Friday, July 25, 2014

WIP Marathon July Check-In

I have a friend coming in town tonight, so I'm posting this a day early.

Last check-in: Finished Part One of the novel (14 chapters, 51,945 words)

Currently: Outlined Part Two. Finished chapters 15-18. Currently working on chapter 19.

Current word count = 66,783

WIP issues this month: Smooth sailing this month. Most of the scenes in chapters 15-18 were already written, so a lot of my “writing” was simple line edits.

In my last post, I mentioned two scenes that I had planned for Part One but decided to hold off on, since the long conversations were starting to drag. I ended up writing these scenes and incorporating them into the beginning of Part Two.

What I learned this month:

1. When I’m feeling lost or overwhelmed, the best thing to do is outline. It’s really hard to roll out words when I’m starting from nothing. Outlining not only helps me organize the scene so I know what comes next, but it helps my brain transition into writing mode.

2. I was originally planning on incorporating a lot of flashbacks, but my word count is getting dangerously high. I figured out a way to get rid of the flashbacks, though I’m worried that some of the inter-character relationships won’t be as strong without them. (I could write a whole novella using just the backstory.)

3. Writing in short bursts is actually a pretty good strategy.

4. Does anyone know an adolescent psychologist/therapist? Asking for research purposes.

What distracted me this month:

Rant ahead: My summer research is interesting on a theoretical level, but the work itself is tedious and dull. Part of the reason I decided to go into medicine was because I didn’t want a job where I’d be stuck in an office all day, working on a computer—and that’s exactly what my research is. My job involves reading medical records and filling in the information on a spreadsheet. My spreadsheet is finished, so lately I’ve been combining the data with the last research assistant’s. You’d think it would be easy, except that this student (a pre-med, not a medical student) is either incompetent or simply ran out of time. I’ve been spending the last week or two cleaning up her sloppy work. (Microsoft Excel is not designed for large chunks of text. There is no reason to copy-paste an entire MRI report when you can simply jot down the important bits.) I also don’t trust some of her information, but that data came from a different university, so I can’t access those records.

Thus, when I get home every day, I’m usually in a bad enough mood that all I want to do is gorge myself and watch Scandal--which is trashy but enjoyable on a good day, but usually makes me want to pull out my hair due to feminist rage. (Seriously, why is Fitz still around? He’s a spoiled, whiny man-child and he’s utterly boring. I’m so sick of all the will they-won’t they. Literally every other character on the show is more interesting than he is. Even Quinn, who is quite possibly the dumbest fictional character on television, is a hundred times more interesting than Fitz.)

I also finished critiquing a beautiful manuscript, and I’m working on a few others.

Books I read: Finished The Spirit Rebellion (it’s good). I also read the first episode of a couple of indie serialized novels, but I wasn’t impressed with either. Currently reading Born Wicked and Mission Child.

August goal: I start classes soon, so I won’t have much writing time. I'll aim to finish the first half of Part Two, but I'm keeping my expectations low.

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