Tuesday, 27 March 2012

So I've spent the last couple of days expanding stuff on my plot file, mostly because it looks like work but isn't actually, but also because seeing it all written down it a pretty good way of making my brain work. One of the things I like doing is scrolling all the way out and just looking at what I have accomplished so far, because I haven't even managed to print the whole thing out ever, despite giving it basically a box all to itself plus one rogue Soddinelvs folder in my boxes o' folders at the foot of my bed.

Here's how it looked early last year, when the colour coding was easy and I'd just finished the first three and was squaring up, cracking my neck and stretching my fingers before sinking into Clockwork Dragon. Green is Ally, then Teb, Alana and Tanya switched colours around: Purple for what at the time was Purple Pixie but is now Changeling's Choice because I felt it was more about Teb (she originally narrated it). Yellow (or gold) for Midsummer Dance because gold is Teb's colour more than purple there, and I felt like I should be using it to explore Tanya's motivation and starting to show there was something to explain. Still not sure I got all that across, but that's the kind of stuff I'm trying to edit in now. And red for Clockwork Dragon because although Tanya is adventurin' and investigatin', it's about Alana's family and decisions etc. Or it should have been. :P Again, something I was aiming at, missed, and am now going to take a second run at.

Then this was it at the beginning of this year when I'd done lots of work on everything and was feeling very proud of myself. Everyone's using their own colours, so Ally=Green, Alana=Red, Teb=Purple and Tanya will one day = Yellow.

Aaaand here it is this morning. Notice all the white space. White space is good and bad. It's stuff that I haven't written yet. The good part is that I know that it's there and that I need to write it. The bad part is that I haven't yet. :P

Anyway, I'll be staring at that a lot today, and eventually I will possibly even begin to write some of it and be able to start highlighting some parts in a slightly lighter shade of the chosen colour. I did write two and a bit scenes of a new section for Clockwork Dragon last night in very smudgy pencil that I'm now going to have to translate.

Monday, 26 March 2012

*waves awkwardly*

So, I finished writing Maladjusted Goddess or whatever it's going to end up being called. At 72,000 words and a bit it's by far the longest in the series and I'm pretty tempted just to leave it at that, although I could expand it out just by adding more "the"s I suppose. The important thing is it's over and one less thing to worry about.

Since then I've been making more notes about things I could/need to expand in earlier books, including a sort of new framework of potential conflicts in Concrete Faery, and notes on where I could get more character development into Changeling's Choice. Right now I'm working on the big problem, which is Witchfinder's, since it needs actual drama in the plot. My NaNoWriMo run through basically just gave me an idea of the characters and settings, because it really is just a tour of them and not much else. There isn't even an exorcism or anything.

And obviously I need to keep writing Ghost Choir, although I'm kind of letting that one happen when it happens. Rose has shown up in Teb's story, so I can't exactly back out now and find something else for Ally to do. :P I can see a lot of the scenes in my head for that story, but I'm not exactly sure of what's dramatic to keep people reading except for curiosity. Since I know what happens I'm going to probably have a bit of trouble trying to make that the main point but oh well. We'll see how I do at stringing people along. :P

In other vaguely writing-related news, I got an email about the dates I'm expected on the archaeological dig up on the Ridge... it's right after easter which means right after Easter Con, but I'm pretty sure they said Tues-Sat rather than Monday so I won't have much overlap... Except I'll be rushing off from the dig on Saturday to go to a concert with Sophie to see that Spanish band, La Oreja de van Gogh. I don't know any of their songs really but she played me a few over Youtube and they sound like the kind of music I like except in Spanish, so it should be fun. Also I get to hang out with Sophie.

In friend-related news, one of Bekah's bridesmaids who's a friend of hers from Uni has moved down to Hastings and I hung out with her on Saturday and we had ice cream and went to the castle and it was awesome having a friend I could actually reach across and hug. :P

And now I am going to the shop and posting this before Blogger finds any more weird errors to throw my way. Bye bye!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Well, I passed 65,000 words with Book 7. It's officially now actually kinda long, but even so I'm kinda short the 75,000 I want it to be (or rather have been ordered that it should be). I *think* I could get it up there, and obviously much easier than any of the other books. I have a bit more subplottage for Clockwork Dragon, and I know that Witch-Finder's is much more under developed than it could be since it has a ton of characters and locations I never really expanded, and a lot more room for drama with that. It's coming up with reasons to indefinitely prolong Concrete Faery that's frightening me. I know some really dramatic scenes that I've written have been 10,000 words long all in one go, but I think something like that would warp the story around it too much anyway :P Trying to find more subtle ways of padding the emotion and conflicts with well-placed scenes here and there... weeeeeell... I'll get there, one day. :P Perhaps I do need to start over from the top and write into a new draft. If nothing else it might free up a bit of my brain for making up stuff between the lines.

Blargh. I can't believe I slimmed it down so much once. I mean I know a lot of what I took out had actually been good, but I also slimmed down everything on a word by word, sentence by sentence basis.

Anyway. I'm typing here when I should be typing there. *wanders off*

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Thought I should drop by and give the monthly progress through my series. I've spent all of this last month working on book seven... Since I was distracted by a few other things along the way rather than having my attention spread across each and every book of the series for a change. :P Anyway. Last month:

7. Maladjusted Goddess (formerly Temple Elves): 30363 / 75000 words. 40% done!

This month:

51551 / 75000 words. 69% done!

So I've written about 21,000 words in February. Give or take. That's only to the end of my notebook with all the nice old book covers on its front. I think it was still February when I switched to this new white and pink spotted notebook, but I haven't started typing up from it yet at all, so I won't really know how much I wrote in February. Last month I got it all accurate by typing everything I had so far up in a massive spurt. I suspect there's at least 5000 more words in there that I didn't manage to type up. :P I held off doing the update about word count because of that, but I figured the end of the first draft hidden in my last notebook was as good a point as any, since I'm taking forever to type up anything at the moment. I've got two drafts of a massive conversation with Medwin, among other things, in the new notebook.

Also sitting in that notebook are the next 3 scenes of Exchange of State, but I'm not so happy with them... It's sort of sitting again. I really do like the ideas, but I have no idea what to do with them. :P 

I've also been considering re-writing the story with Teo... I really liked the city and the characters, so I think I may betray absolutely every reason I began writing it (ie: the epic fantasy quest) and instead write a sort of magic-political thriller, about Loremaster Deryn and whatever he was doing. I ended up a lot more interested in him while I was writing it, which is a shame because he's a rich cripple who can afford lackeys to do everything for him so the least likely man to get up and go on an adventure unless kidnapped into it. Also I had no freakin' idea what Teo was doing and while forcing him out of his element was hilarious to me, I think seeing him actually in his element might make his character a bit more forgiveable since he was a whiny self-obsessed loser for most of the time. 

And if I really feel like it I might throw a bit of travelling outside the city in in the last half or something so I get to use my descriptions of what's outside it. :P I figure the fact it's walled itself in and that Master Deryn has the only tunnels in and out - and who he has guarding them - is going to be important, and you can't have secret tunnels and a foreign prince loafing around and not use them in your plot. That's just wasteful.

Anyway. All food for thought. At the moment I probably should be working on my series more anyway. I had a good idea for a new scene/set of scenes in Clockwork Dragon the other day, of totally new material which isn't even emotional crap I need to include. Moar action is good. :) 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

drip drip drip

Sitting there minding my own business, when suddenly I realise the steady tapping noise I can hear isn't from my music, and too close to be coming from outside. I pat around on my desk behind my computer and find the desk is soaked.

So I'm evacuated over to my bed, using my laptop, and really hoping the ceiling doesn't cave in any time soon...

Well, you'd think that being isolated to the laptop which doesn't have any fun games on it would give me more incentive to work but actually I really am just messing around doing silly stuff on the internet, and now I've migrated over here. I have my story open, though, and a pretty good set up with my bean bag to sit comfortably and have my notebook where I can read it.

*spends ages talking to Blackjack on Skype* Yay distractions.

Got another scene coming up with Medwin, and I actually don't really know what's going to happen in it... stalled a bit there, so I've been working on typing up. Once I get past Wednesday's spurt of productivity I'm quickly going to run out of words to type :P It goes a lot slower for the rest of the week... Fortunately I do manage to churn out a lot on Wednesdays... To tell the truth I miss travelling on the trains and buses all the time like I did when I was at university. I had so much more time when it was a choice between staring blankly at the landscape and writing. I feel a lot more out of touch with the outside world this year because I haven't been getting a day by day idea of the progress a particular route has been taking through the latest season. Whereas when I was riding the uni bus every single day in my second year I got really connected to the route it took.

And wrote an awful lot while being ferried about. :)

I should start riding some of the circular bus routes around Hastings...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

totally invented Doctor Who

Oh hey look, it's March already.

Last night on the train back from Swarm I finished the really big awesome notebook I've been using since November (I can tell because it has my NaNoWriMo on the first page and a NaNoWriMo sticker on the inside cover). Now I'm using just a boring old spiral-bound "project notebook", mostly because it also has pockets and it was lying around. I think I like notebooks with pockets so much I'm going to end up sellotaping pockets to the back cover of notebooks I use which don't have them... I kept a lot of useful junk in the pocket of that big notebook.

One thing I won't miss though is not having lines on one side of the page... I mean, it'd be great if I drew and sketched stuff often enough to want alternating blank pages, but I just don't do enough doodling to warrant it. Mostly because doodling I do these days is mostly on Photoshop, since I spend about 99% of my waking time sitting in front of my computer.

I suppose the first thing someone would say on hearing that is "why don't you just write everything on the computer then?" I mean, it makes sense. I'd save a lot of time from not having to type everything up after only writing it in the last few days, and if I don't make a lot of ridiculous typos, my average typing speed once I get into it is probably faster than my writing by hand speed. Also, the fact I have extremely painful tendonitis in my writing hand, pretty much from writing all the time.

I think I just work differently on paper than I do on the computer screen. In many ways I'm actually better adapted to writing on the computer, having done an equal amount of both in my life, since I started "typing" (I use the term loosely) stories from basically as far back as I remember. (I remember at one point independently inventing Doctor Who, then getting really annoyed when I found out he and the TARDIS were already real things) When I'm writing by hand, though, I feel more connected with the story, because I'm working more on the writing part. When I type I can fly through it, but I also have more freedom of editing. I find working by hand I develop conversations and action a lot more than description. Some of the best description I've written has been by hand when I've had plenty of time to consider what the next word will be, but for the most part if I'm working my way through an average scene where nothing in particular happens I will tend to write it almost as an outline with just the speech and necessary actions. When I type it up I add in the rest. I think I'm less willing to experiment with phrases and words when I'm writing by hand because I don't want line after line of scribbling out. When I write on the computer I'm free to delete and try again as much as I like.

Also there is the whole staggering the typing up so the story is always in 2 stages, so if I'm stuck far ahead, I can type up until that point and try and get some more ideas about it. Or if I've got quite far ahead, I start typing up and then I realise that I didn't like that scene as much as I thought I did at the time, and I can change it because I have some more perspective on it based on what has happened ahead of that point. Or, in fact, maybe I didn't particularly like a scene when I wrote it the first time, but after finding out a bit more and re-reading it I realise that it's pretty much good to go with a little bit of polishing up, instead of the massive disaster I was expecting.