Just a Quick Update

The finish line is in sight. Yay! Six chapters left to write, and one more to finish, and then I can work on the second draft, tighten up the story etc. and then edit.

Outline as it stands
This is the outline for When the Lights Go Down as it stands.

To the left, or I guess above if you’re on a mobile device, I the outline as of about an hour ago.

Green means I’ve finished the first draft, yellow means I’m working on it, and orange means I’ve planned it but not started writing it yet. It looks a lot better than it did a couple of weeks ago, believe me. Green is such a lovely colour!

I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by this Friday (July 19th), which is absolutely doable. It’s only something like thirteen thousand words. It’s not that much. 😐

Once I start the later drafts, the green bits will go sky blue if there’s a major rewrite needed. I only know a couple of scenes that need the full overhaul. The last chapter, which I wrote first, has already been fully rewritten.

Then after revisions, it will go lavender, and after editing it will go a sort of soft magenta – I think it’s Carnation in the Mac colour picker. As much as I hate pink, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of it.

The main problem I have with Scrivener at the moment is that I tend not to close it down at all. I rarely shut down my MacBook, so I just leave Scrivener open so I can get straight back to work without waiting for it to load.

Of course, not shutting down Scrivener isn’t the problem, it’s that the session counter ticks over at 1am, when I’ve usually (OK, about half of the time) finished writing.

And because the app isn’t being reloaded, it just leaves the session target as it was. That means if I haven’t written as much as I needed to during the day (rare), it’s not accounting for the backlog.

And although it’s rare for me to not hit what I think my target is, because I keep forgetting to manually check the session target in the project targets window (command+shift+T on Mac), it keeps me lagging further behind until I check it again.

Today, for example, I was told my target was about 2800 words, and after I checked it (I didn’t hit my target yesterday), I have an extra 200 words to write. It’s no biggie to catch up, but it would be nice not to have to.

And I’ve finally written the sexy scene I’ve been avoiding. It’s a lot different to how it was originally going to play out, mostly because I made changes to the plot somewhere around the middle. But I think it works nicely, and I can’t wait to see what readers think of it. I personally feel Peter really comes across well in the scene, and I may be falling in love with him myself, never mind Ness. It’s just a shame what happens next.

The reason I was avoiding it was that it was going to be properly steamy, but now it’s a lot more subdued, which you’ll understand if you ever read the novel. I can’t explain the change without giving away a major part of the story. There is a small clue in the outline, but not something that makes sense out of context. That’s the reason I deleted the synopses of the chapters I’ve already finished.

Hey, would you look at that! I blogged three days in a row. Shame all these words can’t count toward my novel, eh?

xx

RJ

No More Pantsing!

Down With Pants!

I’ve been a “pantser” for as long as I can remember. If you don’t know, there are two types of writers — pantsers and plotters. Pantsers write without any real plan for how their story will happen. Plotters, well, the clue’s in the name. And for the longest time, I’ve been a pantser. Or at least I was, until now.

After my last module at uni, I just didn’t want to write. I had all these story ideas spinning around in my head, but I didn’t want to write any of them. And I couldn’t work out why. I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. So why didn’t I want to write? Well, it turns out the problems were twofold. And both problems were related to my writing course.

Problem the First

The first problem was that I got a few pretty crappy scores for my assignments. The thing is, writing is a creative endeavour. Any creative endeavour is art. Art is subjective. I think you might see where I’m going with this. My tutor didn’t think some of my work was any good, and it was clear from her feedback that it was the subject matter.

Now, my daughter will tell you I’m a crazy person when it comes to writing. I just write whatever my brain thinks up. So for one of my assignments I wrote a selection of poems about characters from a video game; a video game my tutor had never heard of. She wasn’t interested, and I got a shit mark for the assignment. I’m not really a poet, so I was expecting a bad mark, but not for the subject matter. She wasn’t the target demographic, and I wasn’t writing the poems with her in mind. The poems, from a technical point of view, weren’t bad.

So with that, and the fact that every creative piece had to be presented with a reflective commentary, I lost interest in writing for a while. I still wrote down story ideas, I just never got around to writing them.

Problem the Second

*mumbles* Stupid writing course, making me plan out what I’m going to write, and create plots for stories.

Turns out I can’t write by the seat of my pants anymore. Or at least, not entirely. I still don’t write fully detailed plots. I can’t work with something like “The Snowflake Method” and never could — it’s a perfectly respectable method of writing, it’s just not for me. But I’ve found I can’t write without some sort of guide anymore.

But I Have a Plan!

NB: It’s not a plot.

I’ve started outlining stories. I know, it shocked me too, but here we are. I just write loose outlines, so I know where the story’s going. I still don’t know everything about my characters when I start to write either. To be honest, I don’t understand why people write full character bios. It’s not like you instantly know everything about someone when you first meet them. And sometimes the most fun I have when I’m writing is finding out something new about a character while I’m writing their dialogue. Because that’s how you find things out about people — by talking to them. Or talking about them, of course.

And of course having a rough outline fits with my bizarre method of writing random scenes out of order because I think of something that’s going to happen at some point.

House Flipper
Lloyd Grossman voice: “Who’d live in a house like this?”

But most importantly, it means I’m writing again. It’s been bloody hard not writing when I know that’s what I need to be doing. I’ve still written stuff, even when I wasn’t writing, it just wasn’t anything I particularly wanted to write. You know, like uni stuff. And now I’m hitting, and even surpassing, my daily word count goals. I know now that I can write what I need to before lunch, study after lunch, and play House Flipper after dinner. God, I love that game! Except adding decorations to the houses. That’s like the reflective commentary of house flipping. Art is subjective, you donuts; buy your own damn paintings!

Well, I guess I’m going to sign off now. I have houses to flip!

xx

RJ