Editing Phase

I was hoping this would be a funny stage, but not really. It’s a nightmare. There! I’ve said it! Now that everybody knows the elephant is there, let’s proceed with caution.

I started writing this story about 5 years ago, but 80% of what I wrote was during the last year and a half. This means the first 20% is my old writing; my writing before writing research and screenwriting course and all those things I’ve been reading throughout the years. As much as it’s good to see that my writing improved, it’s also painful to read. My dialogues are cringy, my characters don’t sound as I imagined them and it has been an interesting experience being my own reader. The crazy amount of adverb overuse is astonishing. As Stephen King said: The road to hell is paved with adverbs. I’m sure he said that because he writes in English. If he had to write in Portuguese, he would notice adverbs do enhance verbs (that’s what they’re for, really) and that there aren’t many synonyms to replace with better verbs. I find writing in Portuguese a challenge in some ways and realised we lack synonyms for happy verbs (that mean to laugh, for example) comparing to the number of synonyms for verbs that mean to cry. It’s a sad cultural observation (no pun intended). Writing in English feels more vivid, but I decided to write in Portuguese for thinking that the language needed YA originals and even though I’m fluent in English, I feel more comfortable dealing with Portuguese grammar and proofread. I hope I’m right and that the trouble is worth it.

Hope you’re all well.
Cheers,

~ Marti

 

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Life after drafts…

I finished my second draft about a month ago. It’s about time I get back to it and start editing, but will only start doing it in two days. I tried editing immediately after I finished writing,  but like everything else in life, if you look at something long enough, it will look like crap. So I let my draft sit for a while. In the meantime, I was still getting those pangs such as “you should be writing right now, lady!” and had to tell myself that I had the right to take some time off. I didn’t really follow through, not writing at all is simply not an option for me, so I went back to my prequel and still did a bit of work, improved the outline and developed new characters. I don’t know why I wasn’t as immersed as in story 1.

It took me so long to realise what I really loved doing, mostly because writing was something that was always there; I just got distracted by other activities. Right now, I eliminated everything that is between me and my work (even if sometimes it’s myself) and have five books planned for the next five years. It’s not that much work when you fall in love with what you do.

I’ll be back soon with more goals checked and also a post about probiotics.

 

Marti

80K words!

That, I reached that milestone a few days ago but forgot to post about it. I was sick and slacked off a bit, but during the time I was off, I left some ideas brewing and am about to beat a plot hole towards the end of my novel. Better work on it.

See you soon,

Marti

 

 

March Goals

Hello, dear people,

February was probably my most productive month lately. I was able to reconnect with my novel and characters I wasn’t very fond of. I made it so I got to the 70K-Word Milestone.

Since January was so dark, my inspiration and focus were a bit impaired for a while. I thought about just putting my novel aside and maybe get back to it in a few months. I did take a break, but only for a couple of weeks. After that, I started working on it full time again, after asking other writers, reading about it, trying myself what would or not work:

  • I rearranged my outline into more specific beats, as it’s easier to follow this order and plan what to write next;
  • I wasn’t happy with the second half of the story, so I just cut it off and wrote it from scratch, paying attention to some plot holes it had before;
  • I did dozens of character development exercises, such as swapping roles, putting them into awkward situations, interviewing them;
    • I suggest a funny exercise I did out of nowhere: have dinner with your character, but describe yourself from the POV of the character. It didn’t lead to any brilliant idea, but it was a fun activity.
  • I made time for my novel. This was probably the most important. As an INFJ, I tend to put a lot of things\people before my needs and that eats up a good percentage of my time for my projects. This time, I religiously followed my schedule and the time I assigned for writing, exercises and so on, and  avoided staying at home, where I get distracted more easily. I went to the library, Starbucks, school study rooms.  I tried not to repeat the place or sit for too long, as it’s important to get your blood flowing. A small walk in the park or a change in scenario are essential to keep creativity running.
  • I set a minimum and an ideal daily target of 1500 and 3000 words, respectively. Since I have class on tuesdays, I can take that day off if I want ( so far I haven’t).

With all this, I was able to write abou 30K words, making my novel 70K word long now.

My goals for March are:

  • Writting 60K words;
  • Finishing my second draft.
  • Starting (and keeping up with) two courses on coursera: Finance Fundamentals and iOS App Development;
  • Keeping my Computation notes up to date.

I think I had never put so much effort into a goal before. This is the way my passion translates into action and I know there is still a lot to be done, but it’s important to celebrate and be thankful for what has been done.

Sometimes it’s important to clear our heads and know that, for writers, a word is worth a lot more than a thousand images. And every single word is a step closer to our goals.

 

See you all next time,

Marti.

Keeping up

I suck at keeping up with social things, but most of you have already noticed. Exams, the death of a loved one, a friendship that died, responsibilities and time I’m not getting back. I’ve been writing a lot lately, both my novels at the same time (which isn’t really a problem, as they’re the same storyline), I just have no energy for social networks. In fact, I quit both Instagram and Facebook and it’s so refreshing not having to deal with that flow of who just did what, whether it matters or not.

When you lose someone, it makes all other problems insignificant. It makes me question where I spend my time and how I should save it for who really matters.

I’ll be back to report progress soon.

Hope all is well.

 

Marti

NaNoWriMo 2017

After Web Summit and putting my thesis on hold, I’ve been writing full-time. Since I wasn’t able to write every day since the beginning of the month, I had to increase my daily goal, which was around 1600 words at first and is now 2500. At this stage, from what I’ve been reading from other writers, you’re supposed to just write and not pay as much attention to quality, so you are able to write faster since you can edit everything after NaNoWriMo is over. Plus I’m aiming to finish the first draft only.  The difference I noticed from before was that, when I try to edit as I write, I get very impatient and frustrated, as I’m not as fast sketching the scene and take too much time, rather than just explain the scene first. Structure (as in, steps and main points) is something I have in my mind, but I have a hard time trying to put on paper. I did a general outline, started writing the first thing that popped up in my mind and only a few sessions later did a more chapter-driven outline. I found in my previous stories that characters develop as you write, not as much as you plan them and mine diverged a bit from what I planned initially. In a good way, I think. Once again, I used another character to tell the main character’s story and this time I had no problem connecting with her. I’m close to hitting 10K words with just a couple days of true dedication. It’s sweet that feeling of doing what you love and, to be honest, I haven’t felt like this for a while.

Good Luck and stay creative, fellow writers! 🙂

 

Marti

 

PS: Here are some giant books to keep us all inspired!

 

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Quick Venting

I’m failing my NaNoWriMo challenge big time. Exams, talks, volunteering at Web Summit (and trying to keep up with the event itself), have been eating up my time, to the point where I’m brain-dead most of the time and we’re already on the 7th and I barely hit the 3000 words. It’s for a good reason, though.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to postpone my thesis in order to focus exclusively on my novel. It was a difficult decision, but I have to channel all my energy into my novel(s) now, otherwise, I’ll never finish it (them). I’m going to have to catch up with the prequel next weekend. Yes, Hibiscii is getting a prequel! My need to do things in a certain order tells me to finish Hibiscii first and then move to the prequel, but I feel like I should write the latter first in order to strengthen the whole story.

Volunteering at Web Summit feels a lot like those summer exchanges I used to go to as a teenager, where I’d meet groups of people from different backgrounds from all over the world. Most of them I never saw again, but I still remember some and they inspired a lot of my characters. That sweet and painful feeling when you go to a new place, suddenly it feels familiar and you get used to the routine and then it’s over.

It’s the third time I try writing this post; I started it, but at some point, my thoughts greatly outrun my typing and I feel like I’m writing crap. Talking about crap, I deleted my Instagram account. It’s like trying to be a sensor and realising I don’t like exposition or social media duties of having to update my life, participating in challenges and having to see the world through a screen. Social media is exhausting and I feel like I played a game, got a good score (like in the 90’s video games) and now am ready to go back offline. Mostly. There is still Twitter, but there are apps doing most of the work for me (yes, I use Crowdfire).

And here’s a random photo of Einstein the robot mildly insulting Sofia. Cheers!

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Insecurities

I have been enjoying my last vacation days and not writing as much as I should. In fact, I have been totally avoiding it. I afraid that my story isn’t strong enough, that I’m not able to tell it properly, that sometimes my creative outbursts are much faster than my hands can type. I had originally set a different character as the protagonist (let’s call him A) but changed to an outsider’s point of view (let’s call her B). The problem is that I don’t like this new main character. I tried a lot of exercises, rewriting, giving her new backstories and I’m simply not happy with B. A is someone I created and know as if it’s a friend. I immediately know what he likes and dislikes, his sense of humour, how he would react and I’m proud of the parts I wrote focusing him. But B doesn’t have her own voice. It’s as if I’m talking to myself and waiting for an answer from someone else. Problem: I’ve finished my first draft. It makes it harder to keep writing when I’m not happy with it and I don’t want to discard years of work. I’m more excited about planning the next NaNoWriMo then my current novel.

I’m very excited about planning the next NaNoWriMo (it’s the first time I’m participating!), much more than working on my current novel. I think I need to let it rest for a time and then get back to it with a new perspective and decide. I’m just disappointed that I wasn’t able to finish it before school, as I’ll be swamped and my dedication to it will be limited.

Capturar

 

Planner

One of my summer goals was to build a life planner from scratch. It’s mostly done and I’ve never been so productive. Some bits are printables I found on Pinterest, others I made myself. It has been quite a journey trying to figure out what works for me in terms of organising things. Weekly? Daily? Should I include this? That?
I started by grabbing an old a5 binder and giving it life by making a new cover and adding pockets everywhere. Then, created sections: weekly agenda, finances, bullet journal and trackers. Initially I created another section for my writings and novels, but decided later to make another binder for that, after all it was only a5, not infinite!
A life planner allows you to carefully plan your days in a weekly view (or whatever view works for you) and track your progress (and also it’s absence). I may post more pictures when it’s prettier 😂tumblr_ouvpcfVPMR1vtizy9o1_1280

The Right Target

I have always written random things, short stories, opinion articles, just for the sake of it, without caring too much about structure. I even started co-writing a story with a friend, but life happened for both of us and the ideas and drafts we made are mostly memories now. I’m currently writing my first novel, a SciFi novel. I’ve never been into SciFi until recently and it’s surprisingly fun to write. Stuff I never had to think about before, like giving characters more depth, Back stories, research. I had the idea for this novel eight years ago only two years ago I started taking the words from inside my head into this world and only a year ago I started putting a lot of effort into writing, although, as a masters student, I’m not able to focus on my novel as much as I wish. At the same time I’ve been doing a lot of research for the story, reading every book I find about story and plot. I even took a Screenwriting course, which was the most exciting course I took in years, I wouldn’t stop thinking about the new information I learned and how I could apply to my story, how I could create new stories. 

In this journey the point I’ve struggled with the most was finding and setting the right targets and goals for me. I tried counting progress with time, words, planning monthly, weekly. Surprise, there is no right way, but the way that best worked for me was setting a weekly target of 2000 words, in which I have an idea of the distribuition of parts, but I don’t follow it religiously. Progress and quality are the most important goals here and sometimes words or time spent can’t translate into any of them. Once  school ended in july, I immediately set this goal of writing at least 1000words a day. In the beginning it worked fine and I wrote A LOT, but two weeks later I could barely hit 300. I admit it, I was so immersed in my story (and obsessed with it) that it was making me sick. I had to take a break from it for a few days to heal my creativity and lines of thought and set smaller and more realistic targets.

I joined a few writing groups on facebook, twitter, and although I did get some support, I didn’t get the answers I needed, as some people take more pleasure in sparring rather than helping. 

That’s all for today, I’ll be back with more posts 🙂

Marti