View Full Version : Summer Goal: Finish My 1st Novel

06-26-2005, 07:07 PM
This is an awesome forum!

Now that it's almost July, I've decided that this is the summer that I will actually finish the first draft of the novel I've been working on for over a year. I have 89,000+ words at the moment, but since I've taken the NaNoWriMo approach of writing a super drafty first draft, the plot is all over the place, and the genre is a mix of chick lit/romance meets academic thriller. I feel like I'm lost in the middle and my characters are wandering around searching for a plot or waiting for something to happen.

I'm working on my dissertation this summer too, but it's really important to me that I actually finish this novel so I can print it out and celebrate actually completing something. ;) With the exception of some flash fiction, I've never made it to the end of the short stories and novels I've started.

So, my goal is to write at least 500 words/day (6 days a week). I like the way Ben Mears gives regular updates on his progress, so I'll try to do the same here.

And if there's anyone who wants to buddy up so we can keep each other accountable by exchanging updates on progress/daily goals/word counts/struggles, let me know.

Happy Writing! :)


Today's Goals:

spend a little time with my characters to see what they're up to
quick brainstorm of upcoming scenes
add 500 words
spend a half hour typing up some of the handwritten pages I wrote in May (14 pages in my notebook need to be typed)
post today's progress on this thread

black winged fighter
06-26-2005, 07:36 PM
Good luck on finishing your project! A few suggestions if I may?

Head over to the Writing Novels Forum and check out the thread Learn Writing with Uncle Jim. Some great advice in there about plot, characters...or, if time is scarce, check out the condensed version at the top of the forum's list of threads.
Try and outline (not just brainstorm) upcoming scenes - make them be like footsteps towards the climax (although twisty, starnge footsteps are allowed for sake of surprising the reader *grins*)
And try to designate a specific chunk of time during the day for writing. (Uncle Jim suggests 2 hours) I prefer to do some time in the morning and some in the evening.

Good luck again, and full speed ahead!

06-27-2005, 04:28 AM
Good luck! And I second the read-through of Uncle Jim's thread. It's great! :)

06-27-2005, 07:52 AM
Hi Alanna & Black Winged Fighter,

Thanks for the advice! I found some great stuff in the Uncle Jim thread. I didn't manage to get any new words written today, but I'm going to do what Black Winged Fighter and Uncle Jim suggested and set aside a specific time to write.

And before I go to bed, I'm going to make a quick list of scenes so I can start with a little direction tomorrow

06-27-2005, 03:52 PM
After reading Ben Mears's and Uncle Jim's advice about outlining, I just finished a quick list of upcoming scenes/details. Even though there are only 9 points on my list, I can already feel the plot moving along and I can now "see" the movie playing in my head again.

This morning, I decided to switch gears and get rid of the murder mystery plot. I wasn't having any fun writing it and my characters kept wanting to do other things. It had gotten to the point where I really couldn't visualize them anymore because I just couldn't see how I was going to pull off the situation that I'd gotten them into. And since I would've had to force it to make it work, I'm going to listen to my characters and follow where they want to go for a while. ;)

Today's Goals
1. Write from 11:00-12:00 tonight (it's a bit late, but it's the most realistic time slot in my schedule)
2. Add at least 500 words to novel
3. Make quick list of upcoming scenes for Tuesday's writing
4. Post progress here

Today's Word Count: 0/500

Grand Total: 87,238

black winged fighter
06-27-2005, 06:07 PM
Way to go! As soon as you get into the swing of this routine, you'll find what you're looking for in your plot fast.

06-28-2005, 03:53 PM
The bad news: (news:t) I didn't get my 500 words written last night. I was up till 1am working on school stuff, so I now know that planning to write late at night does not work for me.

The good news: I was having coffee and writing by 5:45 this morning. I managed to get 1005 words written and I'm so happy with the way the words are flowing out of me. It feels like i'm not having to think too much, but just record what's happening in my head. It's a great feeling.

I even made a Writing Log chart so that I can record how many words I write each day. I'm hoping that I can squeeze in a few more words at some point today. We'll see....

Even though the morning is the best time for me to get my writing done, I'm afraid that if I oversleep I won't be able to get in my writing time during the day. So, this new rule will help: If I miss my early morning writing session, I have to make it up during my lunch break.

Thanks for the encouragement black winged fighter and alanna. Knowing that you guys are checking up on my progress is a great motivator.

Happy Writing!

Today's Word Count: 1005/500 :snoopy:

Grand Total: 88,243

black winged fighter
06-28-2005, 06:20 PM
Woohoo - that's double your goal. Keep going, easpecially now you've found your optimum time for writing. I find I write at my best very early or very late in the day (I think it has something to do with my brain still being in a dream state...)

06-29-2005, 04:07 PM
I don't have much time to update the thread this morning. But I'm happy to report that I got in 1000 words this morning between 5:45 and 6:30. I hope I can keep this up. The fun thing I've discovered is that by writing in the morning, my characters stay with me all day, giving me little hints about what they want to do next. It's great!

Thanks for all the encouragement Black Winged Fighter--what are you working on at the moment? And Alanna I hope you're making great progress toward your 25,000 words for the week! :)

Today's Word Count: 1077/500 :snoopy:

Grand Total: 89,337

Creative To Do:
1. Make list of upcoming scenes/details for tomorrow's writing
2. Make a table of contents for my novel binder

06-30-2005, 03:42 PM
After taking a couple months away from the novel, it feels so good to be writing again. I can't wait until I can print the whole thing out and put it in a binder!!

This morning I woke up a little earlier and managed to write from 5:30-6:30. I was disappointed when it was time for me to stop and go have breakfast with my husband.

My main characters are about to break into a house--I have no idea what they're going to find there....

I have to go to work now, but maybe I can sneak in some extra writing time tonight.

Today's Word Count: 1092/500 :banana:

Grand Total: 90,429

07-01-2005, 01:24 PM
I find I write at my best very early or very late in the day (I think it has something to do with my brain still being in a dream state...)

Me too. I think it's because they're the only times of day that it's quiet. No computer whirring..... no cars going by... no tv. Just you and your book. (although I do like the idea of the dreamstate). I work best from 12 - 2am.

litkitty - how long are you planning this book to be? 120k?

07-01-2005, 04:45 PM
I stayed up till 2am working on an uncooperative dissertation chapter :(, so I was way too exhausted to get in my 500 words this morning. But this evening I plan to go to Barnes & Noble for a couple hours, like 7-10, and get in my writing time then.

Hi loquax! I have no idea how long this novel's going to be. It's definitely going to be over 100,000 words. I wouldn't be surprised if the first draft is between 130 and 150,000 words just because it's taken me a while to figure out where the story is going. But I'm finding that writing out a list of upcoming scenes/details every few days is keeping me on a good path, although at times I feel like I'm writing a soap opera that just won't end. haha I'll have to get it down to a more reasonable length during revision.

Ok, time to get busy on the dissertation so I can go to Barnes & Noble tonight.

Hope everyone had a productive week. I'll check in again tonight!


Today's Word Count: 0/500

Grand Total:

07-04-2005, 09:50 PM
Today's the first day I've been able to write since last Thursday. Surprisingly, after a 3-day break, I was able to recover some momentum and push ahead in the plot. My main characters have made a discovery that's going to shape the plot from here on out. Very exciting. I have to catch up on dissertation writing today, but I'm hoping that I might be able to sneak in some more novel time this afternoon.

I also bought a cool notebook so I can start keeping a journal for writing this novel. I got the idea from Elizabeth George's Write Away (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060560444/ref=lpr_g_2/103-9630722-5095831?v=glance&s=books&n=507846). She keeps a "Journal of a Novel" for each book she writes. Does anyone else do this? I figure I'll use it to write about my process, ideas, questions, details, revision, etc.

I also find that listening to the Great Expectations (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000002JEP/qid=1120499169/sr=8-3/ref=pd_bbs_ur_3/103-9630722-5095831?v=glance&s=music&n=507846) really draws me into the world of my novel.

Ok, enough babbling from me. I've got to eat lunch and transition into academic writing. :gone:

Today's Word Count: :snoopy: 3,018/500 :snoopy:

Grand Total: 93,456

07-06-2005, 05:10 PM
Even though I was swamped with dissertation work yesterday, I managed to add 400+ words around 1am and then when I woke up this morning I added 700 more. I'm already looking forward to stealing a little time to write tonight.

The cool thing is that the more I write, the more I want to write. A nice little addiction is building up. I was so tired last night, but just as I was about to turn off my laptop and go to bed, I decided to get on the couch and just read the last few pages I'd written. And before I knew it, I was typing...

One neat trick that's been keeping my mind on the novel even while I work on the dissertation is that I've been keeping a picture of the hero on my desktop. (It's a pic of an actor who would be perfect for the role if this book ever made it into the hands of a Hollywood producer). Having a picture of my broody boy right there keeps the novel very present in my mind.

I have yet to get started on my novel journal, but I'll see if I can make some time for that today.

That's all for now~~I've got a dissertation to write. :(

Today's word Count: 723/500

Grand Total: 95,619

07-08-2005, 06:46 PM
Still pushing ahead in the novel. Things are going well. I'm in love with the hero. :heart:

Have to dash off to do some dissertation writing, but wanted to take a second to post today's progress. I didn't get around to writing yesterday, but keeping a pic of the hero on my desk top has done wonders for keeping the novel present in my mind; builds up lots of anticipation.

I also started a journal for this novel last night, we'll see if I can keep it up.

And I came across an idea for a new novel. I can't wait to start researching and planning that.

Feeling very creative this week....

Happy Writing!!

Today's Total: 1,172/500 :banana:

Grand Total: 96,767 (wonder if I can hit 100,000 words this weekend....)

07-10-2005, 06:22 PM
Yay, I've been writing about 1000 words each morning and today I finally made it to 100,000+! Very exciting. The writing is going really well. I'm trying not to question the plot at this point (that's what revision is for, right?). So, I'm focusing on telling the story I want to tell even if parts of it are cheesy and a little unrealisitc. But whatevs--I'm having fun and that's all that matters. :D

Anyway, yesterday, I made a plan for getting this novel to a publisher/agent by Dec 31, 2006 (already making resolutions for next year--hee hee!)


SEPTEMBER 1st: Finish first draft of novel (then take the rest of the month off)
MARCH 1: Circulate to readers for critique
AUGUST 1: Revise from readers' comments
AUG/SEPT: Make list of agents & publishers
OCTOBER-DECEMBER: Write synopsis, query letter, & polish first 3 chapters
DEC 31: Submit to agents & 1 publisher
So now that I have a plan, I just have to push to make sure I have a complete first draft by early September. I'm guessing that I need another 30-40,000 words....

Total for Sat & Sun: 3348/1000

Grand Total: 100,116 words :snoopy:

07-15-2005, 04:39 PM
I still have a bunch more to write, but I think I know how my novel's going to end. And I'm already having flashes of what will happen in the sequel. Very exciting and I owe it all to Coldplay. Something about one of their new songs sparked a movie in my head and I could see the whole ending play out. So yay!

I have to rush to get some dissertation work done before I leave town for the weekend. I hope I can get some writing done while I'm away. As for this week:

Week's Total: 4666/3000

Grand Total: 104,783

07-22-2005, 02:59 AM
Hi litkitty,

I think it's great you're on the road to finishing up that novel! And that you're progressing steadily. My summer goal is to complete the novel I started in April of this year. I'm at about 36k right now and my aim is for 100k. I'm also using the quick method (i like to call it "my sh*tty first draft" - anne lammott (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385480016/ref=pd_sxp_f/104-7650043-0404705?v=glance&s=books), I want to just write it and get it out, then pick it apart (it'll be my first novel, so I know it's bound to be a mess! lol). Basically I started knowing how I wanted my character to have changed by the end, and I just stick to those broad ideas as I write. I don't know if this method works for me or not, I'll have to see after it's done and rewritten a couple times, lol.

I like the idea of putting up a pic of someone who resembles a character. Sometimes it's hard to see my characters and then things don't seem real enough (in a fictional sense, lol) when I'm writing them. Also I'm starting to think writing earlier in the day is crucial...it's hard for me to get things done the later it gets in the day...

I was mainly writing to give my input about notebooks/journals. Right now I have two things, a single-subject spiral notebook where most of my notes are (i really need to print my online notes out and put them in there!) and a small black spiral weekly planner some B&N where I'm keeping my word count and times. For the first 30k I wasn't keeping track of the numbers except to look at them at the end of a writing session, and now I'm disappointed I can't look at my stats. I think I let a lot of good days get away without writing. ;) The red spiral I've been using since before starting...I keep lists, small outlines, little blurbs of things, brainstorms, etc. I'm not very good at organizing the stuff. But it's good at times when I'm wondering, "what exactly am I doing here?" and then I can see what my original purpose was and often steer back in a good direction, or confirm that the new direction fits better.

Well, sorry for the length, I made the mistake of not working on my WIP early in the day so I've got a bit of runny mouth. :) I need to get writing!


07-22-2005, 11:26 AM
Hola friends!

rowriter: how's your novel going? Shitty first drafts are the best, though I think I kind of got lost in mine for a while. It took me forever to figure out where my characters were going. It was neat reading about your different journals; I like seeing how everyone else manages a novel. Keep me posted on your progress!

I didn't get any writing done when I was out of town last weekend, but I did jot down a lot of details that I can use in future projects.

The dissertation has been keeping me busy. I need to have a first draft of that by Sept 5, so I haven't been making time for the novel. But tonight I was really missing my characters, so I decided to hang out with them for a while and ended up adding 1000+ words. Yay!! I hope I can write some more this weekend.

When I had my vision of the ending last week, I think I started getting impatient and didn't want to take the time to write the middle. Plus, my 2 main characters keep falling into bed together (haha) so I have to keep rounding them up to do other things, like solve the mystery that's the focus of the novel. ;)

That said, I need to get some sleep. I can't believe it's already 3:30! Best of luck to the night owl writers!!

Today's Total: 1038/500

Grand Total: 106,179

07-27-2005, 12:42 AM
Well, you've done nearly 20,000 words now in less that a month. Great going. Keep plugging away, and since you've already got the ending in sight, you must see how to get there. Another month before school--I'm betting you're going to make it!

07-27-2005, 03:47 AM
rowriter: how's your novel going? Shitty first drafts are the best, though I think I kind of got lost in mine for a while. It took me forever to figure out where my characters were going. It was neat reading about your different journals; I like seeing how everyone else manages a novel. Keep me posted on your progress!

It's going really well! I've been able to up my daily progress a LOT, I'm very motivated to get to the halfway point of 50k at the end of this week! (the notebook where I keep daily goal is really helping to motivate, and I can actually "see" finishing the book). I'm getting good also at sketching out what's going to happen in my writing about two days in advance, so that is helping a lot too...I certainly don't know all the aspects of what the characters are doing, but it seems more fun to write when not every single thing is predetermined (and mine isn't a convoluted plot, so that makes it easier I suppose).

I don't seem to get a lot of writing done on the weekends either; hubby and I are often out of town, or just doing stuff other than sitting at home at our computers, lol.

Keep us updated, you're making great progress! You can do it!! :)


08-04-2005, 06:11 AM
Hey rowriter & Ben Mears! Thanks for popping in and reminding me of how much I've accomplished so far this summer. Your encouragement forced me to sit down last night (even though I had trouble keeping my eyes open) and add another 1000 words. I'm almost there. I don't know how many more words I need to write, but I know the big plot points I need to hit. So tonight I think I'll take a second and briefly jot down the upcoming scenes/details for the next day's writing.

I've also gotten to the point where I'm reading pleasure books to see how they're put together. I'm writing a chicklitty novel in the 3rd person so I've been trying to read books that do the 3rd person so well, the author makes it feel like the first person. I treated myself to C. J. Tosh's Bite, which has a snappy third person voice. And as soon as I finish the first draft of the novel, I'll have to reread my fave book (& model), Claire Naylor & Mimi Hare's The Second Assistant. Fun!!

Speaking of revision, I'm trying to come up with a good revision process that will help me make sense out of my super drafty first draft. I've finally figured out the secret to writing the first draft of the novel--Glue Thy Butt to the Nearest Chair! But, I'm at a loss for how to revise my big baggy monster without becoming overwhelmed. Any tips?

The dissertation and job market prep is eating up all my spare time, so I'm going to have to make a concerted effort to schedule time for the novel, especially since I really could be finished with it by Sept. 1.

Sounds like you're making great progress, rowriter! Did you cross the 50,000 mark?! Would you be at all interested in checking in/posting your progress during the week? It'd be nice to have someone hold me accountable or at least inspire me to keep going by how much they're accomplishing! :) And Ben, I'm heading over to your thread right now to catch up on what you've been doing.


Grand Total: 111,712

08-04-2005, 07:28 AM
I'm trying to finish a novel this summer too! I started a little over 3 weeks ago and have 20k right now. I would really like to finish it before I go back to school in September. Best of luck with yours (you seem to be doing quite well)!! :)

La Reine
08-04-2005, 07:59 AM
Hi Litkitty,

You inspire me for when I get to the dissertation stage of my studies. I thought I wouldn't be able to write at that stage, but apparently if I'm dedicated and hardworking enough, I might!

I also have a deadline to completely revise my manuscript before September when school starts. Fortunately, it's not as long as yours. I'd be very happy if I got 50,000 words out of it. Right now it stands at about 45-50,000 words.

Keep writing! For editing, I've heard it's best if you don't take too long doing it. I plan to do my editing in one month flat, and then a second smaller edit about a month from then.

08-19-2005, 07:58 AM
....I've also gotten to the point where I'm reading pleasure books to see how they're put together. I'm writing a chicklitty novel in the 3rd person so I've been trying to read books that do the 3rd person so well, the author makes it feel like the first person. I treated myself to C. J. Tosh's Bite, which has a snappy third person voice. And as soon as I finish the first draft of the novel, I'll have to reread my fave book (& model), Claire Naylor & Mimi Hare's The Second Assistant. Fun!!....

.... I'm at a loss for how to revise my big baggy monster without becoming overwhelmed. Any tips?....

Sounds like you're making great progress, rowriter! Did you cross the 50,000 mark?! Would you be at all interested in checking in/posting your progress during the week? ....

Hi Litkitty! I just crossed the 80k mark today, and still plodding along (been struggling a bit with the writing lately). I hope to write "the end" in about 2 weeks. I'm actually keeping progress of my daily writing in my blog, the link is in my profile :) . Sometimes I think I'm a bit obsessive about the numbers, but when I see how much I get done by keeping tabs on myself, I'm motivated to write. But I'll post here too, let you know when I'm finally done!

Thanks for mentioning those two titles, I've been meaning to read more chicklit stuff.

As for revising, read through once all the way through before changing big chunks (this is of course after letting it sit in your drawer for a little while to get some distance from it). And you're definitely going to print it out, right? Also search the Uncle Jim thread for 'revising', I bet there's some good advice in there. I always have a few writing books laying around to get revising ideas from: some particularly good ones IMO are Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, also The First Five Pages and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman.

So how's your writing going? You said earlier you might be finished with it by September; is this still a possibility? Hope it's going well!

09-12-2005, 03:09 AM
Well, I guess I should rename this thread: "Fall Semester Goal: Finish My 1st Novel." I got a lot closer to finishing this summer, but I still have a ways to go. I know how the novel will end & most of the scenes that will take me to the ending, so all I have to do now is WRITE!

But with the start of classes, a dissertation to finish, and jobs to apply for, I am finding my writing time severely limited. When classes started at the end of August, I tried to get up to campus extra early to put in some time on the novel, but I couldn't tune out of the constant chatter of to-dos rolling through my head. Plus, though I tried to get to a cafe for an hour or so of writing, I usually only had 30 min to work before I had to get to the library. I was way too distracted to enjoy it.

So, I decided to start a private livejournal where I can add bits & pieces to my novel when I have brief snatches of time. I don't know what it is about posting to a blog instead of just typing in the novel's Word document, but I feel much more open to writing in short spurts when I have a few free minutes.

So the goal for this week is to add to the novel everyday, even if it's only 25-50 words.

I've already put it on my calendar to report back on Friday to let y'all know how I did! Y'all yell at me if it looks like I've gone into hiding again! ;)

@rowriter: how's your novel going? a huge congrats on crossing the 80,000 word mark. do you know how much more you have to write? i'll definitely check out the books you recommended! :)

@La Reine: how's the revision of your manuscript going? that's good that you have a finished draft to revise! as far as dissertating and novel writing, i think i owe a lot of my remaining sanity to the fact that i've been writing a novel. it lets me have a bit of fun while doing the montonous work of dissertation writing. now the only problem i'm having is that the dissertation has to be the priority this semester, so i'm having trouble carving out time & energy to keep pushing ahead in the novel

@ricaykw: how's your novel going? were you able to make a lot of progress before your classes started?

Grand Total: 116,633

Next Post: Friday, September 16

09-14-2005, 09:13 PM
GAWD you sound busy! I trust you will find time to write, though. :)

As for me, well, you already responded to my other thread but yes, I completed the novel! It's probably closer to a 'zero' draft than a first draft, and I talked about how bad it is that my husband won't read it until I've revised it once (I'm so glad he says this!)

I printed it all out yesterday, put two rubber bands around it, and now it's sitting in a little plastic crate with paid bills and such (you know, the box that never gets looked at unless I have a sudden urge to file, which rarely happens!)

I know what you mean about online journals, I've started getting into those myself and kept a blog of my progress while writing the first novel (I'm starting another one soon which I will also document). That's here (http://www.rlcdawriter.blogspot.com/). A private one to store your writing is a good idea, just remember to back it up on your own hard drive just in case!

10-09-2005, 06:02 PM
Hi Everyone! September was crazy busy~~I presented at a conference, sent out 3 postdoc applications, made a little progress on the diss, and devoted way too much time to the freshman writing seminar I'm teaching. And I had many lovely thoughts about finishing my novel, but didn't manage to write anything.

It's fall break and I've had some time to think of a new plan. I really want to finish the novel this month and I'm pretty close. I made a list of the scenes that still need to get written (about 19-20). And this morning I had an epiphany: I am going to start carving out 2 hours in the evening 6 nights a week to finish my novel. I'll go to Barnes & Noble from 8-10pm and that will be my novel writing time. Even though I might be a little worn out and brain dead by the time I arrive there, I think indulging in some novel writing and a frothy pumpkin spice latte will perk me up. Instead of worrying with a word count, I think I'm going to try to write 3-4pp at each session. I'll have to try it first to see how many pages I can actually write in 2 hours. I realized that finishing this novel is v. important to me and that I have to make time for it.

I also have an idea for a second novel that I'd love to jumpstart in this year's NANOWRIMO. Too bad there's not a NANODISSMO for dissertation writing. I'm hoping that I'll finish my first novel by the end of October, so I can roll right into the second novel in November (and if I'm lucky, writing for 2 hours in the evening will have become a habit by this time). I've already managed to spend about 10min a day brainstorming the characters and plot for the second novel.

I'll report back on whether this new plan is working.

@rowriter: I *love* your writing blog. It's really great to see how you're approaching revision. I'll have to try some of your ideas (especially the one about making a list of scenes) when I get ready to revise my novel. Your patient approach to novel writing is encouraging. I like what you said about working on the craft rather than rushing to send out your first novel to an agent/publisher. That makes a lot of sense. I hope the revision continues to go well. If I get through the next section of my dissertation today, I might treat myself to setting up a novel writing blog to track my progress.

10-13-2005, 03:41 PM
Hey litkitty,

I don't travel here as much as I'd like, but saw your thread and couldn't resist - my circle of sharing about my novel is small here (and my family is getting tired of asking me 'are you done yet?' every day) - so this is a great place to talk.

You sound very educated and literary, and though I have a couple of degrees, I've been a 'mom at home' or working crummy p/t jobs for years. So writing is my new passion and is MIND BOGGLING and I LOVE it though it sometimes drives me crazy.

More m-boggling is that my first novel, like yours, is almost DONE after about, uh, three years or so germinating in my mind and soul. I started it after reviving Tolkien's literary influence in my life, along with the experience of my spouse going to Iraq - the whole after-the-war and warrior idea, with a love triangle or two added (last part not based on reality, fortunately!)

It's a "fantasy romantic quest" and is now (before revising) about 96,000 words. Argh. I'm got the last chapter and epilogue to go...so since they don't like novels over 100,000 words, there is serious revision in my future!
But the First Draft is almost done...just about 25 pages away. Whew. By Nov 1, I am submitting it to a major contest for fiction writers called the Paul Gillette. Finally.

Hang in there. Write before your ideas make you neurotically disposed, even if it's for only a half hour or hour. Write to keep the muse alive, and write because there is, after all, someone out there who will need to read what you have to say -- or just a have a heckuvalot of fun doing so!
Hope I can find this darn thread again...still getting to know my way around.

10-17-2005, 06:21 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoticonhi.gifI notice the last posts to this thread were in August. How is everyone doing?

I'm new to this thread. Without further ado, I'll jump in with what I've been doing with the past 5 years of my life. July 4, 2005, I completed my first novel. In September, I began looking for an agent. Sounds pretty simple, but I started my novel during the winter of 2000-2001. No. I've not created another War and Peace. For me, life happened. The part-time job I had when I started work on the novel was phased out and I had to find another job. The new job had the hours I wanted, but there were problems. My commute went from 20 minutes to an hour (one way) and within two years I had to return to full-time work. Ugh! My dear characters languished for a full year before I was able to return to part-time work and to writing.

That is where goals pay off. I was determined to finish the novel this year. I went back to writing 2 - 3 hours most evenings. When all the sections were complete, I read it from prolog to epilog (red pen in hand) - catching typos, grammatical mistakes and reworking passages. Even though I had a friend contribute valuable editorial advice throughout the process, I lost track of how many passes I made through it myself. Also, over time, my writing style had matured and I cut a lot of the old "filler". The dialog was no problem. Dialog is my strong point. I can practically see the characters talking. I just transcribe what's going on. The "filler" took the form of stage direction, for lack of a better word. "Lee picked up her coffee cup, set her breakfast dishes in the sink, walked across the hall to the study and sat down in front of her computer." Such sentences like this received major surgery! I agree with Nathaniel Hawthorne here, "Easy reading is damn hard writing."

But the writing continues. I sold an article to UltraFlight magazine in September and am researching another article. For my novel, I have also written several query letters, a synopsis and put together my bibliography (of published articles). Then there's the second novel . . . Over dinner last night, my husband had a wonderful suggestion - tell the story again, only this time do it through the eyes of one of the other (minor) characters. YeeHa! Perfect! I knew exactly which one. There will be minor scene overlap, but I know this character so well. It will be a pleasure to give him the lead. He has experiences that weren't even mentioned in novel #1. He also has the chance to tell how he feels about the other characters.

So, in the long run, I think it is worth all the stops and starts, angst and joy, lows and highs, blocks and breakthroughs, etc. that we go through to bring forth articles, novels and other word-formed creations. It's all part of the process and in some cases the process becomes part of our writing. If you're writing about a struggling writer, who can better describe what they are going through.


07-19-2007, 09:07 PM
So, the last time I posted on here was Fall 2005. Since then I finished my first novel (it's in a pretty binder awaiting revision), finished my dissertation, graduated, moved, started a tenure-track job, and began drafting my second novel.

I've been working on the second novel since Summer 2006 and probably have a third of it left to write. I'm hoping that I can finish it this summer. Novel #2 is the one I'd like to revise and circulate for publication first (Novel #1 is going to need major revision to get rid of all the unnecessary melodrama).

I'm writing this novel by hand (I do all my academic research writing on the computer; writing the novel longhand is a nice change of pace), so I have no idea what the overall word count is.

I'd like to get back into my habit of writing 4pp (about 1200) words/day, and I'd like to start posting on here regularly again. Writing can be lonely!

I always seem to lose steamd when I get to the end of a novel, but reading Heather Seller's Chapter after Chapter has helped me stay motivated. She has all sorts of neat tricks for staying in love with your novel.

That said, I'm off to get some writing done!

7.19 Writing/Reading Goals

Add 4pp to novel (try to get to beginning of Halloween party)
Think about what scenes will come before Thanksgiving dinner
Update book journal (Parkhurst entry)

07-19-2007, 11:07 PM
Good luck! :)

07-22-2007, 06:35 PM
Thanks, Alanna (cool poem!)

Seeing WordGypsy and Foinah's posts about finishing their novels has done a lot for my motivation. For some reason, even though I've had plenty of time to work on the novel this week, I've been in a malaise where all I want to do is lie around and read. (Part of this is JK Rowling's fault; I'm only 100pp in and will probably end up reading another chunk of it today). I don't know what's going on there, but I'm hoping that my drafting mojo returns soon. :e2writer:

I sketched out the next few scenes and now I just have to sit down and write them.


Morning pages
Add 4pp (get to beginning of Halloween seen)
Update book journal (Parkhurst entry)Maybe I'll go to a coffee shop; a change of scene might be just what I need.

07-22-2007, 09:37 PM
Hahaha, I know exactly what you mean! I finished the new Potter book yesterday afternoon, and there was no hope of me doing anything else (I even had to be forced to eat!) until it was done.

I've been having trouble editing my novel. I lost the last draft when my computer crashed, so now I'm working from the crappy draft, and seeine everything that is wrong with it. My issue is that I just think it's so awful I can't get up the energy to fix it! Here's hoping I get THAT out of my system soon. :) Good luck to both of us!

07-22-2007, 11:11 PM
Stick with it! I'm proud of you!

07-24-2007, 07:26 PM
Thanks for the encouragement Alanna and Foinah! I hate revision (instead of revising my first novel, I started a new one--telling the story to myself in the first draft is the best part!), but I know I'll have to find some way of doing hardcore revision if I ever want anyone else to read my stuff. ;)

I had a really good writing session this morning--got in about 1500 words in 2.5 hours. It was fun. I hadn't written anything in a week, so I was worried it'd take forever to get back into the scene, but luckily I slipped into my writing trance and before I knew it I had written 5 pp in my notebook.

I'm hoping setting some goals for the week, will encourage me to add more to the novel each day.

July 24-29

Write scene at Y's apt
V's party
C's party
C asks C to stay with him
C talks to Y
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, Hart

Susan B
07-24-2007, 11:39 PM
Just found this thread.

Great to get an update after a 2 year hiatus, Litkitty! Very impressive, to finish a dissertation and a novel at the same time! And to go on to a tenure track job, that is great! (Are you in a field related to writing and literature, by the way?)

"Malaise" is definitely the word for how I'm feeling, too. (Also "immobilized" as I'd posted elsewhere.) Waiting for word from my agent about the fate of my book (my first), a memoir, now in the hands of a few publishers. (This after lots of prior rejections, so I am in that "last chance" frame of mind.)

I know I need to move on to the next thing, toying with the idea of trying fiction instead of the new nonfiction project I'd planned on. But I'd been feeling overwhelmed at the thought of starting over in a new genre, clueless, how do you even do that, create a novel? So I liked reading back over this thread, about all of you doing just that, makes me feel like I could get excited about trying something different.

Good luck to all!


07-30-2007, 03:57 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, Susan B! I saw on the July Goals thread that you've made some progress on your fiction project--that's great!! You might like this book on writing from Heather Sellers called Chapter after Chapter (she also has one called Page by Page, but I think the Chapter one is my favorite). In it she talks about how writing the novel is the best way to teach yourself how to write a novel (classes, exercises, etc etc are helpful, but nothing compares to actually doing it and learning from your mistakes, etc). So that's basically what I'm doing--throwing words on paper, making all sorts of mistakes, and learning as I go along.

This past week I got in 2 good writing sessions.

July 24-29

Write scene at Y's apt
V's party
C's party
C asks C to stay with him
C talks to Y
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, HartMy goal for this week is to write first thing in the morning for at least 20-30min. That way hopefully, I'll be able to cross off the following:

July 30-Aug 5

V's party
C's party
A drops by
Thanksgiving invite
1 Artist Date (a la Julia Cameron)
1 Writing Getaway (aka go to a cafe, park, etc to write for a couple hours)
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, Hart

08-05-2007, 11:11 PM
I am tempted to start a blog so I can babble away about the writing process, but I think I'll just let this thread suffice for now. (if I can keep this thread alive once the semester starts, it'll be a miracle!)

This past week was a good writing week. I think the August Write-a-Thon is keeping me on task. Plus, I figured out the next set of scenes and realized that I really am getting closer to typing those magical words, "The End." For my Artist Date, I ended up photoshopping the cover for my novel, which was a lot of fun and gave me a massive dose of motivation to actually see this thing through to the end. I got the idea from Stephenie Meyers (author of Twilight as I'm sure y'all know). She has a lot of fun, inspiring stuff on her website: http://www.stepheniemeyer.com

July 30-Aug 5

V's party
C's party
A drops by
Thanksgiving invite
1 Artist Date (a la Julia Cameron)
1 Writing Getaway (aka go to a cafe, park, etc to write for a couple hours)
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, HartSo, the big goal for this week is to make it to 18,000 words by Sunday. I'm hoping to write for at least 2 hours first thing each morning so I don't have to worry about squeezing in the time later in the day.

Aug 6-12

Add 11,000 more words by Aug 12 (that's about 1500/day)
Try to get to Thanksgiving invite
1 Artist Date (a la Julia Cameron)
1 Writing Getaway (aka go to a cafe, park, etc to write for a couple hours)
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, Hart

08-13-2007, 09:13 PM
The semester starts next week and I still have syllabi, etc to prepare. But I'm getting closer to the end of the novel, and I'm recording ideas for scenes that will be in the sequel. It amuses me that I'm at my most creative when I shouldn't be thinking about the novel at all.

Anyways, here are my goals for the week.

Aug 13-19

Try to write for at least an hour each day no matter what (this will be good practice for when the semester begins)
Thanksgiving scene
End of semester scenes
Get characters to Christmas (this might be a stretch, but we'll see)
1 Artist Date (a la Julia Cameron)
1 Writing Getaway (aka go to a cafe, park, etc to write for a couple hours)
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, Hart [I really need to make time to do this!]
Aug 6-12

Add 11,000 more words by Aug 12 (that's about 1500/day)
Try to get to Thanksgiving invite
1 Artist Date (a la Julia Cameron)
1 Writing Getaway (aka go to a cafe, park, etc to write for a couple hours)
Update book journal: Batson, Messud, Flynn, Hart