Sunday, March 31, 2013

Character Clouds

I made Wordles for Willa and Akenam today, using their character profiles. It's pretty cool to see what words I used most for each.

Significant words for Willa (in no particular order): village, fire, truth, mother, father, bridger, Trio (her dog's name), winter, young, crown, always, fear, secrets, status, love, become, knows, intense, night, people, hair, honest, see, apprentice, white, orange, Akenam.

Significant words for Akenam: love, fear, secret, lama (his title has since been changed to kanyen, so pretend it says that), trying, group, right, dark, humor, capacity, loyalty, hiding, jester, choices, consequences, moral, truth, reveal, brown, Willa.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Update

Well, my plans for a thousand-word day got shot to hell. First, I forgot that I had to tutor at the boarding school this morning. Then, I found out The Parent had decided to come for Easter weekend, which meant grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking. Tomorrow is my 11-year relationship anniversary with The Husband, so we decided to observe it tonight, when we don't have company. He brought me flowers (blue hydrangeas), I got him candy (Whoppers), and we had our weekly movie night (Moneyball).

All told, I got just over 300 words for the day, and am counting that as a win!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plan for the Day

I'm doing scene work today-- probably won't get around to writing any story words. I'll have a nice stretch of time to work tomorrow, so I want to set myself up for that with a nice, meaty scene outline.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One-Third Done!

I pecked my way through 500 words exactly today, bringing me to the end of Chapter 8-- the first chapter of Act II-- and to the 1/3 mark (if you count the completed closing scene).

1/3 sounds so much further along than 1/4, doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Post title refers to both the location of the current scene (aboard an airship), and the speed with which I'm writing it.

To my shock, today was another thousand-word day (1,039, to be exact). My tutoring kids had independent work to do, so I wound up with more time to write than I expected, and for whatever reason, the words are coming easy right now. Considering that this same bundle of scenes took me TWO MONTHS (on and off) to get through in the first draft, I am thrilled with the pace.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Good Writing Day

1,000 words today. I'm getting to the heart of the scene, and feeling very relieved that it's flowing much easier now than it did in the first draft.

The next three days are busy tutoring and mama-ing days for me, so I'll be happy with 250 a day. Friday I have another long solitary day, so I'll go for another 1,000 then.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Update

Another 500 today, and I got some unexpected stuff that made me wiggle in my seat, I loved it so much. Willa wipes her hand on her coat after shaking Akenam's hand for the first time! And yet she'll be exchanging body fluids with him in 55,000 words. Life is funny like that.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

500 For the Day

I've got a good start on the scene. Tomorrow I'll work on nailing that dialogue.


The second draft of The Owl Bearer is 30% done.

Creeping In

I'm still fiddling with the dialogue for the upcoming scene, but I was starting to feel stalled out at my lack of forward motion, so I wrote the first 250 words. Might try to get another 250 this evening.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Onward to Act II

I sent Act I to the copy shop to be printed, mainly for the sake of having a physical backup in addition to digital ones.

Today I'm going to get going on the first section of Act II, which is one long and three short scenes that I think of as a "bundle" of action. The part of the book really derailed me LAST March, so I'm planning to do whatever I need to do to avoid getting stuck here again. Step 1 is a full metal scene workup, including all the dialogue exercises. So no new words projected for today (and maybe tomorrow), but I'm hoping to get some valuable planning work done.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Act I is done, baby! Seven chapters, 150 pages, 27,571 words.

Jeebus, it took me long enough. But let's not dwell on that right now.

Back At It

I never got back to writing last night. There was drama with The Son, and my three consecutive nights of crappy sleep caught up to me, and Top Gear was on. Didn't happen.

I've got an hour now before I have to exercise, so I'm going to try to do my quick scene sheet and then make a start on some words. I have to tutor this afternoon and tonight, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to carve out any more time to work on it today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting There

I'm done with section 1 of PP1. I'm going to take a break now, and try to get section 2 after supper. The first draft version of that part is pretty clean, so I don't need to do a full scene workup-- just some goal steps and the turning point, and then edit what I have. I think.

Six Chapters Done

I just finished Chapter Six. Onto to Chapter Seven (a short chapter), which will be the whole of Plot Point One, and wrap up Act I.

Snow Day Goals

Another snow day for The Son and me. I'm going to push to finish Act I today. I'm almost done with the Willa-and-Tom scene; then it's on to Plot Point One (which I've broken into two shortish sections), and done. I need to do the scene work for those sections, though, so this may be too lofty a goal.

My plan is to be liberal with the TV privileges. The Son is engrossed in Transformers at the moment (the cartoon, not the movie), so I'm going to go for two hours. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Another Novel Update

I only wrote 100 words yesterday, but that was because I reached the end of a scene. Then I worked on the scene sheet for the next scene. This scene--  Willa and Tom's last conversation before she does the Big Thing That Changes Everything-- was pretty weak in the first draft. While writing the previous scene, I found myself setting up a completely new version of this scene: different setting, different tone. That means that none of the first draft version is usable (not even the dialogue), and that none of last summer's index cards are of any help. I think I got it nailed down, though, and wrote about 350 words today. Act I is coming in long, surprise surprise. Act I is always long for me.

In other news, I read chapter one out loud to myself the other day, and was stoked to hear that it sounds pretty good! Gives me hope that the next draft will be a quick line-editing pass.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shelf-Sitter Challenge: Book 2

I'm throwing in the towel. I am not finishing Outlander.

I have been trying for literally months to read this book. I am now on page 333 of 800-something, so I have more than fulfilled my "read 20% before passing judgment" rule. I've angsted all over the interwebs about my struggles reading it.

So why has it been so bloody hard for me to give up on it? Several reasons:

1) I bought it as one of my birthday books, and it bums me out to think I wasted a present.

2) The series has a fanatical following, which makes me feel like if I give up now, I'll be missing out on something great.

3) The book is objectively good. I have no problem tossing aside something poorly written (I only read past page 2 of Fifty Shades of Gray because it was for book group). Hey, life's too short for awkward infodumps and adverb abuse, right? But Outlander is skillfully written, with well-drawn characters and an action-packed plot. It takes a eye-rolling Romance premise (time travel! Scottish lairds! torn between two husbands!) and renders it as realistically as possible. There was a lot in the first 333 pages that challenged Romance tropes, and I liked that. Kudos, Diana Gabaldon.

The problem is that I don't care what happens to these people. I don't know why. It's almost definitely me (see above re:fanatical following). I don't dislike Claire and Jamie, I just am not that interested in finding out what happens to them next. And without that interest, every page forward feels like a slog.

So off to the used bookstore it goes.

I still feel guilty about it, though.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Checking In

I did another thousand words today! I think I'm finding my groove again, and it feels damn good.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Secret

I have discovered the secret to deep and effortless concentration on writing your novel: make a huge, embarrassing e-mail blunder at work. Your brain will be desperate to escape thinking about it. And every time your attention wanders from the story, you will remember the blunder and AAGHH! straight back into the writing you go.

It's like the late, great Spalding Gray's Theory of Fear Displacement. His advice was that if you ever lack the courage to do something, you should leave your wallet in a place where it could easily be stolen, and then go do that thing. You will be too busy obsessing about your wallet to remember to be scared.

So, my day sucked. But I made some great progress on TOB!

Friday, March 8, 2013


1,000 for today! Which means that including the completed final scene, the second draft of TOB is a quarter done.

Well, That Was Easy...

Already done with the 500. I'm going to push for another ~500 later in the day!

Goal o' the Day

It's a long day of school + after-K for The Son, so I'm going to be brave and try for 500 words.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Awesomeness Potential

Yesterday I did the scene outline for Akenam's big re-entrance into the story, and today I wrote 250 words. I'm annoyed with myself for letting it get so cold these past two months. As I was making the outline, I kept rediscovering all this cool stuff about the story, all these layers and hints and clues (thank God for the insanely detailed scene cards I made back in the fall!), and I was like, Oh! Right! This book  has the potential to be awesome. I sincerely forgot that for a while.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shelf-Sitter Challenge: Book 1

The first book I've read for my 2013 Shelf-Sitter Reading Challenge is Voices by Ursula K. LeGuin. I actually finished it over a month ago, but have slacked on writing a quick review.

LeGuin is one of my Top Five Favorite Authors of All Time, so I was really looking forward to this book. I enjoyed Gifts, the first book in the "Annals of the Western Shore" series, and I liked the way Voices was connected to the first story through the now middle-aged characters of Orrec and Gry, and yet was a completely separate book with a very different protagonist. LeGuin's Fantasy novels don't speak to me the way her Science Fiction ones do, but I still read them shaking my head in wonder at her mastery. This is LeGuin at the top of her game: the worldbuilding is so thorough, the characters so well-drawn, and the tone so utterly free of false steps, I can lose myself in the story and believe that it's all real.

Although this book is shelved in the YA section, I don't see LeGuin "dumbing down" her themes or writing style in the slightest. The only thing that makes the Annals of the Western Shore books "YA" is the age of the protagonists.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Actual Progress!

I've been pecking away these past few days and have finished Chapter Five! Just a few more scenes to the end of Act I. Whew! I'm grossly behind, but at least I'm moving again.