Writing has consumed my life haha! When did I start the book, yesterday, Wednesday? I can’t even remember.
Last November, Scott Westerfeld gave writing tips on every odd numbered day, and his wife did the same for every even numbered day. I finished his this morning and need to move on over to hers.
One of the things that Scott recommends is having a timeline. This is to help you keep track of what day of the week your characters are in, or even the month or the season, lest your character end up going to school six days in a row. A lot of the tips sounded really great, but all the writing tips I ever read usually revolve around being able to look at your work. Whether it be graphs or color coded charts or names written in bold, they are all things to help you keep organized.
After I had lost interest in the last book I had started to write, I took a different approach with this one. I just wrote. It’s so raw and skeletal, with tons of mistakes, but the words are finding a home on paper? screen? haha!
I hadn’t done any brainstorming like I did with the last one. I had a possible idea for the story, but didn’t have a definite plot. I had just decided to start writing and see where the characters led me. I read on Scott’s blog this morning about writing yourself out of the corner. Don’t think yourself out of a jam, write yourself out of it. I realized that was exactly what I had been doing.
After walking away from the computer for a minute, a possible plot flooded my brain. I let the idea dance around a bit, and then opened a brainstorming document. It’s just one paragraph, unlike the fragmented ideas I had written down with the last book. It just got the idea a bit organized. It doesn’t have all the dates and other important little data in it. That’s what my timeline is for.
I did take Scott’s advice and start a timeline. I looked back over my chapters and jotted down quick notes about what day it was, who’s point of view it was, important dates like birthdays, just small details like that. It doesn’t take much, and I don’t need any fancy color coding, just lines of text under the chapter heading. I’ll continue to fill in the timeline after I write each chapter, to keep it all straight as I go, and to be able to look back on during revision. I haven’t written an outline because frankly, I think that would complicate things for me. Jumping between text documents and finding my place would be rather daunting, and truth be told, how can I write an outline when the characters haven’t told me where they’re going yet?
After every chapter, I was saving a draft in gmail. What better place to back up my writing? This was working ok, but there was no real easy way to jump to a particular chapter. It’s nice having all the text in one document because I can highlight the whole thing and check word count. Over 11,500 words already!
I came up with the idea to create a private blog, just for the book. It’s barking perfect! I copied each chapter into it’s own post labeled by chapter. The book appears backward by chapter, but I can just jump to the last heading and navigate by heading in reverse order.
This will come in handy later when I incorporate another of Scott’s tips. Read your work backward. That’s to take you out of context and really catch any phrasing errors. He actually recommends reading backward by paragraph as well. That won’t be intil the revision process, but having the book in a blog is going to be quite helpful.
Now that I’ve gotten some of the organizational stuff taken care of, I can really get back to focusing on the bare bones of the novel. It’s so fun creating it. It’ll be even better to get to the fine tuning stage.
I just have to remember not to forget about life. 😉 I had really planned on getting some vacuuming done today but, it’ll wait haha! Jayden seems to be the only thing taking priority right now. I’m sure this little phase will pass, or maybe it won’t? Maybe this is what happens when a potential author is really on to something.