Archive for August, 2007

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Two, er, keyboards are better than one?

August 23, 2007

Last night was the first time in probably 5 days that I managed to find time and motivation to work on TheNovel.  This past weekend my wife and I took our nearly-five-year-old camping for the first time.  As camping trips go, it was one extreme or the other.  We loved the campground, we loved the beach, and we loved cooking outdoors (I got a chance to relive some of my Boy Scout days).

Unfortunately we ended up cutting our excursion in half because I got sick, the mosquitos were eating us alive (one ended up getting trapped in our tent during the night, and feasting), and the prediction for Saturday night was “torrential rainstorm”.  We ended up packing up and coming back mid-afternoon Saturday.  Because I was sick I ended up sleeping for 13 hours Saturday night, taking a nap on Sunday, and generally moping around the house doing next to nothing.  I was still recovering Monday and a little on Tuesday, and we were still trying to get the house back in some kind of order after the trip.  All in all, it was an exhausting 5 days, but I don’t think it enough to scare us away from future family camping trips.  It was enough, however, to keep me away from writing.

That turned out to be something of a bad thing.  You see, there is a little known principal in the universe called “inertia”.  I my case it reads: those that take a pause from writing tend to stay paused.  Last night it took me a good 10 minutes of staring at my computer screen before I could write anything, and then about a third of a page before I really felt like I had reversed the inertia enough to keep going.  I think the only thing that made it that easy was that I have the entire story arc plotted out, so I knew exactly what I needed to write – it just took a lot more energy to actually lay them down on the keyboard.  I did manage to get 3.5 pages done last night, so that felt pretty good.

I am also thrilled to report that my wife has joined me as co-author.  For the time being, I am writing the first draft of each chapter, and she is following behind me revising them.  She and I have been dissecting book and movie plots together for as long as we’ve known each other, and so it seems to be a natural progression to the authoring side of the fence.  So far, what used to be Chapter 1 has now been split into a Prologue, and the real Chapter 1.  She’s working on revising Chapter 2 right now as I started (last night) on Chapter 3.  The really interesting part of this arrangement is that she knows the very basic story line, but nothing beyond that.  She wants to approach the book as a reader would, which means you don’t know what happens in Chapter 5 until you actually read Chapters 1-4.  It’s a bit early to tell, but so far it seems to be working well.

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2 down; a bunch to go

August 16, 2007

I put the finishing touches on the first draft of Chapter 2 this evening.  I know that “finishing touches on a draft” sounds paradoxical, but I can finally say that everything I wanted in those first two chapters is in there.  Of course, I possess the uncanny ability to have all the right pieces in whatever I’m writing, but have them organized them in the wrong order the first time around.

The page count for TheNovel was, at its peak, 37.  Then I let the air out.

I had been double spacing everything for clarity, but I started to get the feeling that a page in MS Word at that spacing was not the same as a page in (what I think) will be the printed book.  As a test, I grabbed a novel that I think will be the same size, and copied it into MS Word using TheNovel’s spacing.  Sure enough, when I got done with the page from the book, I was looking at about 1 1/3 pages in Word.  So, I shrank the line spacing to 1.5, and shrunk the margins to 1/2″ on each side, and that allowed the text to fit snugly onto a single page in Word.

Then I applied that formatting to TheNovel.  The page count went from 37 to just barely 26.  Ok, 27 if you count that I have the title “Chapter 3” on the last page already.  Woo-hoo.

*Sniff*   *Sniff*

I’ll miss those 11 pages, but at least now what I’m laying down on the virtual paper jives with what I was picturing in my mind for the final product.

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Keep on keepin’ on

August 4, 2007

I’ve added 10 pages since my last post.  Last night was the single best day I’ve had so far – just over 4 pages.  What really made last night interesting was that at 8:30pm, when I finally got around to sitting down at the computer, I didn’t really want to write.  In fact, I wanted to skim the new posts on my RSS aggregater, and then head off to bed.

I had nearly talked myself out of writing when reality sunk in.  I realized that if I don’t try to lay something down on the keyboard every day, TheNovel will never get finished.  So, that’s what I’m going to do.  Every day.  Even if it’s junk, even if I’m pretty sure I will cut it later, even if it’s only half a page.  That’s half a page closer to being complete.

 Who knows?  Perhaps I should try to talk myself out of writing every time, and get four pages done a day!