Are you there Internet? It’s me, Serena.

I bet you guys thought I had disappeared, huh? That I had finally disciplined myself enough to finish this book, and was now too busy and important for silly blog posts about my failures?? Well jokes on me, because I’m back with a wealth of new material and more ADD-fueled frustration on the inability to complete this task!

Seriously, though.

It’s a bit cathartic, to be honest, this whole spilling the secret parts of myself into blog posts and sending them out into the universe. I’m honestly not sure if anyone reads these things, and that doesn’t even necessarily seem like the point of all this right now. I should probably link this site to my social media, and share with my friends and family to gain some sense of accountability, but…I’m just not sure if I’m there yet. This is probably one of my most secret, fearful dreams, and the process and subsequent struggles are just so painfully personal.

I read something once, where someone said that reading a manuscript could almost be like reading someone’s diary. That the characters and scenarios you shape, their traits and perspectives, always say more about the author than anything else. Just a few terrified thoughts from someone who was raised by a wonderful, but very English, mother and who may be just a little emotionally stunted as a result. JK, mum! Love you! (Just preparing myself in the eventuality I one day actively spread this link around).

So, let’s talk a little about what false promises I intend to make this time! Well, I am doing another type of timed writing challenge! I’ve never had success with NaNoWriMo, and I would have a few days where I would meet my 1600 words a day, but then I would have two days in a row where I’d work, and I’d fall behind…then I would constantly be adding more and more words to my daily requirements until it all felt too impossible. I would also switch tenses and POVs and then go back and waste days as I switched everything over to some new format I had randomly decided on.  Long story short; it was always a disaster.

This challenge is one I found through the website I wrote about in my previous post about a year and a half ago (no judgement)! It’s called The Write Practice and they do this challenge every few months where you join a community of like-minded people, have weekly deadlines, and by the end of 100 days you will have a bouncing, baby rough draft. That’s the plan, anyhow. I was sitting at work, listlessly going through my email, and I saw this email describing the process. I’d peripherally heard of it, but it honestly seemed like the best idea I’d ever heard at 3am, and I signed up. It still seems like a good idea, even in the stark light of day, and I’m really…excited.

I guess that’s enough stalling, time for my book plan!

xxxx S

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2 thoughts on “Are you there Internet? It’s me, Serena.

  1. Hi Serena,
    I saw your post on the 100 Day Book Challenge FB Page, and I thought I would pass on a few points. I just finished the Fall-Winter 100 Day Book Challenge. Here are the points:

    1) Put some effort in your outline (as much as time allows). I found out that the outline keeps me focused on the plot. I did my outline as scenes and not chapters. It really doesn’t matter, but I see my story as nothing more than scenes. If you wish to call them chapters, that’s fine. I use to 25/50/25 rule (25 % of the word count will be the Beginning; 50% of the word count will be the Middle; 25% of the word count will be the End. In word count that is, 16250 words for the Beginning and End; and 32,000 words for the Middle. If each scene averages 2000 words, that translates into approximately 32 chapters or scenes. From there, you can map out your scenes/chapters. All I did was give a very brief description for each scene (Harry has coffee with Sally; Sally gets arrested, etc…). In truth, I ended up adding or changing scenes. I wanted to keep all options open at this point for story development. But, the Outline was a godsend for me. I stuck to my Outline, and was able to keep on track. In many cases, I exceeded my word count. I ended up with a 77,000 word first draft.

    2)Don’t edit as you write. Okay, I do correct obvious misspellings as I go. But, that was it. I knew as I wrote that most of my dialogue was crap. No problem. If I noticed that my dialogue sucks during the writing, I certainly will notice it during re-writes. The goal on any given day is to get the writing done, no matter what. Despair during the writing of the 1st Draft is normal. I felt despair in almost every writing session. But, I plodded on. As I wrote in the above paragraph, there were many days I exceeded my daily word count; but, there were also days where I fought just to get 500 words down. On those days, I had to discipline myself to remain focused, even if it meant just putting down listless narratives and dialogue.

    3)Record all feedback from your partners. I usually copy and past their critiques into my Scrivener program as notes. I was lucky to have 2 great partners.

    4)After the Book Challenge, get a copy of the Story Grid. I’m using that for my re-writes.

    Good Luck
    Jerome
    If you need anymore feedback or help, my email is jerome.p.koch@gmail.com

    1. Jerome,

      Thank you so much for the wonderful advice and feedback! I had never heard of the 25/50/25 rule before, or really considered my breakdown of scenes, so you’ve provided me with a lot of food for thought in terms of structuring! Your experience is really very encouraging, and I will probably be taking you up on your kind offer later in the challenge. 🙂

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