Writing Progress: Week Ending October 29, 2011

This was a better week than I’d originally planned or expected, writing-wise:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 1,259 words

Grand Total: 1,259 words

As I mentioned during the week, Dear Wife and I were working on a house-cleaning and redecorating project, which I’d expected to consume most or all of this week.  But a little before midweek we decided we’d done enough for now, and that we’d postpone some of the clean-up for a later date.  I’m not saying we’ve left the house a total mess (although we appreciate a heads-up before visitors arrive, just so we can tidy-up), but I’m talking about bigger, less-frequent sorts of deep-cleaning type projects.

Anyway, with that no longer taking the majority of my time, I actually had a good opportunity to write later in the week, so there was measurable progress.

I’m still working my way through the background stuff… but I’m feeling really close.  I’ve completed between 75-80% of the “background history”, and this week I passed the 30,000 word mark.  That’s 30,000 words of background notes and history.  Not all of that is the history, but the majority of it is.  So if we call 30,000 words the equivalent of three-quarters mark on this history… that suggests I’ve another 10,000 words or less to go to finish this history.  After that, I’ll next be focusing on character bios, including a few short vignettes in first-person for the major characters.  (The novel itself will be in a third-person-limited.)  And finally I’ll focus on the plot outline.  And then, it’s on to the first draft.

I’ll continue to work on other related background notes as I write the first draft.  The history covers a lot by itself – making reference to nations, religions, political organizations, and other related things.  But there are things that aren’t fully covered in the history, like details about languages (which will influence some of the naming of things in the story) and mythology.  And I’m still working through the magic system and trying to iron it out.  But I don’t need all of that figured out perfectly before I start writing.  The other parts, however, I really feel will help give the story the direction and velocity it needs.

So, I’m feeling pretty good about it all.  How was your writing week?

8 thoughts on “Writing Progress: Week Ending October 29, 2011

  1. Hooray for some writing time!

    I’ve been on break from fiction this week and have been attempting to put together a query letter. It’s a skill I have not yet mastered, and is driving me a little nutty / paranoid. LOL

  2. I kinda miss the planning stage of novel-writing ’cause I think that’s the funnest, lol. Not that I don’t enjoy writing. It’s just people more expect out of the finished product than the plans, which is its own kind of pressure.

    Despite my enthused intentions to charge ahead, I decided to take a break for a week and kind of regroup by reflecting on the big picture again. It feels like I’ve already edited an entire novel ’cause of the word count, but I’m only halfway through and so that’s a little daunting. I’ll blog about this on Wednesday, but I’m supposed to jump back into editing/rewrites this week. (I was also readjusting to a new work schedule, which is kind of all over the place at the moment, so I’m trying to find my bearings in that regard.)

    Otherwise, I’ve just been doing some reading. Found some real life stories that are kind of related to my story. Helps me compare things to see what’s plausible and what isn’t, if my first attempts were on the right track…that kind of thing. It’s been refreshing yet helpful, which is really what I needed at the point where I left off.

    • Sometimes you just have to take a moment to recharge – and for a storyteller, what else recharges quite like spending a little time with someone else’s story? I don’t suppose it makes much difference if the story is true or fiction.

  3. It’s always good to get some unexpected writing time (especially when you thought you were going to be cleaning instead).

    I can mark my progress pretty accurately. I’m now 43% through reading my proposed mystery story collection, and I’ve made 150 notes to myself (the Kindle is keeping count for me). Most are punctuation and grammar notes. Some are corrections (including a couple of rather embarrassing errors I never noticed before); some are questions (“does this comma really belong here?”). And a few are questions about the flow for people reading the stories in this order (“Is this the first appearance of this character?” “Did I establish xxxxx already?”).

    I’m resisting the impulse to start making corrections now (even that one where I wrote “them” when I met “then”). I’m going to push through to the end, then make all the corrections. Then I’ll probably add the few things I know are missing (two epilogues, a floor plan, and a map). Then I’ll go through the whole thing again.

    • I follow a similar revision/edit path to what you describe here: reading through and making notes throughout a manuscript about where I want to make changes or what’s wrong (although I’ve been using the “comment” feature in MS Word) – and I try to do a full pass this way before I go back and make changes. But I’m forgiving of myself on the little things: simple misspelled words or easy grammar errors I go ahead and fix, because they take less time to fix than to note the error.

  4. Making small changes as you go is the most sensible way. My limitation is that the stories are already online, so that’s where the changes need to happen. The file I’m reviewing on my Kindle is an HTML file, created by a script I wrote that pulls the stories from the WordPress database and combines them into one big file (in the correct order, of course).

    Also, it’s hard to beat the portability of the Kindle.

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