Daily Writing Check-in: October 16, 2017

Words/Time: 1002 words

I started freewriting using a card in my Writer Emergency Pack, and it went on a while. In fact, out of the 3 questions the card asked, I didn’t even get through #1 in 45 minutes and 1002 words. The card discussed relationships between characters, even characters who are strangers, and set forth the challenge of picturing your hero on a date with each of the major characters in the story. While I’m not sure my story has an easily defined “hero,” I made do. That required 4 date scenarios. I got partway through #3. It was fun, though, so I’ll finish it tomorrow. I suppose it may not be helping me outline my NaNoNovel, but it’s nice to just write again.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

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Daily Writing Check-in: October 15, 2017

Words/Time: 3 hours, 53 minutes

This was a huge leap forward, considering how my last few days have been. I definitely have a lazy Sunday to thank for that. They won’t always be this prolific, that much I know.

The majority of this time was spent working on my overall story timeline (for several books in one story world), updating/inputting the information for “Vin” that wasn’t already in there. But before I could do that, I had to put in the information for a book that I’d yet to even add to my timeline.

I wrote a very, very rough draft of what I was calling “Jonathan and the Book” for NaNo 2015. It wasn’t even complete, though it basically had an ending, because I jumped from a later middle spot to the climax because I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I needed to keep writing, ’cause…NaNo. I could put enough of it into the timeline to know where the events of “Vin” that come after it will fall, and they can always be moved later.

While I was doing this, I had to read through the draft of “Jonathan and the Book” so I could mark days, and I had an epiphany! I now have a name for that book–“The Seeger Book.” This makes me very happy.

An hour of my time was spent writing out some brainstorming for a giant, gaping question that starts out the sequence of events in “Vin,” and I think I have it mostly closed up. There are still a few minor questions, but I think I can move on.

I also spent a portion of this time organizing the labels and colors in my timeline. I use Aeon Timeline (so far, I still prefer the original to Aeon 2), and you can color-code your events. I have a color for each book, and in the case of at least one book, 2 colors to differentiate 2 distinct arcs. You can also separate events by arcs, but my arcs were out of order, based on the order I tend to think of them in my head. So I spent some time getting them in order, and fixing the colors. I had originally just assigned random colors, but I was running out of distinctly different colors that were easy to read. So I messed with that a bit. It was kind of fun (I’m messy in real life, but I enjoy organizing things digitally), but felt like a waste of time until I realized how much this is going to help me down the line, to have the timeline a lot more organized. So it counts.

My next step is to start outlining, using the timeline of events. I want to keep doing writing practice, answering character questions, and other things to continue to learn about Vin’s motives, but even if I don’t always know why he does things, I know when he does them (though I’ve made up my mind that even that is subject to change, whether it will force me to change an already “finished” book or not).

This is a crazy long writing check-in…but that’s because I did so much for once! I’ll be busier the next several days, so my updates will probably be short again for a while.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 8, 2017

Words/Time: 330 words of free writing, followed by 14 minutes of NaNoPrep work.

A few days ago I read a post on a site I have really come to like, and the author had given a word list as a way to inspire some writing. I’ve been wanting to do some free writing alongside my NaNoPrep since I returned to writing a few days ago, but haven’t had a chance to go and dig out my various ways to begin free writing. Word lists have always been a favorite type of writing prompt for me, and today was no exception.

Then I opened my “Pursuit of Power” outline in Scrivener and started looking at what it would be like to cut out the first 1/4 of the story, so the true plot for this book could get started a lot sooner. I also plan to incorporate a character who’s supposed to be a secondary main character in the story more, so I’ve been toying with the idea of starting the story more from her perspective. I didn’t get real far, because I got to my writing late today, but at least it’s something.

 


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 7, 2017

Words/Time: 2:17 hours finishing the 2 mini projects I started in the last 2 days.

So I got 2 stories into my timeline that weren’t there, one of which took some serious fitting in. And then I continued figuring out who I wanted to age 3 years, and who needed a different amount for whatever reason.

Now that these annoying issues are done and fixed, tomorrow I will go back to looking at the post-first-draft outline of “Pursuit of Power” and see what scenes need to be held over for a future book and which ones are important for the real story of this first book. Hopefully I’ll be left with a decent-length book when I’m done. And hopefully this will help me decide what to write for NaNoWriMo.

goal tracker day 7


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 6, 2017

Words/Time: 1.5 hours going down all sorts of rabbit trails.

Every day, the work that I do to bring me closer to a decision for NaNoWriMo only seems to lead me further away. Yesterday, I talked about aging all of my characters by a few years. But I had to go through each character who was important enough to be on the timeline with a birthday (or at least birth month), so that I could remember approximately how old they are. This leaves me with 26 characters who are in the 5 books that I’m tracking on my timeline enough to put them on the timeline (usually it means they show up more than once, with enough time between appearances that I want to be sure to write them according to their age).

Each of these characters I felt the need to decide individually if they would be aged 3 years, or less, or none. One-third of the way through, I questioned if I should have just aged them all 3 years and worried about if someone’s age was wrong in general later, but this has brought up a whole other issue. Two storylines I have planned and at least partially outlined/written do not line up, time-wise, at all. It’s not exactly surprising, since neither of them have been actually entered into the timeline–their arcs are listed, but I hadn’t gotten around to figuring out the times.

So now I’m doing that. There’s one big event that affects most of these stories in some way that I have to make sure occurs at the right time for all of them, and if I mess that up, I could seriously mess up the drafts of whatever I write in the future. So yeah, at least an hour of this time was putting events into a timeline, and I have more to do. Whatever decision I come to about what to write for NaNoWriMo sure will be a hard-fought one.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: January 27, 2016

Words/Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes listing out the rest of the scenes in “Pursuit of Power” in Scrivener. While doing that, I realized my timeline wasn’t entirely accurate in some areas. I hadn’t referenced the timeline while writing, apparently, and I’d made the first part of the timeline many months before writing the first draft. I had to make some decisions about whether to change the dates in the timeline or to change it in the story. I could have saved that work for when I start reading soon, but it was bothering me.

Scrivener scenes PoP

This is my novel in a very boiled down, zoomed out, and color-coded sense. The different colors are different plot lines. The red is the main plot. The purple is the one I need to work on most. It may seem unimportant and worth deleting entirely, but it’s the personal life of the secondary main character. I always found it difficult to remember to include what was going on in her life throughout the story, and when I did, it seemed like a waste of time. So I need to spend some time figuring out what about her life is important enough to include, and the best way to slip that in here and there.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 20, 2016

Words/Time:  282 words of writing practice. Also 1.5 hours working on the rest of the timeline for “Pursuit of Power.” There are a lot of places in the story where I wrote vague amounts of time. Something lasted for “several months” or happened “after a few weeks.” Of course it’s much easier to do this while writing than to bother to come up with a specific amount of time. Creating a timeline off that is a little annoying though. I muddled through, and some entries can always be shortened or extended later as I fit other stories during or after this one. I use Aeon Timeline for my timelines, and it’s the most helpful writing software I’ve ever used.

I think my next step will be to plan out a sketchy idea of the events that will take place for Alexander, the main character in this story, after this book ends. From what I can tell from my timeline, the next story involving Alexander has to take place 4 years after this one ends. I think I can make that work

Daily Writing Check-in: January 19, 2016

Words/Time:  20 minutes finishing the grammar check of “Pursuit of Power.”

My next step is to finish the timeline of this story that I started back when I outlined it, but only got as far as the last point that this story connected to “Pithea.” That was all that mattered at the time, because I needed to make sure both stories lined up accurately. “Pursuit of Power” goes past the time that “Pithea” ends, so I need to finish the timeline.

Tools for NaNoWriMo: Aeon Timeline

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Years ago, when I was writing fanfiction, I struggled to create a timeline for my large group of stories that stretched across many years and contained a lot of the same characters. I started on paper, and eventually tried to make something with Excel. I did end up with a format that I have since used for other writing, but it was still a pain to use and especially to make edits.

timeline

It gets really messy when the events of the story pick up.

A few years ago, at the end of NaNoWriMo, I noticed amongst the winner goodies a discount for a program called Aeon Timeline. I downloaded the free trial and spent a few days putting several stories worth of information into it. I discovered very quickly that it was exactly what I needed.

There are many settings you can play with, including having the timeline stretch out over thousands of years, or one single day. If you choose the latter, the timeline will show much more detail than with the former. I’ve read that a user can create their own calendar system in the program too, which would be useful for fantasy writers, though I haven’t used the feature myself.

You can have individual sections for different stories, different story arcs, or whatever else you may need. You can also toggle those individual arcs on or off to your liking.

Aeon arcs

“Arcs” are shown along the left.

And one of my favorite things about the program is that you can add in all of your characters and attach them to the entries. If you set up a birth date, it will even tell you how old the character is at the time of that entry. The feature is called “Entities,” because it pertains to more than just characters too. I used it to remind myself of when a particular device (listed in the picture below as “com-disc”) was introduced into my story world, because I was having a hard time remembering when it was available to be used by characters.

Aeon entities

The lines go up to entries. The dots indicate that the character was a participant in that event (the one that’s not colored in indicates “observer” rather than “participant”).

Not every story needs a timeline. Sometimes events only happen over the course of a few days. The story I’m planning for NaNo this year will cover 9 days. I still plan to make a timeline for it as I plan this month. Even if in the end it turns out to be unnecessary, I know I’d rather have it anyway.

Though I’ve been mocked (all in fun, I assure you) for how meticulous I am with my timeline, it is crucial for keeping track of things for my group of stories that include “Pithea,” “Pursuit of Power,” “Outcast,” and other plans that will take place before, after, and during the others. There is so much to keep straight–character’s ages, how long ago a certain event happened, how long a certain event lasted, etc. So whether your writing is as complicated as mine or not, if you’ve ever felt the need for a timeline for your stories, Aeon Timeline is worth checking out.

How about you? Have you ever used Aeon Timeline before? Do you have a program you use for keeping track of a timeline?

Daily Challenge Check-in: May 16, 2015

Words: using my normal format, 2000+ (in the form of 60 minutes tracked and several hours past that untracked). The hour I kept track of was spent listening to an audio recording I made last fall and realized today I hadn’t listened to and taken notes on yet. (Sometimes when I have something to work through, plot issues, or big overhauls to plan, or even a new story idea to plot out, I’ll talk through it while washing dishes or making supper, while recording myself with Audacity.) The storyline was the one that I wrote for a couple days ago. There’s no title or anything, because it’s not really part of any planned books. It’s more of an in-between, off-time storyline that gets some characters from point A to a huge, almost out of nowhere point B five years later. I always just figured it works because I say it works. But more recently I started to consider why and how it works, and had some ideas. So I’ve been writing that out, little bits at a time, and plotting ahead before I forget it all. So for an hour, I listened to myself ramble on and took notes so it’d be more easily accessible later.

That led to hours of listening to older audio recordings, which I’ve already listened to, but some of which contained ideas or points that were kind of important but didn’t make it into my notes, so they’re good to remember again. And then I was looking at my timeline, where I’ve inserted events from four different stories so far, and noticed that there was a glaring mistake that ruins several key events. And the fix took some work, but I think I figured it out. All in all, a good day of work, even if it didn’t contain any revision of the novel I’m actually working on.