Posts Tagged ‘worlds edge’

Moving On (And a Finished Draft)

Apologies, squiders. I started this hours ago but then got distracted by Ghost Hunters. Man, I love ghost hunting shows even though I don’t actually believe in ghosts. Oh well.

So, as promised (or at least hoped for), I finished my draft of World’s Edge before this post! I finished it late last night. It’s so nice to actually have a finished draft, even though I’m not quite sure about the ending. Things to worry about later. It’s a little shorter than planned, only 95K, but close enough for now.

It’s nice to know I can still finish a draft too, after I spent all last year fighting with the Changeling story before abandoning it. (I’m pondering re-working it, maybe as a children’s book? Something for later, definitely.)

We’ll revisit Marit, Rae, Sol, Viri, and Ead in the future, of course, maybe once I finally get to revising things.

Also over is the critique marathon, which ended on Sunday. So now I’ve got six weeks of feedback, through chapter nine of Book One. It was very helpful. You guys know that the first seven chapters or so have been driving me crazy, because there’s something just off enough to bother me, but I’ve had the hardest time figuring out what it was. But I have a pretty good idea now (one character is lacking in internal conflict at the beginning, and I can condense some of the scenes without condensing the timeline), so maybe I’ll finally be able to fix it! Fingers crossed. Very excited.

Finishing a draft is always a bit weird, because you’ve been working on it for so long and whatnot, but I don’t actually feel too burnt out on this one. Which means I should be able to move on to the next project pretty quickly.

I’m thinking I’ll make a plan to move forward with Book One–figure out what needs changing and how I’m going to do it–and then, next week probably, switch to outlining the novella I owe Turtleduck Press. I’m going to film my outlining process and turn it into a workshop for SkillShare, to go along with the outlining class I put up earlier in the year.

(Reminder for self: It takes forever to edit the videos. Don’t forget that this time.)

And then…back to Book One? I’m not 100% sure. Since my soul searching in July, I know I’ve been avoiding working on Book One because I’m afraid of failure, even though my biggest goal is to have the trilogy published, and the last thing I need to do is lose the momentum I gained from the marathon.

But, on the other hand, the novella is due December 1, and it may make sense to push on through writing that to meet the deadline after outlining. It’s probably best to work on something consistently rather than switching back and forth.

But I’m at least going to make a plan for Book One. A path forward. So even if I don’t get back to it for a few months, I can remember what I wanted to do.

Hopefully.

Sigh.

I mean, I could always try to do both, I suppose. They’re in different stages, and I can normally manage an editing project and a writing project at the same time. We’ll just have to see.

Anyway, happy September, squiders. See you Friday!

The Climax Conundrum

Oh, squiders. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I always get all squirrelly when I reach the climax of a novel. It’s extremely frustrating, because I’m so close to being done, but sitting down and actually working, getting more than a few hundred words in a go, is nigh impossible.

You’d think it’d get easier over time.

So far, it does not.

Anyway, I’ve reached that point in World’s Edge. A couple of weeks late. I should build a few extra weeks into the ends of all my schedules to deal with climax focus issues but I never do.

This climax is a little trickier than usual, you see.

If you recall, every time I do Nanowrimo (at least recently), I try something new. The raw creative energy that accompanies Nano is a great time to try something that might not otherwise get done (and also, serious projects sometimes do not hold up well under the “quantity over quality” mentality). The new thing for 2019, when I did World’s Edge, was writing from a non-protagonist viewpoint.

You know, think the Sherlock Holmes books, where Watson is telling the story but Sherlock is (mostly) doing the work.

This hasn’t been too bad, in the long run, because it hasn’t been hard to give my viewpoint character (and it is single viewpoint, another thing I’ve never done in a work of this length) her own character arcs and conflicts to go alongside the protagonist’s arcs.

But now, in the climax, I’ve run into some issues. It feels disingenuous to just have my viewpoint character follow the protagonist around and narrate what she (the protagonist) is doing. At the same time, my viewpoint character absolutely cannot resolve the main plot because she’s not a main player in it.

So I’m struggling with keeping my viewpoint character active in the climax of a story that’s not fully her own.

No wonder I’m only getting a few hundred words at a time.

That said, I am almost done with this draft, and then I’ll do what I do with all my first drafts…let it sit for a bit and then recruit a couple of betas to see if it’s fixable. Most things are fixable–I find I can’t get anywhere near a climax if the story isn’t mostly working–so I’m not too worried.

This is probably the only post for this week, my dear squiders. I’ve got some intensive leadership training this weekend (and some questions I have not yet answered for said training), and I’ve got to prepare and pack and all that jazz.

But fingers crossed that by the time I’m back here next week, the draft is done and we can move on to new and exciting waters.

(It’s a joke because World’s Edge takes place on a boat.)

Out of the Woods

Hey, so it’s May! Oh man, it’s already the 5th. I feel like April flew by and May’s going to same. Time needs to slow down. I can’t believe it’s almost summer.

So, let’s talk about Camp Nano and how it went.

I did not connect with anyone, at all. They got rid of the cabins and now just have groups, which are the same groups from Nano, so all my online writing groups have one, and I think I looked in, oh, twice? And no one else seemed to be talking either. It autoposts any badges you have earned, so that was really about it. I also posted in my local Nano region’s discord twice or so as well.

I mean, there is some argument to make that the social aspect of writing challenges takes away from writing time, and that keeping it to a minimum might be better in the long run, but why do a social writing challenge at all then? The idea is to have accountability and all that jazz.

I haven’t been connecting very well to any of my writing groups lately. People don’t seem active when I’m active, or they’re not working on similar things, or not working at all. Also, all my social energy has been going to my Among Us group, some of who I get along with really well, so I don’t necessarily have the energy for my writing groups, especially when it feels harder to connect to them.

(Some of that may also be lingering confidence issues, like we talked about last week.)

As for Camp itself, I got 17,000 words on World’s Edge, which is less than the 25K I hoped for, but still better than I’ve done the rest of the year.

It feels a little unfocused, but not to where it’s not fixable in revision. I’m at 73K, so we’re only a little ways out from The End, and I’m not 100% sure how the end needs to go, so that’ll be fun moving forward.

I also realized that I set my word for the year as Polish, and I’ve done almost nothing for that. I mean, I poked at the beginning of Book One for a month or so, but I didn’t really get anywhere. I also submitted Book One to #RevPit last month and heard nothing back, so yay. Not sure what to do there. Going to leave it alone for the moment.

I think, after I finish World’s Edge’s draft, I’ll edit the scifi novella I finished last year. It’s shorter, so it should go a bit faster, and maybe I can get back into my groove. Maybe go into editing Ex-1 (the space dinosaur novel) after that, or maybe poke at some novella ideas.

I just want things getting finished, you know?

I just want my mojo, and my confidence, back.

Oof.

Anyway, Camp was a success, I think. It was nice to be moving on something, and I hope to finish the draft this month, though I’ve set a more modest goal of 15K for the month. Extra is good, but I’m not going to stress out about it.

How have you been, squider? How are your goals doing?

Welp

Well, squiders, I’m still not done with Uglies. I thought this would be fairly easy since it’s YA and not terribly long, but sometimes with YA I just don’t connect to the main character very well and then it slows everything down.

Or it could just be a sign of my general state of mind. Who knows! Making progress now, though, so soon.

I’ve also finally made some progress on working on World’s Edge as well. Not much, not what I was hoping for, but sometimes, taking that first step, especially after you haven’t worked on a draft in a while, is the hardest.

I’ve set a goal of 25,000 words on it for Camp starting tomorrow.

Camp Nanowrimo has always been very hit or miss for me. It doesn’t carry the same creative energy that sweeps through a normal Nano. There’s not the in-person stuff, and it’s not as many people. Plus the cabin set-up makes it so you really only have a few people that it’s easy to regularly interact with.

So my Camp history is very spotty. Generally I manage about 10,000 words, no matter what my goal is or what I’m working on. Sometimes I don’t do anything at all, and sometimes I manage 25,000 or more.

I think I can manage 25,000, but I do need to put some sort of schedule into place. I know from experience that if I try to just get to it eventually sometime in the day, it doesn’t happen.

In other news, I’m still playing podcast catch-up. I got a little burnt out on Myths and Legends–turns out 100 episodes of something, when you’re listening to several episodes a week, gets old–so I’m working on some of the other ones that weren’t quite as far behind.

I’m going to talk about two here–Start With This and Inn Between.

Start With This is by the Night Vale creators, talking about creativity and writing. It’s geared toward making your own podcast, but a lot of their tips are general to story telling in general. And it’s nice, just going back over things, as well as learning things that are not necessarily useful for prose but are interesting nevertheless. Knowledge! It is beautiful. And it helps to know that they, too, have issues with anxiety and periods where creating is hard.

Inn Between is a fantasy podcast that takes place at the inn in between adventures. So you don’t hear the adventures so much (unless they follow the characters into the inn) but it’s a really interesting look at character dynamics and a neat twist on the genre. I’m a little behind (at the end of what came out in 2020) and apparently we’re getting new characters for season 3, which makes me a bit sad because I’m very attached to the original characters now.

Well, that’s me! Off to make plans for success, and I shall see you all on Friday. Maybe with a book for discussion! We shall see.

Getting Things Done, Kit?

You know, having a website is entirely too much work. Is it too much to ask that it just exists and doesn’t break?

Apparently.

March has been a month, and not a good one. Nothing terrible, just a lot of little things (okay, and one big thing) that are making it hard to concentrate. I would like to say I’m making mounds of progress, making up for a lousy February.

I’m certainly making MORE progress. Is it a reasonable amount?

No, probably not.

It’s frustrating, but I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much. But part of me wonders when the heck I’m going to get my act together. It’s not like I’m lacking the time in which to work, but I’m not using my time well.

For example, I had two hours this morning to myself, in which I intended to write some on World’s Edge. Instead I made the mistake of checking Discord and got sucked into a trivia competition (which I did end up winning, so there’s that at least).

No writing has occurred.

I have read back through World’s Edge and done some plot work, including overall themes and what needs to happen next. I’m ready to write whenever I actually do it, I guess.

I’m making better progress on my SkillShare class. Admittedly, this one follows one of the Writers’ Motivation series pretty closely, so I’m not reinventing the wheel.

Hm. Snowing again.

Even so, making the class is going slower than I would like. And I haven’t gotten my beta feedback on Book One yet, so I’m still waiting on that.

I’m frustrated at myself. I know I can do better–and more consistent–work than this.

Tips, squiders? Random, vague encouragement?

Moving Forward

Hi, squiders! Sorry about missing Tuesday. It’s been kind of a rough week, but I don’t really have an excuse.

But anyway, we’re in to March! Crazy, right? I know everyone’s focused on how it’s been a year since the world essentially turned upset down, but isn’t that insane? I can remember the last time I did a number of things–we went to the movies on March 8, to the theater on March 12, out to dinner on March 14. No one thought we would still be here a year later, not then.

ANYWAY.

February was a loss, really–I did write some alternative openings for Book One, but with the waiting on feedback and my inability to focus, not much else got done.

Last thing I want is for March to go that way as well. And it could–I am still waiting on feedback. But I’ve come up with a solution.

Do you remember World’s Edge? I worked on it for Nanowrimo in 2019. (Lots of info there, if you’re interested–character pics and worldbuilding and the works.) As a refresher, it follows Marit, who’s taken passage on a ship to escape something back home–a ship that’s attempting an ocean passage no one has successfully made in centuries.

I finished up Nano with about 55K out of a planned 100K.

So, Kit, you might ask, how does this solve anything?

Well, World’s Edge takes place in the same world as the Trilogy and hence, Book One. About 700 years before hand, yes, but same world nonetheless. Which means I can work on completing this draft of World’s Edge without getting too far from the Trilogy, which means, when I have everything I need (and find a direction), it won’t be too hard to switch gears back to revision on Book One.

And I’ll be doing something instead of going insane.

Of course, now I have to figure out where I was and what I was doing. I’ve read back through the current draft. It cuts off rather abruptly, but really I should expect that by now. Hopefully by going through my outline and notes I’ll be able to pick everything back up and get going.

World’s Edge was on my list of things to do this year anyway.

So! Onward!

What are you working on this month, squider?

I Realized Something Today

Good news, squiders. I’m making some progress on World’s Edge, the story I worked on for Nano this year. Over the past two days, I’ve written 2.5K, which is approximately 17% of my 15,000 word goal for December.

But all November, and the past two days, the flow of the story has felt…different than normal. And I wasn’t really sure why. But I’ve finally figured it out.

You guys know that I like to try new things for Nano, and that this story features a non-protagonist viewpoint character for that new thing.

But something else is different too.

There’s only one viewpoint.

I’ve never written a single viewpoint novel before. Short stories, even novellas, yes–but 100,000 words is a lot of story to rest on one character’s back.

(I would point out that I have written a single viewpoint in novels I’m not writing by myself. That tends to be the way I work collaboratively, with me taking one viewpoint and my co-writer taking another. But there’s still more than one viewpoint in the story.)

When you have multiple viewpoints, you can switch between them, picking who is the most appropriate for different plot points or subplots, plus you can add in relational conflicts and tell each side, and generally show more of the world.

Poor Marit’s got to tell everything all by herself.

It’s got me thinking. I write third person probably 90% of the time, but most single viewpoint novels are told first person. I mean, I’m not going to switch point of view 55K into a novel, but should I rewrite to first person when I’m revising?

The only single viewpoint novel I can think of off the top of my head is Harry Potter, which is, admittedly, not a terrible thing to compare to, but even the HP books have occasional one-off scenes at the beginnings in someone else’s or an omniscient viewpoint.

Things to ponder, I suppose, but not now or all forward momentum will stall out, and that’s the worse.

What do you think, squiders? Can you have a single viewpoint third person story, or is that passe and first person is the wave of the future?

Meet the Crew of the Hope’s Redemption

I made a huge mistake, squiders.

I was like, oh, well, we’ve talked about the ship, and we’ve talked about the world, so maybe we should talk about the characters! And I should find pictures of the characters, so everyone can see what the heck I’m talking about.

Only I couldn’t find pictures of the characters. Well, admittedly one character has green skin and hair and that was never going to happen, but I was having a hard time with everyone else too, and then I got to pondering posting pics when I didn’t have permission, and in the end I decided it would be easier to use an avatar maker to make the characters.

But I had a hard time finding a maker that would work for everybody too, so I played around with a bunch, and now I have about five versions of everyone in varying shades of success, and I’ve spent two hours of my life on it.

Whoops.

But I suppose we should get on it, right?

So, if you guys remember, I’m trying writing from a non-protagonist point of view for my main character. Think Watson from the Sherlock Holmes story, or whenever they do Star Trek episodes from “below decks.”

So our protagonist, but not our viewpoint character, is Rae. She’s captain of the Hope’s Redemption and the reason the crew is attempting to cross the uncrossable ocean, for reasons she has thus far kept to herself.

Our secondary protagonist/sidekick/potential love interest (for Rae) is Sol, who is a member of the main race that lives on the continent our human crew is trying to escape from. He’s aware of what’s going on and why, and is the main voice of reason onboard.

(I shall have to remember that second one. This species has routinely given me trouble when messing about with this sort of things, and it had options for skin color, ears, and stripes. Wahoo!)

Next we have Marit, who is our viewpoint character. She ran away from home and right into Rae and Sol, just in time to get swept up in all this madness.

And then there’s Viri, who’s basically Marit’s opposite and hence is a bad (or good?) influence.

And last, we have Ead, who was unplanned but whom I love dearly. He and Marit are essentially best friends, and they’re also close in age (youngest on the ship). Poor Ead’s a bit of a worrywart.

(Also he got dinosaurs to the face, poor kid.)

I also have this one of Ead and Sol:

(This generator was called the Hipster generator, har har.)

And there was a LOTR generator where I could stick in as many people as I wanted (green skin was not an option, alas, so that’s why Sol looks the way he does):

(I had to fudge clothes and stuff there. Whee.)

And then there’s other people. I think I’m up to 20 or so named people out of 36. It’s always interesting, trying to juggle a bunch of people who may or may not actually be important.

So, that’s the crew!

I hope everyone’s having a lovely November thus far, and I’ll see you next week!

I Wrote 9000 Words This Weekend

I tell you, because I wrote 7000 words on Saturday, and I think that’s a personal record.

And also, I am now 100% caught back up to where I wanted to be (2K a day, on track to finish November 25), so that makes me feel a lot less stressed. Especially since I’ve remembered the small, mobile ones have Thanksgiving Break all next week and hence will need supervision.

I know there are people out there who routinely write 5-10K words in a day, and more power to them. I’m going to assume they typically have more actual writing time available to them, as well that they probably write faster than me as well.

I’m pretty comfortable in the 2-5K range (and, indeed, when I went for 100K for Nano 2011, I was averaging 4-5K a day) during Nano, and, well, in general. But I’m also not generally in a place where I need to be writing faster than that either. I suppose at some point in time I may be trying to put out more books in a year, and then things will change.

(In case you’re wondering, I’m currently at 37K and should be at 38K by the end of the day, so doing just fine.)

7K is new for me, and I think why it worked is because I outlined the section before I wrote it. Oh, and I re-outlined using my normal method. Sorry, Nano Prep Guide. But you failed me.

If you guys have been with me with a while, you’ll know that I outline my major plot points, and then allow myself a little more freedom in between said plot points. This works great in general, but I’ve found that because this book is so long (I’ve estimated it’ll be 100K in the end, which is pretty standard for a fantasy novel, if not a little short) I have A LOT of distance between my plot points.

For example, my current section (25K-50K) says “Ship somehow makes it through storm, they really can’t go home now” and that has to get me to 50K (“Marit saves…the ship? Rae? Sol? Something, using what she has learned, and realizes she is useful; Rae and Sol have a moment, before Rae doubles down on previous plan”), so I’ve had 12K of freedom and have 13K more, which is actually a bit daunting.

(I also realize that my plot points are pretty dang vague–that’s just how it works for first drafts, cuz I generally have a good idea of how the story needs to go to hit my themes/make sense but not a good idea of specifics. My outline in revision is quite a bit more detailed.)

So what I started doing, as of Friday, was jot down a little phase outline of the next part of the story.

(Well, what actually happened was that Friday was a wash because the smaller, mobile one was very sick and I had to take her to urgent care. So outlining made me feel like I was getting something done even if actual writing was not.)

And I used the Friday outline for my 7K on Saturday, and it worked great.

So I’ve been doing that since, and so far it hasn’t been an issue to hit my 2K a day (though I admit it’s been 3 days, so). I’ve done this a few times before, most notably when writing City of Hope and Ruin, and it really does work well. It gives me the freedom of creativity that I don’t get if I try to outline the whole thing start to finish (and I find that, at least for me, it’s near impossible to do that anyway–my brain just can’t fill in that many details up front), but it allows me to have a plan for the day, so I can move forward faster.

Also, I read something on tumblr about using Comic Sans–that it makes it easier for writing to flow–so I’m trying that too, and have been for most of Nano. I’m not sure if it’s actually making it easier or not, but at this point I’m a little afraid to switch back to experiment.

I hope your November is going well, squiders, and that you’re reaching your own goals! See you Thursday!

Creating a Fantasy Pacific

Heigh ho, squiders, we’re still in the straits of Nano. As of mid-afternoon I’m at a little over 24000 words, so almost halfway, a little ahead of schedule. Not as ahead of schedule as I wanted to be, but eeehhh, not terrible.

(In a perfect world, I write 2K a day, which gets me done about November 25th, and then I don’t have to panic through Thanksgiving. This has happened approximately 3 times out of the many years I’ve done Nano. So.)

We’re into the middle of the story, which has me feeling a bit flail-y and mostly wishing I’d stuck to my normal outlining method. But we are where we are, and now there will be dinosaurs, because WHY NOT.

Tuesday we talked about the Hope’s Redemption, which is the main setting for the story. To continue the theme, I thought we’d talk about the setting of the setting, or the ocean on which the Hope is voyaging.

While Altruia, which is the continent that everyone calls home, is vaguely the size, shape, and climate of Europe, I’ve decided to go with the Pacific for the inspiration of the ocean, for one main reason:

The Pacific is really big.

Even in a modern boat you’re not getting across that sucker that fast. The Atlantic is piddly. The Indian Ocean is decently big but surrounded by a lot of land, so not ideal for shenanigans. And the Antarctic is cold.

Plus there are other neat features of the Pacific:

  • There is a section of the Pacific near the Galapagos called the Doldrums where the wind just…doesn’t blow and ships used to get stuck there for weeks at a time
  • There are thousands of miles between the west coast of North/South America and any islands
  • Most of those islands are piddly
  • Teutonic plates, so volcanos and seaquakes and fun
  • Big and deep and who knows what lurks within

Now, that, being said, the Pacific doesn’t tend to get some of the worst weather systems that, say, the Atlantic or the Indian Oceans get, but the nice thing about fiction is that you can kind of pick and choose what works for you. And then there’s things like currents and maelstroms and hurricanes, which could be anywhere.

(And rogue waves, and contamination that looks like blood, and waterspouts, and weird magnetic disturbances, and converging weather patterns, and tsunamis…)

Anyway, part of the mythology of this world is that Altruia is home to a giant forest, with trees stretching hundreds of feet into the air (roughly modeled off the Giant Sequoia, though they’re deciduous and sequoias are not) and the humans are from a continent to the west. The remains of a fleet of ships reach the shores of Altruia about 300 years before World’s Edge starts, and no matter how anyone tries, they can’t get back home again (or at least, no one’s ever reported back that they have).

But neither do new people come from the west. So basically, this has to be the worst, most impassable section of water.

And goodness, does that sound fun.

If you are on my email list (or thinking about it), know that I am in the process of overhauling it and it is taking much longer than expected. I’m putting together free shorts at the moment, and then I’ve got to edit all my automations and sign-ups. So bear with me on that!

Happy Thursday, squiders!