So I worked out probably my biggest problem with Destiny’s Story.
I had too much material.
I had the brainstorm the other day to do another notebook. I’ve not done a physical notebook (binder) for any story since … oh about three or four back, honestly. Doing this helped me see what I had – and what I had was a lot. So I sat down with printed sheets, dividers, pens, and markers.
Turns out I have enough material for three books.
Since then, I’ve been working on breaking up what needs to go into which book, updating notes, separating sections, answering questions, setting up various pages and notes I need/use in OneNote. Kind of, in a way, starting this whole project from scratch. Yesterday, I printed off four pages of questions I need to answer. Today, I spent a bit of time answering them. Tomorrow, I need to get the timelines for all three books set up.
After that – I should be ready to write again. Finally.
Which is good because I have some of this material up for the WriteOnCon and need to get it all switched around and redone before the actual con starts next week!
I also finished one editing project (remember the one with all the commas?) and got it turned in. I’ve got a piece to read before Thursday evening, to turn it back in to my critique group. And I still have one editing project in progress.
During all this, I’m sitting here thinking – maybe I need to break the Midnight sequel into two books, too … But I’m not ready to tackle that yet. I need to clear what’s right in front of me first. (must stop piling on more and more and not getting things done!)
Don’t assume young adults are some incomprehensible alien race (I see that on some forums).
Don’t assume that people are mentally five years old until they hit the age you think is ‘adult.’
PLEASE don’t do fashion, tech, pop culture, etc. unless you KNOW what’s going on now.
Don’t think you can write a $#%&&* book because it’s ‘just’ YA.
~ Writing advice from a YA in the NaNo fora. (used with permission)
[repost from October 2010]
Now isn’t the time for a metaphysics lesson, Michael. Sure, you and Sami are confined inside your car, probably for another good twenty minutes. But that doesn’t mean she wants or needs a lecture. Besides, this isn’t the place in the story for this. We all can learn how energy transfers between two people and how like energy attracts like energy further along in the narrative. If we need to.
“But this is basic metaphysics!”
Yes, I understand this and it’s also one of the basic laws of energy. But the reader isn’t interested in that right now. The reader is interested in how you and Sami are interacting in this confined space.
“Our energy is interacting all over the place, and she hasn’t even noticed!”
Have you forgotten, Michael, that she’s exhausted, confused, and hungover? That and after your little adventure last night, you applied your special mojo-gumbo and made her forget everything that happened between the two of you. No lectures. No energy transferences. And no pantomime! Sami can’t handle them right now.
I really would like to be furthering this scene instead of discussing it with you.
“You know I’m not good at that.”
“Do you see this delete key?”
Yeah, you quieten down when I remind you that you’re a figment of my imagination and currently made of nothing more than ink, fiber, ones, and zeros. And my dreams.
“But the metaphysical implications of her touching my hand like that–”
“Get the fuck out and walk.”
About this time last year I made the switch from Evernote, which I’d used since it came out, to Microsoft OneNote, which is an integrated part of my Office software. After making a ‘trial run’ of OneNote to see how I could organize everything, I knew this was the better program for me. I hated to let Evernote go – they’ve been very good to me! But I just needed more than what their program offers.
imho, the worst thing about OneNote is that there aren’t a lot of templates available (although I’ve found they’re easy made), and there doesn’t seem to be much support / tips’n tricks available.
The biggest plus is that it integrates with the other Office programs – you can “print” to or from OneNote and share in the Office cloud (though I don’t use Skydrive – does anyone?). I keep my OneNote files inside my Dropbox folder – so it backs up its own backups, essentially. The program is largely intuitive. It’s easy to figure out what does what and what you can and can’t do with it. As for the lack of support et al, googling OneNote turns up what I’m looking for. I like that I can customize the interface, too. In the quickview bar, I have only the tools I use most often; everything else is tucked into the ribbon.
I have ADHD (leaning toward the Inattentive/Distractive side), so the way I organize things drives people straight up a wall. For them, it’s not intuitive or organized. For me it makes perfect sense. (I have friends who don’t like using my laptop because they never can find anything – but to me, its organization makes perfect sense)
OneNote is designed to mimic a collection of spiral notebooks, with metaphors of tabs and pages. It has six total levels of organization–notebooks, sections, subsections, pages, and two levels of subpages. OneNote also has a system of links that allow notes to contain links to other notes, or to a Web page, a Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation.
I have three notebooks. One is for all my personal stuff, one is for all my blogging stuff, and the third is for all my writing stuff. I could break the writing notebook down into three notebooks, really: writing advice, adult stuff, young adult stuff. And I might if it keeps getting more crowded in there.
Another thing about OneNote is that you can size and position the sidepanels. You can put them on the right or the left and collapse them or widen them as large as you need them to be. When you open a notebook, tabs open across the top of the display, so really you can collapse the notebook pane entirely to give yourself more workspace. As well, you can minimize the pages panel. You can also color the notebooks and individual tabs any color you like, just like a physical notebook, to help sort this into that. “Oh, that’s in the green tab.” Click! Very handy if you’re as visual as I am. One thing I don’t like is that each page and subpage (and sub subpage and sub sub subpage, ad nauseum) under a given tab is the same color as that tab. I’d like to be able to color the individual pages – that’d be awesome!
Like I said, I prefer OneNote over Evernote; it’s what works for me. OneNote gives me so many more organizing / sorting / filing options. Also, the workspace is more user-friendly – I can make everything else smaller in order to view what I need to see / work on. OneNote pastes text into blocks (similar to a text block in Word) that you can click and drag around to reposition where you’d like. If you have a lot of small elements (small text bits / pictures) on a page, this comes in handy; it allows you to put things where they’re more available to you.
Since I started using OneNote last year, I’ve dumped almost all of my writing notes into the program. Some stuff still remains on my hard drive, but bit by bit, I’m moving it all into notebooks. This is so much better to (and for) me than having endless folders with endless streams of documents. Click FAQ tab, and voila, there’s everything in a neat little row for me to pick and choose from. Even with descriptive file names, I’d find myself sitting here thinking, “Is this the file I need? Or is it this one?” I don’t have to do that any more. Less muss, less fuss – I’m all for that!
[I wrote this as a comment to question posted on Book Country and thought it’d make a great blog post here, so here it is!]
The only ‘draft’ copy I’ve ever kept was the first completed copy of Midnight back in 2004. It’s in a sealed manuscript box on a shelf in my closet.
I write longhand and am one of those “edit as you go” types. (so when I write, it looks like this:
(ignoring the gaming monkey, of course!)) I will read what I’ve written before I sit down to type it up. I find everything that’s a mistake or that I don’t like, fix it, then type it. Other things might get changed while I’m typing, too. As I type, each chapter gets its own file under the main story folder. (something like this:
I also save a document called “unused bits”. That’s where I stick stuff that I decide doesn’t need to be in the main story body. Sometimes these come in handy – a phrase or two might come back into the story somewhere else; or a whole scene (or paragraph or snippet) might come back in another story, reworked to fit.
Once a document gets typed up, though, it’s subject to any and all kinds of reading, editing, hacking, you name it (because I never can just “leave it alone”).
Once the story is finished, then the files get arranged in chronological order and printed out. This is when they get their first “heavy hand” line edits. Those edits get typed into the existing files. The the files get put into one document. All those individual files (except the “unused” files ones) get deleted. The full document, then, is my “official first draft” – even though it really isn’t; it’s probably draft twelve squillion and a half, but that’s the process that works for me.
From this point forward, it’s the full document that’s going to be read by readers, editors, etc, etc.
This is all probably about as clear as mud.
My blog for May for Apex Blog is up. You can read it here: It Builds Character!
Destiny’s Story [draft 1]
opening count: 9122
closing count: 9818
page count: uncertain*
chapter count: n/a
weekly words: 1740
yearly words: 9818
current music: none
After our hands touched again inside the popcorn bowl, James got up to put more movies into the player.
Is it really rushing when two people have known each other their whole lives?
reason for stopping: time for bed
Besides, we hadn’t done so bad in the garage the other night.
oy vey phrase:
We laughed a lot.
left to write: tons
commentary: I’m still enjoying working on this story. Writing YA has been fun, even if I’m still uncertain about what it is I’m actually doing. I know what’s ‘proper’ for adult fiction, but YA is a whole other ballgame. Writing from Destiny’s point of view has been as enlightening as it’s been interesting. Am almost up to the point of ‘the accident’. If I’m remembering my notes right, it’s like two or three scenes after this current one.
Do people like these kinds of posts? What metrics aren’t on my list that interest you? What metrics are on my list that you don’t care to know?
*it’s all in bits and pieces at the moment.
I know you all are probably tired of me going on and on about We Need To Talk About Kevin, but I wanted to share this quote. And by the way, the movie is due to make its American premier at the end of January.
Because in real life, people are not always perfectly charming. I try to duplicate in fiction the complex, contradictory, and infuriating people I meet on the other side of my study door…I’m less concerned that you love my characters than that you recognise them. Human beings have rough edges. Authors who write exclusively about ethical, admirable, likeable characters are not writing about real people…Good stories require mistakes. If you want to read about unimpeachable characters, order the annual report from Oxfam.
~~ Lionel Shriver
Perfectly Flawed: In defense of unlikable characters