Novel Progress Report: Week of February 27, 2017

Writing Stats for February 27 – March 5, 2017

  • Starting word count: 136,166
  • End word count: 137,986
  • Net new words written: 1,820 (half of it outline)
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Outlining (estimate): 5 hours
  • Editing (estimate): 1 hour

status updates for the week

  • Reversed order of Chapter 2 and Chapter 6
  • Chapter 6 (now chapter 2): roughly outlined, first scene 80% written / pieced together
  • Chapter 41: edited on paper, needs to be typed in
  • Chapter 5: no progress made

Writing Process

I outlined Chapter 6 beautifully — and then realized that the character’s motivations and attitudes weren’t working for the way I had the chapter set up. I wrote out four different ways that this POV character’s first three chapters could go, selected one and outlined it halfway in more detail, decided it still wasn’t working and picked a different option. Finally I roughly outlined that version, thinking I’d pull snippets of detailed outline from the other two versions, but that’s been a PITA. Even though it’s redoing the work, next time I should copy over the exact sections I want to use, not just circle them.

Re-reading Chapter 41, the first chapter really building up towards the climax, I realized that the pacing is off and the writing is not as good as I remembered. I did some cleanup on paper but I’ll need to adjust the pacing on the computer. I’ll also need to fix some fight-related issues that arose thanks to some helpful articles on How to Fight Write and chatting with some prior service friends.

I did like giving myself a way to switch things up from writing with some paper editing, so I’m including a completed chapter to edit in this week’s work plan as well.

Writing Practice

I’ve discovered that I don’t seem to get anything done on Sundays. Really, not housework, not writing, I’m not even sure what I do most Sundays besides my standing lunch date with my partner. I hadn’t gotten much writing in this week, so this afternoon I headed to the coffee shop for several hours. Getting out of the house is so important for my productivity.

“Not-Writing”

Even when I’m not actively writing or outlining, I’m often pondering issues with my book. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about representation, because I’m a cis straight white girl with no physical or mental disabilities. This story has a diverse cast and I really want to get it right. I have learned a ton over the past few years, especially thanks to Writing with Color, but know I still have much to learn.

One of my POV characters is a double ATK amputee, and I spent a few more hours this week watching YouTube videos by and about amputees and prostheses. I did some research earlier in the writing process, but I’ve been feeling the need to learn more so I can accurately reflect her experience in her narration. I also found a list of words that have ableist connotations that I’m adding to my long-term revision checklist to make sure I don’t accidentally use any hurtful language.

I’ve been revisiting my naming conventions, which are one of my cues to the reader that even the bit characters are not all white. Over the writing process, I’ve changed the names of several characters for various reasons, one of which is to better reflect their cultural heritage, but I’ve hung on to the made-up sci-fi name I gave one of my POV characters. She’s of Pakistani descent, and I originally thought that her last name and physical description would be cue enough — but as I’ve considered it more, I don’t want to detract from her representation by clinging to a name that I like but doesn’t reflect her heritage. I’ve picked out a few names from Pakistan that sound similar to the name I invented, but haven’t yet chosen which she will become. At this point I’m going to finish writing the story with her current name and do a replace-all when I’m done. I can’t get more attached to the name than I already am ;)

Work Plan for Next Week

  • Finish writing Chapter 5 (~1000 words)
  • Finish writing Chapter 2 – outline as needed (~1500-2000 words)
  • Enter Chapter 41 edits
  • Revise Chapter 42

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About Tracy Durnell

Seattle-area graphic designer and SFF writer inspired by the Pacific Northwest, crafting a sustainable and intentional life.

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