The calm before the storm

As the last hours tick away, I look forward to November with both excitement and trepidation. And a glass of not so great wine.

NaNoWriMo is a mixed bag of emotions for me. After finishing my first year, I had a five year span without completing a project. I had tried different projects, attempted the same project, etc. But I let life drag me away from what I loved to do, which was tell stories – even if it was only to myself.

In 2013, I had not planned on participating in NaNoWriMo, but some prodding from friends had me trying to come up with half an idea a day and a half before the event began. That turned into the first (quite horrible) draft of Twisted Magics. It was bad, but I loved it and from it’s ashes, I rewrote it into it’s more current form the following year.

Seriously, it was so bad, I used it as a rough outline and cut out a ton of stuff. I finished my 50K words, but it wasn’t worth keeping as is.

This year, I’m attempting the next story in the series and I have a bit more of a plan going into NaNoWriMo. I’ve been mentally preparing for this book for months. Trying to iron out plot issues early on. Jotting down ideas that I wanted to incorporate. Running the story more or less through my head over and over.

Thankfully, I’m still not sick of it yet. Granted, I’m not sick of Twisted Magics yet either and I’ve been editing that quite a bit.

So I’ll finish this post up, try to finish this glass of wine that I’m liking less and less, and maybe play FFXIV for a bit before trying to get some sleep so I can get an early start tomorrow.  Thought about trying to rewrite a short side story that I’ve kept out of Twisted Magics, but I think I’ll save it along with the other short story for December when I’ll need a break from this new book.

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Funny how that works out…

For a while, I’ve been stressing about the low word count on Twisted Magics. Sitting at a little over 66K, it was hard to take seriously. Even though I never actually pay attention to word counts when I’m reading.

Going into a new round of beta, it got a little beefier with cresting 75K. I feel a bit better as the story got better and I wasn’t trying to buff my word count. I’m also getting this book in line with events that will be taking place in the second book. Just small things crop up in Twisted Magics. I’m not that mean. I wanted to make sure personalities and backgrounds fell in line better going forward.

I’ve got one more quick pass to make on Twisted Magics before officially going to beta. So while I had been hoping to release it late this year, I’m glad I’m taking the time to rework it into something better. And with NaNoWriMo coming up and book 2 set as my project for the month, I have a better view going forward as well. Though I’ve also been thinking even more forward than that and I am horrible to my characters sometimes.

Need to focus?

For a while, I’ve been thinking about the various groups that I take part in. Some have been beneficial and have worked out well. I’ve found my own friends out here and…

Perhaps I should back up a bit…

When I first moved across country in 2011, I didn’t know anyone outside of my in-laws and one of my husband’s friends. Not much of a start, but it was somewhere. I also started looking into different interest groups in the area. Taking part in activities with family that I hadn’t back east. Took on new interests and started reviving old ones.

Some of those groups have not been so beneficial, but some I’ve been able to walk away from without issue. A couple, I feel obligated to remain with even though my desire to take part has waned greatly. One is more due to internal politics and sometimes a clash of personalities. The other is just not helpful for me and while I want to help others, I’m not entirely certain that my voice is heard with all of the noise. Both I often feel like I get shut down because I don’t have the experience that others do.

Which brings me to thinking that maybe I just need to focus down some more. My daughter is getting older and between my husband and I already, we’re getting busier. I’m not looking to cut these groups out solely for the sake of gaining more time, but to focus on things I enjoy.

I just hate having that sense of obligation.

I’m not sure what has pushed this thought to the forefront again. Maybe it was the amazing vacation that my husband and I took for our anniversary, where I had time to step back and breathe for a bit. Could be looking at NaNoWriMo coming up next month and trying to figure out how to fit in a few write-ins into my schedule. I’m not certain. I suppose I’ll simply have to see how things go from here on out.

That outlining thing

So, while I was updating Scrivener, I was going through my files and trying to organize it a little better. I found a Word document with notes to myself on another book in the series (was going to be book 2, but it felt too soon for that story). Took it and transcribed it in with the couple of notes I already had in my OneNote wiki…

…and then without meaning to, wrote an outline.

Why?!

I’m sure things will change by the time I get to it. NaNoWriMo 2016 anyone? Though that one has turned out to be much larger than the one for this year’s project. I’m still concerned – I have quite a bit of wiggle room, but I’m not sure how well I will do following an outline. Perhaps my world has become too complex not to outline. I’m also worried that relationships between characters will start feeling rushed or unrealistic. Is it because I’ve been mentally working my way through the greater story and how things will develop over time? I don’t know.

Those that are still questioning how I wrote an outline without meaning to, the short answer is I started writing. The story played its major parts in my mind as quickly as I could type. Then I looked up and instead of a couple of notes, I had a page full of notes.

Good or bad, I don’t know yet. November is coming quickly so we’ll see what it brings. I’m hoping that I can get in with a couple of write-ins during NaNoWriMo.

That time of the year #IWSG

(Yes, I’m rather late with this post. Had a wonderful time on vacation with my husband, celebrating our anniversary.)

It’s that time of the year again where I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo. Granted, I’ve been mentally working on my next project for months. I can’t help it. However, my notes to myself are starting to look like an outline and that worries me a little.

Call me a pantser if you wish. I like Writing Into the Dark. What it really means for me is letting my characters tell me their story. I enjoy the adventure of not knowing where I’m being taken. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so well and I end up cutting out huge chunks or completely rewriting something. Most of the time it surprises me and in turn, I hope my readers will eventually enjoy it.

So seeing an outline beginning to form from notes I made to myself…yeah, I start to get nervous. I’ve never been good with following an outline. Right now it’s really rough and mostly just points along the journey. Perhaps they’ve already told me the story and now I just need for November 1st to hit so I can hit the ground running.

Oddly, I had notes from an earlier version already in the file (using OneNote as a personal Wiki) and it really surprised me the drastic changes that have occurred before I even create a new Scrivener project for this book. I’ll admit I had been fighting with the “how do I get my characters here” part for a bit before finally settling on the current version. That ultimately set up the rest of the story. Oddly, I came by it through a short story project I was tinkering with (still am – bloody thing is a mess). Blame that on me reading Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs and just wanting to explore the world outside of my main character with short stories.

But, getting back on topic – perhaps most would consider me crazy for being worried about having something resembling an outline. For me, I like to be taken on an adventure.

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