Tag Archives: outline

I’m Building a World!

(Man, if those words don’t give you a god complex I don’t know what will!)

So, anyhow, I did some world-building this weekend. (See what this series of blog posts is doing to me?)

Not for my Camp NaNoWriMo project, mind you, (although I did work on its outline a little) but for an idea that’s been kind of kicking around on a back burner for a while now.

Settings are usually my weak point, but that’s what this one started as – just a setting. No people, no plot, just a place.

The place now has some people (well, two named people) and a history and a (main) religion. And the start of a story line. (There are people in the story line, too, but they don’t have names yet.)

Unfortunately, the story line probably isn’t enough for a novel so I’m still not sure what’s happening with the whole idea, but at least it’s a start.

And even more unfortunately I think there are two novels set there – one back when the place was new and one later, after things got codified a bit more. And, actually, it would lend itself well to a series of short stories.

(No, it doesn’t have a name. The working title is Sanctuary. (Or Haven or Refuge or Oasis. Apparently I can’t make up my mind.)

As much as I want to start working on this story (because it’s shiny and sparkly and oh, look, a squirrel!) I don’t think I’ll start writing it yet. It needs some pretty intense world building.

The city (or whatever it is) is a melting pot of different races and nationalities and cultures and religions and what-have-you, and I need to know about all of them.

Will the reader know about all of them? Probably not. At least, not all at once.

But I need to know.

And for once I would like to have everything settled and sorted before I start writing.

Just to see what it’s like.

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World Building, Sort Of

Since I touched on world building on Friday I thought I’d write a bit more about it for today.

There’s just one small problem…

I don’t know what to say about it.

When I write something that is science fiction or strictly fantasy I tend to make things up as I go, which leads to some interesting problems, so it’s a bad habit that I should probably try to break.

When I’m writing something that is more along the lines of paranormal or urban fantasy I actually do a lot more research than I do for SF&F.

Why?

Because people can fact-check it and I don’t want to look like I was making it up as I went.

So, anyhow, there are some questions I want to tackle on this subject:

Why is world building important?

How much is too much?

How little is not enough?

But I’m not going to tackle them today. It’s way too hot and my brain has melted and my body is in process of doing the same.

I’m on night shift this week so I’ll write about them when I’m in air conditioning.

 

 

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Whyyyyyyyy?

The month is a third over and I haven’t touched the edits of Book 5. Why do I do this to myself? (Of course, I have a very good reason for not touching it – it’s a mess and I’m avoiding dealing with it.)

And then this afternoon, while trying to mentally sort out the opening sequence (yes, it is still giving me trouble!) and telling myself for the umpteen thousandth time that I really need to draw a map, an idea wandered in, plopped itself down, and said, “Make me happen.”

That wouldn’t be so bad (it’s a good idea, even a great one) but it doesn’t belong in this book. (It does belong to the series, though. I’m just not quite sure where.)

Why? *sob* Why me?

I have scribbled the idea down and now I just have to figure out where it goes. Some of it probably goes in Book 4 but I have no idea where the second half of it goes, but it needs to be before Book 8.

And now I have a headache.

I did make some progress (sort of) on the outline for next month. I need to make the changes in the Word doc and print it out again before I do too much more because it’s getting to the point that I won’t be able to tell what’s what if I don’t. (I ended up color coding the current print out.)

I’m also thinking I should maybe go get the current incomplete manuscript printed out so I can insert stuff where it belongs (and take out stuff that’s being changed) before it gets any more convoluted. That just might happen this Friday.

So, I’m working on stuff. And thinking about stuff.

If only it was the right stuff…

 

 

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The Glamorous Life of a Writer

It’s been… a week.

I worked Monday, was off Tuesday (and was surprisingly productive).

I was supposed to work on Wednesday but woke up about 7:30 in the morning with a pulse of 165, bilateral jaw pain, and a heavy feeling in my chest. It went away and since I’d only been in bed for about four hours I went back to sleep. (I’ve had these symptoms before so wasn’t too worried.)

So a couple hours later the dogs (who think that I am the only two legged member of the household who can properly open a door) got me up to let them out. I still wasn’t feeling right, but, stubborn person that I am, I ignored it for a while and got ready for work.

But since I was still feeling light-headed and “off” I left early and detoured to the Emergency Room, thinking they’d pat me on the head and tell me I’m fine and come back when it’s actually happening next time.

Nope.

They plopped my ass into a wheelchair (never mind that I drove myself there, apparently I was now unable to walk) and then into a bed where I was hooked up to an EKG and then a monitor, and then was sent for a chest x-ray.

After much stabbing (blood draw, two tries for an IV), and a CT scan, it was determined that all the cardiac tests were normal, it looks like I’m getting my third round of bronchitis for the year (this is getting really old!), and there were no blood clots in my lungs.

Diagnosis?

Probably SVT (Supra Ventricular Tachycardia). Not life-threatening, not heart-damaging, so they sent me home with orders to follow up with my primary care physician in three to five days and to not do anything too strenuous.

Anyhow…

I came home, changed clothes, and began a serious hunt for my thumb drive that I could have sworn was on my computer hutch.

It wasn’t.

It also wasn’t downstairs with the stuff I dump from my pockets when I get home from work. (Never ask a nurse what’s in her pockets.)

(This is the thumb drive that has the latest version of edits of Book Five. Losing it would probably make me cry. A lot.)

I had a sickening feeling that it might have fallen into the garbage bag by my computer hutch so I got a second bag and began transferring garbage from one bag to the other.

Ah, the glamorous life of a writer!

I found it, though.

Anyhow, I was still feeling “not right” the next morning so called off again. (My boss said the whole department is falling apart this week.)

Symptoms eased up in the afternoon so, since I don’t consider painting to be an overly strenuous activity, I painted the second side of a lattice board panel and three 1×6 plank (8, 10, and 12 feet).

This morning I cut the grass, got the planks and panel nailed up, and planted a yellow rose bush that’s been on my back porch for a month. Oh, and did laundry.

Writing-wise I haven’t done too much (other than a panicked search through garbage for my thumb drive). I have done some work on pulling notes from the manuscript and pasting them into the outline doc so I can work on the outline for Camp next month. I’ll be saving it onto my rescued thumb drive before I go to work tonight. (I created my project and opened a cabin, too, so other than the outline I’m all ready to go.)

And how was your week?

 

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June Goals On Track

So far my month is off to a great start as far as goals are concerned. (Yes, I know it’s only the fourth. Little wins are important!)

I managed to do both blog hops this weekend, and I have posts scheduled for one of them for the rest of the month. (My next day off is Tuesday so I’ll set up and schedule the other snippet posts then.) I have the Wednesday Words posts scheduled too.

And I decided on my project for Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I’ll be trying to finish the first draft of Hedge House, an urban fantasy (paranormal?) novel I’ve been working on (or not working on as the case may be) for a while now.

I just finished reading through it (and will be posting snippets on Sundays for the foreseeable future) and I’m pretty sure that I can wrap up the story next month. I need an outline, though.

Rather, I need a new outline.

See, I had an outline. I had a really nice outline with lots of details and…

And any chance of getting back to it lies somewhere between “nonexistent” and “a snowball’s chance in hell.”

So I’ll be working on some sort of outline that picks up from where the story currently leaves off. Not that I expect it will be followed (I still can’t quite figure out where the old one got derailed. I mean, everything in the previous outline happened, just not quite where and when planned.) but just so I have some idea of where I’m going.

 

 

 

 

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Three Days to Go

And whatever is left of this one.

And I’m back to catching up!  I started today only 4630 below par, with 9630 words left to write for the month.  Currently I’ve only written 1075 words today because it seems that every time I start getting into the flow I get interrupted.

My phone rings. (Work called me twice (about something that I thought I had resolved with them a week ago) because one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing. And there are too many hands.)
The dogs want out.
I have to go to the bathroom.
I need to eat.
My computer freezes up/Word decides to be non responsive.
My open Word docs rearrange themselves.

You get the picture.

(To give you an idea of the freeze up, it’s taken me ten minutes to type those last two lines.)

I really want to have a 2k day today – 2500 words would be better – but so far it just doesn’t seem to be happening.  But it still might.

Anyhow…

I took a look at my outline just to see how far I’d strayed from it and I think I’m going to cry now.  I really liked the outline and the way Zin was supposed to meet his Warder. It was nice and neat and advanced the plot at a good pace and this version is none of those things and I have no idea how to get it back on track.

I think it’s going to end up being like the (still) nameless trilogy where I end up writing two versions just to see which one I like better. Only there’s more of this one to rewrite.

But this one still might redeem itself.

If my computer cooperates.

 

 

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The Day After Tomorrow

Less than two days until NaNoWriMo and I am…

…baking.  (Pecan pies, in case you’re wondering.)

Does that mean that I have a fully fleshed out and highly detailed outline all ready to go on November 1st?

Um…

No.

I have an outline that is… passable. Usable. It has some logic flaws yet (although it has a fewer of those every pass through).  And it’s going to cause a few minor problems for the main series as far as things to change here and there.  But, for the most part, it will work.

Names are still… in negotiation.

Will I have tomorrow to finish getting everything lined up and perfected?

Um…

No.

Tomorrow I’ll be baking pumpkin bars and a chocolate cherry upside down cake, and cooking a ham and mashed potatoes and gravy.

And finishing the assembly of my Work Box 3.0 (which I haven’t touched this evening).

And hopefully thinking up names.

Or maybe I’ll head over to Serendipity and see if their generators inspire anything.

One way or another, I will be starting writing on November 1st. I might be able to stay up until midnight, but that’s a little unlikely since I’ve reverted back to my morning person ways and am usually awake by 6:00 in the morning even on my days off.

But I will start on the first. And hopefully I’ll get 5000 words written that day because I’m not sure how my day job is going to affect my writing on work days.

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Four More Days

Not counting today (which is almost over) there are only four days left before NaNoWriMo begins.

And my characters still do not have new (easily typed) names.

Well, the warrior might. I’m not really in love with it, though.

And the wizard’s wife has a name, but she’s a minor character. Figures, doesn’t it?)

So, yeah. Four days left and I have no names.

My outline is shaping up nicely, though. I have solved a bit of a logic problem (one that has plagued me for the entire series, actually) and I think I have enough plot points to get me through November. I am still working on it, however, and will be refining and revising right up until midnight Tuesday night.

And in between now and then I have to do a lot of running on Saturday, and then work on Monday. (I took off Tuesday – and Wednesday, of course.) And somewhere in there I have to get groceries.

And in my free time I need to finish assembling the Work Box 3.0 that I finally took the plunge and bought. It’s not all that hard to assemble, actually, but the pieces are heavy so I can only do a little bit at a time and then have to stop and rest my back.

And I need more floor space because the whole thing is assembled on the floor and when it’s all put together you stand it up.  (Me and what army? The individual pieces are heavy. The shipping weight was a little under 700 pounds.  This is going to be… interesting.)

So, I have the weekend and Monday evening and Tuesday to finish putting the Work Box together and get it upright. (And put the front room back together too because Jazzy would really love to have access to her couch.)

If I can just clear enough space to work, assembly is doable.

Naming characters, however…

 

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Where Did The Weekend Go?

In preparation for NaNoWriMo I re-read Book One of the Academy of the Accord series and it turns out that the characters that I’m trying to name already have names.

It also turns out that the names need to be changed because they are way too long. I refuse to use names with 10 letters as main characters.

I also decided that Book One reads like a bad soap opera in places so it’s going to need another thorough going over before it’s ready for a second round of beta readers. (It’s too mushy. Seriously. It looks like a bad fan fiction romance written by a 15 year old.)

I sincerely hope that the others aren’t that bad… I don’t remember them being that bad, but then, I didn’t remember this one being that bad either.

And that is why you take a few months from finishing the first draft to doing the first round of edits – so you can come at it with fresh eyes and mind.

And before anyone jumps on my case about the “bad fan fiction romance written by a 15 year old” line:
yes, 15 year olds can write some pretty amazing stuff
yes, not all romances (gay or straight) are mushy
yes, fan fiction it not a bad thing – I’m actually highly in favor of it, especially for young writers (Maybe I should do a blog post about fan fiction.)

The important word in that phrase is “bad.”

Anyhow, that’s mostly where my weekend went. And with just over a week left until NaNoWriMo I should have spent it working on the outline. Still, the outline is in okay shape (not as detailed as I would like, but not too bad) and the refresher was good. I kinda wish I had time to read the other books between now and the first of November too.

 

 

 

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Weekends

Why do weekends always go by so fast? I swear, Douglas Adams was right; time really is an illusion. It was bad enough when my weekend came in the middle of the week but now that I have the same weekend as everyone else I swear I blink and it’s over before it’s begun – and long before I’ve had enough time to do all the things I wanted to do.

Fortunately, this is going to be a short week for me. I work today and tomorrow, then Wednesday is just a half day and no school on Thursday and Friday, so maybe I can actually finally get caught up on stuff.

Of course, one of those days I have to take my car to the garage. On the way to Michael’s on Saturday it started sounding like it was going to drop the muffler at any time. (Actually, it sounded like the entire back end of the car was going to fall off, but the logical part of my mind knows it’s the muffler.)

Aside from the car it was a pretty uneventful weekend. I did a lot of errand-running on Saturday (and got thoroughly peopled out) and on Sunday I got a lot of stuff done around the house. (Not all that I’d planned, but, well, time went into hyper space and came out near bedtime.)

I’m doing pretty good at keeping up with my Habitica goals, although I do find myself changing the “due date” on some of the stuff on my To Do list because I always over-schedule myself.

I haven’t worked with WordKeeperAlpha much yet (and probably won’t until December or January) but I am getting a handle on Asana and have a goal to add a project a day to it until all of my WiPs and starts and ideas are entered. Anyone want to start a pool on when that will be done? (And can I keep ahead of the plot bunnies?)

My outline for November is coming along slowly. At this point it’s probably more notes to myself than actual outline, but it’s coming along. I hope to have the first draft of it done by the end of the week. (Yes, I do drafts of outlines. Doesn’t everyone?)

And the space battle scene in Onyx Sun is starting to pick up momentum. I’m even doing more than the one sentence that I promised myself I’d do every day. (Hmm. Maybe that can get wrapped up on my days off this week too.)

So that’s the latest. I have a four (and a half) day weekend coming up that I’m really looking forward to and my writing mojo seems to be on an upswing. Can’t wait to see what the week holds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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