Writing Diary #06 – Bumps on the road

(Yeah, I know, it’s Monday – I forgot to post this yesterday).

So, I had five days of heaven after my last update. I wrote SO much from February 28th to March 4th, as in, almost 9k words, which is more or less three chapters. Everything was going extremely well, and I was so sure I would hit 35k way before my self imposed deadline, but then… puff. Everything crumbled.

This is my fault. I mean, of course it is – it’s my story and my writing, but in this case it’s something I could have easily avoided. Somewhere between the fourth thousand and the fifth thousand, I started feeling that something was… off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I kept writing anyway, but the feeling grew and grew and grew… Until I just couldn’t write anymore yesterday.

That made me pause, of course, to try to find out what the hell was happening. After a few hours of banging my head against the wall, I thought I had solved the issue. Spoiler: I hadn’t. I solved part of it, but today I kept thinking about what I wrote/fixed yesterday and nope. The thing wasn’t done yet.

Cue more three hours of angry scribbling and whining and yes, people, I did. I think I finally have it.

Which is awesome! I think the story is much stronger now – I added new chapters and cut some that were weak/not fun, I fixed some plot holes that I was kind of trying to mask & some I hadn’t noticed, I gave my main character more agency and gave my trio more moments together. This pause to plan again was, without a doubt, a good thing to do.

But it’s also a bit sad, because I don’t think I’ll save much of these 9k, now 10k, words I wrote since last week. Maybe those first 4k, maybe a few here and there, but most of it will probably go to the trash, which will ruin my schedule.

But well, better now than when I’m done with the draft, right?

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Writing Diary #05 -Planning, planning, planning…

Okay, first of all, I have to do admit that I only worked on #aroaceprincess in the last two days, which means that most of my week was spent doing nothing but going to uni (it was a tiring week, in my defense). Still, I managed to plan the next ten chapters of the story (aka the first half of the second act) and am now ready to begin writing again, which is a bit intimidating. Like I said before, I rewrote #aroaceprincess’s first act three, almost four times, but I only wrote the rest of the book once, back on NaNoWriMo 2015.

I think I’ll do all right, though. I have a good outline/plan, and, what I think is just as important, I’m excited to write the next chapters. Sometimes I get all these doubts about this story because it’s the first I’m writing in English, the first I’m writing with all queer characters’ identities on the page, and it’s so different from everything I’ve ever tried to write. I’m a fantasy adventure kind of person, and #aroaceprincess has very little travel, quests or big battles. It does have monsters and it does have people fighting monsters, but most of the story is basically people talking, discovering things and solving mysteries.

Which… is extremely hard for me to write, apparently.

I have a trick, though. Every time I get these doubts I ask myself, “would I like to read this story? Would I get excited about it as a reader? It’s something I want to read?” and for now, the answer is yes. This helps a lot.

So, I think I’ll start writing again tomorrow or Tuesday. My deadline is April 3rd, so I have 35 days or so to write more or less 35.000 words. Wish me luck & see you guys next week!

Writing Diary #04 – On to the second act!

So, I finished editing/revising the first nine chapters (plus prologue) aka the first act of my current wip, #aroaceprincess. I’m actually quite pleased with myself for this – I worked on this wip every single day since my last update and managed to fix a lot of stuff I knew was wrong, plus to find & fix some other problems that arose along the way. Mind you, these nine chapters + prologue aren’t finished finished by any means – I still have to polish the writing, get the characters’ voices right, stuff like that.

To be honest, I was planning on doing all of this in this rewrite, but I quickly realized that would cost me a lot of time, and well, remember when I said I was sick to death of rewriting this first act? Yeah. I don’t want to burn out, so I’ll leave these things for the next round of edits/revision, which will probably happen when I’m done with the rewrite of the whole book.

So I’m basically planning on doing a rewrite with pauses to edit what I wrote every 9/10 chapters (roughly every 25% of the book) and then on doing an extensive round of edits/revision. On the rewrite I’ll fix  (or try to) the plot, the structure, the characters, the relationships (that is, the meat of the story) and on the edits I’ll be working on the writing itself, on the characters’ voice, on keeping everything flowing as they should, that kind of thing.

Today I drafted the outline of the first half of the second act (the next 10 chapters). It was easier than I thought it’d be, but it was still a bit tiring, mostly because this story changed so much since I wrote the first draft, and even more since I wrote the old outline for the rewrite that I had to move a lot of stuff around, discard some ideas and even delete two characters. But now I’m confident that the story will *finally* work.

Tomorrow I’ll probably start planning the scenes/chapters, but I don’t think I’ll start writing until Friday, when Carnaval begins here (which means I’ll have a few days off uni to work on #aroaceprincess).

So, that’s it! I’m pretty happy with my progress so far and I hope I manage to keep working on this story daily. See you guys next wek!

(PS: Remember how I said the first act was 32.902 words long and that I needed to make it shorter? Well, now it’s 35.782 words long, which means I managed to make it *longer*. No, I have no idea of what I’m doing anymore).

Writing Diary #03 – Quick update!

I know, it’s been a long time since I last posted about my progress on #aroaceprincess’s first draft. Those who follow me on Twitter (@_renoliveira) probably already know I finished rewriting the first act last month (yes, I know my last writing diary post back in June was about rewriting the first act, too) and that now I’m preparing to edit it before going back to rewriting the second act. And well, to be honest, I’ve been procrastinating. I’m afraid of reading what I wrote in January and hating it and then wanting to rewrite it again.

And believe me when I say I just can’t rewrite this book’s first act anymore. Not until I have the whole second draft done, at least. I think I’ve rewritten it three or four times, and I’m getting a bit sick of it. I want to move on to the rest of the story already.

So I’m spending my time now reading books on writing or just reading in general when I should be editing/revising what I wrote. I know myself. I lose a lot of time procrastinating just because, so I decided to start posting my progress here again. Maybe that will “force” me to edit this thing and to, you know, keep editing and writing. I want to finish this second draft this year. I’ve been writing this story for over an year already, which is a bit worrying – I tend to spend a lot of time in projects just too move on to something different before finishing them and I really want to finish this one.

My main goal right now is too make the first act shorter. Not sure if I’ll manage to do it, but currently it is 32.902 words long, which is… too much. I can’t delete any scenes without losing important stuff, so my approach will be trying to delete words, phrases, etc, instead. My second goal (which is just as important as the main one, I guess) is to polish the writing aka try to fix my main weakness. I feel like I’m not getting my characters’ voice right, which is kinda important.

I’ll try to update the blog with my writing progress at least once a week. Not sure how long it will take me to edit the first act, but I hope it isn’t much – maybe too weeks at most? I guess we will see.

Writing Diary #02 – Camp NaNoWriMo

Remember how I said I wouldn’t write the second draft of my WIP (#aroaceprincess for those who follow me on Twitter) during Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo? Well, I lied. Camp NaNoWriMo is happening this July and well… I’ve already won it.

To be fair, my goal was very low, only 15.500 words (500 words/day), mainly because I didn’t want to write desperately like I did back on NaNoWriMo ’15 (when I wrote most of the first draft of #aroaceprincess). Since this was the second draft, I wanted it to be at least nice and not, you know, the ugliness that was the first draft. I prepared myself a lot more – I have now the summary of each book of the trilogy, lots of character profiles and at least a dozen files on worldbuilding. I know what I need to change and what I need to add (and what to take off).

Still, it wasn’t as easy as I hoped. I’ve written 18k words for this second draft and while some parts were super quick to write, others were not. This WIP (now called Queen of Hearts instead of Masked Queen) has three MCs with POV chapters, and one of the them (the queen/princess of hearts herself, Valentina) is honestly a pain to write sometimes. Lori’s and Rafael’s chapters? Easy (usually). Valentina’s? A nightmare.

It took me a while to find out why. I love Valentina. I know her. She’s the reason this trilogy exists, even if nowadays Lori and Rafael are just as important as she is. But I just didn’t love her initial chapters that much, and that was the problem, and one that was spawning other smaller (but just as annoying) problems the more I wrote. This almost made me throw more than 6k words of the second draft (during Camp NaNo!) in the trash, but thankfully I managed to save almost everything after turning her first chapter into her third or fourth (I don’t know yet), writing a new first chapter and deleting 1k words of a scene I scene I really disliked.

Honestly, I can’t wait to be done with the first act. Like I said in my previous post about QOH, the first draft I wrote during NaNoWriMo didn’t have much of a first act to speak of. It had only six scenes (against twenty-one of the second and seventeen of the third) and was basically the characters going to where the first plot point happens. I didn’t spend any time establishing anything in the first draft, and so I had to do all the work now in the second. And, again, it wasn’t as easy I’d hoped. I keep worrying about it being too long.

I still need to write more four chapters + finish the one I’m writing right now before I’m done with it, which means I still have to write 15k words or more. This second draft will be way longer than the first one, but that I had already expected.

Now that I’m finally writing it, though, I realized it probably won’t the final draft. I knew I would still need to edit a lot of stuff, but for me the second draft would the The Draft, you know, the one where you stop rewriting (or at least stop rewriting the whole thing) and start polishing everything. I’m not so sure now. The writing is honestly my weakness; my English vocabulary isn’t that great and I’m far more used to writing in Portuguese, so I know it is a skill I still need to hone a lot more before even thinking of publishing this book (on the internet for free or otherwise). A possible third draft could help with that.

Anyway, I’m excited to finally finish this book.

Which will probably happen before the end of the year, I hope.

Writing Diary #01 – I finished the first draft (hallelujah!)

So, yesterday I finished the first draft of my current project, Masked Queen. It is 74k words long and probably the worst thing I’ve ever written, but I’m quite proud of having actually finished a wannabe novel. I’ve been writing for years – which doesn’t mean much when you’re only 20, I guess – but until now I had never completed a project, even the first draft of one. I’ve written more, of course – an old WIP was 160k words long at some point and I was half way done with it only. But I was 15, so my grasp of how long a novel should be wasn’t the best – but it feels different to write a beginning, a middle and an ending, it doesn’t matter how ugly they are.

I started writing MQ’s first draft during NaNoWriMo, which was at the same time a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I don’t think I would ever have finished it if not for the whole let’s write! excitation of November, and a curse because I planned the novel the day before November 1st and didn’t do a good job out of it (I’m a planner. Like, all-scenes-need-to-be-planned kind of planner), so the structure of this first draft is far from good. But I wrote 60k words in a month, which was a new record for me, and even though I only wrote the last 14k words in the past 9 days, it was worth it. The thing is finished. Amen.

But there is so much wrong stuff in it. Believe me when I say that it is the worst thing I’ve ever written. Some examples of how bad it is: Continue reading “Writing Diary #01 – I finished the first draft (hallelujah!)”