October 2021 Challenge - Build a Writing Habit!

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Nether

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Day 20 was 2,679.

I guess it was a better writing day. Some of the character work is a little shaky, but the narrative flows. The one potential problem I'm going to run into is how much of the book is dialogue, although that's a bit of a running theme in my work. And because it involves phone calls, I can't even sneak in as many little action beats.

I proofread another 9 pages from book 6. There are a few things where I questioned whether to tweak the prose a bit, but I'm focusing more on actual errors (and on a macro level, I also have larger-scale revision in mind just in case).

My book 9 planning continues. I'm starting to get a little excited, although I still need to firm up my overall plans (particularly where obstacles are concerned). I'm realizing now that, on a thematic level, I should try to tie as many of the conflicts and obstacles into the pragmatic reason for the werewolf MC living the life he's led up to that point (and will be forced to live again, despite wanting a change). I guess I had been leaning in that direction, but the idea hadn't fully hit me until I went to articulate it right now. I suppose it comes back to the idea that having to explain something is a good way of forcing you to think carefully about it.

Oh, and I had been thinking about how this topic has felt like a ghost town recently, but then today I realized it's October... which is less a Halloween thing and more that people are apparently prepping for NaNo. (Still hoping that I'll be able to join them, if I can finish this in time. I'm at 52k words, and I'm still thinking 80-85k words is a good overall... assuming I can wrap up all the story threads by then.)
 

Cindyt

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Day 20

WORD COUNT 357

A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET (Draft 3) – Edits. Also found a more fitting theme verse. It’s looking good. So far. Not much need for new wordage.

I went down the FindaGrave rabbit hole today after someone sent me my paternal grandfather’s profile. And there were all these people I had never heard of or had forgotten their names on his profile and on his wife’s profile, and it just goes on and on and on.

Neither – Nice word count and good luck!

Moon – Grats on 45 words and the poem!
 

Woollybear

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Hello all!

After snowflaking (mostly... I skipped a few steps) and mapping a new story idea to fifteen beats, I dove into drafting this morning.

1859 words. They weren't too hard, because I had spent the few days beforehand hammering out the story shape.

Keep up the good work! I think I'm back in the program with y'all for a while.
 
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Gatteau

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Hello, I've made it back! When the forums were down last week (or whenever that was), I apparently just didn't realize when they popped back up, so I just didn't think about updating for a while. But I've actually been quite productive lately, building up my plan for NaNo. This one involves probably more research than I've ever put into a NaNo project before, but it's definitely kept me curious and excited about the idea.

I made an actual outline (and got to use some of my pretty pens and markers in the process) that's really only missing details of midpoint and resolution, so that's definitely enough to start with.

I've got that character with the "X-ray touch" sort of power, so that's kind of fun figuring out how to describe things, and I wrote a short story of backstory for her over the last two days (Day 19: 2264 words, Day 20: 1215 words) about her as a kid, basically using her gift to cheat at winning one of those Guess-how-many-things-are-in-this-jar contests. She won three-hundred-eighty-six Tootsie Rolls.

Then I decided this story has to take place in a world without the Internet as we know it today, so I called my mom to ask how the Internet basically works and if my idea was plausible, and she told me everything. She worked for Bell Labs back in the 70s, which was apparently quite involved in the process, then retired and went back for a second career in library science, so yeah, she knows some stuff. (It was super helpful for papers in college, having my own personal reference librarian on call. ) Information overload for sure, but interesting and helpful. I think my idea will work, and I'm going to need a "geek in the basement" character, so that will be fun to work on too. (I got to watch WarGames the other night for reference research, yay.)

Also, in this world, breweries are the major governing bodies, so craft beer research - easily the most delicious part of this whole undertaking.

I still feel like I have a lot more details I need to work out, but this is shaping up to be the most prepared I've ever been for NaNo. (In past years I've literally just started with a title because it was a fun mash-up of words, and winged it from there. Of course, a title is one of the things still missing from this current project...)

So all in all, feeling pretty good about where I'm at. Just trying to keep up this momentum.
 

Nether

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Day 21 was 2,833 words. I'm a little iffy on one of the scenes and a moment in another scene, but... idk, I'll decide whether I'm still cool with them down the road.

I think I have most of the remaining book plotted out now. Given that I'm at about 55k words, there's only so much more I can squeeze in anyway. I'm a *little* torn about giving a supporting character a single POV chapter, but it seemed a pivotal moment and I don't want to get too far into her head because I want to gloss over some potential credibility issues.

The only other problem is I might be escalating events sooner than planned (in that it's going to be tough to fit in a much larger subplot so I'm going to have to have things go awry in different manner). Either way, what I have planned should cover me 20-30k words so I won't go too long.

I also proofed another 12 pages of book 6. Didn't love these as much, but they didn't have any substantial issues. The two knocks I might have are the awkward transitions between chapters/breaks, and I may have set up a twist a little too roughly but I didn't want to lampshade it that hard (basically I describe a character, then note how two characters couldn't possibly impersonate him... because a third character is actually doing the impersonation).

Otherwise, I had some random flashes of either brilliance or insanity for the alt-verse incarnation of my second book (and the alt-verse version of the series in general). I stumbled on a bunch of different names I want to use for the characters, which are either puns or sly nods to the original continuity. The one big question mark for that universe is the role of book 3's antagonist. However, the alt-verse book 2's plotting seems smoother than the real book 2 (although alt-verse book 1 is a little iffy, and I'm not sure how tenable book 3 is in context, particularly if I wanted to do go with a different twist for the murders that predate the series)

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Woolly -- Welcome back

Gatteau -- I wonder how many other AW posters might also not realize the site is back :D I guess that's another potential reason for the drop-off.

Cindy -- I feel like I never want to touch something like a FindAGrave because I would just get lost there, particularly since I know I still have relatives overseas, etc
 

Taylor Harbin

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Wrote about 2.3 pages of a new story before work (rewriting an old folktale). I was going to do it yesterday but was so tired I went to bed at 730.

Did you know it’s ok to go to sleep if you’re too tired to write??
 

Lea123

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DAY 21 - after the range, I was too pooped to even clean my teeth.

DAY 22
- 2472 words on three scenes for book 3. Quite please with it and I've managed to link some characters to the prequel. Highlighted it ready to fact check at a later date but I'm confident that names and spellings of them are consistent. It's been filed with an appropriate heading so I can easily find it when pulling book 3 together.

- No proofreading has happened today but I'll be better at that post Monday. I'm stressed (got the dentist Monday which I hate / am terrified of) and when I'm stressing about things like that it's easier to write than 'work' and edit things.

I keep thinking to myself that it's just the dentist... My poor MC and her fellow companions have been through worse. Perhaps slipping into the role play mindset would help? Always baffles me how I can make mountains out of molehills... :e2tongue:
 

Cindyt

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Day 22

WORD COUNT 320

A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET (Draft 3) – Edits with new wordage. I’ve got to rewrite the ending now or when I get there to bring a few things to light.

Neither – Congrats on the 2,833 words! That’s one reason I traced my grandfather’s ancestors back to the 18th Century and even saw photos of some grave markers. My grandmother’s find a grave profile doesn’t list her parents or siblings. I’m hoping to get the manager to correct that. And I’ll just have to control myself. Lol.

Taylor – Grats on the 2.3 pages of the retelling of an old folk story. I’ve thought about doing the same for some time. I fall asleep when I’m tired no matter what time it is.

Woolly – I hate the word-by-word read too, but like you say, it has to be done.

Lea – WTG on 2472 words!
 
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Nether

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Day 22 was 3,637 words, with 3,440 for book 8 and the remaining 197 for a short story.

I'm now a little concerned that I'm going to overrun with book 8. I'm at 58k+ words and I'm still putzing around instead of jumping to the finale. If it goes 90-100k, I'll likely need to trim during revision to get me under 90k.

While I'm kinda getting to where I wanted to be with the story, the timeline feels a little condensed. Instead having the story take place over weeks or months, it's basically taken place over... probably just a few days. I think I might just be at 3-4 days now.

As for the short story, I wrote a sub-250 word Christmas-themed flash fiction to submit a paying publication / website... only to realize they'd been looking for Halloween submissions, not Christmas ones. D'OH! However, there *is* another one looking for Christmas weird stories, so I might submit it to that (which is a max 350, I don't plan on expanding the word count).

I'll probably come up with something else for the Halloween one. I don't have a really compelling idea right now. (Although it gave me an idea for a longer work.)

Oh, and I proofread another whole *three* pages from book 6. I'm up to 90 now, with another 230 to go. Ugh.

No new progress on planning out book 9, and I just have another... I guess 8 days to go? I have some idea for the early chapters, an idea for two minor antagonists, and a vague sense of how I want it to end, but I'm thinking that's only 15-20% of the story.

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Taylor -- Unless I'm collapsing in my seat, I usually try to just power through it myself. My rule is if I nod again after waking up from nodding off, that's usually a sign that it's a night for me (although I sometimes test to see if I'll nod off a third time).

Woolly -- I still find it mindboggling how many times an author has to proofread or otherwise re-read their own work. It also drives me crazy since when I read for fun, I tend to be skim through sections.

Lea -- Grats on the 2,472. Best of luck with the dentist. I think I'm the opposite way in that I'd rather proof if I have something on my mind because proofing is a bit more mechanical.

Cindy -- That's really neat. I only have the vaguest sense of one side of my family's history. I know another relative was supposed to be mapping out another side.
 
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Psychoclown

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My big long term goal is to finish the project. My past with littered with half completed projects, so finishing something substantial would be a huge milestone for me.

But goal for this month is to work on my writing every day. That could mean researching, banging out a some prose (I'm shooting for 500 words a day at a minimum), or even just writing mood pieces that may or may not be incorporated in the final work. And even the every day part comes with a caveat. I'm going to Vegas next week to play some poker tournaments and I know I won't be writing then, but I will be bringing my trusty notebook to jot down any ideas or inspirations that might come to me while I'm out there.

So far, I've been pretty good at doing at least 500 words a day. Though today I spent most of my writing time getting acquainted with these forums and this community, which I think is going to be an invaluable resource for me. So I'm going to count that. Between the posts I've made so far, I think I've hit the 500 word mark, give or take.
 
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PraiseRao

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Psycho- What really helped me was projections/reviews and tracking goals.

* Annual projection review - ask yourself where do you want to be in a year.

* Break down the year into quarters and quarterly goals.

* Track your to-dos and time spent working on a project. I use a physical planner but some people use a spreadsheet, an online tracker, or digital. I also keep track of my pomodoros (time spent writing I think the writer community usually calls them writing sprints). I also use an app called forest to track pomodoros. Though there are many apps out there that do that.

*Weekly/Monthly reviews and projections to make sure your on track for your larger and more bite sized goals.

Overview your calendar view to see how many pomodoros done in a day, week, and month.

Habit > Motivation.
 

Woollybear

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Having switched from drafting something new to reading through my formatted novel (received yesterday for my final approval), I've not written anything new. But I've read through 13 formatted chapters and have found about 20 typos so far. I have about 25 more chapters to go.

Onward.
 
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Woollybear

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Parts of the novel are good. I'm happy, as in surprised that I pulled something off, because my brain is not in that space at the moment.

Parts still feel too forced.

In particular, beginnings (setup) are hard. You need to feed information for readers to get up to speed. I wonder if this general difficulty is one reason death is so heavily relied on in trade-published beginnings. It's such a solid anchor. I refuse, but I wonder.
 

Psychoclown

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Got inspired after that post and added 1053 words to my novel (at least I hope it will be a novel, it might end up as a novella).

After some sleep, and perusing some of the opportunities in the paying markets section, I found one where the prompt both interested and inspired me. I'm sure I'm a long shot to be accepted, but I can dream, right? Anyway, I sat down and banged out a rough draft of 1419 word short story. It needs to be beefed up in terms of word count and I know the dialogue needs tweaking/improving and a few other issues that I'm dwelling on, but I'm pleased to have completed it in one sitting and think the idea is at least worth playing around with and trying to further refine.

And I have a third idea for another short story. Not sure if I'll move forward with it, but its nice to have several ideas perculating in the old noggin.

PraiseRao - Thanks for the advice. I'm not generally that organized or scheduled, but that's lack of organization has been my downfall before. One thing is, I'm not really sure what a realistic year long goal is. At 500 words a day on average, it would take me 120 days to complete a 60,000 word novel. That seems awful fast, but math doesn't lie. But assuming I could reach that deadline, I'm not sure how long is typically spent on redrafting, editing, ect. I've heard of many people spending years and years on a single novel.

But yes, I will make an effort to be a bit more organized and scheduled. This thread alone is good, because it gives me a good reason to make a daily accounting of what I've done.

Woolly- Sounds good. I mean proof-reading was never my favorite task, but it is necessary and it sounds like your nearing the end of the process and getting ready to go to print.
 

PraiseRao

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Psycho - If I did not have my 'maps' I would be wandering around aimlessly. I measure my days based on minuets and tasks accomplished rather then word count. Since word count dwindles at a certain point or rather stays stagnant. Don't worry if you hit your annual goal or not as long as you are aiming for it you will have a better idea of adjustments to your goal as you get closer to it. As long as you are walking forward. I read somewhere once someone compared writing a novel to a marathon, go at your own pace.
 

Lea123

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DAY 23
- Shot my bow and went on the best woodland walk. Something about the autumn air, the fairy lights in the trees... My head was buzzing with character dialogue and events and I was so excited to get home, put my daughter to bed and write.

Now, my mind feels empty! 🤣

Still no work done on proofing book 1. I really need to get back on it post dentist.

2136 words on a book three scenes. Still battling that bittersweet feeling of being excited to be present in the evolving world and characters, the possibility of it all and freedom to change things. Now book one is set out and 'dealt with', my mind finds it hard to slip back into the early days / events and I miss it. I miss imagining and tweaking when my MC met her companions and the early conflicts they all faced. I can force my mind back there for some casual mental role play (good way to pass the long hours in the car) but it's more forced and not as thrilling as it once was.

Nether - well done on the proofing! A quarter of the way there! (Always feels more painful when you're in double digits, or at least it does to me!)

PraiseRao - always loved the analogy of motivation being the friend that will drop you like a hat. It's so easy to get hooked into the idea that motivation is constant. Small habits lay strong foundations.

Wolly - that's interesting, I never thought about it like that. My first book follows the death format... 🙈

Psycho, that sounds like an awesome start. Good luck with it! :)
 

Taylor Harbin

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I had an unusually productive day. I had 2.5 pages yesterday. Today I stopped halfway down page 11! This story is practically writing itself. There will be plenty of work to do with the rewriting but for now I’m enjoying the white-heat. If I’m lucky I’ll get even more done tomorrow once I’m back in town. My Selectric is getting a good workout.

Keep going everybody!
 

Cindyt

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Day 23

WORD COUNT 565

A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET (Draft 3) – Edits. I started rewriting the end and ran out of steam due to a lack of sleep. I’ll start again Monday.

Neither – Grats on the 3637-word count. It will all fall together. Been there, done that.

Psycho – That’s what I’m planning to do too. I have a historical western and several crime novels I want to write and pub. I’m currently on the third draft of the first murder mystery.

Woolly – Continued good read-throughs. My read overs aren’t as bad as I thought they would be on the crime novel. Mostly typos and a few incomplete sentences :rolleyes: IDK how that happened.
 

Helix

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Day 24: Plot officially lost over the past week. All sorts of things have been going on here, and I have been distracted by every one of them. Anyway, I have to get back into it. So today's output is:

  • article #13 for Medium, but I need to sort out the header photograph;
  • some rewriting on a rejected piece (maybe someone else might be interested in it) (they won't); and
  • my 2020-2021 tax done
 

Nether

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Day 23 was 2,513 words. It basically included a last-minute scramble to get hit my daily quota.

I also proofed another 11 pages from book 6. Caught a few typos, and reworded a few things. There was one thing I changed where I wasn't sure it was the better, and couldn't remember what I originally had there, but I was too lazy to go back to the original to check. I really just need to finish this whole thing already.

And my crit partner sent back their exchange, so I'll have to go over their chapters at some point... and actually, the fact I wasn't doing my side of an exchange might be one reason why the last week has gone a bit more smoothly (since I was back over 20k words for the week).

After the exchanges finish, I should probably start to find crit partners for another manuscript. However, the only other thing I've finished proofing so far has been book 1, and that's technically out on submission. Book 6 will be out on query, so that's also out. I guess that means I should proof either book 5 or book 7, and try for one of those. Once again, all of the non-drafting stuff gets to be exhausting.

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Psychoclowqn -- Welcome to the party. 500 words per day certainly sounds like a manageable starting goal. And yes, finishing a novel's first draft is as simple as writing a certain number of words for a certain number of days. I started by writing for a certain amount of time per day while trying to make sure I did at least 800-1000 words per day, and then I gradually worked my way up from there (especially since I looked at the number of days it would take to finish something, and thought "well, that's too long")

Lea -- Wish I could get out for a walk; it was drizzling off&on all day, plus a lot of the trails are probably still muddy from earlier in the week. And WTG on keeping your word count up.

Woolly -- What about death now? And are the typos you're finding related to formatting or still just normal typos?

Cindy -- Thanks
 

Woollybear

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Thanks everyone. Nether, look at published books and ask yourself how many paragraphs in it is, in the opening, before the author stakes a death onto the page.

OK, so it's 1:30 pm on Sunday and I'm through the entire novel PDF from the formatter. Looks like I left 47 comments for her altogether. Some of the typos were things like 'prefect' instead of 'perfect' and others were things like occasional sentences that suddenly didn't make sense (or need to be there at all.) But I'm through the novel! In 2.5 days. Not bad.

Now to type up the errors into a separate file for her and send it back for corrections.
 

Lea123

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DAY 24

1,840 words. Wanted to hit that nice 2,000 mark but my eyes are stinging and I need to be up in the morning.
 
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