Tuesday, January 31, 2012

JanNo, Day 31

Final count: 20,352/30,000.

Didn't make my goal, obviously. But I've been working hard this last week, and I'm pretty happy with both the effort I've been putting in and the results. I did a series of insanely detailed scene sheets for all of Act I, primarily to figure out what pieces of plot information and worldbuilding details should go where. Now I'm doing a quick revision of Act I, integrating details from the scene sheets. I don't want to obsess over getting a first draft "perfect"-- since a first draft is supposed to suck-- but nor do I want to just leave all this 'til the next draft when I know now what needs to be done.

Monday, January 23, 2012

JanNo, Day 23

Okay, so I've gotten way off track this last week. I got stuck in the weeds and was just throwing words on the page to make my daily word count quota, which is exactly what I said I wouldn't do in this first draft. I have a lot of information to convey in this section and I'm just floundering around with a probably useless scene. I know what happens about two thousand words from now; I'm just not sure how to get from where I am to there.

Between the stomach flu, holidays, snow storms, a cold, and prospective students' open house, The Son has only been in school intermittently. Five-year-olds cut into your time, man. And then I've also had work commitments, including finishing my article for the local paper. Those were really great, responsible-sounding excuses for not writing.

But really, I stopped because I didn't know what to do next.

But! Ray of hope: It only took me a week this time to figure out how I'm effing myself over, and then drag my sorry ass back on track.

Goals for today:

1) Write the pages that are between where I am now and where I want to be. Even if I have to spin them instead of write them out all novel-like, I need to get through these weeds and back on the road.

2) Make notes/charts/notecards or something to figure out exactly how much information the reader needs in order to understand each chapter, and to figure out where that information should go in the chapter.

3) Make a detailed scene sheet for the upcoming scene (which leads into Plot Point 1).

As for my 30,000 word goal... lesson learned. 30,000 is too much for the amount of writing time I have coupled with what I want to accomplish with this draft. I can easily write 1,000 words a day when I know what I'm doing, but I need to be able to take a day or two to think my way out of dead ends without freaking out about missing the words.

My revised goal for January is to get to the end of Act I, AND to go back and fix this fudged-up section from the moment it went off the rails.

If my initial calculations stay on target, it should come in at about 21,500 words.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

JanNo, Day 15

13,455 / 30,000.

Yes, that would be eight words of progress for today. 

Sadly enough, I actually did a fair amount of work today for those eight words. See, about a week ago I had a big rambly infodump happen in the middle of a scene that was supposed to be a bit of introspective musing during boring travel. I realized I needed all the info, but not until a later chapter, so I cut and paste it onto its own page. Well, today I reached the point in the story where the info goes, and it's been a hard scene to write. Up until now, I've been very pleased with how the advance planning I did has affected the quality of my first-draft writing... but this scene is turning out more like I remember my first-draft writing to be like! It's unstructured, the dialogue sucks, and the necessary information is still presented in an incredibly awkward way, despite a long time cutting it and smoothing it and making it less infodump-y. It's the first scene that I've felt is going to need major work in the next draft. 

And when all was said and done, I'd actually lost 200 words. I grit my teeth and struggled on with the scene, determined to not end today behind where I was yesterday. Hence the +8 words.

Tomorrow is MLK day, so no school for The Son (I swear he has barely been to school in 2012), and I have an article deadline this week (I'm writing for the local paper now-- did I mention that? Pieces about preschooler ice skating programs, and other hard-hitting topics like that), plus work taking up three of my evenings, so it's going to be hard to recover from the word count hit this week. But I have the will. I think.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

JanNo, Day 12

11,399 / 30,000.

Snow day today. This is ridiculous: The Son has been to school two days in the last week, and hasn't been to karate since before Christmas (first the holidays... then the Dojo's heat was out... then we were all sick... and now a snowstorm).

I knew that I wouldn't get a long block of time to work today, so I experimented with writing just a hundred words at time. It actually works really well for when you just have little snippets of time, and it keeps your mind simmering on the story all day. So while it took me all day to write 1,000 words, they were pretty painless. I'm interested to see, when I re-read it later, if it makes the prose really jerky. Anyway, a hundred words is nothin'-- just from the beginning of this paragraph to the end of this sentence.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

JanNo, Day 10

9,356 / 30,000.

Yuck day. I thought we were all on the mend, but we all relapsed today. No one went to school or work, and everyone was bored and grumpy by the end of the day. Managed to get 1,000 words, most of it 50 words at a time.

Monday, January 9, 2012

JanNo, Day 9

8,324 / 30,000.

I didn't write at all yesterday. I caught The Son's plague and was a puking, feverish mess until well into the night. Got my thousand for today, so I'm still on track. I've just burned my one sick day, though.

Sorry I've been so terse. I've been trying to keep a bunch of different balls in the air and haven't had time to chat. But I am loving working on the novel again. I changed the title again-- it's now The Owl Bearer --and a few characters' names, and significantly reworked one minor character in a way that I think will make the book much stronger.

I'm in an interesting point in the writing: Since I worked out my 6 big scenes (opening, plot point 1, mid-point, plot point 2, climax, closing) ahead of time, I had a strong sense of how the first two chapters would go, and then a very detailed vision of what plot point 1 would be. But the whole part in between was pretty fuzzy. Now I'm thick in the fuzzy part, where I'm discovering this part of the story as I write it. And that's fun. But I'm glad I have plot point 1 waiting for me in 12,000 words to keep me aiming at something.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

JanNo, Day 5

5,057 / 30,000

Only 362 words today, but I'm damn proud of having gotten them. The Son woke up feverish and vomiting at 4:00 a.m., and then threw up every ten minutes for the next three hours. I spent the day washing sheets, making Pedialyte ice cubes, and watching Curious George, all on four hours' sleep.

Ah, motherhood!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

JanNo, Day 4

4,695 / 30,000

Wow. Boring posts much? Sorry about that-- I'm wicked busy this week, with no time to past anything thoughtful, but I wanted to record my progress here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012