The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

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Sommer Leigh
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The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 1st, 2012, 9:18 am

Many writers have found participating in the All Things Writing thread to be very motivational, but it is also very difficult to give encouragement, tips, and advice easily, or just to chat, gossip, or unload our frustrations when it doesn't fit in with any given topic. This is a companion thread where anyone needing a pick-me-up or wanting to offer some words of encouragement to a friend, can.

Consider this an "open writing chat" sort of thread. Tell us about your current work in progress, your fears, goals, hopes, irritations. Share your silly writing mistakes or your awesome one liners. Whatever helps keep you from going crazy.

If you have a specific writing question, however, it should probably have its own thread. Use your best judgement.

Good luck, writers.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Mark.W.Carson » August 1st, 2012, 9:54 am

I think I'm developing Neurosis of the Liver. My confidence when restarting is always lacking. I've set a goal for myself to do ~4 (more if I can) chapters a weeks so I can get the rewrite done in 3 months or less. After that, it's polish/beta time and then submission. By early next year, my WIP will be out of my hands and in the land of agents and editors, if you can believe that.

One thing I am proud of is my new opening paragraph. I've gotten lots of positive feedback that it draws people in.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Claudie » August 3rd, 2012, 12:24 am

Hurray for the positive feedback, Mark! And I hope you can do your rewrite so fast. I've been trudging along on my for a year now (ugh!) and I can't wait to be finished. Ironically, half of my progress has been in the last two months, and had I worked that fast all year, I'd be done by now (not that it was possible). But what I mean is good luck! Rewrites can be both so much fun and so painful, I still don't know whether I love or hate them.

Also, I haven't done much in the last five days. And I think I managed to finish July just short of 30k, which is really a shame. I think if I'd had access to internet on the 31st, my pride wouldn't have allowed such a mistake. XD OH WELL. I am rather proud of what I accomplished, because I really kicked my ass into a discipline routine and maintained it through the month. Now, the last few days have been kind of like a small Fallout-New-Vegas-induced vacation, but if I do the same thing in August but with 1200 words/day instead of 1000, I might finish the draft before school starts again. And that would be freaking wonderful!
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Mark.W.Carson » August 3rd, 2012, 7:54 am

Keep it up, Claudie.

I'm very motivated right now. I'm really trying to be done with this draft by Oct so I can go to NYCC with a head full of steam. I did about 2000 of rewrite (which I hold to a much higher standard than regular spout drafting). If I do a chapter every 1-2 nights, I'll be in good shape.

I'm adding about 5 chapters, which puts me at about 44 chapters for this book. I want 10-12 weeks on this process. Oh, and did I mention I almost only ever write between 10:30 and 12:00ish at night? In the AM, I do a bit of clean up because I look at it with fresh eyes.

Once I'm done with the draft, it's a week off, and then polish polish polish before submitting.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 3rd, 2012, 9:33 am

So, I've been reworking my first pinch point because it has always felt wrong and it felt like I was taking way too long to get to the midpoint twist (which I was. My word count is all screwed up.) And as I've been replotting and rewriting, I started getting this weird feeling that maybe what I'd written for my first pinch point is actually the midpoint twist. It comes up close to the right point in the word count, but the intent isn't there. It wasn't meant to be that important. And that is frustrating. So I'm trying to strip it down so it isn't so important and, at the same time, get to the midpoint faster.

When I decided to split my protagonist into two people and give them equal face time and equal importance, I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to get everyone to the right points in the story at the same time without going over word count. I don't think I'll write two points of view ever again because of it. I mean, I love the story, but I just want to throw it out there that I barely passed college algebra and if it weren't for Excel I wouldn't be able to do half the maths I do manage. I've had to build an excel spreadsheet to track my chapter word counts and throw up red flags when I've blown past critical moments in the story. First plot point ended up like at the 37% mark instead of the 25%. I've managed to cut enough word count to bring that down to 28%, but still.

There's too much maths in my creative writing!!!!

*Deep breath.*

There. I feel better now. This is one of the downsides of being one of those writers who cannot write through a first draft and then go back and deal with these issues. I have to deal with them as I go. My first drafts take longer, but they are in very good shape when I do finish them.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Mark.W.Carson » August 3rd, 2012, 10:28 am

Wow, that's highly technical there, Sommer. I just write it and cut out what feels wrong. I've cut out a LOT. My chapter 1 is my old chapter 9 (when the story really took off). I've cut a character here or there, introduced ones I'm not sure about so they may go away too. I've changed the nationality of at least one, changed the location at least twice. I've built up part of a language, theology, motivations for multiple characters, and while I am REALLY only at one one view point (it does switch, but there's a reason), I feel like I am telling 2 or 3 different stories and how they are connected.

You got the gist of what I am writing in a PM... Now I just have to figure out how to keep it going through 2 more books for the series.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Claudie » August 3rd, 2012, 10:46 am

Haha, Sommer, even I get those Too Much Maths! Panic moments, and I love myself some maths. Just keep breathing. It'll pass eventually. ;)

Mark: It's great that you're working fast and have a routine. I'm having trouble setting one down (the fact that my job schedule always changes doesn't help) but I know it's very useful when I want to do progress smoothly. Keep us updated!

I decided to do Camp NaNo. Or really, I counted how many words I needed to achieve my goal and realised it was something like 40k on my current WIP, and there are school works (which are also creative writing pieces) which I want to do before we start again. (I'm aware that makes no sense. The short of the long story is that due to a political upheaval, I'm finished my winter semester in September, while also starting my Masters-equivalent program... in September. So I want to be ahead of the workload if I can). The end result is that I might have to write some 50k throughout the month. And I haven't started yet, ha!
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 3rd, 2012, 10:51 am

Claudie wrote:Haha, Sommer, even I get those Too Much Maths! Panic moments, and I love myself some maths. Just keep breathing. It'll pass eventually. ;)
Maths makes me feel dumb. Durrrrrr.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by trixie » August 3rd, 2012, 11:04 am

I made a spread sheet for my first book a few years ago. It was intense and color coded and had all sorts of information that ultimately stressed me out. However, I made it and used it before I had a good understanding of how to structure the plot, so the plot points are all a mess. It helped to see which chapters were too long, though.

I come in here at the start of each month and give excuses as to why I didn't meet last month's goals. And you are all such awesome people that you all tell me that you have faith in my ability to meet the new goals I make for myself. At some point, I begin to sound like a broken record.

So, I'm gonna share all the good stuff I've done:
1. I bought James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure book (June goal).
2. I finally posted a blog again (yesterday) after a ~2 mo hiatus.
3. I have ~24 new pages/8K new words written this summer. That's good for me.
4. Most important (for my own sanity), I'm pulling myself out of my summer stagnant funk and am starting to feel in control again. This feeling spreads to multiple areas of my life. I'm eager to start writing again, to start running again, and to start doing things for ME again. This is good, even though it hasn't yet directly translated into new words.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by AnimaDictio » August 3rd, 2012, 11:15 am

In addition to the novel I'm currently working on, I'm helping my mom write a book about her marriage. I've been splitting time between them but my love for my mother sometimes causes me to give her too much time. If it weren't for my critique group, I wouldn't have made it this far with my novel.

I have my first 40 pages which I'm really proud of. My goal is to have the next twenty tight by month's end. And the entire novel (approx 200 pg) by year's end. Oh, pray for me!

;)

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by dios4vida » August 3rd, 2012, 11:25 am

Oh my gosh, spreadsheets for your writing? No. No no no no no. That would absolutely kill my creativity. It's bad enough my husband makes spreadsheets for our video games. If I had to do that for my books, I'd be stuck in writer's block forever. My version of keeping things on track is a giant white board, a thick notebook, and many, many different colors of pens.

Tricia, glad to hear you're getting back on your feet. I've been hoping things were looking up for you. :)

As for me, July was a rough month all around. But I'm hoping August will be better. I got my medications bumped up and oh, the extra dosage is so nice! I'm actually starting to feel human again. Which means my brain is starting to crank and all those thoughts that have been floating around in my head are, I hope, gonna explode out here and make my word count soar with awesomeness. I've also been getting some of the best reviews from my critique circle which are really boosting my confidence in my writing. So yeah. Yay for August!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by MattLarkin » August 3rd, 2012, 11:44 am

I don't use spreadsheets for the actual novel, though occasionally I use them in setting building.

I do use Scrivener, which is awesome. I use MS Word for the actual writing, but Scrivener to both plot the novels and organize all my notes on the setting.
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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Beethovenfan » August 3rd, 2012, 12:59 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:So, I've been reworking my first pinch point because it has always felt wrong and it felt like I was taking way too long to get to the midpoint twist (which I was. My word count is all screwed up.) And as I've been replotting and rewriting, I started getting this weird feeling that maybe what I'd written for my first pinch point is actually the midpoint twist. It comes up close to the right point in the word count, but the intent isn't there. It wasn't meant to be that important. And that is frustrating. So I'm trying to strip it down so it isn't so important and, at the same time, get to the midpoint faster.

When I decided to split my protagonist into two people and give them equal face time and equal importance, I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to get everyone to the right points in the story at the same time without going over word count. I don't think I'll write two points of view ever again because of it. I mean, I love the story, but I just want to throw it out there that I barely passed college algebra and if it weren't for Excel I wouldn't be able to do half the maths I do manage. I've had to build an excel spreadsheet to track my chapter word counts and throw up red flags when I've blown past critical moments in the story. First plot point ended up like at the 37% mark instead of the 25%. I've managed to cut enough word count to bring that down to 28%, but still.
Sommer, you're scaring me girl! That is a lot of math, none of which I do in my own writing. I wouldn't even no where to begin, which makes me wonder what else I don't know. But should. :shock:
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 3rd, 2012, 1:59 pm

The concept of NOT using a spreadsheet is so weird to me! Mine isn't terribly complex, it keeps track of pages per chapter, word count per chapter, and because I have two first person protags, one column marks "M" or "L" for which point of view it is in. Then I have one column with a couple of words describing the main point of that chapter.

Then I mark off approximately where each major plot point falls (First Plot Point, First Pinch Point, Midpoint Twist, Second Pinch Point, Second Plot Point). Then for the chapters I've finished, the wordcount is in black. For the ones I haven't I've estimated how many I think I'll need, and those are in light blue. At the bottom I keep track of how many ACTUAL words I've used, and how many I have ESTIMATED. Then there's another block of formulas that calculate the 25% for each of the 4 sections and it alerts me in red when I've gone over and by how much.

I don't know how I'd do it any other way! I like the structure. I don't outline heavily, but I do like knowing what my first plot point is and when I should hit it and if I've blown past it. I think if I didn't have that guide I'd stare at my computer or else write total crap that needs heavy editing whem I'm done, which would make me nuts.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - AUGUST

Post by Mark.W.Carson » August 3rd, 2012, 2:05 pm

I don't know. For me, writing is such a weird and intimate thing, that it would be like using a spreadsheet for sex.

On an ENTIRELY different note. Sommer, now that I see you have come back a bit, and don't seem underwater, did you have a chance to look over the PM I sent you outlining my story? I was wondering what you thought, and if you had a general idea about what genre it fell into.

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