WIPMarathon Check-In #6

Last Check-in Wordcount + ChapterCount (+ scene count if you’re revising):

Agh. This is #6 and I’m still nowhere near on track with my goals on this WIP?

You know what that means? *sigh* After several encouraging suggestions, I’m changing my goals. Thanks to contests, conversations, revising other MSs and life stuff, I have until February 1st to:

1) Finish the read-through of older MS.

2) Implement tweaks that have recently just bopped me on the nose.

3) Send to 3 people awaiting it.

4) Attack space opera-WIP and choose between it and new idea-WIP, and have a completed outline ready to write from by February.

There you have it. Much changed from, “Write 50k on space opera-WIP” but life throws you surprises, and I’ve made lots of great changes on older MS since #WIPMarathon started. And I wouldn’t change any of that — or meeting this great group of talented people — for anything.

Current WC + CC (or SC): 10k on the space opera-WIP, so whether I carry on right now with it or not, I at least have a place to start from 🙂

WIP Issues this week: On the space opera-WIP, basically the idea I was MAD about all summer/fall now feels generic. But I think that might be due to the fact that I haven’t articulated the “cookies” in every scene yet, nor have I punched into the central relationship that’s what started this thing in the first place. Once I get that on board, I may find ways to heat it up. I hope.

What do YOU do if you worry your story is generic? There’s so much going on in mine — a rotating cast of characters, something new for me. Various POVs, but a central problem to solve. I think I need to do more drafting, but would love to hear anyone else’s experience!

What I learnt this week in writing: As always, lots. One biggie: be careful how your opening/query/pitch comes across, because if an agent mistakes the sub-genre for something they don’t rep, that’s no fun. This is why pitches and queries are so, so important, but also maddeningly tricky. You want to convey the stakes and world clearly, and word choice is KEY to making sure you portray it accurately. Every — single — word! This tip brought to you by Giant Salty, the 50″ crab:

Forgive him for using a PC. I was on the MBP at the time.

What distracted me this week while writing: Some not-so-fun stuff, but also our housewarming/fancy dress party! I was excited everyone showed up and made a fantastic effort on their costumes. I was Deanna Troi (again) and the Scotsman was the Tenth Doctor, and our guests came as: a Gameboy and a Tetris piece, a cowgirl, Pikachu, the ghost of Christmas past, 2 Mr. Ts, Edward Cullen, a mini-footballer, Where’s Waldo, Indiana Jones, a fantastic flapper, Austin Powers and his groovy missus, and a kilted Englishman. A roaring success, and a warm house!

Last 200 words: From the space opera-WIP.

“You are absolutely correct, Princ — Sapphira. I acquiesce.”

“You needn’t be so formal. So, what are you? A rebel footman? Wrong place at the wrong time? Delivery man? Some lady-in-waiting’s pre-Court quickie?”

Galen sat still on his heels, fingers laced. “None of those things. I do not work for the Empire; I am my own man. And I do have secrets. I will share them with you in time, if we stay together and gain each other’s trust. But will it be acceptable if I simply tell you for now, I do not intend to turn you in, or make contact with the Empire? I point to my attempts at re-routing the capsule as proof.”

Sapphira considered her own secrets. “You have yourself a deal.” She offered her hand and watched his left eye twitch as he hesitated in bringing his hand to meet hers. Eventually he did, but with wobbly reticence that made her imagine a germ phobia. Then he smiled, for the first time since she’d got her vision back. A warm smile, that made his slightly-long nose stand out even more. Something about it made her feel hope, despite their situation — maybe its vulnerable warmth in an otherwise pale face.

– – –

That’s it — good luck everyone and see you next week (promptly on Saturday this time! 🙂

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6 thoughts on “WIPMarathon Check-In #6

  1. Sometimes we can’t help things getting in the way of our plans! You’re absolutely right that having 10K means you have a great place to start when you pick up the project again. 🙂

    As for worrying that your story is generic, I do this ALL THE TIME. I’m trying to stop, because it isn’t conducive to writing progress at all! I’ve read a couple of posts on originality this week (can’t remember where – I wish I’d bookmarked them!) and the gist was this: no idea is original, but it’s what you can bring to a story that makes it unique. I think one of the posts broke down some of the most popular novels to their basic concepts, which don’t sound exciting on their own – it’s the author’s writing that makes them great! So don’t worry about it. 🙂

    And I love the excerpt!

    1. Thanks, Emma. I may have a root around for some articles like you’ve mentioned. I love when people pick apart classics or popular books and show us something about them from a fresh viewpoint — and it’d be encouraging right now to be shown how they began with basic ideas. I think I expected it to be easier since I’ve learned sooo much from previous MSs — I have, but that doesn’t mean I might not stumble into other problems. So, pressing on 🙂 x

  2. The beauty about goals, my dead, is that you can adjust them as your situation allows. The only time you don’t make progress, is if you give up. Making not as much as you’d hoped, or progress on something else entirely is still progress.

    <3 Keep at it. January will work out just fine.

  3. OMG this is the first snippet of your writing that I’m reading and it’s sooooo frigging gorgeous. You have such a splendid way with words!! Strong and beautiful. Okay I’ll stop here before it sounds too much but that last sentence rocks! Also, your MC’s first question to Galen.
    Okay, I’ll stop now.

    My first draft felt generic after I finished it, which led to the overhaul that’s the second draft. How I deal with it is taking that advice of discarding the first five ideas that come to you. So with my second draft (which has a lengthy, detailed outline), once I get to any twist point (is that a word?), I try to put myself in the reader’s shoes and try to see what they’re expecting, then brainstorm to surprise them (if my twist in the outline seems generic/ill-fitting at that point).
    Truth is sometimes you can’t articulate “every cookie” for every scene until you write it. Not even with an outline. At least, for me.
    Good luck with any WIP you choose!

    1. I LOVE this idea! I have it hanging on my wall in the form of a list of tips from someone at Pixar… I forget where I saw the article but yes! I’ve kinda glazed over this advice and you’ve brought it back to mind. THANK YOU. I’m going to do it. Try to see what the reader might be expecting and *not* do that. Thank you, Ifeoma!! And thanks for your comments! 🙂 And you’re right about not being able to always identify the “cookies” until they come out of your pen/fingers. You rock! <3

  4. Awesome excerpt! 🙂
    And I have the same fears about originality. I’m constantly worried that my stories aren’t unique enough … but then again, no idea is going to be entirely unique. And it’s your personal style, characters, etc. that bring a story to life and make it your own.

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