Writing

Outlining Frolics

Yesterday Syd asked me about the progress of my novel… and I realized that I never explained my new schedule. Maybe some of you remember how I wanted to start the first draft on February 1st? Well, the 1st has come and gone, and I still haven’t started. Amongst traveling, sickness, and family obligations, I wasn’t able to make that goal (by the way, the trip last weekend was great! I had a blast visiting the family and my friend, Jenny. Thank you to those who wished us well!). 

But not to worry—I have a new goal. I will start writing on February 17th. It’s an odd date, I know. Here’s my reasoning: it’s the Tuesday after a crazy busy weekend (the preschool is having a Valentine’s party Thursday; I’m going to a birthday party Friday; date with hubby on Saturday; visiting family on Sunday and possibly on Monday as well). Maybe if I spend a lot of time with family that weekend, they won’t notice my absence in the weeks to come. *weak laugh* 

For EYES OF LIGHTNING, I wrote 50,000 words in four weeks, took a month off, and then wrote 43,000 words in another four weeks. I do not recommend taking a month off in the middle of writing a first draft. However, I’m not sure I could withstand eight consecutive weeks of writing hard every day. So I’m compromising:  six weeks, February 17th to March 31st (which I think is actually 43 days, but still very close to six weeks).

The first draft is all about pounding out the words. I’m shooting for 80,000 words this time around. I’ve outlined sixteen chapters, which means an average of 5000 words per chapter. To reach 80K in 43 days, I need to average almost 1900 words per day. For EOL, I averaged about 1700 words a day. I think I’ll manage the extra words since now I can write when Son is at preschool. In theory.

Speaking of the outline, I wrote the whole thing while waiting for my car to be serviced yesterday (which should indicate how long I had to wait). Honestly, I only wrote two or three sentences for each chapter. I’m happy with the results though; I worked out some plot holes and fixed the sagging middle. No doubt things will change later on, but at least I have a decent springboard. 

After outlining the sixteen chapters, I started a playlist for inspiration (mandatory, right?? I wasn’t wasting my time at all). I assigned a song for each chapter… and something very weird happened. Every song is by Default. That’s right—sixteen songs by Default. No one else can even compete. I don’t know why, and I’m not exactly thrilled. Don’t get me wrong, I love Default… but sixteen songs?! Seems a tad ridiculous. At least I have a common theme throughout, LOL. It’s just so different than EOL, where I had multiple songs from multiple bands. The music isn’t as essential to this novel, perhaps? Who knows. Maybe other bands will elbow Default out of the way later on. I’ll put the Default playlist on my iPod and see if I get tired of them after six weeks!

I also finished Blaine’s character sketch this week. I struggled at first, not knowing all the answers to his questions. I really had to dig into his background and determine how he would react and why. But it was worth the effort; I feel like I know him so much better now. And I discovered his dark secret from his past. If he wasn’t such a pain, I’d almost feel sorry for him.

If you’re a writer looking to improve your craft (aren’t we all?), you might be interested in reading the LiveJournal blog of urban fantasy author, Ilona Andrews. Last week she accepted paragraphs from aspiring authors, and now she’s critiquing one paragraph every day on her blog. She breaks the paragraph down sentence by sentence—in some cases, word by word—and evaluates the good and bad of it, giving ideas on how to improve it. A blog-load of great advice! Just click on the link above; on her site, “Tags” are listed in the left-hand margin. Click on “paragraph troubleshooting” to view all the past critiques. 

Next week I’ll try to catch up on my book reviews before the frantic writing begins. Tuesday is the final installment of Novel-Planning! Anyone else have weekly news or accomplishments to share?? I’d love to hear it! Have a great weekend, everyone!  

P.S.  And congratulations to Matt and Kathy on their firstborn son!  😉

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