WRITING: Update & August Goals

Okay guys, so today you are in for a doozy of a post. You have been warned. 

The last time I posted here was… The end of March, I believe? And though I’ve been quiet on here, that DOES NOT mean that I haven’t been writing—far from it. Last time I checked in I was halfway through the first draft of book one (which I have now named ‘SP1’ in my head, so I’ll be calling it that from now on). 

As of today, August 9th, SP1 is currently sitting pretty at it’s full 2nd draft, and I’m in the middle of writing book 2 from the same series (SP2—see what I did there?). 

Wanna see a breakdown of how I got there over the past four months? No? Well tough, because that’s what this post is for!

So, let’s head back to the start of April…

April

As I’m sure you know, April was Camp NaNo, and I set a goal for myself of finishing the first draft of SP1, which I am happy to say that I achieved! Draft 1 was finished at 77k words (about 38k of that was written in April). Woo!

May

My initial goal(s) for May was to leave SP1 to rest while I worked on outlining SP2 and also playing about with a plot bunny I had running rampant in my mind for a completely different story.

As it turned out, I only managed to leave SP1 for a grand total of 6 days (I know, I know…) before I got sucked back in.

In those 6 days I outlined the WHOLE of book 2, and realised that there were a lot of things I needed to add/reference/change about book 1 for some of the ideas I had planned in the second book to make sense. 

I did a very quick read through of SP1, (and noticed that among all those plot things the pacing also felt REALLY off), re-worked the outline and went straight into writing the second draft for this story. 

Book 1, I now realise, was a very, very rough draft—basically a zero-draft—and I added a whole lot to it during revisions. Act 1 originally was only 12.5k words. It is now sitting at about 30k, and this fixed a lot of the pacing issues I had with the beginning. 

During the time from 6th-31st May, draft 2 of SP1 was up to 50k. 

June

Surprise, surprise, my goal for June was to keep trucking along with draft 2 of SP1, with the hopes of finishing up this draft before July’s Camp NaNo began. 

This goal I didn’t quite hit… Where the first half of this draft consisted mostly of just adding new stuff, the second half in comparison was a lot of re-working what I had already written the first time around, tidying up a lot of weird stuff that didn’t make sense, and changing stuff around to work with the new ending I’d outlined. Somehow this was harder than just drafting fresh words—go figure. 

I ended up June with a word count of 39k, bringing the total for draft 2 to 89k, and still having the climax of the story to write. 

July

My initial goal for July’s Camp NaNo—to start drafting book 2—was thwarted by my inability to finish SP1’s 2nd draft in time, so I had to have a bit of a re-jig.

My goal was to finish SP1 draft 2, then leave it alone and start working on SP2 for the rest of the month, with a total word count goal of 50k.

I managed to finish SP1 within the first week or so, adding 15k words, leaving draft 2 at a whopping 104k. Welp. 

Then finally—finally—I was able to start writing book 2! Which I had outlined 2 months prior… Haha. But I got there eventually!

I wrote 35k of SP2 and managed to win Camp by hitting 50k for the month, which I am beyond happy about!

And that brings us to the here and now! Sorry if all that word vomit was boring (or confusing…), but it had to be done, I’m afraid. 

Plans and goals for August

So I have two main writing goals for this month. 

First, I want to keep drafting SP2, with the hopes of finishing the first draft of it by the end of September. I’m planning to write around 1000 words a day, to get my draft up to 65/70k-ish for August. 

As well as this, I want to (tentatively) start getting back to book 1. To get this ball rolling, this month I plan to:

– Print the full second draft (around 300-some pages of A4)

– Read through my story, as a reader and not the author

– Make notes as I go of any general, big-picture things that need to be changed

– Make a plan for how I want to go about writing the third draft

– Look into Beta-readers

Now I might not get all of this done this month, and I’m still unsure about when I want to start writing SP1 draft 3. I don’t think I’ll be able to write SP1 and SP2 at the same time, because my characters are in such different places over the two books that I can see this getting messy and jumbled and I think it’ll do more harm than good (but if you’ve done this before and it’s worked well, please let me know in the comments down below).

So I’m torn between working on SP1 and SP2. I reeeeeally want to get back to book 1, to get it to a place where I can start sending it out to Beta’s and move forward with getting it finished, but I also don’t really want to stop writing the second book halfway through, because I feel like it’ll mess with my flow and pacing and train-of-thought in terms of that story…

I don’t know, man. I guess it doesn’t really matter right now. That’s an issue for September, not August. 

I’m not really sure where the hell I’m going with this. 

Anyway! That’s all I have for you right now. I’m planning to do a post soon (ish) about my experience with draft 1 vs draft 2 for SP1, the things I’ve learnt from it and how it went a little more in-depth. But until then, I guess I should get writing!

Don’t forget to follow me over on Instagram and Twitter @ReadWriteLouise for daily updates if you’re interested!

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April Camp NaNoWriMo 2018 | Prep & Goals

So April Camp Nanowrimo is less than a week away… Who’s excited! Who’s terrified! A mixture of both?… Yeah, me too.

I’ll be working on my current WIP this April, but just because I’m halfway through my manuscript doesn’t mean I’m ready for camp. Not even a little bit. I sat down yesterday and made a list of all the little (and not so little0 things that I need to do BEFORE April rolls around… And guys, there’s a lot. Like, a lot more than I realised. And I only have a week. Welp!

So if, like me, you find other people’s writing plans/to-do lists inspiring in helping your own writing (or you just want something to laugh at), read on!

40k words

First up, I need to hit my March writing goal. I started this project in February with the goal of writing 20k in both February and March, bringing my manuscript up to 40k, around the half-way point, to then finish the first draft in April. I hit 37k this morning, so I’m not too worried about this one. 3k in 4 days? Totally achievable.

I’m estimating that to finish this draft I’ll need to write around 40k next month, or 1,333 words a day. I can do that. I can do that, right? Oh God I hope so.

Plot timeline

I had a rough timeline of the events in my story when I started this draft, but while writing it this timeline doesn’t quite fit anymore. I want to re-plot the timeline with all the chapters I currently have written, and the ones that I have left to write. This doesn’t sound too big a job in theory, but it pretty much means re-reading every chapter I have so far to work out how long things have taken, and how long it’s been between different scenes. Sigh.

Goal, motive and stakes per chapter

I found this little trick really helped with a few of the more difficult chapters that I had to write earlier this month. I’m not sure if I made this up or heard it somewhere else (probably the latter—I’m not that smart), but I basically just need to make a note of each chapters goal, as well as the motive and the stakes for the character whose chapter it is. Easy-peasy.

Update chapter synopses

This is, unfortunately, another goal that involves me re-reading all the chapters I have written so far.

I’ve been writing this story a lot slower than anything else I’ve ever written (read: not word-vomited onto the page during a Nanowrimo), which has its positives and negatives. For one, I’ve been able to write more consistantly—600 words a day is a lot more manageable than 1600. On the other hand, because it’s been two months since I wrote that first chapter, I’ve started to forget what happened earlier in the story. Not the main points, obviously, but little things like who said what to who, and which characters saw particular things happen.

In hindsight I really should have taken leaf out of Kirsten Martins book and updated my outline and chapter synopses at the end of each writing session… But I didn’t. So I’ll have to do it now. If not I know I’ll be wasting potential hours next month looking back to try and find answers to things that I can’t quite remember.

Brainstorm and flesh out 3rd act

So this is a biggy.

I have my full story outlined, but I have to admit that the first half was a lot more fleshed out than the second half. I have all the main plot points, and most of the transitions scenes too, but that ins and outs of what happens in each chapter is pretty vague.

For example, at the end of the book my characters have to escape from somewhere, and the only note I have on that chapter is ‘they escape’… Um… How, exactly, are they going to do that past-self? The hell if present-me knows.

These gaping plot holes are definitely things that I should get sorted before Camp NaNo, to save both my time and my sanity.

Wish me luck.

How is everyone else prepping for Camp, and what are your goals for the month? Let me know below, and if you want someone to vent to during the month don’t be afraid to hit me up!

WRITING: Feb Wrap-Up & March Goals 2018

It’s the 1st of March. A new month, new goals, new yada yada yada. You know the drill.

If you read my last post you’ll know that I started a new WIP in February with the goal of churning out 20k words for it last month. And I am pleased to announce that I did it! I managed 20,011 words, to be exact. Hardly smashed it out of the park, but I reached my goal, and I’m pretty proud of that if I do say so myself.

Not only did I reach my goal, but I also managed to hit it consistently, and wrote every day in February. That’s my longest write streak, ever. And I don’t intend to stop now!

Since the start of Feb my outline has expanded dramatically—from 28 chapters to 47—and I am still just as excited about the story as I was then. I’m a little over a quarter of the way through, and I’m on track to finish the first draft by the end of April.

So, March! Whatdya got for me?

Words: I was originally planning to get 25k words in March, but my boyfriend and I are actually in the middle of moving house (woo!) and I know I’ll be a little stretched for time, especially that week that we’re moving, so I’ve dropped that goal to 20k. That’s still a solid chunk of the story, and I’m excited to get stuck in.

Write streak: I wrote every day in Feb (as of the 3rd of February when I started this WIP) and I’m determined to keep it going in March.

Routine: I always thought I was more of a night owl than a morning person, but with my full-time job and studying for my degree part-time, I decided to try waking up earlier every day in Feb to write before work. And… It actually worked? I found that splitting up my ‘writing’ time and my ‘university’ time with the 8-hour chunk of my day job in the middle helped my focus on each of them. So, I’m going to keep up the morning writing routine and see how that goes this month.

Writing time: I’ve was aiming to write for 30-45mins each day last month, and this month I’m going to try and increase this to 45-60mins. Gotta get prepped for Camp Nano next month!

And that’s it! 20k March here I come *fist bump*

Give me a follow on Twitter (@readwritelouise) and Instagram (@readwritelouise) for daily updates if you’re interested!

Anyone want to join me on my 20k March?

February 2018 Writing Goals

So, I am hyped. SO HYPED! But let’s rewind.

I was planning on finishing my NaNo17 novel (a contemporary romance) at the beginning of 2018. I swear, I was. But I spent December (and January, if I’m being honest), reading a LOT and falling back in love with fantasy. And I just couldn’t go back to my little contemporary. I couldn’t. I NEEDED to work on some of the fantasy plot-bunnies running riot in my head.

So I spent all of last weekend brainstorming, planning and plotting two potential ideas. I managed to get one pretty solidly fleshed out, but I wasn’t quite feeling it.

The other idea was basically just a character. I LOVED her, but I couldn’t for the life of me think of a plot for her.

Fast-forward to me sitting in the office on Monday morning and I just—ALL of the ideas came flooding to the forefront of my brain. So many ideas. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I spent all of my free time last week working on it, and by Friday I had the whole thing planned, plotted and fleshed out.

And now I get to start working on it!

I know I won’t be in this honeymoon phase of having a new story idea for long, but for now I just want to enjoy it and get some words in.

I’ve set a new Creative Goal on the NaNoWriMo website to 20,000 words for the month of February (or the 25 days left of it), which is around 750 words a day. Totally doable.

I’m also hoping that the smaller daily word-count compared to NaNo will help me to get into a more consistent daily writing routine.

If all goes well I’m hoping to get around 20k in February, 25k in March and 40-50k during camp NaNo in April to finish of the first draft. Ah! Wish me luck!

What is everyone else working on in February?

NaNoWriMo 2017 Plans

Hello, everybody!

So, I’m new here (obviously–this is my first post). I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year, and I wanted somewhere to track and log my progress as a way to sort through my thoughts and organise my NaNo novel this year (and to keep me accountable, if I’m honest).

I also want to KEEP WRITING after NaNo has finished, and I’m hoping this blog will spur me on to keep going, even when life tries to get in the way.

A few things about me: I love stories (both reading and writing), I love both coffee AND tea (controversial, I know), and I love to run.

Now onto the NaNo!

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo three times before–November 2014 (won), Camp NaNo 2015 (I’ll be honest I don’t know how I did one this one), and November 2015 (failed MISERABLY).

I missed 2016 because I had a lot of stuff going on. I was working full-time in marketing, part-time as a waitress and I was also studying part-time with Open University. So here’s the kicker: I’m still doing all of those things. I just also REALLY want to write the story currently in my head, and maybe kinda also wanna get it published one day. I like to think that I’m a little better at organising my time with all of these things than I was last year, and adding NaNoWriMo on top of all that will be fine. Right?

The story I’ll be writing this year is one that has been in my head for over two years. It’s been planned, outlined, started, scrapped, re-outlined, scrapped again, found on my old laptop months later and re-outlined yet again.

Which brings us to now.

I’ll be completely re-writing it for NaNo this year, and I’ve changed a lot of stuff from my original idea–characters, major plot points, timelines… you name it, it’s different. So I don’t consider myself to be cheating–it is essentially an entire new novel at this point.

Even though this story is very well fleshed out in my head, I have a lot of prepping to do before November rolls around. Other than my two main characters, EVERYONE in my story is currently just a name. Not even a full name, most of the time. Some of them aren’t even that. They’re just ‘The Professor’, ‘Chef at the diner’, and ‘Aunt’s children’. So I have a lot to do.

I also want to try and get as ahead as I can with my Open University studies beforehand so that I have more time for the fun (or not-so-fun) NaNo stuff.

Stay tuned for more Prep-tober and NaNo updates along the way, and if you’re participating this year let me know!

If you want to friend me on the nanowrimo.org site to track how I’m doing (or to chat about how your NaNo is going) my user name is RawrLouise.

Speak to you soon!