My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘first draft’

Lost Along the Way

I’ve just realized that I got lost.

What do I mean? Well, I’m lost in planning my novel. It’s evolved so much since the initial “first” draft of NaNo 2007. I didn’t plan on looking over the earlier part of my first draft until I was completely done. In reality, I’ve had to go back and “redo” the chapters for critique. And that’s where I became completely disoriented with my surroundings.

The last few times I’ve been up for critique, I’ve completely nixed a chapter and wrote one from scratch instead. I saw a better direction for the story. However, because of the new chapters, it’s completely taken me off the previous path. The road is now lost amongst the bramble.

I’m scrapping most of what I’ve written from earlier because as I go through to see what chapter comes next for critique, I realize that it’s evolved from earlier on and doesn’t follow the story that I’ve set up for my group. So, I’m pretty much cranking out second “first draft” chapters.

Frustrating much? Yeah.

Oh and all my chapters are completely out of order numerically, at least in the “master” draft. It’s becoming quite confusing and a bit daunting trying to figure out what comes next, since I’ve really diverged from the initial.

It’s like staring at a map and realizing that instead of driving through Kentucky to get to Florida, you’re now an entire state over in West Virginia. Still traveling to the same place but on a completely different road. And now you’re trying to figure out this new path so you don’t end up in Maine.

(I’m horrible at analogies but that’s the best I could come up with) 😛

There are aspects of the original that I’m still using but I have to search for those, since most of the stuff is new or is being presented differently.

So I’ve figured out I need to re-map the beginning and develop at least a working summary so I’m not spending hours searching for the place I stopped at during critique. Part of me wonders if I should stop submitting for critique, at least temporarily, since this is all being worked on and redone.  It stands to reason that if me, the writer, is confused, that will be translated to my group. I don’t want that!

On the postive side, I at least have a slight idea  which new route to take. So my  first draft is now a “second” first draft. Of sorts. 😛

It’s time to sit down and map out  the new path so I’m no longer lost!

So Far, So Good

I’ve got close to 700 words written for today, so I definitely hit my daily goal of 500 words (hoping to up that to 1000 at some point, but baby steps are needed in the beginning :P). Even though this part technically isn’t continuing on, it is a new chapter that comes earlier in the book (and the one that’s next for critique). I may end up writing a little more today. I’m hoping to get some done before I have to take my dog to his training class tonight 😛

I think I would’ve had well over 1K today if it was a chapter that wasn’t up for critique yet. I’ve been overanalyzing the scene too much.  Oh well; it’s going to need a lot of work (like every chapter of mine does) but at least it’ll be done and posted. And, since this is looking like it will be a relatively short chapter (probably only around 1500-2000 words), I won’t have to agonize during the session since it will be critiqued rather quickly.

That’s all for today; just wanted to update on the progression like I promised I would.

Anyone else do so much needed writing today?

Critique Results and Other Randomness

Critique went well last night. It didn’t take them long to critique my chapter; it only took from the time of ordering food and receiving it. So, I’m guessing that was maybe 10-15 minutes 🙂

They picked up on what I had thought; grammatical issues and even issues with too much description (which is odd because normally I’m critiqued for not enough :P) To be fair though, only one person said that, the other two said the description was fine because it was still her first day there (in her new home) and it helped to set the scene. One even said I needed just a bit more on describing the kabazaiku trade (art of fashioning things like tea cannisters and other small woodworks out of cherry bark).

Only one member said that it seemed we were seeing too much of Kaiyo and her guardian, Ryuji, verbally sparring. That may be true, though this was pretty much the last chapter of that as in the next three she avoids him (as a result of this recent argument) and attempts to leave. After that, she begins to change as she realizes the danger that she’s in. From this point she and Ryuji (also the love interest, as if one couldn’t tell :P) begin to see different aspects of one another’s personality. The love story is only a small part of this; I’m still not sure how it’s going to end with them, whether the story has them together or left open ended.

I now need to work on the next chapter, which is one with the antagonist. I’ve been told I need to make him more evil, which I’m trying to do, but it’s hard to show that as he’s in the process of searching for her and needs to put on his “best face” in order to gain the information needed. However, he is going to become quite cruel as he gets closer to the people who know Kaiyo.

Anyway, the ending I was planning is changing slightly again, this time because I’m deciding to cut out one POV. I initially had three: my MC Kaiyo, her father and the antagonist, Kaemon. However, Kaiyo’s father’s identity remains a mystery to her through much of the book (at least until part II) and I thought that by introducing him to the reader would negate the mysterious aspect and take away some of the suspense of who he actually is. It could change, but I’m thinking I will only have Kaiyo’s POV and Kaemon’s, the latter increasing as he gets closer to finding her and closer to Part II.

Gotta love how this novel is ALWAYS changing, from day to day, sometimes even hour to hour. 😛

It’s too bad I probably won’t have any time to work on it this weekend; friends from West Virginia are coming up for the weekend. I’m happy though because it’s been since Christmas since we’ve seen them and I’m looking forward to having a girls’ weekend while hubby has his “guy time” with my friend’s husband as they go up to our college alma mater in Mount Vernon.  I think I’m going to see Slumdog Millionaire this weekend; I’ve heard good things about it and I love cultural movies.

Ok that’s it. Have a great weekend everyone!

Another Critique Day!

Another chapter of mine is up for critique tonight.

Even though I’ve gone through this at least a half a dozen times or more, I still get tense about it 😛 I know it’s necessary but it’s hard to watch my “baby” be critiqued. At least it’s easier now than it was the first few times.

I always re-read my chapter before I submit it (it takes me a few days to make some rough edits to the chapter). Still, I always manage to miss something. I was going over it again today (I read it once more before my session) and there are so many things I caught this time around that I didn’t before.

Sigh. I suppose it’s always that way on the writer’s end. You never can catch everything, and if you do, something else is bound to turn up.

I’m wondering what comments I’ll get tonight? I can guess a few of them, probably the main one being why am I describing the family trade when it throws the reader out of the story (which I think may be a possibility) and why am I having yet another tense interaction between my MC and one of her guardians (future love interest of course). I guess time will tell! At least I’m not the only one in the “hot seat” tonight; I always feel better when another person has a chapter being critiqued the same day.

I also figure I must be doing something right, because they never spend more than fifteen minutes on mine, when on others, we end up spending 45 minutes to an hour going over it. Most things they find on mine are grammatical, and despite being an English major in college, grammar is still a stumbling block for me. That and not showing enough (but that mainly has to do with it being a rough draft and I’m rushing through just to get the story on paper, er…on the computer :P)

I also find it funny that no one is able to pronounce the names, even after I’ve told them how. True, they are Japanese names, and I’m probably even pronouncing them wrong or at least “Westernized” but they are a lot easier than some of the names that abound in the world of fantasy (every writer in my group is working on a fantasy book; I am the only one who isn’t). Oh well. I just hope the names don’t affect the ability for me to get this published.

Well that’s enough rambling for today!

An Ending Perhaps?

Well I finally was able to come up with (most) of the last segment of the novel. It’s all jotted down in my trusty little notebook.

I had a difficult time trying to figure out the middle of the section. I had the beginning, when Kaiyo was kidnapped already written out, but I couldn’t figure out how to write what led up to the end of her captivity. I believe I have something plausible enough, though it will probably change through the editing process. Anyway, at least it’s something and I’m not at a road block any more.

I probably should have written the ending of the section, even if it was out of order. But for some reason I have a difficult time working out of sequence.

Anyway, now all I have to do is figure out how the book ends. There’s three different possiblilites but I’m not sure which one I want to go with. I may end up writing each ending and seeing how it flows or goes with the story. Perhaps my critique group can give me some advice on which ending to choose, although we won’t reach the ending for months (if not more than a year). There’s also the AW forums, and I’ve already had some help from the great writers over there in sections I got stumped at.

Oh I’m so close to ending this…I hope I can get it done in the next week or two. Unfortunately I will be unable to work on it much during the weekend as EVERY WEEKEND IN MARCH has something (friends from college days are coming up Thursday this week and staying until Monday morning; next weekend, hubby has a business trip to Virginia and my parents are coming down with my sister; the 21st is a baby shower for a family member; the last weekend, more guests are coming down to stay with us…phew! It’s making me tired just thinking about it!)

I’ll need to make time during the week if I want this first draft done this month.

Five Chapters, Over 5,000 Words

I’d say today managed to be fairly productive. 🙂

I started at around 1 or so and stopped just now at 6:00. Official count of words written today: 5,208.

I took a break or so every time I wrote a chapter (a break meaning 5 or 10 minutes). One of those breaks ended up being 20 minutes as I wrote brief summaries for the end of the book. It goes up to Chapter 70.

I really wish I could have gotten ten chapters done; then I’d only have 10  more to go.

Currently, I just finished Chapter 54 (wrote Chapter 50, 51, 52, 53, and 54 today) and since I’m thinking the ending won’t be until 70, I still have about 16 chapters to write. Gah. I seriously thought I had less than that. Oh well.

If I focus more on it, I could have this finished in two weeks.

I figure the only way to get it done is tell myself a few days ahead of time that I’m locking myself away for a certain period of time. It prepares my psyche for it, as odd as that sounds. I had been “preparing” all week, so it came a lot easier than had I not planned it (my unplanned writing sessions generally only last an hour or two and maybe I get two chapters written in that time).

Of course most of what was written was utter dreck, but there were some good parts in there (like the scene when the antagonist is forcing my MC to eat because she had initially refused to). I find that the dialogue comes easily but that the “stage directions” and descriptive parts don’t 😛 Oh well that’s what the editing process is for.

Well I’m off to figure out what’s for dinner tonight. I feel great about getting this done!

It’s Decided

This Saturday, the 7th, I’m locking myself away in my study and attempting to finish my first draft of Promise of the Plum Blossom. I decided I need to commit to finishing this, and though I was hesitant about locking myself away, it’s something that’s necessary. It sounds like it’s worked for plenty of other writers, so I figure I should try it myself.

The ultimate goal is to finish the first draft on Saturday, though I’m not sure if I’ll get quite that far before my attention wanes. If anything I’ll be much closer, especially if I commit myself to doing this one day a week until it’s finished.

My hubby already said I’m only allowed out for necessities (eating, bathroom, etc). 😛 So I’m glad he’ll be making sure I stick this through.

I’ll post my progress at the end of Saturday.

I’ve Come to This Conclusion

I will not finish this first draft unless I close myself away in my study for a day.


That’s the only way I’ll be able to focus.

It’s tempting to take a personal day off from work to get this done. But alas, I’m a good girl and will not do that (and we really need the money…).

The only other option is to do it on Saturday. And this Saturday preferably. It would be a good time because my hubby has a friend coming down to stay. They will most likely play video games all day (a.k.a. World of Warcraft). The only thing I’m concerned about is the puppy. I don’t want him stuck in his crate all day. Perhaps if I tell my husband I’m locking myself in the study to get my book finished, he’ll watch the puppy. 🙂

I think I’m a day’s work away from being done. Now who knows how much my attention span will be able to last. Normally I can write 3 hours at a time before my mind starts to wander and it becomes hard to focus on anything and my writing becomes equivalent to that of an average ten-year-old.

Now, if I close myself away, I’ll still only be able to work three hours at a time, but if I look at it like that’s my job and I have a deadline to meet (at least for the day), it’s possible to finish. Or come really close.

Has anyone closed themselves off from the world to get their writing done? If so, for how long? And how do you keep yourself focused in this time?

Maintaining Motivation

Now that NaNo is over and the rush to hit 50K has past, I find myself wondering: will I be able to maitain my motivation?

It’s sad really. The first draft of this book should have been completed a year ago…but December came and for some odd reason, I turned away from the book and didn’t work on it.

I have throughout the year submitted some of my written chapters for my weekly critique group, but I only ever worked on those chapters, rather than finishing the book.

Now I’m wondering if the same will happen this year.

I don’t want it to happen again. I need to get this finished…and I’m so much closer to that finish line that was elusive last year. It’s on the horizon–I can see it in the distance. Yet I can feel myself growing tired, desiring to stop and sit on the sidelines once again.

So, I need to keep myself motivated…somehow. I need to focus on that finish line, getting the first draft completed. I need to make every day like NaNo, even if I only get a thousand words written.

I am hoping to get my first draft completed by the end of the month. By midnight come the 31st of December, I want to have those words “the end” written.

It’s going to be difficult for me–more so than it was during NaNo. Perhaps I’m not what some would call a “true writer”; one who would have the discipline enough to keep writing every day. It’s that discipline that I know I am lacking–but something I have to find if I ever have the hopes of being a novelist.

So, I must still keep that inner editor locked away and search for that motivation to keep going–and finally type “the end” on this draft.

So, my question to writers out there: how do you keep yourself focused on the goal?

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