Novel Progress Report: Week of February 6, 2017

To hold myself accountable for finishing my novel revision, I’m beginning a weekly log of progress made and time worked on my novel, The Second Rebellion.

I spent the winter restructuring the novel with a focus on strengthening character motivation and removing unnecessary subplots. I am now implementing the structural changes that I planned. Unfortunately for me, this involves a lot of new writing as well as integrating substantial new writing with already-written scenes. I find it especially slow going to merge existing text with new material.

Writing Stats for February 6-12, 2017

  • Starting word count: 129,679
  • End word count: 133,486
  • Words written: 3,807
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 10 hours 20 minutes
  • Paper hours (estimate): 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Scenes written: 2.5

status updates for the week

  • Chapter 1: first draft in progress
  • Chapter 4: first draft complete

What I Worked On

This week, I worked on writing new material for Chapters 1 and 4. I completed the two scenes in Chapter 4, which incorporated some already-written material from several other scenes, and half of the new scene in Chapter 1.

I also did some revision of the new text in Chapter 4, which I usually won’t let myself do. Since it’s the first chapter from my fourth POV character, I wanted to nail his emotions and goals. I workshopped the first sentence a good bit. The chapter’s probably exposition-heavy, but I’m going to let my beta readers tell me what they think.

To help me write the fourth chapter, I needed to refine some of my worldbuilding. Researching the Irish Republican Army helped me put a better shape to my resistance movement’s strategy.

Writing Process

I’m experimenting with Rachel Aaron’s technique described in 2k to 10k: outlining what happens in each scene before writing it. The goal is to avoid needing to make decisions while drafting text, allowing me to write faster and less painfully. For this scene-level outlining, I’m working on paper and transcribing to Scrivener later. I find working on paper activates a different part of my brain, and prefer to brainstorm on paper.

I started the week by outlining the new scenes for Chapter 4. As I began writing the first scene, I discovered that I hadn’t delved deep enough into a beat-by-beat outline. Fortunately, I did a better job outlining the emotional and action beats in the second scene. Going forward, I have a better feel for the level of detail I need to think through, to actually make the hard decisions about what happens, and how, before writing it.

Writing Practice

My most productive writing time is at my local coffee shop, so I’ve added a weekly writing session there, an hour or two after work. I also tried to simulate the coffee shop setting at home by working on my laptop at my dining table, wearing my headphones, instead of on my desktop computer. I accomplished a lot that day, so I’ll give it another go. I just wish my dining chairs were more comfortable ;)

Work Plan for Next Week

  • Finish writing first draft of Chapter 1
  • Finish writing first draft of Chapter 3
  • Decide whether to split Chapter 3 in two
  • Outline Chapter 5

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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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