Writing Update #3

Word count: 37,689

Wow. It has been a long time since my last update. I’ve just entered my sophomore year of college, and I’ve been inundated with schoolwork and an endless to-do list. But I’m still writing! Albeit very slowly, but as long as I’m making any progress I’m happy. 🙂

Balancing schoolwork (and life in general) with writing is definitely a challenge. My goal so far is to write five days out of seven. I tried to get myself to write every day, but some days it’s just impossible, so now I’m trying to be more flexible.

I’m really excited about this book and looking forward to finishing the first draft and getting to edit, which is my favorite part of the writing process. At least, line-editing is. I’ve never actually done a full rewrite/edit of a manuscript before, so that will be a whole learning process in itself. I can already point out a lot of problems that will need revising. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to it.

I’m still far away from the finish line, but it’s nice to have a goal to shoot for. It keeps me motivated. That, and coffee.

Writing Update #2: Motivation

Word count: 20,721

I’ve been making slow but steady progress in writing my novel lately. I’m happy to have made it this far in a short period of time, but every day has been a mini-struggle to find the motivation to keep going strong. (Especially when it’s so nice out!) So I’ve been trying out various methods of motivating myself to write.

One thing that has kept me moving so far is having a set deadline. My goal is to reach 90,000 words by the end of August. Although it’s becoming clearer to me that I’m not going to be able to finish the first draft by then, it’s still helpful for me to have a clear goal in mind.

I’ve found that the websites Pacemaker and Final Deadline are very helpful in keeping me on track and organized. You can set deadlines for projects and measure your daily writing progress. They have fun graphs and things to look at if you’re like me and get a little obsessed with statistics and word count goals. Best of all, they’re completely free.

I’ve also tried writing on a word sprint website called myWriteClub that hosts global word sprints. It’s kind of fun seeing how much you can get done in a short period of time. You can also see other people’s writing progress while you write for a bit of inspiration and competition.

The last thing I use to find motivation is other people. I love reading blog posts and watching vlogs about other writers working on their own projects. I’ve always found it interesting and inspiring to see other people working towards their own big goals and dreams.

What do you use to motivate yourself to keep writing? Have any tips?

Have a great weekend!

 

Writing Update #1

Word Count: 8,032 (yay!)

So it’s been one week since I started my novel and it’s going pretty well. I’m almost up to writing plot point one. I was off to a great start but fell behind towards the end of the week. I’ve been busy packing and preparing the past few days because…

drumroll

I’m leaving for Europe today! I’ll be gone for the next three weeks train-hopping through Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy with my best friend. I’m super excited! (Which explains why I’m writing this at 1:00 a.m. instead of sleeping.)

I’m bringing along a blank journal, a book, and a notebook for the long rides. I’m hoping to write every day, whether it be journaling or working on my book. I even taped my entire outline into the notebook for convenience. Given it’s a trip and sometimes I just don’t get time to write, I’ll be happy if I get even a little further in the story.

That’s all for now! See you all in three weeks 🙂

 

 

Novel #2 Outlining: Plot

Finally, after months of planning, I have finished the outlining for my novel and I’m ready to start writing!

For the past week I’ve been plotting. First, I compiled my plot notes and created a list of scenes that I thought might go into the book. Some were important scenes while others were completely random.

Then, I wrote every scene on an index card and proceeded to organize them into a coherent order.

I like using the index card method because it’s easy to rearrange scenes and get a bird’s eye view of the storyline. I also like being able to physically move them, rather than just cutting and pasting on the computer.

Now I’ve just printed out all of my notes and outline. All I need to do now is just start! 🙂

I’m so excited!

 

 

Novel #2 Outlining: Creating Characters

So I’m in the middle of creating and fleshing-out characters for my novel. It feels like a totally new process than what I went through before, and that’s exciting. Instead of spending so much time on plot, this time I’m focusing solely on developing realistic, multi-layered characters first.

That said, it’s not necessarily easy. For a while I didn’t know where to begin, and even now that I’ve started I keep asking myself, how do I choose what goes into a character’s backstory? How much detail should I go into? Are my characters realistic enough?

Of course, there are no right answers to those questions, but I’ve been reading Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress to give myself a starting point. It has some fun, character-building exercises at the end of each chapter. I’ve also found a list of 100 questions online to answer about my main characters that’s been extremely helpful. Here’s the link.

I find it very interesting how much backstory affects the way the characters seem to turn out. Just one event can have a big effect on a character’s demeanor and personality. I feel like this is very true to life, in that people’s pasts- and how they deal with them- make up a part of who they are, however big or small. I guess that’s the whole idea behind creating backstories- to emulate how real people develop into who they are today.

Anyway, for now I’m just going to continue adding more detail to my characters’ lives and descriptions. I’m still not sure of when they’ll be fleshed-out enough and when I can move on to the other steps of the outlining process.

One thing I’m working hard to get is a distinctive voice for the main character/narrator. Maybe when that happens I’ll feel ready to move on.

How much character development do you do before starting a story? Do you go into a lot of detail or just dive in?

Have a great week!

Novel #2 Outlining: Notes!

As far as my biggest goal of this year is coming along, phase 1 of my second novel’s outlining is underway. And by underway, I mean that I am taking notes, and have been- albeit slowly- for the past six months. They’ve been collecting in various notebooks, scraps of paper, phone apps, and, of course, my head. And now I’ve taken to transcribing them onto my computer.

I’ve realized now how many notes there actually were. (A lot!)

After several days, I have managed to collect them into one massive document of 10,000 words. It’s full of character ideas, random excerpts, notes-to-self, and a lot more.

Now what?

Now I’m going to begin making a character bible, a big document describing the characters in detail, to refer back to at later points. I’m going to have to sift through all of the notes I have so far and pick out what I would actually like to use. Then I’ll build off of what I have with more ideas.

I know already that my secondary characters are going to need a ton of fleshing-out. The only character I have mostly figured out is the main one. XD

My first novel was very plot-driven and all of the characters were two-dimensional. So this time I’m trying to focus on developing characters first, and then plot. To learn more about this I’m reading Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress.

Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll begin building a more substantial outline. Well, I guess I have to start somewhere. 🙂

I Wrote the Script

Yay! I just finished writing and typing up the script for Solstice! It was challenging but I finally sat down and banged it out on my mini legal pad.

Mini Legal Pad Notes

I love mini things. They’re so cute and non-intimidating.

I’m so excited because I can see the story coming together and I can imagine what the finished book will be like.

The script is 13 pages and about 1600 words long. It doesn’t seem like a lot, especially when compared to that of a written novel, but I’m pretty sure that it will become about 60-90 pages of illustration. The book isn’t going to be text heavy, so I think that number makes sense. There will be a couple scenes that don’t use any text.

Solstice Script Draft One Printed

I don’t know about you but I love printing out writing and holding the stack of paper in my hands. It’s a nice feeling, especially if you’ve been working digitally for a while.

The script is not exactly finished, as I need to edit and fix and add things, so I’ll just call it draft one. However, I don’t know how long I can edit if I want to be done by mid-May. I’ll have to speed up the process quite a bit in order to have a lot of time for creating art. From my experimental pages I can already tell that it’s going to be time-intensive.

After my quick edit I’ll finish sketching thumbnail pages and working out the visual side of the story, which I’m really excited for because I love drawing.

Speaking of, here’s some random doodles of nature:

Solstice nature sketching 1

This project has been really fun so far and I’m excited for the challenges coming up next. In the spirit of challenges, I’m setting a lofty goal of finishing thumbnail sketches by the end of Saturday the 28th. I have some time off so I think there is a chance that it could happen (if I get my lazy self off the couch).

Writing my Graphic Novel Script

I started writing the script for Solstice and so far it’s about four pages altogether. It’s definitely been a challenge because it’s so different from prose writing and I have to concentrate on how it will work visually.

Part of the challenge was finding a format to write in. On the internet there’s a multitude of different formats, from writing the content of each panel in paragraphs to creating something that resembles a screenplay.

So I had to experiment and try different things. Eventually, I came across a video called “How to write for comics! Comics for Beginners episode 2” by Palle Schmidt. He used a format closer to what I wanted and put some helpful notes. Here’s a shot from the video:

comic script template

Schmidt’s Format

By using this format, I wouldn’t have to think about the panels and page in such detail. So I tried it, and I like how it’s working. Here’s the first page of the first draft:

excerpt solstice format

My Attempt

The dialogue is in the middle of the page, with visual description and random notes to myself between it. The internal monologue I put in italics.

It’s really experimental at the moment, since I’m still trying to figure this whole process out and use it to build a story. It doesn’t feel like I know what I’m doing, but that’s okay. It’s all in good fun.

The deadline I’m setting for myself is a week from now- March 15. Hopefully by then I’ll be ready to start thumbnail sketches. Onwards!

The Plan

So I finally sat down and did some planning to see how I’d actually go about making a graphic novel in two and a half months.The result is this schedule-type thing:

  1. Outlining- 1 week
  2. Writing- 1 week
  3. Sketching- 1 week
  4. Drawing- 4 weeks
  5. Coloring- 2 weeks
  6. Formatting- 1 week

Basically, I’m going to split up my time into these six parts. It looks like a lot of work…and I think it’s going to be. But that won’t stop me!

The good thing is that I’m pretty close to starting the actual writing. And then comes the art side of it, which I’m more unsure about. Well, that’s something I’ll tackle when the time comes. It’s all part of the adventure.