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Writing Progress: Week Ending November 12, 2011

November 15, 2011

Not a shining example of productivity in writing this week, and yet I’ve no excuses…

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 1,606 words

Grand Total: 1,606 words

I had more than one writing day this past week in which I stared at a screen blankly and simply did not produce words.  It wasn’t due to writer’s block.  I just had other things on my mind.  Nothing of significance, really, but life’s been throwing a few curve balls of late, and there are a few more on the way, I’ll wager.  And sometimes, when you get curve balls, you get other things on your mind, and writing doesn’t happen.

And yet, I did get some writing done, just not as much as I’d have liked to.

In related news, I did pass another interesting milestone this past week.  But first, a little back-story to “The Book of M”:

I describe “Book of M” as “Final Fantasy meets Mad Max”.  A slightly longer-version goes this way: “a steampunk-flavored post-apocalyptic epic fantasy”.  The immediate circumstances of the novel relate to the “post-apocalyptic” part, but I didn’t want a post-apocalyptic wasteland for post-apocalyptic wasteland’s sake.  There had to be a “how” and a “why” to go with the “what” of the post-apocalyptic setting.  Understanding the “how” and “why”, as it turned out, necessitated understanding the “who”.  In other words, if there is a wasteland, there is a reason for the wasteland.  In this case, there was a war some indeterminately long-ago that left the land thus.  But if there was a war, then there were different sides to the war, and there was some mechanism by which the war resulted in a wasteland.  That means understanding the people who went to war.

Up until now, the entirety of the background history I have been writing has been toward this goal: understanding the character and history of the two powerful nations whose war ravaged the landscape.  I went all the way back to the foundation of those two countries, the better to understand the idealogy that underlies the cultures of these countries.  (Ostensibly this world has a history that goes back still farther, but that still-more-ancient history was mostly irrelevant.  Rather like how understanding ancient Mesopotamia would have little relevance for someone trying to understand the causes of World War I.  Arguably you could make a case for the relevance of the history of Europe and the Middle East going back to late Roman times, but much farther than that and you’re probably stretching things a bit far.)  That’s what I’ve been doing: telling the tale of World War I by telling about the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of new kingdoms and divisions in Europe and the shifting political affiliations and alliances, until at last we have these big, earth-shattering powers that face off in an epic grudge-match.  Okay, actually I’ve been writing the history of World War III in a world that skipped World Wars 1 and 2.  But anyway, you get the idea.

All of which is the long way of saying where I started in the long, long ago history, I’m finally up to that pivotal historical point: the start of the war that created the milieu into which my protagonist will find herself.

In terms of writing the historical background of this world, it’s all downhill from here.

So, how was your writing week?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2011 10:16 pm

    Got a burst of inspiration for my next novel! — an old-ish back burner concept, reincarnated. Spent most of the week feeling out the characters; it may have been as recently as yesterday that I finally discovered the story’s conflict (which was a relief, because what’s a plot without a bit o’ crisis?); and today I even managed to dream up a title with which I’m happy. Enjoying the brainstorming process; looking forward to the actual writing of the book. And my psalm-a-day NaNo is going well. I’m behind on adding to my queue of future blog posts, but my anticipation of such a thing happening is why I’ve got the stack of ready posts in the first place, so I’ve got a few weeks to catch up.

    Glad your background work has reached its turning point. Smooth sailing to you!

    • November 16, 2011 8:46 am

      Long ago I kept a queue of several days worth of posts… But I’ve long since exhausted it and have yet to find the time to rebuild it. I advise it if you can work it, though – it takes a lot of the pressure off of regular blogging. It’s great when you start feeling inspired and want to write… but did you finish the previous novel yet?

      • November 17, 2011 11:34 pm

        I did indeed — just before October’s end. It was a steep climb to the finish, but it felt so great to finally get there. And my beta reader loved it (which is always encouraging) and helped me polish a few needy spots. Now it’s just a matter of ignoring it for a while so I can later look upon it with eyes fresh enough to (hopefully) catch anything else I may have missed.

      • November 18, 2011 8:36 am

        Good plan. And congratulations.

  2. November 16, 2011 8:03 am

    Got first-stage revisions done on the first of the ten stories I’m planning to have in my book. This is much less than one-tenth of the work to do, though, since a) it’s the shortest story (7,375 words); b) it’s the oldest story, so it’s been revised more often than the others (and is presumably more polished for that reason; c) some of the later ones are actually missing parts (an epilogue, a map, a floor plan).

    But still, it’s one step forward (my blog post this week was called “Start Me Up”).

    Working on the second story now. So far it seems to need less work than the first one, but what do I know?

    • November 16, 2011 9:21 am

      Ineed. You can only take it one chapter (or one story, I guess) at a time. Even if it’s less than 10%, that’s good progress.

      • November 17, 2011 6:08 pm

        Yup, and now as I go through it I’m thinking of it as a book, where each character is first introduced and how, and so on. And, once again, rethinking the order…

      • November 18, 2011 8:35 am

        Uh oh… ;)

      • November 18, 2011 11:50 am

        No, no major changes. :-)

        I originally moved the second story out of the #2 slot because the crime was somewhat minor. I want to lead off with stories with some stakes. For example, I have one story later in the book about kids stealing test answers in school. It’s a good story, but I don’t think I’d want to lead with it.

        But now I’m thinking about moving that story back to the #2 slot because it has quite a bit of backstory, and that might be what readers are wanting right then.

      • November 22, 2011 8:43 am

        If you’re planning to structure it more like a novel, yeah, that probably makes sense.

  3. November 17, 2011 12:06 pm

    That is a tricky thing to figure out, but has to be worked through ;) I hope to hear of some writing updates soon!

    As for me, been taking a break and beta reading, exercising non-writing creative muscles (sewing things), and joined the multitudes of those that query. The last is more time consuming than I expected.

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