Thursday, August 4, 2011

(Work-in-) Progress Report: Steve

Word count (to the nearest thousand): 34,000
Status: Flying through the first draft
Attitude: Still in love!

After dragging my feet for a few months, I finally found the motivation to start working on Steve again, and I think he’s just as awesome now as he was five months ago. I’ve added nearly 20,000 words in the last two weeks, and it’s exhilarating. I can honestly say I’ve never written any other manuscript this quickly.

So why the sudden burst of speed? I really have no idea. I took up outlining a few years ago, and while I think the process suits my anal-retentive personality, I didn’t feel like outlining this manuscript before I started. So I didn’t. And now I’m 34,000 words in after a combined three weeks of writing.

Which isn’t to say I’ve completely abandoned the idea of outlining. I’m sure I’ll outline future manuscripts before I start the actual writing, and I’m sure I’ll end up writing (at least) one outline for Steve before I’m done. But I’m totally digging this freewheeling, anything-goes, fun-and-fancy-free style of writing. I think it’s helped me unlock my inner speed demon:)

I have had one outlining epiphany over the course of the last few weeks: Keeping track of major plot elements and overall narrative arcs is really easy, but keeping track of each character’s development and overall metamorphosis is really hard. In fact, I daresay a character outline, which would track characters’ responses to predetermined plot points as well as chart the characters’ states of mind on a chapter-by-chapter basis, would be far more useful than a traditional story outline, at least for me.

All right, back to work. But while I'm beefing Steve up, I'm curious: What epiphanies have you had lately, writing or otherwise?


Kelley said...

I'm now in the countless editing stages of my manuscript (my first one) and I am learning all of the annoying writing habits I have.

Using too many commas
Using phrases like 'a few seconds later', or 'after an hour passed' WAY too much.
Using things like 'was stopping' instead of stopped.

Its fun though. I know I'll get better at writing that original draft the more I do this :)

Kelsey said...

This post is a mirror of my thoughts lately. I recently started a new W.I.P. and found that I flew through it without an outline. I have no desire to stop and make one. Which is strange, because I usually do. So I'm going to let the story go wherever it wants and see where everything ends up.

Happy writing!


Jay said...

"What epiphanies have you had lately, writing or otherwise?"

If it's done right, irresolution is better than explanation.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Congrats on the word count! And still being in love with your WIP. That is the best feeling, ever. ;)

Krista V. said...

Kelley, it's good that you're discovering all those little writing tics now, before you think you're finished. My editing (read: proofreading) process for my first manuscript took all of about six days. (If this were Twitter, I'd add a #HowStupidWasI hashtag...)

Kelsey, I don't think this is the first time this has happened. You and I must be writing twins separated at birth:)

Wow, Jay. Deep thought. Thanks for sharing. (Even though I'm still puzzling it out...)

Thank you, Chantele! It is nice to be in love.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL. Welcome to the wonderful world of pantstering. =) This is where I spend countless days and nights in sheer bliss. I find if I outline in too much detail the life is choked out of my poor characters. It's easier for me to write them, then outline the moods they pass through and coordinate it all--one character at a time. It's one of my favorite edits. Granted, I probably spend way too much time editing, so take that for what it's worth. Editing can be just as fun--or more so, than writing.

Rachael said...

I was really wrestling with an idea that I couldn't ditch, but couldn't figure out how to start writing. Finally, I had that magical epiphany that I was trying to start in the wrong place! I had to back up A LOT, but now everything makes perfect sense! It's so satisfying! Best of luck with your draft, Krista!

Leigh Ann said...

Wow, that is so exciting! I just started - like blank-page-just-started - on a brand new WIP called "ONE" and I am in LOVE.

But, at only 4K in what do you expect? :)

So excited to hear more and more about Steve. Sending you lovey dovey vibes so that yours last all the way to the end of the first draft. :)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Woot for your wordcount, Krista! I had a recent burst of writing energy, too. In three weeks, I've written 35k, and my only outline was a query letter I started with. I absolutely agree character arcs are more valuable than plot arcs. In some ways, they're one and the same, only with one you're contriving their story and with the other, you're letting them live it.

My epiphany: If you start a book in a different place once you've already started writing it, the subplots change accordingly. It can be subtle or bang-your-head frustrating. :)

Krista V. said...

Crystal, that's what my last manuscript, Bob, taught me - writing is really all about revising. And the more I learn about revising, the more I like it.

Rachael, what a wonderful epiphany to have:)

Thanks for those good vibes, Leigh Ann! I think this honeymoon stage will last all the way to the end of the first draft. Steve is MG, so I'm thinking this first draft will come in somewhere in the 40,000- to 50,000-word range. Almost there!

Katrina, your epiphany is so true. When I was rewriting Bob, I completely changed the first chapter, and in turn, that first chapter completely changed the overall tone of the manuscript.

Marybk said...

Good for you, Krista! I'm at 45k now...still going strong. I had a HUGE spurt during a two week period just recently, as well. It's a good feeling. :}

Lady Lex said...

Good luck Krista! You're making good progress. I'm usually a pantser when i first get an idea, but I do always break down and do an outline for my WIPs. Usually once I think it's donw, I sit down and outline it as a way to tackle my edits.

Kelly Bryson said...

Hey Krista- I love the above comment "Welcome to the world of Pantsering." Isn't it thrilling? My ah-ha is that sometimes you have to move on. And that's good. Happy writing!

Esther Vanderlaan said...

My goodness. You certainly are fast. 34,000 words in three weeks?!?! I don't do that in a month and a half!! Plus- that's being a mom and a homekeeper!

Liesl said...

Yay for 34,000 words! Yay for no outline! Yay for Steve!

I've not had many epiphanies of late, except that I never want to move again. But that might be more exhaustion than inspiration.

I'm excited for how Steve is coming along and I hope I'll get to read him soon!

Jennifer E. McFadden said...

Good for you!
I didn't use an outline. My a-ha moment was developing my characters and letting them react to everything I threw at them. :)

Krista V. said...

It IS a good feeling, Marybk! Way to be!

Lady Lex, I honestly don't know how to revise without an outline (or at least a list of some kind). Anyone who pulls this off, feel free to enlighten us...

Good ah-ha moment, Kelly. I have to rediscover that ah-ha moment every time I shelve a project.

Esther, it's not quite as amazing as it sounds. My kids are still pretty young, and they're expert sleepers. They give me good chunks of time to write:)

Congratulations on your move, Liesl! I'm sure it's nice to feel settled again. And you're back in the city you love. That helps, too:)

Oh, Jennifer, you're such a master puppeteer, pulling those poor characters' strings;)

Christa said...

I have a love/hate relationship with outlines. I am a pantser, but I've learned to outline after the first draft so I can see what's missing and add it to allow for revisions. Good post.

Krista V. said...

Christa, good to hear from you! I think that's probably what I'll end up doing with this manuscript - freewheel through the rest of this first draft, then sit down and really iron out plot points and character development with an outline.

Shari said...

There really is nothing quite like the exhilaration and adrenaline of going on that first draft journey, is there? This is going to sound goofy, but it usually makes me feel like I'm flying - totally carried away by the characters and their story.

So glad you're having a great time with Steve! :)