Tag: chapter outline

How Many Stories at a Time?

Just out of curiosity, how many projects can you work on at a time? (Not physically simultaneously, just, you know, during the same general time frame.) I’ve read about people with more than one WIP at a time, and the idea is slightly…mind-boggling to me.

I’m editing one project, Witches, and writing Siren Song. But…I still have The Fall rattling around back in there, and then there’s that new Camelot/King Arthur/Guinevere story the Muse wants to play with….Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, my writing goals are not very intense right now. If I get in a couple of 500-word sessions a week, I call it a good week (the habit is what’s important to me right now, after an extremely extended hiatus from writing.). I also don’t want to lose the emotion I have for those other two stories. Not when holding on to my motivation has been so tricky anyway.

The idea I’m currently considering:  continue editing Witches of course, to the tune of about 5 chapters a week. (This is just really a pass to change it from 3rd-person POV to multiple 1st-person, not an in-depth revision.) Continue writing (at least) two 500-word sessions on Siren Song a week. One session with The Fall. And one with the Camelot story. Every week. To facilitate this, I would also want to actually outline all three stories before starting to write the other two. I don’t have any sort of outline for Siren Song, so this would undoubtedly be beneficial in that regard.

Is this insanity?  Has anyone tried writing multiple stories like this at the same time?

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Writing After a Break

(I do not own this image, but the words are TRUE.)
(I do not own this image, but the words are TRUE.)

Have you ever taken a break from writing?

I have. To be honest, the “break” I just finished up was more of a three-year hiatus than anything. There were a lot of reasons for it–depression, a major health issue, school–but that doesn’t make me feel any better about taking it.

The thing is, I miss writing. An ex of mine used to tell me I needed to write if I started getting too grumpy, and that’s probably true. (Kind of explains my moodiness lately, as well.)  Blog-writing helps stave off the attitude somewhat, but getting eyeball-deep in fiction will almost for-sure “cure” the problem.

(I do not own this image.)
(I do not own this image.)

I’m eager to leap back into the thick of things, to pull a blanket of words over my head and just snuggle into them. Except, of course, I have no idea where I was going with the Siren story….

Not to mention, I want to revise Witches, and I haven’t touched it in years.

So, I think a bit of planning is in order, first. Wait. Pre-work. I meant pre-work. I already have a plan:  do all the things! NO. No. I need an idea of where the story is going, first, before I dive in and start writing. Otherwise, I’ll end up with another 300,000-word monstrosity to revise.

Okay, new plan:  HTRYN for Witches, brainstorm a general outline for the Siren story and work through HTTS for it. Okay. I have a plan.

Now I just need to implement it.

Getting My (Writing) Ducks in a Row

So…School is out. Vacation is over. Real life has started again. That means it’s time to get back to writing. Yay! In that direction, I went through the “Writing” folder on my computer on Sunday.

And found 67 pages of a story I don’t even remember writing, for NaNo 3 years ago. I read probably 15 pages before I believed that I actually wrote it. It’s a YA about the Sirens and Spartans, but set in the here-and-now. It was kind of like having an out-of-body experience, reading through something I have no memory of writing. (The writing took place about 6 months pre-stroke, and I stopped when my depression got really bad).

Yesterday, I found the story notebook for my newly rediscovered story. That’s the good news. The bad news…in it is one piece of paper with 40 words on it. Mainly character names. No plot ideas, no outline, nothing else. Also some printed out research on sirens and the like. It appears that I will be basically starting from scratch, because, let’s face it, I’m totally sucked into the 67 pages of MS I have. I was seriously like “Did I write this? It’s really good!” Guess what just got bumped to the top of my to-write list?

That’s not strictly true. I want to get going on The Fall again, too. I’ve only got a few chapters written, and I need to change some stuff that my Muse gave me over the past few months when I wasn’t supposed to be writing (my Muse is, apparently, a rebel). An outline would, perhaps, be helpful. Or, heck, even a basic idea of where the story was going. At this point, I’m flailing around in the fog, only able to see two steps in front of me.

I also discovered a tiny bit of another story, along with its notebook and partial outline, as well as a good bit of notes for a third story. I think 4 WIPs is a bit excessive, even for me. My Muse either fainted from excitement, or went on strike, I’m not sure which.
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Let’s not forget my to-be-revised list, which grows ever longer. Sigh…Think I’m gonna start with Witches,  though. Cutting down that 300,000 word behemoth is going to be…tricky, but the characters are talking to me. Or, possibly, I’m hearing voices….Yeah, it could be either one.

Writing question of the day:  does anyone else juggle multiple stories at the same time?  Some tips would be helpful. And very much appreciated.

Re-thinking this whole writing thing

…okay, not really re-thinking. Let’s just say I’m going to try something new (or, actually, old). Confused yet? Let me explain. Have you heard of Holly Lisle? If you haven’t, well, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Holly is a rarity: a mid-list author who actually makes a living with her writing. She’s smart, she’s a great writer, she knows what she’s doing, and, more importantly, she’s really big on paying it forward (she did start Forward Motion, after all). She spends a lot of her time helping her fellow writers out. To that end, she has created lots of helpful things, from the smaller workshops like How to Create a Language, How to Create a Character, How to Write Page-Turning Scenes…and she has also created huge, incredibly detailed classes Like How To Revise Your Novel and How To Think Sideways.

I was in the original HTTS class, as well as the original HTRYN class, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much difference these two classes made in my writing. The way Holly thinks, the way she breaks things down using plain language, worksheets, examples…well, it got me thinking in ways I’d never thought before (which was the point, right?). Since I don’t have much done on The Fall–in reality, I have only a handful of pages written, basically no pre-work, and haven’t touched it in weeks–I’ve decided that I’m going to take it through HTTS. I know the end result will be much closer to the story I have in my head, much more true to the vision I can see for the story. It will just be better. Yeah, it’ll be a lot of work and it will take me a while, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

I’m a huge fan of Holly’s writing in general, and I know her courses can really get results–if you’re willing to do the work. I am. I haven’t been published, but I’ve gotten some partial manuscript requests because of her courses, and I want to give everything I can to The Fall. I’ve also decided to become one of Holly’s affiliates. I do believe whole-heartedly in her methods, her teaching, and her results, and if you have any interest in checking it out for yourself, go here. If you aren’t a writer, but you’d like to read a great book, you can check those out as well.

Playing with the Muse

Despite the stresses of this week–my aunt was just diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my best friends had brain surgery today–I managed to finish the revision outline for the werewolf story.  It’s not very in-depth, only six pages long, but I think it will help me get organized to actually finish the revision (FINALLY).  I’m hoping so, anyway.

I wrote for 20 minutes or so yesterday on The Fall.  Only got a few hundred words or so, but that’s better than nothing.  Even better, I have an idea for part of the plot.  Well.  Kind of.  I think maybe it’s going to be super-important to the plot…but I could be wrong.  It has to do with an up-’til-now-unseen character that disappeared six months before.  I think I know WHY he disappeared…where he went…and even more importantly, how it ties into the larger story arc.  And here I thought he was just the used-to-be best friend.  Who knew?  My Muse, apparently….

I love the mystery and the surprises in writing.  It’s what makes the whole thing truly worthwhile and beautiful.  I love when the little things all come together and something clicks inside my head and it all makes sense.  (I just wish real life could make sense like that.)  I love when a tiny detail you thought wasn’t important turns out to be the key to everything.  I love writing.  I love creating.

I Think I Might Have Found the Solution…

…to my complete inability to get anything done writing-wise.  Something that eliminates a lot of my tendency to procrastinate, and allows me to focus on a project for a short period of time.  What is this magical solution?  Setting the timer on my phone for 30 minutes.

Yes, this is something super-simple that I probably should have thought of before, but I didn’t.  I was trying to bribe my Muse into coming to work today, and said “Okay, if I can just write for 30 minutes, I’ll be happy.”  So, I set my timer for half an hour, pulled up my manuscript of The Fall, and started writing.  I managed 3-4 pages before the timer beeped.  It was a short enough time period that I didn’t get distracted, but long enough for me to actually get something accomplished, which made me feel about a thousand times better than my usual “You lazy bum, you didn’t get any writing done at all today!” vibe.

It worked so well that I tried it twice more.  I managed to revise an entire chapter in the zombie story from 3rd-person to 1st-person POV.  And I also did 14 chapters in the revision outline for the Werewolf story (less than ten to go).  It may not work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot.

If anyone has any other ideas, ways to get over the lack of inertia and start working again, I’d LOVE to hear them!

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Lost: one Muse. If found, please send home ASAP

I’m proud to say I’ve actually made progress this week.  Not on writing.  I haven’t done any actual writing this week.  Sigh….Muse?  Where aaaaare you?  Hello? Okay.  This is what my progress on The Fall looks like over the past few weeks:

dear cursor

You’re right:  nothing.  No writing.  But it’s only Tuesday….Apparently, my Muse has taken off for parts unknown.  Knowing my Muse, “parts unknown” is probably code for “a beach with a hammock, a never-ending margarita machine, and a cute cabana boy.”  I digress.  Where was I?  Not on a beach….

I did, however, manage to do my revision chapter outline for seven chapters of the werewolf story this morning.  I also converted an entire chapter of the zombie story from 3rd person to 1st person POV.  That’s trickier than it sounds…I’ve done short crits for two people in my writing group.  Written several blog posts for my other blogs.  And looooots of homework.   Yay for homework.  Except not.

Goals for the rest of the week:  Convert another chapter of the zombie story.  Finish the revision outline for the werewolf story.  Write another chapter of The Fall.  Survive.