Tag: oops I did it again

You Would Think…

…that a person who worked as a researcher for years would look something up for accuracy ahead of time before making it an important plot point. Right? That would be the sensible thing to do.

Yeah, not so much, if you’re me. And it was one of those stupid little takes-five-seconds-to-verify things. Two words to type into Google Translate. I’ve been meaning to do it for months. Turns out my knowledge of foreign languages isn’t quite as good as I thought it was and I made a mistake that puts me in a bit of a quandry. Shitfuckdamn. Time to dig myself out of another hole.

Umm, Whoops

I realized randomly today that I forgot to include a fairly important detail somewhere around chapter 8 or 9. It’s not going to change what I’ve written since significantly, but now I’m stuck with the task of finding the right spot to include it after the fact, in a way that seems natural and without disrupting the narrative flow I’ve already established. And no, I can’t add it into what I’m about to write – it’s time-sensitive and should’ve have happened a couple story-days ago.

Again, this is where outlining might have aided me. That’s two strikes against me – one more and I might have to actually write one out.

Anyway, I have a couple ideas. Might as well get that done now, instead of waiting until I’m revising. It’ll only be a couple paragraphs I think. But it definitely falls under the category of Really Important Later so I can’t leave it out.

In other news, at around the 63,000 word-count mark, I’m starting to wonder if maybe this isn’t the halfway point, not 50,000. There’s still so, so much to happen. So much. Holy crap.

This Is What I Was Afraid Of

I should’ve made an outline. I should’ve used those cue cards I bought months ago to write my stray thoughts for scenes or characters on. I should’ve done SOMETHING to keep track of all the many threads of this story straight since it’s all jumbled out of order in my head.

I’m about to start chapter 9. Yay, right? Chapter 8 ended on a nice little cliffhanger, ensuring the reader will turn the page, only I don’t remember what happens next. See, these two characters, they’re supposed to meet again, and something REALLY IMPORTANT was supposed to be revealed here. And for the life of me I can’t remember what it is. I had this tight little scene plotted out weeks ago, and now where it once resided in my brain, there’s only this:

Goddammit, I say. Now I feel like I’m entering this scene without a plan for it, and it’s just going to be 1,500 words of rambling pointlessness. I’m just going to start writing anyway and hope that one of two things happens: a) I remember what my original thought was and proceed with that; b) I come up with something even more awesome.


And yet I’m willing to bet that even after this, I still won’t write out that outline or fill out those cue cards, because I’m always telling myself I’m too busy with the actual writing to take time to do the planning. I need to learn a lesson the hard way at least three times before I’ll actually change my habits.


I Got The Blues

I’m developing a serious hate-on for my first chapter. Even when I was writing it I thought it was a bit weak, but now the further I progress – and the more I read about proper first-chapter development – the more I want to rip it up (or since it’s entirely digital, select-all-delete, I guess) and start fresh. There’s way too much back story and not enough dialogue, and a lot of it comes off a bit smug, I think. Chapter two is on similarly shaky ground, although it has some elements of mystery and foreshadowing that are important to the rest of the story. Both deal with character development, I suppose – it’s not like the first 12,000 words are a recitation of the periodic table of elements or anything similiarly pointless – but when I read it back to myself, I think “boring, boring, boring” or maybe TL;DR. Which is the kiss of death for any novel, as I’ve been told over and over. I care about Callie because she lives in my head, and I’ll listen to pretty much anything she tells me, but I’m not sure, having just read the first chapter, that anyone else would. By the time you get to the end of chapter two, I think there’s definitely incentive to keep reading, but the fickle reader, short on time, might decide to move on to something else if the first ten pages don’t capture their interest.

But I have a problem, and that problem is revision.

I’ll tell you a secret – I’ve never revised anything I’ve written. Ever. I don’t do drafts. I do final products. This is how I would write papers in university: I would do all my research, get all my supporting arguments and quotes in order, then sit on it for a week or two and plan the whole thing out in my head, going over and over it until I liked the way it fit together. Then, usually a day or two before it was due, I would sit down and write the entire thing in one sitting, from beginning to end. I’d usually check it over once for spelling and grammar – I often mis-type ‘from’ as ‘form,’ for instance – and then print it and submit. The end. I graduated with a GPA of 3.78 so obviously the system works well for me – when it comes to 5,000-word papers, that is. Obviously this project is a bit bigger than that, which is why, without all the mulling and stewing and planning in my head beforehand that’s occurred with the major scenes but not the connecting ones, I’m sometimes only able to produce 500 words an hour.

So I find myself in unchartered territory here. I need to revise. I need to strip and chop and rebuild and strengthen. It’s not what I’m used to. It’s not something I imagine I’m all that proficient at – I need to find some good ‘how to revise your writing’ blog posts – but sooner or later, I need to head down that road. And with all my unfamiliarity with the process, I have no idea if I should be doing that now, while it’s especially bothering me, or just keep moving forward, and make that the first agenda on the revision task sheet. I have a feeling if I don’t deal with it soon, my feelings about chapter one are going to get worse and worse until I start to question the entire project’s worth, which won’t be good for my future as a novelist. But it seems like such a step backwards, a giving-in to the inner editor who really needs to just shut up and let me work, dammit. I am open to suggestion and wisdom and experience from all sources.

Next up in the series I may start calling My Failings As A Proper Novelist: Why I Also Don’t Write Outlines (But Should Get Over That, Already)