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Jolly Motivation: Week Three and a bit

Goodness gracious where does the time go. My goodness. Saturday already! Nearly Sunday of all days. This past week-and-a-bit has been pretty good for getting allegedly important real life things done but absolute poo as far as writing is concerned. In any case my intended goals were:

PRIMARY GOALS
* Charlotte Powers #5 outlined.
* Charlotte Powers #4 sorted out in terms of continuity and such.
* Tactics Heart Episode 10 written.
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 outlined.

SECONDARY GOALS
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 written.
* Charlotte Powers #4 edited.

… and actually I did manage to write episodes ten and eleven of TH, so … well, I guess I did pretty well there. Some small progress was made with Charlotte Powers, too. Plus I got distracted in the middle and sorted through a whole bunch of stuff in early prep for NaNovember, so … well, I suppose I got more done than I thought. Even so, Will Try Harder.

Also, right now I really really want to just start putting Tactics Heart out there. It’s huge, it’s a massive thing, far bigger than I expected it to be—it is simply astounding how a straightforward two page episode outline can turn into 12k+ of actual words. I’m not even halfway through with Episode 11 and the silly thing’s already over 100k. Could even top 300k by the end, I’m still not sure how I’m going to e-book it—unfortunately there’s no real halfway point where I could neatly cut the series in two, I’d feel like I was just ripping people off if I did that, so … I don’t know, something to dwell on later. I keep thinking it should probably be a webcomic or something instead of a book, however episodic, but if it was a webcomic it’d take probably a decade to tell the story—pure text has its weaknesses, but as a storytelling medium it can be pleasantly efficient. Still, it’d be nice to have some illusts and so on for this, kind of a light novel vibe. I might start scouting DevArt for sickeningly talented artists.

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t start releasing it now. That would, perhaps, be a better thing to do for the new year. Fresh start, fresh serial, an episode a week for half a year. Which reminds me, I wanted to talk about NaNo.

Hello! Here I am talking about NaNo. This year I’m going to be a little bit ambitious. Fifty thousand words in a month isn’t exactly a stretch. So how about doubling it? 100k in a month? But even that feels a little on the manageable side. I want to push myself, so my goal for November of this year will be ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS.

That’s around five thousand a day, which is about my average when I’m in first draft mode. But consistently? Every day? For a whole month? Now that’s an actual challenge. Not all of these words will be on the same project, but I will proceed in a linear fashion—currently, my plan is to finally write that literary wibbly wobbly timey-wimey thing that’s been bouncing around in my head since before last year’s NaNo, then perhaps move on to Charlotte Powers 5 for tradition’s sake, then just pour everything left into Tactics Heart. Going into December I hope to have a whole bunch of rough as guts first draft words to polish up, as well as at least twenty episodes of Tactics Heart.

So, in order to do this I’m going to have to clear my slate. That means Charlotte Powers 4 has to be done, because it’s been hanging around too long already. I want to go into November fresh and clean, and so my goal for this month is:

SINGULAR GOAL FOR OCTOBER
* Sort Charlotte Powers #4 right out. Like published levels of sorted.

That means I’ve got three weeks to sort out the tangles, incorporate all the foreshadowing, and edit the living daylights out of the thing. To that end, here are my goals for this week:

GOALS
* Get Charlotte Powers #5 outlined.
* Sort out anything that needs sorting out re: #4/#5 connections.
* Get cracking on an edit of #4.

Everything else can just get pushed aside. This is what I need to be working on, and these are the goals I will have accomplished by next week.

So, with that said, see you then!

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Of Writing

 

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Jolly Motivation: Week Two

Lost track of the days and a little late, but hello! Goodness goodness doesn’t time fly. Getting straight to it, my goals for this week were:

PRIMARY GOALS
* Charlotte Powers #5 outlined.
* Charlotte Powers #4 sorted out in terms of continuity and such.
* Tactics Heart Episode 10 written.
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 outlined.

SECONDARY GOALS
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 written.
* Charlotte Powers #4 edited.

Of those goals, I actually did pretty well. Charlotte Powers #5 is proving to be a buggering buggery bugger, but I’m crawling my way through a rough preliminary outline scene by scene and starting to make some headway—it’s one where for almost every decision I make I have to stop and check things and think and make notes and those notes lead to more notes and oh and ah and blah blah blah. It’s a slog, is what I’m saying, but I am getting there. In any case I can confidently state that I am in a much better place with it now than I was a week ago, and that’s kind of the whole point of this. I also started making necessary changes to #4, just a few small things, but significant.

As for Tactics Heart, episode ten is finally done. Phew. Episode eleven is coming along nicely too—outlined and halfway written. It’s funny how the addition of a single brief scene can change everything. I also did some work on the overall structure and arcs and so forth, a bit tedious and time-consuming but necessary.

So, for the coming week:

PRIMARY GOALS
* Charlotte Powers #5 outlined at least up to the first big moment.
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 written.

SECONDARY GOALS
* Tactics Heart Episode 12 outlined/written.

Onwards onwards!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Of Writing

 

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Jolly Motivation: Week One

Jolly Motivation: Week One

Well, here we are already! Week one of my ‘come on old chap buck up and fly right’ self-motivation schedule has come and gone, so how’d I do? Well, not terribly, but not terrifically either. I have yet to achieve either of my goals, but I wrote quite a bit and sorted out a couple of tricky things that had been hanging over my head. The arrival of hideously addictive space roguelike-like FTL slowed productivity quite a bit, especially after I got it into my head to take notes during a session and it turned into something I just had to write (Crew Of The Osprey: A Recollection). That wasn’t such a disciplined thing to do, although I had a lot of fun and it’s been a while since I got into that kind of writing space, where everything was clear and all I needed was time to hammer out the words—it feels like everything I’m working on right now is fiddly and intricate, with a lot of things to balance and think about and consider, and just splurting out ten thousand words of straightforward space adventure was a nice break from all that. All in all I can’t say I regret it, but in terms of focus I feel that I need to improve.

Taking down the rebel flagship with fire bombs is an accomplishment, but is it productive? (Spoiler: No.)

So! My stated goals for the week were:

1) Charlotte Powers #5 outlined to a basic degree; connection with #4 firmly dealt with.
2) Episode 10 of Tactics Heart outlined and written.

And on both counts I have failed. CP#5 still isn’t outlined and the connection to #4 needs further expansion. Tactics Heart 10 IS outlined, but only around three-quarters written. So, in terms of actual new words over the past week (not counting the FTL thing), I got around ten thousand out. Which isn’t bad, but still, Could Do Better. With that in mind:

PRIMARY GOALS
* Charlotte Powers #5 outlined SERIOUSLY.
* Charlotte Powers #4 sorted out in terms of continuity and such.
* Tactics Heart Episode 10 very definitely written.
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 outlined.

SECONDARY GOALS
* Tactics Heart Episode 11 written.
* Charlotte Powers #4 edited.
* Stop playing FTL so much gosh.

See you next week!

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Of Writing

 

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Jolly Motivation: Goals, Dang It

Jolly Motivation: Goals, Dang It

Lately I’ve been lazy; so very lazy. (“Lazy” in this case meaning “Still working like an electric beaver, except on ‘easy’ things like proofing and making notes and research and such; not actually producing anything new and that’s what needs to happen”.) I’m out of the habit of writing and into the habit of all of the other activities that surround writing, and that’s not such a good place to stay for extended periods. I have all these projects and so many notes but very few actual written words—I mean, I do feel that when I actually do write those words that they’ll be very splendid words indeed because of all this groundwork I’ve done, but I also feel that until you’ve actually produced those phantom words that nothing’s worth much of anything. First drafts are the only currency of worth, everything else is just … everything else.

Because posts are more interesting with pictures, here’s a picture of the gaang as fruit.

With all of that out of the way, I think what I should do—and what I will do—what I will attempt to do—is begin using this bjournal as more of an update on where I am and what I’m doing. I’ll set goals and then chastise myself for failing to complete them, or else congratulate myself on a job jolly well done. And so:

STATE OF BJK
I just released Miya Black V: Every Glorious Tomorrow, which was good. I sat on that one for probably too long. In any case it completes the first ‘arc’ of the Miya Black story (two more to go, phew), and is perhaps a good place to rest the series for a little while. Not that I don’t love Miya and want to continue her story, but I think at this point what I need to do is spread out a little more, try new things, and see if I can’t connect with readers with fresh projects.

With that said my priority right now is Charlotte Powers. #4 and #5, to be specific. The thing with those two books is that they’re pretty closely linked, and although #4 could be considered ‘done’ I just really feel that I need to get #5 into at least an advanced outline state before releasing #4. So, that’s what I’m mostly doing at the moment, working on #5 and figuring out a bunch of really quite astonishingly fiddly things. It’s not so much that I wrote myself into a corner, more that I made quite a few promises with books 1 – 4 and #5 is where I have to deliver on those promises in the most satisfying way possible. It’s a book that I just really, really want to get absolutely right. So, the bad news for Charlotte Powers fans is that #4 isn’t going to be out for a month or two, but the good news is that #5 will follow relatively closely, maybe even before the end of the year if things go that way. It’d be nice to have a completed series out, although (typically) I’ve already started sketching a follow-up series that could be pretty exciting. More on that after #5 is released.

Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart is another focus right now. Serialised story, free to read, with an ebook to be released once it’s done. I know most serials are a ‘write/release as you go’ kind of thing, and I was originally going to do it that way, but with this one … I just kind of want to get more of it written before I start releasing. Just in case I need to add foreshadowing or something, you know I love sneaking a tiny detail in at the start that becomes vitally important near the end. Anyway, I really really love this story and these characters (all seven hundred of them) (just kidding) (kind of) and really just want to get it out there, but I have to go with my heart on this; needs more time, needs more effort. I’ve already got the first nine episodes written, and it looks like there’ll be twenty-five in the series … I mean, I could start releasing now … and I kind of want to … actually, that might be a good ‘goal’, get Tactics Heart sorted out.

Other projects are other projects. I pick away at them now and then but it’s probably best to keep them in the background for now. So then!

WEEKLY GOALS

1) Charlotte Powers #5 outlined to a basic degree; connection with #4 firmly dealt with.
2) Episode 10 of Tactics Heart outlined and written.

Everything else can be worked on or not worked on as it happens; these two things are what I will have accomplished by next Tuesday. See you then!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Of Writing

 

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Warning: Contains Faineance

Another day, another sale. Maybe things are starting to pick up? Do I dare hope?

After some intense soul-searching and a period of deep introspection (or, in fact, I had a thought while drinking a cup of tea this evening), I have decided that it’s not a lack of sales that leads to my famous Black Moods. It’s a lack of writing. Finishing a first draft is always a little emotionally fraught (or fraughtly emotional), and that I didn’t have a solid ‘next project’ to move on to left me at a loose end–basically, what I should have done in those few dark days was concentrate on something other than writing, on going on walks with my daughters, on cleaning the house, even on simple pleasures like playing games–things that I … well, that I didn’t neglect, not exactly, but things that I spent less time doing while I was in the depths of First Draft Frenzy (which is now a recognised medical condition).

To look at me and my life, you might conclude that I’m a fainéant, torpid slugabed, and you would be accurate in doing so. (Incidentally, if you would actually use the word fainéant then I think you’re super-brilliant.) I am extraordinarily lazy. Without motivation I will do literally NOTHING. Well all right not LITERALLY nothing, but I’ll just sit around in my pants all day eating biscuits and wasting time on the Internet and playing games. Well all right so playing games isn’t EXACTLY a waste of time but you get what I mean. What I need are projects, creative in nature, things to keep me interested–because once I am properly motivated I am a powerhouse of enthusiasm and drive. That’s how I keep up 10,000+ word days for weeks at a time, because I am SO excited to be writing and SO keen on seeing what happens next. Even fully outlined a first draft will surprise you every day, every hour, sometimes every minute, and each second spent writing is a second LIVED. Don’t listen to those pantsers who say that outlining kills a story, they are flat out WRONG. And I don’t often say that. (To be clear: I’m not saying that the ‘seat of your pants, no outline, just point your keyboard at the end of the sentence and gun the metaphorical engine’ method of writing is wrong; to each their own, I say, and good luck to you if that’s what works. But if you think a fully outlined story is dead or holds no surprises or is dull to write then you could not be wrongerer.)

Dragging myself back on point, writing is one of very, very few activities that doesn’t drain all of my energy in a matter of minutes. I can do it for hours, without stopping, without pausing, and in those times I am, I think, at my best. Everything’s simple and pure, my body is irrelevant, the computer disappears, the keyboard disappears, my hands disappear (“Holy Moses, where’d my hands go?”), and there’s only the story.

Wait, that wasn’t back to the point at all! I lied to you! Let’s try that again:

I have no idea what my point is. Well, that being the case it looks like it’s time for another patented (all right, all right, patent pending, stop splitting hairs) Point-From-Nowhere! Let’s see what we’ve got in the sack today:

*rummagerummagerummagepoik!*

“Carry a spare pair of socks with you at all times. That way, your feet need never go cold.”

Yes. That is EXACTLY what my point was. That’s what everything in this post was leading towards. Spare socks. Let’s just end this with a BJK Factoid:

BJK Factoid #152: My favourite ‘pure’ iceblock is the ever-elusive Fruju Grapefruit & Lemon.

And with that, it’s time to say good night, everybody! Except ah! Ah! Ah wait, because I remember now–today I wrote like 8,000 words on Power Play and I feel GREAT. Really having fun, really enjoying spending time with these characters again, really enjoying seeing what they’ve been up to in the six months (in-story time) since the last book (four months real time) (it feels like longer), REALLY having fun playing with the ‘diary’ format.

Quick Tip: If you want to make yourself feel good and produce a huge number of words every day, I recommend writing a book in the first-person diary format. It’s just like writing bjournal posts, except you can make up every single thing that happens.

Basically, writing is good and it’s good to write because writing makes you feel good.

Profound.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Of Writing

 

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