Uhm, yeah. That thing.

I did another 11 1/2 pages by long hand today. I figure that brings the total for chapter 5 up to about 4000 words. It will probably grow longer — just sitting here, thinking about it, I can already spot a couple of parts that need significantly more verbage. But right now I’m just going to say the chapter is 4000 words, and it’s finished. At least the hand written part.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
29,000 / 100,000
(29.0%)

Tomorrow — I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Either start typing and rewriting chapter five, or start planning and writing the next chapter. Maybe both. *G*

The other thing I did this morning was figure out that this really was a trilogy.

ETA: OMG. Just realized I’m *exactly* where I wanted to be in terms of the novel. If it’s 100,000 words long, I wanted the first third to be all about X, and it is! Whee!

I’ve never committed trilogy before. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But this morning I was thinking about the fight/confrontation that ends chapter five, and exactly what information needed to be given to the reader. That’s when I realized that if I said X, I was creating a hook for the second novel. I proceeded to think more about the second novel, what I wanted to have happen there.

Then the OMG moment happened — where I saw the novel.

I don’t know if other writers are like this. But for me — when novel ideas show up, they show up complete. The entire thing. Boom. I don’t see all the connecting threads, and certainly none of the subplots, but I see the start of the novel, some of the middle scenes, as well as the end. And right now I have the major arc of the second novel, as well as a very general idea for the third novel. (The arc of the third novel needs some work — it’s far too similar to the second novel.)

Having this much to work toward is a very different experience for me. Particularly since I still am refusing to outline anything. I really don’t know where exactly I’m going. But I do have a general idea.

I was thinking about what a new novel looked like to me. It’s like this ball of very tangled yarn, with a few clear threads leading into the ball, as well as out of the ball. I can follow some of the convolutions with my eye, but I’m really going to have to get in there and tease them all apart before I can make any sense out of the whole thing, have it clean and spiffed up, well woven, for other people to read.

Now — I think it’s time to take advantage of our gorgeous fall weather again today and take a nice walk.

Hope ya’ll have been having a great weekend!

Comments (8)

  1. Having this much to work toward is a very different experience for me. Particularly since I still am refusing to outline anything. I really don’t know where exactly I’m going. But I do have a general idea.

    Can I ask why you’re refusing to outline? I refuse to outline because it always makes the book weaker. Well, okay, the one time I ever wrote and sold on outline. The second outline I turned in was the book’s first draft. I can’t ignore an outline once it’s written, but the only full engaged faculty in outlining, for me, is the intellectual, and it’s the combination of the intellectual & emotional that result in Real Book for me.

    • The first three novels all had complete outlines, quite often more than one — usually a long version and a short version. It’s very normal for me to outline and define things. I also did character studies, word lists (words and phrases that characters would and wouldn’t use), took lots of notes about the setting, etc. So it’s a very different process for me not to write an outline for a novel. One of the reasons why I’m refusing to write an outline for this novel is because I want that change in process. (I’ve changed most of my writing process for this novel, actually.)

      I had a different novel that I was writing before I started working on what I’m currently doing. There were many reasons why I got stuck on it, but I do wonder if I over outlined it, if I killed it off by formalizing it too much.

      • I had a different novel that I was writing before I started working on what I’m currently doing. There were many reasons why I got stuck on it, but I do wonder if I over outlined it, if I killed it off by formalizing it too much.

        I can formalize anything that’s one step removed from the text. So I can write 400 pages about the various heirarchies that govern an empire, or a city; the various religious holidays (and religions), the people of political import. I do this because it works out the kinks of the background — for me — while at the same time not dictating exactly what form the foreground will take. Anything that is meant as foundation for text, and not expected to be in the actual text, I can do to death — because if something is better, and makes more sense, and I think about it later, I can still change things.

        But when it comes to text I find it suffocating =(. I couldn’t move on a book for a very long time because the outline was staring me in the face, and I had sold the book based on the outline. But outlines have always frightened me for that reason. That, and my sense of belief in the book as I write it is sort of based on the number of possibilities that can occur at any given point; the wider those possibilities are, the more, ummm, alive it all feels.

        I am -really- curious to see what the differences in the process feel like to you, though; I know that my process changes in little ways from book to book, but I’ve never so deliberately gone in the opposite direction before when I’ve had the choice.

        • Because of this change in process, what I can and can’t talk about in terms of a novel has also changed — that set of things that I can write down or chat about without losing “novel energy”. Or maybe it isn’t a causal relationship — I’m not sure. It used to be that I could talk about a *lot* of the novel, where it was going, what I was working on. Possibly as much as 80% of it. It didn’t kill the book. There were a group of things which I couldn’t speak about, which I merely hinted at in outlines — too much exposition about those parts of the novel would kill the book for me, the energy would all go out of those sections.

          Now — I think that it’s reversed, and I can really only talk about 20% of what’s going on, if that. The rest is still all bundled up inside my head, burning brightly. To speak of those things would be to blow the fire out.

          As for what the differences in my process feel like — it feels very freeing. It sounds silly in some ways, but I’m only doing what I want to do. My process is all jumbled up right now, instead of streamlined.

          In very general terms, I think my old process could be described as: outline, start writing, edit a little but keep writing, keep moving forward, finish writing, then do a complete rewrite of the novel.

          The days when I feel like putting new words down on the page, I put new words down on the page. When I feel like rewriting, I do that. When I feel like re-visioning, seeing what I’ve written again, in a new way, I do that. When I feel like polishing I do that. When I feel like brainstorming, I do that. It’s all worked out well so far. I don’t go back too far and I don’t reach forward too far. I will still have to rewrite this novel once I’ve finished it (I’ve always been more of a rewriter than a writer, so that doesn’t bother or surprise me.)

          But the energy I have writing this way has been amazing. I haven’t had to have “discipline” to write. I wake up eager to write (when I’m not having health issues, which is another whole other story.) I find myself looking forward to working and writing in a way that I haven’t been doing for years. I’m scared it will all disappear again. I’m writing as fast as I can while I can. And I’m doing what I can — including completely turning my process upside down — just to make sure that I do keep writing.

  2. Having this much to work toward is a very different experience for me. Particularly since I still am refusing to outline anything. I really don’t know where exactly I’m going. But I do have a general idea.

    Can I ask why you’re refusing to outline? I refuse to outline because it always makes the book weaker. Well, okay, the one time I ever wrote and sold on outline. The second outline I turned in was the book’s first draft. I can’t ignore an outline once it’s written, but the only full engaged faculty in outlining, for me, is the intellectual, and it’s the combination of the intellectual & emotional that result in Real Book for me.

    • The first three novels all had complete outlines, quite often more than one — usually a long version and a short version. It’s very normal for me to outline and define things. I also did character studies, word lists (words and phrases that characters would and wouldn’t use), took lots of notes about the setting, etc. So it’s a very different process for me not to write an outline for a novel. One of the reasons why I’m refusing to write an outline for this novel is because I want that change in process. (I’ve changed most of my writing process for this novel, actually.)

      I had a different novel that I was writing before I started working on what I’m currently doing. There were many reasons why I got stuck on it, but I do wonder if I over outlined it, if I killed it off by formalizing it too much.

      • I had a different novel that I was writing before I started working on what I’m currently doing. There were many reasons why I got stuck on it, but I do wonder if I over outlined it, if I killed it off by formalizing it too much.

        I can formalize anything that’s one step removed from the text. So I can write 400 pages about the various heirarchies that govern an empire, or a city; the various religious holidays (and religions), the people of political import. I do this because it works out the kinks of the background — for me — while at the same time not dictating exactly what form the foreground will take. Anything that is meant as foundation for text, and not expected to be in the actual text, I can do to death — because if something is better, and makes more sense, and I think about it later, I can still change things.

        But when it comes to text I find it suffocating =(. I couldn’t move on a book for a very long time because the outline was staring me in the face, and I had sold the book based on the outline. But outlines have always frightened me for that reason. That, and my sense of belief in the book as I write it is sort of based on the number of possibilities that can occur at any given point; the wider those possibilities are, the more, ummm, alive it all feels.

        I am -really- curious to see what the differences in the process feel like to you, though; I know that my process changes in little ways from book to book, but I’ve never so deliberately gone in the opposite direction before when I’ve had the choice.

        • Because of this change in process, what I can and can’t talk about in terms of a novel has also changed — that set of things that I can write down or chat about without losing “novel energy”. Or maybe it isn’t a causal relationship — I’m not sure. It used to be that I could talk about a *lot* of the novel, where it was going, what I was working on. Possibly as much as 80% of it. It didn’t kill the book. There were a group of things which I couldn’t speak about, which I merely hinted at in outlines — too much exposition about those parts of the novel would kill the book for me, the energy would all go out of those sections.

          Now — I think that it’s reversed, and I can really only talk about 20% of what’s going on, if that. The rest is still all bundled up inside my head, burning brightly. To speak of those things would be to blow the fire out.

          As for what the differences in my process feel like — it feels very freeing. It sounds silly in some ways, but I’m only doing what I want to do. My process is all jumbled up right now, instead of streamlined.

          In very general terms, I think my old process could be described as: outline, start writing, edit a little but keep writing, keep moving forward, finish writing, then do a complete rewrite of the novel.

          The days when I feel like putting new words down on the page, I put new words down on the page. When I feel like rewriting, I do that. When I feel like re-visioning, seeing what I’ve written again, in a new way, I do that. When I feel like polishing I do that. When I feel like brainstorming, I do that. It’s all worked out well so far. I don’t go back too far and I don’t reach forward too far. I will still have to rewrite this novel once I’ve finished it (I’ve always been more of a rewriter than a writer, so that doesn’t bother or surprise me.)

          But the energy I have writing this way has been amazing. I haven’t had to have “discipline” to write. I wake up eager to write (when I’m not having health issues, which is another whole other story.) I find myself looking forward to working and writing in a way that I haven’t been doing for years. I’m scared it will all disappear again. I’m writing as fast as I can while I can. And I’m doing what I can — including completely turning my process upside down — just to make sure that I do keep writing.

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