Posts Tagged ‘writing’


When Plots Go Wild! (a.k.a Have I Inadvertently Written a Series?)

April 2, 2014

when plots go wildI started my novel using Scriverner, which, if you are not familiar with it, allows you to write scenes within chapters as separate segments. It’s great for focusing on writing little bit by little bit, rearranging your scenes as need be (with a quick click/drag of the mouse), and looking at the parts of your whole.

Recently, I decided to put each ‘scene’ from Scrivener into a word document, so I could see how it read in a continuos flow.

I also wanted my word count.

Are you ready for this?

139, 918

And I’m not done yet!

Now, a typical novel is meant to be between 80, 000 and 100, 000 words.

Web sites dedicated to novel lengths will tell you: do NOT go over 100, 000 words, especially if you are a ‘new writer’ (i.e.: not JK Rowling, Stephen King or Geroge R. R. Martin).

In fact, you are better off leaving it at 99, 999 words because it seems that once that tally clicks over into the one hundred thoughsandths column, any agent you are submitting your work to is going to react with a facial tick–and a big fat NO WAY, FORGET IT!

Or so the web sites say.

Which leaves me wondering…am I looking forward to a drastic edit? As in shave off, oh, 40, 000 words (ha!) or…am I somehow in the process of writing TWO novels and just didn’t realize it?

Have I inadvertently written a series?

I will admit it, in writing my novel, plot has been my arch nemesis, the aspect with which I’ve struggled with most.

As I’ve discussed in previous posts (like Determining Plot: Time for a Coin Toss?), I’ve tried outlining the plot events (oh believe me, I’ve tried) but can’t seem to be that specific. I tend to thrive on the process of discovering the finer details of plot by plodding my way, step by step, through it…deliciously surprising myself in the process.

I have a general guideline in my head of how events are going to play out but I also love putting my characters in situations and then seeing ‘what developes’. This is fun and rewarding–and also maddening. It has lead to bouts of back tracking,  rethinking, grasping at straws…

I believe the technical term is called ‘painting myself into a corner with no idea how to get out (yet).’

(Oh, the hours I’ve spent ruminating on plot problems. Ha Ha good times.)

I tend to be one of those go-with-the flow writers…but ‘my flow’ runneth over, it seems.


Or, if I turns out I’m writing two books, I don’t have enough plot yet.

In either case, yet another plot pause and a rethink may be required.




Writer’s Despair

February 24, 2014

writer's despair

I’ve had this happen only a few times in my life but when it happens, it’s devastating.

Pre-teens: I brought my typewritten story to the beach to share with my friend. Somehow, someway…IT GOT LOST IN THE SAND! We couldn’t find it. *devastating*

High School: I wrote a mystery series starring my  friend and I (and Duran Duran) that was, to my mind, a clever mix of Harlequin romance, Indian Jones movies and Sherlock Holmes. I loaned these typewritten ‘masterpieces’ to someone and she misplaced them. They disappeared. FOREVER GONE! *devastating*

University: Essay due the next day. Computer died. Hadn’t saved it recently. LOST NEARLY EVERYTHING! (this happened a few times) *devastating*

Today: I sat down at the computer to open my file and it said: CANNOT OPEN.

I said: WHAT? and tired again. The computer taunted me. CANNOT OPEN.

I tried my dropbox version–cuz, you know, it’s important to have a BACK UP COPY in case of emergencies. But guess what? CANNOT OPEN.

Doing my deep breathing exercises, I turned the computer off and on. I tried again: CANNOT OPEN.

Now nearing full freak out mode, I texted my (techie) husband. I wrote in capitals and used lots of ‘symbols’: WHAT THE %$%@ IS WRONG WITH THE #@$# COMPUTER IT SAYS MY @#$#@ NOVEL CANNOT OPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He says he will take a look after work.


I must wait.

I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation for this and that it will all work out (Right? Right?). I’ve tried googling a result to the ‘File Can’t Open’ dilemma but my brain can’t seem to process what I am reading: I’m too panicked.

Luckily, I have older versions saved but there is at least TWO MONTHS of work on that particular document that is more or less DOWN THE DRAIN if I can’t get it to open.

Thinking about all of those words I’ve crafted since the start of 2014, all of them just evaporating into thin air… GONE.

Truly, truly: Writer’s Despair.

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