Monday, June 25, 2007
[Note: This post concerns my first novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, which is nearing completion. This posting is not related to the last posting, which concerns the hypothetical novel to be used for the Parallel Writing Project. That plot is totally unrelated.]
I'm getting back into my first novel, THE REFLECTING STONE. I reread the first half yesterday. I hadn't read it since I wrote it, and I didn't remember some of the new twists and turns I put in when creating the 2nd draft. So, I really had a sense of reading it "for the first time" and it was quite interesting to have that experience. Usually I work so much with my manuscripts that I virutally memorize them word-for-word, and even after taking some weeks off I go back to them with virtually the same sense of them that I had while working on them. So, this was quite a pleasure, a chance to actually read and wonder just how a chapter might end -- I really didn't know!
When I wrote the 2nd draft I focused on shortening the chapters and putting a lot of twists and turns in to keep things moving, focused, and surprising along the way. It all makes sense, nothing is there that doesn't fit the storyline exactly, yet I used misdirection to suggest things were going one way when suddenly they went another way, or otherwise the MC ran into snags a lot more quickly than he was anticipating. It was a lot of fun to read an escape scene where he went to great lengths to extricate himself from the dungeon only to find himself surrounded again by the enemy by the end of the chapter. I suppose it wasn't fun for him, but as a reader I had a distinct sense of tension, release, heightened tension. Virtually every chapter succeeded with this in a way that was satisfying to read.
This evening I'll read the second half of the novel, then starting tomorrow I'll reflect and make some decisions about what to keep and what needs to fixing. Most of this is to a point where I could just edit it and be done with it, provided I want to keep the storyline as-is. I might want to tighten it up a bit, or try another approach. Also, I'm still debating on the prose style. I put a lot of effort into developing a tight and fast-moving style. It works well overall. I can still see ways to edit on the micro-level, tightening even more. I rewrote the first scene some time ago using a different style, and reread that yesterday as well. It's really good, but it is a different style. So, there are lots of questions as to exactly how I want this to read, but one thing is definitely clear: the story itself is very close to complete at this time. I can definitely see where my hard work over the past year and a half has resulted in a well-developed and intriguing story. I certainly hope it finds a publisher, since it is a compelling and worthwhile novel, IMHO, which is the reason I have continued working so long with it.
Well, back to work!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I completed the description of the novel and put the pages for it online, but I'm sharing it only with the registered writers right now for their feedback. Once it's had a chance to "settle" and get feedback, I'll make any changes as needed then post a link here and on the main PWP site to those pages, making them available to everyone.
I can tell you the following:
The story concerns a young maiden named Willa who lives in a poor village in the hills. An evil Queen named Orlantha has taken over the kingdom. Willa meets Faxon, a young man who is a member of the resistance movement. Faxon enlists Willa's help in a plan that goes terribly wrong. Willa is devastated but stays in the fight to make things right. In the end, she must learn to use magic in her struggle to depose the evil Queen. She must also learn she cannot take the whole weight of the world on her shoulders.
Now, I'm going to take a break from the PWP until the feedback comes in, and get back to work on my novel!
Best wishes to other aspiring writers,
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I was offline the past few days since I hurt my back again. I have to stop doing that! It's much better, but the medicine threw me for a loop. Anyway, it feels good to be getting busy again.
I managed to complete about 50% of the work on the hypothetical novel this past week before I had to take time off from anything non-essential. If I hadn't injured myself, I would certainly have finished the complete novel. (Grr....)
The story, to me, is really quite interesting. I think others will find it interesting, too. I certainly hope so!
I went with a female protagonist and antagonist, a first for me, and an opportunity to stretch and try something new (we'll leave the personal jokes aside). I'm working out a detailed synopsis, chapter by chapter. It is not essential to read the synopsis -- the other pages of notes, noticeably briefer, are adequate to prepare one to write the scenes -- but it would probably help to get a better sense of the story concept as it plays out, and how the characters develop, especially for writers who prefer more rather than less detail.
I will share the information about the novel soon. I'll share it with the registered writers first, for their feedback. Once I'm satisfied it's solid, I'll share it with everyone.
Then, I'll get the actual challenges done. I was debating whether to share all this information up front or not, but I don't see the harm in doing so. There could be a value in sharing it only with the registered writers first, then revealing it to the Readers as we put each challenge online, then finally sharing everything with everyone once the project is complete, but I don't see the need to put such a limit on it. There is probably more value in putting it all online as soon as it's available, to give people time to think about it, and potential writers to see the reality of it, which might help them decide whether to join. If anybody has any thoughts or insights, anything I'm missing, please let me know, either way.
Wishing everyone ein schoenes Wochenende ("a nice weekend" in German, in honor of Gabriele Germanica's safe return from her travels,
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I finally had time to get the Creative Commons license information together and post it to the PWP web site. This resulted in the need to change a few other pages to reflect the new information. Details available on the PWP web site under the current News Flash (June 10, 2007).
I also upgraded the Text Viewer once more. The Text Viewer now displays the News Flashes when you first open it, along with a new feature called the "Scroll of Inspiration". The idea is for registered writers to contribute quotes or images which they find inspirational. They can do this at any time as the Parallel Writing Project progresses. The stuff on there now is just a beginning.
With these latest changes, the Start Page and the Text Viewer are pretty much DONE. (Yippee!)
Now, the only significant tasks remaining are to develop the hypothetical novel and the 12 challenges, and to take some time to promote the PWP to grow the list of registered writers.
Still not sure of a start date. It will depend on progress on the sign-up of writers.
This really is a cool opportunity to hone writing skills. I think the effect of writing scenes alongside other writers -- the same scenes told in your own way -- will be a powerful experience, a chance to see how other writers tackle the very same writing challenges. I'm very excited about it and hope plenty of writers and readers get involved to make this project a success.
PS -- I have been working on the next set of 3 Tips & Tricks articles for my web site. I had hoped to post them on Friday morning but missed my deadline: I've been too busy finishing the PWP site to complete them. I'll finish them soon and will post them this coming Friday, and will try again to post each new set of articles on a weekly basis, putting them online Friday mornings.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
I've updated the Parallel Writing Project site to include the current list of writers and supporters (those who provide links to the PWP site to help promote it).
Suresh posted a comment recently about joining the Parallel Writing Project, but did not leave any way for me to make contact.
Suresh -- are you still out there? Please send me an email or post a comment here again with a link to your web site or blog, so I can keep in touch with you.
Also, writers are welcome to send me a bio to post on the site (details under "Participants" / "About Bios").
By the way, since I'm updating the PWP web site so frequently right now, it's best to clear your cache before visiting, to be sure the most recent versions of the pages will load for you. Otherwise, you may visit the site but still be seeing older versions of the pages from your cache, rather than seeing the current versions.
Almost completely done putting the site together. The main task that remains is developing the story and challenges, which I hope to finish this weekend, and then spending some time promoting the project.
I'm wondering when the best time to start the project would be.... After more people sign up, of course, but also perhaps later in the summer? Or September? I just wonder if the summer is the best time -- but the truly dedicated work on their writing year-round, right? ;-)
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wynn Bexton writes historical fiction and also does some travel writing. She is currently in GREECE and having a wonderful time traveling and seeing so much. She is blogging about it on her travel blog. If you haven't checked it out already, it's well worth a look -- some nice "summer reading" if you imagine what a wonderful time she must be having! Certainly more fun than Paris Hilton these days.
There is a link to Wynn's travel blog in the sidebar under Featured Links. (Her other blog is listed with the writers' blogs.) You can also find her travel blog by clicking this link:
Yes, it's summer already, and what better way to spend it than cruising the Greek Islands! Go, Wynn!
I managed to get the next and hopefully last significant upgrade online this morning for the Parallel Writing Project web site, bringing it up to Beta Version 5.0.
If you check out the Text Viewer now (the place where you would read the scenes for each challenge), you will find the Viewer can accommodate 12 scenes (1-12) by 26 authors (A-Z). I think that's a good limit to establish.
Currently, the idea is to have writers turn in new scenes once every two weeks. At that rate, that would mean 2 scenes per month, and 6 months to complete the 12 scenes. It may be more desirable to increase the rate to once a week, or 4 per month, in which case it would take 3 months to complete the 12 scenes. I think there should be a definite end point to the project, and 12 scenes seems like a good number, adequate to cover the major points in the storyline. If there are more writers, then less often is better for submissions. If there are fewer authors, then weekly would work out okay, if people prefer that option.
My next main task is to create the storyline and the challenges, then put that information online. That might take 1-3 days. I'll keep you posted. If anyone wants to share ideas, let me know by email.
Please check out the Parallel Writing Project web site, if you haven't done so already, and if you have, please check out the new version of the Text Viewer! Now you can see what it will really be like.
And...any help in spreading the word about this exciting project is greatly appreciated!
[NOTE: THE URL HAS CHANGED: SEE COMMENT ATTACHED TO THIS POSTING FOR DETAILS!]
I created more images to help promote the Parallel Writing Project (PWP). I've uploaded them and added a new page for them, called the "Gallery" (go figure). It's under the "Participants" menu.
Here is a sampling of the new images (there are more on the site):
More news soon....
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Feel free to use any of these images instead of the other "invitation" banner from my last posting, if you prefer. You can still save one of them as "invitation.jpg" and then use the HTML code from my last posting (you'll see the file referred to in the HTML code as "invitation.jpg").
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I think the Parallel Writing Project can be a very useful tool to help writers learn and grow through focused writing challenges and helpful feedback. It's like a writing group, but without the need to drive somewhere and meet up in person, which can be difficult with busy schedules.
I do hope that other writers, and fantasy writers in particular, will jump on board. The train will be leaving the station soon (start date to be announced). I don't want to leave anybody behind that would enjoy taking part.
I hope my blog readers will support this project either by taking part or by passing along the word about it. If you take part in any forums, please let others know, and feel free to provide a link:
PARALLEL WRITING PROJECT
You can also use the following banner:
To add this banner to your blog or web site:
1. Save the image above (right-click, "Save Image") as "invitation.jpg".
2. Add the following HTML code to your blog template or web site. There should be no space after the first or second lines--it all runs together.
IF YOU DO PROVIDE A LINK, let me know -- I'll add a link back to your site on a page thanking Supporters in the PWP site! A little extra promotion for your own site, blog, or the forum where you participate.
Let me say "THANKS!" to anyone who helps promote the Parallel Writing Project!
And if you haven't already, please check out the web site and see for yourself what it's all about.
I thought I was going to get back to my novel already, but seeing the need to further develop the PWP site I decided to keep at it until it's done.
I made another very significant step forward yesterday. I revamped the Text Viewer so you can view texts by author or by writing challenge, reorganized the system for filekeeping, and added the "Legal" Stuff" and "Participants" sections to the main menu of the Start Page. I liked what I did the day before so much I thought I should extend that format (the green submenu). The Start Page is now pretty much done except for the Creative Commons License, which I haven't had time to go fetch yet. I think the Text Viewer is done now, too, except I need to set up a bunch of blank pre-formatted files to be ready for the eventual submissions.
Much is done, some still to do. Back to work!
Monday, June 04, 2007
The Parallel Writing Project (hereinafter "PWP") is growing quickly. After putting up the Beta Version, before the launch of my web site, I have managed to revamp the Beta Version and create the foundation for the actual site. If you visit it now, with the most recent additions from today, you will see Beta Version 3.0!
The PWP site is linked to from the "entry page" to my new web site, a generic page that you can use to reach any of the stuff I'll put on the web site (the PWP isn't the only project up my sleeve!). When you arrive at the "entry page", you can click the image and enter my actual web site, or click on any other links to go directly to specific projects. Right now, the PWP is the only project available (another one is in the pipeline for the next few months).
Once you reach the PWP site, you will see a logo in the top left corner, with a menu below it. The links open messages in the main portion of your screen. There is a welcome message, a News Flash, the Rules, Submission Guidelines, etc., all from the original Beta Version but edited and developed somewhat more.
The latest addition is the link labeled "ABOUT THE CHALLENGES". When you click this link, it opens a new menu in a green panel with links to information about the actual challenges. This is where you learn about the Hypothetical Novel, Challenge Scenes, and more details about submissions, comments and the schedule. This new information will give you a more detailed sense of what the project is all about, what the reality of participating in it will (hopefully) be.
The next things I'm working on:
Posting information about the Creative Commons license for the hypothetical novel and challenge scenes.
Developing the storyline of the hypothetical novel and writing the descriptions of the challenge scenes.
Adding a little more to the PWP site, including a place to list the writers who are participating and provide links to their blogs/sites, and a place to list the supporters (readers and others) who have links to the PWP site, providing links to their sites as well (cross-polination is a good thing, as beekeepers will tell you).
Upgrading the Text Viewer to allow you to read all the submissions by author or by writing challenge (this will enable you to maintain continuity in reading successive submissions by the same author).
Upgrading the Text Viewer to feature the News Flashes and also a comic or quote as a source of encouragement or inspiration (as if anybody needs encouragement or inspiration with all that's going on in the world today).
Finally, as all the pieces come together in the next week or two, it's important to get the word out. Thanks to Romance Writer who has already linked to my new site, and to Susan Fleming who will soon post about the PWP on her blog.
I'll post more in the days ahead, keeping you informed as this AWESOME, COOL, EXCITING project comes together and we get ready to actually start!
It's not too early to sign up: just send me an email to let me know you'd like to take part. I think you will be happy you did.
Best wishes to everyone else on their writing and writing-related activities,
Saturday, June 02, 2007
After a lot of FTP hassles, I managed to get the site online (without using FTP -- I did it the old-fashioned way, file by file). Regardless, it's there, and I've taken time to debug it, so it should be working pretty well at this point. Feel free to check it out, and let me know what you think!
Please add this link to your bookmarks:
That's the "Entry Page". Bookmark only to that page since it will remain constant: all the other pages will change over time.
Yippee! Now I can get back to my novel!
PS: Thanks, Susan, for encouraging me to take on this long-awaited project after completing my second draft of THE REFLECTING STONE. Glad I got it done. It's a start, with room to grow.