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. Although we can report on any number of things, here is a list of suggestions (suggestions welcomed).
What were your goals last week and did you accomplish them?
Describe what you worked on.
Set goals for next week.
Did you learn something during this week?
Here is a list of things that you can do each week as we work on our novels (suggestions welcomed).
Writing on a novel
Last Week's Goals
I accomplished my goal to move all of my written scenes into the scene spreadsheet. I still need to work on the scenes for act three since I have not thought much about that section. I do know how all of the characters involved with the story get together now so that's a start at least.
My goals for next week:
Act One Cause / Effect Analysis
Now that I have all of my scenes in the spreadsheet I need to go over them and ensure that I'm using cause and effect to move the story along. I noticed last night that many of my scenes do not flow well because I do not have scenes to cause some of these events. This week I will go over the scenes for act one and ensure I have good cause and effect set up. This lack of cause and effect reduces my enthusiasm for the story in a away because the main character is merely following along with the story rather than creating the story herself.
I also hope to finally add a post to the Outlining Technique thread detailing how I'm using this spreadsheet to organize my scenes. I don't know that anyone will be interested in that or not but I ought to post it.
What did I learn this week?
I'm still learning that it is difficult to set goals with this outlining technique. However, as I continue to use it I see how I could have better planned previous steps. I'm hoping that once I get my outline complete I will have a better handle on the technique so that I can design a series of steps to guide me along next time.
Last night before I fell asleep, I was mentally berating myself for all of the cliches in Dragon Fate. For example, my hero Connor has red hair. Do you know how many characters in books have red hair, versus the proportion of actual people who have red hair?
I decided to twist the cliche, and I thought, Why not green hair?
At first I thought that is just silly, then you would have people with blue hair and purple hair, and that is just going too far.
But then I thought, this is a YA Fantasy about dragons and magic, there is no too far.
And then I realized that the whole green hair thing answers a problem I've had since the beginning of the novel that I felt was just an inheirent flaw and unfixable. My characters are turning into dragons, if you recall, and they had to prick their fingers to test their blood's color to see how close they were to hatching. Now their hair will change color as well as their blood, so there is no reason to stop and check their blood.
Green hair was the answer. Really cool.
Goals for this week: Apply some colorful hair, and adjust accordingly. ~Sheena
I did alright this week. Not perfect. But then, that rarely happens anyway.
Last Week's Goals:
Dreamer's Rose: Try a chapter or two in first person. Did. Don't like it. Back to letting this one rest.
The Shaman's Curse: Get through those Self-Editing Checklists on at least the first five chapters, and the synopsis. Nope. Didn't touch it. I really have to motivate myself for this one. I may have to make smaller goals to do that, at least to start.
The Ignored Prophecy: Revisions. Well, I've started. I haven't gotten very far. But I have started.
Blood Will Tell: Evict those characters from my brain so I can put it away and let it rest. Not quite. But I am getting there.
Next Week's Goals:
Dreamer's Rose: Let it rest. First person isn't the answer. But my subconscious will eventually tell me what the answer is. I like this story. I just have to figure out what's wrong. It wouldn't fight me so hard if something weren't wrong.
The Shaman's Curse: Okay. Smaller goals must be the key. I hope. Get through chapters one (already done) through five with the checklists just for characterization, pov, and dialog mechanics. Just that much.
The Ignored Prophecy: Revisions. I've got them marked up. I just have to write them.
Blood Will Tell: Let it rest so I can come at the revisions with a fresh eye.
Other: I pulled out some older stuff. One is a novelette I wrote a while ago. It needs some work in the middle and some cutting down on the length. I've got another long short story that might actually make a novel. I need to try to plot that out and see if it works. I do have one short story idea that I could start on. And I should start trying to plot/outline the third book (still untitled) in the The Shaman's Curse/The Ignored Prophecy series.
Edited to add: What I Learned This Week: Two things.
I don't like writing in first person.
I'm getting a better idea (I think) about how to proceed with Dreamer's Rose. I'm reading The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (one of the books found in my inventory of the five bookcases). Horrible title, btw, we don't even find out that there is a curse until more than half-way through. She also has a damaged hero and something like the way she handles it, just telling bits of his past as they become relevant to the story, might work for me. Not exactly. I don't plan to tell the story completely from his POV and, at least at first, he doesn't remember how he got this way. But it's giving me some ideas. In fact, I just had one right now.
[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited September 27, 2009).]
I'm going through a quick rewrite of Panix with Meredith's input. It will probably take me into this week. The chapter exchange took a bit of time, but it was well worth it. Thanks to Meredith on her side.
I didn't get to replanning Motes & Meddles... Something to do this week.
[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited September 25, 2009).]
Last week's goals: I didn't get very far. I was supposed to continue with the editing til I got to the next place that needed a lot of work. But my motivation just sort of petered out. I got just over half way.
Next week's goals: I'd really like to get this book done and put on the shelf a couple weeks before Nanowrimo so I can spend some time world building. With that in mind, I'd like to edit/rewrite the next 4 chapters, at least 2 of which will require some major work.
So I totally failed... I took some days off work with grand aspirations to write, then came down with the flu. For the first two days I was convinced it was swine flu it was so nasty, but that was the hypochondriac in me acting out. Then I came back to work and ended up pulling 16 hours of overtime last week, covering for other sick people, which left me dead to the world.
So I'll try again, I'm gonna get a chapter finished by 10/1. that's it, plain and simple.
I'm wondering if I might not really be more of a movie watcher or book reader than I am an author. Or perhaps it's just WAY past time to start a new novel. I hate to start anything new with Nanowrimo moving ever closer, but if I have to edit on more page, I may go insane.
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So let's try and figure out what's missing. I remember reading a semi-serious complaint on a writing website once. The author said, "All my main character ever wants to do is sleep!" I laughed and laughed, and then realized my main character had the same problem. Whenever actual plot advancement wasn't going on, she went to sleep. Now granted, it turned out she had a good reason for sleeping a lot, but when I went back and rounded her life out, she became a lot more interesting, and it gave her a lot more to lose when she had her crisis moment. That's just a stab in the dark, but if we're going to solve your problem, we have to start somewhere.
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