Tag, You're Not It

Friday, March 1st, 2013 06:51 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
One of the challenges of database design is not just accommodating current needs, but anticipating future ones. I'm good at doing this most of the time, but most =/= all.

Tags are a database. And there are some things I'm still talking about that were tagged a certain way for reasons that no longer apply, or that I no longer want to think about in that way.

If you reached this post by following the HoM tag for Highway of Mirrors, you'll want to continue with the niay tag.

If you reached this post by following the Haley novel tag for the as-of-this-posting-untitled Haley novel, you'll want to continue with the novel 2 tag, which it was before I finished something else first. ;-)

(And if you're reading this on LiveJournal, you'll have to find those tags yourself, as the links point to Dreamwidth. And if you're reading this on Dreamwidth and want the niay tags prior to May 2nd, 2009, you'll have to look on LiveJournal. Platform changes, bleargh.)

March Word Count

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 06:58 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
first novel revisions = 6097
old-mission stories = 306
Total new words in March = 6403

Not bad! I was wondering what the revisions-count was going to look like; it's certainly felt like I was doing a lot, but I had absolutely no real idea of the numbers.

Yeah, it's been all about the revisions, this month. The absence of the new novel up there isn't a typo; I haven't touched it. The first novel has eaten my brain, which shouldn't be a surprise as that's what it tends to do. I find I'm rather missing the new novel; I'll be excited to get back to it. Which is good.

But first, I'm going to have to get through the deep dark woods of revision to the other side. I am finding the process rather disconcerting; I really truly did think the thing was Done, and now not only is it Not Done, but it seems to be getting more Not Done the more I get into it. I've already added a whole additional chapter, and I can see what may amount to another additional chapter's worth of material on the horizon. And I'm not entirely sure about its shape, or what it's going to do to the ending. I may possibly be less certain where it's heading than I was when I first wrote it.

It's going to be fascinating to find out.

February Word Count

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 12:03 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
the new novel = 35
assorted mission stories = 553
first novel revisions = 124 net (599 gross; I had to cut a non-trivial chunk)
Total new words in February = 712 net (1187 gross)

Um, yeah. February was not a good month, writing-wise. Or at least word-count wise. While I still say it's a good base metric, it doesn't fully reflect the work involved in serious revisions. Not that even the gross count above is good, but the 475 I cut was at least as important as the ~300 I put in place of it. And the sheer re-reading involved is a non-trivial effort, and absolutely necessary.

It also doesn't reflect research on the new novel's replacement plot. Which I didn't do as much of as I should have, but I did get the key points established. There's some secondary research and some vital plot noodling left to do, but it's looking very promising.

All true, but also February was just not a good month. Not-writing makes me depressed, which makes me not write, which.... Yeah. There was a con and some day-job crunches and other excuses, but there was also a lot of just not doing it. Which is both the most detrimental and the part most under my control. So yeah, boot, meet backside.

That said, I'm actually excited about revising the first novel. It's going to be a lot of very hard work, but I can already feel the shape of what the result will be if I pull it off, and it's good. Worth it, definitely. I've already tackled the scene in Chapter 5 that's probably given me more trouble than anything else in the novel; it now sustains the emotional tone I need without veering out of character, a combination which none of the previous versions managed. Despite last month's remarks on the matter, I've kind of fallen into concentrating on the revisions to the exclusion of most, if not all, else; while bad for my word count and all that implies, it is getting the novel a lot closer to what I want it to be.

Now I just need to learn to work on something else during the natural lag-times in the revision cycle. Preferably something with a high word count. ;-)

January Word Count

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 02:36 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
the new novel = 5
revisions on the previous novel = 1498
assorted mission stories = 5454
Total new words in January = 6957

Well over the 5K goal. /*dusts hands with sense of accomplishment*/

The "assorted mission stories" are mostly just one story -- which is done except for figuring out the model of gun used in one scene, and which just might work as a stand-alone. I'm not sure if submitting post-novel stories for magazine publication before the novel gets published is a good idea or a bad one, but it'd be nice to have the option.

The count on the new novel would be beyond sad, yes, except that I'm still pushing around ideas for a replacement plot. The one I'd settled on -- and "settled" is the operative word -- just wasn't doing it for me. Thanks to this post (Pat Wrede = god of writing about writing, y/y?), I've got several ideas, or variants on an idea, that I like better; now it's just a matter of doing the research (oh gawd) to see which one flies best.

The previous novel revisions are something of a surprise to me. In an attempt to write a query that isn't, y'know, boring, I sat down to reread a few chapters to get the voice fresh in my head. My reaction can best be politely summarized as, "Well, this could be better." What it boils down to is that I've now been away from the text long enough that I can be my own beta-reader, and the first novel is finally getting the rigorous critical read that it should have had the first time around. And revised accordingly. (It's also getting longer, which is not the point but is a nice side benefit.)

I'm still going to hold to the 5000 words per month goal. How that's going to work out with revisions going on one novel and major research needed on the other before I can write much, I don't know. I'm tempted to chuck everything else and concentrate on the revisions, but I recognize that's a bad plan. I used to be able to switch between several on-going projects with ease; looks like that's a skill I'd better revive.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
the new novel = 1159
assorted mission stories = 836
Total new words in December = 1995

Goal was 2000 words. Granted, that goal didn't take into account the main plot of my novel disappearing out from under me. But still, that's just embarrasing.

Back to 5000 for January.


Monday, December 19th, 2011 11:20 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Thanks to certain current events, the plot of my novel-in-progress just fell apart.

I hate writing real world stuff. I wanna go back to writing science fiction!
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I was reading query critique sites last week, as one does when procrastinating one's own submission work. A couple of random comments pinged in my brain, and I decided to try writing a pretend query for an entirely imaginary book, just for the practice.

...I seem to have come up with a new novel idea.

After several days, I'm still quite taken with it. It's a traditional mystery, a little too gritty for a cozy but still fun without being gimmicky. It's even got series potential! I've got a solid grasp of the main character and a significant secondary character (including names), I've already solved a couple of major setting issues, and it gives me an entirely legitimate excuse for thinking about kittens. And best of all, the query's already done!

(Mind you, the query as stands includes a fix-it-later bracket of "[other plot elements]", but that's okay; my ideas usually come like that. I generally subscribe to the E.L. Doctorow approach: "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.")

Of course, I can't start on it until I finish the current novel-in-progress -- or at least, knowing me, it would be unwise. Which means I'd better get cracking on it, eh? If I finish that on schedule, I might try this for NaNo. Assuming I am sufficiently suicidal or concussed as to sign up for NaNo, that is.

November Word Count

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 06:09 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I bogged down a bit in the middle of this month, for various reasons including a con and a (hopefully temporary) lack of plot. Which resulted in me coming up to the end of the month rather shorter of words than I would have liked. (The purpose of deadlines is not to leave everything until the day before them, despite what my college career might have implied.) Thus, I half-killed myself last night to get another 900 words, plus a few extra in case I'd mis-added. It would suck, after all, to fall just short.

the new novel = 3389
revision on the previous novel = 317
assorted old-mission stories (& one new mission) = 1894
Total new words in November = 5600

Fortunately, my writing is better than my math skills!

I think it was the revisions that I forgot to count when doing my oh-crap-how-many-more-do-I-need totals. Regardless, generously over quota, so woot! And double woot for cranking out something like 1300 words last night, despite a lousy mood, the siren call of sleep, and a purring cat curled up on me where the laptop needed to be. I might even be well on the way to a salable stand-alone story in the same universe as the novels; we'll see.

I don't generally count fanfic toward word-count quota; that's for potentially professional work only. But it's worth noting that I also turned out a 1671-word Doctor Who story (in two days!), especially because it was based on a prompt that the housemate helpfully gave me to get me out of a funk. I think it may need a rather strict beta-reading before it sees posting -- I went a little adverb- and simile-happy, even by my standards -- but by ghod it got from beginning to end with all the bits in between.

I am officially giving myself a break for December. It is the month of the Holiday of Financial Obligation, which always puts me in a bad mood. Also, I need to do some serious plot wrangling on the new novel, which is vital writing work that isn't captured by word count. Don't want to let my productivity muscles atrophy, however. So, for this month the goal is only 2000 words. We'll crank it back up in January.

October Word Count

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 09:38 am
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Keeping in mind that my goal is 5000 words a month....

The current novel: 9200 words

Holy fsck. That's a lot of words.

As will come as a surprise to no one who does this writing stuff seriously, the trick is to just keep plugging away at it. Yes, there are a few big bursts of output in that total, including Sunday's, but the vast majority is made up of chunks in the 250-500 range. But if you do enough of them, even modest chunks add up.

I don't aim to write every day; I've tried it, and it tends to wring my brain dry and make it cramp up. I figure my ideal is two days out of three, on average. I wrote about 16 days out of 31 this month, and about 18 last month (there are a few multiples per day). So not bad; there was a dead week or so in there, but otherwise the pattern was pretty close. Steady progress is important, but so, as with building up physical abilities, is respecting rest & recharge time.

And like any muscle, the writing brain gets stronger as it gets used more. It used to be that 350 words was a stunningly great session for me; now it's acceptable.

Assorted old-mission stories: 1615
Total new words in October: 10815

I'm tempted to stop counting the old-mission stories; it made sense when I only had one or two in progress, but they're getting a bit chaotic. And I evidently don't need them to bolster my monthly total. But it's better to have data and not need it than the reverse, I suppose.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I wrote 2,264 words on the current novel last night. 125 were copied in from the "outline" file, but I get to count them on account of making them fit; the other 2,139 were freshly-typed and new.

I think that's the most I've ever done in one sitting before. It's certainly the most I've ever done on a single story in one sitting.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
It is a lovely day outside, in a string of lovely fall days that's expected to last well into next week.

I am blowing off planning to wrap up the current day-job project later today. However, as I am showing no signs of higher ambition than to sit blob-like at the computer anyway (instead of going outside to play hooky like a sensible person), I am researching whether the Hotel Rossli has light fixtures in the ceilings of its rooms. Because yes, it is actually Relevant To The Plot.

Nobody takes pictures of hotel room ceilings, y'know?

July Word Count

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 11:05 am
Well, that sucked.

1296 new words on the novel last month. And almost all of that in the first week; my burst of word-count-shamed enthusiasm didn't last past ten days. In exculpation, I did do some writing the rest of the month, on an old-mission story I'd had half-done for ages. (The last half. Because that's where all the fun stuff is.) Unfortunately, I wasn't tracking word count on that, but I'm pretty sure it came in around 2000 new words. I'm counting it in partly to boost the pathetic total, but mostly because it did feel like "real" writing, not just messing about. (Had to do all that tedious set-up for the fun parts, after all.) Which brings us to:

Total new words in July: 3296

Which is technically better than last month, but still sad beyond belief.

The old-mission story would be more satisfying if it was done, but of course, there's a Problem. There's always a Problem lately, which is why the otherwise quite reasonable-sounding idea of whipping off a quick short story to get an easy win under my belt and build my enthusiasm back up keeps failing. In this case, it's that the ending for the adventure-story aspect is unsatisfying for the character-exploration stuff, and the ending for the character-exploration aspect is technically unfeasible. And so here I sit.

I'm considering tracking words by week (minimum target 1000) as well as by month (target 5000), to get around the pattern of a burst of output at the beginning of the month followed by nada for the rest of it. This would be more appealing if this week weren't already half over, with me at a whopping total of zero and holding steady.

March Word Count

Monday, April 11th, 2011 09:56 am
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Some delay in posting, for obvious reasons.

Total new words in March: 32

No, I didn't leave out a couple of digits there. That's all I got done on the new novel; the novella didn't move at all. There were a couple small bursts on some fanfic and first-novel apocrypha I've had laying around for a while, but even that was sporadic and ultimately unproductive.

I have got to find some way to shake this. This is the worst block (discounting massive RL interference) I can recall having. Don't like it, not at all.

February Word Count

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 10:18 am
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Total new words in February: 3517

Still not on target, but an improvement over January's 2942. Also, the vast majority were done in the second half of the month; if I'd managed that rate of progress the whole time, I'd have topped the desired 5000. So definitely on the right track.

3088 of those words were on the new novel; the post-first-novel novella is rather falling by the wayside. I'm tentatively okay with that; the novella's going to require a whump of research to nail down the setting, and given the state of things in the Middle East, I'm a little leery of dropping my characters in to cause trouble for fear of inadvertently laying claim to someone's revolution. Plus, if I let those characters into my writing brain, they have a tendency to take over to the exclusion of all else.

The public-embarrassment effect looks promising: I got a substantial amount of work done yesterday because I knew I'd be reporting progress today. So brace yourselves for another of these updates in April.

January Word Count

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 08:18 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
My unspoken goal for January was 5000 words on the new novel. That was also my unspoken goal for November, and December. Given that we're still talking about the same 5000 words, I think I need a bigger stick. So, in hopes that public embarrassment will prove an effective spur, I'm going to try posting monthly word-counts for a while.

Total new words in January: 2942

That's counting both of the two things currently active enough for me to be tracking wordcount, the new novel and the post-previous-novel novella (1037 and 1905 respectively). I'm not tracking fanfic, but that's no loss; there hasn't been much to track recently.

2942 is actually considerably better than I feared. It is not, however, sufficient; This Will Not Do. (There was a time when I would have been thrilled to turn out a thousand words in a month. I suppose it's a sort of progress that this is no longer that time.)

On the positive side, I did finally sort out the location issue that's been bogging down the new novel. And, having finally just bloody picked a hotel for my character, I was able to sit down today and rework the existing text to fit the geography with minimal difficulty. I'm not sure what my back-brain was holding out for, but apparently the new place has it. Perhaps now I will be able to get on with things.


Monday, January 17th, 2011 06:24 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
I finally get the right combination of motivation and head-space to make some progress on the new novel... and I've been stalled so long that I've forgotten most of the details about the location. I'm going to have to redo a bunch of immersion/research.

lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
And now, the thing I meant to post about before I got distracted by my email.

I wrote 1105 words on the new novel last night. I still have no idea what I'm doing where the setting is concerned, but artistic fakery has commenced.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Something I did not expect: Starting a second novel is a lot harder than finishing the first one. It's not the problem I've heard other authors talk about, of having set yourself a standard to live up to and to prove the first one wasn't just a fluke. I seem to be safe on that one; I know I can do it again, because I've done it before.

No, what's throwing me is the frankly intimidating amount of work on the to-be-done side of the scale. Past a certain point on the first novel (around chapter 9 or so), the sheer weight of words-already-written provided a momentum for writing the rest that was almost irresistible; I couldn't really see not finishing it, having already gotten that far. It's a bit like pushing a rock; once you get over the crest of the hill, it's less a question of struggling to push and more a matter of running as fast as you can to keep the work you've already done from squashing you flat. But now this new rock is sitting at the base of a very big hill, it's got inertia on its side, and it sure looks like a long, long way up there....

Using word count as my metric for productivity doesn't make this any easier. The prospect of writing 15,000 words doesn't sound so bad when you've already got 50,000 words done. The prospect of writing 60,000+ when you've got a base of only about 500, however, is more than a little disconcerting.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
I have this new novel on the burner -- so of course my writing brain's been hung up on an old-mission story. But that's finished now (woot), and it's time to get back to researching Zurich.

So we're sitting there watching ads for House Hunters International, and I comment to the housemate "If they ever do one in Zurich...." And tonight's episode promptly starts -- in Zurich.

It's as if I'm supposed to be working on a novel, or something. ;-)
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
I turned out something like 1200 words today. Unfortunately, none of them were on the thing I'm supposed to be working on; instead, they were on the sort-of sequel. Which is doing its level best to eat my brain, despite my screams of "Not yet! Not yet!"

At this rate, I'm in real danger of writing all the fun bits before I officially start writing it.




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