Noveling in February! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 02-01-2009, 04:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just realized partially through my reply in the other thread that it's not January anymore! So I'm starting a new thread with a link to the old & then my original post.

Noveling in January

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Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post
What, page 70 and nobody's died? I'd killed at least half a dozen people by then. But then.... much different books and all. (Actually in mine, nobody dies between chapters 14 and 28, which is quite a long run.)
Well, it's actually kind of a cliché (I feel) in urban fantasy that there have to be dead bodies involved before it becomes important enough for the main characters to care about. So it's actually a plot point for me that they are trying to solve things before anybody gets killed (oh, the bad guys will die, but not this early ).

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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
I finished my 1st draft!!! :

it's got some editing - ok, TONS of editing - ahead, but I did it and I had to share my news with someone, anyone!!

now, do I print it out and read it/edit? Or just do in on the computer? It ended up being 698 pages (133K words) so it'll take a bit of paper...but then, to print it all out and see exactly how big it is...I think that would hit it home more than typing the words "THE END"...I think I need to feel the weight of what I did in my hands if you know what I mean
Congrats on finishing! I have always really like Stephen King's advice on this, which is to let the draft sit for awhile (I think he actually prints his out, but that can really ruin your ink budget, can't it?), work on something else perhaps, and then come back to it fresh and read through it with new eyes, correcting as you go.

Personally, I am hand-writing my first draft, so I'll be revising it as I type it into the computer.

I went to Barnes & Noble today & bought a German/English dictionary to carry around with me. The MC's magic words are in German (because she's partially of German descent), but I don't remember the language well enough. Now I have something portable; a nice alternative to trying to look things up on my phone in the last seconds before class starts.

I also managed to not buy any writing magazines, because I know myself well enough to realize that I would use reading up on how to write as an excuse to NOT write.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#2 of 39 Old 02-02-2009, 01:25 AM
 
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How in the world did it get to be February already???? Wasn't it just NYE about, oh, last week?

My only writing achievements of the weekend are the rush through chapters 16, 17, and 18 again, slice out about 600 words, and upload them to my writing group. Who I am sure will rip them apart. This chunk is my least favorite of the whole novel and I'm kinda dreading the feedback, but maybe they will have some interesting ideas on how to make them work better.

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Well, it's actually kind of a cliché (I feel) in urban fantasy that there have to be dead bodies involved before it becomes important enough for the main characters to care about.
I'll give that a thumbs up. It seems to be the trend in urbans for the characters to be sort of hard-boiled tough guys/girls.

I think I may be breaking some kind of sword&sorcery cliche but not having a single war or other military battle-type event in my whole book. Also, no romance.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#3 of 39 Old 02-02-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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Here! I'm here!

I finished my 1st draft the last day of January! Yeah! Now I can edit till the cows come home in February...and hopefully end up with something I can show people in my writing circle, as they are begging to read it...I just can't let them read it until I feel it's not totally crap...kwim?
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#4 of 39 Old 02-04-2009, 02:30 AM
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Subbing. Yay, for finishing first drafts! I am a big subscriber of the "crappy first draft" school of writing, so I am right there with you editing and editing. And editing.

I agree, let it sit a while, unless there are big things you know right away you want to insert. And Yay!

I have been slogging through maps and doing calculations of how long it would take my characters to get to certain places as they run away from the bad guy. It's taken forever but it feels really good to have finally nailed it all down, because when I wrote it I knew it was totally vague and incorrect.

Now I have to decide if I'm going to totally change a bunch of the phsyical set up of my goddess-worshiping mountain commune. And keep gong through smoothing things out, discovering parts to add, until I have to insert a huge new side adventure I have lined up.

gotta go nurse...
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#5 of 39 Old 02-04-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
Here! I'm here!
Yeah! Now I can edit till the cows come home in February...and hopefully end up with something I can show people in my writing circle, as they are begging to read it...I just can't let them read it until I feel it's not totally crap...kwim?
Are you going to try to do all your edits in Feb? I have to say I've been slogging through edits for like 2 months now and I'm getting really tired of the editing phase!!

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I have been slogging through maps and doing calculations of how long it would take my characters to get to certain places as they run away from the bad guy. It's taken forever but it feels really good to have finally nailed it all down, because when I wrote it I knew it was totally vague and incorrect.
I need to sit down and do that. As my writing group pointed out in the last couple weeks, at the moment I have my character traveling from one pount to another point, and during the journey they manage to go all 4 cardinal directions. Whoops.


I have a brainstorm yesterday on the way home and outlined about 1/3 of Book #2. And came up with some name ideas for Book #1 that didn't totally stink! Although the first one (which I do love because it gets to the essence of the story) might be too easily misinterpreted as some S&M thing.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#6 of 39 Old 02-06-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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I just wrote "The End"!! ::: I hadn't ever written the last chapter and I thought had a couple thousand words left but suddenly I just.... got to the end.

77,400 words according to MS Word. I think if I popped it all into 1 big file and put it into proper manuscript format and did a "proper" hand wordcount, it would come out to 83k-85k, which is awesome for a fantasy novel. Once I revise it a bit based on the comments from my writing group I suspect it'll be 90-95k.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#7 of 39 Old 02-07-2009, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Congratulations, Aufilia! I'm glad to hear you've gotten it to the end.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#8 of 39 Old 02-07-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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I just started revising my novel from NaNoWriMo..and I took Stephen Kings advice and put it away for a while.

The first 4 chapters don't suck. But they still need a lot of work. They need filling. They are empty somehow. My story is good, my writing...borrrrrrring.

but that's ok. I'll get there.
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#9 of 39 Old 02-09-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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Allgirls -- "Doesn't suck" is a great place to start. It's all uphill from there, right?


I've been working on a synopsis. I think I'm going to enter the Pacific Northwest Writers Assoc's literary contest. So I need to polish the first 3 chapters and writer a synopsis, and the whole things needs to end up 28 pages or less.

Anyhow, so I think I've read every word ever posted on the internet about writing a novel synopsis and I thought I'd share the most helpful thing I found with you girls: 5 steps to writing a synopsis.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#10 of 39 Old 02-10-2009, 12:19 AM
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I thought I'd share the most helpful thing I found with you girls: 5 steps to writing a synopsis.
See, this is helpful! Especially the part where you found the helpful information and shared it, because researching online just about writing eats up way too much time! Thanks :

I got some serious editing done today, and I even get the laptop again later tonight so I might do more if DD doesn't demand to be sleeping on the boob. Yay! (And seriously? How much would I LOVE a cheapo little netbook these days? Sigh.) Any work at all on a given day is a great thing, lately.

Another writer mama and I are seriously talking about starting a little writing group. We both write poetry and have novels in need of editing. I think I might make a new thread in case a mama from the area is right here on this forum and wants to join. I'm hoping that group would keep kicking me in the rear to keep working... and it would be terrifying but helpful, I hope, to get feedback.

Hooray for writing "the end" and not sucking!
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#11 of 39 Old 02-11-2009, 04:21 AM
 
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I've always thought about writing a book but every time I tried it was just a mess. I didn't have a good enough idea and it wasn't going anywhere.

The other day out of the blue I had a zinger of an idea that works nicely with my life experience--"write what you know" and I've been working on getting started.

I wrote the characters on card and am working on developing them a bit as well as thinking about the story line.

Do you outline your novel? What are your best tips for getting started?
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#12 of 39 Old 02-11-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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See, this is helpful! Especially the part where you found the helpful information and shared it, because researching online just about writing eats up way too much time! Thanks :
I hope it's a useful link! Now if I could just find someone who could explain the mini synopsis that goes in the query letter as neatly....

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Another writer mama and I are seriously talking about starting a little writing group. We both write poetry and have novels in need of editing. I think I might make a new thread in case a mama from the area is right here on this forum and wants to join. I'm hoping that group would keep kicking me in the rear to keep working... and it would be terrifying but helpful, I hope, to get feedback.
I am a big fan of writing groups--I love mine. They have helped a lot in the revision process. I am always a bit terrified when it's my turn to be critiqued, but I get a big kick out of how after everyone's done with their crit, I can actually just discuss the story with people. I love that.

The best advice I've heard for writing groups is that it's critical to put together a group of people with the same goals and level of commitment. It is far less important what they are writing (genre-wise or length) or how well they write.

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I've always thought about writing a book but every time I tried it was just a mess. I didn't have a good enough idea and it wasn't going anywhere.

The other day out of the blue I had a zinger of an idea that works nicely with my life experience--"write what you know" and I've been working on getting started.

I wrote the characters on card and am working on developing them a bit as well as thinking about the story line.

Do you outline your novel? What are your best tips for getting started?
Awesome! I love fresh, beautiful new ideas!

For this novel, I actually started with (and it's a long story, but true) with long synopsis. I was taking a synopsis-writing class back in like 2005. When I started the class I had sort of mapped out the first 2 or 3 chapters and I had the main characters and world in place, and NO CLUE what happened after that. To complete the class assignments I had to make up the rest of the story. After that I got pregnant with DD and dropped the project entirely, and didn't touch it again until last October. At that point I transferred my synopsis into a scene-by-scene outline in an Excel spreadsheet. I just have 2 or 3 sentences reminding myself the main action and possible emotional outcome. I also keep a scene-by-scene wordcount, mostly for my own references.

My best novel-writing advice so far:

(1) Give yourself permission to write badly. It's ok if you end up writing stilted dialog, change your character's hair color every other page, and can't be bothered to figure out where two places are in relation to each other. That's not important in the first draft. You can fix all of it later.

(1.5) Avoid going back and "fixing" your badly written stilted dialogue & etc until you are done with the first draft.

(2) Set yourself a daily goal and stick with it. I did NaNoWriMo last November, so my goal was 1667 words per day. After November I reduced my daily goal to 500 new words + revising whatever my writing group was going to get to read the next week. Accept that to get to your goal, you may have to write some crap. I have a LiveJournal group (thing_in_150) where I report my daily wordcount, which keeps me honest with myself.

(3) Don't let the "I suck"s drag you down. If you finish your first draft, you are ahead of like 99% of everyone else.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#13 of 39 Old 02-12-2009, 03:15 AM
 
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Thanks
The permission to write badly is what I need!:
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#14 of 39 Old 02-13-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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I've had this book floating around in my head for about three years now. I finally started writing it! My goal is to get it done by the time my DD is born at the end of May... I love to write, and have done so much of the 'pre-planning' in my head that I feel like it's a do-able goal...

My story is about a hippy chick who doesn't know that she is one until she meets some cool people and starts having all kinds of amazing experiences. She finds herself and learns to be happy within herself. Also, she falls in love with a hippy boy

Happy writing!

Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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#15 of 39 Old 02-13-2009, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is the method of outlining/getting started that works best for me: Holly Lisle's "notecarding".

Actually, I loveloveLOVE everything Holly Lisle has in her Workshops section. It's mainly geared toward fantasy, but it's adaptable to any genre.

I was getting nowhere until I plotted this current novel out on notecards. I mean, I'd been ruminating over the gist of the novel for years--I wanted to write an urban fantasy novel with strong Texas ties, featuring our local folklore--and that germ of an idea & her notecarding got me started. I really can't say enough about it; it's marvelous. I adapted it a bit--since I'm writing from the first person POV, I can't have scenes with different characters not the main one, so I arranged mine in terms of plots--main plot, and two sub-plots. I divvied my cards up by that, instead of by characters as she suggests. Otherwise, I've done it pretty much the same as she suggests--except that since I am hand-writing my rough draft, I'm carting the notecards around in my backpack (wrapped up in a ponytail holder, after I had to put them back in order). I love this outline method because it's a snap to re-arrange plot points if they start to make more sense in a different order. But you have to know yourself well enough & make sure you're not just rearranging cards as an excuse not to write (I have tons of excuses!).

As for me, right now...I need to research broad spectrum chromatography. And here I thought I was writing fantasy so I could avoid scientific research!

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#16 of 39 Old 02-14-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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(3) Don't let the "I suck"s drag you down. If you finish your first draft, you are ahead of like 99% of everyone else.
You say that, and then now that I'm out of my 'writing closet' all I see are writers! everywhere! Everyone I know is writing a book now, oh and they ALL know an editor...it's hilarious

I am attempting to print out my disastrous 1st draft so I can read it through once, LMAO, and then start to tear it apart...I feel as thought I'm going to love the editing portion, making it all nice and shiny, polishing it up...I edit in my head all the time, no matter what I'm reading or listening too...maybe that's my forte...

oh, and I'm not sure if this happens to anyone else (but I figured HERE I could say it and maybe not be viewed as a nut) but when I'm - you know - with DH, and we're talking and doing our thing...I see it all typed out before my eyes, as if I'm writing the scene while we're - you know - and even the dialogue is typed out, perfectly, with quotation marks and and returns and everything...tell me that doesn't happen to you!
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#17 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It doesn't happen to me, but it would be wonderful if it did, because I suck at writing those scenes.

And yes, in certain circles everyone is writing a book. Heck, I've been writing one book or another since junior high. I've just never managed to finish any of them. I'm not sure why this time is different, save that a) it just is & b) I have an actual plan for the entire thing. Most people who tell you they're writing a book are like I was for most of the past 18 years--always scribbling something, but never making any headway, and without any real plan to do so.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#18 of 39 Old 02-15-2009, 03:56 AM
 
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Thank you for the outlining link! I'll take a peek.
I actually wrote 600 words the other day and did research on names.

As well as a bit more and putting the character's info on cards. It's a start!
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#19 of 39 Old 02-16-2009, 04:17 AM
 
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It doesn't happen to me, but it would be wonderful if it did, because I suck at writing those scenes.

And yes, in certain circles everyone is writing a book. Heck, I've been writing one book or another since junior high. I've just never managed to finish any of them. I'm not sure why this time is different, save that a) it just is & b) I have an actual plan for the entire thing. Most people who tell you they're writing a book are like I was for most of the past 18 years--always scribbling something, but never making any headway, and without any real plan to do so.
oh, honey, that was me too for the past 18 years! But I was in a closet about my writing and I probably wouldn't have come out on my own tuition if I hadn't been outed in front of everyone I knew while opening a present at my 30th Birthday party... I guess I'm just blown away at other people NOT being in a writing closet! And I am like "Way to go!" when they tell me, both about writing AND being confident enough to say so...it it only hadn't taken ME that long to feel that way...

eh, C'est la vie...
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#20 of 39 Old 02-17-2009, 03:27 PM
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I think the more people you tell, the more it MAKES you get work done, because they're going to ask you about it sometime and you don't want to feel like a fraud!

I'm pretty surprised at how many people want to join the writing group we're starting up. Everyone is a writer-- it's great!

As for actually noveling...
I've been getting a lot of work done editing my first draft. It slowed down at a certain point and I worried it was just going to get REALLY hard and dreadful... but after a few days of staring at the next section, it started moving again. I think I was just way more familiar with the first chunk of the book and what I needed to do with it. I needed time to mentally move on to the next bit. Whew!

Oh, and thanks, Erin, for the tips... we're casting a wide net right now, but hopefully it'll shake out to a similar group of writers. I figure it might break in two, even, if necessary.

I just desperately want to be working on it... and of course I get a few hours several days a week... during my sleepy time of day. I'm thinking of changing the schedule we've worked out, because I want to be more productive. I go back to work (teaching part time) in August and I really need to have this revision done, and it would be great if I was well into the sequel by then...
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#21 of 39 Old 02-19-2009, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I got the chromatography thing figured out. Who could have guessed there are so many different forms? I decided to use a take-off of paper chromatography, as that's what I saw in my mind when I decided to use it. It has the bonus of being a simple test to perform & therefore explain.

I also realized today while scribbling that my heroine just knows one heck of a lot more than most in this genre. She's a professional.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#22 of 39 Old 02-19-2009, 04:02 AM
 
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I started! I wrote five pages the other day and seven more today (in 1.5 hours!) - and it's mostly all pretty dang good! Wow it feels so good to finally start WRITING this sucker instead of just thinking about it! In fact, I have at least the first 3-4 chapters all planned out on paper and in my head yay!

Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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#23 of 39 Old 02-19-2009, 03:56 PM
 
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I also realized today while scribbling that my heroine just knows one heck of a lot more than most in this genre. She's a professional.
It's great to have helpful characters, isn't it?

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I started! I wrote five pages the other day and seven more today (in 1.5 hours!) - and it's mostly all pretty dang good! Wow it feels so good to finally start WRITING this sucker instead of just thinking about it! In fact, I have at least the first 3-4 chapters all planned out on paper and in my head yay!
Go you! That sounds like a great start.


Me: So it turns out I'm sorta pregnant (5w4d) and it's already screwing with my noveling because I am soooooo tired in the evenings, and that's when I usually write. Yesterday I went to bed 1.5 hours early.

I finished the long synopsis (5 pages) and revised the first two chapters and scene 1 of chapter 3, and I'm submitting all of that to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association summer literary contest. I just have to get up the energy to walk over to the drug store and buy a ginormous manilla envelope to mail it all (in triplicate, of course!) off in...

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#24 of 39 Old 02-19-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Thanks Aufilia! I wrote another 10 pages late last night. It's like now that I started, I can't stop

As for the being pregnant thing, I'm about 7 months along, and am a night owl as well. For the first 6 or so months of pregnancy, I was in bed almost every night by ten! Maybe your early to bed phase won't last as long as mine

Congrats on the new baby!

Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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#25 of 39 Old 02-21-2009, 03:23 PM
 
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It's great to have helpful characters, isn't it?



Go you! That sounds like a great start.


Me: So it turns out I'm sorta pregnant (5w4d) and it's already screwing with my noveling because I am soooooo tired in the evenings, and that's when I usually write. Yesterday I went to bed 1.5 hours early.

I finished the long synopsis (5 pages) and revised the first two chapters and scene 1 of chapter 3, and I'm submitting all of that to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association summer literary contest. I just have to get up the energy to walk over to the drug store and buy a ginormous manilla envelope to mail it all (in triplicate, of course!) off in...
Congratulations!!! :
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#26 of 39 Old 02-22-2009, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Congratulations, Aufilia. Make the hubby go buy your envelopes, it's partly his fault you can't stay awake. And who knows, perhaps some of those wonderfully vivid pregnancy dreams will help you plot your next novel. I used to get some great story ideas while pregnant.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#27 of 39 Old 02-22-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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Can I join? I'm starting afresh, and would like some company to keep me going. Pretty please?

I'm very impressed with everyone who actually finished their first draft. 133K (!) I hope to get there some day, but I'm taking it 1000 at a time. My goal is to write 1K a day, so hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a finished draft on my hands.

*pulling a chair up and joining the club*

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#28 of 39 Old 02-22-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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Can I join? I'm starting afresh, and would like some company to keep me going. Pretty please?

I'm very impressed with everyone who actually finished their first draft. 133K (!) I hope to get there some day, but I'm taking it 1000 at a time. My goal is to write 1K a day, so hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a finished draft on my hands.

*pulling a chair up and joining the club*
Welcome!!! writers write, right?


I am about halfway through reading my printed out beast of a first draft...I had to go out and get new ink and another reem of paper! I didn't realized just how much 133K was until I had to feed the printer for an entire day...holy cow...anyway...I'm not sure I want to just read it anymore...my itch to start editing is practically stagnating me from reading any further. Should I just start hacking away at it? Or first read it and then hack away?
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#29 of 39 Old 02-23-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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And who knows, perhaps some of those wonderfully vivid pregnancy dreams will help you plot your next novel. I used to get some great story ideas while pregnant.
Hah, I hope! So far I've only had stupid, repetitive dreams about boring crap, like whether or not bus 311 goes through my neighborhood. When I was pregnant with DD I actually stopped reading fiction entirely because I would have vivid yet incredibly stupid, repetative and BORING dreams about whatever I'd read that day. It drove me nuts.

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Can I join? I'm starting afresh, and would like some company to keep me going. Pretty please?

I'm very impressed with everyone who actually finished their first draft. 133K (!) I hope to get there some day, but I'm taking it 1000 at a time. My goal is to write 1K a day, so hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a finished draft on my hands.
At 1k a day it won't take you that long -- maybe 3 months!

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I am about halfway through reading my printed out beast of a first draft...I had to go out and get new ink and another reem of paper! I didn't realized just how much 133K was until I had to feed the printer for an entire day...holy cow...anyway...I'm not sure I want to just read it anymore...my itch to start editing is practically stagnating me from reading any further. Should I just start hacking away at it? Or first read it and then hack away?
Ugh, I'm not good with questions like this. I never have read through my whole novel in a sitting. I will read through 5-6 chapters at once, though. I've been editing 2-3 chapters a week before sending them to my writing group, then sometimes if I feel sparked by what they say I'll go back and re-edit those same chapters again right away.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#30 of 39 Old 02-24-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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Ugh, I'm not good with questions like this. I never have read through my whole novel in a sitting. I will read through 5-6 chapters at once, though. I've been editing 2-3 chapters a week before sending them to my writing group, then sometimes if I feel sparked by what they say I'll go back and re-edit those same chapters again right away.
so you have a writing group, as in a critique group? how did you find yours?
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