descriptions. 

That said, a novel of mine includes a long description of a basketball game, a blow by blow.  Emotional (I hope) but certainly more than the book ought to have needed.  But something unexpected happens at the end of the game, which is vital to the story.   My purpose in making the description of the game so protracted is to lull the reader into a false sense that all that is happening is a game, and then throw the whole thing into reverse at the last moment. 

I dunno whether it works or not, but something like that can be a reason for an extended blow-by-blow passage.   Still, less is usually more. 

GD Deckard
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:33 PM
Edited chapter 8! Well, very basic editing.

"Was," "that" and "had" was littering my prose and that had to be fixed

Next, edit chapter 9! Woot!
Nicki Hill
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 7:18 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


GD, I feel like I'm having the same problem with my writing - too many little words.  I keep telling myself, "Just get it down on paper and fix it later.  Just get it down on paper and fix it later!"  But it's driving me insane!  Ugh!

Angela Martello
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:14 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Half of Chapter 14 left to go with respect to editing, then a quick read through from there to the end of the book 2 for a continuity review.

HOWEVER, Procrastination Tactic #17,452 has been fully engaged: randomly selecting chapters from book 3 to edit. . .

Maybe I'll watch some episodes of The Borgias . . .



Nicki Hill
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:28 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Woo-hoo!  I finally finished the personal plague that was chapter 10!  Life feels so good right now (at least...until I have to start thinking about writing chapter 11...).

Charlotte Elise
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:04 AM
This is a great idea!

I've just made my book, Saving Isondier, private due to a rewrite. At the moment, I've just finished up some major planning changes and am getting on with the actual rewriting.

Prologue is finished, now working on Chapter 1. 
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:36 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


Wow, everyone is doing so well. I have yet to progress due to a super affectionate dog and, uh, Skyrim. Go ahead and shake your heads. I know I'm bad.
Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:39 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Watched just the latest episode of The Borgias on demand last night. . . But never did finish editing Chapter 14. . .

Come to think of it, I was like this when I was writing my master's thesis a hundred years ago. The closer I got to finishing up the damn thing, the more creative ways I came up with to procrastinate. I did finish it and get the degree, so maybe I will finish these books and get an agent.

I know, I know - must be the antihistamines talking. . .


Nicki Hill
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:27 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Angela, I'm the exact same way!  I can feel how close I am to the end of this book...and can't get myself to focus on just finishing it.  Grr!

Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:47 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


And the sad thing is, Nicki, I have the basic plot down for at least fourth (if not a fifth!) book. Plus the complete outline and the first chapter of a fantasy novel. So, I have plenty I could be writing, but I'm stuck in editing mode in the middle of one chapter in the middle of one book. . . Major grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

And, of course, I can be soooooooooo easily distracted: police activity RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE, dishes in the sink. . .


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 6:27 AM

Reading back over these responses reveals the things interfering with our writing are mostly everyday distractions, work habits and other interests. Besides the writing, we need time to think and thinking takes time. I'm impressed with the healthy attitude we have to the frustrations.

My favorite practical response is post # 57 LeeAnna Holt:
"Progress Report: Chapter 27 now done due to the fact that my husband said I could pry the [Skyrim video game] controller from his cold, dead hands. It's his day off, so I let him live."


Danielle Bowers
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:47 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280


Love this thread, GD!

Progress Report:
Bon Voyage has been completely rewritten from scratch because the first version didn't flow right because of massive edits.  I'm working on a few problem chapters and adding three scenes to chapter 6.

I just had a two week hiatus from working on my books because of a work-for-hire type job, so I'm eager to get back in the saddle.

Robert C Roman
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:18 AM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383


@GD said it - writing requires *thinking*. Unfortunately for me, that thinking process happens while I'm doing other things. Specifically driving and playing video games.

In the former case, I'll run out of gas eventually. Besides that, it's difficult to type and drive. In the latter case, the activity itself can be distracting, and on top of that outside observers often think 'oh, you're playing a game, I can interrupt you, right?'

My wife has gotten to the point where, when I've said that I'm writing and she sees me playing games, just says 'aren't you supposed to be writing?' At that point I can either shut down the game and write (because I've hit the point where the words are ready) or realize that writing isn't going to happen.
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:13 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


All right, I put Skyrim aside this morning and finished inputting my edits for chapter 23. It is now up here on BC. I'm not particularly happy with it. 23 was kind of awkward for me to write since it zooms down to show the villains' and Damitri's perspective. 

Now I'm going to try and finish my first round edit on ch 24 this morning if I don't stop to commit doggie homicide. He's being such a brat this morning that I had to throw him outside.

Here's to trying to fix awkward descriptions. Sigh.
Laura Dwyer
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:20 AM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192


I find myself envious of you all discussing your chapters in the double digits, and procrastination toward the finish line of the completed draft. I'd be ecstatic to be able to report those things. Alas, I cannot. The only time I have to write, ironically, is either at work (bad monkey!) or at night in bed (when I really should be sleeping). Work is hectic and keeps me too busy to write, and at night I can barely stay awake long enough for my crap laptop to load Windows. At this rate, maybe I'll have a completed manuscript by the time I'm 50. There's something to look forward to. *sarcasm*
Nicki Hill
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 12:34 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


...police activity RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE...

Oh no, Angela!  That's terrible!  (Okay, really, I laughed out loud when I read that - though I do hope everything's cool over there now.)  I can't say that I've ever gotten distracted by the dishes in the sink, nor by laundry or, really, any household chores - some fates are worse than having to plunk down and torment myself in front of the computer.  I also have a second novel idea in the works - it's been percolating there for maybe a couple of months at this point, patiently waiting its turn - but I've told myself that I may not start a new project until this one's finished.  *sigh*

And Laura - I hope it doesn't take you until you're 50 to complete a manuscript!  (Especially since I'm assuming that you're probably not, like, just a year away from 50 or something...)  At least you can't really procrastinate...?  I can't decide if a time crunch would help or hinder at this point, though having less time to write definitely seemed to help when I first started writing Strain.  Then again, I feel like I had a lot more words at the beginning.

And finally, GD, yes, thinking is vital for me.  I like to pretend like I'm thinking about my book while stalking people on Facebook or checking my email for the bazillionth time in the last five minutes (because you never know!), but that's a big fat crock.  I'm really glad that I'm walking again, because I'm convinced that my legs are attached to my brain gears - I just realized this morning on my 2-mile walk back from the gym that I took chapter 10 in the completely wrong direction.  Frustrating, yes, but at the same time I feel like once I do a rewrite, I'll be able to slide right into chapter 11 with no issues, and that's a refreshing feeling.

ETA: I just got my first-ever 5-star review!  Woo-hoo!  If that hasn't jump-started my writing engine and made me want to get through the last few chapters... 

Angela Martello
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 6:39 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Nicki - Congrats on the 5-star review!

As for the police activity - minor stuff, really. I had gone over to the front windows to close the curtains and I noticed there was a young guy leaning against my porch. No big deal. Lots of people sit on my porch while waiting for the bus. A few minutes later, when I took a quick peek between the curtains, I saw him in the street, with his hands resting against the truck of a parked car and a cop standing next to him. Another cop was in the street with a flashlight (looking at what and for what, I have no idea). Their squad car was stopped in the middle of the street blocking traffic. There was a woman, too, standing right under my window with her hands on her hips. Ahhh, life in the big city. No idea what was going on. I leave it up to all you crime story writers to fill in the gaps. . .

And anything, and I do mean ANYTHING (including dishes that need to be washed, roses that need to be pruned, a litter box that needs to be cleaned), can become a distraction for me when I'm deep in procrastination mode. And when I'm in that mode, that means I'm pretty darn close to finish up what I'm working on.

Laura - nothing wrong with being 50 when you finish a book. Actually, I had written mine over a number of years, but when I was unceremoniously let go from my previous employer (best day of my life for many, many, many reasons) at the age of 49, I finally had the time to finish the behemoth I had been working on (the trilogy at that point was all one long book). I used the time between my freelance editing work to round out the story and divide the book into three. Now, here I am 3 years later and the books are finished, just going through the polishing and editing phases. Posting stuff on this site has helped tremendously with the polishing and editing. Of course, that means I've been stuck in editing mode for 3 years. Any original writing has involved adding scenes to the three books and jotting down notes for the others I want to write.

Like Nicki, I do some of my best thinking when I'm walking (sometimes actually catch myself talking OUT LOUD). Of course, while I'm walking, I'm not actively writing. I've toyed with the idea of getting a little digital recorder so that I can capture the dialog zipping around my head. Of course, then I'll really have to talk to myself out loud while walking around the city.

Good ideas (well, ideas - whether or not anything I write is "good" remains to be seen) come to me at work. And sometimes, yes, Laura, sometimes, I open up a word doc or e-mail and quickly type in some stuff and e-mail it to myself at home. I probably COULD sit at my desk all day writing. My colleagues would probably think I was more absorbed that usual in my editing - that is until they noticed that I wasn't working in our content management system.

Like most of us, I squeeze the writing and editing in when I can - sometimes other projects languish (won't go into the several mosaic projects that are in various stages of production or the paints I haven't touched since joining this site. . .), but that's the choice I've made.

Too many projects; not enough time. I actually get all bristly when people say to me, "I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I retired." To them I usually shoot back, "What wouldn't I be doing!"

Write on, people, write on. As soon as my laptop reboots (so Windows can update and leave me the heck alone), I will finish that freaking chapter.


Robert C Roman
Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 9:05 AM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383


@Angela - I know exactly what you mean about retirement. Give me all my time as my own and I'm going to be writing, making stuff, cooking, fixing up the house, gardening...

Fortunately, my wife's opinion on all the hardware I'd need to have to do everything I want to do is summed up best by one quote from her - "Lathes are so cool!"
Mimi Speike
Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 9:14 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014



I've finally gotten my asparagus roots in the ground, and I've revised and am on the verge of posting a new book: On Gaudy Night.

I have one last troublesome bit of verse (yes, it's verse) to deal with, then it's done, hopefully (after ten years of off-and-on fiddling).


Angela Martello
Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 1:56 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Ditto, Robert (except maybe the cooking thing - although, I have thought of taking a class. . .). And that's not to mention all the volunteer activities I would have lined up!

Yeh, give me the opportunity to retire (and still be financially okay). Then I can REALLY start living AND writing, writing, writing.

Mimi - asparagus roots! I'm a city kid. Last year, at one of the large gardens around the city, I saw asparagus growing in one of the vegetable gardens. My sister, who is a master garden, very patiently explained to me the patience and years involved with growing it. I have a whole new respect for that delectable veggie now and for the people who grow it.


Mimi Speike
Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 2:25 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014



Angela,

My doctor, on my last visit, talked about the retirees she knows who are lost, who don't know what to do with themselves. The subject came up because I'm  of retirement age, though I can't afford to do so. I'll work till I drop, if they don't show me the door.

You, me, none of us, are ever going to have that problem. 

Here's to the crazy ones!


Nicki Hill
Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 2:57 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


"You, me, none of us, are ever going to have that problem."

At the very least, we'll all be able to keep busy by finding ways of procrastinating over the things we'd like to eventually do.  ;P


Angela Martello
Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 3:57 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Well, folks, I tried. I copied my work unto a thumb drive and took it and my netbook to the art gallery I volunteer at on Saturday mornings. I figured two hours of NO INTERNET ACCESS and NO HOUSEHOLD DISTRACTIONS should give me time to rework Chapter 14 (which has become as bothersome as Chapter 13 was).

My netbook hadn't even finished booting up when one of the teenagers who sometimes sits and chats with me while her mother teaches art classes to younger kids came by. So, we sat and chatted for about an hour before she went to hang out in her mother's classroom (btw, she thought the Twilight series of books sucked - except the one that Edward, the moody glittery vampire, wasn't in). I don't have kids, but I do like talking with them; nice to get their perspective on things every so often.

So, when she left, that gave me a good hour to WRITE. Did I? Well, a little. Mostly, I talked with some of the parents about the faculty exhibit, one of the photography students about her awesome print, and I bought a piece of art (ceramic jar made by one of the sculpture/pottery teachers).

Then, I went shopping, tackled my sweet autumn clematis vine that has been slowly taking over the alley behind my backyard, cleaned up the garden, tried another paint sample in various spots in the house. . .

And now, my progress report filed, I'm going to close the browser window and get back to that chapter.


Angela Martello
Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 8:33 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


I am happy to report that I've finished revising the dreaded Chapter 14. Going to turn off my computer and enjoy the evening. Will proofread the chapter again tomorrow (always need to let these things sit for at least a day), then, I hope, will post it.

(After I filed the previous progress report, I actually set my computer aside, TOOK A NAP [I don't nap], then watered the garden, then had the audacity to sit outside and read a chapter in CJ Cherryh's Conspirator. Can I procrastinate or what?!)


LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 10:08 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I finished my first round of revisions for chapters 24 and 25, but still need to finish 26. I give myself 3 rounds before I show it to anyone, so I still have 2 to go on 24 and 25. 26 has 2 and a half. I should probably get on that.
Atthys Gage
Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 10:35 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Hello, all.  
Progress.  That's the hell of it.  Sometimes you think you're progressing, but how do you know for sure?  Producing words is progress, no doubt.  I'm a firm believer in the notion that you should just get the words out, finish the rough draft, get it done.  It can all be edited later.

But the editing.  For those of you who don't know my story, I had my novel – The Flight of the Wren – noticed.  A real live agent noticed it here and asked me for the full ms.  That was a couple of months ago.  Of course I sent her the book and a few weeks later, she wrote back saying she liked it and thought the potential was strong but could I accelerate the plot, move the action up, pick up the pace.  

I spent about a month rewriting.  I couldn't do what she specifically asked for (move the kidnapping into the first fifty pages) but I could pick up the pace.  I moved stuff around, got more action up front, but mostly I cut, cut, cut.  Anything that didn't move the plot forward went under the knife.  I won't say I eliminated it all but I eliminated a lot – about 8000 words to be exact.  Then, I resubmitted my new lean, mean narrative, and waited.  

I didn't have to wait long.  I give her credit, she's no slow poke.  Again, lots of encouraging comments about my potential, BUT could I tell a little more about Renny's normal life, school and so forth.  Try and create some drama along the lines of normal life versus magical life.  And could I flesh out the romance a little.

The bottom line, of course, is that she hasn't rejected me.  She'd still like to see what I come up with.  The funny part though, is that the stuff she wanted to see more of is pretty much the stuff I just took out – character development, emotional context – stuff peripheral to the main action. 

I found it funny.  Also frustrating.  

So once more into the gap.  I wrote a new first chapter -- brief, really more of a prologue, though I won't call it that.  It brings the central conflict of the book to the very front, though I don't know if anyone will get that.  Beyond that, I am rewriting scenes for the uncountablith time, rethinking context, re-adding flesh to passages that I had previously slimmed all the way down to the skeletal.  

Progress?  Beats me.
Robert C Roman
Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012 11:51 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383


@Atthys - You're making progress. You're navigating shoals at this point, so a lot of the progress is that back-and-forth of avoiding the rocks, but you're making progress.

As for me, I've set aside my SteamPunk for the moment to work on my YA Space Opera. It's moving along nicely, finished around 3 Kwords in two days (about an hour a day).

Nicki Hill
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 1:36 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Atthys - How very exciting!  And annoying!  I feel like I would just be throwing my hands up in the air if I were you!  But really, that's so great to have been noticed, and to still have interest in your project.  I agree with Robert that you're making progress, even just by continuing to be willing to cut here and add back there.

Angela - Your procrastination puts me to shame.  I'm gonna have to try harder!  I feel like the bar has been set.    (Though actually, thankfully, I've been back to feeling about my project the way I do when I'm in the middle of a good book and had to put it down and am dying to get back to it - it doesn't necessarily mean that the words are going to flow any faster or more easily, but it's far easier to avoid procrastinating and plunk out a few more words, and that always feels good.)

As for my own progress - I sat down and rewrote the end of chapter 10 on Friday, and now I'm a few pages into chapter 11.  I ended up cutting almost 1,000 words from the first version of chapter 10 to the second, but it flows so much better into the end of the story for me that it's completely worth it.  Then on Saturday my husband and I drove north for his cousin's graduation party, and on the way back home I spent the whole hour and a half in the car talking through this upcoming fight scene in chapter 11 with my husband (poor him).  He's not the guy to turn to for advice on every aspect of storytelling, but he's fabulous when it comes to fight scenes (he reads a lot of R.A. Salvatore and other such fantasy, and plays Dungeons & Dragons, so he's got a lot of moves to pull from).  We knocked out a pretty solid outline for this scene, between my descriptions of character motivations and his resulting ideas for how each of them would fight.  I also starting telling him about the brief fight scene I wrote in chapter 1, and now he's wanting to read through it, tear it apart, and reconstruct it so it fits better with the main character's actual most likely fighting style.  Which is totally awesome with me.

So now I'm going to go to bed and enjoy sleeping in, and when I get up in 9-12 hours from now, I'm going to so knock out chapter 11.  Then I expect I'll only be one more chapter from the end, and it's the chapter I'm most looking forward to writing, so I'm thinking that this thing could very well be finished by next weekend, tops.  And then the mass editing begins!


Mimi Speike
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 2:44 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014



I'm still tweaking On Gaudy Night, even though it's posted. My husband doesn't get it. He said to me earlier today, I thought that thing was done

Someone (who was it?) remarked: A book is never finished. It is only abandoned. Truer words were never spoken, especially in regard to verse. There is always a couplet that isn't up to snuff. It works, but there's nothing wonderful about it.

To present a narrative and marvelous imagery in words which rhyme in unusual and unexpected ways, that is a monumental task. I write prose, and I write verse. Verse, done well, is harder.

Note that I don't say poetry. Poetry, to me, means a work of emotional significance. My stuff is as lightweight as it gets.


Angela Martello
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 1:07 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Chapter 14 has been proofread (as much as anyone an proofread his/her own work), tweaked, and posted.

Next project: to do a quick read through the rest of the book (I had done a round of editing by reading the book backwards while fretting over chapters 13 and 14) to check for continuity, etc., then get those chapters up.


Kevin Haggerty
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 1:49 PM
Joined: 3/17/2011
Posts: 90


Hey Atthys,

I think the important question when gauging "progress" is obviouisly "What am I trying to accomplish?" It's easy to imagine that what you were trying to accomplish when you were simply writing your book is different now that you're seeking representation.

I think that would be a mistake.

I think the central purpose of all artistic expression is to *find an audience.* More precisely, *to bring my vision to an appreciative audience.* So, your goal as an artist and your agent's goal are the same. Editing is about making that audience all the more appreciative when the work finally gets to them.

As artists, and particularly as writers, we can forget that it's really all about the audience. If nobody gets it, or if nobody shows up to "get it" what good is the art? If a book falls in the forest with no one there to read it, is it any good? So, we edit and look for representation.

What I'm saying is: of course you're making progress! The editor said, "Push the plot," so you did. Now the editor wants more character and even though you just edited out a lot of writing that would deliver character, hopefully, the work has a new, clearer focus now; so when you include more character info it will be more focused as well. It's *all* part of the process.  

Even so-called "procrastination" is part of the process. We can only push the work so hard. Sometimes we need to "let the paint dry," as it were. Sometimes we need to push and sometimes we need to be pulled. And sometimes we need to walk away.

To my procrastinating friends: an old writing teacher of mine once told me it is far better to take a day off from writing, to simply forget about the writing for a while and have a fun, entirely unrelated experience, than it is to sit and brood and guiltily mire ourselves in distraction. Or push ourselves to work when our creative well is dry. To paraphrase Master Yoda: Work or don't work; there is no procrastination.

-Kevin
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 1:51 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


I spent the morning sending the typewriter typed chapter 27 through optical recognition software (OCR) and fixing all the errors. Then I put it in the double spaced format I use for editing and have added it to my pile. It look me roughly an hour and a half. Thank god my fuzzy child behaved himself.

I have also kept my typewriter from seeing daylight for 2 weeks so I can finish editing the first half of my additions.
Nicki Hill
Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 2:12 PM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175


Kevin - I like that!  I may be borrowing your new-and-improved Yoda quote in the future... 

 

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