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Writing update

September 3, 2013

I thought I’d do a post on my writing progress today, seeing as it’s been a while since I touched the subject.

First thing’s first: I’ve decided not to post any more fiction on this blog for the foreseeable future. I have a few reasons for doing this, but the main two are that I’m not happy with what I’ve already put up and that I’d rather focus on the projects mentioned below. Rest assured that when I next post a piece of writing – and thereΒ will be a next time – it will either be something that is finished or at least something with a substantial buffer behind it.

Well, what can I say? At the end of the day, I’m still a newb at this whole thing – that is, both writing in general and blogging in particular.

On a happier note, I’ve finally settled on a short story project to work on. This project is actually the result of merging two different projects, both science fiction. For one of these projects, I had a clear vision of the ending in mind but no idea how to get there. This project, incidentally, did not feature a parasite or symbiont at any point. Β For the other project, I had a world and a set of characters in my head but no idea what to do with them. After talking it over with a friend, I concluded that the best thing to do would be to adapt the ending of the former project to be used in the latter, which soon led to a whole plot outline being developed. This, sadly, means that my heroic attempt atΒ not writing about parasites or symbionts has ended in failure. Still, at least I know what I’m working on now.

As for my novel, things are going swimmingly. I took some time to streamline the rest of my outline last week, which further improved the novel’s pacing and significantly improved the ending. I also took a bit of time to write a bare-bones version of the novel’s climax. Together, these two activities have left me feeling highly energized for the road ahead. I’m now past 47k and am rocketing towards a “big” (not to mention heartwarming) scene that I’ve been looking forward to writing for some time.

How do you generally treat “big” scenes in your WIPs? Do you write them as soon as possible then put them in the right place later, or do write them when you reach them and use them as motivation in the meantime? Feel free to comment below, as always πŸ™‚Β 

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19 Comments
  1. Not far off that magic 50k! Great stuff. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to split my time across multiple projects and feel like doing them justice, so totally understand your perspective.

    Big scenes? Tbh not really got to that point in my routine, but despite trying to stick to the snowflake method I’ve started outlining some biggish scenes that have started impeding on my imagination. I’ve found that listening to certain soundtrack tracks helps me cement the action in my head to certain dramatic beats. It’s helped me outline immensely. Still need to write the detail, but it’s helped me play out the scenes in my mind.

    Keep it going matey!!

    • I didn’t do anything like that when I was working through the snowflake. I kinda wish I did, with hindsight: I ended up not actually writing anything for months. How far along have you gotten with it now? By the sound of your 1st of September post, you’re getting through it very quickly.

      I seem to be hearing quite a bit about writing and music, lately. In addition to Everyrose’s comment, the friend I mentioned in the original post once told me that he finds it difficult to write if he doesn’t some kind of song playing. I personally prefer to write in silence, though I did find music helpful on one occasion.

      And yeah, I’ll keep it going. Same to you πŸ™‚

      • Slowed down a bit last few days as work has gone manic (trying to not let it frustrate me), but my wife is out tonight so the plan is to get the kids packed off to an early night, crack open a bottle of wine and plough on through step 5. On the plus side, I’ve cracked my magic system over the last few days as the thoughts I’ve had have finally come together.

        I always listen to music when writing (classical and soundtracks – words distract me too much), but for specific scenes I try and find something that compliments what I’m trying to write – and listen to it as much as possible, even outside of writing. For example I tend to have that track on again and again in the car to try and cement how the scene will work as I’m whiling away the journey to and from work.

  2. I tend to usually hold off writing the big scenes till I’m almost at the point if reaching it, that way I can mull over the details of the scene and let it sort of mature for a bit.

    • That’s what I usually do, as well. Often, the scenes seem to change a bit between first popping up in my head and actually appearing on the page. I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes of my latest big scene in that regard; so far, it doesn’t seem to have changed much since its inception.

  3. Go go go! 50K is a huge achievement. You should be proud of it and yourself. πŸ™‚ How much more do you think you have left to go? Also, I know it’s early to ask, but what genre is your new short story going to be?

    As far as big scenes, I write those when I feel it’s time to write them. That’s probably because of the skip-around method I’m using to write my WIP. It depends on my mood at the time as well as how clearly the “vision” of that scene is speaking to me at that time, if that makes sense.

    I think you mentioned a while back that you’re going back to school for your Ph.D.? When does that start?

    • Thanks! I do feel a little bit proud, I must say: it’s been years since I got this far. I have have quite a bit left to go, though – at least 50 or 60k. The pacing came out wayyyy too slowly at the start, so I’m not as far through the plot as one might expect. The new short is going to be another science fiction piece. Really spreading my wings, I know πŸ˜›

      Makes sense to me. Writing a scene when it’s clearest in your head sounds like a good way of doing things :). By mood, I take it you mean you like your mood to match the mood of the scene?

      And yeah, I’m starting my PhD near the end of the month. I’m a bit nervous to be honest: I’ll probably end up feeling horrifically stupid for the first year or so. Still, I’m sure it’ll all work out well in the end.

      • That’s still great, though. You’re about halfway through. Just don’t lose the motivation to work on it now. And regarding the pacing, you can always fix it when you revise the novel. That’s what second drafts are for. πŸ˜‰

        By mood, I meant that sometimes I pick a scene to work on based how I feel at the time. Example: After a stressful week at work, I decided to let my inner “creative boxer” out by skipping through my outline and working on a chapter late in the book where the protagonist is very, VERY angry. Does that make sense? I think I may have talked about that in one of the Chronicles at my blog.

        You’ll do fine with your PhD classes. Don’t worry about it. Just remember to take care of yourself in between classes and assignments.

      • Indeed :). As well as third drafts…and fourth drafts…and however many it’s going to take to make this thing good. It’ll be quite a few, I imagine, but nobody said this writing lark was easy πŸ˜‰

        Ah, right, that makes sense now. And yeah, you mentioned this at length on your blog, now that you think of it.

        Thanks for the vote of confidence :). And yeah, I’ll remember that; I learned all about it the hard way during my first year as an undergraduate. Not an experience I’d like to repeat, I’ll tell you.

  4. I have a hard time not jumping into the big scenes I have mapped out because my mind and my typin’ fingers want to do the exciting stuff as soon as possible. That said, I usually resist that urge. Writing linearly not only lets me get through the more sloggy stuff without feeling like I’ve already blown my creative load, but often lets me be surprised by scenes that turn out to be nearly as fun or important as the big ones. Sure I want to see David Bowie walk upside down in tight pants, but first I’ve got to listen to Jennifer Connelly complain about her baby brother for ten minutes.

    • That is…quite the image. I like it!

      I know what you mean about being surprised. One of my (many, many) outline rewrites happened after a throwaway line spawned an entire unplanned scene, which in turn led to a burst of character development which wasn’t supposed to happen that early or in that way. Was pretty fun to write, though.

      Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  5. 50K is nothing to sneeze at! Wonderful!

    I write big scenes when I get to them. By the third draft they’re usually an entirely different beast anyway.

    • Good point. It’ll be quite interesting to see how everything changes over the course of revisions. It’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.

      Thanks for stopping over πŸ™‚

  6. Oh my. I write my big scenes while listening to music that gets me in the mood of the scene and sometimes even close my eyes while I type ( this makes a lot of typos) but it allows me to feel the raw emotions and see the action in a way that flows and hopefully makes the reader feel what I feel. I have to agree with Sarahremy though, it changes dramatically with revisions, but usually in a good way.

    • Funny; you’re the second person to mention music on this comments section. I usually avoid music when I write, but there was exactly one occasion when music helped a scene considerably. Maybe I ought to try it more often.

      Doubt I’ll try closing my eyes any time soon, though; I’m bad enough at typing as it is :P. How long have you been doing that for, out of interest?

  7. melorajohnson permalink

    I write whatever scene I see in my head right now and then place them in order. I get very vivid pictures when writing is going well and I know that I have to capture them while they are available. The editing and re-writing may change things later but I will have the creative impulse.

    • Sounds like a really enjoyable way of doing things; wish I was able to do it like that :). Do you plan ahead much, or do you just wait and see where the scenes take you?

      Thank you very much for stopping over.

      • melorajohnson permalink

        My brain tends to plan ahead a bit, but not too far, it just depends.

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