Revisions & “Project 2012”

I’m still outlining my current novel project.  But some of you out there are revising novels.  The first quarter of 2012 is already almost half over, but if that “revising a novel” thing describes you, then you might still find this to be of interest.

Writer Merrilee Faber has launched on her blog what she calls “Project 2012”: a one-year plan to revise an existing first draft and start and finish a new first draft for a new book during the 2012 calendar year.  She’s got a pretty tight program for how to achieve those two concurrent goals, and a few interesting tools to help along the way.  So if this sounds interesting to you, maybe you should check it out.

What follows are some links to some of the first few interesting posts she’s put up on the project:

Plus, here’s another tool that one writer – Kerryn Angell, a particpant of Merrilee’s “Project 2012” – built off of Merrilee’s tools:

Of course… as I said, I’m not revising.  I’m still plotting and hopefully soon writing my first draft.  So what I’m really doing  here is posting these links up for my own personal future reference, come that time when I am finally revising (Project 2013?  2014? Somewhere in-between?)… But hey, if you are revising, it doesn’t hurt if this helps you out, too.


Writing Progress: Week Ending November 5, 2011

Another slow week on the writing front, but I’ve got an excuse!

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 1,472 words

Grand Total: 1,472 words

I had the time to write this week… but I didn’t spend as much of it writing as normally I would have.  That’s because on several days where I would’ve had good writing time I was reading instead.  I finished up a book this week (I’ll be talking about it more sometime this week or next), and I’d hit the “must finish this now” stage.  I enjoyed the book – with caveats – but I’ll save the details on all that for later.

Writing-wise, I don’t have much to say. The time I spent writing went okay, but I had  no major insights or new thoughts… Just chugging along.

I could say a little about how, as I continue with worldbuilding and background notes… I find that the world I’ve created just increases in complexity each time I sit down to write.  There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of this story.  Enough that I’ve come to suspect that, if I put some thought into it, I’ve got enough to support a second novel in this world if I choose to.  My plan was always for this to be stand-alone, and so far that’s still my plan.  But I can see value in producing a second book in this world at some point. 

Regardless, this novel will have a complete plot – a beginning, middle and end – and you won’t have to read a second novel to get the rest of the story.  But there’s certainly room in this world for more stories.  For now, though, I don’t worry about it too much.  I can come back to it later, after I’ve figured this novel out.

How was your writing week?

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?

Writing Progress: Week Ending October 22, 2011

I expected this, but last week was a very poor week, wordcount-wise:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 462 words

Grand Total: 462 words

As I mentioned in a bit of a throwaway line last week, I expected my productivity to take a steep dive for a little while, and this is the realization of that expectation.  I mentioned in that post that I was starting on a a non-writing-related projec that I expected to consume a lot of my time – and it has.

The project is sort of off-topic for this blog, but basically it involves some redecorating, house work, and yard clean-up at the Casa Chez Watkins.  Mundane stuff, but necessary, and time-consuming.  I expect it will consume most or all of my writing time for this week, as well, so I anticipate a similarly low-ball week, writing-wise.

Sometimes life intervenes.  You can’t help that.  You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do when it happens.

Life intervenes for me a lot.  And I wonder if I ought to have a more regular or more consistent writing schedule.  Say even if I then only get to write one or two days a week, if that time is set aside, agreed-upon beforehand… would I fare better? Continue reading

Writing Progress: Week Ending October 15, 2011

So I had a really good week, this week:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 5,389 words

Grand Total: 5,389 words

This week ranks among one of my better weeks, writing-wise, and that’s a pretty good feeling.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly enough to finish all of the prep-work I need to do for this novel.  I’ve written between two-thirds to three-quarters of the relevant history of the world this tale takes place in.  I’ve switched to a format that somewhere between outline and narrative to complete the history.  But I’ve still only got a handful of character bios written (like two or three out of something around about a dozen or more), and I still don’t have an outline.

And… most important of all… I don’t have an ending.

I’d been hoping that as I work through the background and other notes, that an ending would make itself obvious to me: something that’s intuitive that ties together all the pieces and elements of the tale (and there are quite a few).  But so far, it hasn’t come to me.  I’m mulling over a couple possible options… but neither excites me.  There are aspects of each that tie different elements together, but leave others completely unconnected.  I want an ending that brings them all together.  And… I guess it’s part of how I work… but the way I’ve always written, I almost always, with rare exception, know the ending before I start. 

Part of the problem, I guess, is that this is conceptually a stand-alone novel… but also one that I want to leave things just open enough that I could write a second to go with it.

Endings are difficult to get right, of course.  So maybe it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Productivity-wise, this was an interesting week.  It was a very good week, as compared to my average.  But the large majority of that productivity was completed on just one day – Sunday last week.  I don’t get opportunities to sit and write uninterrupted for hours at a time very often – but I relish those opportunities when they come.  The crazy ups and downs of productivity this week have given me a lot to think about.  I may talk about that later this week.

Well… that’s pretty much how my week went.  Tell me about yours.

Writing Progress: Week Ending October 8, 2011

This week, I finally got back in the novel-writing saddle, albeit my progress was a little soft:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 1,541 words

Grand Total: 1,541 words

I submitted “Story of G” last week, of course.  I’m still so nervous.  There’s no question, to me, that “Story of G” is my best work yet.  Even so… I’m having these nightmares that it’s really not that good at all.  Or that I really needed another round-or-two of edits, because maybe the main character is too weak or the plot to byzantine, or whatever.  I don’t know.  Time will tell.

Having done that, I finally got back to working on the novel, “Book of M”.  I’m not impressed with my progress.  About a-month-or-more ago Dear Wife issued a challenge to me: finish my background notes and assorted whatever and be ready to start on “Book of M” proper – to actually start writing the story, and not just the backstory – by the end of the Columbus Day holiday.  That’s… tomorrow.

And… well… I didn’t write a word of anything related to “Book of M” for the past three weeks.  My attention was focused exclusively on “Story of G” and getting it out on time.  The novel-related deadlines were all artificial, self-imposed, and anyways they were a long way off.  “Story of G” was much more immediate.

The result, however, is that I’d forgotten some of the details related to the world of “Book of M”. Continue reading

Writing Progress: Week Ending October 1, 2011

So, I did some writing this week:

Story of G:

  • New Draft Wordcount: ??net new words
  • Other Notes Wordcount: 0 words

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words

Grand Total: ?? words

I didn’t really keep track of wordcount for “Story of G” this week.  I didn’t really have time.  Because it was crunch time.  I had a semi-hard deadline of September 30th to finish all revisions and edits on “Story of G”.  I say semi-hard because I was aiming for a contest deadline: but the contest in question, Writers of the Future, is a rolling annual contest with regular quarterly deadlines.  If I missed this quarter, I could always do next quarter.  But September 30th was also the end of their contest year – meaning that if I missed it I might have to wait a whole year to find out how well I did… at least in theory.  They judge the entries quarterly, and the 1st-place winners of each quarter go on to compete head-to-head for the annual top-spot.  So that statement I made would only be valid if I actually made the top spot for the quarter I entered… You can judge the chances of that however you like.

Well… yadda yadda yadda contest deadlines yadda yadda yadda.  What about my writing you ask?  Well, I’m happy to report that I stayed busy all week and just squeaked the deadline with about an hour-ish to spare give or take.  (The deadline is midnight of the 30th… but I didn’t see where it said for which timezone.)  So… happy dance time!

Now comes the wait-and-see part.  Which is going to be a while.  Probably months.

Last time I did this, about this time last year, I ended up making the Honorable Mention list.  This time, I believe my story is better.  My honest assessment: it’s impossible to say how well I’ll do because I have no idea what I’ll be up against.  But regardless of what I’m up against, I’m confident this is at least a Semi-finalist level story, which is a couple steps higher.  If I can achieve that level, that’ll make me quite happy.

As for “Book of M”… I just missed having time to work on it this week past… I ended up writing for the blog instead.  But next week, now that I’m finally done with “Story of G”… I have no excuses.  It’s time to get cracking on “Book of M”.

So, how was your writing week?