It’s been a while since I sat down to write. I wasn’t really blocked, there was stuff I could do, but an inability to resolve certain logical problems in my plot along with a climax scene that was mostly “stuff happens” in the outline gave me excuses to not prioritize the work. Sleeping in was more important, certainly more pleasant.
But recently I’ve been trying to get back to what’s important to me. And an inspiration in the shower one day showed me how to begin resolving the climax of the work. So I resumed the work this week on the Pirate novel, and completed the outline. I’m happy about that. Granted, I know there are still some scenes that are not yet included (I won’t know what they are until I’m writing and realize I need a scene to explain something, or to show what other characters have been up to), and there are still to many “something happens here” notes in the outline, especially in the climax sequence, but hopefully I’ll have more inspiration before I have to write those scenes. And some of the scenes just aren’t working in my head; I’ll need to revisit those and see if I can make them work better. Oh, and I need to establish POV characters for each scene. I can do that as I start working through the scenes.
All in all, I have 60 cards in my outline. Each one represents a scene, though I suspect some of them will be merged while others broken into more than one scene as I actually write the text. I usually budget 2000 words per scene, but since my target for the work is 90K, I’m budgeting 1500. If they average more, that’s fine. 90K to 120K is a comfortable first draft word count.
Tomorrow, I pick a scene and start on the first draft. Yay!
I’m continuing to plug away at my detailed outline, but today I ran into a bit of a quandary. I just couldn’t think of a way to write a particular scene using the main character’s POV. It would be reading about some thrilling action as reported by someone else. For the scene to really work, it needed to be seen directly from another character’s viewpoint.
I had already been wrestling with the decision to keep a singular POV throughout the novel, or find a way to use multiple POVs, with the main sticking point being that a majority of the scenes will be from the main character’s viewpoint. It’s predominantly his story, after all.
Now that I know I pretty much have to use multiple points of view, I guess I’ll need to assign PIV to the scenes, group them into chapters where feasible, and try to keep them balanced, not giving any character too few or too many scenes (other than the main character who will get much more scenes than anyone else). Oh, and structure the story so that I establish that there will be multiple POVs early.
Why yes, I do sometimes approach creative writing from an engineering perspective…
After the cruise in February, my interest in the project faltered. I was having trouble with some key plot points. Since it is a murder mystery, and some of those plot points involved details of how the crime was committed and how those details lead to my sleuth figuring out “who dunnit,” it was growing more and more difficult to continue writing on the project. I realize now that I need to come back to it and put together a more detailed outline.
In mid-April I forced myself back to the keyboard. I was looking through the projects I had started but had not completed, and ran across on that I had been trying out the infamous Snowflake method on. I decided to try the next step in the method, a high level outline of the novel, five to six paragraphs at most. Funny thing happened though. Instead of a high level outline I found myself writing a rather detailed one, roughly a 250 word paragraph per scene. While doing so, there were a few days where I surpassed 1000 words written in half an hour. Wow! I guess those were parts that had been stewing in the back of my mind for a while. I’ve hit the “mushy middle” so the pace has decreased somewhat, but I’m still making forward progress and liking the result.
Now it’s May, traditionally my busiest month of the year at my workplace. I’m hoping it won’t affect my writing, but it has in years past. It would be nice, though, to see this outline to completion. No commitment at this point to immediately turn around and start writing the actual manuscript though. I don’t react well to locking myself in to a particular course of action too far in advance. 🙂
The words were hard this morning. I’m working on a detailed outline of my current “work in progress”, and I’m in the “mushy middle” part of the story, the part that is glossed over when come by up with the big idea for the story. It’s the “step two” of the joke with the punchline, “Step three: profit!” And because the words were hard I was more susceptible to distraction than I’d like to be. Watching the pigeons building a nest in the tree right outside the window. Fussing with iTunes trying to get it to sync my iCloud account so it would play music. Fine tuning my “movie scores” channel on Pandora. Analyzing the less-than-happy dream that I recalled when I woke this morning. I’m amazed that I managed to make my word count goal at all, and more so that I barely went over the thirty minutes I have planned for my daily writing.
I read somewhere recently that one should not rely on motivation since motivation is fleeting and not under willful control. One should rely on discipline instead since that is something that one can control. I agree and would include inspiration in the list of things that cannot be relied upon. If I were to rely on inspiration and motivation to bring me to my writing desk, my word count output would be measured in the low four digits per year. It’s discipline that will get me to where I want to be.
Well, I did not do as well in February as I did in January. You can probably guess with a high degree of accuracy the day I left for my eight day vacation, and you can guess it took me a while after the vacation to get my butt back in the chair, but I did eventually return, so yay me!
But the writing isn’t going so well right now. I believe it’s because I don’t have a good handle on the timeline of the novel yet. I’m finding my scenes are coming out lazy and full of directionless dialogue. You know how two friends who have known each other a good long while can chat away for hours without really saying much? That would be my characters. I need to spend some time putting together the timeline for the novel so I know where each scene belongs and know each scene’s purpose. I hope this weekend will afford me that time (if it’s not all eaten up with my prep for FOGcon).