Showing posts with label Writing challenges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing challenges. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Bane Of Writers by Bonnie Le Hamilton


In centuries past scribes everywhere groaned and complained about worn nibs and ink splatters. Even to this day, writer’s who prefer pen and ink, complain when their pen stops working or they run out of paper. (I’ve never known a true writer to ever be without a pen, but even I’ve run out of paper, once in a while.)

But it is an age old problem, needing to write, wanting to write, and not being able to write due to mechanical error. In days gone by a quill nib failing meant you either had a spare, or you had to go find a new one.

I don’t know how hard that would be, but I do know not all feathers will work as quills. And even if you found one, it did require work to shape the nib. And the invention of pens didn’t improve things all that much. Back then you had to fill the pens with ink by yourself. A messy job from what I’ve been told. But modern pens run out of ink, with no way to refill them. Having spares does work, of course. But you can’t always bring the spars with you.

I recently had a pen give out on me while I crossing things off my grocery list. It was the only pen I had with me. And I usually have spare on me, that time I didn’t.

Though when it comes to writing stories, I prefer using my computer, so the problem is — what happens when one key on a computer isn’t working, as it should? If I had a desktop, it would be easy to replace a keyboard. Just unplug the malfunctioning one and plug in a new one. But I don’t have a desktop I have laptop. The keyboard is replaceable, except it will require time in the shop —time where I won’t have my lone computer.

I do have pen paper, I use those for all sorts of lists, but I also have horrible handwriting, and carpal tunnel syndrome, writing a lot, by hand, would be painful, being without my computer for a couple days isn’t going to fun either.

Though by the time this is posted, I might just have it back, or at least soon after. 

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ADD and Me by BL Hamilton

One of several things Konnie and I do not have in common is ADD. I have it. She doesn’t. Which probably explains why she has only four incomplete manuscripts and a whole slew of complete ones while I have six manuscripts for which I have finished the rough draft on, and well over 20 for which I haven’t finished at all, and that doesn’t the count all variations of any one story which I’ve kept, but discarded.
And, if you count her monster sci-fi manuscript as five novels (it’s certainly long enough to be that many), she has ten completed novels, whereas I only have six, and that’s counting two for which I did finish the rough on but have since done some major rewriting on, and the rewrites are not finished. And here I am the one with loads of time to write and she’s the one who has a daily battle with her family to get even five minutes to write!
Somehow, I’m getting the feeling being able to come up with new stories so often isn’t as such a good thing after all. I mean, how can it benefit me if I can’t finish what I start?
I don’t think I can, or would even want to change how I often start a story, decide I need to change or delete some major point in the story, and essentially start over. I mean, really, if you were to open my documents, you’d find tons of files; and in each folder there are several files, most are older versions, or variations of the story then there’s the “clips” file for that story, and character list, and a calendar of events for that story. Some also have lists like who’s in what class, or I have three with essentially family group sheets for the story. Two of those have family groups for several different families but the other one is for just one very large family.
And, if I hadn’t lost them before I got a scanner, I’d have floor plans and/ or maps for several of these stories in the file too. I really need to work on replacing them. I drew them once; I should be able to draw them again.
And in some of these files, without my various “notes” files, I wouldn’t even know what the story was now, or why I started it. Why I have one or two files, which are just notes (nothing more than an idea) that I’ve yet to expand into a story! I’m not even counting them on my incomplete story list.
In fact, just counting the ones which have reached a word count of twenty-five thousand or higher I have seventeen unfinished manuscripts, not counting the two finished but now in the middle of major rewrites. And not counting all the variations of any one story or the ones, which are just notes, I’ve started another eighteen stories. I have just notes on four and one scene that hasn’t got a story to go with it at all!
On top of this, for the last three years, my writing goal has been to complete at least two novels and I haven’t done it once. So here I am again, hoping to complete a rough. I’m only going for just one at a time, and maybe I’ll finish one or two of these before November comes around again, when I know I’ll start a new one. I’ve started a new one every November for the last thirteen years. (Last year I actually worked on two novels; one is on the under 25k list, and the other is on the over 25k list. I did manage over 60k this past November.)
Anyway, my goal for the next two weeks is to at least add around 25k to my Cruise To Love manuscript, which would bring it to almost done, but not quite. If I can maintain my Nano average, I should be able to finish this manuscript in three weeks. That’s if I can stick to it. Here’s hoping I do.

Happy writing everyone, and wish me luck! J

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Writing Challenges

It is now week three of Nano, and where am I? I’m at well over 58k though I’ve had some bumps on the way, I’ve also had one dozy of day where I managed over 6k words, that’s over 25 pages, in a single day. Okay, that’s fast, and a dang lot of typing, but you should have seen the day before, my third worst effort to that point. I know the problem the other two days was I was rather busy and wasn’t able to get more done, but the day before my banner day, I just couldn’t concentrate on the story I started, the story I had.

Finally, I decided to, without starting a new file, or deleting what I had so far, write what I could of the story bothering me, then return to the story I had started. To date I’ve written over 31k on the new story and only around 27k on the one I’d planned to write this month! And at this rate, I may never finish the original story. But then I can’t predict the future, and I still like the other story, just at the moment, this one is compelling me forward to the end.

And I don’t know about anybody else, but that sometimes happens to me, just usually when the story I’m writing gets bogged down some way, and I’m not finding a solution to fix it, that just wasn’t the case this time, but oh well, eventually I’ll have two new stories! It just takes time, which is something I don’t have, since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and boy am I not ready for it! Sort of usual for me to, but I’m cutting this short so I can get some work done.

So, happy Thanksgiving everyone! J

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Tortoise and The Little Engine That Could

Last month I challenged Bonnie to see which one of us could finish our story first. Obviously hers was shorter and she hadn’t been working it as long as I had been mine, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Then as the month was drawing to a close, she discovered she had a glaring error in hers which needed corrected before she could move on so she conceded. I also realized I wouldn’t make the goal of finishing by the end of the month so I tried to keep her in it.
In every post since she conceded, when she mentioned it, she said I won merely because she faced an obstacle and wasn’t going to finish before the end of last month. I pointed out I wouldn’t finish in October either. Between family obligations and figuring out I needed a couple of scenes I hadn’t considered, and one event I had planned took seven chapters to cover it, so it took more than I’d thought I’d need when I made the challenge.
Then her last post she wrote about the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. And I thought, the tortoise wasn’t only slow and steady, he DID NOT GIVE UP. No matter how many time he trudged past the dawdling hare, or it zoomed past him afterwards, the tortoise kept going.
Be the tortoise, and the little engine that could.
I started my opus, the story I was working on for this challenge, in November of 2008. It was a dream I had and I worked like a mad woman that month trying to get it all on paper before I forgot any of it. By the end of the month I had somewhere between 65 and 70K words, so if I’d entered the NANO that year, I would have won. It was in a nut shell a sci-fi romance with two POV characters, though I could easily see the other stories in it.
Shortly after that I started writing another “companion” story, then another. As I started the third one I realized they all ran concurrently and needed to be told in the same story, especially since they ended up in the same place and time. Thus my opus was born, with a full seven POV’s.
Now, this month, a full seven years after I started, I finally reached ‘The End’. Or at least got back to where the first story ended. My opus now has 150 chapters, 1644 pages, and over 405,000 words and still covers the same time span.
I didn’t give up. I kept plodding along. I kept trying. Several times I had to backtrack and redo scenes because they just weren’t working, or I got a detail wrong, or I didn’t put in something that was needed. I can’t tell you how many times over the course of the last seven years I had to go back to the beginning and change details of my story because I decided something wasn’t going to work the way I had it.
But I didn’t give up. And I’m not giving up. Now I’m ready for the fun and torture of editing.
But before I start that, I’m going to make sure my fantasy is finished. The one I started back in high school, about 33 years ago, as a short story.
The race goes to the tortoise and the little engine that could.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Challenge

Okay, I’m declaring the race has been won by Konnie because I’ve hit a major snag in my story, it’s actually something I should have done a little more research on before I started writing. But now I’ve looked it up and learned what I thought was correct wasn’t, meaning I have to go back through the whole manuscript and make some major changes. I’m also not going to be able to move forward until I do fix it, because the needed changes affect how I can move forward.

And that means, since I’m such a slow typist and reader, that there’s little chance I’ll finish by Saturday. I haven’t even gotten close to the climax scene yet, and Konnie is almost to hers. Though in all fairness I should point that Konnie technically already has her ending written, due to the fact that this monster manuscript she’s writing started out at first as just one story.

One story she actually managed to write almost in its entirety in one month. And it is the main story in this larger manuscript, but after finishing that one, she started one about the sister and best friend of the hero in the first one. The time line was a complete overlap for first one, and before she even finished that one, she started a yet another story, about a set of twin boys and the sisters they like.

Well, at some point she decided she didn’t have enough of the two new stories to comprise a whole novel each, so she decided to combine all three, since all three do occur during the same time frame. Only problem is that she eventually came up with plenty more to fill, well I’m guessing, four to six novels. But I told her to worry about the length, size of the monster, after she actually finishes telling the whole thing.

Considering that the first two stories have a lot of the same scenes, in a different POV, and the third one has scenes that happened at the same time, just a different place, that it isn’t going to be easy to divide this into three or even four stories. And frankly, if she hadn’t decided to limit the number of POV’s she used, it could be way more than that.

I can think of three or four other POV’s she could have used, and frankly, two or three other stories, if not more, she could have told with those other POV’s. Yeah this is a huge story. It’s also a really good story. Personally, I can’t wait to see it finished.

  And now to prepare for Nano!

Happy writing everyone. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Race

And the race is on!

Both Konnie and I are nearing the completion of the novels we’re each currently writing. Of course, Konnie has been working on the one she’s calling her opus for like seven years, and I started my WIP last November, but at this moment, we both have about the same number of chapters left to finish them.

And it’s anyone’s guess which one of us will finish first.

Konnie is hands down the faster typist of the two of us. We’ve known that for years, but Konnie’s also the one with four of five kids at home, along with a whole menagerie of animals, including four dogs, and then there’s her husband. All of these are potential interruptions that I, clearly don’t have.

I live alone. I do have all the chores and errands she has, but not in as great a number, and unlike her, I can spend whole days writing with little or no interruptions. Well, let’s just say, in comparison to her, I don’t get interrupted that much at all. In fact, the last time I groused about interruptions, she was doing it, and it happened yesterday.

I was trying to work on my current scene and having trouble getting the order and choice of words just right. And every few seconds or so my skype would chime and it would be another message from Konnie with either a brainstorming question or a sample of what she’d just managed wanting my opinion, which of course drew my attention from my own writing. There was no way I could answer her and not have my brain focused on her work, and each and every time, that meant I had to refocus on my manuscript, which, thanks to my ADD, isn’t easy.

I’d finally start typing again, and she’d send another message!
So, yeah, I got upset. With her, interruptions are just a matter of course, and she isn’t ADD, which is probably a good thing, because her family interrupts her a lot. I don’t know how she can put up with it. When my husband was still alive, he learned pretty fast, that if I’m writing he probably should leave me alone.
I growl. Konnie doesn’t.

So, at any rate, last night Konnie challenged me to see who got to “the end” first. And this after I’d told her I’d challenged myself to finish this draft of my manuscript by October 31st, because of course, come November 1st, unlike her, I will be participating in National Novel Writer’s Month or Nano , just like I have done for the past twelve years. This year will be thirteen. And unlike any year before, which I still completed, I actually have an outline of a story ready and waiting for me to write!

But, I’m still working on the one I started during last year’s 50k challenge. Of course, that’s another story. :)

I can’t wait to see who wins this race. How about you?

Happy writing everyone!