Sunday, August 25, 2013

Story Review and Goals This Week

I'll be doing a bit of business travel for the first half of the week, which presents me with a great opportunity to finish the initial read-through of my story. I figure I'll have a good hour of down-time at the airport going out and back, as well as some time in the evenings, so I should be able to finish by the time I return home.

I might even start going through my notes, and playing with revisions. I have Scrivener loaded on my company laptop, for just such occasions as this (travel and down-time), and Google Drive allows me to keep this version synchronized with the master copy of the story on my personal laptop.

Speaking of Google Drive, I was looking for a G-Drive client for Linux, and simply assumed that Google would offer one along with Windows and Mac. Alas, it was not to be! But, I did find a great third-party Google Drive client for Linux called InSync. They offer a 15-day free trial, which I'm about one week into, plus if you refer others you can extend that trial. In the interests of honesty, the link above is my referral link, which lets anyone download the free trial version and will extend my trial by another 15 days. As I said, I've been using InSync for about a week, and it works flawlessly. As such, I am quite willing to recommend it to others, without reservation. And I will gladly pay for it by the end of my trial, whenever that comes about, so I can continue using it.

Back to my goals for the week: finish the read-through, take a few more notes, and start the revision process. In the medium term, like between now and the end of the year, I plan to finish my first round of revisions. That will entail writing in some scenes that are currently missing, adding new scenes that were never part of the outline but are nevertheless needed, and possibly also removing some scenes, or merging existing scenes, in order to improve the flow of the story. In a nutshell, I'm looking at large-scale revisions for the first pass, the big things that are obviously missing, out of place, or needing to be radically overhauled. After those are complete, I should be able to do a second pass of finer-grained revisions, focusing in on smaller details such as refining my characterizations, background descriptions, and the like. The goal here is to start broad, and then focus more tightly with each additional round of revisions. By the end - however many passes it takes to get there - I should be focused on short phrases, individual word choices, and basic proof-reading.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Mortality of Computers, and a Story Update

My laptop finally died earlier this week - the video chipset is toast, so it sorta boots but the screen stays black which does me absolutely no good.

Fortunately, I have an older laptop that is still functional and actually in remarkably good condition, loaded with Ubuntu Linux. I powered it up yesterday, downloaded 450MB worth of software updates, and now I'm good to go. Downloaded the Linux beta of Scrivener and got that installed, too, so I can even work on my novel.

Eventually, maybe in the next couple of months, I will get a new computer. This one, while quite functional, is over 5 years old, with a dead battery, and the wireless doesn't seem to be working either (I think it's actually a Linux issue, but would need to install Windows to find out for sure). Fortunately for me, I can leave it plugged into the wall in my den, both power and network - I was smart enough to run network cabling while I was working on my basement finishing project, so both my theater and my den are wired for 100 MB networking.

Anyway, here's a quick update on the story: I'm still reading through the rough draft at this point, a little over a third of the way through. Per the plan, I'm not taking any notes as I read, except maybe a few mental ones. After this read-through, I'll take a little bit of time away, then come back for a more thorough read-through, which will entail taking extensive notes as I go.

I've never actually gotten this far with previous novels. Although I have completed several stories and even completed draft revisions on them, I have never gone to as much effort with those as I am planning to do with this one. And I'm doing the extra work this time simply because I want to get past writing as a hobby, and see if I can turn it into a money-making business. Not that I intend to quit my job any time soon. But slow and steady wins a lot of races, and I'm in this one for the long term, with no expectations of over-night stardom as an author. If I get a few sales on this book, it will be enough encouragement for me to continue writing and publishing more books.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Interesting Links

As is common for many people these days, I have a short list of blogs which I regularly read. One of the bloggers that I casually follow, who has a tendency toward polarizing opinions, recently posted a couple of interesting items that I thought were worth sharing.

This is the first in a series of as-yet undetermined length:

Here is the second post in the series:

  • In this post, the author discusses the importance of knowing how your story is going to end, before you even start writing the actual story. He covers the two commonly-accepted styles of writing (outlining vs. discovery/exploration), then adds a third style, autobiographical, which I would argue is not really in the same class as the other two. It may be a valid method of storytelling (basing your stories upon your personal experience rather than extrapolation or simple creation), but it has nothing to do with whether the story's plot is planned out versus "discovered".
  • In addition to the above posts from my own blog, I would add the following which contribute to the discussion linked above, and go to show that I am most definitely an outliner rather than a discovery writer:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It Is Finished!

The rough draft is complete. Final word count: 149,693. Now begins the first round of editing, proofreading, and re-writing. I have plentiful notes of things to fix, change, and details to fill in.

I'm going to start by doing a complete read-through of the story from start to end, taking additional notes and trying not to fix anything except spelling errors. The point will be to give myself a reminder of the overall story, and let my mind digest it as a whole, rather than broken up into hundreds of small scenes.

After that is done, I will go back and start working through my notes, fixing and re-writing things as I go, adding details, etc. I will also begin posting samples once again, randomly, to show how things have changed between the rough and second drafts. You can expect to see my normal commentary on these as well, pointing out the differences.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Still On Vacation

We're still on vacation, but coming home today. I wrote a couple of paragraphs on Sunday morning, but haven't touched the story since then, so I guess my plans of doing a bunch of writing went by the wayside. We have been keeping pretty busy - not that I haven't had any down-time to write, but even during the down-time, I've spent most of my time reading a couple of novels and playing casual games with friends. It's been nice to set aside everything, even the story, and do a whole lot of nothing.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to getting back to it. In fact, we're coming home today, and I still have a few more days of vacation at home before returning to work next week. And I fully intend to do some writing this weekend. I might even finish this rough draft - it is that close to being done.

In fact I have now officially set a goal to finish the rough draft this weekend. Look for an announcement regarding it's completion no later than Sunday evening.