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The Summer Writer's Club Hangout
Brandi Larsen
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 6:59 AM
Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 229


Noelle, I'm sure you'll get your groove back. Here's to summer camp!

Hello, Atlantis, and good luck with the writing. Keep on plugging on -- we're rooting for you!

I try and string myself along in the "what happens next" approach. I have a general idea in my head of where I'm going, otherwise, I try to focus on the scene directly in front of me. Have you tried just writing whichever piece of the story takes your attention the most? You can always come back later during the editing process to weave them together. Or maybe there's a secondary story that will solve the puzzle of where you're stuck with your primary story?

One of the things I try to do is leave myself little notes on where to go next so I don't have to fear the page. I like knowing where I'm headed, even if it's just a vague outline. For example, when I return tonight to finish today's word count (I have about two hundred more to go), I know I'm sitting down to a really fun scene. Here's the note I left myself when I stopped writing this morning (all errors as written in the margin of my page): "Next scene: gardening, mr and mrs rich in the hot tub her yelling, leila's going to have to do something about sound proofing that area, looks back ot the banyan tree and sees how bad of shape it's in, then they meet again, this time having to talk over the riches' sex cries."

As you can see, it doesn't have to be perfect. Just has to be enough to get me started so I don't have to fret about what I'm going to write. I get to start when I'm already in my story space, and I can just go back to that place that I've already visualized.

That seems to be working for me right now. Let me know if you try it and if it helps you too.


Alantis
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 10:48 AM
Joined: 5/27/2013
Posts: 108


Brandi - While that helps, I have been stuck on the main character and his journey for a good month now. And while I have roughly, and I mean ROUGHLY, written the stories around him, they must come together at some point or the story will never get going. So for this challenge, I have dicided to take the roughly out of the other story lines, I must get the main character underway, or I fear the story will just go to the shelf again.

Also, anyone use dragon or voice software to write? I am so slow at typing my dog can talk faster, so I was thinking of getting it and wanted to see what others might have to say.

Thanks again for the advice and may the words come to you when you need them most.


Laura Dwyer
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:00 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192


@Sagana - No, I haven't, but thank you for the recommendation! 
@Noelle and others - yes, I too struggle with finding time to write with a toddler around. (And I only have ONE!) I find myself wanting to leave work and go home early just so I can write before having to pick her up. Oh, well. What can you do? As Darius Rucker sang so sweetly, It won't be like this for long. Before I know it, my kiddo will be in school and playing by herself and I won't have that as an excuse. And I'm sure I'll miss her tugging on my hand, pulling me down to the floor so I can play with her. 
@Brandi - I feel like I'm committing a writing sin by admitting it, but I'm editing my chapters 1-7 because I finally got my plot straightened out. For now. But unfortunately that means making major changes to my earlier chapters so that everything makes sense. And call me OCD, but I simply cannot keep writing new things when I know they make no sense in relation to the early chapters! Ack!
NoellePierce
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 9:00 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227


Ugh...so it wasn't my children I should have worried about derailing me, it was my father's health! Last fall, he was admitted to the hospital with an infection that attacked his spinal cord and went from normal, active life to quadriplegia. He was in the hospital from late October until January 31. He's been in a nursing home since then, getting very minimal movement back (he can raise one arm to his head, but fine motor skills, like gripping a cup or fork are still lacking), until Friday of last week. Now he's back in the hospital thanks to some complications of a UTI and catheter issues. I drove down to be with him at the hospital and advocate for him (and feed him, give amateur physical therapy, etc.) so I'm at the hospital for 8-10 hours a day. I *have* the time to write, but it's damned hard to concentrate. 

HOWEVER, I will prevail and catch up. I refuse to let it derail me again, like it did for NaNoWriMo last year. I just need to give myself permission to jump around to the scenes I do know and worry about transitions later, in revision, when I'm happily ensconced in my normal house and normal routine. 

I'm done. Thanks for bearing with me while I vented and put up my accountability statement. *grin*
Atthys Gage
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 9:38 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


It sounds awful, Noelle.  Terrible how life keeps distracting us, but it never really ends.  I wake up every morning worrying about what comes next – what new misadventure from by son, what new job woes for my wife, wondering if we will be forced to relocate, how we will afford it if we are!  I can tell ya, it can make it hard to focus on some make believe story.

 But... what a relief when we actually can, eh?
Alantis
Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 7:54 PM
Joined: 5/27/2013
Posts: 108


NoellePierce - I am sorry to hear about the challenges and struggles life has deemed fit to place in your path. I cannot image what it must be like, and can only send my best wishes. Some advice?.....

While it is hard to focus when so many things are going on, if you change the point of view to that of your writing being more of an escape than a chore, it may let you accept it more as a distraction. Everyone needs a break from real life and all the worries that come with it. One should not feel guilty taking it. When my mind thinks I am giving it a break, it sometimes free's things up and I don't have to worry or feel guilty about escaping to my fantasy realm.

Life is going to be what it is going to be, and all the worrying will not change that. So give yourself permission to let it go for a time, and maybe it will allow you to let the creative juices flow. Life is about perception. So treat the writing as your escape, a treat so to speak.

I wish you and your father the best and hope things get better.

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013 6:58 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


I hope your father is feeling better, Noelle.

Spent yesterday struggling with one of my characters. While I never intended for the romance to become the central point to "The Conference House," he just blew up one side of the triangle that was part of the subplot. And he wouldn't cooperate and let me delete the argument. So now I have to figure out how to proceed from here.
Sam Weller
Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 8:51 AM
Joined: 5/13/2013
Posts: 8


Read through the posts. Thanks so much for sticking with this, folks!

Brandi asked the question, when do we write? It's so strange, when I was younger and just starting out, I wrote at night. Now, as a father of three, I am too exhauated to write at night. Furthermore, my mind seems to work much better in the mornings these days. I am most definitely a morning writer.


Alantis
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 12:49 PM
Joined: 5/27/2013
Posts: 108


I am hijacking this for a few lines, sorry. I started a thread that will be an adventure in free writing. It shouldn't take up alot of time, but might break up the monotony of writing in your novels.

SUMMER SLACKER'S PARAGRAPH PILE OF REDONKULOUS WRITING CHALLENGE (thread name, and tell your friends)

Sorry for the hijack Brandi.
Laura Dwyer
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 4:13 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192


@Noelle - Oh, no. Sending warm, positive thoughts your way. I understand what it's like to have a suddenly-ailing parent. My MIL was sick for six months with an abscess on her heart. She's given us many scares and it's been an odyssey, but I think she's finally turning the corner after many weeks in and out of the hospital, loads of testing, open-heart surgery and some A-flutter. 
Life has a knack for getting in the way of what we'd like to be doing. Thankfully, all of the wonderful things we have planned are kept safe and sound in our minds, or on a thumb drive, or on our laptops, or on scraps of paper we stuff under our pillow at night. Good luck!
NoellePierce
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:14 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227


Thanks, everyone! Dad's out of the hospital and back in his nursing home now, so I'm back in Atlanta, trying to get my routine sorted. I made a writing goal with a friend who's on deadline for her publisher, so by the middle of next month, I'll have caught up on all my summer writing goals (and then some). It's going to be like a mini-NaNoWriMo, and I *know* I can do it. Our prize to ourselves: a writing retreat...on a cruise. I've already ordered my passport.
Robert Hobson
Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:34 PM
Joined: 5/16/2013
Posts: 16


Sorry I have been gone for so long. Working on the house, getting ready for the 4th, and had a blast at the Pride parade. 1933 words today. add that to hat I had been working on and I believe that my running total for the last few days is over five thousand.
Brandi Larsen
Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 4:20 PM
Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 229


Anyone write out of order?

 

I'm notorious for that, writing whatever takes my attention. With the book I'm working on this summer, I tried to remain strict with myself. I told myself that I would only write the next scene, the next chapter. To reinforce that, I've been writing it in a single Word doc. (I'm sure you'll hear my screams if anything happens to that file.)

 

I've kept with my edict until about a week ago when I just had to write this scene. Then, this morning, I needed to write the ending even though I'm not anywhere near there. Do you write out of order? If so, how do you lead yourself back to pasture?

 

Another thing: I've kept track changes on so that I can add comments that include my starting and stopping points for the day, where the chapters should be, and my word count. I also leave myself little breadcrumbs of writing encouragement, sketches of what's going to happen next, and moments behind the moment. (Yesterday's said: 8/4. Start time 9:29am, sitting at Turtle Pond in Central Park, listening to the birds and the tourists and the runners, looking up to see the turtles swimming and sunning themselves on the rocks. It’s a beautiful, perfect day.)

 

My question: Does anyone else do this? Do you write yourself little notes? (I find it helpful, as if I have a cheering section of my past self to my current/future self.)

 

 


Ben Nemec
Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 6:36 PM
Joined: 1/21/2013
Posts: 47


I try not to let myself write out of order, but I definitely leave myself notes on future things if I have an inspiration while I'm writing an earlier section.  I've almost always got a few lines like "Blow up the train" or "Kill off annoying character" at the end of my working file (those are generic examples - the real ones tend to be more specific but don't generally make sense out of context).

 

One of the reasons I don't let myself write out of order is that periodically I end up not using one of those bits of inspiration because it just ends up not fitting.  There's one in my file right now that I'm becoming more and more skeptical of.  If I had gone ahead and written an entire scene around that already it would be a lot harder for me to cut it.  As it is I can just file it away for a future book where it might fit better.


Atthys Gage
Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 7:04 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


I pretty much never write out of order.  I have, but I usually find those bits don't give me the kind of purchase I hoped they might, and so they end up being just an exercise (and yes, they can have value as such).    But I'm a plodder.   Mercurial flights of inspiration don't tend to happen to me.  That's why the whole 500 words a day thing has worked for me.  God knows, my rough draft is going to need tons of work to be presentable, but I love that part of it.  Getting the rough down is usually the painful part.
Atthys Gage
Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 7:09 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


As far as notes to myself, sure.   I'm sure we all do that to some extent.  I find that, if an idea really grabs me, I usually remember it, note or no note.  I subscribe to the theory that really compelling ideas are the hardest to forget. More times than not, I'll remember leaving myself some important note or even some phrases that I wanted to use, go looking for them and, upon finding them, say "This isn't that great.  Why did I save this in the first place?"  A little humiliating sometimes in retrospect, what we thought was good before.
NoellePierce
Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 1:35 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227


Congrats to all of you who finished! I got sidetracked by life (family illness, death of *another* family member, kids off school for summer...) but ended with about 22k for the summer.

Thanks for the encouragement and the challenge. I will try again next year!

x♥x

Noelle


Brandi Larsen
Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 2:40 PM
Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 229


When we finished writing this summer, quite a few of you mentioned that you were ready to do NaNoWriMo. I'm happy to say Book Country is sponsoring NaNoWriMo this year!

 

We created a forum to talk about it...

Brandi


--edited by Brandi Larsen on 10/15/2013, 2:40 PM--


 

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