Tag Archives: organization

Rounding Up Plot Bunnies

I’m still not making much progress toward my writing goals but in a moment of insanity I decided that it would be “fun” to make a list of all the books that I have started or planned.

Off the top of my head I listed 50.

Then I came home from work and poked around a few file folders (with helpful names like “fantasy starts” and “story ideas”) and I’m pretty sure I’m up to over a hundred now, and that’s not counting the “plot bunny bag” beside my computer hutch.

A friend told me I’d better create an immortality potion so I could live long enough to finish them. I told her I’d just make detailed notes and outlines on all of them and leave them to her in my will so she could finish them.

Seriously, though.  What do you do when you have more stories to write than years to write them? (Well, aside from “write faster” which was my friend’s other advice.) If I could write a book a month – consistently – it would still take me over 8 years to clear my backlog of ideas.

Anyhow, listing my projects and potential projects actually sort of ties in with my writing goals for this month, as one of them is to set up a bullet journal for my writing, and part of that is to have a list of all projects so I can track progress on them.

As to how I’m going to track progress, that’s a good question.  Once I get some free time (ha!) I think I’m going to poke through the files section in the bullet journal writers group on Face Book to look for ideas. I might even dive down the Pinterest rabbit hole.

I will find a way to get my writing organized. I will!

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Inside the Computer Hutch

So last Monday I mentioned that I was “clearing out all of the “important” papers in my computer hutch. All of the stuff that I shove under my monitor – and beside my monitor when I run out room under it – because it’s important and I need it and need to refer back to the information on it.”

I ended up with a plastic bag full of random scraps of paper and partially used notepads and I’ve been taking it to work with me to sort through during down time.

So, what all did I find in my “important” papers? Here’s a brief list:

a work schedule from a year ago
pages of potential Wednesday Words prompts
the phone number of a guy that a co-worker recommended to fix my laptop
several lists of names to use for characters (now consolidated into one list)
plot bunnies
quotes I’d saved
lists of goals, writing and other
a lot of notes about stuff I’m writing
a couple snail mail addresses
and a lot of miscellaneous because “Everything can be filed under Miscellaneous.”

I wrote anything important in a notebook and tossed the papers, except for stuff that I had printed out for novel-writing – story starts, outlines with handwritten notes added, etc.  It’s much neater and more organized now.

So now my next step is to decide what sort of permanent home the notes go into. Some are goals to work on so they’ll go into my 2017 planner. The writing stuff will go into appropriate folders and notebooks.

And the rest… I’m not quite sure yet.

I think once I get the big categories done I’ll be able to get a better handle on the small stuff.

And then I’m going to try to keep just one notebook or notepad by my computer and sort out its notes on a weekly basis.

And meanwhile, I’ve rediscovered a dozen or so feral plot bunnies that need taming.

*wanders off to find a whip and chair*

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Stepping Back and Looking Around

We’re almost a third of the way through December already.  I haven’t done any editing or revising or even much in the way of new writing, although my mind has been busy with the latter.  What I have been doing is starting to regroup and see where I am and what I need to do so I can make plans for the new year.

Part of that involves clearing out all of the “important” papers in my computer hutch. All of the stuff that I shove under my monitor – and beside my monitor when I run out room under it – because it’s important and I need it and need to refer back to the information on it.

Um, yeah.  Right.

I’m not sure I’m going to know what even half of these notes mean when I read them – if I can read them.  Given my handwriting and the length of time since my last computer hutch clean out the chances are pretty good that I’ll have no clue what some of them mean. (How old is this stuff I’m dealing with? I just found a work schedule from the end of August and it wasn’t anywhere near the bottom.) (And I swear the more I pull out of there the more there is.)

But, archaeological dig through the computer hutch aside, I also need to decide what to focus on next year.  The Academy of the Accord, of course, and finishing the revisions of Onyx Sun and getting it published.

And I should stop there, at least as far as major writing goals are concerned. (Although finishing the Elven Bard book I started for NaNoWriMo is also a priority. As is finishing The Other Mages trilogy.  And all the other books I have started.)

*sigh*

See what I mean? I have too many things clamoring for my attention, all of which think they are the most important. And there is only one of me so I am vastly outnumbered. And surrounded.

And every time I think I’ve made up my mind about what I’m going to focus my attention on everything else attacks.

Maybe the solution is to make a list of current works in progress and count them up and put them into some sort of rotation schedule where I work on one for a day or two and then go on to another until it’s that one’s turn again. (I think a rotation is about the only thing I haven’t tried.)  Of course, I’d have to make allowances for NaNoWriMo months…

Anyhow…

Then, of course, there are the non-writing goals for my life.  I always make too many of those, too, so, again, I need to narrow my focus. And find a way to keep myself motivated and hold myself accountable. And be realistic.

(Realistic goals are a real thing, aren’t they? Mine never seem to be – I always feel like I can do all the things all at once right now.)

And find balance between my writing life and my non-writing life.  (I’m not including my working-life in this because I go do my 40 hours and that’s it. I work to live, not live to work.)

So, yeah.  Taking the month off to take stock and make plans wasn’t really what I planned to do, but that seems to be what’s happening. And that’s okay.  It means that I’ll have a renewed sense of purpose and direction come January 1st.

Meanwhile, the excavation of the computer hutch continues.

 

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Announcing…

I would like to announce that finished entering the changes of the first round edits to Book Four of The Academy of the Accord.

Yeah, I really would like to announce that.

Unfortunately, I didn’t, so I can’t.

I did, however, get past the mess with the notes so I think it should be smooth sailing now and I’ll hopefully finish it tomorrow on my day off.

And then I can start on Book Five.

This weekend I discovered that not only do I leave myself worthless notes, I also apparently write scenes and lose them.

I was certain that I had written a small additional scene for Onyx Sun.  I needed to see where I had decided to insert it because there is another part to it that comes later and I thought I had finally figured out where to put it, but when I checked the Word doc I couldn’t find the scene.  It’s just not there.

After I got done crying and beating myself over the head with a loaf of bread, another folder caught my eye, and yep, sure enough! I had written that scene!  But I hadn’t put it into the main Word doc.  Nope.  I made it its own Word doc and had saved it in a folder called “To Get Printed” because apparently I was going to print it and compare it to the full manuscript to decide where to put it.

This doesn’t help the “where to put the second part” problem, but at least I found the scene and haven’t totally lost my mind.

Never mind that there is a “Novel I’m Ignoring” that I know I wrote a whole bunch of stuff for that is just quite simply nowhere.  (Which is probably why it’s in the “Novels I’m Ignoring” folder.)

I’m beginning to think I should get everything printed out and kept as a hard copy.

Maybe when I finish The Academy of the Accord and have twelve empty three ring binders and an empty shelf on my bookshelves…

Anyhow…

My current non-writing project is trying to figure out what sort of safe easy-to-find-when-I-need-it place I put my writing bullet journal in.  (Apparently Word docs aren’t the only thing I put away in weird places that make sense at the time but not later.)

You know what the most frustrating thing is? I am totally organized at work. No matter what job I’ve had, I’ve always been extremely organized and “together” at work.  No matter what my desk or work area looked like at any point in time I could lay my hands on whatever I was looking for in thirty seconds or less. For some reason, however, I’ve never been able to carry that organization ability over to my home life.

 

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Camp Update July 11, 2016

I wrote myself into a corner yesterday before work, but figured out how to get out of it while in the bathtub this morning.  (Wizards can be really hard on plot lines.)

So, anyhow, now I’m really eager to get back to it.  (Amazing what a little inspiration can do, isn’t it?)

So, here’s a quick camp update before I get back to the writing tent.

As of this moment I have 11,173 words written.  Par for today is 17,741 which means I am 6568 words behind where I should be.  I’m obviously not going to get caught up today (I have to leave for the Evil Day Job in a couple hours) but I should get to at least 12K before then.

I hope.

I mean, I really hope.

Because par for tomorrow is 19,394 and that sounds like a whole lot of words away.

Not taking the first day of Camp off really hurt me, I think, but on a brighter note, the main event in November starts on a Tuesday, and Tuesday and Wednesday are my days off from work.

When I was writing Friday’s blog post I was 6222 words behind, so at least I haven’t lost too much ground.  And I haven’t written anything yet today so I might even actually be a little bit ahead of that by the time I leave for work.

I could (I suppose) do some writing at work in odds and ends of downtime, but I’ve been using that time to play with my traveler’s notebooks. By the start of August I want to have a couple tracking systems in place, one for word count and one to track where I am with each individual project. (Or at least, each individual current project. Stuff that is sitting on the back burner probably won’t be added into it.  Or maybe they will.  Depending on how many pages I have in the tracker I might put a couple of m favorite back burner projects in there too.  We’ll see.)

I’m off tomorrow, and in addition to cleaning the rat cage (my usual Tuesday morning project) and writing, I need to do some serious bedroom cleaning.  I’d also like to make some more inserts for my traveler’s notebooks – just practice ones to work out trackers and the like.

But that’s tomorrow.  For today, I have a corner to write my way out of, and characters to torture in the process.

 

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Three Weeks

I can’t believe that the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo starts in just three weeks.  Didn’t April’s session just end?  Like a week ago?  What happened to the month of May?  And is June going to disappear as fast?

Sadly, I’m afraid that it is, and I have so much to do before the end of the month…

And even more sadly, many of those things have been on the list since last Camp, and nothing seems to be getting done.  (I did manage to do the seasonal clothing swap – just in time to have to drag out a sweatshirt as the temps dropped into the low 50s to mid 40s at night.)

I think that part of that reason that nothing seems to be getting done is that my list is too big.  The way it’s (not) working now is that I make a list of things to do on my days off, with the understanding that things that don’t get done on those two days will just be carried over to be done over the course of the next five days.  It’s a good plan – in theory.  In actuality, it doesn’t work so well, probably because the big list is too overwhelming.

But I have three weeks to try to tweak it into something functional.

Three weeks to knock some stuff off the list.

Three weeks to get ready for Camp.

Right now, I have my list of “weekend” (Tuesday and Wednesday) goals already written.  Between now and Monday night I’m going to try to get at least a couple things off of that list.

Saturday and Sunday, of course, are mostly taken up with the blog hops, but that still leaves me today/tonight, part of tomorrow morning, and most of Monday before and after work. (And if the next four shifts go as smoothly as last night’s I might be able to get a couple little things done there too.  Or at least worked on.)

None of that is going to make the list more finishable on my weekend, but maybe I can at least get a couple things done so that I don’t have to carry them over to my next weekend.

(And since some of the things on my list have been getting carried over for a month or more, I’ll consider it progress to have even one of them permanently off the list.)

And if I can finish Book Six of The Academy of the Accord I can start something new for Camp.

Three weeks.  I can probably do that.

But I really need to finish the revisions on Onyx Sun

Maybe the real reason I can’t seem to make any progress on the list is that there are too many things that are vying for “do me first.”

 

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Up, Down, and Inside Out

Things are looking up a bit since Friday’s post.

Well, at least as far as Onyx Sun is concerned.  One of the comments I got from a beta reader was that the end was… unsatisfying.  That she wanted to see Maureena get what was coming to her, not just read about what happened in a summary type thing.   Well, while soaking in the bath tub the other day I had a great idea with how to do that.  I haven’t written it yet because, well, because I can’t seem to figure out exactly how to start it. But the idea is there, percolating, and it won’t be long until it comes out as actual words on a screen.  (Maybe even on my “weekend” – Tuesday and Wednesday.)

Although Tuesday and Wednesday should be spent doing house stuff… (If I get the blog hops finished before I go to work this afternoon I might tackle a little bit of that.)

Oh, and good news on that front — we have access to a dumpster for getting rid of big stuff.  Yay!

Now for the down.

I’ve been working on the first round paper edits of Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord and every time I start working on it I swear it’s a bigger disaster than it was the last time.

I was talking to my friend Danielle about it and she suggested (and then ran away) that I might need to start rewriting it from the ground up.  I’m afraid she’s right, and that’s sort of what’s happening.

And that leads to the “inside out” portion.

In an effort to salvage as much as I can I’m going to get a bunch of colored index cards. I’ll use one color for Book 5, one for Book 6, and one for Book 7. (And maybe one for Book 8.)  I’ll go through Book 5 and write one scene on each card and if it’s something that belongs in one of the other books I’ll put it on a different color.   (I love to color code things.)

That’s going to let me see at a glance where things belong so I can sort them out and put them in the appropriate novel files.

Then I’m going to rearrange a few scene cards for Book 5 and see if I can move some things around so I can anchor the plot better.  Right now the plot is sort of hard to find, and the major conflict takes place (and resolves) far too early in the novel.  (Not to mention that it doesn’t seem to be all that major or threatening, so I need to kick that up a few notches.)

So, yeah, it needs a lot of work, but at least now I have a handle on how to tackle it.

Now, if I only had a handle on how to get more hours in a day.

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Planning Ahead

So, April Camp is just past the halfway point and I’m already thinking about July. (And November too, for that matter.  I think I may need an intervention.)

I saw a picture on Face Book the other day that I thought would make an awesome cover for Song and Stone (the sequel to Song and Sword) so I decided that that would be my project for July Camp.

(Before I can use the picture I’d have to track down the artist, so I may just use it to show a cover artist what sort of thing I’m looking for.)

But then yesterday I started thinking that I should use July Camp to finish Hedge House, or maybe Disturbed Magic (the novel I’m posting from for Rainbow Snippets), or any one of half a dozen other works in progress (*cough* The Other Mages trilogy *cough*) and save Song and Stone for November, since I traditionally use the Camps to finish – or try to finish – things that I’ve already started.

So now I’m undecided again.

And overwhelmed.  I always feel that way when I start looking at how many books are waiting to be finished. (I need to stop looking at the big picture and focus on one thing at a time, but that is much easier said than done.)

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday trying to organize a schedule for the rest of the year that takes into account two more NaNoWriMo months and still has me finishing the first round edits of The Academy of the Accord series by the end of December.  I think it might be doable.  Maybe.  Then I’ll have to worry about next year.

And I’ve only figured in stuff pertaining to The Academy of the Accord – first round paper editing, entering the changes in Word, and getting the concordance set up – I haven’t factored in writing at all.  Maybe I’ll try to figure out how to work that in later today.  (Maybe 500 words a day? But which project to work on first?)

And that flash fiction piece is still being a problem, mostly because nothing I come up with is short enough and all my ideas just add to the pile of plot bunnies having an orgy in the wings.

But my biggest problem? That would be the fact that I haven’t won the lottery yet so I still have to go to work.

Well, that, and I still haven’t found a way to avoid the need to sleep now and then.

 

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Camp Countdown

One week!

Camp starts next Friday and my outline is a mess.

I have all the scenes listed, and I know (mostly) what happens when and to whom, but I’m lacking a couple important elements.

Like the villain’s motivation.

For that matter, I’m rather lacking in a villain, too. I have a couple candidates, but no clear choice.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that this book ties in rather closely with books five and seven, so a lot of my outline says to check them to see what happens.  Since I won’t have time to stop and check them next month, that’s probably going to be what the manuscript says, too.  Maybe I’ll build a timeline in the next week.  That would help, but realistically, it isn’t likely to happen.

After the final plot point on my outline there is roughly a page of notes, mostly ramblings about who and why and how. Somehow I need to integrate those notes into the outline so everything makes sense and flows in some sort of more or less natural order.

So, for now, my daily routine is to print out what I have and edit it, writing notes on the paper, moving minor things around, asking and answering questions, and trying to make it look at least semi neat so I can follow it next month.

That’s actually how all my outlines get done.  The problem this time is that I only have a week to iron out the details — and it’s really wrinkled.  I feel like I should have started this daily outline workout a month ago.

On the other hand, I do tend to work better under pressure and with a tight deadline.

And on a brighter note, I have the first day off from work to hopefully get a lot of words written.

 

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2018

That’s the new deadline.

Monday’s attempt to write blurbs for The Academy of the Accord books led me to realize how much I didn’t remember about some of the books, so I’ve been rereading them since then and I can’t believe how much I’d forgotten about them.

Some of the later ones are pretty confused and disjointed (mostly from having been written out of order and me changing my mind on a few things midway through). Now that I’ve had a fresh look at them I’m pretty sure that the series isn’t going to be ready to release starting next January.  Not if I want to give the books the time and attention they need to be done right – and I do.  I owe it to myself and the series.

While this does take some of the pressure off, I do still want to have completed at least the first round edits of all twelve books by the end of the year.  I also want to have the concordance completed, or as completed as it can get.

I spent some time working on it yesterday, getting it set up, and I think I’ve got a handle on how to organize the information and fix plot holes and continuity problems.

So far there are three sections.

Section One is divided into 12 subsections, one for each book.  Each subsection has the following pages:
Synopsis
People/Places/Things Introduced
Things to Check for Other Books (Questions from Other Books)
Things to Look Up in Other Books
Things to Verify within This Book
Comments from Beta Readers
Miscellaneous

Right now there is no real rhyme or reason to my notes about things that I need to look up in other books.  With this set up I’ll have everything in one place and I can go through and write the answers in the concordance and refer back to it when editing. By putting the questions in the section for each book I should be able to just go through once and answer everything instead of being in and out of twelve files and trying to find the answers and the places that I had the question.  I think I’ll write the answer in a different color, too, to help offset my illegible handwriting.

Section Two is People/Places/Things, and will be divided into a subcategory for each. Everyone/everything will be listed alphabetically, and I’ll note which book(s) they are in. For instance, Vinadi and Marsden are in all twelve books, Kordelm, Wellhym, Caristen, Torlew, and Yhonshel are in books 2 through 12, Koppaerna is in books 2 and 4, and so on.  There will also be physical descriptions as well as a narrative that will help me keep track of who knows what.  Places will also be described because if I have to look up the description of the dungeons under The Keep one more time… (Ditto the Tower of the Accord.)  I have lots of graph paper so (if I can find it) I might even draw out their floor plans.  I should do that for the school, too, both for the castle itself and the grounds.

Section Three is Miscellaneous. It’s going to have a map (or maps), the timeline that I’ve been begging myself to make for years, the school’s curriculum so I know when they learn specific spells, and whatever else doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else.

Hopefully all of the above will iron out the continuity issues I’m facing and keep things consistent throughout the series.

And keep me from asking myself the same questions with every read through.

(I’m still no closer to having blurbs.)

 

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