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Archive for the ‘Progress Report’ Category

Posted by Dirck on 18 May, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 21 manuscript pages.

I’m about, according to my own estimates, 70% finished the first draft.  This is not going as quickly as I might have hoped, although it’s not going quite as slowly as I’d feared.  I found another gap in my research today, which I should be able to comfortably fill in during the second-draft process, and this lead me off on another tangent of thought….

Part of me is beginning to yell at the other parts regarding the mechanical approach to the writing I’m following.  “Hand-written first draft?  Fine for a 4,000 word story, but on this scale… what is wrong with you?!”  I don’t think I’m going to listen to it, because as this late stage to shift to the the sort of writing production that most normal people seem to pursue these days, banging away on a keyboard rather like I’m doing right this minute, doesn’t seem possible without jumping right into the second-draft process.  Which would mean leaving the back 30% of the thing in a nebulous form while I re-write what already exists, only picking up the weaving when I travel back to this point… and I don’t know that the narrative would survive this sort of interruption of its gestation.

HOWEVER, for those who are (still, somehow) interested in this process, and for Future Me who will one day be writing another novel (I have vague outlines for at least eight, so I’d best pick up my pace), a couple of thoughts on this hand-written first draft stuff.  On the negative side, it is taking a long time, and it means second draft will also take a long time, since that won’t just be amending stupidities, but will be an entire re-write to transform marks on paper into an electronic format that editors and publishers will actually look at.  Also, as it stands now, my very-literal manuscript is a unique object; no redundancy, no off-site back-up.  This has been a source of some concern for about the past month and a half, as the imp of the perverse keeps painting pictures of fire, flood and brief-case theft.  I find that the difference of scale between a 4,000 word short story and an 80,000 word novel radically alters my ability to look at these potential disasters and greet them with an indifferent shrug.  I might well toss myself into a lake if the current heap of paper were to meet with a bad end.

The benefits of hand-written creation are still present.  I don’t go back and fiddle with specifics, so the flow of the work remains (generally) good.  I might be closer to done now if I had hit the keyboard ab initio, but I might also be only half as far along, having allowed myself to spend a full day getting one paragraph just so because the text is so malleable when it’s electronic.  Hand-writing harnesses the power of laziness in this regard, or perhaps lashes it to the power of cheapskate-ish-ness, because to do that sort of thing now would be a lot of fruitless scribbling and wasted paper.  At this point, though, I think I may have enough practice with rushing ahead on extruding the basic concept of the scenes without giving into the urge to fix things that aren’t quite the right shape that I may be able to conduct the practice in a keyboard-driven environment and thus be able to attack novel-length projects with better efficiency.

I guess we’ll see when I’m done this one.  Which… sigh… won’t be very soon.

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Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages (plus two of utterly useless gibberish that ate time pointlessly on Monday); the muse but whispers this week.

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Posted by Dirck on 4 May, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 23 manuscript pages

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Posted by Dirck on 27 April, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 24 manuscript pages

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Posted by Dirck on 20 April, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 19 manuscript pages

Another lost Monday, alas, this time to a phone-call which ran long over the start of my lunch break.  By the time I had basic sustenance down me, there wasn’t time to get the machinery churning properly on the novel.  As petty revenge for this, I filled free moments in the rest of the afternoon doing some preliminary world-building for a future story with a (relatively) hard SF setting– I now know just how big my ship is, and how quickly it rotates to provide 1G on the main working deck and Mars-equivalent gravity in the recreation area.  Idle brains are the Devil’s plaything, after all.

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Posted by Dirck on 13 April, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages

The paucity of output this week is down to Monday being too taken up with agony to be creative. You may remember a really dumb thing I reported doing to my leg about four months ago.  Well, I managed to do almost the same thing without the assistance of ice on Sunday evening, simply through inattention; I stepped too long for the last step in a flight, and then down I went.  The damage isn’t as bad this time (although I really should have a medical professional opine upon how things stand with my inner rigging), but it was sore enough on Monday to make creativity in anything other than self-directed terms of abuse fly right out the window.

And to avoid leaving people up in the air about important things: the pen I had in my pocket at the time is completely unscathed.

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Posted by Dirck on 6 April, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 24 manuscript pages

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Posted by Dirck on 30 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 20 manuscript pages†

†I think I actually brushed up against writer’s block this week!  I found the strands of the novel had gotten out of their bundle and would not be gathered for almost half of Monday’s session.  I’m sure there are some writers in the world that would like to skin me very slowly for having dealt with the problem after only about twenty unproductive minutes, but I am pleased that I found a cure (this time, at least) in thinking very carefully about the sequence of events in the as-yet-unwritten chapters.

Also– this happened this week:

I am pretty pleased about that, especially given that I took almost a month off it to work on something else.  I can now pretend that I’m on the downhill part of the expedition, rather than the bit where a sensible climber is breaking out the oxygen cylinders.

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Posted by Dirck on 23 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages†

†I took Monday off work so my wife and I could have a nice St. Valentine’s Day lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants.  If the lateness of that observation troubles you (external forces at work; if we could have swung it, it would have been on or near the right date), then take it was our celebration of the arrival of the vernal equinox.  The part of the day I would have been writing in was otherwise engaged.

Also, today’s output was seven pages, despite yesterday afternoon’s tacit admission by the provincial government that they have indeed mismanaged the economy into a dark, glowing sulfurous hole, and thus will be eliminating as much as they can in the new budget of things that make life here tolerable (seriously; 100% reduction of funding for urban libraries).  That I didn’t just spend my whole lunch hour shrieking obscenities in the direction of the Legislature is a testament to my work ethic.

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Posted by Dirck on 16 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • First draft surges onward: 29 manuscript pages!

†Why yes, I do have two pens with the same ink on the go, which is outside my usual practice.  I put the TM in battery last week for an evening’s writing workshop, and I’ve decided to write it empty rather than flush it.  This also puts more Sheaffers into rotation at once than is usual, but as I’ve no one in a position to chastise me effectively for policy breaches who isn’t me, I don’t think I’ll get in much trouble out of it.

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