Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals

Well it's that time of the year to put together writing goals for 2010. What I mostly want to accomplish is revision, getting through a complete pass on a novel would be great. And yes, I'm planning on multiple passes, starting with big things like plot and characters then moving down to grammar and structure.

2yn/Mining Mystery - I'm aiming for a complete revision pass on this draft. At the very least figuring out exactly how my main character solves the mystery at the detailed level would be a good start. Maybe the mystery clues would be good for the start of the year. I still have more world building to do for this one as well, having written the first draft helped me to see where I need more work on the world, and where it's got enough planning.

Magical Fantasy 1 - World building for this. The first draft is done, and it's really rough. I'd like to get details down about how the world works, magic, politics, history, etc. Doing some more work with the characters as well would be good. I want to have this one ready for a revision pass come 2011.

Magical Fantasy 2 - Write the first draft. This goal depends on the work for book 1 of the series. I want to have more things figured out before going into book 2. This also depends on the mining mystery work. I'm not going to write this until I'm most of the way through the revision pass on that novel. I'd like to not keep adding to the number of first draft only novels I have.

Short Stories - Depending how the novel work goes I'd like to read through my short stories and see which ones I may want to revise and start submitting.

Critique - I'm a member of 2 groups, and I'd like to critique others work on a regular basis this coming year.

Back to School for Busy Writers - A Forward Motion class, offered by members for members. Depending on the scheduling they have planned for these next year I have an idea for a class.

Organizational wise - I need to set up my writing area better at home. I still have boxes around my desk from when we moved along with random things on my desk. I'm planning on moving my pc tower to the other side of my desk then I can move my shelf closer. Most of what is in the boxes is for that shelf. That will also leave me with some space for storage containers for the various stuff on my desk (which is mostly jewelery related).

2009 Year End

Well, 2009 was quite the year. I had plenty going on, from buying a new house to general family things, but I did manage to make some progress on my writing.

Back in January I had 4 goals for my writing:
2YN - Stay caught up with the class, start draft by year end. (The writing part of the class goes into year 2).

Fantasy to Be - My 2008 Nano. The first draft needs finishing, then start thinking of more world building in preparation for revision.

Children's book - Put together a nice edited/cleaned up digital version and start looking to sell this one somewhere. (which should be a project in and of itself as I've really only been reading up on some of the procedures for novels).

Alt Romance - This one's been hanging around for awhile now, I wrote the first draft early in 2007 and have only done minimal amounts of editing on the first few chapters. Would be nice to do an edit pass of this over 09.

And I managed two out of the four. My 2yn (the mining mystery) came along nicely, I even finished the draft. The fantasy draft is finished, and I've pondered the world some in which it takes place.

For the Children's book I still have to start looking into what I'll need to do for that. But I decided that I want to focus on my novels for 2009. I may decide to work on it come 2010, or maybe 2011.

The alternative romance still needs some character work, and I need to decide some things on it yet. I figure this will be good to set aside until I have a cleaner draft of my other two main projects. And I'm also tempted to take a trip to the Adirondacks, where a good part of the novel takes place for research purposes.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post on my 2010 goals, and possibly general writing resolutions.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Growing Shorter

So I had a thought today, that every time I write a first draft of a novel it ends up shorter than the last one. My first I finished at 100k (mainstream), my next just shy of 80k, then 60k or so for the next, and now my most recent draft is 54,638 words long. And it's science fiction.

But the more I got to thinking I realized that I should look past the numbers. I write really rough first drafts, that 100k one I know has plenty of "fluff" in it like my characters cleaning house (yes, my first novel). Compare that to my 50k draft where all the scenes are directly related to the main conflict, even if the dialogue does get way to wordy in places. There is even a spot in my outline where I jumped ahead, and when I revise there will be more events happening in the next draft.

I also realized another important thought. I know where to take this novel next. I know how the main characters grow, what events happen in the novel, what things I need to figure out yet in revision. I have a plan to take this rough bunch of 50k words into a more fleshed out novel. I can't say the same thing for that 100k draft. Yes, I could easily delete out the extra useless bits, but it lacks the basic building blocks of a novel. While the characters have some conflict, I hadn't done much with it.

So even with the shorter word counts, I'm pleased to see that my writing is growing in such a way that I can still keep working on a novel after the first draft. And know what I need to do next to boot.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Draft Finished

Well I typed the words "The end" on my novel draft today. Yes, I actually finished the draft, I didn't simply type "the end" because I was sick of the draft. I had been tempted to do that thanks to a gap in my outline, but I stuck with it.

Now the next step I have planned is to take notes on what I know needs fixing, then to set the draft aside. I'll prep for revision early next year, maybe in February or so. My draft wrapped up with a fight scene with two characters, and I'm wondering if I've shown the one character's physical strength enough earlier in the novel for her fight action to be believable. She's a mechanic and lugs around heavy parts at times, but she spent enough time sleuthing in the draft that there might not be enough build up. And I still have to work on the whole villain arc. And the technology and layout of the station.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A better way to type?

Have you ever asked yourself if there is better way to type then Qwerty?

For this post, I wanted to mention the keyboard layout I use: Dvorak.

I first stumbled across the different layout thanks to Forward Motion for Writers, and decided to make the switch from Qwerty back in May of 2006. The beauty of Dvorak, is that it is designed with the English language and human physiology in mind. Letters that are most often used are in the home row, the next most used are in the upper row, while the least used are in the bottom row. Also, because it's easier to move from pinky to index finger, letters are arranged with that in mind. Try drumming your fingers on the table, which is more natural, pinky to to index, or starting with your index?

What does Dvorak have to do with my writing blog? Well, aside from typing everything sans-qwerty, it's how I get my words down from keyboard into MS Word. Except for random notes, I work primarily on the computer. I type much faster than I (legibly) hand write.

I didn't notice much of difference right away, and some slow typing frustrating times. My productivity was down a little while I was relearning to type, but it was an investment in my future writing career. I have 7 novels planned currently, with more ideas hanging around waiting their turns.

Maybe not better, as that's subjective, but for me Dvorak feels more natural then Qwerty ever did. I can have a 6,000 word day now without my fingers feeling weird. On typing tests I hit around 60 WPM now, which I'm not sure how fast I was with Qwerty minute wise. I knew from various Novembers that I can hit 1k words an hour pretty easily. Once I hit that with Dvorak I knew my switch over was complete.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Status of Starting (the blog that is)

With this blog being all shiny new, I figured a good thing to post is the status of my various novel projects. That way it'll be a good spot to check back on as I make more progress.

My novels thus far come in three flavors, my science fiction related novels, my fantasy trilogy, and my stand alone mainstream novel.

The Science Fiction:
I'm working on the first draft of one of these novels. Each one will have it's own cast of characters, and conflicts, they are only related in the fact they take place in the same "world". There may be a cameo or two of one major character making a minor appearance in another book. I have various notes on the other two books, which I'm holding off writing until I finish then revise the draft of the one I'm working on.

Blurb for the current novel in progress: Federated Planetary year 309, our intrepid heroine finds herself on a distant hostile planetoid keeping the mining machinery running. A few malfunctions she can chalk up to machine wear, but when things start breaking more frequently and not on their own she can’t ignore that someone is determined to stop the machines from running. In the confines of the platform, can she find the saboteur before it’s to late?

The Fantasy:
This one is a series, which may end up with either 2 or 3 books. I know what happens in the first one, seeing as how the first draft is finished, and it leaves the main character in a place for the start of book 2. I know the general conflicts that take place after the first book, but until I plan them out more I'm not sure if it'll be two books worth or not.

Rough blurb: In a land where women are forbidden to use magic, one woman can't keep herself from wondering about the subject. What must it be like to cast spells? Stuck in a job chosen by her family can she find a way to pursue something that interests her?

After I take some time to revise my science fiction novel next year, I'm going to spend more time working with the details of this world. I'll then make notes about where book one needs to be fixed, and write the first draft of book 2, possibly starting in November.

The Mainstream:
Dubbed my "Alternate Romance" I have the first draft of this novel finished and have been working on what direction to take it for the next draft. This started out with the idea of writing a romantic novel from the man's point of view, and part way through the first draft I thought that balancing out both points of view of the two main characters would add more tension. I prefer to think of this as a "slice of life" rather than a genre romance. The relationship is part of the conflict, but it's not the whole conflict for the novel. Once the characters do resolve the relationship conflict, everything isn't all wrapped up in one neat little package. Not to knock the romance genre, but I'm not a fan of the "finding Mr. Right = everything is perfect for the heroine" formula.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Despite the fact that I'm the only poster, I was very tempted to write "first" in here. At least on it's own that is.

Moving on, I decided to create a blog specifically for my writing. I'm planning on writing about where I am with my various novel projects, how they are coming along, interesting thoughts about them, and such. I may also post my thoughts on the craft of fiction writing, and possibly post about books I find helpful.

I've left commenting set to the default of blogger: registered users (the OpenID) can comment, with the word verification. There is anonymous commenting with moderation, which I may switch to in the future. I'm still debating that yet, I get way to many spam comments on my Wordpress blog, which clogs up my e-mail with all the notification.