Friday, September 26, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One of Those Days

You ever feel like what you're producing is awful and everyone else's stuff is way better?

Yeah, it's one of those weeks. I don't know if I'm cut out to write short stories.


Friday, September 19, 2008

The Hidden Draft

I won't be showing my first draft of my novel around for a few weeks. I should be upfront about that, since I know a few of my reader friends and possibly even my writing group buddies read this and some are champing at the bit (I've heard your teeth gnashing, you know who you are). Bear with me and I'll explain why.

When I last started a book I found that I had a lot of problems working it because I'd get a lot of comments that, while useful and accurate, were things I didn't want to start really working on until the second round. I got so bogged down in those things that I started revising and never moved forward.

This time around, I'm trying something different. Although my research and world-building are much better this time around, I want to do a process that I used with my thesis and was reminded of after reading some excellent book editing articles. Here's the breakdown of how my process works:

1) First readthrough. This means just that - read the entire novel and write thoughts and comments as I go along. No rewriting, no editing.
2) Light proofing. Fixing the misspellings and obvious grammar booboos.
3) Chronology. Taking a look at each scene and deciding on a timeline/smoothing hte timeline out so it makes sense.
4) Editing. The meat of the project. After all of my thinking about the piece as a whole, I'll rewrite from beginning to end, adding in everything that's been missed out. This is where people's opinions will come into play.
5) Re-Evaluation/Roadmap. After Finishing the first runthrough, I'll be putting all of the information about the world-building I've done into a separate document (for hopeful future sequel use), then re-evaluate where the story is at. And then I repeat steps 1-4 until finally...
6) Polishing. This is basically the steps from above to a lesser degree, with an eye to continuity and theme than other problems, which should be hopefully taken care of by now.

I'm hoping this takes about 9 months. Hey, I can dream...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time on my hands

Now that I've finished writing my novel, my writing time feels different. I'm trying to give myself a break before revising, but I've always been headstrong and tend to forge ahead to learn through the absolute gunks of my writing. Most writers suggest a break before starting on your work, but I don't know how long of a break I can really give myself without losing steam. while it's important that I give my work as unbiased of an eye as possible, I think it would take longer than I care to wait to do that.

However, I am with many projects still even as I dither about the novel. I've got a half dozen stories in various stages of the writing cycle, and I think it'd behoove me to get some ready to send out so I can get in my Editor Mind for book revising and still have a few projects to work on while working on the book.

Since I've reached my goal of getting a story published, I am redefining my goals for the next year (which I always do in October, anyways, so I figure I can give myself thirteen months this time). In no particular order:

1) Get at least five cleaned up short stories circulating and published.
2) Finish the first and second edits on the novel.
3) Start searching out agents once second edit is done.
4) Participate in NaNoWriMo in November.
5) Begin early stages for another novel.

Starting this week, I'm going to take 2 hours a day to work on editing my stuff and doing critiques for my writing groups. I'm also going to read at least an hour a day. I need to keep my mind circulating, and reading refreshes me.

Started a short story on Monday and expect to finish the first draft this week. Got another one in the works as soon as I get a chance to do a little research.

After reading my post, I have a lot more going on than I thought. Geez. How am I supposed to stay in one of the top raiding guilds of World of Warcraft with this schedule? ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Phase 1 Complete

I finished the first rough draft of my novel. Word count rang in at 66,000, which is a solid start. I know that I'll be adding quite a bit with some scenes I am already toying with changing around, and there's a bunch of things I need to add for a character I didn't realize I needed until I was at the end of the novel.

But all of these thoughts and ideas I have for editing will have to wait. I need to make myself take as much of a break as possible from the novel so I can gear up and be excited about it again when I start the countless months or year of revisions that will take place now. Writing was the easy part. Editing will be the hardest and longest part of the piece.

But tonight, no thoughts of that. I've written my first draft. If I can do that, I can do anything.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Keep on Truckin'

We're back into almost normal mode around the house again, and I reached my daily wordgoal for the first time in two weeks. I am back on track now, and I'm going to work through the bumps in my path until I hit smooth rolling again.

It's easy to write when things are going great. The fresh idea you had straight from the box, inserted and tweaked into the fabric of your world until it fits, and you spin it until it's time for the next step to keep the ball going. But it's when you can't find that clever turn to keep the ball going that the true writers come out. They employ every bit of willpower, ingenuity, and often plain cussedness to make the story go, whether it wants to or not, until it's smooth sailing once again.

Also, how many metaphors, smilies, and cliches can you use in a paragraph? Go for it and find out.

September has rolled around, and the writing wolves are howling at my writing group doors and demanding that I start pumping out something to show them. I belong to two writing groups - one is a well-mixed group that always manages to help me improve my writing so I can find the gold nuggets amongst the shit, but the second is a specialization group for genre writing. It's only a select few friends, and the rules are simple - you must produce 1k a week, and the projects have to come through so we can rip them apart.

None of us are professionals in there. Inside "Ground Zero" we're cold-hearted lawyers searching for every loophole and problem with a piece that comes up. It's very good for me because I tend to be a big picture person who manages to tie most of the facts together, but they really help me clinch any holes, no matter how gaping they may be. Or how much I don't want to see them.

When you can find a good writing group, they're worth three times their weight in gold. Finding a good group is exceedingly difficult, and I'm grateful to have two.

Current Reads: Finally plowing through the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Not hard on the eyes. Terrific light reading. Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey finally came out, and I finished it the second night I got it. The only thing holding back my writing now is my pile of books.

Current WordCount: 62,500/90,000

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Summary and A Farewell

I promised I would put a brief summary of my novel up. Here it is:

New city, new job, same old bodies. Well, the same as could be expected when magic is involved. For Akemi, one of the few fully trained magic crimes CSI's, Saint Louis isn't so different from New Orleans, where Akemi gained field experience in America's magical hotbed, hodgepodge home of magicians of all creeds. Two murders have thrust her into a political and religious fiasco. With the magic rights activist Asher Phillips and conservative Christians Against Magic Movement's vice president Thomas Richter now both in the morgue, Akemi has her work cut out for her digging up the real player behind the scenes. More deadly than the magic used to kill the men are the shadows behind the power, and Akemi needs to sort through the mess before Saint Louis explodes into a fight between those who use and those who fear magic.

Work has slowed due to extenuating circumstances beyond my control, but I will have the first draft complete by next weekend.

Current WordCount: 61,000

Rest in Peace
Tommy Nguyen