Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Moving Forward with this Writing Thing

I got some really great feedback after posting my Power of Tension blogfest entry last week. The scene seems to do all that I wanted it to. When I first began writing the story, I intended that to be the first scene. My instinct was to keep my readers guessing for as long as possible but try to hook them with tension and intrigue. Then I began to second guess myself, thinking that I wasn't going to be able to write it well enough to accomplish those goals. I thought perhaps I should start earlier so that readers know what is going on. Now I'm leaning toward my original plan. One's creative instinct is generally correct. The only question is whether I can make the events that happen as exciting as I want to. And the only way to find out is to try.

I've been taking it easy on the writing front the past two months because I have a new baby. Corwin is two months old now and I have to say he's the most well behaved (so far) of my four children. He is just so laid back in the face of an admittedly chaotic and extremely loud household that it's practically a miracle. He's not sleeping through the night yet, but he's regular enough that I feel I can try to schedule myself some writing time now. I want to get this book that I've been planning and pondering for months finally written!

I recently came across this insanely brilliant writing challenge: A Round of Words in 80 Days. Unlike NaNoWriMo, it's a challenge designed for people who have busy lives (see above re: four children) and it allows you to create your own writing goals specifically tailored to your life and what you feel you can accomplish and if stuff happens (which it always does) they welcome you to adjust your goals as you go. Each session is 80 days long and it runs multiple times a year. The next session begins on July 4th and I plan to join in then. My goal will be to write my book in 80 days. (Which is probably delusional, but if I don't make it no one's going to hunt me down.... I think.) In the meantime, during June my writing goal is to fully outline my story.

Yes, I'm a plotter. As a writer I need to have a plan, I need to know in what direction my story is going. Only then does my creative brain feel confident to explore, within the guidelines of the plan. Though, of course, I am always open to new ideas that come along if I feel they would serve the story better. I'm a flexible plotter.

The way I outline is really almost like a first draft. I try to write a complete account of the plot in a sort of history book fashion. I write everything about the story that comes to mind in a condensed form without worrying about prose. Sometimes if a line of dialogue pops into me head while outlining I'll write that down too. I include any details that I think are important. When I'm done, the goal is to have the structure of the story worked out so that I can focus on the more artistic aspects in the next draft.

So those are my goals for the summer. I'll be updating my progress here as I go and perhaps including snippets of the stuff I write occasionally. Wish me luck!


  1. Absolutely fantastic!
    Always remember: I'm always here to support you.

  2. Good luck with the 80 Days! I'm waiting for Camp NaNo to roll about to do something similar. :)

    Your outline methods sounds a lot like mine. I try to mark down scene cuts if I can think of it, but if I removed it, it'd look like a shortened version of the novel, from an objective narrator.

  3. Good luck! And I write my outlines the same way. No organized scenes, just a flow of what happens.

  4. Same as Alex, I have a goal in the scene, but those crazy characters take off and lead me to my goal in a different way.

  5. I don't know how you do it with a new baby and three other kids. I have one child --a teen-- and that's enough for me to handle, lol.

    Good luck. I know you'll push through and get it done.

  6. That's an ambitious set of goals. I wish you all the best with them. The ROW80 challenge sounds great!

  7. Lots of good luck! I understand juggling family and writing. The 80 day challenge sounds cool :)

  8. That's a good looking award you got over there! ;-)

    I truly hope you are able to keep at your writing. You've probably already accomplished so much if you really look at it. I know I can be so hard on myself at times, because I expect so much more of me than anyone else. I definitely think the 'writing thing' is a slow burn that only gets brighter and hotter with time.


  9. Great writing goals -- and four children to boot! How do you find the time? Thanks for following my blog, BTW.


  10. Doh! I totally missed the Tension Blogfest--I bet you did fantastic, judging by how well you write in your blogposts alone.

    Thank you for joining our MC Blogfest, you ROCK!

    Have a fab weekend!

  11. Welcome to ROW80! Good luck with your goals :-)

  12. Looking forward to your game picks for Monday's blogfest!

  13. I have to say I'm in awe of anyone who can write with a young child, though Corwin sounds like a delightful baby.

    I've never heard of ROW 80 before; I shall take a peek. I'm also talking about goals later today!

    Ellie Garratt


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