Book 2

In which I share tips for working on a first draft …

Although I haven’t posted on this blog lately (little events like getting married and hosting ALL of the holidays got in the way), I am happy to say that I’m back to working on Adamant, Book 2: Scourge of Stalfos. I have two solid chapters at around 45 pages, and I’m hoping to contribute to that page count over the weekend.

So, as far as writing goes, I know what I want to happen but not the particulars. Do you ever feel that way? It’s not that I’m blank on ideas. I’m simply not sure the particulars. So here are the tactics that have helped so far:

  • Scheduling write-ins. Something about getting out of the house and being other writers helps me to feel enthusiastic. I don’t want to “talk the talk” but not “walk the walk.” I can’t very well explain my writing intentions and then not follow through!
  • Contribute to the weekly writing group. I’m a part of a Triangle Writing Group, which meets every Tuesday night. We contribute our pages by Sunday night, and so I make that my pseudo-deadline for a draft. Sometimes it’s hard, when I have weekend plans going on. But I know it does kick me into gear to work on Saturdays. That way I can review things on Sunday.
  • Check out pages from my favorite novels. I typically read actual paper copies of books, but I use Kindle as my stash of favorite inspirational novels. Sometimes if I glance over similar scenes, that will inspire me. I think there’s nothing wrong with “ganking” a line from a favorite story and let my scene flow from there.

Let’s hope this equation helps me again last weekend. I wrote a now-favorite section, and now I need to keep up this momentum — especially as I’m hoping to work on a character my writing group loves the most! I have a lot to live up to. The pressure, the PRESSURE!

Happy writing everyone!



Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2011

The National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I participated the last two years. Admittedly, I dropped off the first year due to work/family constraints but last year, I participated and succeeded. Those words for a YA Southern goth novel might’ve been utter drivel, but I produced them. But here’s the best part: I met other writers at the write-ins.

Writing challenges: For me, writing 50,000 words is going to be ambitious:

  • In my regular job, I have to produce a fair amount of content. Add to that the nightly writing I do with my buddies (not for publication), I probably already write over 50k easily.
  • I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and doing a fair amount of the cooking. That means I’ll be busy doing prep things, cooking, spending time with family, and so on.
  • I’m leaving to go on a trip the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which cuts off about 4 possible writing days.

Writing strategy: This year, I have a tactic. I’m going to be working on Book 2, which is my favorite book in the three part series I have in my head. Back in my Trinity College Dublin days, I created an elaborate outline and wrote about 60 pages, which I will most likely expand. This means that I’m not starting from scratch. I’ll have a clear starting point, and a clear destination. That definitely helps when you’re staring at the blank screen.

Writing pitfall: I’ve already workshopped Book 2, Scene 1 with my weekly writing group, and I’ve already encountered the #1 hang-up that can trap a writer. They gave me some spot-on ideas, so I started revising it. I had to pull the reins, saying whoa-whoa-whoa. That’s not what I want to do at this point! My focus should be producing content (or at least a fair amount of it), so that I can revise a large chunk and not chapter-by-chapter later on. My mission is to send my writing group a different section for next week — a brand new one. So that’s forward progression.

Take-away: The following week — and I think this is great idea for anyone tackling a big project (thanks, Kerry!) — we’ve all agreed to send in brief outlines. We’re only going to be discussing the structure of our works-in-progress. Sometimes you can get bogged down in the details of line edits and not see the big picture. Seeing the big picture is what will get you to complete a project, including a NaNoWriMo project.

In any case, this is my plan for November. Check back here to see how I’m doing!