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).
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
Again, I got no writing done this week. I've been working long hours at work again lately and it's been tiring. I have not had much energy to be creative at all this week, unfortunately.
My goals for next week:
I've been working on the second of the try / fail cycles for this latest book. I will continue working on that to hopefully get the basic outline of this cycle. I already have a few scenes thought out for that sequence so I just need to fill it out a bit.
What did I learn this week?
I would not say that I've learned anything this week. However, being the perfectionist I feel that I am with my writing, I feel that I need to force myself to take a different approach to my writing. Many of us have heard that we need to write 1 million words of junk before we can get published. In addition, there exist the 10,000 hour rule where in order to master something you must practice it for 10,000 hours. During the first of those 10,000 hours we need to practice the basics (e.g. playing the scales). So, I will try to force myself to practice the basics.
What I plan to do first is to concentrate on the very basics of story: plot. In the first draft of my next book I'm going to concentrate on the main plot only. This will include writing the bare minimal scenes required to make the book's climax the logical conclusion to the book. I may need to do a little of character development but only enough to show that this character would logically go in this direct. For now, anything that relates to any subplots I will hold off on for other drafts.
This may mean the first draft is very short, well short of my 120,000 word goal. However, I hope this will give me the practice to write a well plotted, logical story. The novel I finished last year did not have this well plotted, logical story. Even now, I see many plot holes and places where I pushed the plot along. I added scenes, events, and character decisions the force the plot to go in a direct I wanted. The story feels contrived because of this.
I hope that by concentrating on plot only I can learn what needs to go into a story to build to a logical conclusion. Let's see if I can make it work.
PS: I was about to post this when I thought I could add something that I learned (actually realized this seconds before posting this). You need accountability. When I learned recently that Kathleen watched to see what I learned each week I thought, "I'll have to come up with something better next week." Well, each week since then I've put additional thought into learning something and expressing that here. I may not always learn something, but I want to thank Kathleen for helping me push myself to learn this: that no matter how small our audience may be, we all have an audience. And, in knowing we have an audience, what we say matters. I may not say anything profound, but knowing someone wants to hear what I say truly means something to me. Thank you, Kathleen.
MAGIC'S FOOL: Send it out to beta readers. Done. I've even gotten one crit back already.
MAGE STORM: Two more queries out next week. Yes.
I'm up to 63 queries with one partial request and three full requests. One full is still out and counting (six weeks now). I won't be able to say I haven't tried with this one.
SEVEN STARS: Keep working on the query and synopsis. A little bit of work on the query this week. I need to get back to the synopsis.
BLOOD WILL TELL: Keep reading through Smashwords' Style Guide, etc. Yes.
BLOOD IS THICKER: Let it rest. Easy one.
THE BARD'S GIFT: Continue research. Yes.
MAGIC'S APPRENTICE: Just write on this. No specific goals. (Too much other stuff going on.) Yes. This is my playground until I'm ready to start something else, but I'm not taking it too seriously at this point.
Work on the story draft every day. --I worked on it every day that I remember, but that doesn't mean I accomplished this goal. I don't remember the first half of the week. --I moved scenes and created new chapters. The opening chapters are shorter than they were and no longer follow the pattern of odd chapters for the girl's POV and even chapters for the boy's POV. I tweaked dialogue to increase tension and (hopefully) improve clarity for readers, and I rewrote bits of description that weren't quite working for me.
Complete Chapter Four. --The old Chapter Four is the current Chapter Six, and still incomplete. It's also unreasonably large now. I'm going to have to cut it into pieces.
Next Week's Goals
Work on the story draft every day.
Lessons Learned Writing is almost impossible on days in which I don't read.
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The last two weeks have been a little thin on writing time, but I think my Null Prophet query's nearly ready. I also managed to edit the first 750 words of my workshop submission.
This week, my goal is to put the final polish on my query letter and, if not send it out, at least figure out which agents are next on the list and what their guidelines are. I also want to finish editing the first chapter for my workshop submission.
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