Sunday, February 13, 2011

Numbers and Words

I'm hoping having a fancy spreadsheet with numbers will help me keep my writing quota. I'm a numbers person, and for some reason percentages are very motivating to me.

New Novel

I finished my first novel. It's done, and I probably won't go back to it for a while. I don't plan on submitting it, according to plan. I'm proud of it, and I think it did a lot of things really well, but there are a lot of holes, and a lot of things that I learned partway through that I didn't bother fixing because I wrote it as a learning experience.

Two things I learned:
1 - Don't write too many characters. At least for the type of novel I was writing, 3 main characters with over a dozen sidekicks was too many. Unfortunately, the nature of the book required all of the side characters, but the page length was too little. To give the concept justice I'd have to make it a 200,000 word epic fantasy novel. It could work, but not for my first novel.

2- My character development needs work. I think this is something I need to plan ahead - what my protagonist's flaw is, and how is overcomes it. I kind of had it in mind starting the novel, but the development really didn't come through in the writing. For this next novel, I'm going to try to hammer out the development better.

So, time to write a novel to submit. Actually I'm almost 16,000 words into it so far. Here's the work-in-progress summarization of what it's about:

"The Almost-Finished World, a 70,000 word YA steampunk/fantasy novel, set in an unfinished world, features Magnus Rivera, who is hired by a clandestine society to find the next ‘Brilliance’—a genius that emerges each century to introduce a life-changing innovation such as magic or steam power—before the year five-hundred, when the newest technology will be revealed and the planet completes its creation process."

I'm pretty excited about it.

I've also decided to change my writing quota system. Instead of having a daily word quota, I'm setting a weekly goal. That way if I miss day, I can make it up the next. For now, it's 3600 words per week. Which means I should be done writing in May. Honestly, I think I'll finish before then. 3600 words is fairly lax, and I should be able to exceed it a lot of weeks.

Current Progress:

The Almost-Finished World - 15,852/70,000 words

Monday, September 6, 2010

Midpoint & Bookseller OCD's

I know I've been writing for too long today because I keep pressing ctrl+s as I type this blog entry to "save my work". I think I save my manuscript after every paragraph, lol. OCD comes with being a bookseller I guess, always straightening piles of books and whatnot. Actually I find myself constantly straightening things in my room, and even at other store ("how dare someone move this cereal box out of line with the rest!").

I hit 30k words in my novel, which according to my goal is the halfway point. I checked my outline and according to the plot I'm on track to finish at about 60,000. Yay. I can't wait to finish. When I do, then I can feel comfortable calling myself a writer. I know that if your hobby is writing, and you write, then you're a writer. But I feel like I need to finish a novel first. Then I'll be a level 2 writer.

Now with the boring stuff out of the way.. if anyone's curious, I'm currently reading Warbreaker. I like the sense of mystery Sanderson stirs up at the start. There are different ways to get people to turn pages and creating questions is one of the best methods IMO. At the start of my writing, rather than creating more intriguing, unanswered questions, I have a tendency to answer them instead. Something to work on.

As an example, where did the mustard get a gun, and what did the ketchup do to him?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Posting for the sake of staying an active blogger

No, I really do have something to say, lol. I went to Brandon Sanderson's release date book signing for the Way of Kings. He is a class act. Brandon spent time with each reader answering questions in depth and with enthusiasm (despite the massive hordes waiting to get their books signed -- I'd imagine signings could get tedious after awhile, especially with the same questions asked a million times). He reminded me of Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series. I helped Mr. Mull do a few signings as a part of my job at Deseret Book, and the way he interacted with his fans was also very impressive. Anyways, both Brandons are the kind of author I'd like to be.

On the topic of writing, progress is going great! I'm working on Nova & the Past-Life Powers. I'm at 25.8k words. I've cut down my daily goal to 500 words because of school/work. But it's a goal that's easier to consistently achieve, and I usually write a little more.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Online Presence

I'm joining an online writing group -- should be fun!

Also, I just finished 3 excellent books:
1 & 2: Hunger Games and Catching Fire (Mockingjay in two days!). Fast-paced. And first person present tense?! It works. These books live up to the hype.
3: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. This will be the new epic fantasy series of this generation. Loved it. The three viewpoints kept me anxiously page-turning (through all 1008 of them). That's right, Sanderson left out the boring parts that plague many gargantuan fantasy epics. The world-building is mind-blowing, the magic systems innovative, and most importantly, the characters realistic and lovable.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Online book covers! I fiddled in photoshop and made these. Hopefully they generate enough interest to tempt you to read. That's the point of book covers, right?

Interrupting Ideas

I finished my first short story and submitted it to LA. It’s a great feeling to hold a finished manuscript printed on 24 lb paper and seeing your name on the front. Knowing you made that.

Sometimes ideas knock on your door that you cannot ignore. If you don’t answer, they’ll shrug and move on, likely to never return. I had such an idea for short story. Unfortunately, one of the most dangerous causes of death for novels are such ideas. My new goal is to write 300 words a day on my novel (for its own personal health), and 700 words on my new short story. At that rate, it should only take a week and a half to finish anyways. Another reason I want to write this short story, is that I’m getting submission fever. Finishing James James James & the Ice-tree Charcoal got me excited to submit something to anyone, but its my contest submission for the Writers of the Future contest, and thus, is stuck in limbo until the results come. So, I need something finished to send out. A short story is obviously a lot easier to finish than a novel, so short story it is.

The working title is: “Magic Beyond the Micronation” (however I wince at the thought of using any of the following words in a fantasy fiction title: sword, dragon, quest, or magic.) The other possible title is: “The New French Republic-Kingdom of Dislandia”. I seem to favor longer titles for some reason.