Tag: shapes

Drafting Again

I’m starting the second draft of Shapes of Chance today.

The outline is not as fully-formed as I would like, but all of the structural issues that I had with the story have been resolved. To be honest, I am starting today more because it’s the beginning of a new month than because it’s the right day to start, but sometimes you just have to begin.

My goals for this draft are to finish in two months. I am not setting daily word count goals, because I will be reusing some of the existing text. I will measure progress by counting scenes completed. I don’t know how many scenes there are in total, though – this is one of the things unresolved in the outline, as is the reintegration of the outline text with the first draft text.

One last unresolved issue is where I am going to work on this draft. Scrivener is of course my tool of choice for drafting in, but the detailed outline work has all been in vim. I am not completely clear how beat to shift back to Scrivener, or whether I actually should at all.

I will figure that out today, though. Onward!

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Outline Progress

It was with great joy and not a little tiredness that I completed the detailed outline for Shapes last night. That is why I didn’t post anything on the blog yesterday – I was writing the last few summary sentences for the novel.

There’s good and bad about this detailed outline process:

  1. good: it gives you an intimate knowledge of the story and its current state.
  2. good: it brings forward lots of ideas to improve the story.
  3. bad: it takes a long time. I started this outline at the beginning of the year, so it’s taken me almost eight weeks for a 100k manuscript. There again, I do now have a 30k outline.

Having completed that significant effort, what’s next?

My plan for the year was to pick up Song for a bit, to review that second draft and fix it up for publication, but having built the car I want to take it for a spin.

So the new plan is to work with the outline to make Shapes into a better story. There’s a handful of things I need to do and lots of ideas for things I want to try out. These include:

  • fixing timing issues
  • who knows what when
  • tweaking the initial conditions
  • making the antagonists more consistent in their behavior
  • defining the protagonist’s abilities a bit better
  • fiddling with the plot to improve the pacing
  • completing the closing scenes (because the fourth act was truncated which lost a lot of the character motivation information)

I am expecting to work on this outline until it’s done, then take a break from it before writing the second draft. We’ll see whether the car holds up.

How are your writing efforts going? Do you use outlines?

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Shaping in 2015

My 2013 NaNovel Shapes of Chance is my Other Book at the moment – it’s not as high priority as Song because I don’t think it’s as close to being publishable, but it is interesting and worth pursuing. Basically, it’s what I am going to work on when Song is resting.

With that, here is my 2015 plan for Shapes.

  1. complete detailed outline – made a good start on this, but need to finish the other 84% of it.
  2. play with some ideas – try out the things that I want to try out on the outline. I’ll write more about those ideas at the time, perhaps.
  3. complete outline – the end especially is incomplete, with the rush to finish in November hacking out large chunks of story that are actually needed, but there’s a few spots where the story is a bit off.
  4. second draft – make existing material match outline; add new material

I’m expecting to get to the point where I am ready to write the second draft rather than to have completed it, but we’ll see how things go there.

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Shapes of Chance – The Plan

I have been reading Shapes of Chance, my 2013 NaNovel, and rather enjoying it.

What I have done with these read-throughs in the past has been to read through the paper copy making notes on all elements of it. However, this time I am reading the book as a book without a pen in hand – on my Kindle, in fact – which means I am getting a more subjective sense of how the story flows. I am about a quarter of the way through and it’s flowing quite well so far.

What I wanted to write down was a plan. I am still working on drafting Song, and I still see that as the most likely story to be completed this year, but it is good to have two stories in hand which have some narrative drive.

With that, I need to have a plan for Shapes:

  1. finish reading of draft – two phase process, once for readability and once for errors.
  2. apply corrections from draft read
  3. give it to my wife to read
  4. restructure outline – found some changes in the draft from the original outline
  5. second draft – make existing material match outline; add new material

That’s probably all that’s manageable this year. If I happen to burn through all of this then I will add more.

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