martinlivings: (Default)
Or: Don't put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely...

Yesterday I described writing a novel as paleontology. Today, though, it feels less like arranging bones and more like eating an elephant. The task is so big that it's hurting my fragile little brain. And it's not that big a novel; how people write those massive fat fantasy books, I'll never know.

So, I decided to change my method. I usually write books as a single big Word document. Which is fine during the initial writing, and usually okay in the editing, as long as you get it basically right the first time. With this one, though, there's a lot of chopping and changing around, reordering chapters, inserting new chapters, all the while trying to keep it consistent. It's a frickin' nightmare.

So I bit the bullet, and decided to try something new. or, more accurately, something old, something I utilised a little many years ago when working on Carnies.

I decided to install [profile] halspacejock's yWriter.

This version's a huge improvement over the previous ones, I have to say that. Importing my work was... well, tricky, because it refused to import the first fifteen chapters, deciding instead to start at sixteen for no readily apparent reason. But I got over that and managed to get the entire manuscript imported and split into "scenes" (actually my chapters, but I knew I'd be changing it around so much that having chapter divisions at this stage would be pointless). It's a neat way of getting an overall look at the book. For example, I now know that I have too many scenes from one of the characters' point of view and not enough of the other. I can also see at a glance where I need to add more stuff. Neat.

Will it help? Who knows. But, if nothing else, it let me avoid doing any actual work on it for the entire morning...
martinlivings: (Writing Frustration)
Or, the pain of leaving things until the last minute...

So, as astute readers may recall, the last three months were supposed to be spent working on finishing up a novel to a point ready for submission. And, if you're astute enough to remember MaNoWaMo and MaNoPoMo, you also realise that I didn't do any of it at all.

Now there are two work weeks to go before the end of July, which is the deadline I set for myself. A sane person would accept that they've left it far too late, and give up on the deadline.

As astute readers may recall, I am not a sane person.

So, the plan. I need to write another 30000-40000 words of the novel to bring it up to publishable length, and edit the entire thing into some kind of shape. In other words, to complete both MaNoWaMo and MaNoPoMo.

Two months of work.

In ten working days.

Piece of cake.

Write at least six thousand words a day for the first week. Once that's done, edit twenty thousand words a day every day for the second week. Sounds reasonable.

Did I mention next week is orientation week at the uni I work at? One of our busiest times?

Like I said, piece of cake... *twitch*
martinlivings: (Flogging a dead horse)
Okay, so I have a novel manuscript sitting on around 60000 words of first draft. By July 31st, it needs to be around 90000 words of final draft.

How hard could it be?

I hereby declare that May is officially going to be MaNoWaMo tm, or Martin's Novel Waffling Month. One thousand words a day, minimum. By the end of May, the manuscript will be more or less the right length. I'm not going to be doing any real editing of the existing text, just throwing new stuff into it as it occurs, without much thought to structure or, let's face it, sense. It should be fun.

June and July, then, are MaNoPoMo's tm, or Martin's Novel Polishing Months. One full pass for each month. So, around 3000 words a day of careful polishing and editing will do a complete edit in June, and then another in July. I think this is going to be significantly less fun than MaNoWaMo tm, somehow!

As the Chinese supposedly say, may you live in interesting times... eesh...

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Martin Livings

December 2009

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