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There’s something about round numbers…

I hit 30,000 words on Sun-Touched yesterday and the buzz was phenomenal. I’m trying not to think about the fact it has taken me almost two months to write 10,000 words, instead I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve overcome several obstacles, learned to write outlines, and solved my latest bout of writers block.

Thirty thousand words!!!

It’s been a very long time since I was this far into a new novel. The last time I attempted one (Saving Tomorrow) I think it was just too early, and I struggled to find the right voice to tell it in. This time, I’ve learned some crucial things which I think will really help me with all future novels.

Of course, first I need to finish this one πŸ˜‰ I’m going to hold onto my writers buzz for as long as I can, hopefully it will get me through to the next nice round number!

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Two steps back to move forward

I’ll confess to feeling a little stuck with the writing of Sun-Touched this last week. Once the after-outline bliss had worn off I was left feeling somewhat lackluster about the novel and couldn’t seem to figure out why.

ACK.Β I hate it when that happens.

Funnily, Merrilee posted just a few days ago about wishing she’d figured something out a week ago, and now I’ve had one of those moments of my very own.

The shiny new outline I made for the novel negates some of the things that happened in the second to last scene I wrote in Sun-Touched. Really small details, but apparently details that were tripping my brain up. I mean, they were so tiny, such SMALL changes. Normally I would just leave them for later – I know what needs altering, so it’s no big deal. For some reason though, I couldn’t sink myself into the next scene and everything felt off.

So after getting a fabulously motivational email today (Thanks, Merrilee!) I sat my sorry butt down and read through that scene. I started making those changes, cut out about 500 words which shouldn’t happen then, but later in the novel (don’t worry! I saved it to another file) and kept on writing.

OH, it’s so much better now. My brain feels less twisted up and that low lying crankiness that’s been nudging at the surface of my mild manner has been dispersed. Everything lines up (apart from the OTHER changes that need to happen earlier – I’m thankful for whatever bizarre brain reasoning means I don’t have to do that as well before I can continue) and I can now go back to indulging in the fabulous world I’ve created.

So, my advice – if you are feeling stuck, if a scene isn’t working or you just feel off, take a look at the scene before it, take a few steps backwards in your novel until you find the problem. It’ll be there somewhere. Remove the obstacle – whether that means you delete it, paste it into a new document, change the font to white so you don’t have to look at it, whatever works for you – and then get back to writing.

Happy writing!!

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You’re overthinking it!

Over the last few days I have been trying to write an outline for TCM, using a few different techniques. I worry about the structure, I’m pressuring myself to get it right so that I don’t have to do another complete rewrite after this one. I want to make sure that every scene counts, and the story flows and all that other good stuff.

It’s a situation I often find myself in, and I’m giving myself a virtual slap because I’m totally overthinking it, and it’s not helping!

SLAP!

Cassie, you don’t have to get it perfect right this minute.

SLAP!

Cassie, just because you can’t seem to get your head around the technical terms, it doesn’t mean you don’t know how to tell a story.

SLAP!

Cassie, don’t let this stop you. You can’t stay frozen, because you really want to write this story, and you’re the only one who can do it.

*HUG*

Cassie, I have faith in you. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t lose the love you have for this story just because you can’t seem to figure out someone elses way of making stories work. There is no one right way, just the right way for you. You’ll find it soon enough.

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End of Jan summary

Well, a whole month has passed since Project 2012: First draft to submission began. Β It was a pretty busy one at home, which posed some challenges, but all up I think it was successful.

I managed to read through the first draft of TCM (which still needs a new title!), and I discovered the opposite of what I thought was true – the bits I thought were exciting and interesting ARE, but they make up a much smaller part of the novel than I had thought. And all the stuff before that?? Well that was interesting too!!

In the end, I stopped counting scenes and making notes around 70% into the novel because everything after that will be different. I found that I wrote a lot of very short scenes, many of which could easily be combined or deleted entirely. I have a few characters but only the main ones are fleshed out in any way. I also discovered that I really like my MC, she kicks butt, and she has some meaty issues to explore.

There is a lot that is going to be cut away from the original story line, but also a lot I intend to keep – more than I thought I would, which gives me more hope for getting this done. I’m sticking with my original premise, and have an exciting new vision for the end of the novel. At some point, I probably will write the other novel – see, there is totally a silver lining to first drafts that veer away from original concepts!

As for Sun-Touched, despite the kids being home all month, I managed to add around 7,000 words to it. It’s just shy of 30K now, and while I had hoped to have more words, I feel pretty good about where it’s going. I threw Madea off a (figurative) cliff and she’s scrambling for purchase now in Act 2, will be interesting to see how it all plays out!

February has marked a return to school for Ivy, and Playcentre has started up for the Littles and I as well. We’re into ‘settle’ in mode, and I am confident that within a couple of weeks we’ll have found a nice little routine.

So January was a pretty good month really, though I have a feeling that February is going to be even better. I’m going to keep writing on Sun-Touched, as well as try to hash out a new outline for TCM.

Woo!

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Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow!

Well, the school holidays are all but over and there is a warmth spreading through me at the knowledge. Tomorrow is only a day away. School starts up, Playcentre as well, and we can finally get back into some kind of routine.

I have been waiting for this day for a long time now, yet somehow it managed to sneak up on me. I had to hit the stores today to buy lunch boxes and stationary, because I kept thinking I had longer to get it done. But now Ivy’s books are covered, her pencil case well stocked and her bag packed and ready to go for the morning (well, apart from her lunch, of course). I still have to organize the little girls bags, but that won’t take long.

Tomorrow is so close. SO close.

And the best bit? I’ve actually had a little sleep the last couple of nights so tomorrow I intend to spend the girls nap time writing. I am itching to get words down on Sun-Touched, I’m craving a little time and space to map out the new outline for TCM. I’m so excited by both projects and can’t wait to have some extra time to dedicate to them.

Roll on tomorrow!

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Novel Hopscotch

I’ve always been the kind of writer who starts at the beginning of a novel and works her way through to the end. In order. This has been the only way for me to write a novel because most of the time I’ve had no idea what happens next. Diving in without an outline usually means you have to put one foot in front of the other to see what happens.

However, Saving Tomorrow is a different beast (in many ways!). I’ve finally pulled all my bits and pieces together (with a little over 3,000 words so far) and have the beginning of the novel outlined. I’ve jumped around quite a bit, playing with different scenes, different characters, and the different ideas that have been hopping through my head.

I’d heard of those people that write scenes out of order. Always thought they were a little crazy, but now I’M one of those people. Me. I never would have predicted this. Never. And yet here I am, with one file, some outline notes and scenes missing or incomplete.

It’s an interesting feeling, knowing that I can throw my stone on a scene that isn’t working for me and just jump right over it for the moment. Sure, I will have to come back and write it later, but maybe I’ll have a better idea of what goes in it if I’ve filled in the scenes around it.

An interesting concept. I’ll let you know if this is the way it works out.

Right now I am filling in the scenes I missed. Adding the last of the characters I need to, working on firming up the beginning of the novel. I’ve made no notes about the middle or the end, though I know the who, where, what and why of the questions at the core of the novel. I know where it ends, I just have to figure out how to get Delaney there in one piece.

In order to try and do this right I am going to flick through Bell’s Plot and Structure again to refresh my memory on what makes a solid novel. I would love if I didn’t have to rewrite this one from scratch πŸ˜‰

How do you write a novel? Beginning to end, or jumping around like a kid playing hopscotch?