Monday, 30 November 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
- Jo's Boys - Louisa May Alcott I love this book, though I do prefer Little Women and Little Men more. In terms of classics, I think Alcott is bit like Jane Austen in that their language and their stories are accessibly and applicable to us today as they were in her days. Besides, I simply love Jo March.
- Foundation - Isaac Asimov I enjoy reading this, though I wouldn't say I love them as a lot of people seem to. Foundation series is an interesting read, and something I wouldn't mind re-reading, but I am not a die hard fan.
- The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy This is literature at its best. Roy's poetic languages makes this one of my favourites in regards to the skill with words. The story is gripping too, but it is the language that captured me.
- The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger I only read this book a short time ago, and totally love it. The concept of the story is great, and raised a lot of questions in my mind regards to the control Henry has over his life, due to his time travelling, though he doesn't really know it. The language is simple and easy to read.
- Ship of Destiny - Robin Hobb I haven't read this yet. This live-ship series is one of the over 100 books I have got waiting at home to be read. But I loved Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, so I have great hopes for this.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
- It's fairly detailed. About 12000 words total, but taking out all the repeated titles, headings etc. still about 8K to 9K. So pretty long. The important thing is that it is an outline of EVENTS.
- Basically, I have listed in bullet point 87 things that happen from beginning to end. 87 wasn't a selected number, but that's where the story ended. Under each heading, I have described what that bullet point is supposed to be about. Some points are more detailed than others, depending on how much I knew when I was writing the outline. It's not necessarily a scene by scene outline, because sometimes a scene carries on from one point to the next. It's simply what happens.
- I was hoping that each of the 87 point would be approximately 1000 words, giving me about 87K of the first draft. I never expected it to be exactly that, as currently I am on 43rd point, and my word count is just over 40K. Some points have been as low as 200 words, and one or two have been as long as 2500. That's something that I learn as I write the draft, and end it where it needs to end. So eventually I will end up with the first draft that is between 80K to 90K, and that's my goal.
- Personally for me, I think I have found the exact balance that I need between having enough detail so as not to worry about what happens next, and not enough detail so it doesn't suck the creativity out of writing. I have TOLD what should happen in the outline. I have not SHOWN how it could happen. That happens in the first draft. But not having to worry about what should happen next has made the writing process much much easier.
- All the plot fixing has been done in the outline. I revised this outline about three times, with significant changes. As I wrote it, I found plot lines that didn't work or plot holes that weren't filled. I fixed it before I started writing the first draft. This has been one of my biggest problems with my first drafts, because it totally puts me off editing, and makes me feel like whole thing is unfixable. But with most of the plot holes fixed at the outline stage, the first draft is fairly consistent. I know there will be things that need fixing, but at least the most obvious ones are out of the way. I am hoping that it will make editing less of a nightmare.
- It has divided writing in small sections. So this morning when I took Finn out of my bag, I didn't have to face the whole novel, just point 42. Simple. It should also make it easier when editing, because there will be a small section to handle at a time, as oppose to the whole book.
So that's my outline. Like I said, I have tried different things and different types of outline, but this is the first that has been useful and I have enjoyed using it, so I intend to stick to it for future books.
And why am I having a leisurely evening you may ask - that's because I have already reached today's target. I wanted to reach 40K today, but I am currently at 40514 words. I will still write a bit tonight, but I am not in hurry to finish a certain word count, so tonight, bit more writing and also more reading.
Have you learned anything new about your writing method or preferences from this year's NaNoWriMo experience?
Sunday, 8 November 2009
- Getting a head start is always a good thing. - In the beginning, excitement level is high. You are keen to run rather than walk. So run. Do as much as you can, and bank those words. My highest word count was on the very first day (8376 words), and I haven't gotten anywhere close to that word count after that. However, it did start me off on the right foot, and it's a great motivational factor.
- Having a plan is a good thing - I am sticking to writing in chronological order this time. If I truly wanted to, I could try writing out of sequence, because I do have an outline. But I have noticed that though I remain more or less true to my outline, some things do change or grow, and so I figure that if I stick to the sequence then I can incorporate those changes as I go. Also, as I come to some scenes which are difficult, I am forcing myself to work through them, because sooner or later I am going to have to deal with them so might as well do it now.
- Relaxing and enjoying other things is not against the law - this weekend I had hoped to just write. But you know what, in the end, I thought what the hell, I wanted to finish the book I was reading. So I did. It was great fun. And as much as I want to be a published writer and as much as I want to create my own stories, I don't want to push aside the love of books that get me started on this road in the first place.
- Failure is eventually useful - experimenting with different methods of writing is beneficial, because by figuring out what doesn't work for you, you are closer to finding what does work for you.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
- It is limited, fixed time goal - one month, first draft. That's it. I am not trying to write a publishable book. That comes with editing. I am just trying to finish a first draft. With that one fixed goal, there is no faffing about. No lack of focus. And certainly no flitting around from one project to another.
- Word Count Matters (because I am prepared) - I know some people do NaNo by just focusing on word count, regardless of what they write. That is not my purpose. I am aiming for one complete, and hopefully coherent story. But if I were to start thinking about what's good and what isn't now, I wouldn't get very far. So I prepared myself with a detailed outline. I anguished over the plot when I was outlining. So now, writing the first draft, I just have to move from one point in the outline to next one, without worrying about plot holes. It doesn't mean I rigidly follow it, because my outline is quite flexible. But it simply means that I know what sort of direction the story is heading in. That helps. Because then I can start writing without having to worry about what I am going to write next.
- I have made this my top priority for this month - again, this helps and is possible because it's for a limited time. For one month I can say that everything else is secondary. I can't do that for a whole year. It doesn't mean I don't do anything else (after all, I am writing this post), but simply that I keep in mind that I must meet my minimum word count goal and carry on forward, and leave myself enough time in the day to do so. And for those with busy life styles, I assure you I haven't got all leisure time. I work full-time, have many interests, and can't stop reading blogs. So you have to make time.
- Finn is amazingly useful - Finn is the new netbook I bought. I just happened to want it and get it in time for NaNoWriMo which has been godsend because now I can actually write in the bus when I commute to work. Believe me, it is amazing feeling when I get off from the bus at 8:00 am to start my working day, with 600 words already behind me.
- Competition helps - yes, I am competitive. Not insanely, mind you. But when I see other people posting on AW forums how many words they have done in the day, it motivates me to keep writing. Don't push yourself to do what you can't handle, because your life isn't same as everyone else's. You may have more demands on your time than those who stack up words like Paris Hilton stacks up best friends. But, also keep in mind that if someone else can write 2000 words in 2 hours, so can you. It doesn't mean you have to, or you should. But you could. That's the point. To grow. To stretch yourself.
- Find joy in productivity - As I mentioned, just having done some words in the morning starts my day with a positive feeling. After those morning words, I am usually not able to write until I finish work, but when I do start in the evening, I am not starting at 0. As I add more words to my draft, I have the joy of creating a story that will be completed very shortly, and then I can work on making it better. It's a joy of creating something that is uniquely your own. It's your story. It's your words. It's beautiful experience.
- Aim High - I could have aimed for 50K. But I thought, if I am going to do this, might as well do it extreme. 50K isn't going to give me a full novel. So I am going to finish a full first draft in November. Before November I wasn't sure I could do it. Now I know I can, and I will. It's simply a matter of pushing myself that little bit further.
- Have a Reward - You must have a reward that you value after all that hard work. And I am in luck, because Sims 3 Expansion Pack comes out on November 20. When a new expansion pack comes out, I like to get obsessed with it for at least 2 weeks. So when I finish the first draft, I get to binge on Sims 3 for a couple of weeks before starting to edit this NaNoWriMo novel. And you know what? Now, I want to finish this novel as close to 20th as possible, because I so want to get my hands on that game. So find something that works for you.
Of course most of these things could apply to day-to-day writing as well, so take what you like. :) Now, I must actually get on with my writing.Here is the list of participants in this month's blog chain 1. DavidZahir - http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ 2. shethinkstoomuch - http://shethinkstoomuch.wordpress.com 3. Lost Wanderer - http://lostwanderer5.blogspot.com/ 4. aimeelaine - http://www.aimeelaine.com/ 5. Ravencorinncarluk - http://raven.youareannoying.us/ 6. Bsolah - http://www.benjaminsolah.com/blog/ 7. Charlotte49ers - http://www.amandaplavich.com/ 8. Angyl78 - http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ 9. truelyana - http://expressiveworld.com/ 10. Claire Crossdale - http://theromanticqueryletter.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
- I LOVE OUTLINES. I don't think I would have written that much if I didn't have an outline, because then my tired brain would have had to think more about what I was supposed to write. But because I have an outline, I was even able to do short edits - not proper edits, but go back and insert what I realised later I should have added.
- I am too fussy to be happy with any writing software. After all the goody goody stuff I told you about Liquid Story Binder (which still applies), I ended up using MS Word anyway, because LSB wasn't indenting my paragraphs the way I wanted them and that annoyed me. I use Word's "Read" function when I type. I like the look of that. Obviously its' tiny on a netbook, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
- Word count shout outs rocks. I had my laptop on the side, with only AW and NaNo, specific forums open. So when I finished 1000 words, or rather 1 point in my outline which was about 1000 words, I took a break, made a coffee, posted on forums. That was fun.
And now, I am seriously trying to push myself to go to that kick-off party. The weather is pretty crap. It's extremely wind, and early it was raining. I hate going out in bad weather (which is why I don't do it much since I live in England). And also, I think I might get more done if I stay home. Maybe I will go next week.
How is your first day going?