Word count for Friday, striving for the bare minimum

Scrivener (software)
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Yesterday was a long day. Some would argue it was only 24 hours, but I feel different. Anyway, my perception of yesterday has tainted my appreciation of today, so when I hit my minimum word limit according to Scrivener’s goal tracker, I wrote a few notes and called it a day. 551 words, bring us up to 39,701. Tomorrow will be kind of a big deal – I’ll be hitting 40k as I approach my daily target. Technically, I’ve had 40k written in this novel before, back before I cut a character and her POV out of the story. I keep thinking that’s my ace in the hole if I need a good 10k worth of extra words, though at this point that’s neither fair, nor would it really fit in with where the story is at currently.

Anywho, here’s the pretty graphic. Sleep well, kimosabe!

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Scrivener Tip: Focus on the current line

Just a quick tip (so I don’t forget 😉 ) – in full screen (now “Compose”) mode, if you set the paper color to white, then 82% on the grayscale slider (so that is a light grey), and set the current line highlight to white, 100% on the grayscale slider, what you end up with is a focus on the current line, but you can still read the rest of the page. Handy for focussing on the words you’re writing, not the words you’ve written!

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Things I Learned About Writing This Summer, Part 2

Admittedly, I cheated a little on yesterday’s post, but it was one of those days where I was happy to have even a few minutes. If you haven’t voted, please go over and take the poll.

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins
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As promised, here’s part two of things I learned this summer while exploring my writing. Rather than drag this out across multiple posts (as appealing as it is to have that much material, it seems wrong to prolong your agony), I’m going to present it all in this action packed post. So without further ado, here we go!

  • This summer, I learned from Ken Scholes how to guestimate the length of my novel before its actually done. And by working backwards, this has also helped me learn better how to plot my novel. I also learned that Ken is a really nice guy who doesn’t mind paying it forward to the new folks, and I really appreciated it.
  • I’ve learned I have the best friends, without bar. Not to single any of you out, because you’re all awesome, but…I have to do this one. My friend Rebecca has taught me a lot this summer, including how to write for fun again. Rebecca throws caution and zombie guts to the wind and writes like a wild woman, which is really infectious.
  • I’ve started writing for submission again. It sucks. Its horrible, and humiliating, and why can’t anyone in publishing see the genius in my writing? Or at least, that’s the secret, puerile thoughts you have when all you get back are rejections. But this summer I learned that you can’t succeed if you don’t put it out there. The old joke of “you can’t lose the lottery if you don’t play” has finally come back to bite me. So I’m submitting.
  • This was a huge one, so brace yourself. I’ve learned that its ok to have multiple projects. My brain, it turns out, isn’t made for working on one novel until completion. I need breaks, distractions, and to work on other things while my ideas fester. This doesn’t need to mean that I stop writing all together for that to happen, but that I can work on something else while it does. It means going off and writing short stories isn’t an admission of defeat. The important thing is to keep writing.
  • In one of my best stories to date (no matter how much it fails to win editors), I was reminded that sometimes the best plot twists come when you’re working under a deadline and with a lack of sleep, usually in a moment of “well, fine, take that! how would you like that, huh? oh, wait, that’s good…” What does this even mean? Well, in its own circular way, what I’m trying to say is that writing when I’m in the mood and the setting is just right doesn’t mean the writing will be good. Sometimes the best writing comes when you have no time and are doing it because you have to. Which in its own way comes around to writing regularly (something I need to do) no matter how great the moment is for it.
  • In the tool department, I’ve learned some tricks with Scrivener. There are a plethora of mind mapping packages out there, some of them free. Finally playing with one (mindnode, free on the mac), I discovered that if you export it as opml, Scrivener will import it as a complete directory structure. For someone that hates outlining, this is really kind of cool. I haven’t had a chance to play with it too much, but the one story I did this way I was so happy with that earlier in this post I declared it as one of the coolest things I’d written so far. So yeah.
And there you go!  Kind of the nutshell version, but here’s what I’ve learned this summer. This week school starts, and one of the most awesome seasons of the year is about to start.
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