New Prompts & Tips

Learning the writers craft, with Tracey Ambrose..

Click over to my blog for new writing prompts and some great links on writing body language.

How’s everyone else doing in the preparation for NaNoWriMo?

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That’s right folks, I just hit my camp nanowrimo goal. The story is still unfinished, I suspect it may remain so for a long while as I’ve decided that I really don’t like it. It has been a real hard slog to churn out enthusiasm to keep going, the story doesn’t inspire and excite me, and to be honest, it never really did.

As I’ve said before, I wrote this novel as a way to push myself just to write something, to develop a plot arc from start to finish, set word count goals and work towards them. I’ve done those things and I’m happy with that. I just don’t see the point in continuing to force myself to keep writing something that I don’t enjoy. I have so many other ideas that I’m fired up about, I spent an hour and half this morning writing a bunch of new stuff for a sci-fi short story I started a little while back and I’d just rather put my energy and enthusiasm into those things.

I’ve decided to spend the next few months (also hopefully including next camp) writing short stories of around 5-7.5k each, perhaps create my own little anthology. I’m then going to work on editing and polishing those stories and perhaps look at getting them published, recording podcast versions of them for shows like escape pod, podcastle, rompod and countless others.

I’ve got the writing bug back and I want to nurture it.

I hope to start back on publishing a piece of flash fiction on Thursday’s plus a few other smaller wordcount challenges (like Unusual Stretches in under 100 words) and anything else I work on and feel proud enough of to publish.

Hope others are reaching their goals this month too.

Under 5000 to go

so close

so close

That’s right folks, I have under 5,000 words left to write before I reach my first ever camp nanowrimo goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. I could sit back and write a poultry 284 words a day and still finish camp on time, stick to my current writing schedule and write all 50,000 words in the next two days or less or try a valiant attempt to finish them all before I go to bed tonight – what will happen? Who knows, it’s a mystery.

Does this mean that I will have finished my novel? No. I will still have around 30,000 words to write before I finish this particular story arc. I am not going to alter my goal to reflect that figure because I would like to reward myself for succeeding with my original goal for the month and would rather not undermine that success if I don’t manage to finish the extra 30k.

I may update my snazzy new ticker on the side of this blog that currently states my camp goal, to reflect my novel goal instead.

Other thoughts, I’m getting a little excited about studying the process of editing and revising my own work but at the same time I’m not hugely interested in doing it for this particular novel. Why? Because I started this novel as an experiment in writing. I wanted to complete a novel, fully planned, from beginning to end. Realise the entire plot and teas out a few subplots. I don’t feel like this story is my own, exactly, the world is mine, the characters are mostly mine, but a great deal of the plot outline, the story arc and progression is inspired by Dragonflight. That was my intention to begin with. I wanted to see if I could follow a precise outline, to create a unique world and fill it with my own words and ideas without having to think too hard about it. I’ve done that. I believe I’ve strayed a great deal from the original inspiration (there are no dragons in my story for one). The reason I chose Dragonflight is that I wanted the “enemy” to be similar to “Thread” an environmental threat as apposed to a flesh and blood one. I do think my story is unique but I, at least, can clearly see the influences behind it.

That is part of the reason why I don’t know if I want to go through the hard yakka of editing this novel. It’s an experiment, not a piece I intend to publish. A practice run, if you will. And thus part of me says that it’s not over until I edit edit edit to a polished state, that that is all part of the practice.

All I know for sure, well mostly sure, at least… what I think I’ll do is put the novel aside for a while after camp is over, play around with the other half dozen original ideas that have been crowding my mind of late and then when I may, maybe, probably will, come back to The Magician’s of Khora for another pass.

I do know for certain that I have to finish this novel. I have to churn out the full 30,000 words I need to finish it, just so I can say to myself that I do just that, I finished something.

I’m feeling good about what I’ve achieved in week 2. Did this post ramble? It felt like it rambled.

Not a total waste

So I may not have churned out thousands of words yesterday, and I probably wont do many today either, but on the bright side I’ve pulled out a few weeds (grammatically/spelling related ones) and identified a bunch more.

I quick search through the current manuscript revealed the use of these words an inordinate number of times:

Felt = 59 times

Feeling = 25 times

Said = 48 times

Thought = 68 times

Eye = 81 times – yeah I really need to find some other feature to highlight here

 

That’s not to mention the multiple “your” to “you are” I also had to make and one or two other gems I picked up from all my googling on homophones I did. There are probably a great deal more easily missed grammar and spelling errors but I’ll get to those ones after I finish my first draft. I also need to work on where I place ‘.’ and ‘,’s along with paragraph structure. I really wish I’d pay more attention to this sort of thing in school.

Change is as good as a holiday right…

UPDATE – 3 hours on from my previous post.
I haven’t actually done a great deal of writing today, I think I may have managed a meagre 500 or so words, but, I’ve been plotting. Plotting, planning, replotting, subplotting adding back in a fourth part to the story arc and working out what I want to be happening inside each part and the word count goal. This has no increased my word count to about 80,000 words.

Thank fully this doesn’t mean I scrap anything I’ve written so far (I hope) but obviously there will need to be some tidying up and tightening of various parts of the story. I have a better idea of the story flow now which is good, but daunting. Pantsing feels so much easier and free then planning but I know that just writing whatever enters my head is not necessarily going to make for a good end story – past experience and mountains of incomplete stories hiding their sorry heads.

Tomorrow is child free day, I feel like I have something important happening but I’m just going to hope that isn’t true and I can dedicate my day to writing 6,500 words that will complete part 2, introduce some subplots, close a subplot (that is going to be important for the main plot, I think) and progress the story with a little more actual use of magic. How can I be 30k in and not have it overflowing with magic? It’s a book a about magicians for goodness sake!

Ok, tonight I’m taking a break, at least for a while. I’m going to make my family venison burgers for dinner and do some pickling and sauce making with hubby and before that I’m going to do a whip around my house zen cleaning style. Clean, tidy house, clean tidy mind.

Part 3 plotting

So I’ve created my outline for the third part of my manuscript. I know the chapter breakdowns, what I want to see happen in those chapters and the approximate word count distribution I’m after. It looks to be about 32,500 words long followed by an epilogue of undetermined length. Since part 1 & 2 have now reached 30k my novel appears to have increased somewhat in length from the intended goal of 50,000 to probably around 65k including 2500 for the epilogue. Not a bad length for a first draft, if I can just manage to write the last half.

Week 2 Goal (revised)

Complete Part 2 as per new story arc plan

(15,000 words)

Since I’ve written twice that number of words last week, this shouldn’t be a problem…*chews her bottom lip feeling less then confident*

I know this ebb in the confidence stream is due to being a little unsure of the last three chapters I wrote of part 2, I need to put that aside and press on. Revisions and edits can be done later. New personal motto: This is a first draft, it is not final.