Weekly Progress Wednesday

Michael-Hague

Michael Hauge expounding his wisdoms

Writing Progress

Filles Du Roi WIP: Current word count: 7,235 (no change)

So, I haven’t done any BICHOK work on this, but I’ve been doing a lot of discovery that will give me a much stronger foundation as I move forward. I’ll talk more about that in a second.

Platform Progress

Nothing happening here! It’s been so busy with other things that I haven’t focused as I would like.

Life Progress

This weekend I went to a Michael Hauge Story Mastery workshop held by my RWA chapter. It was two days full of story structure, character development and a little pitch practice too. It was honestly pretty damned amazing. Some of the concepts were things I was familiar with, which was actually pretty great because it allowed me to focus more deeply on understanding the layers underneath what I already knew rather than trying to absorb all new things. It’s improved my direction for my WIP exponentially, and my understanding of character goals and motivations. Michael is primarily a movie story consultant, but most of these concepts cross all types of story and so they are applicable in novels as well. It’s also been a great chance for me to think about how story relates to reality. Why we read stories and what we gain from them. It’s given me a better understanding of psychology and my own growth as a person.

How many times can you say you’ve gone into a writing workshop and come out with a better understanding of yourself as a human and also your marriage? Right?

 

Advertisements

Weekly Progress

17.-power-of-persistance-420x420_0

For the past week and a half it’s been hard to be persistent and consistent. I got a little distracted and overwhelmed by other things in my life. But I’m trying to make up for it by being smarter and preparing in advance. I’m trying to use the few moments I have wisely. It doesn’t always work, but it’s working right now, so I’m pushing forward. I have some exciting developments in the future, but that means trying to readjust the scales on my time management, figuring out what I can give up and what I need to keep. It’s not easy, but then, what is?

Writing Progress

Filles Du Roi WIP: Current word count: 7,235 (from 3,928)

3,307 words feels like a lot of progress right now. I’ve been consistent in my writing habit, but until today, it felt like I was trudging through mud. Good mud, the kind that might eventually even blossom lotus flowers, but mud all the same. It doesn’t make for easy walking through nature. However, today I feel like I might have reached a nice little turning point.

I’ve also resolved to write some of the fun scenes, the ones that I’ve been waiting anxiously to have a crack at, so that my excitement about this project is boosted. Usually I’m a chronological writer. It helps me keep the motivation of my characters straight, and their emotional state, etc. But right now, I just want some adrenaline shots into my day. So I’ll go write some of the scenes that I think will be really fun, and then I’ll come back and tackle the others once I have a stronger road map. I think that’s part of the problem right now. I have a big picture map, but none of the rest stops are marked on it, so it’s hard to keep the big picture in mind when you’re slogging through mud and don’t know when you’ll be able to get to the rest area.

Platform Progress

My new phone is shiny and pretty! But I haven’t been doing too much different with it besides enjoying having a new phone. I’ve been using it in much the same way.

In other social media news, I’ve continued to grow my networks, but I’m noticing a lot of the network isn’t who I would expect or hope my target audience would be. I really like the followers, but want to connect with more writers and readers of romance. So, I’m going to re-evaluate and re-adjust so that I can meet more of the romance community with my blog, because they are just so awesome and fun and nice, and because we share such a great common interest.

Life Progress

I have a lot to do today and very little of it has to do with writing. A lot of it has to do with my other job of teaching. We are going to be discussing one of Willa Cather’s short stories, “Paul’s Case”. I’ve read it several times before, but I do love how you learn and see so much more when you re-read. Just last night, I saw new shades in this story that I hadn’t noticed before. Often my teaching and readings for class feed my soul and direct me back to writing, so that is a lovely thing. But, grading does not feed my soul, and that’s what I’m about to do. Wish me luck!

 

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Weekly Progress Wednesday

Henry David Thoreau quote

This quote is one of my all time favorites. I recite it to myself sometimes, when I need a little inspiration. It is my unofficial motto for this year, a year in which I am taking risks and working hard to create the life I’ve imagined for myself.

Writing Progress

Filles Du Roi WIP: Current word count: 3,928 (from 34,116)

I told you that I’d be majorly overhauling my WIP to make a stronger conflict, and better tension, and so I’ve almost entirely started over. Some scenes made the cut, but were whittled away and changed to the point that their own mother (me, I guess) wouldn’t even recognize them if she hadn’t seen their first form. The basic action of the plot remains the same, but how the characters meet, get the plot going, and even how they act have been changed. It’s interesting to see how much better this second version is already, although getting my daily word count yesterday was a struggle. I had to go take a nap in between sessions.

Platform Progress

My platforms have been growing slowly, but hopefully this organic growth is also beneficial. I’m trying to focus on content that is strong and useful so that people both trust and like what I have to say. It’s been hard this week to stay as focused as I was last week on using social media and the tools I have. So I’ll probably need to re-evaluate and take approaches that work for me and my current busy schedule.

I’m also buying a new phone today. Mine is dying the slow death of a drowned iPhone 4s. Its battery is failing, and it’s probably time to upgrade anyway. Maybe a new phone, with new capabilities will give me new things to try out and share. At the very least, it will be pretty, and I do love pretty things.

Life Progress

I’m feeling pretty productive today, even though there are some deadlines that I’ve let creep too close for comfort. I’m about to take care of those tasks when I sign off here, so maybe I’ll be feeling even better in a few minutes. Yesterday was a mostly lazy day, but I got nearly all my work done, so that makes me feel like I didn’t entirely drop the ball to chill with my husband. I’ve also been trying to work out in the mornings because it makes me feel more powerful and beautiful. I did 15 minutes of yoga this morning, and a short kettle bell work out yesterday and Monday. On Sunday I went to yoga in a bar with a good friend, and could feel the burn for the past two days, but I noticed an improvement in myself from the week before. I do love getting back to a yoga practice!

On a day like today I do feel like I am headed in the direction of the life I never quite imagined, but am happily discovering I love. I hope you are too.

 

Weekly Progress Wednesday

motivation poster of the week: remember how far you've come, not just how far you have to go

Writing Progress

Regency WIP: Current word count: 6,904 No change

Filles Du Roi WIP: Current word count: 46,613 (from 34,116)

Last night at my chapter meeting, we had a great speaker, Colleen Thompson, who talked about adrenaline shots for your plots. I’ve been struggling with this story a lot lately. I really enjoy what’s been going on, but until halfway through the plot there’s little conflict. There’s problems, and disagreements, but the conflict lock felt weak and not very believable. Now, though, I think I’m going to change everything about the first act, and this will of course change the second, but will make it much more enjoyable, and plausible. So, even though I’ve got nearly 50,000 words, it looks like there will be major overhauls in the next week. This number might go down!

Platform Progress 

My goal for this week was to start integrating these platforms and build stronger connections with people I admire. I don’t know if I’ve done much to start with that. I’ve done some integrating (should check that term out to make sure I know what I’m saying and doing). I’ve also expanded my followers a little, but wouldn’t say they’re definitely the people I look up to in publishing and writing. But they are people that I like, and am happy to have follow me because they’re doing their own thing and cool. Tomorrow my friend and I do our first trial run of our podcast (even though I’m stuffed up! Eek!) My writing habit has been decent, but could use more work. Now that the semester has started I need to make sure I’m being diligent. I’ve tried preparing as much as possible so that I have less to do on a weekly basis for the classes, but of course, best laid plans…

Life in General 

Still full of the sinus! I’m on so many allergy medications that I really hope they aren’t counteracting each other. I just want to breath out of my nose again! Today I go get a tattoo, so that will be exciting. It’s my second one ever, and who knows, might start a habit. I hear they are addictive, and I do have a few ideas floating around!

Weekly Progress Wednesday

Progress -Tracee Ellis Ross

Regency WIP

 Current word count: 6,904

I went back and worked on the plot for this story, fleshing out a good deal more than I’d originally had, or even intended. It’s much more solid and interesting now, with stronger conflict locks. It also involves revising at least one scene, which I worked on this week. Most of my work regarding this story over the week has been re-reading, and re-acquainting myself with the characters and their personalities. It’s been about doing more discovery and making sure I like the characters and can imagine them doing what I’m plotting.

Filles Du Roi WIP

Current word count: 34,116

I stopped actively working on this story during September I believe, not sure I could handle how unwieldy the story had gotten. But I kept thinking about it, and specifically, my hero, who in fantasy casting looks like this. Why, yes, that is a pensive-looking Chris Hemsworth. Hard to get that picture out of your mind, isn’t it? Now you see my dilemma. The man had things to say, even if he is a quiet sort. So, I went back and started re-reading yesterday. And I liked what I had. It might still move in fits and starts, and not ever be exactly what I imagine, but I’m having fun doing it, which is really important to me. Even if it never sees the light of day in the form of a publication, I think it’s good to have a passion project that you can turn to and just have fun with.

Platform Progress 

I’ve signed up for Instagram and Facebook this week, as well as added to my Pinterest boards. I’ve done a good deal of writing and establishing some practices for this blog and for social media, but I’m not quite ready to talk about them yet. I have some plans to move forward with an expanded blog, and am talking with a friend about starting a podcast that would be both fun and help produce content that might get readers and listeners. My goal for next week is to start integrating all of these platforms and build stronger connections with people I admire.

Life in General 

I’m having fun on Instagram, but need to remember that the real work isn’t there. It’s in the doing of the thing. I need to focus my energy and attention to cultivating my writing, not my followers. It’s hard to remember sometimes because of the dopamine rushes that hit when someone “likes” your post. But even as I set these up, and start navigating them, they are not the end. Creating work and getting better at my writing is the end.

In other news, I’m going to a writer’s workshop in about a month, so after that I’ll make some decisions about what to do with the first novel, the one that got a pass. I might revise and send it out again, or hold onto it for a while, or even try WattPad. Suggestions? Thoughts?

Also, do I have a prolonged sinus cold that will infect my husband with a kiss? Or is it allergies that are not contagious? Inquiring minds want to know! If only you had the answers, I would be forever grateful.

Linen Condoms?!

One of my favorite things about the research and discovery phase of writing is the fact that you learn such odd tidbits from history. For instance, while researching the Irish linen industry, which is going to be a component of my WIP, I learned that Casanova occasionally used linen condoms. Yes. Think about that for a moment. Linen… in your lady bits. Linen is a lovely fabric, and can be quite soft and finely made. But… ouch!

Writing Projects & the New Year

Yesterday I printed out all three stories I’ve been working on this fall so that I could read them and begin the necessary work of getting back into my writing habit. I was so busy last semester with my teaching load that my writing got put on hold towards the end.

In addition to that, I felt stymied because I didn’t know what I wanted to be writing. I had several started drafts at once, and felt pulled in multiple directions.  I had finished my novel, and the editing process (for now) and felt like I was back at the beginning, trying to retrace my steps but forgetting the path. I did some of the same things I did before, casting my characters on Pinterest, laying out the acts and the Inciting Incident and all of the crucial steps, but I was still lost and floundering. I knew I had good ideas, and they had the power to be complete stories, but I felt none of the motivation I had previously to tell the story. I felt like I didn’t know my characters very well at all.

For me, character comes out of conflict. I have a harder time with plotting than with coming up with interesting characters. I could spend all day describing and dressing my characters, giving them names and backstories and quirky traits. But I have a harder time knowing what their story will be. So I start with the harder stuff: figuring out what the central conflict is. Then, I look at the conflict and try to figure out what kinds of characters might be involved in that conflict. From there, I figure out where that character’s motivations and goals collide with the conflict. And I can work backwards to flesh out their character from that.

I finally realized, after lots of pondering and stewing and re-reading of my first pages that I had two great characters but nothing for them to do. So, I at last harped on my conflict, and must now go back to the discovery stage so I can work out the changes that this conflict will mean on my characters. Wish me luck! It’s scary to realize you messed up and have to start over! But, falling down and getting back up is part of the process.

Now, I’m going to write for 20 minutes because that is how I ease myself back in, and avoid too much procrastination. You can do anything for 20 minutes!