Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It has slowed down my writing clip. NaNo became a 5,000 word month rather than a 50,000 word one. But, it also gives me some motivation to wrap up my novel before the kid shows up. Last weekend was the first time that I had the mental energy to write since early October. It's been tough.
My WiP is about 30,000 words done. My goal is to have it 100% complete before the baby comes. I'm a slow first drafter, which is very blocky and the revisions is where I really start to add words at a decent clip. So, I'm feeling pretty good about that goal.
I'm not sure how much I'll be able to write with a newborn.
For any of you writing Moms out there, how long after giving birth until you were back to a writing habit?
at 2:11 PM
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I'm not doing that. I'm going to try something a bit different.
My goal is to revise my very rough first draft. My goal is to polish up a chapter a day, starting today. I've got 31 chapters, so starting a day early will let me get through everything by the end of the month.
I'm a very basic/outliney draft writer. I don't write much prose. I write tight dialog with a few sketches of who is where. So I need to go back and fill in the lines. Also, all of my battle scenes current read something like A fights B or A fights and wins. As I said, basic/outliney. It's just my process. I even still have a few chapters that are a couple sentences long.
So, one could argue that I'm not even done with my first draft. But, I'm excited and ready to take it to the next level using NaNo as my driver.
Anyone else out there doing a modified NaNo? What are you doing?
at 5:19 PM
Monday, August 19, 2013
|From the Second City Website|
I'm not going there to change my career nor my writing focus, which is fantasy. I'm just hoping that it will add a new dimension to my writing. Even though this class focuses on Sketch Writing, there will still be some improv. I'm hoping that it will translate to faster writing and better dialog. I took Writing I almost a year ago and then didn't continue with it. I've also taken a couple of Improv Classes as well. After seeing a Second City performance on Saturday, I decided to look into continuing. Low and behold...classes start today.
Here's my first and only sketch ever, it's what I wrote in Writing I. What do you think? If you like this, I can post all of my sketches as I write them. I'd love to hear your feedback!
As an aside, Second City offers an online writing class if you feel sad that you don't live nearby the LA, Toronto or Chicago training centers.
Please note that this contains expletives.
by me...Lauren Amundson :)
(Sara is sitting in a chair behind a desk. There is another chair on the other side of the desk.)
(Jimmy enters; both look shocked to see each other)
at 7:18 AM
Saturday, August 17, 2013
It will start Friday night and end Monday at midnight. So, three and a half days. I plan to have the work outlined and ready for the binge so that I'm not just floundering.
Has anyone out there tried a binge writing weekend? Any thoughts?
at 7:20 AM
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
So, I meant to do "Friend Makin Monday" this week, but it got away from me. I've done this on my other blog a few times and it's always fun :)
This is something that Kenlie at All The Weigh does. Basically, you answer a few questions and link to it at All The Weigh.
Have You Ever?
1. Jumped out of an airplane? No, and I have zero interest in jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. My hubby wants to, and I said that's fine as long as I don't know until after he's home safe and sound.
2. Lived alone? I had my own room sophomore year in college, then when I was 22 until I got married at 24, I lived alone then too. Moved to two new places during that time.
3. Met a celebrity? I played poker against some guy who had been the runner up in the bachalor the season before. I'm not sure if he was more offended that I didn't know him, said I didn't like reality tv or won on the hand he went all in on.
4. Said something to someone that you immediately regret saying? Sometimes I get frustrated and don't talk as nicely as I should.
5. Had a manicure/pedicure? A few times. Maybe five throughout my life. I have friends that go every week. I just don't have the time for all that.
6. Gotten a hickey? Nope.
7. Owned a pet that was not a dog or a cat? I had a salt water fish tank that a friend of mine got from an abandoned storage unit at a storage facility where he worked. It was the most expensive free thing I ever got. I had two fish. The first was a beta fish named "Jar Head". You get them to make sure the pH level is okay because they are pretty hardy and fairly cheap. After he'd been around for awhile I got a clown fish named "Sushi". Unfortunatly, I was in school and finals started so I forgot to feed the fish for a few days. Jar Head made it. There was no sign of Sushi.
8. Been outside of your home country? Traveling is my favorite hobby. I've been to Mexico, Italy, Belguim, France, Spain, Australia and China. It's not too many places, but I'm working on adding to it.
9. Kissed your best friend? My husband is my best friend...does that count? Also, when I was in middle school, my best friend was a boy and we "dated" for a while.
10. Eaten food that fell on the floor? Five second rule!
11. Met someone online? I met one of my really good friends online. We got a meetup together for people new to Chicago.
12. Been on TV? I was on the local channel a few times when I was a kid for choir or something like that.
13. Had braces? I got them when I was 16 and got them off right before I turned 18. I now believe that they were taken off a little early because some of my teeth have shifted back. But at the time I was more than ready to be rid of them.
14. Gone skinny dipping? I'm a little boring. Nope.
15. Been to the opera? No, but I want to. A co-worker's wife is an opera singer and I need to go see her perform.
16. Been caught making out by a policeman? Umm...yeah...it was senior year of high school. We were being very PG, but he wanted only G.
17. Sung in public? Last night at the Cubs game I sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with the crowd.
18. Handed out candy on Halloween? When I was in high school
19. Been snowed in? Sort of. Chicago had a crazy 24 inch snow a couple years ago and everything got shut down, including Lake Shore Drive (the major road that runs along the lake). Luckily we weren't on Lake Shore Drive, but a bunch of people got stranded on it over night because there is this stretch that has the lake on one side and a marina on the other. We took a back way, but once we got home were stuck there the next day.
20. Fallen in front of other people? Hah, just did that about fifteen minutes ago in front of one of my direct reports.
21. Cheated on a test? Nope.
22. Regretted saying “I love you” to someone? Nope. I don't think that is something to regret. It's not saying "I love you" that people ought to regret, even if you end up realizing that it was something other than love. I do regret not saying it even though it ended up not being "true".
23. Finished a meal in a restaurant and realized that you didn’t have your wallet? I am paranoid about doing this. I always check about five times before going into the restaurant.
24. Shot a gun? Yes. I actually own a rifle. I've not shot a handgun. I was afraid of the recoil.
25. Heard a song that was written for (or about) you? Nope. That would be awesome, but alas, my husband isn't musically inclined.
at 11:40 AM
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
What are your favorite words?
I'm not talking about words that you love, but words that are actually your favorite...the words you overuse. I have been using a word cloud to show me the words that throughout my novel I've used Wordle to create a word map of the most common words in my novel.
I'm okay with some of the most common words. "Altis", "Bahlym", "Meena", "Adara" and "Nazarie" are major charecotrs. "Mist" and "Edge" are two actual things...very important things. Interestingly, the word Hailey, my main character's name, does not appear. However, it's first person and she doesn't run around thinking about her name that often. So I guess that makes sense.
There are other words that aren't too great--words such as "back", "like", "one", "think", "around" and "see". My plan is to go through my novel and limit my use of those words.
What words do you use the most?
at 2:41 PM
Thursday, August 8, 2013
I've been considering self publication, specifically an e-book only self-publication route. I'd always said that I had zero interest in self publication, but I feel differently now.
There are few reasons:
- Self-publication doesn't see to have the same stigma that it once did. I've been really enjoying self-published authors recently.
- I like the idea of "owning my destiny"
- The thought of sending my query into the black hole of agent desks sounds scary.
- I can afford to spend the up-front costs on editing/marketing/book-covers
Goals Before I get Started:
- 3 fully polished books in my "back list".
- I currently have one fully polished and another that's 14k words into its rough draft.
- I plan on releasing them 6-8 weeks apart.
- One will be the first in a series
- The other two will be books 1 and 2 in a different series (with the first being free)
- Create a full marketing plan. I want my books to be launched...not released...and not escaped. The plan will have all of my marketing goals, but a subset includes
- Facebook page
- Press Release for my hometown (Fishers, IN) and local (Chicago)
- Blog Tour
- Email List
- Blog pages for each book
- More...part of making the plan is deciding the "more"
- Get books professionally edits
- Get professional cover art
Currently the only item on the goals list that I am working on is getting three fully polished books. I plan to finish that before I start the other goals.
I think I need to be able to write a couple books a year if I want to be a successful published author. I know that the more books you have, the more of all of them you can sell.
The first book took me five years, admittedly on and off. This second book has taken me four months to get to this point, and has at least six months left. The third book I hope to fully write in six months. The third book would be book two in one of my series. The other two were the first books in two different series, so have a bit of "start up costs" around world building etc.
Anyone out there in blog-land have any thoughts about traditional vs self publication?
How many books per year should I aim to release if I am published?
Links of interest:
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I've finished a full novel. It's written, revised about fifteen times, beta read, work-shopped.
It took me about four years.
Okay, there were lots of starts and stops. I once (towards the beginning went a year without touching it. There were many periods of a couple months where I didn't touch it. Some of those breaks were between drafts. Some of them were due to work issues.
That novel is done. I really enjoyed it, but it's in the trunk.
It's time to move on.
My new goal? Finish my first draft of my new book by June. That's a little over 16 weeks. My goal would be 500 words each weekday and 2500 words on Saturday. If I hit my goal, I can revise on Sunday. Revision is my reward.
The novel is already outlined, so that should help.
I'm going to start blogging here again to mark my progress. Complain about what's happening or relish in what is going well.
How about you other writers out there? What's a normal clip for you?
at 6:01 AM
Monday, October 29, 2012
|Jacques Congress Chess Clock c.1905|
In many ways, NaNoWriMo is a little like speed chess. Skill and time are both parts of the strategy. In speed chess you've got different amounts of time per turn, depending on the type of speed chess. The most common is the 30-second round, but some rules have the rounds as quick as 5-seconds for Blitz Chess.
Basically there are two high level ways of making decisions; intuition and deep thought. Deep thought is all about thinking many moves ahead and forming your strategy. Intuition is the snap decisions you make.
In NaNoWriMo where you are writing 1500+ words a day and in Blitz Chess where you make your move in less than 5 seconds, you've obviously given less time for deep thought and much rely more and more on intuition.
Studies have actually shown that professional level chess players do not benefit from longer rounds and actually perform just as well at fast rounds. But, if the intuition hasn't developed yet in the case of beginner or intermediate player, the speed does cause them to suffer. The more advanced a player, the better the intuition and less need for deep thought. Studies have suggested that this is because the players have internalized the strategy and sub-consciously notice patterns in the board. It's not an ingrained intuition, but one honed from years of practice.
At the same time, prolonged practice of speed chess can negativity impact the game, training the player to not use deep thought and rely more on intuition. And for those intermediate and beginner players, occasionally practicing at speed chess helps them not overt-think and trains them to react to the patterns.
So basically, advanced players don't need the long time to thing, but can get lazy if they only use short time. Beginner and intermediate players do need the longer time to think, but practicing at a quick time can help their overall game.
To bring this back around to NaNoWriMo, these lightning rounds of tens of thousands of words per week can help us intermediate and beginner writers but would not be a good idea to do month over month. For the advanced writers, it won't be as hard to pump out a novel in a month, but don't do it all the time.
Maybe NaNoWriMo isn't to produce a novel, but to get better at producing novels. It's meant to teach you how to trust your intuition as a writer and to stretch the ways you work and the ways you make a novel.
Any thoughts out there about what NaNo helps with? Is it just to say "yey, I did it" (which is a big thing by itself) or does it have more craft-honing implications?
at 8:47 AM