I have been writing! Honest!

Okay, so in the chaos surrounding christmas and the holiday season I forgot to update the blog, but I did write. I kept meaning to post a humungous, multi-week update, but the thing about humungous, multi-week updates is they are not motivating things to think about. So I’ll just post my Scrivener targets window from the 4th.

Magocracy 2nd draft targets: 1,952 of 2,500 words session target; 25,189 of 100,000 words draft target

Not bad, nearly a full 2k. Unfortunately that was yesterday – so far today I’ve done nothing. Might do some tonight, but I’ve been trying to get away from late night writing, and I find it upsets my sleep patterns. Can’t write before ten pm for some reason, and after staring at a backlit screen I tend to end up sleeping poorly, and then not getting up early enough to write the next morning, and so it continues. Which is frustrating, because I find my early morning writing is my best.

So I’ll probably end up taking a day off today, something I normally discourage myself from doing. Hopefully the motivation to get up and do some writing will return tomorrow, as I’ve an interesting chapter coming up.

Three days!

Magocracy draft 2 wordcount for 20th December 2008 - 149 words

Saturday was a bit blah. I didn’t get anything done in the morning unfortunately, and in the evening I just didn’t feel like it, so I ended up producing less than a hundred and fifty words :(. It seems that if I’m physically tired I find it difficult to get into the right mental state for writing, especially if I’ve been consuming media all day.

Magocracy draft 2 wordcount for 21st December 2008 - 1,731 words

Sunday on the other hand was much better – I produced a good few thousand words before lunch. Unfortunately, even though this was a day off, I didn’t end up filling my session count. The reason for this is an old annoyance of mine – if I finish a chapter I find it difficult to start another one in the same session. In this session I completed chapter three, making it difficult for me to start chapter four immediately.

Magocracy draft 2 wordcount for 22nd December 2008 - 2,634 words

Today was much better, since because I was starting fresh I was able to start and finish a chapter in one session. The chapter is slightly overweight, but not as much as some of the earlier chapters (which I’ll probably have to trim at some point to keep the pace up).

One thing I’ve noticed as a difference between this draft and the previous one – the tone is much more consistent, and much darker. the first draft had a lot more comedy – certainly not a bad thing, but the book feels like it should have a much darker tone.

An area in which I’ve noticed this is the antagonists* – they are far more brutal in this draft than the previous one, the violence has really gone up a notch.

So yeah, a bad day and two good days. Lets see what chapter five brings us, shall we?

*I don’t like calling them bad guys, because I like grey areas in my fiction. Sets up more questions in the reader’s head, which is something I like doing


Magocracy 2nd draft targets: 1,053 of 2,500 words session target; 8,041 of 100,000 words draft target

Okay again – 1k is a nice building block, and I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouse – but still not all that satisfactory. I’ve been self sabotaging a lot lately and relying on my late night sessions far more than I’d like I’d really like to have a nice full hour in the mornings in which to get some stuff done, but I’ve been overlseeping instead and getting up with precious little time in which to get ready for work.

Unfortunately, as I work in the service industry, I’m still having to give up Saturdays – so no session this morning due to oversleeping, and now I have to do some more tonight. Hopefully tomorrow morning will yield better results.

Tomorrow’s post will probably be a dual-update one. Hopefully, anyway.

Two okay days

Magocracy second draft updates for 17-12-08

So I got a thousand words done on the morning of the 17th of December. An okay session – I’ve had some trouble with oversleeping lately however, and a side of me wonders if it might be a little self sabotage.


Magocracy second draft updates for 18-12-08

And another thousand down today. This is a little different, as I didn’t do a morning session – I didn’t have time due to overlseeping. Instead I wrote about three hundred words at 4pm and another seven hundred in the evening after 10pm – these seem to be my auxiliary prose writing times, which is interesting.

And we’re back!

Hooray! There was some brief downtime today when I tried to update this blog via Fantastico to WP 2.6.5. This was caused by the fact that I monkeyed around with it a while ago and moved all my blogs here there and everywhere (Daily Flash Fiction used to be on the root at this server, but then I moved this one here and all the databases are back to front). We appear to be functioning normally now, however. So yay.

Two days of updates!

15th December 2008:

Magocracy draft 2 wordcount for 15th December 2008

So yeah, I forgot to take pictures before closing the window the first time, and so lost my session progress. It was at a thousand words when I finished, though: look I have proof and everything!

Magocracy word count for 15-12-08, image 2

That’s from a fresh chapter.

Unfortunately I forgot to make the blog post when I got home. But here’s a fresh one, up to date from this morning:

Magocracy word count for 16-12-08

Except this time Scrivener actually crashed on me halfway through – I think it may be something to do with using the ‘Append selection to document’ command and then trying to expand binder items while the command’s still running. Oh well, thanks to Scivener’s handy-dandy autosave I only lost the appended text, not the original stuff I had written.

Anyway, I’d written about three hundred words and thirty before the crash, and I’ve edited the session target to account for this. It’s still not a great result though – about 600 words probably all told, which is well below my normal requirement. My daily wordcounts have been going down quite markedly of late, as has my self discipline – I think it has something to do with starting a project, especially since it’s a second draft, so I’m rewriting a lot of stuff I’ve already written (though with enough changes to warrant a rewrite instead of a straight copy-paste). Oh well.


Magocracy progress for 14th December 2008 - 3,337 of 100,000 wordsActually, not really, since I started on this back on Friday. But this is the first decent full session I’ve had on the novel, so hooray!

Magocracy is a fantasy thriller. It will involve several explosions and lots of people running away from other, more shadowy looking people. I’ve already written a first draft, but I’m blogging the second draft progress. You should see updates on this blog every day. If you do not, kindly kick me in the balls in the comments.

Progress is below, via the absolutely wonderful Scrivener Targets window.

Assorted stuff and nonsense

I read Robert McKee’s book Story very recently, and have been playing around with the stuff he talks about. It’s a very mechanistic view of writing and the nature of story, and it’s primarily aimed at script writers, causing the prose novelist in me to scoff and say that’s fine for a screenplay because it’s a mechanistic art, versus the more artsy fartsy internal nature of prose.

Which of course is utter bollocks. But still, his view of the importance of outlining and setting up value charges in each scene robs the art of romance for me, so historically I’ve resisted it and gone for the method Stephen King outlines in On Writing – look at it as though you were a paleontologist unearthing a dinosaur, you dig in and find the spirit of the story. These two forces in my head battle constantly, my left brain wanting the clarity of an outline and my right brain wanting the spirit and romance of the more adventurous seat-of-the-pants approach.

So I’ve settled on more of a hybrid approach with the latest story. It’s to be a sequel to Kidnap over Dyra!, but this time I’ve written it straight as I did with Kidnap, before breaking the first draft down into scenes on 3×5 cards, throwing some scenes out and dropping others in, and eventually winding up with a full outline running to about a thousand words – the story itself will probably run at around four and a half thousand, and the thing will end up on Lulu just like Kidnap.

On Lulu, but not only there. I’m going to do a full rebrand of Daily Flash Fiction, primarily because it’s an awful name that sets up all kinds of false expectations in readers (specifically that it’ll be daily). I still don’t know what to call it, and the old domain will still go there, but instead it’ll be a base for serial fiction as well, sort of like Mike Stackpole’s serial fiction experiments. And the old Flash fiction will stay up there as well, possibly with an explanation.

On not-writingy-stuff news, I’m learning PHP in the hopes of being able to get a better day job, and I’ll probably play around with category-specific templates to separate the stuff in more of a clean manner.

links for 2008-09-07

links for 2008-08-25