I’ve been away from this site for a while. I have still been busy writing just not consistently here. I finished a Virtual Mentor course which I need to update later this year. Set as a goal starting in June.
I was busy with other entrepreneur things. I will be posting bits and pieces from the WIP I have going, feel free to comment, ask questions.
By the end of this month, I’ll have “The Coven” ready to publish. I need to get it to the editor and then find a cover. Excited about that.
So I’m back and looking forward to sharing again.
My current novel will be finished in two weeks.
That’s a bold statement. And I stand behind it. And I’ll tell you why.
This has been an exciting last few weeks since my last post. I’ll try to encapsulate it all and hope that you’ll find these tools useful as well.
- Use an outline
- This has been instrumental in helping me define my story. After completing the course Masterclass with James Patterson, I knew that I could either have spent $90 with no follow through or spent $90 with new skills/techniques that would move my writing forward. I opted for the 2nd option.
- A huge key for productivity for James is using an outline to write his stories.
- So dammit, I wrote an outline. Felt like being in 3rd grade again but the impact to seeing the whole story laid out has made writing it that much simpler.
- Dictation software
- I mentioned previously that I was going to use Dragon Naturally Speaking which I have but wasn’t using to its best advantage. And I have read a slew of non-fiction writers lately who swear by the software.
- It doesn’t always capture as clearly as I’d like yet, but that doesn’t affect the work, it can be used as an excuse. And I’m not allowing it. The reason I’m saying that is I know that the software will improve for me with more usage. So I’m not planning on using an excuse and just keep moving forward.
- Sprints and moments in between
- I read “5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter” By Chris Fox and he talked about doing 5-minute sprints. His is not the first book that suggested it but it was the first time I actually decided to follow through. I usually can only do these type of exercise for about a week before I get bored. This time, it was different because I also had to track my word count. And I did the sprints with pen and paper and also by recording into word documents or OneNote.
- I copy and paste each sprint into my Scrivener document.
- The absolute key to all this is Do not edit anything. And that means absolutely nothing. I don’t fix missing commas, grammar, punctuation. I will do all that once I have the story on paper.
- Talk about it
- Put your timeline out there if you are a habitual procrastinator. Have someone read your outline (if you choose) for holes before you start writing. If this feels like it will dilute your process than don’t do it. I had 2 people read mine and the questions only help me write a clearer story.
- After you are finished, then clean it up. You can have beta readers do a clean read with a solid checklist of what you want them to look for or read for pleasure and tell you what doesn’t make sense. I think a clear direction helps so that you get solid information about what needs to be fixed.
Can’t wait to see how this all turns out.
I think I have figured out the source of my procrastination. I write novellas and am trying too hard to force the story into the novel format. Yes, that’s my issue and I am resolving it.
I have read several novellas and blog post lately on how effective this form is for some writers and how much satisfaction they get since it allows them to write the stories they want but also more of them. I have struggled with 3 stories for the last 3 years, re-writing, trying to figure out how to add more conflict (which felt false and forced), not wanting to write the ending because it came in at page 150 to 170 and that didn’t feel long enough. I am done beating myself up and you should too. Some of us are better suited with novellas, flash fiction, novels, scriptwriting, all of them or some of them and we need to write the stories that the story dictates.
When you have friends, family or whoever read your final draft before you publish it (if you are self-publishing), ask them, was the storytelling complete? Was the ending satisfactory? Other than holes that you should plug anyway, don’t try to stretch the story into something it isn’t and your productivity, your skill as a writer and possible your bank account will increase. It really does feel that way to me.
Okay, so the dealio from the Master Class and James Patterson (and he has 76 bestsellers, so I’m going to listen to him) is that I need to write an outline. Remember back in elementary school, when we were taught to outline our stories. Well, newsflash, pantsing isn’t working for me any longer and I’m going back to the basics.
So, I have outlined (WIP) has to be a work-in-progress because the title may change and who’d have thunk, it has been an incredible help. I have 28 chapters (and growing). James says once you have your chapters outlined “start writing” and that’s what I plan on doing. It helps to have a road map. But like any road map, I want to feel comfortable taking detours that may add better conflict, better suspense and offer a better story.
My initial trepidation was that I would feel too locked in with an outline and that has not been the case. I actually feel that I have a better handle on what I want to do with the story. For example, there is scene around chapter 26 that I know needs to be foreshadowed in chapter 5 or 6, much earlier than I knew or even had an idea about. Without the outline, I may have missed that gaping hole. And even though I have an outline, I am not confined. I feel a flexibility that new ideas may crop up as I’m writing and I may want to side road it and now have the tools to get back to the main highway. Yeah, I’m having fun with the metaphors.
My next step is to take everything that I hand wrote and transfer it to notes in Scrivener so that I can start writing the chapters. My goal is to write a chapter a day. I’m gonna hedge here since I am not going with an actual word count per chapter. Some, I’ll complete in one seating and others may take a little longer.
Okay, so here’s the goal. I’m taking the James Patterson Master Class. It (so far) has been worth the $90.00. I am going to get real with myself, my goal towards making a living as a writer and stop the madness of procrastination. That excuse has left the building. In order to move forward, I will post all word counts daily. I will encourage conversations about where you may be with your writing, your goals. What’s keeping you from moving forward? I can tell you some of the things that get in my way:
- Playing games on Facebook
- Getting a darn cell phone in 2014 (when I was cell-free for 10 years)
- Binge watching television shows when I have already seen them
- Thinking I need to wait for “a Muse” to somehow get my butt in gear
- Fear of failure and fear of success (that’s the dumbest of all)
So, I’m over it. And by posting daily, I’ll hold myself accountable. Even if no one is listening, the tree still falls in the forest.
Happy writing 2016