All of the previously mentioned changes impacted my writing. I used to write from 3pm to 5pm. It was right after the work day. I didn’t have to leave my office, so no one could grab me and distract me and I never lost time in traffic. I had it down. None of that works now.

I fumbled around trying to squeeze writing in for a while. Then in November I participated in NaNoWriMo. I figured the only way I could possibly write a novel in a month was to get up earlier, so I started getting up at 5:30am to write. Mostly this worked, with occasional periods of too-much-other-stuff-to-do.

I did not get everything done I hoped this year. I did finish revisions on my first novel. I stopped work on another novel at the outline stage, but used the world from that and wrote the first draft of Miracles during NaNoWriMo. I produced a handful of short stories, some of which might even be pretty good. I made some progress revising Miracles, but when the new arrival came things stalled out. I don’t think I’d do the work justice if I dove back in now, but I’m not abandoning it. I’ve got my line-for-scene ready when I return.

I did a lot of world building after writing Miracles and before starting the revisions. I worked through Create A Language Clinic and Create A Culture Clinic, twice each. I have another story working to get out (in the same world as Miracles, but not with any of the same characters). I’m planning on turning that into my next novel, and then returning to the Miracles revision.

Now my morning routine is shot again so I can drive my oldest to school. I’m trying to find my rhythm once more. I’ve actually found Twitter to be helpful in keeping me honest and pushing me on, and I’m not alone in this.

I did manage to write about 88,000 words this year since last September. It’s less than I hoped for, but it’s not that bad.

Next Steps

I wrote the new ending for the novel (ended up being more than one scene). I’ll update the “final” wordcount soon. Now it’s time to get some feedback from readers, and that will determine what the happens next there.

The other novel I stated working on in January will remain on hold for a bit longer. I’m still excited about the idea, but I wasn’t giving it the time it deserved and I need to go back and flesh out my characters and worldbuilding some more.

Unless something stops me, I’m going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. That gives me a few days to solidify my idea before I need to start writing. I’ve always wanted to try NaNoWriMo, and while I don’t exactly have the time, I am between projects, so I might as well give it a go.

There are a few reasons why I want to do this. I need to learn to embrace the bad first draft. I need to write with the intention of rewriting it all later. That might sound backwards, but having just been through a novel revision on a book it’s something I need to try. If you’ve never been there, I’m not sure I can explain it. Besides, I want to have something else done by the end of the year. I have other reasons, but they are more abstract.

Time flew, where was the fun?

The day after my last post I returned to the day job. My schedule is all over the place instead of the 7am to 3pm day I’d grown accustomed to. As a result I’ve made no attempt to start the write-in portion of my revisions yet.

I have been doing more reading, mostly in preparation for my next novel. I now think a lot of the hard revision work on the first book can be traced back to my outline, and I’m hoping that knowledge of past mistakes also makes thing easier.

I learned a lot from Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. Chapter 10 has a 7 question quiz to help you decide if you are an OP or a NOP. Funnily enough I came out right in the middle. That’s right, even with an odd number of questions I managed to end in a tie. The last question is:

You would be happier as a:
1. Software developer 2. Poet

I couldn’t decide. I enjoy both of those things, and for many of the same reasons. When I tried to break it down I hard a hard time seeing any real difference between the two.

I’m going to take that to mean I need an outline, but I also need the freedom to explore as I write. Now the tough part is finding a way to put that to use.

2YN: The Two-Year Novel Course, Year One

I feel compelled to recommend 2YN: The Two-Year Novel Course, Year One, by Lazette Gifford to anyone who has even considered writing a novel. I haven’t yet read the book, but I did take the class on which the book is based. In fact, I’m taking it again for my next novel.

The first year covers:
  • Writing Basics: Ideas, Genres, Themes, Conflict and more
  • Character development
  • Worldbuilding
  • Outlining
  • Writing, including what to do when you get stuck

Having gone through the process, and I can tell you that it works. Pick up a copy now. It is currently available as a downloadable PDF, so you can get started right away. What are you waiting for?

Using a Mind Map to Organize Novel Notes

I downloaded Freemind to help organize my notes for the new novel. I’m really pleased with it. It’s easy to use, and really lets me get my thoughts down. I’m impressed with how easy it is to navigate around.

Here’s what my notes so far look like fully expanded:
BWC Notes Mind Map
You can’t really make them out, but there are little arrows connecting the nodes.

Still Writing

I haven’t been posting much, and I haven’t mentioned writing in a while, so here’s a quick update. The novel edit is on hold right now. I need to rethink my approach. There are some problems, and I have a good feeling what they are, but I’m not sure how to fix them yet. Every time I’m sitting still for 10 seconds to think about it someone gives me something to do. So I’m working on other writing related tasks. I’m doing world-building work for another novel, and I’m writing some short stories set in that world to help flesh some things out.

A bit of surgery, a bit of news

This morning I took Chapters 8 and 9, reshuffled the scenes, dropped some stuff, added some new stuff, and came out with three chapters worth of material. I feel that they all read better for it.

Yesterday I bought a new notebook and began tossing ideas around for my next book. Currently the plan is for another fantasy novel, but something quite different than the still untitled book I’m editing now. I’ll keep you posted.