This is topic NSG 3/30 - 4/5 in forum Hatrack Groups at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by WBSchmidt (Member # 8533) on :
Welcome to this week's Novel Support Group (NSG). Anyone can join. If you're new, tell us a bit about who you are and what project you are working on. Feel free to update the NSG Work in Progress thread with your current projects. Although we can report on any number of things, here is a list of suggestions (suggestions welcomed).

Here is a list of things that you can do each week as we work on our novels (suggestions welcomed).


Last Week's Goals

Nothing much this week. Been a busy week at work finishing up a project. Late nights again.

My goals for next week:

More of the same, mostly world building the antagonist.

What did I learn this week?

I was speaking with a local author earlier this week and he asked me what my greatest frustration was with my writing. As I thought about how I would answer that question, I learned a bit about what could be blocking me from writing much lately. Initially I would have answered that my biggest frustration would have been dedicating myself to simply sitting down and writing. However, it dawned upon me that this may not be as much as a problem as I first thought. Right now my inability to sit down and write is that I don't know where to start. Actually, I know where to start, but I will explain shortly.

I have a rough outline for the current book I'm writing. The problem I have is that I do not have a firm grasp of the world in which this character resides. So, I now have to take a step back and do some world building in order to flesh out the world so that I don't fall into White Room Syndrome (very basic descriptions) as I did with the book I finished last year.

I still have the mindset that I need to get this done now. I don't know why. So, I rush the process by going straight to the plot outline because I "don't have time" to do the characterization or world building. Each time I do this I hit a road block because I don't fully understand the character's motivations and the world in which he or she resides. Sure, I force some of those motivations into the plot, but characters are not static. They are greatly affected by their environments (culture, beliefs, etc.). In addition, a good story comes from not just the plotted events but how the character drives the plot by their reactions to events and the decisions they make to solve the issues confronting them.

I feel that I should be starting first with setting (world building), then characterization, and then the outline (some of which can certainly be done simultaneously). However, with the mindset that I need to get it all done now, it feels as though world building takes me away from doing what I feel I *should* be doing: writing the book. Sometimes world building does not feel like progress and I feel guilty because I'm not actually writing.

So, what I need to learn from this is that it's OK to start with world building and characterization so that the plot of the story can come from that.

Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
Last Week's Goals:

MAGIC'S FOOL: Wait for more of the crits to come back.
Easy one. [Smile]

MAGE STORM: Keep querying. Two more queries out next week.
Yes. [Smile]

SEVEN STARS: Work on the synopsis.
Yes, again. [Smile]

BLOOD IS THICKER: Let it rest.
Another easy one. [Smile]

THE BARD'S GIFT: Finish prep.
Hmm. I haven't really done much on this one this week. [Frown]

Update my blog twice a week.

Finish revisions on "The Music Box" novella.

Yes to both. [Smile]

Next Week's Goals:

Wait for more of the crits to come back.

Keep querying. Two more queries out next week. (If I don't start querying FIRE AND EARTH (formerly SEVEN STARS) instead.

FIRE AND EARTH (formerly known as SEVEN STARS):
Do final edits. Prepare to query.

Let it rest.

Finish prep.

Update my blog twice a week.

I have a new short story idea, but I'm not sure it's quite ready. Give it some thought.

Quarterly Submission Report:

It's been a while since I did my quarterly submission report.

BLOOD WILL TELL: 48 queries, 2 requests for partial, 2 requests for full. One full is still. I haven't heard anything and it's been six months. This one will be e-published around the end of next month.

MAGE STORM: 68 queries, 1 request for partial, 2 requests for full. The latest full was rejected just last week. This one will likely go on the shelf for a while when I start querying FIRE AND EARTH.

I only have one short story out right now, "Becoming Lioness". "Heart of Oak" was e-published earlier this month. "Becoming Lioness" will be too if it's rejected from this market. "Mage Storm" and "The Bard's Gift" are both on hold because they either became or will become novels and then I might want to use the short stories for marketing.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
William, do you have a blog? (I apologize for not remembering if you do.)

I ask because I think you could certainly post in a blog the things you've posted in this topic that you have learned.

I am really enjoying what you've said, and I think it would make a great blog.

I'd start a topic here for others to do the same, but I don't know if they'd actually post anything. Besides, in a way, a large percentage of the topics here could be argued to be "what I have learned" topics.
Posted by EmilyS (Member # 9447) on :
I got my first partial request from an agent! [Big Grin]

Unfortunately, it came when I was in the middle of rewriting the first two chapters, so I had to make a hard decision about whether to send the original version, or wait and try to finish the new version to send. I ended up sending the original, but on the plus side, I got 3k written while I was trying to figure out if I could finish quickly enough.

I want to finish the rewrite this week, and get a start on polishing it to submission-readiness.
Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
Congrats, EmilyS!
Posted by WBSchmidt (Member # 8533) on :
Congrats, EmilyS. Good luck with that. I hope that partial becomes a full. [Big Grin]


I barely remember that I have a blog, too. I have not updated it in 2 years, 1 week. Looks like I missed my Anniversary of Procrastination. I'll celebrate that tomorrow. [Wink]

Ironically, I stopped because I felt, "Who would listen to me? I'm not published." [Smile] I have been rethinking that lately and have created a Wordpress blog on my website to get a feeling of how that system works. It's not public since I've only had time to install it and get a brief feel for the interface. I purchased my domain some time ago so I could direct that domain to anything I want.

Tracy Hickman has been hosting free webinars about how to build an audience. If any of you have not had the chance to participate I highly recommend doing so. He has two more of his free webinars coming up.

After listening to him and learning that I do have an audience after all (thank you, Kathleen), building a blog could be something I need to do.
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
Good for you Emily,

And I think you made the right choice. The agent saw the original after all and you could change it too much.

And William I hadn't thought of it before but since she brought it up I agree with Kathleen. You get a lot in your posts and they are well thought out. A couple of times I thought about using them as a model for my posts here but never get around to it.

Speaking of procrastinating [Smile]
Posted by LDWriter2 (Member # 9148) on :
I skipped last week but I believe this week was a repeat of last week.

I worked on "Stone Within" at work. My MC is investigating strange happenings and sounds at a small plant. Right now, it's late at night and she is there alone. Something is buzzing her. It's about crow size, can fly and it's super fast. So far there is one of them but she is about to be attacked by a swarm.

I might have worked a tiny bit on that second chapter of Two Struggles the first week but I'm not sure. Whenever I worked on it, I took out and saved some stuff about my MC's background, it will probably go in another chapter even though I have no idea where. So I'm now past that section I've currently gone over four times but I may need to go over at least part of it to make sure it all fits with that section out.

That's it for novels.

I've got three finished novels that need revising--including Struggles which just needs a bit of rewriting. But I haven't touched them for a month or so. One has been even longer then that.


I've threatened this before but I think I will be take April off from writing and just work on revising. That doesn't count at work and any WotF Q3 writing-revising-crits and maybe a challenge I want to do. I would wait for that last but I've already waited since Christmas. We shall see about that.

I've thought about including what I've learned about writing in general and about my writing but sometimes it's hard to figure out how to say it and other times I didn't learn anything new. Just reinforced what I knew already.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
William, since you are doing a WordPress blog on your own site, remember that you are responsible for keeping out spam (when you do make your blog public), and doing the updates, and other things like that.

I'd recommend Akismet for your spam blocker (you will still have to go clean out the spam, but Akismet keeps it out of your comments anyway).

Best wishes with it.
Posted by WBSchmidt (Member # 8533) on :
Looks like Akismet is already installed. I would think I'd be able to moderate all comments, which would help with SPAM and similar comments.
Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
Akismet was already installed with my WordPress blog. It does a good job of catching spam.

I don't know if you can change settings easily. With my blog, other people with WordPress blogs can comment without moderation. Generally, after I approve a comment, that person can also comment without moderation.
Posted by WBSchmidt (Member # 8533) on :
Looks like Wordpress gives two options regarding comments:

* An administrator must always approve the comment (unchecked on my base install)

* Comment author must have a previously approved comment (checked on my base install)

These are in Settings >> Discussion >> "Before a comment appears" section

So, it looks like, Meredith, you have the base setup and you could increase your moderation if you wish. I may leave my with defaults for now and see how things go. It is nice to know that full moderation is available though.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Wordpress has two "flavors" which determine how things work on your blog, but maybe we should talk about this in a separate topic. (See the Updates to Hatrack Blogs topic.)

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