Working out the kinks

With TAO handed over to Catrine, it was time for me to continue onwards with Remnants. Before I could get to writing though, I knew I had to read through what I had, and plot out the rest. Cause the plot itself has changed a little bit since I first wrote most of it in 2015. Luckily, what I want to do will work with what I already have, so no major rewriting needs to be done at this time (later, well, that is another story).

I starter by reading what I had, and taking detailed notes along the way. I needed to have all the information that might come in handy later on, as well as figure out where things didn’t make sense. Good to know where I need to keep a close eye once I start editing the whole thing later on. I also notes down things I needed to research, and just things I should remember for later plotting.

It took me a few days to get through it all, and a few times I had to stop myself from starting the editing job right there. I need to continue writing though, and I know if I start editing now, I won’t be able to stop until I’m done. Considering how long I usually take editing, that won’t be good if I want to finish this book this century. In the end, I ended up with a ton of post-its, thirteen pages of detailed plot notes, and a small stack of other random notes and things to remember or research.

Some of my unsorted notes. Blurred due to paranoia.

I also realised that I have a chapter that’s over 11,000 words long! It took everything I had not to start splitting it into smaller chapters on the stop. There was also a random paragraph where I basically repeated what I had written two paragraphs earlier, but slightly rewritten and littered with spelling errors. Ah, the joys of reading unedited things from a Nanowrimo word war.

Once I had all my notes, I found my cork board (yes, an actual one, not the Scrivener one), and got to work. I like visualising my stories, getting the plot up on the board. Makes it easier for me to see the whole picture. Also, I like to organise stuff, and the cork board can get pretty darn organised if I want it to be! Once I got the plot down on notecards, and pinned to the board, it became apparent that something had to be done about the chapter length on the last two chapters.

The cork board of awesomeness!

With everything I have so far neatly organised, I can see clearly I have my work cut out for me. There are a few things I ned to get done in terms of wordlbuilding, before I can finish plotting the story itself. I have a pretty good idea where I want to end up, but how I get there is still up in the air. So here are some of the things I need to focus on for the next weeks, before I continue writing this in April.

  1. Worldbuilding
    • Planets, systems, ships, drifts, people, tech etc.
    • History; what happened before, how, why.
  2. Outline and plot
    • Get a general outline of what is going to happen
    • Plot the story in details

Two steps. Sounds easy enough. Shouldn’t be a problem at all.

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“Needs working title” has a working title!

Less than a week after I posted my list of awesome 2017 goals, I’ve completed the first of them. Basically, I rule! OK, ok. So it was probably the easiest goal on the list, but that doesn’t mean it was easy.

The thing about the first book in the fantasy series is that for years that is what it’s been called in my head. Even when I decided on a title, I still kept calling it ‘First’ in my head. It’s special to me, the first book I actually really worked on. So it’s been a little hard to reset my brain and come up with a working title that isn’t, well, just the word first. Cause it’s weird, and though it could work, it might also become confusing.

So, the mindset to alter my own reality had to be in place. Once I got there though, it actually wasn’t so hard picking a working title for the book. It was actually easy. I just had to be ready for it.

Without further ado, I give you the working title for the first book in the fantasy series:


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The Awesome List of 2017 Goals

I said this was coming. I meant it. I give you, The Plan! We’re on v.3.0 right now if I’m not mistaken. Some things have changed, some remain the same, and some may not see the light of day in 2017. But somehow I feel more motivated than ever to make all of this happen.

These are my goals for 2017
  1. “Needs working title” : Get a working title for the first book in the fantasy series. Still not ready to share the actual title, but I gotta call it something other that ‘first-book-in-the-fantasy-series’.
  2. “Needs working title” : Get started on the second draft. Ideally I want to finish it, but if I can get at least 60k words done this year, I’ll count it as a win. Mostly due to the heavy amounts of worldbuilding that will need, on top of the editing-slash-rewriting.
  3. Worldbuilding : Get started. You’ll never finish, but get at least three points finished on that night list you made last year. In addition to whatever you need to finish the first draft of course. This is for the fantasy-series by the way. Five books, massive amounts of worldbuilding needed. Gotta start somewhere.
  4. Remnants : Finish the first draft. That includes plotting, worldbuilding, and actual writing.
  5. The Afterlife Occurrence : Fix according to feedback from Catrine, and consider giving it to at least two other test readers to see what else need fixing. Then fix that as well. Query it!
  6. The Legacy Collection : Add another short story to it.
  7. TAO: The Sequel : Plot it, then rewrite what I have so it works with the new story.
  8. Untitled Norwegian project : I want to try writing in Norwegian. I prefer writing in English, which sounds strange I know, but it’s true. So working on this I hope will help me be a better writer in both languages. What I hope to do it plot the story, do some worldbuilding (thinking alternate universe urban fantasy, set in my home town), and complete a complete outline. If I can get the first chapter written as well, I’ll call it a massive win!

As you can see, I’m being realistic, while also keeping in tune with my own long-term plan (which goes to 2020 right now). Not gonna share that though, you’ll just have to stick with me until then if you wanna find out what’s on it.

Only keeping writing goals this yea. I want to do some bookbinding, blog more and find a way to get the dog to stop barking at nothing at 2 am. But I’m not gonna make them goals. Instead, I’m just gonna do it No list, no promise, just action.


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The totally not late 2016 review

Let’s all pretend it’s January 1st for a moment, and I’m about to go over how the past year went. Though, I suppose, the fact that this post comes in mid-February might be a good indication.

Let’s just say things didn’t go according to plan. The v.2.0 plan that is. It was big, it was awesome, it was a hill I simply couldn’t climb. Not everything went horribly wrong though.

First off, let’s review those goals shall we:

  1. TAO: Finish that third draft. All of it!
  2. TAO: “The Sequel”: Plot this out, and finish the first draft. You’ve got a lot of fix, as it went off the deep end last time you Nano-ed it. That whole revolution thing needs to die. Also, decide on a new title, as the new plot ideas don’t work with the old one.
  3. Remnants: Finish the first draft. You’ve got a great start last year, now is the time finish it.
  4. Remnants: Share on Wattpad! Finish the second draft, third draft, and fourth, if that is what it takes to get it to a point where you want to share it with the world. Remember, this is still a writing and editing exercise, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Any feedback, good or bad, will help you become a better writer.
  5. Worldbuilding: Finish the worldbuilding for the fantasy-series, to the point where you have what you need for the first books. You’ll never be completely finished, but get through what you need for the first two books. That includes getting a good grip on geography, history, and the majic systems. And yes, that is how you spell magic in the book. Cause you’re cool!
  6. Second draft of “needs working title”: Get that second draft for the first fantasy book written. Also, get a working title for it. Seriously! Then get through it at least once, mostly for plot and continuity this time. Third draft will be language and even more plot, but the second is where you fix the stuff that’s broken, plot-wise. And remember, it was in the second book you forgot a character for half a Nano, not this one, but there might (definitely will) be inconsistencies hiding in the shrubbery.
  7. Win Nanowrimo: You’ll win Nano again this year. Shoot for 75k, but anything over 50k is acceptable. Consider using TAO: the second, if you can fix the plot issues before November. If you can’t, write something else. Maybe something completely new?
  8. Bookbinding: You love this, but haven’t had much time for it in 2015. So for 2016, get better at it! Make at least one book a month, at least 12 during the year.
  9. Blogging: Blog often, both here and on your book blog. In fact, aim for once a week. You may not manage it, but try. And remember what Yoda says; there is no try. Or spoon for that matter.
  10. Read Catrine’s manuscript: Because you made a deal, and it deserves to be a goal. Also, you like even numbers. You had a specific date set, but you can’t remember what it was, so lets pretend it was February 1st and stick with it. So, read her manuscript by the end of January.

At first glance, 2016 wasn’t a good year for me. I’ve had some health issues (mostly resolved, in the I-got-better way. The what-the-hell-happened is still very much unresolved), during which I couldn’t focus om much of anything. Which sucked, but nothing to be done about that now. With that in mind, and looking at the things I did do, 2016 wasn’t all that bad after all.

First off, I finished the third draft of TAO! One big massive goal right there, smashed to bits. It’s off with Catrine right now, and hopefully once she get’s around to reading it, it will make a lot more sense than it did the first time around.

For TAO: The Sequel, I didn’t get much done. With the exception of picking a title! I don’t wanna share it just yet, in fear it might actually be spoilery. So I’ll need some second opinions on that before I reveal it. It’s a bit of a mouthful though, I can tell you that.

Remnants is still only about halfway done (I think). I ran out of time during Nano, and it’s been a struggle to get started on since then. I’m back into it now, plotting out that world, trying not to let my brain come up with even more stories to tell from that universe, and failing miserably. I have decided I may not want to go the Wattpad route with it after all, and instead focus on traditional publishing. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel about it once it’s finished.

Worldbuilding (what worldbuilding?). Yeah, I suck. I know. I’ll get there though, I promise.

The second draft of Need-Working-Title has not been started. My brain wants more worldbuilding finished, except when I worldbuild my brain remembers there might be good stuff in the first draft that I’ve forgotten, so I need to find that before I can worldbuild. Yeah, it’s a fun little dance I do with my brain. It keeps jumping on my toes. In heels.

As for Nanowrimo last year. I nailed it! Oh yeah! Go me!

I didn’t get any bookbinding done, which is sad. I moved to my new apartment in March last year, and it’s taken me a while to get fully organised. Still not completely where I want to be, but for that to happen I need like four more rooms. I have too much stuff.

You all know I didn’t blog very often. I’ll do better this year, I promise? I’ll at the very least try my best!

Last item on the list was also the one I finished first. Reading Catrine’s first draft of RS. I read it, gave feedback, and am eagerly awaiting the complete next draft!

So, there you have it. 2016 in review. Well, at least the 2016 goals in review. It may not have been my best year, but I did hit some pretty big milestones. I moved into the first apartment that I own, which is awesome. I got my first dog, Moya, whom I love. I finished a second draft of a novel for the very first time, and realised just how badly I want to do this writing thing for a living.

I guess I’ll just have to start working twice as hard to make that happen!

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The light at the end of the tunnel

It’s been forever. Or months anyway. My last post was right as Nanowrimo was about to begin. I had big plans. Finish editing TAO, then write on Remnants. Thing didn’t go completely according to plan. But that’s ok.

Because I finished my third draft of TAO!

It just took a lot more words that I had anticipated, so there wasn’t any time to get started on Remnants. There are a few more things I want to do to the draft before I hand it over to Catrine again in a week. Hopefully at last some of them will get done.

It took me long time to get to this point, a lot longer than I had planned. I’ve come to realise, things seldom go according to plan when it comes to writing. Editing even more so. I still need to plan though. Figure out what I want to do this coming year, and then do my best to get as much of it done as possible.

I’m still working on the plan, version 3.0 at this point I suppose. I’m trying to decide if I want to be realistic, or go all in. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

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Aaaand it’s November again!

It’s October 31st, less than three hours until midnight, when once again thousands of people – myself included – all over the world will start writing like mad to get to 50,000 words by December 1st.

I had intended to finish editing TAO by now, so I could focus on Remnants for Nanowrimo. That didn’t happen. I’ve been dealing with some health issues for the past six weeks, resulting in – among other things – exhaustion. Lots of blood tests and a stomach CT later, and we still don’t know why exactly. Not gonna go into boring details, but it has caused me to spend an entire month editing one chapter.

So for Nanowrimo this year I’m doing something different. I’m starting off editing the rest of TAO. At this point I’m rewriting everything anyway, so it’ll work out perfectly. Once I’m done with that, I’ll continue with Remnants.

Now, at some point I’ll have to sit down and plot out the rest of Remnants in detail, but I’m gonna wait with that until I’m done with TAO, as I don’t want to switch my focus right now.

I have to admit this is the first year I’m seriously worried about not being able to finish. But hey, I did it in 2011 when I handed in my masters thesis on November 21st and had 9 days to write 40k. So I can do it now.

I’ll probably have to plan on writing a lot during the weekends, as I may not have much energy lest over during the week after work and such. Moya will also be requiring attention, but that will be fine as well. If it comes down to it, I’ll do what I’m doing right now. Type in between throwing her toys for her to fetch.

I have a month of hard work ahead of me. And I know it’ll be awesome!

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Deadlines, and why changing them isn’t all bad

I write a lot about deadlines on this blog. Even more about sticking to them no matter what. And then about how I can’t stick to them. I guess sometimes you might think I would get more done if I stopped giving myself deadlines and just wrote at my own pace. There’s a good reason why I’m not doing that though. A really good reason.

If doesn’t work for me.

I did that, for years. And the only times I got anything done was then I met up with my friends to write, or the month happened to be November. Even with write-inns, I usually got less than ten thousand words written in total throughout the year. I’ve managed more than that in a day during November!

So, I give myself deadlines. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Or, they work, just not in time.

What I mean by that is that I work towards the deadlines, more than I would without them, but I don’t always finish by the set date. Through the past year you’ve seen that happened a lot on this blog. I set deadlines, and as they approach, I extend them. But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying. It’s just that a lot of the time, I’m so tired after work that I barely have the energy to walk the dog, let alone walk her, then make myself a nice healthy dinner and then sit down to edit for a few hours.

I’m taking steps to improve my time management, which in turn will hopefully help me get some writing and editing done during the week. I need to figure out a schedule that works for me in the long run. November is the exception, where I drop everything else to write. That won’t work for the rest of the year, not as long as I need to work full-time as well in order to pay the bills.

I’m trying out using a Bullet Journal, and I’ve come to the realisation I need a more realistic goal for my editing. Once that doesn’t require me to do at least two chapters a day on top of working and everything else. I’ve found I need to do a lot of rewriting for TAO (not a big surprise, this was a Nanowrimo novel after all), which takes longer than I’d like. But I’d rather extend my own deadlines and get a third draft that’s starting to look like something, instead of one that still needs massive work cause I wanted to finish faster.

Having talked it over with Catrine, we’ve got two new dates to work towards.

October 2nd : We’re gonna try to finish by the end of September. It gives us more time to plan the Nanowrimo novel and get ready for the November Madness.

October 16th : What we’re calling the absolute deadline. We’ll hand it over no matter what. This will give us 2 weeks to read the other’s book and give feedback, as well as plan for November. This will be like the December deadline last year. We’ll hand it over no matter what. Because at some point we really need to just do it, instead of extending it any more.

This gives me four to six weeks to finish. Now all I need is a plan that incorporates reading, relaxing, editing, and working. And then I need to stick to it!

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Rewarding yourself

It’s no secret I struggle with editing. I have so much fun writing the story, and have so many stories I want to tell, that I struggle with focusing on just one. I also know that if I am ever to achieve my dream of publishing my stories, I need to find a way to work editing into my writing routine.

It might help if I had a proper writing routine to begin with, but let’s ignore that for a second.

Because this post isn’t about that. It’s about me figuring out what might actually work when it comes to making myself sit my ass down and start editing. It’s all about rewarding yourself.

Not exactly blowing any minds here, I know, but it works. I’ve tried in the past with chocolate or other types of unhealthy food, but that doesn’t really work for me. Mostly cause eat those things anyway.

But today I thought of something that so far seems to be working. I took other things I like to do, besides writing, and told myself I couldn’t do those things unless I edited. What did I choose? Reading and TV of course!

  1. For every one chapter I edit, I’m allowed to read one chapter in the book I’m currently reading. Right now this is Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb. My second reading of a book I loved beyond words the first time around. I really want to start this and not put it down until I finish, but with my new rules I’m not allowed.
  2. For every one chapter I edit, I’m allowed to watch one episode of a TV show. So, no TV unless I edit! It’s gonna be hard to stick to, but I know I can do it.
  3. If I want to watch a movie instead of a TV series, It’s two chapters per one movie (three chapters for any LotR or Hobbit movie, since I only watch the extended versions)

With rewards like these, I should be able to finish editing TAO by the deadline. Cause I know I want to finish Fool’s Errand and also start on the new Harry Potter that arrived today!

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‘The Answer at the X’ is now complete on Wattpad

I’ve posted the final parts of The Answer at the X to Wattpad, and with that, the story is complete. I’ll probably go back through it for spelling errors and such in a few days, once my eyes actually work well enough to find them all. Right now it’s too fresh in my head for my brain to register the mistakes.

I also updated the Legacy Collection project page with the story information. I’ve got a few more ideas for stuff to add to that world, but it’ll have to wait. I have a book to edit first.

And with that, I’ll take a day to reset my brain, before I dig up the TAO files on the laptop, and get started on the third draft for real.

I can totes do this!

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That feeling when you accomplish something

I did it! I finished The Answer at the X! As it ended up being four more parts instead of two, I’m posting two parts today, and the remaining this coming week. I feels good finally having it finished, finally getting it out of my head. It’s been sitting in there for too long, taking up creative space I need for other things.

It’s a great feeling though, to know I actually managed to accomplish something I set my mind to, and in only a week as well. Because it’s been a week since I decided it needed to be done today.

Now I’m gonna rest for the night, and tomorrow, get cracking on editing TAO. It’s next on the list, and I need to try to stick to the list this time around, instead of getting sidetracked by other projects.

(So obviously, in about a day or so I’ll start on something completely new, probably)

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