Daily Writing Check-in: February 14, 2019

Words/Time: 41 minutes working on some prep for a series of posts for my Facebook author page.

I have all of the posts ready for “Pithea,” which I think is enough to set it aside for now. That will get me through at least 2 months, probably more, since I haven’t decided how often to post. I can tell that if I keep working on it right now, with that much already prepped, it will be more about stalling–putting off the harder work in favor of the easier work. So tomorrow, it’s back to the outline for “Outcast.”

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Daily Writing Check-in: February 13, 2019

Words/Time: 30 minutes working on some prep for a series of posts for my Facebook author page.

I have decided to post about each of the 7 Pithea books that are planned out enough for me to feel they’re worth sharing. For each book, I’ll post a series of posts with various information like a short synopsis, main character introductions, book stats, and small excerpts. I am currently working on the posts for the first book, “Pithea,” and what’s slowing me down is character introductions. I’ve always been terrible at trying to explain characters in a boiled-down sense.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 12, 2019

Words/Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes, half again spent working on the outline for “Outcast” and half spent beginning a work on a series of posts for my Facebook author page.

Working on the outline brought up a question about whether or not Drear, the narrator of all of the Pithea books, would be around in this story at all or not. In the original version, he wasn’t really involved, but wasn’t far away either. But I thought I remembered writing in the first draft of “Vin” that Drear had been gone for several months, visiting his parents’ home country. I checked out my timeline to see how far apart “Outcast” and “Vin” are, and then made the mistake of bringing up the first draft of “Vin” to see what exactly I said about Drear in that story.

Granted, nothing is set in stone, so I can decide right now what I want to do with him, but I wanted to see what I’d thought before. Then I kept reading…because I really like that story. Even if it does need re-written because most of it is just the characters retelling events from the other stories.

I want to get this Facebook post series that I have planned going soon, so tomorrow may be mostly spent doing that. I’ll admit part of me feels strange for counting this as writing work, but I’m doing character studies for it, so that helps. Plus, this is my daily challenge, so it counts if I say it counts!

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Daily Writing Check-in: February 11, 2019

Words/Time: 35 minutes, half spent working on the outline for “Outcast” and half spent beginning a work on a series of posts for my Facebook author page.

Working on the outline actually entailed writing out some questions that I needed to figure out for this half of the outline, and brainstorming answers. I think I’ve sufficiently answered the last of my big questions for this outline, though I’m sure smaller ones will still come up along the way.

As for my Facebook author page, it has been merely a place to share blog posts for far too long now. I never really knew what I could post there, because the format is better suited to smaller information (and I do tend to ramble), and because the work I’m doing doesn’t really lend itself to sharing information. So much of what I’ve written is either too complicated, too spoiler-filled, or just not solidified enough to share. But I do have some plans, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they pan out.

A Monday Moment: Engagement

“Aunt Winnie, why are you acting so nervous?”

“Am I?” She absently pulled on the end of her sleeve.

“Winnie,” Nathan said more firmly.

When she finally looked up at him, her face made him concerned.

“Is everything all right?” he asked, suddenly worried about what might have happened.

“Yes, everything’s fine. I just have…news, and I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”

“Just tell me. Is someone hurt? Sick?”

“No, nothing like that. No, Nate, it’s good news. I just don’t know…”

“Just tell me,” he repeated.

“Brian has asked me to marry him. I’ve accepted.”

“What?” Nathan broke into a wide grin. It was completely the opposite of what he’d expected with how she was acting. “Why would you be worried about how I would take that news? That’s wonderful!”

Oh,” she said, smiling with relief. “I’m really glad you think so.”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Well, it’s just that I know you and Brian have gotten close—”

“The pastor and I are close? You’re my aunt.”

“Of course, I know, but I worried it might be strange for you.”

Nathan put his hand on his shoulder and tried not to chuckle at her ridiculous concern. “You saved my life, at the risk of your own. You have to know I want nothing but happiness for you. Even if it had been strange for me, I would never have stood in your way or made you feel bad for this.

She pulled her nephew into a hug, and he thought back over the time he’d known his aunt. He pulled back so she could see his sincerity when he spoke again.

“When I was in Maebor, my favorite days were those that you or Pastor Brian would visit. The only thing that topped those days were the ones when you and the pastor came to visit together. It felt like…” He paused for a breath when he felt the emotion rising to the surface. He forced past a sob and continued, “It felt like I had real parents, for the first time in my life. Now you tell me that my surrogate mother and my surrogate father are going to be married? I don’t think anything has made me happier, except of course meeting Penny and making her my wife.”

Daily Writing Check-in: February 10, 2019

Words/Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes working on the outline for “Outcast.”

There are 2 distinctly different, yet related story lines in “Outcast.” When I wrote the first version of this story, I wrote the story lines separately, and then intertwined them. The method worked perfectly, so that’s what I plan to do again. As such, I have outlined just 1 story line so far (which I just finished today). Tomorrow, I’ll start on outlining the 2nd.

I’ve come across an interesting conundrum that I will have to seriously consider. At one time, I thought I could just revise the fanfiction version of “Outcast” to fit into my current story world. It would be heavy revision, sure, but a lot of the story isn’t dependent on the setting or mechanics of the story world. But later, I realized I wouldn’t be able to do that, because it would just be too much change. And why would I want to, when I’ve grown so much as a writer since I wrote it?

However, in writing this outline, I noticed just how much really is the same from before. And while I have grown as a writer in the 10 years since I wrote it, it was also what I would consider a turning point in my writing ability when I wrote it. It was the best writing I’d done up to that point. So to save some time, and frankly to avoid making the writing process super hard by trying to re-write it without either consciously or sub-consciously trying to state things the same way, it still might be better to revise, but with heavy focus on re-writing any sections that are weak, not as well written as I feel it could be, or of course needs to change because of the different story world. There are definitely sections of the outline that are just completely different because the game mechanics that just don’t translate to the more real-world setting I’ve created.

In the end, it might just be laziness. I see a lot of writers talking about re-drafting stories, sometimes more than once, but I don’t like the idea of writing something, then writing it again (from scratch) unless the original just did not work at all. So after I finish the outline, I will set it aside, because my current long-term writing goals don’t include re-drafting or revising “Outcast” yet, but when that time comes (which might be before the long-term goals are finished, if I decide to work on this for Camp NaNoWriMo), I will most likely start with revising, and see how it goes.

This was a long explanation, I know. I often overthink things.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 9, 2019

Words/Time: 30 minutes contemplating the outline for “Outcast,” and then abandoning it to free write, and finally come up with my first Monday Moment for this month.

I’ve been thinking about what to do next in the outline off and on since yesterday, but I think the next thing I need to do is write down what needs to happen during the next few days of the story, which will mostly be character development, so I can make sure it happens at a decent pace, so it doesn’t get too slow. I didn’t have the energy for that tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be more rested.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 8, 2019

Words/Time: 32 minutes working on the outline for “Outcast.”

I worked 13-hour days yesterday and the day before, finishing after midnight last night. Today I worked 10, but was done earlier in the night at least, so I knew I needed to get some work in. Considering that my current task is not an easy one, I have to be very careful to not let it go too long, or I’ll likely end up on an extended hiatus again.

I had a few questions to answer for this story. The answer to one of them came to me out of nowhere tonight (and I’m not even to that part of the outline yet), though it will need a little ironing out. The 2nd question I brainstormed on paper, and I think I have a solution. There are more questions ahead, but I feel like these were some of the biggest ones, so I’m pretty excited.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 5, 2019

Words/Time: 24 minutes starting on goal #1, the outline for “Outcast.”

I’m taking it slow for now, for a few reasons. First, work has been a roller coaster recently, and so difficult to plan for. It’s important to me than I try to get in some work every day, and I will continue to aim for 30 minutes each day. But today was a particularly emotionally taxing day.

Second, outlining a story that has already existed in some format for over 10 years is going to be difficult. It’s hard to know what to stick to from the original and what needs to go. And this is nothing compared to how difficult I’m sure it will be to do the actual writing.

Daily Writing Check-in: February 4, 2019

Words/Time: 34 minutes working on my new list of long-term goals:

1. Outline “Outcast” – I have the very basic skeleton of a plot, but it needs to be outlined anew. This is going to be more than just sitting down and creating an outline, but doing some brainstorming and free writing along the way. Maybe even some character chats. It’s going to take letting go of a story that was my absolute favorite for many years. I’m not even sure when it slipped out of being my favorite, but it probably has something to do with the fact that the fanfiction it was originally written as is so far in the past, and the world I have created is so much more interesting to me now.  It’s going to be difficult and time-consuming, but it needs to be done.

2. Outline “Unexpectedly” – I have a lot less of a plot in mind for this story, but I think it will be easier to outline than Outcast, because there’s not as much there to start with—not as much that needs broken down and rebuilt. While considering where this book could go, I’ve already hit on some new ideas that I’m really excited about.

3. Re-outline “The Seeger Book” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2015. It was the 2nd book I wrote that month, and came in at 43,672 words. It is a murder-mystery, and only the 2nd one I have ever attempted (the 1st murder-mystery I ever wrote was earlier that month, and it really fell flat). It needs some overhauling and almost an entire mid-section, because I jumped from somewhere in the middle to the climax when the end of the month neared and I realized I was out of time to figure out the rest of the plot. I also think I need to re-think the suspects, clues, etc. of the mystery aspect.

4. Re-outline “Vin” – I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo in 2017. I spent the month before first realizing that this was the story to write that year, then figuring out what on earth this story was going to be about, exactly. I went back and forth on who the protagonist was, who the main character was, and most of all, learning the true motivations behind the title character. In the end, I wrote 69,878 words, but a good majority of it was just the characters telling each other stories about what happened in the past to get them to this place. It was fun and easy for word count, but not exactly a great plot. The plot was weak to start with though, so it needs some more work.

5. Re-outline “Protector” – This is last on the list because it needs the least work. It still needs plenty, but it’s got a good starting point. I wrote this for last year’s NaNoWriMo, and it started out as a pure romance, just something fluffy to get me back into writing, since I’d been absent from it (minus NaNoWriMo months) for a few years. But by the end, it had turned into something much more important. However, for it to take its place amongst the other Pithea books, it needs a focus change, because the first half is not driving it toward the 2nd half well enough. So I will re-outline the entire thing with this new plan in mind.

Last time I posted my writing goals, they were short-term goals just to get some necessary, but overall quick work done. This new list is going to take quite a bit longer. Where the last list took about 2 months, I anticipate this one driving my writing work for much of the year. I hope to have #1 done in time for the 1st Camp NaNo session, so I can at least consider writing the first draft of “Outcast” during that month. After that, we’ll see how things progress before I start thinking of what I might be ready to do for the 2nd Camp NaNo this year. Another possibility is that “Outcast” or “Unexpectedly” will be my main NaNoWriMo project this November.

Anyway, back to the list. All of these goals involve outlining. A lot has changed in my plans for my stories in the last few years, and I think no matter what order I write the rest of these stories in, I need to have a decent idea of what’s going to happen in the others to avoid major trouble down the road. I know that outlines aren’t set in stone. I often go far off my outline while writing. But at least if I have outlined these remaining stories, I will have a much better idea of what’s going to happen.

Besides, none of this involves just writing an outline. Even though #1 is the only one that specifically mentions this, outlining on this level is always going to involve first freewriting, brainstorming, talking to characters, asking myself questions to get past plot holes, etc. I should have a pretty good idea of where these stories are headed by the time I’m done.