Friday, August 16, 2013

Orsolya Summer 2013 Analytics

I last wrote about my WIP Orsolya in late June. Summer is a good season for writing, since almost every day I got up at a reasonable hour (for me) and spent at least half of the morning working on my story. As numbers will show:

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Numbers:

Time elapsed (real): 1.5 months
Time elapsed (story): 4.5 years (timeskip!)
Chapters finished: 4 (4, 5, 6, 7)
Words: about 47000

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Sticking Points:

I have a tendency to skim what I perceive as “boring parts” without actually summarizing, leaving a weird soup that’s not quite show mode and not quite tell mode. While in someone else’s hands that could be cool and avant-garde, I fear that it reads as rushed.

Plot threads abound. When pulled they won’t exactly unravel the story, but I’ve had to come up with some semi-lame explanations for why this happened and not that.

Most dreadful question to ask after the fact: Why didn’t they just do X?

How to balance descriptions of place with dialogue with plot? Ideally they’d all converge, but I’m not quite that skilled/experienced and I feel as though my descriptions are skimmable and unimportant. Of course, it’s on me to make them important, or at least interesting enough to justify the reader’s time.

(Side note: I say “reader”, singular, because I honor the individual to an extent that probably makes me hard to work with.)

Character portrayals are inconsistent. Of course, I can salvage this one: people of course seem nobler/more mature/better from their own POV. But sometimes I worry that I’m making a character seem too much like two different people - of course the thoughts can be incongruous with the appearance, but the actions must be consistent.

Lack of focus = bad.

I drag my feet on certain scenes, and then throw in action at the end of scenes/chapters. I worry that the pacing therefore becomes predictable. Increase syncopation! Keep your characters on their toes.

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Successes:

Technical magic explanations, emotional turmoil drawn from life, and balcony scenes <3

Reworking plot points until they hang together decently well, when they didn’t work before, and replotting the rest of the book with a better vision than before - greater precision through iteration, yay!

Getting over 1000 words of writing for days in a row.

Writing seven days a week for two weeks in July.

Not giving up.

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Game Plan:

I’m not going to be able to write for multiple hours a day during the school year, especially since first semester is college apps season. Therefore I shall reinstate my normal school year expectations: at least four days a week, and 400-1000 words per session. I’m probably not going to finish before 2013 ends, since I have about 4.5 more chapters to write at around 15000 words per chapter. I do think, however, that I’ll be able to finish before I graduate high school.

Recalibrating my sense of success with a writing session may take time. I’m sure I’ll run into plenty more frustrations, have weeks at a stretch where I feel as though everything I write is bad. But the only thing to do is to learn from mistakes and to keep going. Sink in.

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