3:23 AM. Finished Lesson 11

No fiction.

Lesson 11 is about revising the novel to make it the length it needs to be. The lesson was a bit long.

I’m squeaking toward feeling better, but deadlines for HTRYN are carved in stone.

So. Tomorrow I hope to have time for fiction.

How did your story go?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

46 comments… add one
  • Danielle Jan 25, 2010 @ 0:10

    No word count, but important organizing/background/planning work going on tonight. Came up with an awesomely badass spreadsheet in which I can organise all pertinent info in one sheet for each story. Have several scenes planned out for the immediate future of my story.

    Much happiness.

  • Kait Nolan Jan 24, 2010 @ 22:30

    Been chugging along this week. About 3,000 words. I’m officially on the last chapter of this novella. Very excited about nearing “The end”.

  • DasteRoad Jan 24, 2010 @ 18:35

    How are you feeling, Holly? I hope you’re recovering from your illness. We haven’t heard from you in a couple of days.

    • Holly Lisle Jan 25, 2010 @ 1:10

      Meh. I’m back. I’m slowly, slowly kicking this crud. Apparently there are folks who have been sick for several weeks out there. It’s looking like I’m going to be one of them.

      But I am better. Thank you for asking.

      • Danzier Jan 25, 2010 @ 14:53

        Wishing you well and chicken soup, Holly!

  • Dixie Jan 24, 2010 @ 13:42

    Jan 23 1484 words. Writing a story about a man who is just coming into his paranormal powers and trying to handle them and life.

  • Deb1789 Jan 24, 2010 @ 4:31

    411 words.
    It’s not much, but I’m happy with it since I started writing late. I could push for more, but I won’t be sleeping tonight if I do. 😀

  • Gabby Jan 23, 2010 @ 11:27

    704 words, setting the stage. Much happier with new version as I now wish I could go there too rather than wishing I didn’t have to bother describing it. 🙂

  • Greg Jan 23, 2010 @ 3:53

    Friday:
    KavI: 1038 – had to up my words to get it finished by my self-imposed deadline.
    D&DII: 818
    RFW: 1236
    And a couple of thousand words on OFL revision.

  • Danzier Jan 22, 2010 @ 19:10

    *speak. I can’t spell today either.

  • Danzier Jan 22, 2010 @ 18:37

    *Gives Violet real applause*

    I’m stuck. My main character is just chasing his tail, so to speek. I can’t get him out of the dang woods…something is not right, and I can’t seem to figure out what. So: his town’s just been taken over by the bad guys; his mentor who’s a doctor has just been killed–by MC’s former slave master, who was aiming for MC; MC escaped through a secret tunnel from the university library out into the woods. Then he climbs a tree, spends the night there trying to deal with his emotions, and then goes hunting. I need him to get to the remains of the army which is trying to regroup.

    Suggestions welcome at this point. =:O 😀

    • Gabby Jan 22, 2010 @ 22:08

      I’ve faced this too. Are you sure you know what happens next? I mean the little step next. I find the best thing is to stop and focus on brainstorming exactly what I want to have happen next. Another thing I do is open blank writing doc and just write starter lines…

      ~MC goes to store and sees the cereal and it reminds him of the killer
      ~remember to mention putting on the red socks
      ~MC should realize suddenly that the killer was the flower delivery guy.

      And I always put reminder notes to myself
      ~Can’t rewrite an empty page
      ~Just write… I’ll take out all the crap later… I promise.
      etc.. etc..

      This always helps me. As long as I’ve done my brainstorming before I try to write the scene, it gets my mind focused on the little scene and helps take the pressure off. Sometimes I just have to start in the middle of the scene and work backwards and that helps too.

      If you have your character hunt, think about having something happen that moves the story forward while he’s out there. Possibly he meets other hunters out there and they join up and form a raiding party… something like that. Or I would just go back (as painful as that is) and decide how you want your character to deal with losing his mentor and with the enemy in his town. and then write it.

      As a reader I tend to get impatient if I have to wait around for a character to decide and sometimes I think the writer just isn’t sure what to do next. So I always try to do my thinking off the story page (or just promise myself to cut out the boring part later).

      I hope that helps. I am in a brainstorming phase myself… I seem to be there a lot lately… 😉 Good luck.

    • Phil Jan 22, 2010 @ 23:45

      When I get stuck, I do what Holly suggests — I ask questions. Like: What is MC afraid of most? She has many others but I can’t put my hands on them right now. Anyway, that my 2 cents.

      Take care.

      • DasteRoad Jan 24, 2010 @ 18:42

        I second Phil’s tip of asking questions, something Holly often stresses upon. I’ve found from my own experience that I was often stuck because I wasn’t asking the “right” questions. For the record, “what happens next?” is not exactly a right question. Questions like “what happens next that is *important*, crucial, that changes everything? What goes wrong? What previous problem changes or is solved? What new problems arise?” – usually are a lot more helpful.

    • Dixie Jan 24, 2010 @ 13:46

      I always think; what’s the most uncomfortable thing that could happen to our hero (boil them in oil…). Have him find an unlikely alliance. One he detests. someone who has ultimately 180 degree goal from him but if they work together, they might both just actually survive. Someone from the opposition who has been ousted and is just dripping with revenge. MC doesn’t want any part of it but needs this powerful evil dude or dudette to gather the army. just blathering hope it sparks your idea! dix

      • Danzier Jan 25, 2010 @ 14:47

        0 words; 1 revelation.

        Thank you all for the suggestions! I ran through all of them and little things started clicking, but it wasn’t until I sat down in a fit and just wrote “WHY?” after every sentance that I found the problem. It wasn’t my main character!

        It was his mentor, whose final wish was to have MC go tell the mentor’s people what had happened. That was bad advice–mentor is half mad scientist and had performed an illegal but lifesaving operation on MC. Mentor’s “people” are a medical organization who would probably shoot MC on sight. MC needs to go elsewhere, and I guess he was just hiding in the woods till I figured that out. 😀

  • Violet Jan 22, 2010 @ 18:06

    I’ve been lurking for a while – decided I’d actually comment for once. 😛

    An idea has been hammering away at my concentration for a whle now, and the jury’s still out on the history behind the story, but I’ve got breaking news here: I actually know what the characters are doing!

    *acknowledges imagined applause*

    • DasteRoad Jan 22, 2010 @ 19:37

      *cheers for Violet*

      You know what’s creepy? That you have the same name of the main character for an old, wrecked and abandoned (at least for now, until I understand what I want to do with it) huge fantasy project of mine.

      Yes, I realize that Violet’s just a normal name, maybe just not very common, but still. Being used to only seeing it in the context of my old novels… it weirds me out a little bit.

      • Dixie Jan 24, 2010 @ 13:47

        I find I’ve been naming my characters after my high school students. talk about creepy. I didn’t even realize until another teacher pointed it out.

  • Greg Jan 22, 2010 @ 4:15

    Thursday’s words:
    KavI: 1014
    D&DII: 782
    RFW: 1219
    And I got through revision of another couple of thousand words on OFL. It’s going to end up quite a bit shorter!

  • Deb1789 Jan 22, 2010 @ 2:30

    I have been writing. . .I’ve just been having trouble getting online to post.
    So, from my last post to now over 4000 words, plus another 800+ tonight.
    The Outline is really helping, I’m glad I finally decided to give it a try. 🙂

  • Lisa R Jan 21, 2010 @ 16:02

    I haven’t been writing, but I have been reading my novel for the class, one chapter a night. If I keep to this schedule, I may get done by 2020:-) Uff da!!!

  • Jim C Jan 21, 2010 @ 13:38

    Holly, you’ve gotten me off my duff and writing again. Thanks.

    841 words of beginning and ending, plus some research and the start of a map.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • Writing Nerd Jan 21, 2010 @ 13:00

    hi everyone.

    well now that my truck is up and going again, im back at school. unfortunately, that means im tired and yawning all the time. and im not making as much progress as i was over the break, but i am still progressing ~500 words a day and 1000 or more words on the weekends. still on the culture clinic but nearing the end and ive got to say ive learned A LOT about this story. stuff that makes it better and more exciting. stuff that surprises me. im really glad i did this even tho sometimes i feel like starting on the story itself. but i need to figure out what this story is, who these people are, etc. or it’ll be another dead end. also, i found that one good way to stay awake during those dull classes is to just open up scrivener and work on this. it beats sleeping through it and wasting valuable time. ive also been reading memoirs of a geisha and its really good. as a novel and its giving me lots of ideas for my next book, which involves a culture kind of like the one in this book. happy writing everyone and feel better Holly! 🙂

  • Greg Jan 21, 2010 @ 4:06

    More invigilation on Weds, so words for RFW only: 1246.
    And a bit of revision on OFL.

  • The Pencil Neck Jan 21, 2010 @ 2:43

    237 words.

    The real maintenance worker wants to know who the Crewman is and who told him to do what he was doing. The Crewman asked the man to take a look at the work he had done over by the shaft. When the man leans over, the Crewman slams the man’s head into the wall. Then stuffs the man’s body into the shaft so that his legs jut out and puts some tools on the deck around the man. Then the Crewman finishes what he was doing. He sends a message that he’s done and he’s on his way.

    Finished up the last assignment for another writing class I’m taking. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start devoting more time to the WIP soon. But I’ve also got to finish putting together my first draft of my HTRYN novel. The version I had electronically doesn’t match my hard copy version. So, I need to go through and make sure I’ve got the right versions of everything. Then I have to read the damned thing. Then I have to start going through the process on it.

    • The Pencil Neck Jan 22, 2010 @ 2:25

      475 words.

      The Princess tries to deny that she’s the Princess. But the guy knows it’s her and he tries to blackmail her into having sex with him. She knocks him in the head with her little black purse. Which hurts. Because there’s a gun inside. She pulls it out and orders him to give her his id and passwords. Then she orders him to take off all his clothes.

  • Danzier Jan 20, 2010 @ 23:37

    Hi, everyone!
    Having keyboard issues–the kind where the spacebar and half the keys don’t work. So I got one really, really long word, which will probably be about a hundred when I fix it. I decided to follow the moose hunt for now, and the scene will probably end up cut, but wrong words are better than no words in this case… I’m talking myself out of starting a whole new story from scratch; one project at a time.

    “I’m squeaking toward feeling better, but deadlines for HTRYN are carved in stone.” …Holly, I applaud your perseverance. Just, please don’t kill yourself. 😀

  • Rick Jan 20, 2010 @ 10:52

    “Lesson 11 is about revising the novel to make it the length it needs to be. The lesson was a bit long.”

    Oh, irony.

    Hope you feel better, Holly. I’ve just gotten over my own nasty bug and it was dramatically un-fun.

    • Danielle Jan 25, 2010 @ 0:09

      Glad I’m not the only one who saw the humour there! 🙂

  • DasteRoad Jan 20, 2010 @ 9:18

    I have a little curiosity, Holly. I know “red herrings” are misleading clues planted for the reader and/or the characters, if I took it right. Do you have a name, or do you know if it exists, for those situations where the characters brush something off as unimportant, yet the reader “knows” there’s much more to it?

    • Jessica Jan 20, 2010 @ 9:37

      Dramatic irony? The example I found is from Shakespeare when the audience knows Juliet is alive but Romeo thinks she’s dead and kills himself.

      • DasteRoad Jan 20, 2010 @ 12:11

        It’s not always ironic, though in Romeo and Juliet’s case is a really cruel irony.

        In my case, something happens to MC, that twice shrugs it off with the most obvious explanation. The first time is a little weird, the second time is weirder. Though my MC chooses the most mundane explanation, since I, as the writer, am stressing this thing by giving it some screen time, the reader is supposed to suspect that there’s more to it than my MC thinks, and start guessing possible explanations.

        I suppose the Romeo & Juliet example could fit since it’s still a case of a MC misinterpreting a scenario – even if Romeo does all but shrugging stuff off, the poor guy. The difference from “common” clue-giving is that the reader sees the clue but not the MC (for now, at least). I wondered if there was a simple and concise way to call this situation.

    • Holly Lisle Jan 25, 2010 @ 1:06

      I call ’em Muse Bombs. 🙂

  • Larkk Jan 20, 2010 @ 8:49

    Retreating to her writing nook after a long day of procrastinating, neophyte novelist hunkers down to face writing her first ever scene cards, and then, finds that doing them is not as difficult as she feared.
    Woo hoo, off and running on Lesson 3 !

    And 566 words to keep the muse happy, ‘cuz he likes to go there, into the world of the WIP.

    Hang in there Holly, and get well soon!

  • Greg Jan 20, 2010 @ 7:27

    KavI: 628
    D&DII: 774
    RFW: 1223
    Very tired, but got my words in the end. Also started the cosmetic revision of OFL and realised that it will eventually fall a bit on the short side as I’m going to lose quite a lot of words as I combine scenes.

  • DasteRoad Jan 20, 2010 @ 5:28

    Glad to know you’re feeling a little better Holly.

    I got 454 words and an unplanned little funny jewel. Now I have a short scene I hadn’t planned for, showing the village’s reactions to what happened the previous day and people’s attitude towards my MC, Erthel. The scene’s twist is Erthel’s reaction, a quiet yet meaningful one, to the heavy stares she’s receiving.

    I think I’ve learnt a lot with this short scene without even realizing it: I’m glad I’ve shown the setting and its importance to the MC through conflict and change, instead of boring putting-props-on-a-background exposition, pointless chatter or aimless wandering, like I would’ve done some time ago. Go me!

    • Phil Jan 20, 2010 @ 10:53

      Good job Daste!

      • DasteRoad Jan 20, 2010 @ 12:13

        Thankee much Phil, glad to see you again around here! And how’s your own book getting along? ^_^

        • Phil Jan 22, 2010 @ 23:37

          I’m at about 30,000 words. I’m having fun when I write — I made myself laugh the other day writing a scene. Hopefully my audience (eventually) will feel the same way.

          • DasteRoad Jan 24, 2010 @ 18:43

            Well, then cheers to ya Phil! Having fun while writing is a blast 😀

    • DasteRoad Jan 22, 2010 @ 5:11

      452 words on Wednesday: Erthel and Maithel join Faurel at the well’s clearing, where Erthel’s mother disappeared the day before. This is the first time Erthel and Faurel talk while they’re both lucid, and there’s a first hint of the conflict between them.

    • DasteRoad Jan 22, 2010 @ 5:13

      789 words on thursday: yay me! Erthel’s trying to concentrate on her prayer spell – which should help her contact her mother and understand where she is – and Faurel keeps making smart-ass remarks in an effort to correct what she’s doing. When at some point he tells her to avoid leaning on the old well since some stones are unstable, she refers to him in her thoughts as “the almighty lord of Obvious” 😛

      I’m having some real fun with this. I’m getting the feel for a believable argument between two people that are not being stubborn jackasses to each other, but are genuinely convinced of their conflicting views, each with their own reasons.

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