Novel Progress Report: Week of February 13, 2017

Writing Stats for February 13-19, 2017

  • Starting word count: 131,446
  • End word count: 133,459
  • Net new words written: 2,013
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 7 hours 30 minutes

status updates for the week

  • Chapter 3: divided into two (now chapters 1 and 5)
  • New chapter 1: first draft complete
  • Old chapter 1 (now chapter 2): 90% complete
  • Chapter 7: revised first draft

What I Worked On

What started as Chapter 3 turned into 3800 words only halfway done, so I decided to split the chapter in two. I’d been considering the change anyway since this chapter introduces my chief POV character, and I was concerned about waiting until the third chapter to bring her in.

I couldn’t bring myself to face writing an entirely new scene, so I revised Chapter 7 instead to match some of the decisions I made in the earlier chapters.

Chapter 2 is killing me. I didn’t outline this chapter and it’s been especially painful to write. I pieced together and polished up the three blocks of text I’d already written, but I still need to write a brief wrap-up to call the chapter done.

Several times this week, I wrote something and then deleted it the next day for being unnecessary. My word count is already so high, I can’t afford to waste any words. Still, it can be a little frustrating. I just have to remind myself that the more I do of this, the better I’ll get at knowing what not to bother writing before I write it instead of catching it on the read-through.

Work Plan for Next Week

  • Finish writing Chapter 2
  • Write Chapter 5
  • Outline Chapter 6

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

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Writing a Novel: Progress Report for The Second Rebellion

mock cover for The Second Rebellion

Mock minimalist cover for The Second Rebellion. A real cover would have lots of space ships or maybe a woman soldier carrying a very sci-fi-looking gun.

The Second Rebellion (working title) is the fifth novel I’ve written, and I’m determined that it will be the first novel that I revise and attempt to publish. My first four novel attempts vary in length and complexity — my first attempt, in high school, maxed out just over 30,000 words, and my most recent, set aside in 2014 so I could start The Second Rebellion, is just under 160,000 words. As I’ve become more serious about my writing, my storytelling skills have improved markedly, and I continue to work to strengthen my craft.

Always striving to improve my practice and increase my productivity, I recently read Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin and realized that I produce best when I have external accountability. I attend a writer’s group several times a week, but that hasn’t been enough to make me maintain forward progress. I experimented several years ago with accountability partners, but the format we chose didn’t work — I’d be game to try again, with the right person. I love deadlines at work, but setting deadlines for myself wasn’t sufficient.

To hold myself accountable, I’ve created this record of my writing process for The Second Rebellion, and will post weekly status updates of my revision progress. I hope this record will be useful for other writers (and myself for future books), and entertaining if I do manage to sell The Second Rebellion.

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2016 Writing Self-Critique: Leveling Up My Craft, Process and Production

I’m at the stage in my writing where my expectations for myself are higher than my abilities, and I’m working hard to improve my writing quality and output to catch up. Awareness is the first step to improvement, so I believe it’s worthwhile to complete a writing self-critique. I looked for patterns of challenge areas in my writing craft, process, and production to identify ways I can improve. In 2015 I completed a self-evaluation of my writing to get a snapshot of my writing abilities, but I’ve learned a lot in the past year and my challenge areas have changed.


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Creative Bucket List

A lot of people have lists of things they’d like to do before they die; I have a list of things I’d like to make.

As part of my annual review process this year, for personal accountability that I’m actually working towards my creative goals, I’m publishing my creative bucket list with status updates. I’ll plan to come back and update this post in the future, at least annually.

My creative bucket list includes writing and illustration, my current creative foci. In my day job as a graphic designer, I need to ship my work regularly. Many of my creative goals involve shipping projects, not just completing them. To me, sharing the work is an essential aspect of completing it. In 2016, I selected three guiding philosophies for myself: sharing was one of them. I’m sharing this list in that spirit. I understand that the final step of getting a novel published or selling a short story is out of my control — but I can write the best novel or short story I’m capable of to improve my odds.

What’s on your creative bucket list?

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