Writing Work Day #2

After a rather odd February, March has arrived, which means consecutive Writing Work Days will be had! For a refresher, here was the progress report from last official writing work day, and here’s the last progress report (Con Nooga doesn’t count since I wasn’t actively working on something).

So, a reminder, where am I in my official plan?

3) Use notes and questions to determine what changes need to be made to the current draft of Codename: Telepathic Soulmates. Ultimate goal: reduce word count from 132,000 to around 115,000 words, if possible. Consider:

  • Does it need a total rewrite?
  • Does it need a partial rewrite?
  • A very surgical rewrite?
  • Or just a super-hard final polish?

Deadline: tentatively, Sunday, April 5th. Deadline dependent on what kind of rewrite/polish the draft really needs.

I’d decided that in order to do this, and while waiting on feedback from my two readers, that I would go ahead and sit down and read Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days book as a means to narrow my focus on Codename: Telepathic Soulmates, because before I start cranking out revisions, I want to make sure I know what I actually want for the novel. That way, if/when I get conflicting advice from my readers (which has happened long before now), I know what direction to lean towards.

So after some errands this morning, I settled down and did a few things differently:

1) I moved myself into my husband’s office. I thought it would be good to work in a place where I’m not used to messing around on the internet, or where I watch television, or read, or get sleepy. So that was was useful.

2) I usually listen to the Writing Excuses podcast during the week in my car, and this week was no different. However, this week some of the advice (episode 10.9: Where is My Story Coming From?) I wanted to hear again and take notes, so I think in the future, I’ll hold off listening to the podcast and start off my writing work days by listening to it. I know I’ve missed out on REALLY internalizing good advice because I’m not in a position to take notes when I listen, so this should be a positive change.

3) The BIG thing I wanted to do today was start character sketches. Now, mind you, I’ve already written this novel. The idea for character sketches is to make sure I understand at least my main three POV characters and make sure their character arcs through the book MAKE SENSE. Wiesner’s book starts with an introduction and then proceeds to glorify outlines. I’m not sold on that part yet, because I’m more of the Writing Excuses way of thinking, which is that outlining is a spectrum, and most writers do SOME form of outlining, but not necessarily the full-blown, rigid method we all think of when we hear the word “outlining.” But after all of that, the book settled down and talked about character sketches and things to fill in. Fortunately, I’d been informed that Scrivener’s 2.0 version offered these near-exact templates, so I started filling stuff in for my three POV characters. I’ll admit: some of this involved looking up pictures of models for my characters, and I have no shame in admitting it’s fun to look at the pretty.

But how useful was the act itself? Useful…. but not in a tangible way, not yet. In the past few weeks since my first official writing work day, my brain has settled down and I feel mostly confident that I need to do a very deliberate, very surgical rewrite. I need to make sure each scene is performing on all cylinders and doing the best it can for the overall story and themes. As a result of this, my brain’s been storming all over the place and I’ve been taking notes on things I can feather in, and I used those notes to help with the character sketches today. But sketching is different than actually breaking everything down chapter-by-chapter and making sure everything is operating at peak efficiency, you know?

So what does this mean for next week? I want to fill in what I can for the other secondary and tertiary characters in the novel to make sure I’m not missing something useful or obvious, so I think this character-sketching thing may take at least one more, if not two more weeks. Then it’s on to setting and plot, where I intend to break the book down chapter my chapter and really map it out and make sure it’s working the way I want. By then, I suspect I’ll have all of my feedback from my two readers and will have had ample time to pick their brains.

From there? Surgical rewriting, yo!

I will say, I didn’t get started as early as I wanted today due to early morning errands. That being said, I started around 11:00-11:30, and I found the day moved surprisingly slowly. Not in a “I’m bored!” way, but in a way that just surprised me. I suspect my sense of time will change depending on what I’m doing in the process, and when I get to a phase where I’m actually writing, I suspect if I’m in the groove, I’ll lose all sense of time and will need an alarm to remind me to eat. I’d tell the cat to remind me, but I don’t think he’s very dependable in such matters, unless he’s the one wanting to eat.

Today’s musical accompaniment was the following:

1) Chasing Ice Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by J. Ralph because the music is so very lovely, haunting, a Philip Glass-esque to my ears. Also, the setting is very close to my heart.
2) [Soul] or [System] by Skytown Riot: I picked up this EP at Con Nooga, and I saw them perform a few years ago when they opened for Filter. I’m officially in love with this band.
3) This Is War by Thirty Seconds to Mars because of course.

Do NOT Be These Guys (Except for One)

Let me tell you about two people I encountered last night during the Filter concert. They are given knicknames to protect their identities, but let me implore you: do NOT be these guys. Ever.

First, I present to you Doublewide Redneck: dude wasn’t fat, but he was WIDE, the kind of guy who clearly is unconcerned if someone gets in their face and wants to start a fight. He’s a redneck because he literally had a red neck, and since I reside in the state of Tennessee, I’m allowed to bandy that term around, because I’ll use it properly rather than a catch-all term for Southerners I don’t like, thank you very much.

Doublewide Redneck wore a t-shirt that said “Drink Drank Drunk” (or something to that effect) and he had no problem shoving his way through the crowd to get where he was going. Namely, he had no problem shoving his way past me. He decided where he needed to go was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, and it took all my willpower to not shove him in the ass with my foot. I’m not kidding. I figured, if it started a fight, I’d be all right: the venue’s security would most certainly take my side (a girl’s) over a drinking dude wearing a “drink drank drunk” t-shirt, and aside from my hubby and his very BIG (not fat, TALL and not a guy you want to mess with) best friend, I was also surrounded by two other very well built guys whom I’m pretty sure would back me up, especially since the guy to my right also got shoved out of the way by Doublewide Redneck.

Doublewide Redneck stood there for a few songs, oblivious to the holes I was burning into his back with my eyes, and decided to leave. This time, he pushed through on my OTHER side, and I rather refused to step out of the way out of principle. If he’d said “Excuse me,” I would’ve happily done so, but this guy was shoving his way through the crowd like it was his god-given right that we all get out of his way. I didn’t see him for the rest of the night.

Don’t be Doublewide Redneck.

Second is far more harmless but still scary: Sweaty Shirtless Dude. Sweaty Shirtless Dude gets into the MUSIC man and starts writhing around in ecstasy shortly after the first song starts and takes off his t-shirt immediately. He’s SO INTO IT that you’re afraid his pants and other clothing will come off in short order. Anyone navigating their way around this guy, especially girls, do their very best to make sure not a single part of their body comes in contact with Sweaty Shirtless Dude. This guy dances like a wet noodle during mating season. And somehow, he managed to do so, in front of me, for the entire Filter set.

Until I sat down on a couch to rest my weary back and feet. But then suddenly he was in my line of vision AGAIN, but before I could bemoan this development to my hubby sitting next to me, Sweaty Shirtless Dude disappeared. Cool. My hubby got up during his favorite song to stand among the crowd (brave, brave man) and I continued to chill on the couch, enjoying the music but not feeling the NEED to watch it happen (I’m a “music should be heard and not seen” sort of gal). But then, towards the end of Filter’s set, here comes Sweaty Shirtless Dude, and he points to the empty seat beside me and without waiting for a yay or nay from me, SITS DOWN. NEXT TO ME. Still Sweaty. Still Shirtless.

Ew.

I nearly pop up to leave, but figured that’d be TOO obvious and rude, so I wait a minute, then grab my empty drink and toss it (clearly showing Sweaty Shirtless Dude I was leaving to throw away garbage, not to get away from him and what has become a seriously RANK body odor). I join my group, Filter wraps up, and that is the end of Shirtless Sweaty Dude.

Don’t be Sweaty Shirtless Dude. Who, incidentally, was there with a date. Brave, brave girl.

I do, however, want to give props to The Mullet Man, whose mullet was a thing of perfection if such a hairstyle is your cup of tea. I did not get a picture, but my friend did. If I can get him to send it to me, I’ll post it here. I don’t want you to think I’m making fun of Mullet Man either. I’m not. While I would never in a billion years let hubby rock that hairstyle, if you CAN rock it, more power to you. And this guy rocked it.

You can be that guy, but only if you commit to it. I mean REALLY commit to it. 🙂

For those of you blanking on who the band Filter is (the lead singer is Robert Patrick’s, of Terminator 2 fame, brother), here’s a video of the song they’re most known for, “Take a Picture.” You may need to deal with an advert before the video, but if you know this band, you’ll recognize the song: