azhure: (me phoenix)

This has been a tough week for forward progress on Never.

Bear in mind that I’m still dealing with the effects of the stupid cold/flu (I’m inclined to say it was a cold, but it lingers like the damn flu) and my brain isn’t working efficiently.  And yeah, the peanut gallery can just shut up right now ;)

By Wednesday I was floundering.  And I realised something – I’d removed a plot thread from the last draft, which meant that I effectively have to rewrite most of the second half of the book completely.  Which means that I was writing without an outline.  And I was just meandering and scenes weren’t making sense and argh the whole book is broken.

I’ve become an outline writer.

I’m as surprised by it as anyone else.  I used to love pantsing, but it’s just not efficient any more.

So yesterday I sat down and hammered out a rough outline for the second half of the book.  Printed it out this morning (all 25 pages!) and hopefully we’ll get decent forward motion again and I can get this draft finished.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

I asked for, and have received, some very good advice on how to write faster and more productively.

Turning off the internet really does help, and I have a feeling that I’m going to be very glad that I have Mac Freedom on some days.  I know from past experience that making myself publicly accountable also helps.

At a guess, at approximately 60k words, I’m about halfway through the manuscript of Never.  So, assuming I have 60k to go, I’m going to assign myself a deadline to have this draft finished by September 22nd, which is in six weeks time, or thereabouts.  That’s 10k of forward motion a week, which is totally doable.

I’m going to keep myself accountable here, which means that I’m going to aim to post weekly wordcounts.

I am going to have other work to keep on top of – Aurealis reading (which has actually been a bit thin on the ground so far, which doesn’t mean that I’m on top of it, mind) and slush reading, and I owe some beta reading and some reviews.  But it’s all manageable, I think.

Let’s do this thing.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

It always feels kind of strange to sit here at 1:30pm on a Friday and declare that my writing week is done.  Technically, it is and it isn’t.  I’ve finished the part of the week where I sit with Scrivener open and work on Never, but I have a lot of other work left.

As an aside – I still kind of love that reading is pretty much work to me.  It means that I do end up reading some things that I wouldn’t always (I like to keep up with what’s popular, for one thing, just to try to figure out why, even when the book or series isn’t something that I’ll actually enjoy completely.  Hence the recent reading of the 50 Shades of Grey books, which you’ll have seen if you follow me on Goodreads.  There will be a post on them coming up soon, once I organise my thoughts).

And that was a long aside.  Heh.

I’m working slower on these Never rewrites than I’d like, to be honest.  I’ve crested 10k on this draft, but I feel like I should be about double that.  I do rewrite in a time-consuming manner though, by retyping the whole draft (am I the only weirdo who does that?) and I am making a good deal of changes to the beginning of this book.  I’ve been pushing my daily wordcount from 1k to 1.5k consistently, which is awesome.  I’m aiming to get that up to 2-3k if I can.

I also caved and joined the Online Writing Workshop, which I’ve been toying with for far too long.  I have one awesome beta reader reading along with me as I write Never, but I kind of wanted some new eyes on it.  Plus working on my own reviewing skills is also a good thing.  I’ve posted the first chapter of Never and gotten one really lovely review.  Just need to review a bunch of stuff so I can post more now :)

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

and so it begins again

And so I print out my outline (all 28 pages!), open a new project in Scrivener, get my music playlist sorted out, and begin the next draft of Never.

Those paying attention will also notice two new Pia Ravenari totem pictures in that photo.  The one half hidden is Magpie as Totem, which I commissioned, and the other one is Australian White Ibis as Totem, which was my birthday present.  I still cannot believe that the universe is so amazing as to let me know someone as talented as P, let alone get to call her my friend.

Today is a public holiday here (which I refuse to call W.A. Day.  It’s Foundation Day!), and according to my own schedule and ethics, I could be taking the day off.  The kidlet is off visiting with his grandparents, the husband is tinkering with the computers and the house is quiet.  And yet I am here at the laptop, beginning the draft.  Mostly because it doesn’t feel like work.  I guess I’ve levelled as a writer or something?

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

Friday

Jun. 1st, 2012 01:55 pm
azhure: (me phoenix)

From where I sit writing (where I am now), I can see the shelf holding books in which I have been published.  A shelf to which my copy of Epilogue was added this morning.  It’s a small shelf, but it’s growing.

I wish I wrote more short stories.  I wish I was more of a natural short story writer, I should say.  I think I am learning to write better ones, but I think the novel length is always going to come easier for me.  And I’m still learning there, too.

Still working on my outline for Never.  I think next week may be spent outlining as well – it’s taking longer that I’d hoped, but I want to get it done properly.  I’m having a lot of fun inserting little bit and pieces, adding layers and foreshadowing.  I have a very slow and drawn-out process, but it’s my process.  I’m feeling really confident about Never, and I am looking forward to the point at which I can start sending it out.

Huge storm last night – serious downpour of rain, which led to a lovely leaking kitchen roof, with a bunch of thunder and lightning as well.  The kidlet was pretty amazing and didn’t let it phase him, but the poor kitty was freaked out.  Today has been overcast and foggy, but no rain to speak of.  The human suit is protesting both variants of weather vigorously (made worse by the fact that I didn’t get any exercise yesterday due to the aforementioned rain), and I am looking forward to getting out for a walk later on today, all being well.

And it is somehow almost the weekend again.  Long weekend, too, which is nice.  Writing group to look forward to, and massage and hopefully a swim.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

Bliss and ReUnion Jim via Compfight

I am spending this week getting organised for the next draft of Never.

Today this has translated to going through my character biographies, updating them where needed, and making them fit with things that I discovered during the last draft.  One of my characters now makes me cry, which is a…good thing?  I do know that she has her own story, and I hope that I’ll get to tell it one day.

I’m working in Scrivener, as always, though I doubt I use even the smallest percentage of what the programme can do.  For me, it’s mostly about being able to have multiple files available in the one program.  Though I am printing out all of my bios and outlines and putting them in a folder as a story bible as well.

I’m feeling like this story makes sense now, which is a good thing.  And I’m looking forward to diving into the next draft.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

And lo, there was great celebration in the land, for the draft of Never was finished.

Well, not really.  This is draft 1.5, which is my way of representing that it’s the second draft of the first half of the book and first draft of the second half.  Brain broken now?  ;)  I should just call it draft one of this version, I guess, since so much has changed since my earlier drafts.

And now I take a day off from fiction writing tomorrow, and I have the weekend off, and Monday I come back to it and try to figure out how to fix all of the broken bits.  I know I should probably leave it a bit longer, but I want to at least get my outline for the next draft in order while everything is fresh in my mind.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

So, yesterday Spotify launched in Australia.  I pounced joined up and am now happily enjoying streaming music.  Not sure as of yet if it’s going to be worth paying for a subscription.  I don’t mind ads.  We’ll see.

Another glorious day in Perth today: clear blue skies, though it’s cold this morning (where cold is a value of less than 10C for us, which is probably warm for some of you reading this.  Remember, it gets to 40C here in summer, we don’t do cold that well!).  There’s some frost on the lawn this morning, too, which always looks gorgeous.

I am meandering my way towards the end of this draft of Never and am reminded, as always, by how much I hate writing endings.  I am sorely tempted to just outline these last few scenes and go back and start editing.  I’ve written this in an odd way – I’m working from an outline, but I’m doing a fair bit of pantsing in between my outline points.  It means that I have a few subplots to go and put in and stuff to clarify.  Plus, I need to do some scene rearranging.  Luckily I love editing ;)

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

first rose of spring

The first rose of spring.

It felt like spring again today, so of course it’s supposed to be raining at the end of the week.  There were showers predicted for today, but I saw nary a drop of actual rain.

Today saw me slipping back into Never, which is both daunting and enjoyable.  I didn’t get a huge word count – just over 1,000 words – but it’s a start.  I have a lot of work to be done on this book.  It does feel very unmanageable when I look at it as a whole, but I’ll just take it a piece at a time and hope the pieces make sense.

I finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle yesterday (which I may have mentioned) and am somewhat at a loss as to what I’ll read next.  I’ve had a few nonfiction books on my currently-reading pile for too long (as well as a few other books), so I’m going to make an effort to finish those, I think.  And I think I have just been convinced via Twitter to finally read Soulless and the following books after that :)

We watched the season finale of True Blood last night and I was quite underwhelmed.  I still have a fondness for the show, and I do think that the TV adaptation from the books is incredible.  But I do wonder how long it’s going to last for.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

Blogging has been quiet here, due mostly to me being generally exhausted and unwell.

I have been writing, though.  Bashing my head against a short story, to be precise.  I have a shaky first draft, and have set it aside for a few days before coming back to edit and mash it into something like a shape.

I have also, after some thought, decided to set aside Thought and Memory for now.  It’s lacking something, and I can’t see the shape of what that something is.  So it goes on the backburner for a while, and hopefully the men in the basement will figure out what’s missing.

And so I turn again to Never.  As things stand, I have a first draft.  I’m going to start, as I always do with second drafts, from scratch.  Which means writing up my character dossiers and the like again.  And doing some research reading, setting up playlists and all those fun things.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

IMG_3012

 

See that ragged pile of paper?  That’s the first draft of Never.

It’s very short and messy and is going to require a lot of cleaning up in edits.  But I love editing, and am looking forward to it.  I shall make copious notes and set it aside for a little while, and maybe see if I can do something about fixing up The White Raven in the meantime, or maybe work on some short stories.  And I have a bunch of research I need to do in order to enrich some of the mythology of the story.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

I’m trying to get back in the habit of blogging publicly every day, as well as actually commenting on those blogs that inspire me.

It’s about connection, about weaving the web between us as we sit alone in our rooms, spinning invisible threads of story and wonder.  It’s about being a part of it all.

Meanwhile, my heart is going out to all those affected by the earthquake in Christchurch.  I have to force myself to step away from the television, get into the normal routine.  But all the while, my heart is aching for such loss.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

As of today, I have finished a rough sketch of my outline of Never.

I will probably mess about with the outline a bit more tomorrow, especially the ending, but as it stands, I have a framework for this book that makes sense.  Whether it stays the same once I start writing it another thing entirely, of course.

I am going to take a little time to do some more reading about story structure before I start writing in earnest.  This is a very different process for me (and probably one that many people would disagree with).  I’ve always been an organic writer, and given enough time, I prefer writing that way.  But as we all know, time is a thing that I don’t have an excess of these days.

I’m actually really enjoying trying something different.  We’ll see if it pans out once I start the actual writing.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me window cross)

The Nebula Award winners have been announced.

Congrats to all of the winners, but I have to send out a special congratulations to Catherynne M. Valente, who is not only an incredibly talented writer, but a hell of a nice person to go along with it.

Cat is a huge inspiration to me.  She is dedicated to her work, to writing things that matter to her, no matter what else other people think.  I really, really admire that.  She’s also freaking gorgeous, but that’s neither here nor there in terms of her writing ability :)

I’m coming off a couple of nights of much better sleep, thanks to the sprog actually not waking every 1-2 hours at night.  Perversely, I actually feel more tired physically, but my brain is starting to wake up again.  Which leads to one thing and one thing only – I want to write.

I need to try to eke some time out, probably in the evenings, to start work on Never again.  At the very least, I want to continue my series of vignettes exploring the world.  For which I have a sekrit vignette planned, inspired by another amazing artist I know.  Watch this space.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

The Nebula Award winners have been announced.

Congrats to all of the winners, but I have to send out a special congratulations to Catherynne M. Valente, who is not only an incredibly talented writer, but a hell of a nice person to go along with it.

Cat is a huge inspiration to me.  She is dedicated to her work, to writing things that matter to her, no matter what else other people think.  I really, really admire that.  She’s also freaking gorgeous, but that’s neither here nor there in terms of her writing ability :)

I’m coming off a couple of nights of much better sleep, thanks to the sprog actually not waking every 1-2 hours at night.  Perversely, I actually feel more tired physically, but my brain is starting to wake up again.  Which leads to one thing and one thing only – I want to write.

I need to try to eke some time out, probably in the evenings, to start work on Never again.  At the very least, I want to continue my series of vignettes exploring the world.  For which I have a sekrit vignette planned, inspired by another amazing artist I know.  Watch this space.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

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