Category Archives: Organizing Your Writing

Juggling Priorities – Writing on Bubblews

Juggling Priorities – Writing on Bubblews

I’m feeling good these days, although when I really get into the swing of things I feel like a world-class juggler.

So after some serious down time over the holidays – and fighting off depression – I emerged with some specific goals for the New Year.

I’m going to take them one post at a time…

WRITING ON BUBBLEWS

Five posts a day. Five posts a day. I can do FIVE posts a day!

That’s my mantra these days. And it has worked okay for the past week. Now…we will see once we add in the OTHER part of the equation, which I will discuss tomorrow, or possibly the day after, my various book projects.

For now, writing on Bubblews with a goal of five posts a day seems doable and could hopefully make the difference between balancing our budget or NOT.

I’ve seen a lot of arguing/posts back and forth asking “what is the perfect number of posts” or “should I only do 1-2?” or “anyone who does more than three posts a day is just in it for the money!” – Every opinion, every inflammatory phrase they can think of.

At the risk of opening up a can of worms…what do YOU think? What is the perfect number of posts? Or is there?

Missed a post on Juggling Priorities? Here is the list of previous posts…

Homeschool – www.bubblews.com/news/2067735-juggling-those-priorities-homeschool

Finished a chapter – “First Summer”

Finished a chapter – “First Summer”

One of the decisions I made in my two months of waiting for data to be recovered was to slightly change up how I write each day.

First, my goal remains the same – to write each and every day

But where I found myself tripping up is that I would sit down to write on the fiction projects and find myself distracted by the blog posts. I would then rationalize to myself, “Well, I HAVE to do the blog posts, people are depending on me!” So I would do them first, and then it would be late and no time left to write on the fiction projects.

Excellent delaying/procrastination tactic, don’t you think?

In any case, I decided that I would make a rule. I must write on a fiction project, which obviously is War’s End Book 2 now that I have my files back, FIRST, before writing on the blog posts. It’s a delayed gratification. People read my blogs right away, they don’t necessarily see a book until weeks or months down the road. So its harder to write the fiction, there’s no one there clapping me on the back and telling me I’ve done a good job.

Well, except for me…and maybe Dave…[sigh]

Yesterday I had a horrid headache, there was also Storytime at the Library and a cleaning. So I got zero writing done. The problem with this? Well, I was supposed to have two blog posts written for Wednesday – one for TDN and one for HA, but I had nothing done. NOTHING at all!

Last night I also had to teach a class. By the time I returned from that, interacted with the family and had a bite to eat it was friggin’ 11pm at night. Little ‘ole me, who is usually peacefully snoozing by 9pm, was up way past my bedtime.

All night I tossed and turned, knowing I needed to get the blog posts done, but also quite clear that the fiction came first.

So I just finished writing the chapter “First Summer” in WE2. I’m up to 45,519 words now. So I just spent half an hour or so writing about 500 words. Not bad, and I learned an interesting twist to the story.

It is always interesting to see where a story leads you. Who knew that Jess was a writer? And best yet, the type of writer she is. But the details on that will wait…who says I can’t keep a reader in suspense?!

It is now 7:15. I’m going to grab some coffee, let the puppy out of her box, and then get to work on the two blogs.

I’m feeling damn good about myself!

Update @ 1:45: Up to 46,546 total words on Book 2. I’m making progress but I think I’m done for the day. I made another decision, one that I may change my mind on later, but, who knows? Basically, when I would get to a point where I felt ‘stuck’ I’d attach a little note on what I thought should happen in the chapter and then go on to the next one. “Young Love” was one such chapter that I did this with. After I finished “First Summer” I began paging through the manuscript and found myself at “Young Love” – I started to go past it and find something else ‘easier’ to write. But then I turned back and dove in. It is strange where the story leads you. It’s also oddly satisfying. I had to do just a touch of the obligatory review one does in sequels. It had been on my mind for a while, and something I was doing my best to talk myself out of, until I realized it would add to the depth of the characters, add to the backstory, if I simply did a little review and then moved forward in the chapter. It really worked.

So I’ve written well over 1,500 words today. Yippee! That’s satisfactory progress, indeed. And I’m plunging forward with the difficult to write (read that “I don’t know what happens, so I try to avoid it”) sections. Go me!

Organizing, Being Distracted, It’s All the Same Thing, Right?

Organizing, Being Distracted, It’s All the Same Thing, Right?

Okay, so first an update on Book 2…

Current word count: 38,140

Number of chapters: 35 (Yeah…I added two more…SUE me)

Chapters Written: 12 (in other words, over 1/3 of the book has been written!)

Chapters in Progress: 4 (these have either been started, are almost done, or need some editing)

And don’t even get me started on the short stories I would like to write on the War’s End series and post here on the website under Snippets. Let’s just leave it at this – I’ve started a file with lots of notes, titles of stories, and a spot for ‘date completed’ when I finally get around to writing and posting it.

Now I’ve mentioned before the idea that I have several very different storylines and genres all connected within the same universe, right?

If we were to lay them all in order, they would look something like this…

  • Schicksal Turnpike – 1950’s through 1960’s
  • Chronicles of Liv Rowan – 1980 through 2010
  • War’s End – 2012 through 2030
  • Plague Tale – 2099 through 2128
  • Gliese 581 – 2130 through ???

It seems that for every word I type, a thousand more projects and side shoots spring up. It’s like a plant growing out of control!

Right now, I am going through the Master Character list, which is neither complete nor accurate, and adding new characters from the War’s End character list to the Master list. Why? Because it helps keep all of the dates and facts straight. There’s nothing I hate more than to be inaccurate, especially since I’ve advanced the timelines of several of my stories several times in order to accommodate War’s End and when it should start versus when it was published in the real world.

Confused?

Try standing in my shoes.

Back to organizing…and writing.

Should I Break My Own Rules?

Should I Break My Own Rules?

I woke up this morning thinking of War’s End. At 6:03 am, my eyes popped open (headache free for the first time in nearly a week) and I thought, I want to write on War’s End.

Now if you have been paying attention to the ‘rules’ –  that’s a little bit of a problem.

Sundays are the first day of my new weekly cycle. After all, I’ve got my readers to think about here, folks! On Monday, dozens of curious readers will go to TDN or HA to find out the latest and greatest in gardening and self-sufficiency or all about our latest homeschool escapade.

I will NOT let them down.

My ‘rule’ is to write all of the TDN and HA posts for the week and then spend the rest of the week working on fiction projects. Right now that means War’s End. I figure it makes good sense. Secure my ‘fan’ base, promote my writing daily, entertain many. That is, after all, what writing is all about, right? (Well it is that way for me at least!)

What concerns me is losing focus on either side – the daily nonfiction becoming humdrum or the fiction lacking that fire it needs.

I guess my compromise has to be, write at least one day ahead in my daily posts before writing in my fiction project.

If I look at it that way, I could get away with just sitting down and writing one post for HA, because I have already written posts on TDN for Monday and Friday.

On other news, I think that I have completed the outline of Book 2, complete with chapter titles, and now know where the book is going and how it is going to get there.

“What?” you say, “you didn’t already know?”

No, not really. There has been a clear beginning – Jess back in Warsend. There have been some clear middles – a main character falls in love, siblings must reunite. And a clear end – that Cooper bastard has got to get his comeuppance.

Other than that…nope.

To date, I have begun to write, or fully written, 14 chapters. There are a total of 32 chapters identified as needing to be written. Also, as of yesterday, I’ve written 28,045 words. I think I’m looking at another 100,000 word book.

So, with all of that said. I’m going to do another quick double-check on my calendar. If I have any crazy days coming up than I will try to write ahead for those as well. I guess I’m off to write at least one homeschool post, maybe two.

And then? WAR’S END!

…………Update…………

Well, it’s 2pm and I’ve managed to complete seven of the ten assigned posts for the week. Hooray for me! And that was while also going shopping for groceries and household goods at three stores and running through two more loads of laundry (and some folding). I still have one more post for TDN and two more for HA to finish out the week. I think that, as a reward for such good behavior, I will give myself the choice tomorrow of writing fiction OR finishing some of the posts.

Go me!

Day 4 of NaNoWriMo

Day 4 of NaNoWriMo

I didn’t get as early as start as I had hoped for. I started writing at 6am, but I did a bit of ‘story organization’ first. Mainly I listed the different story threads I want to cover.

So the starting word count for yesterday was 6,175 and I only wrote about 350 words yesterday.

Current Word Count: 7,687 – so wow, maybe 1,162 so far today? That doesn’t sound right. I think I must have written more yesterday. Maybe 1,000 or even 1,500 words. Let’s say I wrote 1,000 yesterday. So that would mean 7,175 starting word count for today and 512 words for today.

That means I’m behind goal for yesterday and today.

Not much time today, at least not until evening. In an hour we have to leave to get E’s vaccinations, then Dave’s one-on-one, (E and I will go grocery shopping during that) and then a quick dinner and back to see Amy for what is hopefully our last family counseling meeting EVER.

So…hopefully I’ll get an hour tonight to write. That and the next 45 minutes. Off I go!

7:15 – Current word count: 8,584 – so 1,409 words so far today? I’m running out of steam, so I’ll probably be short of goal again, but I think I can make up a lot tomorrow and this weekend.

Ugh!!!

Ugh!!!

Status Update: Book 1 – 28,313 words (nearly 1,000 words written today) and new file ‘CLR Series – Book Summaries’ created, currently @ 381 words.

I’m having difficulty. Part of it is fear that I don’t have enough of a word count, which is silly, I know it is. But part of it is also a lack of clarity. I have a main theme, but I really want to make this story complete, with plenty of subplots that will weave their way into the following books. So here I am, at less than 30% of goal, and already halfway through the story I’ve plotted out. Or am I?

In any case, this was the reason for the new file, which summarizes each book’s twists and turns in bullet format. So far, I’ve summarized 2/3 of the book written to date. I’m hoping it will help me gain clarity once I reach the uncharted (read unwritten) part of the book.

See…I know where the book is going and how it ends, but I’m concerned I don’t have enough for it to be a full-fledged book. My goal is that each book is approximately 100,000 words. I’ll be more than satisfied with 90,000 or even 80,000…hell, I might even be cool with 70,000. But here I am, at just under 30,000 and worried the book will wrap up at 50,000 words. It really needs to be novel-length.

All morning, as I stopped and started on the writing path, I found myself worrying over word counts. Which is stupid. It makes for bad storytelling when all you can think of is of how to thicken the soup. Eventually you’ll have a nice thick soup, without taste or substance.

In any case, I will just have to get back to it, although it will most likely be tomorrow. the princess will be off and away to my mom’s for a few days and I will get at least two days free to write in her absence. That will just have to do.

How It Works

How It Works

First things first, here is a quick status update:

Book 1: 16,318 words (I’ve written about 1,500 words since last update)

Notes: 18,530 (no real change)

I am pleased to say that I have finally figured out my own writing style. Somehow, understanding how it works for me, is reassuring. It isn’t chaos, I have a plan, and it actually…works.

I wondered for a long time just how a writer went about writing a series. I mean, how do you keep track of all the details? The subplots?

Do you envision everything from the beginning to the end in one fell swoop or what?

Karen Moning wrote in an author’s note at the end of her most recent ‘Fever’ book that the Fever series came to her, complete. I guess that, to paraphrase that, I would say that she knew how it would begin and how it would end.

Here I am, with twelve books outlined (more or less) and ready to pump these babies out. So two answers come to mind.

Organizing a series – I currently have a binder titled “The Chronicles of Liv Rowan.” Within it I have the 37 pages of my Notes file printed out. It includes a Table of Contents. After that I have sections, complete with tabs with designations like: Maps, Creatures, Genealogies (printed from an Excel file), Structures, Characters (printed from my Characters file), Weapons & Artifacts, and Calendars (MS Outlook calendars I’ve printed out for the specific times each book occurs.

So that’s how I keep it organized so far.

As far as the details…

Well I take the main plot outline from the Notes file and plop each one into the individual book manuscript file and then break it up. A sentence here, a paragraph there, separated by chapters that I name as I begin to write. So with each chapter, as I begin to write, I have a short synopsis to work from sitting just a few lines below on the page. It looks something like this…

Liv dreams of Snerdoom attacking her and then the dream changes to that of the scene from the tunic, where man and Snerdoom get along.

Or something like this…

the girl Aine talks about this bedchamber where the Bishop Payne’s representative stayed recently. Aine shares the details of the visit with Liv

In other words, I don’t have a step-by-step “and then this will happen” level of detail. I discover a lot as I begin to write. And the story flexes and alters as time goes on. So for those wondering, that’s how it works for me. How about you?