Works in Progress

I’ve discussed my current works in progress before on this blog but only in very general terms.  These posts usually include words like “stuck” and “not going anywhere” and “Starbucks.”  I thought today for a change I would write about my writing process and say a bit more about the projects on which I am currently working.

As part of my New Year’s resolution to become a published writer (dream big!) I decided to start by creating an informal schedule especially given that my school schedule is mostly empty, save for a big red circle around April 1 – the date of my comprehensive exam.  Last week I resolved to write and read for at least an hour each day.  Reading wasn’t a big problem – I read all the time – but writing proved to be somewhat of a challenge.

I’m currently revising one paper (on the ever-present Lady Byron) and thinking about revising another.  I’ve got two novels in the queue, one I started for Nanowrimo and the other I’ve been crafting for 4 years now.  Add to that one short story to revise and 3 or 4 that are rough sketches.  Plus comps notes that will eventually turn into a prospectus. 

It seems like a lot now that I’m writing it all down, but I suspect any writer of fiction or non-fiction, academic or otherwise, probably has a similar list. 

I decided to push back Lady Byron to this week.  Of course now I’m regretting not working on it last week, but c’est la vie, such is procrastination.

As for the short story, revisions go as planned.  But for the novel, The Novel, that was a little tricky.  I’m in the Not Fun part of writing it, the part where you’ve written all the cool action scenes, but now the action scenes aren’t organized into a plot, and if you tinker with one scene suddenly you have to change three scenes down the line, etc., etc.

I don’t like outlines, I don’t like to outline, but clearly, I was up against a wall.  With the novel 2/3 written and nowhere for me to go, I went back to the drawing board.  I did a reverse outline, meaning that I wrote down a one-line summary of what happens in each chapter.  I included any notes to myself in the outline as well.  It took me about an hour, but I ended up with a pretty cool map of where I’m going and where I’ve been.  I don’t think I will ever be the type to outline before writing, but it was a really useful exercise at this stage.  Definitely a new part of my writer’s tool belt.

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One thought on “Works in Progress

  1. Neurotic Workaholic says:

    Have you ever read The Weekend Novelist? It's an interesting book because it offers outlining strategies for writers. I've never been very good at outlining, though, because I like just figuring it out as I go along. Sometimes that takes longer, though.

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