WIP Marathon March Check-in

Wow, it’s like I just did one of these!

…oh, wait…

Gorgeous view from Mirador Morro Velosa, F’ventura

At least this month, I’m (sort of) on time! I promise my next post (which might be today, who knows) will be about stuff other than my word counts, because I realise that for non-writers and even non-WIP Marathoners, that might be about the most boring thing in the world to read. Sorry.

Last report word count: 120,000. This is my WIP’s first draft, version 1.2 😉 (Not a 2nd draft, oh no).

Current report word count: 116,587. As I said last month, I like to have a lot of padding before I dig into a serious edit. I’m still at the “Does this story follow any kind of cohesive narrative whatsoever?” stage. So… As they used to say in Infocom text adventures, Maximum Verbosity.

WIP Issues This Month: I find myself feeling like, “Is this enough?” and wanting to add side plot after character backstory-reason-for-doing-X-Y-Z after side plot. I know I’ll have to scale back, but this is going to be my biggest (not just size-wise, but cast/world-wise) story yet, and I’ve yet to find confidence in the balance between enough complexity and too much. :-l

Is there a writing craft book called “Knowing When You’ve Got Enough Actual _Story_ And You Can Stop Adding Bits Now”?

Four things I learned this month while writing:

1) That it would be awesome if I was a meticulous JKR-like writer who has spreadsheets out the wazoo about what characters do/reveal when and related symbolism, flashbacks, foreshadowing, and what-have-you. I am not.

I have typically one journal per story, and keep notes in as organised a fashion as I can, as well as using different docs within Scrivener for keeping track of world building, but I’m constantly afraid I’ll miss some Post-it or scrap of paper or Evernote stream of consciousness where I’ve written something of UTMOST IMPORTANCE to the unravelling of this story’s universe that I’m stressing myself out.

Last Sunday I heard (and saw) Diana Gabaldon speak for the second time, this time at the Oxford Literary Festival at the Sheldonian Theatre. She was brilliant. I’ve heard and read her how-I-got-here story many times, and each time is increasingly inspirational. She said she doesn’t outline, she doesn’t usually even write chronologically, and often writes conversations or scenes where she may not even know who the characters are yet. And she offers no apologies. She does her research, finds something interesting, and finds a way to work it in. As much as I admire JKR for her sheer imagination and ability to weave plot threads from Page One of Book One with, apparently, God-like awareness of how it will all pan out, I loved hearing Diana explain with wit and refreshing self-confidence that no, she doesn’t know precisely how the series will end until she gets there. And that might bring me to …

2) There is no right way. There’s the way that works for you.

3) If you could use some great examples of plot points, head on over to KM Weiland’s website here: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/movie-storystructure/its-a-wonderful-life/. This particular example uses It’s a Wonderful Life, one of my favourite films, with a very concise and helpful look at how structure holds that story together so neatly.

4) Keeping Twitter/HootSuite/TweetDeck/whateveh shut for 3 hours = 4 scenes edited. BAM. Thus, henceforth I’m going to try to limit Twitter to breaks. I’m way too easily sidetracked. (Though I believe that sometimes this is a GOOD thing, and inspiration sneaks into cracks and crannies (what a word!) through means such as internet distraction. But for real, I need to be more disciplined right now).

What distracted me this month while writing: Besides Twitter, we went to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands at the start of the month, I had a monster cold, and then I went to Oxford for the following weekend. That and my previously mentioned Writer’s Ass, but in the past few days it’s gotten much better! I discovered something called somatics, and it seems to be helping. Praise God!

Goal for next month: Finish this draft by April 17th, then write 20k of Camp NaNo story in the days left in the month.

Next blog post around, no word counts! I promise.

And one more thing, infinitely more exciting than my WIP progress, is the amazing, generous, and talented Susan Dennard (author of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY and writer of words over at Pub(lishing Crawl) is giving away a bound copy of her upcoming TRUTHWITCH! Check out this link to enter — it’s exclusive to subscribers of her Misfits & Daydreamers newsletter, which you can subscribe to RIGHT HERE. Run, don’t walk! Her newsletters are packed full of magical cookie GOODNESS. OMNOM.

See you next time!


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11 thoughts on “WIP Marathon March Check-in

  1. That article on KM Weiland’s website was super helpful! And we’ll get you to that finished drafted. Can’t wait to read it 🙂 It’s amazing how many different ways writers go about writing their books. DG and JKR are two great examples, as you discussed in the post. It’s nuts. We all have our own ways of doing things, and you’re right– there’s no one right way, there’s *your own* way 🙂

    1. Thanks so much!! 😀 It’s so easy to look to authors I admire and think, if it worked for them, I *have* to try it… but I think they probably just fumbled their way into their routine and approach, and THAT part of it I can do 😉

      1. Definitely true what you said about the authors stumbling into the plan that worked for them. I guess it takes us all a few trials and errors to get to see what works for us.
        Thanks for the link on movie structure. It’s A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies of all time too!

        I can relate with not knowing how much to add or cut, especially in a large-scale novel. But I think sometimes you could just go ahead and add, and then give it a month or two to read it all from beginning to end to see what’s extraneous or not. That’s almost always worked for me, I guess.

        Happy writing this month! Here’s to meeting that deadline!

        1. Trial & error all the way! I think the more I *trial* the more I realise I may one day write one of those posts that describes what works for me, and someone else will read it and try it and be like, NOPE, not happening here!! LOL.

          And yes to what you said about adding and then coming back after awhile with a clearer view! That’s what I’ll do with this WIP. Once this pass-through is done and I send it to some eyes, I think coming back to see what’s extraneous will be much easier.

  2. “Is there a writing craft book called “Knowing When You’ve Got Enough Actual _Story_ And You Can Stop Adding Bits Now”?” – I could use a book like that! 😛 I tend to write too-short drafts, but I don’t like padding out the story too much with subplots. Whenever I try to make the book longer, I end up adding filler that I then have to cut out later. Maybe I can only write shorter books!

    I wish I could plot out to the extent that JKR did! Most of the foreshadowing in my books is added after I finish the draft/series. I write chronologically, but I do sometimes add/research things as I go along. It keeps things interesting!

    Best of luck with the WIP and Camp NaNo! 🙂

    1. I think I’ve been doing that with this … adding sideplots that need to be cut later. But I’m hoping at least it gives me some viable options 😉 even though it’s extra work. Someday I’ll get the hang of this writing malarkey! 😀

  3. I know I would be so much more productive if I could just stay away from the internet. I’m working on that. xD But it’s such a wonderful, distracting place…

    1. It IS…. oh, it is. Though there are times where I’m scrolling mindlessly through FB posts, thinking, “Man, this stuff is all so depressing…” and yet my finger keeps moving. I have to be a bit more mindful of what I’m perusing and stick to the inspiring, interesting stuff!

  4. I would love to be meticulous like that, too!! Sure it might drive me crazy, but talk about having everything figured out! I get so jealous when I think about it! But you’re so totally spot on about there only being “OUR” way. I’m a little chaotic and goodness knows my notes are all over the place! But it works for me. 😀

    Best wishes on finishing your draft and your 20k for Camp NaNo!! I plan on ducking into camp a wee bit late myself. ^_^

  5. Wow, I could have written so much of this. Especially the part about knowing when enough is enough. I’m sitting here, at 80k-ish words, thinking I should add another subplot (and take one away). I never can seem to see when I have enough story to make it work.

    I had to just trash tweetdeck at one point, so I’m hardly on twitter anymore, and have considered giving up on Facebook because I can’t seem to get anything done. Sadly, the one time I managed to quit Facebook, it didn’t stick. My most productive time is usually the middle of the night, when there’re less people online to chat with. So, I feel your pain.

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