Thursday, January 28, 2010

Expanding Worlds

Well, part of the reason for this blog is to update my progress on my various writing projects. The lack of posting hasn't quite been lack of writing, more so I keep thinking of what to post and haven't had much time in which to do so.

Anyways today's post is about fictional worlds, specifically the one for my related group of science fiction novels. While I have the first draft done for my Mining Mystery (nano 09) I still need to do more world building before I work on revision. Part of that world building is history on how humans expanded from Earth out into the other planets they live on for the novel. I have some basic ideas on how the migration happens it is the details I'm working out now.

Enter a scene I wrote for a Forward Motion monthly challenge, about 2 years ago now. The scene is about 500 words long and follows a young woman ready to board a space shuttle to a distant planet. I had my novels in the back of my mind when I wrote the scene, as it's a link to the populated universe in the novel time line. The scene has the framework down for something larger, which I'd like to expand on. It has a short story waiting to be told.

Said short story is being "notecarded" currently. I have index cards in my purse, on my desk, in my other bag, ect, and I have been jotting down scene and character ideas. The scene I wrote is a smaller part of this larger story. I already have in mind some obstacles the crew on the shuttle will face on their trip, political intrigue which will threaten the trip, and other goings on.

Moving back to the world building link. Everything that takes place in the story will be historical events from the novel's point of view. In a way I'm making up future events so that they can be historical events. What do the characters of this era have to fight and overcome in order to lay the foundations of a society in the next era? It's a fun question to work out through the different characters I have in mind already.

Though I have to keep telling myself, "This is not a novel" and repeating that mental mantra.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Twitter and Writing

Some may wonder about the point of Twitter, why would people sign up for a service to post 140 character messages. Sure it can be useful for quick information, I've seen it used well in this way for a variety of topics.

What I use Twitter for is community, connecting with those similar to me. It may sound weird to look at Twitter that way. But there is more to the service than the posting of those 140 character messages aka "Tweets".

Hashtags are one way to connect with like minded people. Unlike tags in a blog which organize your own posts Twitter hashtags are hyperlinks to a search for any tweets on twitter using that tag. (As an aside for those unfamiliar with Twitter a hashtag is typed into a tweet by using the # key followed by the word(s) one wishes to use). As a writer, my two favorite hashtags are #amwriting and #storystarters. When I tweet about my writing I use the #amwriting tag in those tweets. #storystarters are for posting well story starters for other writers to use.

With the hashtags I've found other writers on twitter, and I've added followed them. Now their tweets show up in my home feed enabling me to reply to tweets, re-tweet helpful tweets, and simply to have a feel for how others are doing with their writing. I have also posted a few story starters with plans to post more.

Me on Twitter

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goal Management

As can be seen by the previous post, I have picked some writing goals for 2010. While it's nice to know what I am aiming to accomplish over a year's worth of time there is more work to be done with my goals to make them manageable. I need to look over the year, figure out when to work on what, and how much time to give myself for each goal. Keeping in mind of course that some things can be worked on in the same general time period.

When it comes to breaking down my yearly goals into smaller blocks of time, the forum I'm a member of helps immensely: Forward Motion for Writers. On that forum they have two areas of the site designed for writing goals. Not only can members share their goals with other writers, but we can also encourage each other. Both of these areas of the main forum are only viewable to FM members, but signing up is free, and there is nice group of people there. Though I'm hoping this post might provide some ideas on goal setting weather or not anyone joins FM (though it's a great site - I'm hoshikaze over there).

Anyways, the first area is Goals Workshop & Updates (Year/Month). This is where members can post their yearly goals. I've already posted mine to a thread there. But it's more than only checking in once a year. Each person who uses that area posts in their own thread, one thread per year. Within our thread we usually set monthly goals, picking from our yearly goals what to focus on for the month. Then at the end of the month we usually update the thread to show how many of our goals we've reached for that time period. Goals not met for that month can be carried over, or set aside, whichever the writer setting their goals wants to do.

The other area is Daily Page & Word Count (Weekly/Daily). Each week threads are started for members to post their goals for that week. With the shorter time period we share threads, 5 people each. At the start of the week, members will decide what they want to accomplish for that week, posting it to one of the threads. Then each day we update our section of the thread with what we've done for the day on our writing goals.

When I participate in these areas of the site it helps me to relate the two together. I first establish my goals for the year. Once I have that then I can figure out what to work on for the current month. It's those monthly goals I keep in mind when posting my goals for the week in the Daily area. Right now my goals for this week are to finish figuring out what I want to accomplish in January, in addition to some critiques and working on my 2yn/mining mystery novel. By the end of this week I want to update my yearly goals thread with my January goals. With my January goals established, that will help me figure out my weekly goals for this month.

So in closing, with goals it's good to break them down. For me I like to take my yearly goals, then pick what works for me each month, keeping in mind what will be left to work on for other months. Posting them on FM has the added benefit of support from other writers, and in turn I'll be posting encouragement as well.