Saturday, September 27, 2014

WIP Marathon September Update

Last check-in: Finished chapters 19 and 21. Working on chapter 20. (word count = 72,117)

Currently: Finished chapter 20. Wrote a new scene for chapter 22, and started another. Finished chapter 23 (which was already more-or-less finished). ETA: Just outlined a new scene for chapter 24.

Current word count = 77,928

WIP issues this month: I was mildly bored with some of the chapter 20 scenes. In future drafts, I think I’ll try to cut or shorten these scenes. Also, one of them involves a surgery. I haven’t seen many surgeries, so I don’t remember the details too well. It was also difficult to write, since Takiran surgery is very different from what you would see in Western medicine (involves magic, less technical, much more invasive). I might take this scene out, as I’m not sure how much it would appeal to readers who aren’t morbid like me.

I’m currently working on the second scene of chapter 22. This is going to be a long scene, so I’m still in the process of organizing it. In the early part of this scene, one of my protagonists is learning how to shapeshift, and I’m wondering if this is one of those situations where she should be self-conscious about her appearance. She’s a teenager from modern America, and while she isn’t unhealthily overweight, she is chubby. She is also currently living in a fantasy world where, due to both lifestyle and probably some genetic factors, the vast majority of people are not chubby. I don’t want this to be a major source of angst for her (she has a million more important things to worry about), but realistically, it probably isn't something I should ignore. Yes, people would notice her weight. Yes, there would be microaggressions. I’m just trying to figure out a good balance.

Things I learned in writing this month:

1. I'm still slowly discovering things about some of my secondary characters.

2. I’ve started keeping a calendar and marking down every day I wrote this month (12 days, so far). This has been really helpful for keeping myself accountable, and it’s also good for motivation purposes. Most of my writing sessions this month have been short (less than 1000 words), but overall, I feel like I’m making more progress and that the writing is coming out more easily. (I also went back and marked down every day I wrote last month – 7 days.)

3. I was really glad to see that #10morewords helped some people along. (It helped me start a scene that I wasn't sure how to write.) If anyone wants to do another round, hit me up.

4. There are some things that belong in books and some things that belong online as free, fun bonus content. I was really annoyed when the first 100 pages of a book I was reading consisted of the characters reading poorly-written fanfiction written about themselves. Was it amusing? Mildly. But when I'm paying for a book and taking time out of my day to read it, what I want is story. Silliness is fine in moderation, but if 50 pages pass by without the plot moving forward, it's probably not the best time for bad fanfic.

What distracted me this month:

I had my first exam at the beginning of the month. I had to submit a poster and an abstract for our university's research showcase, and it took a lot longer to prepare those than I expected. Then I was sick for a week, but I actually got a decent amount of writing done since I wasn't going to class. I am currently behind in microbiology, though. I am also in St. Louis this weekend.

I didn't get much reading done this month. I only finished one book, A Vault of Sins, and didn't like it up until the last fifty pages (see #4). I'm slowly making my way through Shameless (Nina Lemay) and Entangled (Amy Rose Capetta). I like Shameless, and Entangled is okay, but I haven't reached the point where I feel like reading more than a couple chapters at a time. I'm also listening to Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and while it's not bad, I'm a little disappointed by it. I've also been watching a couple of "meh" TV shows, mostly for the sake of giving my brain time to veg.

Goal for next month: I actually plotted out how long it's been taking me to finish each chapter, and then let Excel do some calculations (number crunching and planning give me a weird sense of control, even if I never actually follow through on my plans). According to my graph, I should finish chapters 22, 24, and 25 by the next check-in (3 new scenes).



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: A Vault of Sins, by Sarah Harian

Book #2 in the Chaos Theory series

This book was a mess. The first half of it had no plot, and basically consisted of useless dream sequences and the characters reading bad fanfiction about themselves. It's the type of thing that might have been cute or funny in online bonus content, but not the sort of thing people actually pay money to read.

Around halfway through the novel, the plot actually started happening, although that part mostly consisted of sex and kissing, and the novel still left much to be desired up until the last fifty pages. The last fifty pages was where all the action was crammed in, and it's the only part of the novel I would actually consider good.

The ending of the novel made it clear that there will be a third book in the series, but I doubt I'm going to pick it up. The half-revealed conspiracy theories aren't impressing me that much, and I'm too pissed at being dragged through 100 pages of bad fanfiction that I'm almost too spiteful to buy another book in this series. (If I do decide to pick up the third book, it will be for no reason other than me wanting to see Valerie have a happy ending.)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

10 More Words

I need writing motivation, so I came up with an idea for a game. It's called 10 More Words. Here's how it works.

1. On Twitter, tag three people.

2. Those three people have to immediately open their documents and add 10 more words. (Note: If you have an exam tomorrow or a crying baby in the other room, you can interpret "immediately" somewhat loosely.)

3. Those people then tag 3 other people.

(Yes, I realize that this game is probably a joke for people who regularly write 500-1000 words a day, but alas, I'm not one of you.)

(Oh, and people are allowed to be tagged more than once. Unless, of course, they don't want to be tagged.)
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