taylweaver: (Default)
So I decided it was time to print another draft of novel, in order to revise by hand on the printed copy. This is a good thing. This means I am ready (or nearly ready) to actually make changes rather than just planning out what changes to make.)

I was nursing a dying ink cartridge for the first 50 or so pages, and then, it stopped cooperating, so I changed the cartridge. This involved a fight with my printer, but I eventually won.

Then, on page 260 of 272, my printer ran out of paper, and I didn't catch it quickly enough. The printer then promptly decided that it was going to declare itself out of paper, even though I had refilled it, just to be contrary.

After retrying and deleting the print job a bunch of times, and shutting off the printer and turning it back on, I decided to shut down the computer.

Apparently, my file didn't save properly before I did this.

No, don't panic. The file still existed. I had exported a file from Scrivener (a program for writing things like novels) into Open Office (like Word, only free), and the file was still there. It's just that some of the formatting changes I'd made (line spacing, margins, etc) weren't.

I redid the changes.

And discovered that I had a different number of pages than the last time around.

I have no clue how this happened, but it made the simple act of printing 12 pages into the more complicated act of figuring out what pages to print.

Also, it left me wondering where those extra 13 pages appeared from. And also why some of my dialogue symbols decided to turn themselves into something that looked vaguely like Japanese.

Sigh.

Anyway, it's printed now. Half an hour later than it should have been. 

But still... grumble, grumble...
taylweaver: (Default)
So I had a dream involving things like a Tardis, and traveling back and forth between two times in the same huge, complicated, hotel-like building. There was this other character I was working with, and I was pretty sure she'd end up taking a lead role, and, while dreaming, I found myself thinking that there should be tension between us before I got used to the fact that she'd be the leader, not me. 

The dream also involved running repeatedly down long, complicated corridors, ferrying items like china dishes from one time to the other. I kept thinking that, in any good story, I should succeed at this a few times, and then, I should get caught, or at least run into trouble. This made me anxious.

Apparently, my inner editor was having way too much fun critiquing my dream - but I'm not sure I mind.
taylweaver: (Default)
As we inch closer to November, I've been spending a lot of my writing time focused on getting the next story idea ready to be turned into a novel during Nanowrimo. Sometimes, this happens naturally, and I get hooked on an idea and keep developing it in my head. Other times, I have to actively work at it. This year is one of those other times. 

Still, the idea is getting developed, slowly but surely.

In the meantime, another idea made a lot of noise in my head, an idea from this time last year, an idea for a Sukkot story.

So I wrote it. 

And I revised it.

And I revised it some more. 

And now, I have a children's story about Sukkot, and I'm ready to let folks read it, and give me feedback. Would you like to be one of those folks? You may have already responded to my facebook or g+ status. If not, feel free to reply here.
taylweaver: (Default)
It's been a while since I've posted about my writing.

Lately, I've been getting back into the habit of trying to spend an hour a day on my writing. Right now, that means revision. While my Nanowrimo novel from 2008 sits on the back burner for a bit (it needed some feedback, and I couldn't stand to look at it anymore), I am working on the second draft of my Nanowrimo novel from 2009.

I realized tonight that, depending upon how you measure, I'm 2/3 of the way through it. Since I'm basing that on what page I'm up to relative to the last page, I'm probably further than that, since I deleted a bunch of scenes and pages along the way. The end is in sight, and this makes me excited.

I don't know why, but I actually enjoy chopping out parts of my story. One less paragraph or page or scene to spend time reworking/rewriting/tweaking, I guess.

But sometimes, I worry I've chopped too much. That scene that seems to add nothing, what if it tells us something about the character? What if it helps with the pacing? What if I've taken out all of the quirky parts just because I don't think they drive the plot forward? What if I've somehow sanitized it, made it more generic?

These are the thoughts that sometimes go through my head, the worry that, in revising a scene, I will somehow make it worse instead of better.

But most of the time, I just enjoy the process. This time around, I made some massive structural changes from Draft 1 to Draft 2, and I've also been enjoying how the novel keeps getting shorter, because I know my original word count was too high, and the new one will be significantly lower. And there's something satisfying about making it all work. 

And there's also something satisfying, in general, about just getting back to my writing. Over the winter, I moved away from it for a bit. I forgot how good it feels. I keep wanting to stay up later to work on my story. It's a good feeling.
taylweaver: (Default)
A lot, apparently.

Especially when it comes to characters in my novels.

I've known for a while that it's important for me to feel like the name matches the character. And I think I knew that sometimes character grows a bit out of the name.

But this evening, I think I figured out why I was feeling like a novel I wrote last spring just wasn't working.

It's the name of the main character. It somehow gave the narrative a certain flavor that didn't feel like my own, and made the character's personality different from what i wanted.

Which means that, when I eventually try to rewrite it, I will be giving the main character a slightly different name - and I can already feel him morphing in my head as I consider the possibilities. The difference between Elvin (the current name) and, say, Alfie (one of the possibilities) is huge. (Also considering Elvis, and a few others. And definitely open to suggestions, though it's not urgent. Currently working on the novel from a year ago November, in which all of the names are just fine.)

As an aside, by way of explanation, I needed his name to sound a bit like Elephant, and the day after I got the idea, a student named Elvin walked into a room where i was working in one of my schools. It sounded perfect. But now, I am realizing it may be far from it.

Anyway, it won't be the first time I've changed a name after at least part of a project is written. (Even changing Hayley to Hailey made a difference), but it's the first time I've realized a name might be a major reason a novel isn't working the way I want it to. 
taylweaver: (Default)
So, as it turns out, that final read-through is taking me a bit longer than planned. I still have 90 pages to go out of 250-ish, and then I have to go back and fix one inconsistency that I found.

So remember how I said I'd send it out to the beta readers by the end of the weekend? Well... how about some time before *next* weekend?

Also, so many of you volunteered to beta read for me, and so I want to say thank you. I think it would be a bit too overwhelming to send it to everyone who offered, so if you don't end up getting to beta read, please do not take it personally.
taylweaver: (Default)
So Nanowrimo is over. And I finished the novel in November for once - just barely - as noted in my previous post.

And now it is going to sit in a metaphorical drawer (which is to say, unopened on my computer and on my flash drive) until at least January.

In the meantime, I need to move my brain to something else, so I picked up last year's Nano novel, because I was in the middle of working on editing it when November started, so it seemed like a good idea to go back to it.

On the plus side, Alexis's voice (last year's) is different from Ben's (this year's), which is a good thing. I hear her differently in my head, and I wrote her differently.

On the minus side, I am having such a tough time focusing back in on the other novel now. I am still so rooted in this year's that it is hard to go back to a different project.

I've never done this before, moved from one project to another in such a short timespan. And I had no issues moving in the opposite direction - when November began and I put down last year's to start this year's.

Anyway, it's interesting, and I felt like sharing - so I did.
taylweaver: (Default)
As of this evening, my novel has hit 75,736 words.

And no, it isn't done yet. I thought it would be, by 75,000, but the story just keeps going. I know what the climax is, and I know what steps I need to take to get there, but all this other stuff keeps happening in between! Still, it's exciting. I don't think I have ever written anything this long.

And I do still plan to finish it by the end of November. (Really. Really, really.)

If I can keep it under 100,000, I should be able to, based on the pace I have been keeping.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, saw Twilight the movie last night. It was bad. It really was. In so many ways.

Maybe now, I can finally stop being obsessed with the series.

Oh, and I went to the annual discounted booksale I go to today. The one where brand new books cost $4 and $2 and all sorts of other fun, low prices. I am pleased to report I spent under $50 this year. But they had a terrible selection - or lack thereof - on the scifi/fantasy table. So much for stocking up on new books to read. Oh well.
taylweaver: (Default)
There is still, as always, something special about stepping inside that voting machine and throwing the huge lever across to sink in your vote. There is something even more special about casting a vote in what will be, either way, a historic Election Day. Everywhere I go, I hear stories about people who woke up when the polls opened, who waited an hour in lines that stretched around the block, or snaked back and forth until they were four layers deep. I arrived at my polling place at 4:30 pm, and it was set up as it always is. My district (all of once city block) still votes in the same place in the same room. There were six or seven people ahead of me - a pretty short line - though it still took about 15 minutes to get up to me. But since my district is all of one city block, it should be no surprise that the person ahead of me in line lives in my building, so we stood there chatting.

The poll worker told me that in all the years she has been doing this, it has never been so busy. That just made it feel even more special. To be able to vote in an election like this one.

I do hope it turns out the way I want it to. Ideally by tomorrow morning and not a month from now. (Yeah, I got to vote in *that* election too. Eight years ago today was the first time I ever voted.)

I cast my vote around sunset, even though it was not yet five pm. Apparently, election day now also means fall and winter to me. The weather was mild, but there were leaves on the ground, I noticed for the first time this season. It made me a bit contemplative, to emerge at 4:50 from the school where I vote and note how it was already getting dark.

Then, I came home and wrote 2,000 words of novel. Despite the 2,000 I had to un-write last night to fix a plot problem (had to backtrack), I am already past the 10,000 word mark. A fifth of the way there, and enjoying it immensely.
taylweaver: (Default)
I think I may finally have finished the rough draft of the novel I began during NaNoWriMo back in November. As some of you may recall, I hit 50,000 words - the word count needed to "win", then sort of stopped mid-book.

The "final" word count is around 57,000, and there are definitely some things I wanted to put in there that didn't make it, but hey, it's a rough draft.

And it found a spot to end.

So now, I need to let it sit for a while, and then begin a process that is going to be new and strange for me - actually revising it and getting it past Draft I and into Draft II.

If anyone knows of any good resources on revision, please do let me know.

But meanwhile, I think it's done!

I won!

Nov. 28th, 2006 07:12 pm
taylweaver: (Winner)
52,229 - or so the word counter says...

Before I saved it to a .txt file, it was 51,320. Not sure how saving it as text added 900 words - but either way, I am above 50,000.

Plus, the rough draft is finished.

Now what? :)
taylweaver: (Default)
So it's been nearly a year since I've written anything - and much longer than that since I have worked seriously on a story that went beyond brainstorming and detailed outlines in the form of detached, unordered scenes.

Until this week.

Sunday evening found [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer and me in Barnes and Noble, randomly browsing, first in the scifi/fantasy section, and then in the writing section. And it was probably during the time we spent in the latter section, browsing through random books of anecdotes, exercises, advice and general writing humor that we both started lamenting - again - the fact that it has been far too long since either of us has written.

So we made an agreement. Sort of like how we learned Mishlei by keeping each other on track (if only we could finish Yirmiyahu the same way...) Anyway, we both agreed to write 1000 words of story a day - the same story - though I got her to give me a week to try out different ones until I got one that was working - five days a week (Shabbat sort of messes with Friday and Saturday).

And I have to say, the whole chevruta thing - sharing this goal with a partner - seems to have something to it. Granted, today is only Day 3 (and for my story, it's Day 2, because the first one I tried felt all wrong from the start), but so far, it is a good feeling, both to be writing again, and to have a day in mind.

It is interesting to need to write 1000 words a day. It is also interesting to stop when I reach that point. I could take out my story right now and continue it - but I feel like maybe there is something to be said for restraint. By using 1000 words (or, in my case, about 6 pages, since I am writing by hand) as not only a daily goal, but also a rough daily limit, I am pacing myself in a strange way - and also anticipating another day of writing.

I mean, if I am on a roll and it isn't my stop yet on the subway, I would keep going beyond that mark, but once I stop, I won't go back to it until tomorrow. This not only builds the anticipation and the desire to continue, but also gives my ideas some time to stew so that I don't just keep ploughing forward.

It also helps to know that by stopping when I want to continue, I leave myself with an idea of where to continue tomorrow.

Anyway, pacing myself like this is an interesting exercise in both discipline and restraint and I am enjoying it.

Now, let's see how many days [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer and I can keep this up...

But so far, it feels like it was a good idea.

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