Novel #2 Progress: Staying Accountable

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When I participated in my own version of NaNoWriMo, (see NaNoWriMo (Revised)), I made it a point write a weekly post about the progress I made toward reaching my goal. This simple act kept me accountable, which in turn pushed me to work hard so I wouldn’t have to write a post about failing. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t like to fail, so I better make sure I stay on top of things this year!

The goals I’ve set for 2013 in regards to Novel #2 are pretty ambitious, (see 2013 Writing Goals), but I intend to reach them no matter what. At least once a week, I’ll be holding myself accountable for working on Novel #2 until it is fully revised. Within each weekly post, I’ll keep track of stats while also including some details about the story. I’m hoping the journey with my passion project will be one of inspiration and excitement for all who follow along. This book has turned into something I never expected and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

Here’s how the first week of 2013 went:

Word Count Progress:

Draft #1 Word Count:

I calculate my word count by color coding my first draft version of Novel #2. Whenever I get done with a section, I change the color of the text to red. Then, I grab a word count of only the red text. This way, I know how much of my original draft has been surveyed and edited. This is also tracked on a bar graph along my sidebar.

  • Starting Word Count: 27,507
  • End Word Count: 32,612
  • Total: 5,105

Draft #2 Revised Word Count:

I literally re-type every word of Novel #2 into a new document because it forces me to carefully consider each and every word. The way I see it, the extra effort is a lot like moving heavy boxes from one house to another. You have to really want that stuff if you’re willing to lug it to a new home! If I find myself debating too much over a paragraph or a sentence, then I know its probably time to let it go. The word count for this section reflects the state of completion for Draft #2.

  • Start Word Count: 29,722
  • End Word Count: 33,558
  • Total: 3,836

Writing Process Notes:

  • I reorganized my writing space at home as it had become very cluttered with other projects and the mess of life in general. My desk is completely cleared and I finally put my old laptop to rest. Now its just me, my MacBook, bulletin board, and Novel #2.
  • I sent the first five chapters of Novel #2 to a beta reader. This was a big step because no one has ever read anything from this novel. For the better part of two years, this novel has been under lock and key, but now I’m ready put it out there for scrutiny. I’m thrilled to report  my beta reader absolutely loved it and is quite antsy to read the next five chapters. She responded to my characters they way I hoped, laughed where I intended, and believes in the premise I’m trying create. A writer really can’t ask for much more than that!
  • A new album has made it onto my playlist: The Lumineers self-titled album fits Amanda’s taste in music, but also hints at Ian’s emotional conflict. I love how these characters are introducing me to so many new bands!

Novel Tidbit:

Each week, I’ll be sharing little teasers about the characters and story. There won’t be anything spoilerish, but there will be details about the general premise of the novel and interesting factoids.

How it all started:

  • While proctoring a standardized test, I found myself a tad bored watching students fill in little bubbles on their answer sheets. I opened up my laptop and stared at a blinking cursor for a few minutes before the first line came out of my fingers: I’m not sure what is real anymore. That line remains the first line after two years or writing and revision. I won’t be changing it, either as it is truly where this project began.
  • My stories show up like movies in my head, which is why I rely so much on creating a soundtrack for when I write. The songs that have been the biggest source of inspiration are as follows:
    • “(Euphoria) Firefly” by Delerium
    • “Map of Problematique” by Muse
    • “Tempting the Muse” by Mysteria

As an added bonus, I’ll be revealing the title of Novel #2 when the second draft is complete!

– – –

c.b.w. 2013

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27 thoughts on “Novel #2 Progress: Staying Accountable

  1. What great ways to keep yourself transparent and genuine to your readers. Of course, all of us have been very curious as to your characters and your novel #2 plot. Looking forward to you sharing!

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  2. I really like the idea of copying your first draft out word for word. I guess it works in the same way as reading stuff aloud; if I find myself struggling to read a sentence without confusing the flow or getting lost, I know it needs changing. Thanks for that idea; I might be giving it a try soon 🙂

    Also, Map of the Problematique is a phenomenal song, by a phenomenal band. Also, if you’re as harsh a critic of your own writing as most writers are, a song where the chorus is ‘I can’t get it right’ is probably quit fitting to be listening to!

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    • I read out loud, too. Especially if I have trouble typing the sentence. If it doesn’t straighten out in spoken form, I know it needs to be changed. 🙂

      I’ve got a few Muse songs on the playlist, but Map of the Problematique gets the most play time! 🙂

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      • Very true. Even finding out what doesn’t work helps clarify and validate our own style of working. My daughter is a massive plotter with notecards and grafts, sticky notes, all sorts of stuff that would absolutely drive me nuts. I’m a pantser with just a notebook that I jot down questions in. I answer the questions at some point in the story and that drives the places where I get stuck, makes sure it all ties in. She couldn’t handle my loosey goosey way of working and I’d have to shoot myself if I had to deal with all her notes and plans. So bottom line, whatever works. Always good to see other ideas though, then pick and choose what’s useful.

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    • It is a bit scary to send it to someone I know so well, but I was careful to keep most of the story a secret, so she really is going in cold. I’m lucky that she’s someone I can trust will be honest and helpful in making it the best book it can be. 🙂

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  3. I like your style of getting things done. When you said about a ‘beta reader’, what is one of those? I’d also like to get my first NanoWriMo novel viewed as it will push me to get it edited ready for a first reading. Goodluck with your 2nd novel.

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    • A beta reader is someone who reads through your work and offers any one of following:
      – overall response to the story
      – editing, revision suggestions
      – grammar check
      – full critique

      Good luck with your NaNoWriMo novel!

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  4. This is a fantastic post! I love accountability. Just be aware, once you cross the “post of shame” it’s a slippery slope. That’s what happened to me and it’s quite an experience crawling out of the pit of failure. I know you’re very much committed to your goals and I have faith in your talent. You’ll succeed, I’m certain of that. Good luck, I’m rooting for you!

    *Pssst* The producer will love you when one day your novels are picked up for movie deals will love you since you already have the soundtrack outlined! (Go big or go home, right?)

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    • I’m hoping my deeply rooted fear of writing a “post of shame” will keep me out of that hole! My husband is also a great source of motivation because he asks me every day how the book is going. I never want to say I didn’t work on it. 🙂

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  5. Great idea to write it all down in a post like this!

    I would think that the work space is important.

    It must be fun to write novels… 🙂 The opening line sounds good to me …

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    • Oooo, I’m glad the opening line sounds good! 🙂

      I’m amazed at how a simple thing like a clean desk can revolutionize a writing space! Now I can’t wait to sit down and write each evening. 🙂

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