Friday, August 22, 2014

The Wrong Direction

I don't know how many other writers have this problem, but it's happens to me usually a few times in any book I write.

I know what I want to write in a particular scene, and I start writing, only to know in my gut that it doesn't work. Intellectually, I don't know why right away, but my intuition tells me it doesn't work. So, I scrap the scene and have to rethink the plot.

Over the years, I've gotten a lot better at this. While I wrote my first (unpublished) novel, I had a lot of false starts. Instead of doing much planning, I'd just try another direction, and eventually one would feel right.

I'm afraid that in the last few days I've gone about 2,100 words in the wrong direction with Bodacious Creed. I realized that the latest scene doesn't feel real. It feels contrived and therefore just doesn't work. Fortunately, I now know to think about why that is, and to fix whatever the underlying problem is.

Yes, I know. I'm being very general here! That's to avoid spoilers.

By going back to basics to fix that underlying problem, I've realized I'll have to make a few changes to what's come before, but that's always part of revising. What I came up with though is much better than what I had before, so I'm planning out more of the book and continuing on.

Perhaps what it comes down to is that I'm not much of a "Two-thousand words per day or more" author. Because if I do that, I often end up going in the wrong direction. That works great when I have a solid plan of what's going to happen, but if I don't have it all figured out because it's complex, or because the characters are resisting, I need to step back and plan again. I hope I can have the first draft done by November! If it takes a little longer though, it's for the sake of a stronger story.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Shooting for 2K Per Day

Okay, I just got another scene written, a bit painful, a bit sexy, lots of fun. The next scene is probably going to be pretty long, and I think the start of Act II Chapter 2. (Should Act and Chapter use the same type of numerals? I don't know.)

The next scene though is a major scene with Creed. Lots of trouble. Action. And those are all the spoilers you're getting.

It struck me today that if I'm able to write 2K words per day from now until I finish the novel, and don't have to take too long musing about the plot, I can have the first draft done by November 1, the start of NaNoWriMo, one year since I started the actual writing. I could come up with some other NaNo project, something shorter, and after that get back to Creed and start the revisions. It's a matter of scheduling my time. I believe I can do it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Active Planning

I'm going to confess something to all of you right now. Many of you, I know, are eagerly awaiting Bodacious Creed. It is coming! What I want to confess is how intimidated I've been by Act II!

Act I came along so smoothly! Yes, about 2/3 of the way into it, I decided to go back and make some minor changes, but then I got the rest done.

With Act I finished, I looked at the outline I had written for Act II. Though Act I was mostly how I had planned it, I realized that the the planned scenes for Act II didn't work with the characters anymore. A writer learns more about his characters as he writes, and things that made perfect sense early on seem out of character later.

The confession: I've felt intimidated with Act II! I have a lot going on in my life, as we all do. I'm going to be starting a new master's program in September to get my second masters, this time in special education. My car broke down and I need to get a new one, which will happen when school starts. My writing day job has been taking a lot out of me. My son and I live in So Cal, but don't have air conditioning, which has been awful. And since I am a single dad, I'm always busy with my awesome son. So, there's always something going on, and while I need to put effort into Bodacious Creed as well, I've been negligent. There are so many characters and situations to juggle that, strangely enough, I avoided jumping back into Creed's exciting world!

That has changed, though. Of course, I knew I would get back to the book, but I let the hugeness of Creed's world keep me away. I'm back to it now. I've been spending the last few days brainstorming on what will happen next.

One thing I learned a long time ago about writing is to work with the characters. One of the main questions I ask when I plot is, "What do the characters want, and what will they do to get it?" I don't remember where I learned this from, but it's very effective in creating chracter-driven stories. So, that's what I've been doing, and it's leading the story in directions I didn't expect, but exciting directions all the same. I know have a fair bit of Act II planned and I'll start writing more tomorrow.

Now, I actually have started writing Act II already. I have two scenes written, and those two scenes actually provided the launching point for planning the rest.

I am so excited about getting to some of these scenes. There's a lot of suspense and action. The danger to the hero has certainly increased, as have the stakes of failure.  There are more character deaths in this book than in all my previous fiction put together. So, yes! We'll see how much I can get done tomorrow.

Tonight, I plan to make a few small modifications to the timeline, which I found needed to happen for certain events to line up how they need to. That might add a few hundred words to the book. If so, I'll update the word count here on the blog on I've done that.

If you've gotten this far in this rambling blog, congratulations, and thanks for reading!

More on Bodacious Creed and the Creedverse soon!

Monday, July 21, 2014

First Scene of Act II

I just wrote the first scene of Act II today! That was much fun. I hope to get another scene written tomorrow.

I haven't completely finished outlining Act II yet, but I have the major events figured out. I have enough scenes planned, however to get going. When I've written more, I'll have a better grasp on events and motivations to outline more. I'm juggling more characters and situations than I have in past books, making Bodacious Creed a challenge, one I'm thoroughly enjoying.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Act II Revisions

Howdy everyone!

This is just a quick entry to let you all know that I've been busy revising the outline for Act II.

After I finished Act I and read the original Act II outline, I realized that the story needed a lot more. Subtle changes happen when writing the actual text of a novel. Character personalities really come out. And, \you realize that what was originally planned out no longer really fits.

What this means for Bodacious Creed is more danger, more ruthlessness, and more death.

If you're interested in my process--and I'm often interested in how other writers work--here's a bit of how this is working. I read the original outline and thought, "Okay, some of that is good, and some needs to be changed." Then, I wrote a bunch of notes regarding what many of the characters' goals were and what they would do to achieve their goals, which naturally suggests scenes and conflict. Then, I started fleshing out these various scenes in my notes, and organizing those scenes.

Yep, for my outlining, that's about how it goes.

Now, to get back to work.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Act 1 Is Complete!

I just finished the first draft of Act 1!

Now, I'm excited about filling in the outline for Act 2 and moving the story forward. A lot of exciting stuff is about to go down!

The first draft for this act is 56,200 words.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Moved In!

My son and I are moved in to a new apartment! We were living in a studio for the last fourteen months, thanks to some good friends who were charging us a low rent. However, it was tough, especially since my six-year-old has a lot of energy and needs room to run around. At the new place, he has that. We even went out briefly today for a day-late Father's Day trip to Starbucks, and to get some groceries, and he wanted to come back home!

I've got more unpacking to do, but I've become pretty Spartan in the number of belongings I have. Those who say to simplify and that stuff isn't everything are right. Have the things you need, and a few things you really want, and you'll be pretty set. Plus, these days, you can have most of your books on a tablet, store for you in The Cloud. (Which, as those of us who have been active on the Internet since the mid-90s still think of as "an offsite server.")

Even though I won't be able to get Clark into day care immediately, he's doing so well in the new place that I can actually get significant work done, even with him home. I'm up to 48,600 words in Bodacious Creed, nearly 1/3 of the way done! After I get a little more done around the new apartment, I plan to get to at least 50,000 words tonight. And, now that things have settled down, I expect to get the first draft done in the next two to three months!

So, friends and backers, please hang in there! I know I originally thought I'd have this done by August this year, but that was before I realized that the book would end up running so long, and before some of the financial troubles I ran into. It is on its way!

Oh! I'm also running a GoFundMe campaign to help with moving expenses. We really needed all the donations we've received so far. I still need to pay the deposit (they're very understanding here to wait for it), and to replace my car, which broke down irretrievably during the move. I'll be working hard at my online job to pay as much as I can, but of course, any help would be wonderful.

The main reason I mention the campaign here, though, is because I'm offering a bunch of Bodacious Creed related rewards, many of which are actually worth much more than you'd pay otherwise! These include custom 3D character models, appropriate for 3D printing!