Writer’s retreat accountability update for week 1

June 12, 2017

Well, it looks like I wasn’t good at updating every day, but I’ve been working hard!

Tuesday: Finished scene: 550 words.

Wednesday: Started a scene outline for generation ship novel. 7 scenes, 267 words

Thursday: 5 more scenes for outline, plus a prompt question. 189 words

Friday: Outlined 8 scenes, 249 words
Revose for 2 scenes on Magic Milkshakes

Saturday: Finished revising third scene for Magic Milkshakes.
Questions for the end of the outline

Sunday: Finished draft for the outline. (Revisiong from earlier versions. 279 words, 11 scenes)
Started second new scene for Magic Milkshakes: 317 words

Will be starting on my week 2 progress today! 🙂

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Outlining a short story

December 26, 2011

There’s a new short story contest up at the Straight Dope board, and I decided that this time, I was going to put some more thought into outlining it, not just start writing the first idea I thought of when I got the prompt.

That wasn’t particularly easy. I had a notion what I wanted to do when I started, mostly because of the picture, which had a clock and a bell hanging from a chain, (which immediately made me think of time travel or time manipulation,) but when I tried to apply what I’d learned in Kansas and from other workshops and classes over the past year, I kept ending up on storylines that were missing conflict, or a good antagonist, or something else important like that.

And time was somewhat running out – the contest rules specify that you have sixty hours from when you collect the prompt – I sent in my email yesterday morning before leaving for Christmas with the family, (hoping that I’d be able to mull over ideas in the back of my mind,) and so I need to have my finished story in by tomorrow night.

This evening, though, after I printed off some handouts from Julie Czerneda’s site, things suddenly started to fall into place. I ended up writing nearly 1800 words in an hour and a bit, some of which will have to get cut to finish the outline in under 2000 words, but it’s a great start, and I think that I’ll keep the entire first draft without cuts to refer to later. I’d been mulling over the idea of enclosed spaces where time runs slower or faster than normal, and then got an idea about one possible application of ‘fast time bottles’ that really got things moving.

Here’s the outline that I’ve been working off. Note that ‘sequel’ is a technical term that I learned from James Gunn in the Kansas workshop – it’s not a seperate work of fiction, but a kind of scene that’s less active and conflict-driven than the usual kind, but serves to bridge between proper scenes.

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Thoughts on rewriting a plot structure.

August 14, 2011

I’ve been working for about a week now on revising the plot structure of my manuscript “The Way Back Home”, as part of my participation in Lani Diane Rich’s Storywonk Revision class.

It’s been tough, partly just from coming to terms with Lani’s critique of the structure outline that I submitted and facing the idea that the book that I’ve spent several years doing cosmetic surgery on has bigger and deeper problems that need to be worked on.

I fell in love with bits that came out of me during Nano, and those are the toughest things to let go of, to admit to myself that they don’t really serve the storyline I want, at the end of the day (year? decade??) to tell. Merlik, the bad guy who I showed you a bit of in the I hate you Blogfest, is kinduv a good example of that. Not that Merlik’s character is bad in general, he’s essentially a powerful antagonist, but I hadn’t met him yet when I started to tell the story. He was first mentioned in stories told to my main characters around halfway through the book, and then finally appeared in that little showdown with Naveli.

So there were some things that had ultimately to be folded into his plan that weren’t really Merlik’s style, and most of all, I had to come up with a way for my heroine to get out of things alive. So I had Merlik spout some mysterious nonsense suggesting that it was his plan that Naveli had escaped, that he wanted her to see the world without her family’s agenda, and that was all.

And I still like that motivation for Merlik, but I’m not sure that I can really sell it and tell a good story, because it’s not a motivation that really puts him into conflict with Naveli. So I’ve been working on revising his motives to make him a badder bad guy, and of course that changes just about everything – it’s a good change, but it means that I’ll have to let go of most of the specifics and start rewriting most of the scenes from scratch.

I’m a little scared about that, but also excited.


Star Patrol to the critters

May 17, 2011

I didn’t really get a chance to send the Star Patrol blogisodes over to the CSSF as a novel workshop sample – applications to the novel workshop have been closed for two months now. But I had a window of about a day and a half when I was seriously considering that, editing and proofreading the writing that I’d done so far, putting together an outline for the rest of the novel, and now I’m seriously wondering if I can get the entire book written this year.

So I decided to do something a bit new, and send the story so far to the critters workshop, along with the outline, and inviting critiques on that. Part of the way the critters structure works is that there’s very little downside in having something waiting in the queue to be sent out, (or out) all the time, if you actually have stuff that you want opinions on. You’re expected to do your weekly duty of critiques, (whether on the shorter pieces that are sent out weekly, or amortized on longer novel-length manuscripts) whether you have something waiting to be sent out or not.

My second short story for the critters, ‘Harry and Mars’, was sent out last Wednesday and critiques for it are due tomorrow, so I put together the revised Blogisodes, reformatted as chapters 1-2 of a novel manuscript tentatively titled “First Discovery”, and added the brief one-page synopsis of the novel’s plot. I’m not quite sure what kind of feedback I’ll get back from the critters, but hopefully it won’t be hard to wait to find out. It looks like if I’m lucky, I’ll get in at the end of the batch of stories sent out June 1st.


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