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Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:05 am
by bfsooner
My new novel endeavor is proving to be more difficult than my last one. I'm just having a difficult time fully developing my character, which is a HUGE problem since I write character-driven fiction, as opposed to plot-driven. I really like my idea for this novel, but I'm also trying to distant myself from the character. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I do need a little bit more of me in her. I'm neurotic enough to be this character. Hmmm...maybe I need to work on that. I'm also having a difficult time naming her. Names are so important to the character. Grrr...I hate getting frustrated so early in the process!!!

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:07 pm
by bfsooner
Ouch. It's been awhile since I have posted here.

Well, I have started my novel over...again. I am trying to take the advice from OSC (from the ITSS podcast) to just keep writing and resist the urge to go back and rewrite. I need to get my 10,000 pages of "crap" over with so I can get to the good stuff (wink, wink). I think this is the best start I've had so far. I have learned that I don't need to write a second by second account of my characters (which is what I was doing in previous drafts). I also am working on making my main character more flawed. In my previous drafts, I was writing her too perfect. Perfect characters aren't interesting. I have already written almost 2500 words on this draft, and I am plunging ahead until I fill a 70 page spiral notebook. No rewrites, edits, etc. I will evaluate at the end and see if I want to continue...or if I (gasp) start over...again.

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:52 am
by pengwenn
Not to depress you or anything, but if you had to write 10,000 pages of crap and you wrote one page a day it would take you 27.4 years to get to the good stuff. I should be getting there about the time I retire. :( I guess this is good encouragement to write as many pages every day as you can. You'll get to the good stuff much faster.

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:17 am
by Hyker
Thank you for the motivation, BF. I am 150 pages into Crossing Boundaries and I was about to go back and rewrite a huge change in the story line. I am now thinking I will take your advice and just push forward and pretend the changes were already made. At least I won't stop my momentum that way. :)

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:55 pm
by bfsooner
Hyker, that's what I am thinking. I have been stuck in the first scene of my novel for three years, because I always go back and rewrite it. I highly recommend listening to the OSC interview on the Wordtrip podcast. Since he said I don't have to go back and rewrite...I won't. :D

Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:27 pm
by bfsooner
Writing is coming along quite nicely. I have been really focusing on moving the story forward. I think I have a problem of getting caught up in scenes that don't contribute to character development, or I will get so wrapped up in "telling" about the character that the story stalls for a few hundred words. I am trying to balance scene and summary. I also have a bad habit of using too many dialogue tags. For some reason, I feel the need to use them every time someone speaks. I have been trying to not use the dialogue tags as much. I have been listening to how they are used in the books that I listen to during the day, and I pay closer attention to dialogue tags (or the lack of them) when I read. I'm not going to worry about the ones I've already written, but make an effort to make sure that when I use them that they are needed.

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:54 am
by pengwenn
Every time you focus in on a point of your writing you'll find you start paying attention to that point in other people's writing.

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:27 pm
by bfsooner
I've noticed that.

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:44 pm
by pengwenn
annoying, but helpful

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:14 pm
by bfsooner
For awhile, I have been dreaming of a 5,000 word weekend. But "things" kept coming up that kept me from having the time to devote to getting 5k words down on paper. When I woke up this morning, I realized that I felt so much better, but I had cancelled all of my weekend plans due to my illness. Then, my second thought was "this is the weekend I write 5,000 words." My plan was quite simple. I would write 2500 words on Saturday and 2500 words on Sunday. Easy peasy, since I wouldn't have any interruptions. Well...I didn't get 2500 words written...au contraire...my final word count at 11:00 p.m. is a whopping THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED FOURTEEN WORDS!!! Whoop Whoop. Since, I prefer handwriting over the computer, my hand hurts nevermind the tediousness (is that a word) of counting words manually. Also, I am getting a really good feeling about my novel. This is exciting...as long as I can keep feeling in my right hand.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:35 am
by TheMudge
wooHOO! Way to go, girlie!

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:57 am
by Mlou
BF...I was "back reading" your thread to the point of the ten thousand pages of crap. If I might say, if you feel as though you have to slog thru that before you get to what you want to write about, the reader isn't going to want to slog thru it either!! They'll want to get to where YOU found it interesting. So I say, skip the ten thousand pieces of crap. Start in right at a high tension point that you can't wait to read about. THEN, filter in the 10,000 pieces of info here and there...in small doses. But that's just me. :wink:

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:11 am
by LilacWine
Way to go bf! Treat your hand to a paraffin treatment. :D

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:52 pm
by bfsooner
I'm really happy with what I've written. I don't think I would've gotten 3k plus words written if I weren't. I usually just get frustrated and move on to another project. I think it has helped that I have turned off the "inner critic." I will go back and clean up and edit when I go to transcribe what I have handwritten into a manuscript form. This has really helped me move past the opening scene of my novel which I have rewritten countless times over the past three years.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:08 pm
by CZ75
I'm a little confused. How many novels are we talking about here. I count at least two, and I think you are now working on the second one that you described in this blog. Is that correct?

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:34 pm
by bfsooner
Well, there is one that I have been working on for almost three years now, and I've never been able to get it written past the opening scene. There is an idea for a second novel that I have been toying with.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 3:50 pm
by CZ75
Okay, here's my advice (I only offer it because you asked back on May 30, 05, I think it was). Writing for you seems to be a bit like it is for me -- HARD WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HARD, PAINFUL WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you want to write a novel, here is what you must do. Number One -- ditch the three year project. Three years and not past chapter one? Ditch that bad boy. Number Two -- and this comes from 11 years of observation, so, anectdotal as it might be, I think it's valid. In my 20 years of writing and my 11 years of dealing with and observing writers, I have NEVER ONCE, NOT EVER, ZERO, NEVER EVER met a writer who did poetry, short stories, essays, journaling, blogging, who finished a novel. NEVER. For me to write a novel or any other book length project (and, of course, this is just me and my opinion, and everybody is different, ESPECIALLY where it comes to something as personal as writing) I must (words fail me here) focus like a laser beam, focus with monomaniacal zeal, focus like a demented crack addict searching those couch cushions for a lost fifty cent piece, blah, blah. The book NEVER EVER EVER!!!! leaves my mind. It is constant and unending, and STILL it can take a year to get 50K lousy words. It seems to me that all the short, easy stuff simply reinforces to a person "I am a writer. I am writing. I am struggling with the written word. I follow in the path of those writers before me. I am a writer." That may be wrong, but I KNOW!! that it takes time. Even easy poems and short stories, and all that stuff TAKES TIME. Many will say that there is nothing easy about them. How many hours have you spent on poems, SSs, essays, etc.? Every minute, every hour, could have been dedicated to the book. Even if you cannot actually sit down to do the writing, monomaniacal focus will allow you to move ahead greatly with the project. Get used to the idea that putting out a book is a monumentally difficult amount of work, one of the toughest things you will ever do, for me tougher than the Marine Corps, tougher than college -- and then approach the project accordingly. Do not let a poem or a short story or an essay or a blog or a journal or anything else distract you from it. Again, this is just one guy, and just one opinion but hopefully it may help.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:28 pm
by Mlou
have NEVER ONCE, NOT EVER, ZERO, NEVER EVER met a writer who did poetry, short stories, essays, journaling, blogging, who finished a novel. NEVER. F

Well, yes you have CZ75! I publish poetry regularly in the CSMonitor and other places. Have essays and articles each month in a Vermont newspaper; published short stories to my credit. And I'm waiting for the cover art on my first novel, due out in a couple of months. :-D
"easy poems"???? Guess you're not a poet or you'd know that they're every bit as hard to get right as longer pieces. But, to each his/her own! :wink:

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:32 pm
by CZ75
Mlou wrote:
have NEVER ONCE, NOT EVER, ZERO, NEVER EVER met a writer who did poetry, short stories, essays, journaling, blogging, who finished a novel. NEVER. F

Well, yes you have CZ75! I publish poetry regularly in the CSMonitor and other places. Have essays and articles each month in a Vermont newspaper; published short stories to my credit. And I'm waiting for the cover art on my first novel, due out in a couple of months. :-D
"easy poems"???? Guess you're not a poet or you'd know that they're every bit as hard to get right as longer pieces. But, to each his/her own! :wink:


Took a bunch of poetry courses in college (minored in eng. lit.) and got all As (3.76gpa) and couldn't even begin to imagine comparing the perfecting of 55K words to 50 words. Still have never met a writer who did all those things and wrote a book, either.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:39 pm
by Mlou
I didn't say they were comparable. I said I'd done it all and you have "met" me, on WT at least. You callin' me a liar, podner? Them's fightin' words in my neck of the woods.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:41 pm
by CZ75
Mlou wrote:I didn't say they were comparable. I said I'd done it all and you have "met" me, on WT at least. You callin' me a liar, podner? Them's fightin' words in my neck of the woods.


It seems to me when you say something is "every bit as hard" as something else, you are saying they're comparable. Which they're not.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 5:35 pm
by bfsooner
Oh, it got a little heated in here. Well, I can assure that I don't spend any time on poetry, because IT'S FRIGGIN' HARD. I have so much for respect and am in such awe of Mlou who writes some of the most beautiful poetry...on a daily basis. I don't know how she does it. As for short stories, essays, etc., I would like to write those...someday, but right now the novel that I am working on is my number one WRITING focus. However, I do have a 40 hour a weeker and I would not trade the experience of my volunteer work. As much as I would like to lock my front door and not emerge until my novel is finished, I would miss out on the human experience that colors my writing. My writing is very character-driven, and I NEED that life experience for my characters. I am patient enough to wait on and work on what I know will be an excellent story. Heck, I'm not even 30 yet. I'd rather take my time and love what I've written than be frustrated with mediocre work.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:06 pm
by xcheck24
CZ75 wrote:In my 20 years of writing and my 11 years of dealing with and observing writers, I have NEVER ONCE, NOT EVER, ZERO, NEVER EVER met a writer who did poetry, short stories, essays, journaling, blogging, who finished a novel. NEVER.


you should meet my friend Kaye. she's a short story demon (gets published all the time too) and is currently working on getting her first novel published, which is something that is likely to get done.

I'm sure there are many examples of people who do side writing and get novels done. Steven King wrote short stories. Some were turned into feature-length movies.

And personally, when I am full into my own novel, there come times where you just have to set it aside and get a breath on it. Walking away sometimes is the best thing for a piece of writing, and I think that goes for everyone. I know plenty of people who put projects on the shelf and work on something else for awhile. When they come back, they're energized to get it done. And sometimes you come back and realize something about your characters or the story that makes it even better. I had to walk away from my novel when I went to grad school a year ago, and when I went back to it recently I realized I needed to make some significant changes to the point where I'm going to have to rewrite A LOT of the story.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:12 pm
by CZ75
Well, of course, some people do it. Only a fool would begin to suggest that in a world of some 5 billion people!!!!!!!!! it is impossible to find one who does it all. I'm just saying that in my wide experience with writers, I've never met one. Still haven't. And when I find somebody (like the woman I was responding to) who seems to be lamenting her inability to move the book forward, but who is doing other writing things, I think a suggestion to FOCUS on the book is not out of line. I am restoring a 68 Roadrunner. If I were also rebuilding a lawnmower, and refurbishing a ceiling fan, and rewiring a lamp, and fixing a toaster, and the Roadrunner was getting nowhere, I'd drop the other crap and focus on the Roadrunner. As far as advice goes, this doesn't seem too radical and far out to me. Unless you are lucky beyond belief or talented beyond belief, when you set out to write a novel you had best FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:12 pm
by CZ75
Accidental double post.