Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Final ROW Check-in for Round 2

Wow!  I can't believe it's been 80 days already!  I have to say, I am so glad I found this challenge.  It has been unbelievably helpful in keeping me going.  The accountability of sharing my goals with a group of supportive people and reporting in every week (okay, I didn't make it every week) has been amazing.  I so appreciate everyone who read my posts and left supportive comments.  I will definitely be back for the next round.  I read many more of your posts than I actually left comments on, but I am going to try to do a better job leaving notes for people next time.

Okay, onward to the goals:

1) Write 25,000 words

I did it!  This week I wrote 3553 words, bringing my total for the round to 25,005.  Whoo hoo!

2) Post on Blog once a week - besides check-in posts
This one I didn't do quite as well on.  I missed a few weeks, and I almost never posted it on time.  Of course, it wasn't really stated in the original goal that I would post on a specific day of the week - that was kind of an internal add-on.  I think I may make that part of the goal official next round - maybe that will make me more likely to meet it.

3) Write first draft of short story
I didn't complete the draft, but I have finally started making progress on this story.  Many of the words I wrote this week were devoted to this project - both the actual draft and brainstorming.  I feel like I actually have an idea where it's going now, so yay!

4) Make progress on Last Words
Progress was made - most of the research and brainstorming variety.  But I feel like I'm moving forward, albeit more slowly than I would like.  And I didn't do something on this every week, as I'd originally planned, but hey, life happens, right?  The important thing is progress.

Overall, I feel pretty good about this round.  My writing habit is developing, I've made some progress on a couple of projects, and I'm excited about moving forward.  One of the things I really need to work on is not spending so much energy beating myself up for the things I didn't do.  That energy is much more productively used doing something now than worrying about what I didn't do last week.

I hope everyone else had a great round!  I'm already thinking about my goals and looking forward to the next one.

Happy writing!

Writing Post Round Up - Week of Jun 9-15, 2013

So apparently posting on time for once is just too much awesome for me to handle, since for two weeks after that post, I didn’t post any links, and this post in the third week is late.

Sometimes I start to freak out about my writing progress.  It seems so slow, and sometimes it feels like everything I write sucks, and I have this string of unfinished things littering the path behind me, and OMG, why do I not have something ready for critiquing yet, let alone sending out to competitions or workshops or querying an agent?  This post kind of makes me feel better.  Writing takes time.  It takes different people different amounts of time.  Some (most?) authors have written more than one book before they sell their first one, and some take years polishing the one that finally sells.  It’s okay.  I am writing.  I will get there.

Of course, part of taking that necessary time to learn the craft and write and polish and query, repeat, is learning to protect the writing time you have, and not let other people fill it up with stuff, even really cool or important stuff.  This post suggests that the secret to creativity is a really tiny little word (with big impact!).

Speaking of query letters (we weren’t? Well, I’m sure I used the word “query” up there somewhere), here’s a nice post on what to include in your bio section.

Writing rules.  Everybody has some, and they all seem to have exceptions.  Don’t write prologues, don’t use adverbs, don’t start with a dream, or with your character waking up, don’t start with dialogue – and so on, forever.  And I’m sure you can all think of at least one example where an author has broken every single one of them.  This post suggests we think of those “rules” more as tools in a toolbox – the right tool for the right task.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have issues coming up with titles.  Right now, I have one WIP that’s simply known as “Changeling” because that’s what it’s about.  It’s not a particularly evocative title, though, and I’ve never planned to use it for the finished project.  This post provides some great practical tips for coming up with a fitting title for your next work (or your current one, if it’s working-titled only, like mine).

An interesting guideline (ahem, what were we saying about rules earlier?) that might help iron out some problems with your manuscript.

This is a fascinating idea for character development.   It seems like it could really help a writer think out of the box, or nail down a character that’s just not quite working.  I may have to give it a try.  Have you ever tried something like this to help you with your characters?

One opinion on the future of publishing, by Hugh Howey.  Personally, from what I’ve read, I believe traditional and self-publishing both still have pros and cons.  And as rapidly as everything is changing, in 5 years there may be some new model that no one has yet thought of.  But Howey makes some interesting points, and this is worth a read.

Chuck Wendig’s response to Howey’s article.  Chuck has both traditionally and self-published work.

A post on how to use choice to create compelling characters.  I found the example interesting – I’d never really thought of it that way before.

Here are some tips for deepening your work.  These suggestions are intended to be used in the editing process, but if you’re one of those folks who does extensive planning and outlining before writing the first draft, I expect they could be good things to think about at that point also.

I don’t think this is a revising process I would want to use all the time, but it’s interesting to read about.  The idea of switching things up this way appeals to me, and I feel like even if you didn’t want to revise an entire book this way, it could be a useful technique to use on particular parts that aren’t working the way you want them to.

This post is kind of long, but worth reading.  So much is in flux in the writing business these days; it’s good to have some guidance in trying to navigate it.  Of course, this is just one person’s opinion, but as he’s a consulting editor with many years of experience, it’s an opinion I plan to keep in my file.

It should be part of any writer’s process (at least, a writer who at some point wants to get published) to have other people look at their work and provide feedback.  The people providing the feedback may vary depending on where you are in your writing journey, but these tips for how to give and receive feedback are probably applicable across the board.

If you write mysteries (or just stories that have a mystery in them!), you might find these three tips helpful.  I know I’m going to look into using them in mine!

Here’s an interesting plotting tool.  Now, I’m not much of a sports fan, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me to use tournament brackets to plot out my novel, but I have to admit, I’m intrigued by the idea.
So that’s it for this week.  Sorry for my tardiness – I’ll try to do better this week.  Until next time, keep writing!

Note: this is a list of blog posts and articles on writing that I collect weekly.  Inclusion on this list does not necessarily mean it was published this week, just that I read it this week and thought it was cool, interesting, and/or useful.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Into the Home Stretch - ROW Update

So I meant to post some more about MisCon, and get my writing-post-round-ups posted, and check-in for ROW in a timely fashion.  And visit other people's blogs (I have actually read several, I just haven't left many comments). 

But.  It's now been two weeks since I last posted.

Sometimes life happens, I guess.  I got sick - just a cold, and a fairly mild one at that, except for the exhaustion.  And then, just as I thought the cold was about licked, a three-day migraine.  That was fun. (Not.)  I managed to pretty much recover by the weekend and got back to my workout routine and got a bunch of housework done.  Then there was the pit of depression I fell into this week.  Still trying to climb out of that - some days I try harder than others.

So anyway, I don't have a whole lot to report on the writing front.  Here 'tis:

1) Write 25,000 words

I wrote 2098 words in the last two weeks, which is actually more than I thought, but not as much as I'd hoped before the whole cold/migraine/depression thing.  That brings my total for the round to 21452.  I think I can still hit 25,000, but I will have to bust my butt this week.

2) Post on Blog once a week - besides check-in posts
Epic, epic fail.  And I was so proud of getting the last one in on time, too.  Technically, I did write part of a blog post last week, but I haven't posted it yet because it needs a boatload of editing.  Oh well - Onward!

3) Write first draft of short story 
Yeah.  It seems unlikely that this is going to happen this round.  Although if I suddenly figured out where I'm going with it, I do still have almost 4000 words to write to hit my word goal.  I could use them on this.  So it's possible, just highly unlikely.

4) Make progress on Last Words
A little bit of progress on this.  I had some really good thoughts about my main character, and did some brainstorming on ways to bring this back to its original spark (I seem to have meandered off the path).  I was really hoping to get more done on this, but I think I need a better plan for organizing my time.

So, that's my lack of progress for the two weeks.  But - tomorrow is another day, so here's to moving forward!  Hope you all are making fantastic progress as we head into the final stretch of the round!