Writing Progress: Week Ending April 14, 2012

For various reasons, and for no reason at all, it wasn’t the best week ever for writing wordcount:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 688 words

Grand Total: 688 words

It’s hard to put my finger on just what the driving reason was for the relatively low wordcount this past week.  This happens sometimes.  Howbeit, I expect it to happen significantly more in the next two to four weeks, give-or-take.  Dear Wife and I are now embarking on Home Project Phase II.  I’ve alluded to this impending project previously, and it’s finally upon us.  And now that it is, it’s become clear to me that there will in fact be a Home Project Phase III very likely within two months, which will be another two-to-four weeks, and the possibility of a Home Project Phase IV is not outside the realm of possibility.

On a strictly technical level, it’s hard to keep track of Phase This and Phase That, which is why I’m hemming and hawing here.  In reality, of course, Dear Wife and I don’t call it Phase Anything.  There’s simply the stuff we have to do, and that list of to-do stuff happens to accrete around a small number of discrete and overarching home-related goals.  I don’t go into specifics because the specifics are somewhat sensitive to our living situation.  Suffice to say that when the various Home Projects are complete, the present nature of the Casa Chez Watkins will be radically different.

Anyway… you’re not here to read my oblique references to stuff related to my home.  You’re here for writing progress.  Of which there was rather little this week.

But what I did do was pretty good.  I finished the second chapter of “Book of M”, and overall I’m pretty satisfied with how that turned out.  I haven’t yet started Chapter 3.  I’m thinking a lot more, right now, about codifying a timeline of events for the book.  Chapter 2 isn’t really a flashback, per se, but it is a step backward from what might be called the narrative present and into the narrative past.  It concerns the backstory of the book’s co-protagonist – it’s a scene from that character’s past, but it’s framed as that character’s present and takes the character from this past event up to a point very close to but still prior to the immediate narrative present. Chapter 3 gets the story back to that narrative present, and returns the POV back to the main character.

My point being, the timeline starts to look just a little bit complicated already by the time we’re on a little ways into the story.  And so the need for the timeline starts to feel more immediate.  I’ve been thinking about a basic structure for a timeline in a relatively simple Excel spreadsheet, and I’m likely to spend just a little time formalizing that and putting at least a few of the events from my outline into it.   I’ll probably work through the timeline not in one big chunk of time but slowly over time, adding events and details here and there.  Mostly, I just want to keep track of how much time passes between major events (in terms of either days, months, seasons, or years) and who’s involved in those events and where they occur – because a little later into the story there will be a bit more threadweaving of the timeline of events as they’re portrayed in the story.  (In other words, as is often the case in literature, the events in the novel do not occur in a strictly linear fashion, but occasionally hop back and forth between narrative past and present.  This is not an innovative thing, but I just need some way to help me keep track of the details.)

So anyway, that’s that for this week.  As per the above comments on Home Projects and Phases… I don’t expect the next several weeks to be particularly productive, if at all.

But enough about me.  How as your week?

13 thoughts on “Writing Progress: Week Ending April 14, 2012

  1. Novel progress took a hit as a short story I’d assigned to the “later” pile unexpectedly jumped to the front of my priorities list. Submission opportunities: They can throw a wrench in immediate plans, but entice with siren songs of long-term gain.
    Barring more surprises of a not entirely unwelcome nature (or other delays), I can get back on track tomorrow. And in the meantime, I’m really proud of the short story I produced. I hope those in position to judge it love it, too!

    • Well, submission opportunities often have to take priority. Myself, I wouldn’t count that time away from the novel against you, because it’s still productive time. So that deserves a pat-on-the-back. 🙂

  2. I think a chart of some sort is essential to keep track of a complicated timeline. If you’re thinking of this now and you’re only two chapters in, you’ll need it later on, so might as well start now.

    I had to do that with my second novel, though for somewhat different reasons. The timeline is not long (IIRC the whole novel covers 13 days), but it moves around in time quite a bit, including covering key events several times, from different POVs (revealing more each time). I had to make a chart to keep track of what day of the week it was in each scene! I also had to make a spreadsheet once to keep track of characters’ ages over different decades.

    Where you really need a chart, though, is hypertext fiction, but that’s another story. 🙂

    I had a pretty good week, though I had to adjust my plans a bit. The third part of Stevie One ended up being shorter than I’d planned (4,108 words) because I found I had to switch POV earlier than expected. The one part=one POV scheme is probably going to have to be adjusted for the rest of the story. Oh, well. I have a bunch of the next part written (handwritten, so I have no idea how many words).

    • Heh. I’ve never tried my hand at hypertext fiction. Given my lack of free time these days, I don’t imagine I’ll have the freedom to experiment any time soon, either. But given the possibilities of the medium, I’ve no doubt that it could be incredibly complicated if used to its fullest potential.

  3. The past week was a bit slow. A trip to New Orleans for a dance exchange took me completely out of the writing mode and it wasn’t until today that I’ve actually settled enough into life again to restart. So last week wasn’t the most productive for me either. I managed to get about half of the initial outline/scene inventory complete. My goal for this week is to complete and revise it. Once that’s done it will finally be time to begin writing!

    Thanks for asking as well as telling. Keep it up! Every additional word is a step towards the goal. And as regards your home, are you planning a personal writing space into one of these phases of construction? Just curious…

    • The way I figure it, planning time is writing time, too. So any time spent thinking about or working on stuff related to your writing still counts. 🙂 As to the personal writing space in my home projects… That’s actually up in the air, still. The short answer is “no, not at this time, but it may come into play at some future point”. But I’m keeping my eyes open as our home project progresses, and if it looks like maybe I can work things out that way, I’m going to try to angle it that way. Most likely, if it does work out, it’ll be a dual-purpose space; something that supports a writing area for me and some personal space for Dear Wife as well, or something like that.

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