Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sun Update - and Coming Attractions

Okay I've discovered the first problem of my deadline oriented goals:


Since the posts themselves are self-evident, I don't feel the need to record them and then when I try to do my update reports, I don't remember what I did each day....

Reporting is really important to a writing challenge, though.  And it's nice to be able to have a progress bar.  (Or a "4580 of 30,000 words", or "6 out of 18 chapters")  I want a progress bar!

I wrote about five pages of blather for this post on different ideas, but I realized that I was dismissing the obvious one: Minutes.

I love using minutes.  They have worked well for me in the past.  The only reason I didn't think of them was because I've used them as a self-discipline tool in the past -- I would pick a specific task I needed to concentrate on above others, and I'd only count the time working on that task.

Well, the self-discipline here is being covered by the deadlines -- so now I can use minutes differently.  I can use them to measure how hard I'm working over all. So every task in the job gets counted, whether I'm working on a blog post or story, or illustrating or doing web work.  (The one thing that doesn't count is "screwing around on the internet" -- even if it's research or "networking" -- because I do too much of that and I need to cut back.)

What I'm debating now is whether I should set a minutes goal or not.  If I do, that could cause me to take my eye off the ball on the main goal: meeting deadlines.  So I think I'm just going to ... record and report minutes spent on the job.

That's really as much as I need to do. This semester, at the day job, is going to be ... interesting.  Actually, it's pretty clear that it is already shaping up to be a major soap opera as directed by John Woo.

(Unfortunately it means no progress bar.  Curses!  I suppose I could just pick an arbitrary number, with no time limit and keep going until I get there....)

This week's progress for A Round of Words in 80 Days:

The first part of the week was marked by ideas sparking in my head.  Especially ideas for blog posts, which I did some rough partial drafts on for finishing and posting this fall.  I also had some epiphanies on my novels -- which are not part of this dare.

I put my finger on one thing that's bugging me about Devil in a Blue Bustle.  I wrote  the beginning of the story while I was still developing Mick and Casey, and there are some ethical matters which need to be handled differently.  Not a lot differently, but it's enough to throw me off.  The other thing is just that, since it started as a shorter story, I feel there is a lack of guest characters you can root for.  I feel like with Have Gun, Will Play, the audience has a relationship with all the characters, good and bad.  With this, I feel the audience has a relationship with the plot. That works for a novella, it doesn't work for a novel.  Part of this is that the roots of the story is far away, so there isn't as much to observe.

Now that I know this, I realize the story will take longer than I hoped, but I also realize it will be a better story.

This Past week's posts:

Coming This Week on the Blog:

Monday - Episode 31 "There Once Was A Man From Michigan"
Thorny vs. Pookiterin

Wednesday - Blogstory Experiment, What I'll Do Differently, Part 2
This week I'll talk about how I'll approach the art and story differently.

Thursday - Episode 32 "The Locked Larder Committee"
Rozinshura takes on the issue of the book, and who owns it.

I have some great plans for the blog starting in September, including several series on things like Impact Characters and issues in Writing the Online Novel, and What We Can Learn From Actors, and Convenience, and Clues.  But I'll talk a little about that on Wednesday.

See you in the funny papers.


Mike Paulson said...

I tend to agree with you that a novel must be about the characters moreso than the plot. For a reader to want to invest his time into a book, he must be able to make some connection with a character, to be able to feel what the character is feeling and sympathize, or better, empathize.

Don't get me wrong, the plot is just as important, because your character's can't change and grow without the right circumstances. I'm glad to hear that you've discovered this problem, and are working actively to fix it.

I'd be willing to bet that your end product will be very good, combining your strong plot with strong characters, and I'm looking forward to getting to see it.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

Good job figuring out what was bugging you about the novel! I'm sure it will be a better story now.

You're doing great on goals--I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Mike and Elizabeth.

The good thing about Mick and Casey is that the story is always far and away about them over anything else. It's just that to carry the longer stories, I have to have more involvement with other characters.