Posts Tagged ‘ progress ’

This Time Travel Stuff is Hard!

Writing is hard. Any writer will tell you that. We intentionally make it harder (also known as ‘challenging’) on ourselves to see what we’re really made of. I did that with Spirit Hackers in the ways of creating a full outline and structure before writing. I also ditched MS Word and Apple’s Pages for a still relatively-unknown app called Scrivener. With Loopback, I’ve done it again by working on a plot involving time travel. This is a subject that can get you in trouble easily if you don’t dot your T’s and cross your I’s.

The odds of hitting a paradox are high and plot-holes aren’t just issues that can be patched. They can completely derail the entire book. Add in the fact that I’m inventing technology as I go and this is a perfect storm of screwing up that I’m trying to avoid.

I’ve taken organization to the next level and created a dedicated document in my Scrivener binder for all technology I’m inventing and also the time travel rules I’m laying down. By having a reference that’s never more than a click away (and if I jump into split-screen view, it’s not even that!) I can keep my head on straight when referencing something down the line in chapter 20 that I invented in chapter 2. So far, it’s working great for me.

Finally, my word count is progressing with Loopback clocking in at 13,754 words. My current goal is to write about 3k a week to keep my original promise of having this book done by the middle of the year.

So what keeps you organized with your writing? How do you challenge yourself in new projects? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Entering A New World

I don’t know if there’s a saying or phrase one utters when starting work on a new book but if there is one, let it be said here. Writing on Loopback has officially begun and while it’s been a little slow-going (my available time to write has been extremely limited) progress has still been made.

The world building took a little longer than I thought but in discussing key plot points with my wife, I found what worked and what needed tweaking. She’s a stickler for time travel inconsistencies so this is something I know needs to be perfect. Luckily Back to the Future is my favorite movie of all time and I consider it one of the most consistent and accurate time travel stories told. Being a student of Marty McFly and Doc Brown, I believe, gives me an advantage in knowing what to do and not do with this book. If I keep close to my outline and not get ‘cute’ with time travel tricks, I think Loopback can be really successful as a novel.

Interestingly enough, the book has had some false starts and sticking points in this early stage. For starters, I don’t have complete character descriptions for most of the people in the book. I’ve decided to just ‘go with it’ and add things in as I find them necessary whereas a personality and good dialogue can supplement descriptors that may mean nothing to some readers. This is quite a departure from Spirit Hackers where I had each person not only described in a one-sheet but I also had reference pictures for their profiles. Of course if this doesn’t work out, I can always fix these issues in editing.

Finally, my first chapter was half-written and then scrapped. I envisioned Loopback to be told in first-person but I quickly saw it was not working. Perhaps it’s from never writing a full-length book in first POV or something else but each sentence was a struggle to format and there was no flow. After working on it for an hour, I moved it to the side and started again. Thirty minutes later, chapter 1 was complete.

There’s plenty more to say and report on with Loopback, even in its infancy but I’m going to keep its debut post here on Copious Notes (relatively) short and sweet. Plus it gives more more to blog about later on. 😉

Loopback Progress: 6,641 words, chapter 4 half-way complete

Beta Blocker

Last week I completed the edits to Spirit Hackers which brought my long and inconsistent writing process with this WIP to another milestone: Second Draft. I’ve talked a lot lately about how long it’s taken me to get to this point but boy am I glad I got here! Any time I complete a stage of this project I am filled with a huge sense of accomplishment and confidence. If you include my Robert book, I have now written two full-length novels.

So what do I do now? Continue the process of course. In the months leading up to the completion of my initial draft, I began lining up some beta readers. I’m not an active member of the Absolute Write forums (haven’t even visited the site in years) and so it was a little tougher of a process finding people I was comfortable in approaching. In the end, I think I made some good choices. My first beta and I tossed a few preliminary e-mails around setting the stage for what I was looking for and in just a few hours my baby, my sacred story, was shuttled through the internet at light speed hurdling towards an inbox. Now the hard part for me: I wait for the impending feedback. Patience has never been my strong suit so I’m doing my best to not tweet or e-mail this person so I’m not a pest. I think I’ll be fine.

With Spirit Hackers off my plate (for now) I can turn my attention to another project. “Another project?! What other project?” you may be asking yourself. Stay tuned to Copious Notes to find out soon.

Getting Cozy With Editing

October 6th seems like so long ago. One reason for that is that’s the day I completed my first draft of Spirit Hackers. Since then my life has been busy with the holidays and other events but my mind has never been far from the dreaded next step: editing.

I’ll give you all a moment to calm your churning stomachs.

I know nothing makes me feel dreadful about writing like editing does. It’s something I look at as a non-creative process meant solely for fixing and improving. Not that I think it’s unnecessary but I’ll be the first to admit I’m slogging through it all.

So Spirit Hackers has been going through the first round of edits and I’ve been making corrections, clarifications and general sprucing-up of the WIP. The overall story and progression has remained intact which helps avoid the ‘ripple effect’ of making a major change in the story and needing to update the story everywhere else.

At times it’s been slow going and other times I get only a few minutes in but progress is progress. Right now I’m about 50% through my round of edits and then I’ll be shipping it out to a few beta readers. I know the book will need a bunch of changes and tweaks after those people present their notes along with the error of my ways.

Lately I’ve been poking my head into the world of agents and querying. I’ve seen agents posting to twitter and I even signed up for Querytracker.com. Of course it’s getting ahead of myself a little but knowing that these are people I’ll be communicating with in not-so-short of a time helps keep the motivation going.

Finally, my other motivation (aside from giving this book a fighting chance in the world) is to take the time my beta readers will use to do their thing and begin work on my next project. I have a new novel idea baking in my mind along as well as taking a strange dream I had last year that I think will make a good short story. Both are in the scifi / fantasy realm so I think my genre is just getting further reinforced. The dream was something I wrote down as soon as I woke up and will be interesting. It could also be a bust. We shall see.

For now I’ll continue making word changes and fixes to Spirit Hackers and slowly bring this novel closer to the reality of being a real book one day.

A Long Time Coming

Wow, this blog post is one that I at times never thought I’d ever write. It almost doesn’t feel real and honestly I’m not sure what to think because I’ve been on such a writing tirade these past couple of months. Two words I’ve wanted to say are now possible here on Copious Notes: I’m done!!!!

That’s right, tonight I completed the final chapter of Spirit Hackers. It took me 853 days, which is 2 years and 4 months of on-again off-again writing. It’s been a long time coming! From the start when I first thought up the idea and got some words down,the book’s gone through a scrapping & rewrite, the relaunch of my podcast and then finally the return of the drive with me learning about #1k1hr on Twitter. To say it’s been a long journey would be a huge understatement.

While not hitting the absolute goal I set out for when I first decided to write this book, I’ve exceed all expectations with it. For one, it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written in my life. Second, it’s the first time I’ve ever outlined and you know, it works great! My characters did go off-script at times and adjustments were needed but it was for the better. Sometimes they have lives of their own and I will say it’s something I enjoyed.

So of course this party can’t last forever. The dreaded land of editing awaits me but then I get to give my work to a couple of beta readers for the first round of bashing, I mean feedback. THAT gets me excited.

So while I’ve updated the sidebar with my progress, here are the final stats of Spirit Hackers:

Status: First Draft Complete
Word Count: 72,149

I know it sounds cheesy but I’m proud of myself. For just a moment, I’m going to allow myself a moment to be happy with where I am before proceeding.

Mind The Gap

In my previous post I waxed poetically about #1k1hr and the amazing things this meme & writing schedule has done for Sprit Hackers. I have been getting writing done and making real progress in this WIP. Surprisingly, I’ve made some friends along the way via Twitter and this hashtag. That’s been fun too since Becca and I did a session at the same time and then bragged our progress to each other when 60 minutes were up.

All these thoughts of writing and the schedule that I’ve put in place brought me to the scary task of seeing my writing progress on this book since I’ve started. Now it’s no secret that I’ve written on and off for a while as priorities have changed and while I’ve worked on non-writing projects. The surprising thing I found when reviewing my writing stints are the amount of gaps in my writing. If I had just kept going at even a slow pace, this book would be long done!

I am 2-days shy of the re-written draft of Spirit Hackers being TWO YEARS OLD! That’s right. Chapter 1 in my rewrite was created on September 22, 2008. September and October were good for the book since I got 7 chapters written but then HOLY MOLY!! Chapter 8’s creation date is August 12, 2009! I took a year off. Wow. There are 2-3 month gaps from then on, spanning chapter 8 through 20.

Then…. then I began my writing schedule and the world became my oyster. The 21st chapter of my WIP was created on August 4 of this year and I haven’t looked back. I’ve written 17,000 words and I’m mid-way though the 29th chapter. Now of course I’m still a ways off from my goal of 80k but I think it’s incredible that I can have such large gaps in this book’s creation to then come back with a fierce energy to get it done. My output has impressed me and all I can hope now is that it gets me to place I want more than anything: your bookshelf.

Back On Schedule

Well I think it’s an improvement from previous entries that I’m back on Copious Notes less than two months since my previous update. I’d say that’s a good move so far! Of course based on what I’ve seen on traffic and lack of comments, I’m more getting my words out there just for the sake of blogging. Right now, that’s okay since I’m not expecting much traffic here. The fantastic people who’s blogs I used to read every day are people I interact with on Facebook & Twitter. Unfortunately life doesn’t allow me to get as involved as I used to.

Anyhow… onto what I am up to. I kept seeing a fantastic Twitter Hashtag from writer Jen that said #1k1hr. This intrigued me and I asked her what exactly it was. What then happened was inspiring: she sits down and writes for one hour. The goal is 1,000 words or 60 minutes, whichever comes first. At that time the writing stops. I was instantly inspired.

Of course you’ve seen the progress (or sometimes lack of) with Spirit Hackers and I felt this was the best way to kick-start a writing schedule of some kind. I made some changes in my podcast and then rearranged some time in my personal life so I could make time to write. Soon, 9:30 PM – 10:30 PM were declared ‘writing time’. My writing schedule was born.

I am insanely impressed with my progress in just a short amount of time. Previous to #1k1hr, I had written only 3-4 chapters of my book. Since then, I wrote six chapters in six weeks totaling approximately 12,000 words. Amazing. My progress has me in a groove and something great has happened: my mind has been ‘trained’ to be ready for creative time when I need it.

I cannot stress enough the productivity a writing schedule allows. There’s been plenty of times where I went over 60 minutes to keep a thought going and some times where I fell a little short. This is fine though because I’m writing more than I did ever before. At my current pace, this book will be done by the end of this year. THAT is exciting.

Before I wrap up this post I wanted to write up some big updates happening:

-I’ve completely overhauled my website and I think it looks pretty cool.

-While my time with Demand Media was good, that freelancing thing takes up WAYY more time than I can devote. That and I exhausted most of their tech articles they were offering.

-I once again MUST stress that if you’re on a Mac, you should be using Scrivener to get your writing done. It is the best program ever for writing.

-I’m hoping to blog slightly more often but I did update the description of this place to reflect my sporadic nature.

Here’s my word count update since my last entry:

June 5th: 36,148 words

September 11th: 50,890 words

Progress: 14,742 words

Average: 150 words per day

Oh, and by the way: I’m more than half-way done!!! 80k here I come!

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