Writing Year: Week 1, January 1-7

It’s time to recap the first week of the 365k365day challenge! I don’t plan to do this every single week, but I will probably update periodically just so I can have some record of my progress (other than the word tracker).

The Word Count

The first few days I did very well. I wrote just above the goal of 1,000 words. Then, day six came around, and I was so focused on work stuff that I didn’t have any time to write. day seven, I was intending to catch up, but unfortunately I was short of the daily goal, let alone the catch-up goal. Luckily, I even get to count THIS post toward the word count, even if it’s not very eloquent. I still have plenty of time today to write, but the past two days my motivation dropped a lot. I hope I can get it back.

The Projects

So far I’ve mostly been working on the Sleeping Beauty novel I started a few years ago. I haven’t touched it in quite a while, but I have been thinking about it for a few months, so I used my new writing goal as a reason to get back to it … not that I should need one, but you know, you do what you have to. One day when I was at a somewhat boring part of the story, I wrote an outline for the rest of the novel; the next day, most of my word count came from a journaling session that I titled “I don’t feel like writing” or something along those lines. Journaling counts, but I usually like to with a pen and paper, and then I’d have to count the words manually.

For now I plan to continue with Sleeping Beauty. There are a few short stories that I have first drafts of so far, that I’m planning to work on and either publish on this blog or submit somewhere. I’m also thinking I will write a little more of my Helen of Troy novel, but I might still want to do a bit of research first–which is the original reason I set that novel aside after writing the first two chapters. If you want to see what I have so far, you could click on the “Helen” tab above.

I have many other story ideas noted, some of which I am very eager to start, and I have a few blog posts planned as well. Hopefully, as I get back in the habit of writing, I will be writing even more than my daily goal on a regular basis. I might even feel like a real writer again.

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Brief Update

Hello gentle readers. I have some almost-news that is not ready to be shared yet, and one or two thoughts for posts that I don’t feel like writing right now. Instead, just a short post…

 

Not too long ago I was looking through some of the comments left on older posts (yes, I read all your comments! I usually even try to respond to them!). The response to the two chapters of the Helen of Troy novel I was working on, although small, was quite positive. A few people expressed that they would like to read more. If anyone is wondering if I’m going to continue with that story, the answer is yes… eventually. It’s been put on hold for now. I will let you know when I start working on it again, but it will be quite a while before that happens.

 

A week or so ago, I did finally write a little in the novel that is my current project, a very altered version of Sleeping Beauty. The intention was to write every day, starting then, but of course I didn’t. I only wrote about a page, but I have got a better idea of how the story should move from here.

And last, I’m trying to put more effort toward getting my life to be closer to what I want. If that makes sense…

Forgive the disjointed post, I am a bit tired at the end of every Monday.

Projects

1. Sleeping Beauty-based novel about stories and interpersonal relationships. There’s only a side love story in this one! I’m sure many people will be disappointed, but that’s life. Still not getting anywhere in the writing, but against all rationale and logic I still believe I can get some momentum going on that…

 

2. A series of short (ish) stories in which figures from various cultural myths encounter the Hindu god Krishna at important points in their lives. This was my senior writing project in 2008-2009, which I revised, then saved on a thumb drive and apparently nowhere else, then lost the thumb drive. I want to publish this as a book, so I need to re-revise, then decide what the next step should be. Agents? Send to publishers without an agent? Self-publish. Ugh. So much work. I’m literally ONLY good at the creative stuff. (At least, I used to be.)

 

3. At least three short stories I wrote and never finished. Sometimes I completely lose interest after the first draft.

 

4. Return to retellings of fairy tales written throughout high school (and even a bit in college). I’m thinking I might post it on fanfiction (yes, I am a dork), because I already have readers there. Then again, I do eventually want people to take me serious as a writer, so… maybe not.

Maybe I’ll make a new pen name! Then I can dissociate the stories from the old, ridiculous harry potter fanfics (which still get reviews, somehow…)

 

5. Don’t Die. I feel good about this one, since most people in the world will also be working on this project with me.

Another Life #18

You were a fairy tale, sweet and sad with a strangeness that everyone loved. You had skin whiter than snow, lips like rubies, and hair darker than raven’s feathers. You cried pearls and bled black diamonds that sparkled across the snow of your body. Your gaze felt like needles, and you could speak the cruelest words in the kindest voice.

Remember That You’re A Writer

To recap: I have started a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which, I have no doubt, is very different from every version you’ve ever heard, seen, or read. I wanted to finish writing my first draft by Tax Day and have it published as an ebook later this year.

I realized a few days ago: I’m doing it wrong.

I don’t mean that I don’t want to publish it as an ebook or have it done by this year. Here is what I mean –

I’ve been obsessing over my plans for the end product (i.e. something that does not yet exist) instead of focusing on the process of writing. Yes, while I’m actually putting words to the page I’m thinking about writing it, but the rest of the time I’m just thinking about publishing. And it’s great to have goals and plans for your work, because otherwise, what’s the point of writing at all? Right?

Wrong. The writing itself is the point for all born writers. We want to have our work published because we want others to read our work, but let’s be honest – we write without the promise of ever being published, even if we expect that one day we will.

I’m going back to the core and just writing the project. I’m not setting deadlines for finishing the whole book or publishing it. I am going to write, a page at a time, and make this story something I can be very proud to publish. I want there to be no question of my talent and effort when I send this thing out into the world. It’s not ready yet, and I may have been putting too much pressure on it by giving it a coming-out date too early. It will be better if I coax it out slowly. I’ll let the story unfold, see what emerges in the first draft, work hard on the first round of revisions, and THEN we’ll talk about publishing the damn thing.

In the meantime, I plan to start doing some research about self-publishing and ebooks, so that when I do start figuring out what to do with Sleeping Beauty, I’m not just launching myself blind into a vast and judgmental world.

Sleeping Beauty is waking up!

I am very very happy to report that I’ve made some headway in my retelling of Sleeping Beauty and the story is really starting to take shape! I am still regretting all the writing I didn’t do in February, considering how much farther I would be now, but I guess it was just one of those things that had to happen in its own time. I have a much clearer picture of everything now. I’m aching to go back and add all the things a reader needs from exposition. I have not decided whether I will do that before my first full revision, or as part of the “first draft” writing.

 

I can share one idea with you now: I was going to have the entire book be told from Ric’s point of view, but I had what I deemed a brilliant thought that I would do the first part from Ric’s point of view, the second from Elli’s (whose name might change), and then the final part from several different POVs, depending on whose story is resolving. (To remind yourself who these characters are, see this post.)

I’d love to hear what you think, but of course ultimately I will write it the way I think it feels right.

 

On a side note, spring is fighting its way forward and I’m very excited to put away my winter clothing! Crossing my fingers for an extended stretch of mild weather before it starts to get hot and summerly.

The February Challenge

Tomorrow begins a month exactly four weeks long. An entire month of 2011 has gone by and I’ve barely written at all. I have goals for this year. I have to set myself deadlines and ignore the fact that they have no significance whatsoever to anyone but me. (That’s my problem with deadlines. I can be very productive if I have a real deadline, but without any concrete reason to finish the project, it doesn’t feel like a real deadline.)

I’m hoping that I can power through that problem, because I’ve set myself a goal I very much hope I can stick to. I plan to devote the month of February to Sleeping Beauty As You’ve Never Known It. My plan involved a daily writing average of 5 pages per day. There will be some days during which I will have to write more than 5 pages, because there are likely to be days when I barely have time to write at all, either due to social plans or work.

Let’s say that the average, at the end of the month, actually did come out to exactly 5 pages a day for 28 days. That makes 140 pages, at which point I’ll probably be close to finishing the story. My somewhat arbitrary deadline for having my first draft finished is Tax Day.

Somewhere during that time, I will probably need to find an unofficial editor. I am quite capable of doing my own line editing, but I would benefit a lot from an extra pair of eyes to point out any plot holes or areas of unclarity, or spots where a little more detail would go a long way. It’s hard to spot such things in your own writing. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to pay anyone until I made some money from publishing the story, so they’d have to be willing to wait a while to receive what’s due to them.

And here’s the preliminary character lineup of the moment. Some do not yet have names.

The Sleeping Beauty

Ric – the main character (Sleeping Beauty’s ‘prince’)

Adra – Ric’s mother. Pronounced with short ‘a’ sounds.

Henry – the town inkeeper.

Elli – a fairy (this is a shortened version of her name)

A Bard

 

The story has not yet been titled, but its final title will not be “Sleeping Beauty”