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Writing Reflection 2009
A Year Come and Gone
2009 is at an end. I've accomplished little. More than last year, but still not as much as I would have wanted. I've finished nine chapters this time... nine chapters and major outlining and plotting for both Volume 3 and Volume 4. But that work isn't up on the site for other people to see. I was on a roll, ready to just keep on chugging until Volume 3 was done, but then life got in the way and an unplanned move and change in my life forced me to stop for the moment. and see.)
So, what have I learned? What stood out? Where can I improve? What did I get right? And since I hardly wrote anything at all this year, what gets in the way?
What stood out?
Allowing myself to do revisions to my posted chapters was the right way to go. , but this year I decided to implement a formal system in tracking the changes I make to each chapter. My previous policy was that if a chapter was posted, then it couldn't be touched. But really... this is the first story that I'm writting. I'm doing it as a learning process. As long as I record what changes I'm making and why, then I'll learn much better that way, rather than leaving the chapters untouched.
I lucked out during Volume 1, my notes essentially had "Melfina pays rent" in the outline for the final chapter, and I figured I'd figure something out by the time I got there. And as it turned out, I figured it out early. I had a similar outline for the ending of volume 2, but this time I did not figure it out right away. As I got closer and closer to the final chapters I knew I had a major problem on my hands, because I didn't know how to tie everything together and resolve all the various plots that had been going on. It took a lot of work, but I eventually got an ending that I could be satisfied with.
This lesson forced me to make sure I had figured out an ending to Volume 3 before I put up that first chapter. As well as begin some major plotting into Volume 4. (If I actually write Volume 4 is a different matter entirely. With the pace that I'm going, I'm afraid I'll never finish this story before I no longer have time for it.)
Where can I improve?
My schedule. Again.
I managed almost twice as many chapter this year as last year, but that's not good enough. Life got in the way again. I feel bad about that. I want the chapters to come out on a regular schedule. Once I got started with Chapter 216, I was able to post chapters regularly until the Volume was finished, plus a few into Volume 3. And then nothing.
Once I start putting up chapters, I'm going to make sure I don't do it until I'm confident that I can get them out there consistently until Volume 3 is finished. That means finishing very strong drafts of at least the next 10-15 chapters.
What did I get right?
When you can take breaks of several months, and then come back to a story and be excited by what's going on in it, you know you've done something right. I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to put out regular content, but it's comforting to know that I really do like the story I'm writing. The word-smithing can be improved upon of course, which is readily shown by the amount of revisions that I like to make, but the core concepts behind the whole thing is working, and that's what keeps me coming back.
I nearly completed Chapter 216-221 before posting up the first new chapter in a while. Before I was really only working one or two chapters ahead, but it does work much better taking a longer view of things to make everything gel together. As well as finding outs to any problems that might need some work.
What got in the way?
Same as last year, some writer's block hit me. This was due to poor planning on my part in the basic concept of the volume. It ended up ok in the end, but it's something I'll be sure to look out for in the future. Stark's chapters are harder to write, but as it turned out, I can have problems with Melfina chapters as well.
Life Got in the Way
Also like last year, what happened after the writer's block? Well... life got in the way. And also like last year, moving to a new place was once again a part of that chaos. When life is chaotic, it's hard to focus on writing a story. Things are a bit more settled now. I hope to get a lot of work done on Volume 3 soon, and resume my schedule. I don't know what's going to happen after Volume 3 is finished, but I'm going to at least complete this Volume that I've already begun.
Why come back?
Volume 3 Isn't Finished
See a theme going on here? Just like last year, because the Volume isn't finished. I don't know if I'll finish all eight Volumes that I have in my head, but if I start a Volume, I'll finish it. And when I outlined the story, I knew some Volumes would make better stopping points than others. Volume 2 ended with a cliffhanger, and just not a place I wanted to leave it at. We'll see how I feel at the end of Volume 3, because that is one of the good stopping points.
So what have I learned? There can never be enough revisions. I hope that means it's because I'm learning more, the more that I write, and not that it's only because it's hard to edit one's own work. I also am going to write a significant portion of Volume 3 before I beging posting up new chapters again. I need to create a much larger buffer zone for the times when I just don't have time to write. I'd prefer the chapters to come out on a regular basis, and that's the only way that I can ensure that it happens.
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