Thursday, April 28, 2011

Step by Step

Well, at least it's fun.

If it wasn't it would be torture.

Moving very slowly through the book right now. At the transition between the first and second third and working very hard to turn the corner in the story just so. This area had been a bit of a blindspot and I'm realizing I need to do some very careful set up not to rob later moments of their impact.

I'm loving it though. The characters are coming into sharper focus and the story is being driven more from their motivations and choices than mine.

Leaving the progress bar where it is for the moment, but except some jumps next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I've been rewriting some chapters from a different character's point of view the past few days. It's something I knew I was going to have to tackle but was a bit concerned about. You can't just change Danny to Breyona and his to her and call it a day.

Different characters see the the world differently; they notice different things, they interpret events differently, and they can't see their own faces.  So even though the objective events of the story don't change, filtering them through a different POV essentially forces me to rewrite the chapter entirely.

I'm just about a third of the way through the revisions, but it was the easy third, which is why I've bumped the progress bar up to 15% and not 33%.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rogue Characters Not Allowed

I have never understood the idea that characters start doing things that the author doesn't expect. I've heard this from many writers and I have to wonder how it happens.

My characters don't do this. I've kind of been waiting for it to happen. I've even invited it. "Come on Danny. Come on Breyona. Help me out here. Do something interesting!" But they just sit there, patiently leaning on the cursor, waiting for me to proceed.

During long stretches of me thinking (and not typing or dictating), they sit down and rest, look around at the scenery, maybe scratch an itch. Once I stopped in the middle of a line of dialogue so long Danny forgot what point he was trying to make and gave up.

My characters are not impressed with my writing. More recently they've showed a little more enthusiasm. I heard Breyona whisper to Danny (not too quietly) that she was glad I finally noticed this big issue she had and was doing something about it. Danny was happy too. "I know. I hope it means I get to kiss you." Breyona just rolled her eyes. "I hope I want to kiss you. Cause right now, I don't."

I resent my characters for saying this where I could hear it, but I don't think they noticed. So I wrote: Danny pulled a dagger out of his ear and thrust it into his left eye.

He just shook his head. "Whatever."

I deleted it, but I had to force myself.

And then there's the ending of the story. Danny was all like, "Wow, that was way easier than I thought I would  be." The last laugh will be mine, though. The ending is about to get a lot more difficult for him. I'm pretty sure he's not going to enjoy it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Extravert Powerup

The progress bar has not moved for one very good reason. I've been recharging.

I tend to create in short bursts, but I've been working hard to even that out. I also returned from Nashville a week or so ago and that always results in lower productivity as I rest up from the mental energy expended by using the extravert power up.

Using the extravert power up is dangerous because it pulls from the same stores I use to create fiction or write songs. Even worse, it costs double and begins to burn happiness energy after a day or two. This leaves me exhausted, uninspired, and a bit depressed for a few days after.

I have done a bit of work on the book since I returned, but it's been a bit spotty. I've given myself permission to take in some content so I've watched a ton of documentaries and read some books. I'm feeling much refreshed now, so expect some good productivity once all these distractions in my schedule are past.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

OmniOutliner Love

I've had a copy of OmniOutliner for years. I've even used it occasionally in the past. But when it came time to outline the book I'd already written, I'd forgotten about it.

I wrote the book in Scrivener, so you might wonder why the heck I need to outline it in some other app. That's a good question. The answer is that the current version of the book is in Word, with a big bunch of track changes to review. This means there's no way to go back to the great Scrivener. I have to stay in Word from here on out.

So I got some paper index cards and started outlining. Good. Now what? The index cards were fun to look at. I was proud of the stack. Impressed. But I couldn't figure out what to do with them. So I typed the outline into Excel. In retrospect this was idiotic, but I had intentions of using columns to remind me of what characters were in each scene, etc. But it's not really that flexible. The fact is, I'm only a genius because I fix my idiotic mistakes.

So I put the whole outline into Word, using the outline mode. That was more fun because Word outlines are collapsible. But then again, there are no columns. I need columns. I started wishing I had an outliner with columns: OmniOutliner. Duh.

So for the fourth time I put my outline in a new format. This time everything was cool. I've been working with that app for a while now and it works great and helps me stay organized. All of this is the long way to say I've been working on the book and have made significant progress. I've done more than outline. I've revised several chapters and have written a bunch of new words. The net gain with all the revision, deletion and new writing is 2200 words. Doesn't sound like much, but those are some pretty important changes.

I've moved the progress bar to 5%, which feels about right, but it's a subjective measure. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April's Foolish Day

I have never liked practical jokes and I don't enjoy seeing people being punk'd. It's safe to say that I will never write an April Fools post on this blog. Fortunately I noticed it was April 1st this morning, so I haven't fallen for anything yet.

It's a tiresome, tedious, and wasteful tradition. Why would anyone want to dupe someone like that? Do they think it makes people feel good?

I suppose they think it's funny, but it isn't. It's idiotic.