Scene #4 Done!

scheming little gargoyle monsters

Scene #4 Inspiration

This scene was fast paced and flowed onto the page quite easily. I thought it took me 30minutes, turns out it was a full two hours.

Now off to the gym to embrace a healthier lifestyle. 

Today is about green tea rather than vile instant coffee.

Goal for today is to make headway into scene #5 during my evening revision session. Until then, brain needs a break!

910 words. 

What are your goals?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Advertisements

Scene #3 Done!

Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there

– Chuck Palahniuk

Russian Winter Photographs.

Scene #3 Inspiration

Just a quick update. This took me a little under 6 hours to rewrite and capture everything I wanted to (but felt like 20 hours of brain power). Looking forward to revisiting it during the read-through after letting the new words sit for a while.

I will forever associate this scene with copious amounts of instant coffee –  I was desperate. 

Scene length 2346 words.

Love and light,

Anushka xx

First Scene Done!

A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it

-Don DeLillo

Cat and the moon

Scene #1 Inspiration

I had planned to begin my rewrite tomorrow but I was too excited and wanted to revise my first scene today. I am happy to say it has been a success and I am part-way through my second scene (out of 60 at this stage). It feels like an overwhelming process  and it took me almost 3 hours to revise and rewrite the first scene – that’s a lot of brainpower and concentration I wasn’t aware I had! It’s nice having a very detailed outline at hand so I’m just going to take it scene – by – scene and trust in the process. 

Pretty much all my scenes after this are completely new scenes so it will be interesting to see how they come together and how long they will take to get it to the standard I want it to be.

As a little experiment I really want to push myself this week and see if I can clock in 50 hours of revision. I revise regularly during the week but still haven’t been able to put in a ‘full-time’ hours even though I’ve had the time for it. I know revising is a lot of thinking and walking around at times, but now that I’m in the nitty -gritty of things I’m really curious to know how much I can do (without rushing through things).

So this week – it’s about 50 dedicated hours. 

I’ll probably be posting more regularly this week with mini -updates of my progress for those of you who are interested.

How is everyone going with their WIP?

Love and light,

Anushka xx

It’s all about TIME

The energy of the mind is the essence of life – Aristotle

Image

Tick. Tock.

The remainder of this week and some of next week is all about tracking time. How long it takes my character to get to point A to point B? When do they sleep? OMG do they even sleep in this draft??  So it is all about moon cycles and a whole lot of careful planning fun.

I have been finding this step quite enjoyable. It feel like it’s the last ‘big thing’ I need to sort out before I can start rewriting so I’m trying my best not to rush this step while preparing myself to backtrack a bit if it impactes my outline in other ways. Moon cycles play a large role in my WIP yet it wasn’t something I bothered to keep track of or research during my first draft. I’ve been asking myself how could I be so lazy but then I realized that the moon didn’t actually play such a big part in my first draft as it does now (the draft in my head and plotted on scene cards). So I’m not that lazy which is good to know.

To help me with this step I have printed out a Russian Calendar which notes moon phases and special holidays for 2011-2012 which is exactly what I was looking for. Previously I had thought to set my my WIP  a few years back then comparing the moon cycles to this year made me realize how eerily perfect it was for my outline. Weird. I hadn’t expected to have ‘real life’ moon cycles and dates exist in my WIP…I assumed I would just make it all up and make the details service the story the way it needed to. I’m still opened to doing that if that’s what the plot calls for in the end, but it’s nice having the details all perfectly organized without me having to chart everything (okay maybe I am lazy).

So I was wondering how everyone else uses (or does’t use) the concept of time in their writing/revising. Is it something that you are aware of and naturally have a handle on or is something that you have never given much thought into?

If anyone has any useful advice or tips regarding Time please feel free to share!

Love and light,

xx

Progress update and what I can control

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly  — Robert Kennedy

Photo: Thinking + Doing = Reality

Image

Since my last posting revision has been running smoothly. Well, if you can call brain strain  ‘running smoothly.’ There are moments when I cannot believe how much more difficult revision is for me. I love the WRITING part and just getting lost in the world, but fixing that world uses a lot of brain muscles I’m not used to. This must be because I’m not naturally a plotter and I don’t actively like thinking about certain things in advance. I have no doubt that all the painstaking notes I’m making on conflicts (or lack of), redundant scenes, character arcs, plot arcs, promises and TIME (just to name a few) will help my future first drafts come out slightly more cleaner than this one. I am absolutely DYING to jump into the rewrite RIGHT NOW, but taking the time to identity and fix everything that is wrong on scene cards will definitely help me and prevent me from writing a hundred-billion revised drafts. So far I have logged 86 hours of revision on this WIP….CRAZY!!!! I haven’t even gotten to touching my actual manuscript yet and doing actual changes.  Goes to show that doing a little bit of something consistently adds up! As I’m nearing the moment when I get to cut the manuscript to shreads and do an almost 100% rewrite I am so thankful I stumbled across Holly Lisle’s HTRYN course. I would have easily butchered this first draft by jumping into line edits and not truly fixing the BIG BROKEN BITS…hence all the pre-rewrite notes (86 hours worth and counting worth). 

If everything goes smoothly (smoothly for revision – I’ve learnt now to expect the unexpected) I will be diving into my rewrite and transforming my WIP into the book I want it to be in 2 weeks…TWO WEEKS! Still a very long way to go and anything can happen, but I can almost smell the finished piece ready to be given to beta readers and then eventually submitted to agents. That’s months and months away I know, but just being able to WRITE in the near future is making me very happy.

I  realize I can’t control everything related to this process. I cannot control that I will get what I want at the end of this WIP journey… but there are some things I can control. I CAN control the amount of effort I put into my revision and rewrite, I CAN control how I prioritize my WIP in relation to other things in my life, I CAN choose not to let insecurities and mishaps relating to my WIP get me down, I CAN choose to bring a positive and healthy mindset everyday to my work, I CAN create my ideal writing space (Fresh flowers, endless supply of water and healthy snacks…chocolate when I want), I CAN reward myself for my personal victories and most importantly I CAN dare myself to just…

DO.

IT.

I woke up today feeling insecure and feeling scared about this journey of creating a book. Like HELLO, has no one ever told you this gig is hard, the likely hood of getting published is…. I’m going to stop there. I can choose NOT to let this negativity get to me. 

So to all my fellow readers, writers and friends. BE POSITIVE. Give yourself permission to just do what you LOVE. When things go into negative, insecure land remember you aren’t alone, there are other writer-creatures in their little solitary cave creating a dream. 

When you are doing what you love – you’re having fun. So get out of your head and remember that! 🙂

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Give yourself permission to absolutely SUCK!

My simplest rule for myself as a writer is: if I’m not having fun with a scene, I rewrite it until I am. If I can’t make it fun, it goes – Joe Hill

.

Image

This past week was all about head banging against a wall. It was painful and for the first time in a while I felt really, really stuck. Normally my muse comes up with some sort of magic to fix whatever snags I identify along the way, but on this occasion the muse vanished and I was STUCK. I think it happened because I ignored the little feeling in the back of my head that said ‘I’m not sure that these new scenes you put in your outline are even necessary.’  Well how could they NOT be necessary? They had all the requirements for a scene! I also just spent weeks beforehand compiling a new outline for my rewrite that transformed my horrible first draft into a book I was actually excited to write about again so how could everything be wrong before I even wrote a single new word?

Going through the conflict arcs for my story really helped open my eyes to ‘that part’ which wasn’t running as smoothly as the rest – so I cut it. A few days later I even cut one of the new characters it introduced realizing he was stupid and not necessary. He wasn’t in my first draft and why on earth did I think he needed to be in this one? However, I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything new to put in place. How could someone with a crazy mind such as mine come up with NOTHING? I tried every trick I knew. I did some word building, free writing, index card shuffling, visited writing forums for inspiration and…nothing.

I realize now that I was trying too hard. I was also feeling quite flat from not leaving the house often enough and putting so much pressure on myself which resulted in the lack of balance in my life. Just being online was draining me. Everything was sucking out my soul – my disorganized work space, my messy bedroom, my lack of exercising.

So after giving myself permission to have crap ideas I managed to come up with cooler ones!

image

I spend last night writing out my scenes on large neon pink post-it notes and sticking it to the back of my door. I don’t know if it was the color, or just being in a different space that did it, but I was able to come up with ideas to fill the gaping hole in the middle.

I’ve decided to take it easy this week. I’ll look through the outline which I’m once again happy with but won’t rush into doing anything more with it. After all, I have an engagement party to pull off this weekend and fresh air to breathe!

Hopefully taking a healthier approach to revision will make my ideas sparkle all over the page once again. That’s the plan anyway!

This week is all about breathing and re-energizing.

Happy revising everyone and don’t forget to just breathe...and step away from all things social media and screens every once and a while. Feels so good.

Love and light,

Anushka

xx

Continue reading

Red Wine Grudges

Let your fiction grow out of the land beneath your feet –  Willa Cather

ConflictImage

Last night I decided to treat myself and have a glass of red while reading in bed. If only that image was as romantic to the soul as it seemed. I managed to spill it….everywhere. The wine even managed to grace my laptop which was no where near me, leaving bloody droplets all over beautiful light carpet. If anyone asks me about it again I’m probably just going to tell them I killed someone. Their cat maybe .But this extremely irritating experience did prove to be a writing lesson in disguise…DO NOT WRITE WITH BEVERAGES ANYWHERE NEAR YOU!  If that wine had spilled all over my manuscript and hand written notes I would have been devastated and very, very heart broken. I have now made it a point to put all WIP consuming beverages on the chair next to me…or all the way over there. It does not explain what the gigantic water jug is doing right next to my laptop though. It really does take a while to form a habit!  In other related news my USB decided to take a trip down the washing machine! If I had not backed my work anywhere else I would probably be crying right about now! But I did discover that by putting the drowned USB in a cup of rice (to take all the moisture away) saved it! I can still access everything on there!

In WIP news, I have managed to develop and flesh out all my character bios which inspired so much imagery in my head. My WIP is based in Russia and I’m using a lot of folklore inspiration for it and I love how it is adding another darker layer to what I already have – really looking forward to the rewrite! I love Russian fairy tales and how they are morbid in comparison to the commercialized stories people are used to. Not many happily ever afters…and when there is a happily ever after tale you still feel kind of…disturbed. I plan on reading Russian fairy tales to my future children.

This week I hope to be much more productive. I had a really bad head cold last week and everything seemed to move in slowwwww motion and I’m actually surprised that I am still on top of my revision schedule. This week is all about tracking conflicts and flower arrangements.

Love and light,

Anushka xx

Pinterest and other random WIP ramblings

“It takes courage to be a writer. Courage to face yourself, work through your demons & make your art.” Terry Rossio

I’m falling in love with my story all over again. It’s been a tough and fulfilling couple of weeks…I’ve really had to sit down and put together a scene outline of what I want my book to be when I finally begin the rewrite process and I’m really excited to begin every single scene like right now. I know that things will change along the way (hopefully for the better, because that’s the kind of writer I am) but it’s good to know that I’m starting off with something that doesn’t resemble my first draft! My outline has grown by 10 more scenes and the majority of the outline encompasses new scenes or scenes which require an 80%+ rewrite. More importantly…they are more exciting to write!

I also signed up with a pinterest account over a month ago and I never realized I was a visual writer. I just thought everything happened in my head – but  it’s good to be open to other avenues of creativity (outside my head). Just seeing photos which inspire my work really helps me get a solid grounding in my world…which is how I should have felt like during my first draft! I plan on having a few of them printed out and stuck all over my writing space once I begin my heavy rewrite.  I’m also thinking of having a playlist and so far I have lots of creepy music box/ circus music. If anyone has any suggestions for innocent yet creepy sounding music let me know. It’s something I am drawn to and afraid off, so I foresee myself being extremely terrified of every noise around my house in the following months!

Right now I’m working on character bios. Surprisingly I did have some handy during my first draft (not that I ever looked at them!). Just redoing some of the major ones is making me learn more twists and turns to my story so in the future I think I will put more time towards them! And who would have thought that combining a few weaker characters together will give you a even cooler villain??

So goals for the week:

– Complete character bios

– Dedicate 10minutes everyday before I sit down to revise updating my pinterest…since it’s actually helpful and not so much a distraction, unless I start drooling over wedding cakes!

– Double check to see if my work is still backed up in multiple places

– Chase down R.S.V.Ps for a certain someone’s engagement party…like hello….does no one understand how to R.S.V.P anymore? I am not a mind reader! Expect a future rant about this issue in the future. Facebook has turned everyone’s brains to virtual rubbish. (I’ve deactivated my account and I have to say it feels great!)

If anyone would like to follow my boards on pinterest it’s http://pinterest.com/thatcreature/novel-inspirations/ You’ll probably be shocked to discover that my name isn’t findingmycreature ;p Also if you had an account, just leave your link in the comment and I’ll have a bit of a sneak into your mind too.

How is everyone’s WIP going? I may not be active on this blog most days, but I get notifications when the people I follow post something new and I just want to say it’s inspiring to know that somewhere out there there’s another author working on their love.

Love and Light,

Anushka

xx 

What's her story? Fallen lover in arms?Photo

 

Back into the Cave of Revision

Writing a novel is just like writing 3,215 tweets connected by a solid story arc, compelling characters, and a strong sense of place -Yuvi Zalkow

Today is officially my second day of getting back into my first draft revision and I finally feel like I’m making progress. I stumbled across a few long-forgotten notes and was stunned to realize that I have already logged in 48hours of solid revision-related work before I had my break from revision. I honestly have no idea how I managed to fit all that in between moving my life to Canada and working. I surprise myself sometimes. I’m even more surprised that I kept a record. Therefore I have made a point to record what I’ve done each day to see how I can use that information to be more efficient in the future and to know when I procrastinate too much!

My next step in my revision plan-of-attack is outlining the book I want for my final rewrite (the one that’s in my head). So I’m really going to have to think about this and make sure it’s not a repeat of my first draft outline! But I know that story so much better now and I know the transformation from first draft to revised draft will be massive!  For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been using Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN) course as a guide during this process and do not regret it in the slightest. There aren’t many writing related books/courses that sing to me, but all of Holly’s stuff does. Maybe it’s her no bullshit approach. 

Oh and on a totally unrelated note, I think I finally have a title…but I’ll savor it for now and see if it still captures me.

That is all for now.

Love and light xx

Crisis averted. Sanity reinstated.

You can’t cross a sea by merely staring into the water.
– R. Tagore

After my little meltdown I am happy to say that my first draft and I are back on speaking terms. In fact, bring it on! I’m looking forward to the challenge. Being away from my first draft for so long was a little bit of a shock to the system…okay big shock. Big, big, BIG shock! After much thinking I realized this is because my mind continued to play with the story while my fingertips did nothing.  But I am stubborn and this manuscript will eventually be the book I want it to be. After all this time, the story still thrills me so I’m taking that as a good sign!

I would like to thank everyone who took time to comment on my previous blog to offer encouragement and advice. Until that post I had no idea that a) People actually read my blog and b) I have connected with some wonderful writers who continue to inspire me with their progress and updates… which brings me to this next thought.

I need to update this blog more regularly.

I know I’ve said this before in previous posts but I really believe it is a much needed outlet to get me through the revision phase of this first draft, Project_Graveyard. (Plus, it is one of my 2012 writing goals). So expect weekly postings. What a novel concept. (No pun intended). My current goal is to post once a week and eventually make it two. TWO! That’s big, considering I have always have had an commitment issue to blogs!

I read Prue’s recent post Learn to say ‘No’ and it was a timely reminder for me. I will be moving home to Australia next week for a few months to focus on my business and writing goals – and other secret business which may-or-may-not involved the celebration of a certain ring that happened to find itself on my finger in Norway. I have no idea who put it there either ;p

Love and light,

xx