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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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It Happened on Wednesday

I was at work, minding my own business, keeping an eye on the kid I’m there for, and out of nowhere came a wandering plot bunny.

And not just any wandering plot bunny.  Oh, no. Not this plot bunny.  This plot bunny is one that I really did not want to see.

It’s a prequel to the Academy of the Accord series. You know, the stand alone novel that is now a 13 book series that is making me tear my hair out.  Yeah.

This one is set way in the past, though, so won’t involve any of the current characters.  It follows the first wizard and Warder pair – starting out from the Fortress after the Wizard Wars ended.

Or maybe they left the Fortress to go to Barize to end the Wizard Wars. I’ll have to double check the history on that, to see exactly when the wizards were imprisoned in the tower at the Fortress. (Because, you know, I don’t have enough stuff to check for continuity and canon.)

Anyhow, I am not outlining that Academy of the Accord prequel. Just because I’m writing down some notes and trying to come up with names doesn’t mean I’m outlining it or planning to ever actually write it. Right?

Yeah, who am I kidding?

Certainly not me.

Or the plot bunny.

In fact, those two scenarios up there? Yeah, they’ve been blown out of the water by another one, and my notes are starting to look suspiciously like one of my outlines.

And, you know, it’s just over a month until NaNoWriMo.

 

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Evolution of a Novel #1

So, on Friday I mentioned that I’d started outlining my project for November.  It’s a science fiction novel that’s been kicking around in my head for a lot of years (long before I’d even heard of NaNoWriMo).

It still doesn’t have a name but for now we’ll call it The Desert Planet. (The Word doc name is my usual ever-(not)-helpful “NaNoWriMo 2017 Outline.”)

Anyhow, I thought it might be fun to explore where the idea came from and trace it from that one bit of inspiration through to the final project.

This novel started as a single scene that hit me as I walked out of an air conditioned building in downtown Pittsburgh and into a wall of city heat.

And that’s all the scene was – the main character walking out of an air conditioned building and into a wall of heat.

Then a second character came up to him. Said second character was supposed to be his guide on a rescue mission.

And for a long time that’s where the whole thing sat.

Throughout the years a couple more scenes got added inside my head, but nothing major was happening, just two characters traveling through the desert.

Then last Wednesday, years after the initial idea, it suddenly had a prologue, some background, and a plot twist. (What brought it to the forefront after all that time? Unseasonably hot weather that hit me when I stepped out of my much cooler house.)

So, I started outlining.

So far I have the prologue outlined, and the first two scenes.

Scene two used to be scene one, until I decided that there was too much telling (it was MMC1 reflecting on the mission briefing he’d just left) so I made the briefing scene one so I could show it instead.

Scene two is MMC1 meeting his guide for the mission – one of the planet’s natives.

It still doesn’t have a title, and none of the main characters have a name. One minor character does, but the main characters are MMC1, MMC2, and FMC. I also need names for the planet, the city, the natives, their tribes, and the enemy.

But, hey! I have over five months to name everything, right?

 

 

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Progress?

It was an odd two days off.  Aside from being unseasonably hot (near 90F in May is not normal for my area) it was also kind of productive.

Well, not very productive. It was too hot to do much of anything.

But I did do some writing.

I wrote about 500 words. (532 to be precise.)

It’s not much, but progress is progress, right?

It wasn’t toward any of my stated goals for the month, though; it was for a scene to be added to Onyx Sun.

As for my goals for the month. *sigh*

I think I’m not going to be submitting to the anthology after all. I have two ideas for it but neither one seems to want to write itself – or tell me to write it.  There’s still time, I suppose. We’ll see.

And I haven’t even opened the Elven Bard novel.

But I started outlining another novel, one that’s been kicking around in my head for years. It’s science fiction and it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo novel this November.  (Hey! Only five and a half months to go! Of course I’m outlining!)

So at least I’m doing something, even if it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.

 

 

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Crunch Time!

That noise you hear is the sound of panic coming from hundreds of thousands of writers who are realizing that there are only three days (not counting today) before NaNoWriMo.

I may or may not be one of those writers.

Actually, I’m in pretty good shape as far as the novel itself goes.  I have one pretty thorough outline that I’m still tweaking a bit (I’m having trouble with the sequence of events in a few places but if that’s not settled by the time I get to that part of the story I can fix it in the rewrite) and I have two more outlines waiting in the wings.  I’m not going to need them, but I can always finish them and use them for Camp sessions next year.  (Or work on them around the editing projects that I’ve been ignoring.)

(Yes, that means that I’ve decided which of the Elven Bard books I’m going to work on.)

My panic comes from the list of things that I need to finish before the end of the month.  It’s a very long list and it refuses to get any shorter no matter what I do. (I swear my lists are the spawn of hydras. I cross one thing off and two others grow in its place.)

I did get the stock up shopping done, so there is that.  I still need to get groceries – I’m hoping to do that Sunday night after work.  (I was going to go after work last night but it was raining and I’m already fighting off some sort of respiratory crud so I just came home instead.)

(I don’t have time to get sick.  NaNoWriMo is coming!)

Mostly my list consists of things to do.

Some of it is stuff to get done and out of the way around the house (like get the rat food out of the big 40 pound bag and into smaller containers).

The rest is stuff to get done online so I don’t have to deal with it next month (finish setting up snippets for the blog hops, for instance, and ordering more meds for the brat rats).

How much will get done before November first?

Well…

I’m hoping that the rat food and the online and computer stuff will be done before then, along with at least one major assault on the clutter that has accumulated while I wasn’t looking. (I need to finish a craft project first, too. Oh, dear.)

And I’m working today, tomorrow, and Sunday.

And Monday I’ll be busy baking and cooking and getting ready to start writing at midnight.

Sleep may be something I only dream of…

 

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Catching Up vs Staying Caught Up

If you’ve been following my blog (and paying attention) you’ll know that I participate in two weekly blog hops: the LGBT-oriented Rainbow Snippets on Saturday and the more general Snippet Sunday on… well, on Sunday, obviously. (Although the thread is started on Saturday, just because I don’t have enough trouble knowing what day of the week it is.)

Both are through Face Book and between the two of them there are probably forty to fifty posts each week.

The Rainbow Snippet thread usually starts around noon my time and I post my link and then read and comment until time to go to work, and by the time I get home (I work 3 to 11) the Snippet Sunday thread is up.

Once I’m home from work, the first order of business (after I post the link to my Sunday snippet) is to finish the Rainbow Snippet blog hop.  Then, depending how tired I am I either go to bed or start the Sunday Snippets.

I try to stay on top of the posts as best I can while working on weekends, my goal being to have all snippets done either Sunday night or Monday before work at the latest.

I’m usually pretty successful.

Usually.

Sometimes, like last week, for whatever reason, the above plan falls through and just doesn’t happen.  (I think I finished last weekend’s blog hops on Friday, just in time to start all over on Saturday.)

Every time I let myself fall behind (thinking I’ll do both hops on my days off) I am reminded of how much easier it is to stay caught up than it is to get caught up.

Why is that?

I don’t know.

I’m thinking it might be because seeing 20+ comments per thread waiting for you to click and read is kind of overwhelming and makes you feel like you’ll never get through all of them so you may as well just throw in the towel before you even start.

All I know for sure is that it seems to be a lot easier if I don’t wait to do it on my days off.

It’s like that with NaNoWriMo, too.  It’s much easier to get a good lead and try not to fall too far below par than it is to say “I’ll make up the deficit on my days off.”

Sadly, I seem to have spent a large portion of the last few NaNo events scrambling to get caught up, but I’m hoping this time will be different.

This time I’ll have a detailed outline.  (It’s currently at 1800 or so words and still has two weeks to grow and deepen and add layers.)  That will help a lot.  I know me, and I know that my writing (and later, editing) goes a lot smoother if I am working from an outline – and the more in-depth the better.

Also working in my favor for NaNoWriMo is that I’m taking the 31st off, so I’ll have a nice relaxing day and will be caught up on social media and ready to start writing at midnight.  (That’s kind of become my tradition – start writing at midnight and get at least a thousand words in before I go to bed.)

I’m also off the first two days of November, so I’m hoping to be able to get a good jump on my word count.  I’d love to hit at least 10K before I go back to work on the third.

And then I need to stay not just caught up, but ahead on word count, because I’m planning on going to the midnight showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on the 18th.

Because, you know, I’m sure it won’t stir any more plot bunnies…

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Outlines…

Can’t live with ’em, can’t write without them.

Well, okay.  Technically you can write without them but I know me and I do better with an outline. A good outline keeps me on track, keeps me from floundering and from straying too far from the plot, and gives me something to gently herd characters and story line back to when they stray.  A good outline also makes revisions and edits much easier. (Without an outline I tend to have multiple versions of how a scene plays out which is a nightmare in the editing phase.)

So, with that in mind, I’m outlining for November, and I can already see the headaches that it’s saving me.

Like Sutag’s advisor that double-crossed him.  I decided that there was enough going on that I didn’t need a second antagonist, so he is no longer even mentioned in the outline.

And the fact the prologue that I had planned isn’t really a prologue and is going to have to be put into the main body of the book. I’m now toying with not having a prologue at all.  And I’m not even certain that the former prologue should even be in the book. I’ll write it in and maybe delete it in revisions.  (It takes place in the Orc Kingdom and everything around it is in the Drow/Elf kingdom and I’m not sure I like jumping back and forth between places.  But we’ll see.  I’m not sure I can get the needed information relayed without that scene, though.  Fortunately, the outline will help me sort that out — hopefully before the first of November.)

I am kind of stuck in the outline right now.  I had so many potential scenarios that I couldn’t really move forward and work on a “what happens next” scene until I figured out what happened to get them to that point.  I’ve managed to get that mostly sorted out but still need to smooth out a few minor points (like who gets where first). I’m about ready to resort to writing the scenes on post cards and rearranging them, but I think that once I enter the current changes in the Word doc and type up a few more notes and such that I’ll be able to see where to go next.

I sure hope so, at any rate.  October is almost half over already.

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Song and Spam

I don’t know what it is about NaNoWriMo that brings forth plot bunnies.  Does it emit some sort of pheromone?  Does some favorite treat only grow during NaNo months and lures them forth?  Does my muse just put out a casting call for out of work plot bunnies?

I have no idea, but whatever it is, it never fails.

This morning, with three weeks left before NaNoWriMo, a new plot bunny climbed out or the woodwork and jumped into the bathtub with me.

On the positive side, it is part of the Elven Bard series (which is growing out of Song and Sword), is pretty much fully grown, and helps me eliminate some of the potential scenarios in the one I’m currently outlining.

On the negative side, I don’t know exactly where it’s going to fit in the timeline for that world.

And on an even more negative side, it wants to steal the title for the one I’m currently working to get ready for NaNo.

So now the question becomes, do I continue with the current book or do I stop and work on an outline for this one?

And what do I do about titles?

I was sort of falling out of love with Song and Shield for the current project anyhow.  The use of “Shield” makes me feel like I need to get the Shield of Truth from Palora’s Crossing to use in it, and it doesn’t really fit into the book at all.

Actually, the shield doesn’t fit into either the one I’ve been outlining or the new one that hopped in, so I’m thinking that they both need new names.

Because, yeah.

Three weeks.

Two stories.

No titles.

(Or maybe lots of titles, courtesy of Cassy and Danielle and Danielle’s dictionary.)

(Song and Spam is not going to be one of the choices.)

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The Elven Bard Series (or Something)

I really hope that October doesn’t go as fast as September did. I have too much to do this month and already feel like I don’t have enough time to do it.

I’ve started working on two outlines for NaNoWriMo, both sequels to Song and Sword.  (I’m leaving the prequel alone until a Camp session since it’s started.)

I’ve decided to call this group of novels the “Elven Bard…”  Saga or Chronicles or Books or something.  Just not sure what to use for the last word.

All of the books are going to start with “Song and…”

The prequel is going to be Song and Shadow.

The sequels are Song and Shield and Song and Stone.

Song and Stone is the one that I have the best plot for so far, but I’d rather save it for April Camp.  For one thing, Song and Shield actually takes place before Song and Stone, and The Academy of the Accord has taught me my lesson about writing books out of order, and for another, I already have a scene written for Song and Stone and I like to do a totally fresh start for NaNo in November.

However, Song and Shield is actually shaping up rather nicely.  I was sitting in the car waiting for my roommate to get her pre-employment drug test and I started brainstorming with pen and paper and six scribbled pages later I had more subplots than I could keep track of.

The next step is to type up those notes, print them out, and try to edit them into an actual outline format. (Yes, I do paper edits of my outlines.  That’s why I needed to get a new printer and get it up and running.)

Anyhow, I now have subplots that I’ve managed to tie together and I have a pretty good idea of the problem my protagonists are going to have to solve.  I’m not quite sure where the story is going yet (I have no idea how they’re going to solve the problem) but that’s the next step after I get the problem sorted out.

I’m getting really excited for this book and already can’t wait to start.

Come on, November!

Oh, wait. Never mind.  I’m not ready…

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September Summary, October Goals

September is over already?  Things have been so busy here that doesn’t seem like that long ago that I set up my goals for the month and now here it is, time to look back at how I did (“abysmal” comes to mind) and look forward to the goals for next month.

I finally finished entering the changes to Book 4 of The Academy of the Accord.

And…

That was about it.  I’ve almost but not quite finished this round of revisions and paper edits to Onyx Sun, but… yeah, it still needs a few days of work.  (I normally work on paper edits during down time at work, but we courtesy of a new resident there hasn’t been any down time for a couple weeks.)

I’ve also done pretty good at the thousand words a week, despite the fact that the stress of dealing with the above-mentioned resident for forty hours a week has been totally draining me. Something needs to change by November or I’ll never make 50K for the month.

I haven’t done the “hour a week on some other craft” but, oddly, I haven’t felt the need to do something different.  Maybe I’m just too stressed out from work, or maybe the goal gave me permission to do that and now I don’t need to want to do it.  (That sentence makes sense in my head.)

So, on to October.

I do want to finish the paper edits to Onyx Sun and get the changes entered in Word, and maybe enter the changes to Book Five of The Academy of the Accord, but neither of those is going to be my major focus.

No, my major focus in October is going to be November.

Or, more specifically, putting together detailed outlines of the three potential books for NaNoWriMo.  By mid-month I need to have at least a basic outline for all three so I can decide which one shows the most promise and develop it more completely.  (As a general rule, the more detailed the outline I’m working with the better the writing goes and the more closely I manage to stick to said outline the more smoothly the editing goes.  And right now smooth editing would be a welcome change.)

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