Half Way There

By the end of the day we will be half way through November. Yesterday I passed the 30k mark and I feel like I’ve really progressed the story. There’s a huge difference between what I’ve got on paper now and the less-than-framework I had in my notes and in my head before. That’s the difference between dreaming and writing. But I’m still not there yet. As I think about what I still need to write, all the scenes to go, I know that there’s still much work to be done and I’m glad I’ve still got half a month to do it in.

Lessons learnt? Nothing much. I did start using OneNote to type which is great for jotting down that note on the side for the first revision. It’s not as nice as Word for crisp and cleanly feeling, doesn’t auto-fix quite as many of my typos and does not have a word count function built in (and I can’t add one on my Surface RT). But since sending the fresh typed section to Word is not hard, I would say the ability to jot down notes is worth it. I still haven’t gotten around to playing with the ability to shuffle the order of chapters yet, but am looking forward to it, if and when I need to.

Though of course what I really want is Scrivener. But I can’t get it on my Surface RT!

For now I’m liking my writing tools. Count me as converted from my paper notebook. I like scribbling and drawing lines on paper but when it comes time for the second draft, reading my sometimes poor handwriting and typing it into the computer is painful and really just wasting my time. It’s precious enough as it is. That’s time I could be creating new stuff!

Plus I can use OneNote to scribble as many lines as I like.

Okay enough about the tools. What about the writing?

Last night I was typing away at a scene involving a major plot hole. Halfway into the book I decided to finally have my characters stop putting it off (me too) and had them tackle it head on. There was seduction and confrontation. Someone took her clothes off. And…

It hit me. I had my answer. Well I had half an answer, filling in half of my hole. And that still leaves a hole but a smaller one. Maybe. I was ultra-excited, as I have been lacking a plot for a long, long time.

You can’t have plot holes when you don’t have a plot right? Wait that’s not a good thing.

There was still something missing but I had an opening. A little brainstorm session and I came up with something satisfactory. It hasn’t exactly not been done before (what hasn’t in fantasy) but I think it’s okay. It might change later, though so far I am the kind of writer that decides on a route and lets that dictate the rest of the story. I’m yet to go back and alter such decisions and don’t know if I have the strength to do that. Cross that bridge when it comes.

So plots and brainstorming success. Got up this morning and went to my local café (the first time I can say that in Australia woot!!!) for a riz and got to writing with my new ideas.

Life is good.



Another One In The Incubator

Well it took me six days to complete, writing an hour or two here, and hour or so there. I just moved to a new city Hikone in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, and as usual am in search of a good place to write. I’ve been strolling around town a couple of times and have yet to find a good espresso but I have been able to get some writing done. It’s just a short piece, a small part of a larger story but also kind of an introduction to one of the main stories I’m working on. Thus I’m in a bit unsure if I want to publish it here quite yet.

In any case it’s just a first draft and not ready as yet. But I’m happy to have pushed through and got the whole thing written start to finish. I started out with some good momentum during my couple of days off work but then had a tiring few days at work. I also wanted to do some Facebooking and start a new book in Japanese but I knew I had to keep my momentum and get the first draft done. I then hit a difficult patch in the story but as I said, I just kept plugging away. And now it’s done. Time to put it in the incubator and set the timer to six weeks a la On Writing.

Oh wait, I should probably type it up on the computer and do a word count. ‘White Mist. Red Evening’ took four days writing and weighed in at 5,389 words. This one took six days though to be fair some of those days I didn’t have time to write much, maybe nothing on some days. Hmmm a working title? Oh I already have one. ‘The True Hero’. Sounds a bit dramatic I suppose. I can’t say much about the main character but the story does involve a dragon.

I also suppose it is about time I checked in on White Mist.

Edit: typed it all up with only minor fixes. 3,634 words. A little lighter than White Mist. Okay, 6 weeks will be about May 29th. See you then.

A Hole to Work In

There are a couple of rules for writers that most people could guess at. One should write every day. Secondly, you should have a place to write that is free from distractions. Well these are not really rules but they are truly great pieces of advice, especially for fledgling writers such as myself. I’m talking about the second rule today but it is related to the first anyway. If you’re going write everyday then it helps if your writing place is easily accessible.

In his most excellent book On Writing, Stephen King prescribes a writing environment free from distractions. No phone, no copies of the latest novel you’re reading, no internet, no blogging and definitely no Facebook. In fact since I’m currently using good old pen and paper for a first draft I can probably do away with the whole computer. A prison cell in other words. If your cell has a window it had better look onto a brick wall or empty car park.

I must say that I agree with the above in theory; I just haven’t gotten around to installing a prison cell or buying an office for writing. Instead I usually write lying on the carpet of my lounge room or at the kitchen table when I’m in house. Other places I’ve written are in a secluded park (like a secret garden) under the train lines between Milsons Point and North Sydney, on the couches of various shopping centres, in libraries too (Steve actually says park benches and library carrels should be last resorts).

Recently I’ve been most productive when I take my notebook and pen to the Westfield shopping centre and choose a café I haven’t tried. I like to people-watch over a coffee and although there are lots of people and noise all around I find that once I start writing these are quite easy to tune out. I don’t bring the latest novel. I don’t have the internet to tempt me.  I order an espresso (which obviously doesn’t last very long) and get down to business. The Westfield is only a short walk from my home though rain still proves to be a deterrent for getting to my writing place.

Provided it’s not too busy the café staff will let you sit there for hours having only ordered one coffee. The only problem with this is that if I have the coffee late in the afternoon, say 4pm, I have trouble getting to sleep that night. But that’s a probably a good thing as it pushes me to do my writing earlier in the day. Steve gets his 2000 word quota written in the morning and then has the rest of the day to do other things which seems like a good goal.

The beauty of writing is that you can do it almost anywhere so really all it takes to write consistently is discipline (maybe I’ll write about this when I have some). But café writing combines some fun activities and while I haven’t found my Elephant House yet (none of the cafes in my area have the right vibe), cafes as a group have been where I’ve gotten some good writing sessions in.