RIP

Jul. 28th, 2009 02:50 pm
martinlivings: (Down)
Rest in peace, novel. You were never meant to be.

martinlivings: (Default)
Work on The Novel - uh, none. A bit of reordering and rethinking the timelines, but that's about it. [profile] halspacejock, your software has given me a multitude of ways I can avoid actually doing any writing on it! ;)

Work on short stories - uh, also none. Need to rewrite my first draft for my Sekrit Projekt (unless [personal profile] petekempshall says I can be more specific!), and write a first draft for [personal profile] jennifer_brozek's project too. Once I finish with The Novel, or it's finished with me, whichever comes first!

So, why the update? Well, I submitted a story to Antipodean SF a while ago, and got it accepted today. Which theoretically brings my total stories either published or to be published this year to ten, a new record for me! Woohoo! *does a little dance*

That is all. Back to work, you lot, nothing to see here, move along.
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)
Slight change of plans... I don't think my brain can handle writing 6000 new words a day, so instead I'm aiming for 3000, plus some editing at the same time. I may not finish the whole thing by the end of the month that way, but at least I'll have the wordage on the page to edit if need be.

So...



3000 / 30000 words. 10% done!
martinlivings: (Writing Frustration)
At the moment, I'm finding the act of writing a little like field paleontology. You go out and dig somewhere you think there may be something. Sometimes there's nothing there at all. Sometimes there's junk, bits and pieces of worthless detritus. But sometimes, just sometimes, there's something good.

Short stories are like fossils for me. Generally they're complete animals, even if only skeletons and a hint of an outline. The only work to do is to fill in the gaps, flesh it out, make it come alive. That's how my story for the latest sekrit projekt came to me, and more recently (ie, last night) the story for [personal profile] jennifer_brozek's project, though I'm not sure if that story is any good yet, there's still a lot of dirt on it to be cleaned off. But no time for that right now, i have to make some field notes then put it aside for later inspection.

No, right now is novel time. And novels are like the bigger dinosaurs, in that they aren't discovered fully formed and clear. They come in pieces, large and small, dug up over weeks and months and, yeah, sometimes years. And sometimes you think you've assembled all the bones correctly, only to discover more bones later on and realise that you made some mistakes in your initial assembly.

That's the stage I'm at right now. I thought I had a complete skeleton, only to find more bones in the pit. So I have to add those bones to the big picture, and rearrange the ones I'd already found. Some of them may not even be the right bones at all, might come from a different animal altogether.

But in the end, I will have my dinosaur. And it will have big teeth and big claws, and yea, it will make the earth tremble beneath its mighty feet.

And yes, I am avoiding getting started on this... how could you tell???
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*

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Martin Livings

December 2009

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