Progress Update

I’ve managed to slog my way through more of the Touchdown novel this week, taking me up to 26,218 words, or probably about 1/3 of the way there. It’s an increase of under 3,000 words for the week, certainly not my best week ever, but I consider it respectable since I’m still fighting serious writer’s block.

I have a feeling that I’m going to end up junking a lot of this part, since if it’s no fun for me to write it’ll likely be no fun for anyone to read, but that’s just the nature of writing a novel.

Meanwhile, I’ve done some background work on submissions. It’s time to hit another cycle since all of my works have come back in with rejections. I had been putting it off until I feel better; now is that time.  I also wrote a couple of blog posts so that I can build my buffer back up from “do or die” levels (though one of the posts is itself on the perils of over-buffering).

All in all, the week has been moderately productive, though not amazing. I’ll take it. It feels like I’m on the road to recovery.

Progress Update–Kicking Camp NaNo Off Right

April is Camp NaNo season.  It’s basically a miniature NaNoWriMo, where you set your own word count goal and try to write every day.  This means I’ve started working on my third novel.

Since I knew I would want to get a midnight start with a friend (and since I’m all caught up with my day job at the moment), I preemptively took today as a vacation day from work.  Much like with NaNoWriMo, I’ve set my word count goal to 50,000 for the month of April.  So far, I’m rocking it with a word count of 3998.

I know that there will be days with significantly less, so I try to frontload as much as possible.  This story has been percolating since January and I’ve been excited to start writing on it since last week, so I have a lot of energy right now.  I know that in a week or two, it’s going to be a slog.  But at this point I already write two hours at least five nights a week.  I plan on scheduling extra writing time on Saturdays as well, so I’m fairly confident I can hit 50,000 words.

If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to finish the novel.

But more realistically, I plan on finishing some time in May.  Then I’ll pick up the Flight Novel again and start revisions on that.  Those should carry me through until September or October, when I’ll start prep work for NaNoWriMo.  I think NaNoWriMo this year will be a sequel to one of the manuscripts I’ve already written.  Right now I’m getting good at practicing writing the first book in a series, but unless I start writing second books in sequence, I’ll never get good at that.  Third books in a given sequence are a problem for Future Tricia to worry about.

Of course, these plans are all contingent.  If I find an agent for the Plague Novel, I’ll no doubt have serious work to do on that interspersed in all of the other things I’m doing.  Thank goodness my day job has taught me how to multitask.

Touchdown Progress Update

The outline for the Touchdown Novel is now complete.  I’m doing something new, where I send out the first 2/3 to some friends to look at and let me know what questions they have as they’re going through and how they think the various plots and subplots are going to end.  The ultimate goal is to make sure that my ending isn’t going to be a let-down.

While they’re reading for me, I’m going to flesh out a couple of secondary characters that I came up with during outlining and do some other necessary prewriting stuff.  I hope to have responses by early next week so that I can make adjustments if I need to.

The major thing I’m struggling with right now is that I’m still not super excited with my main character’s voice.  I hope that’s going to come to me as I actually start writing, because I’ve settled on a first-person narrative, so the voice is going to be crucial.

Meanwhile, I wish I’d come up with a better working title so that it stops sounding like a football story.  But the scrivener file is titled and I’ve been calling it that here for a while, so I’m locked in.  Not really.  Actually, the problem is that I doubt I’ll find anything I like better.

Progress Update

I had a fairly depressed weekend and didn’t end up getting in as much weekend writing as I usually do.  What energy I did have, I devoted to re-writing and cleaning up a guest blog post for Queer Girl Cafe.  That should go up on Monday.  I haven’t ever done much in the way of creative nonfiction, and it was surprisingly hard to write about myself and my experiences in a narrative format.  Hopefully it ends up making sense without being extremely boring.  The editor will tell me if it’s boring, right?  I sure hope so.

I mostly recovered from my depressed swing by Tuesday.  Much of my writing time this week went into researching my second setting for the Touchdown novel, the planetary setting.  I buried myself up to my eyebrows in research and then finished the basic workup while I was at my monthly NaNoWriMo group’s meeting last night.

Today, I moved on to starting my plot outline.  This is the part where I work off of my plot/conflict bullets, with the characters and settings I’ve written up, to basically get the entire narrative down from start to finish, broken down by scenes.  I hope to have this part finished up by next week or the week after so that I can send it off to a couple of my critique partners to get their impressions of whether the story seems interesting and whether it’s too predictable while I go back and research to fill in the gaps of things I didn’t even know I needed to know.

The goal is to start writing on the Touchdown novel for Camp NaNoWriMo.  We all organized ourselves into a “cabin” at last night’s monthly meeting, and hopefully the peer pressure will get me through like it does for normal NaNoWriMo.  I’m not sure I intend to go quiet as crazy as I do in November, but the sooner I get the Touchdown novel drafted, the sooner I can go back to the Flight novel and start the revision process.  My excitement for both just keeps on growing, so I think I’m on the right track.

Meanwhile, I’m still in the query phase with the Plague novel.  The entire traditional publishing process is very hurry up and wait and I’m not seriously concerned about the fact I haven’t heard back from the two agents who requested full manuscripts yet.  I do still have more queries to send out, as well, but I just haven’t had the mental fortitude for it.  Maybe now that we’re in March, I’ll be able to pull out my spreadsheet and my preparation materials and dig back into it.  If nothing else, it’ll give me something to do when my creative energy just isn’t there.

“Friday” Progress Update

Yes, my usual update post is late! I picked my niece up after work for a niece-aunt slumber party, and somehow my progress post slipped my mind.

I mostly worked on book 3 this last week, specifically on the settings. I’m definitely more on the space opera side of sf than the hard sf side, but there is still a certain amount of plausibility that I want my story to have. Which means I’m doing a whole lot of research right now, and not very much writing.

In good news, I finished up my main characters and have about half of one of the two main settings figured out. In bad news, I’m not in love with the way my MC’s voice turned out, so I’ll probably have to re-write her a couple of times until I find a good voice for her. That was mildly discouraging, since I was hoping to be “done” with character pre-writing by now. The silver lining is that it’s a lot easier to fix in a 500 word background than it would be to fix after writing the whole book.

Even though I logically know the bright side of my MC problem, I’ve been feeling discouraged a lot in general lately. I think the wintery weather combined with receiving rejections on submissions are causing it. I’m glad that I have something to work on that doesn’t require huge amounts of creative energy, because that is definitely lacking in my life right now. The good news is that since I’ve gone through this cycle several times in the past few years, so I know that this will pass.