It’s about time I did a writing update. I got out of the habit of doing updates, and I suppose the time away made it a wee bit daunting. But here I am, braving the blank blog page.
A while back, I decided I needed a break from pre-editing Working the Asset (Deniable Unit #1). The story still excites me, but there’s something not quite right about it. A bit of time away and a good hard look at the structure will fix it when I get back to it. Of that, I’m certain.
So, what have I been spending my time doing? Besides a significant declutter, dealing with injuries/illnesses–my own and Jez’s–and going yarn daft, I took a story structure course to up my outlining skills.
This week has been a hard slog…to no real progress. Well, none that moves the percentage bar. I’ve come across a few issues with my scenes in the form of wishy-washy scene goals. Up until this week it wasn’t noticeable. That was until I started working on the Character pass. It would have been okay; the characters all have scene goals in there, somewhere, and the story still flows and entertains.
It didn’t become a real problem in my eyes until Monday when I was nearing the end of a novel by one of my fave authors. There were several issues in the book, but the one that stood out–because I was dealing with it myself–was that the characters just seemed to go along with the story to get to the overall story goal. It didn’t engage me the way that that author normally does. The problem? The characters didn’t have any concrete scene goals.
Looking at my big stack of index cards with lots of weak-ish scene goals wasn’t too daunting. Yet, I couldn’t get myself to focus. At all. Day after day, my progress slowed to a snail’s pace. Something was wrong.
After a quick look through my planner (I’m a planner geek), I realised that I hadn’t had a day off since 11th June. I promptly freaked out at the thought of taking a day off, until I remembered that Jez was off work for a couple of weeks. So, I’ve decided to take a week or so off to give my inner chimp (Neenee) some downtime, and me some time to unwind and refill the creative well–movies, Halo, and some baking.
Which brings me to the wee bit on Genre Scribes. I’m going to take a break from Genre Scribes until October. Once I get back into Working the Asset, I really want to focus solely on that.
For now, I’m off to make some wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free cookies. 🤤
I love update post day! It means that I’ve made progress on my WIP, and that I’m ever closer to my goal of releasing Working the Asset.
Since the last update (ten days ago), I’ve completed Pass #5 — four days ahead of schedule 😃🥳 — and have made a start on Pass #6. In fact, I’m 12% of the way in.
For those interested, Pass #6 is all about the characters. Whittling down the cast size, cementing introductions, ensuring that I’ve treated them with respect–even when I’ve got to make them suffer 😈–and a whole host of other character related tasks.
Since the last update, I’ve blasted through Pass #4, the aim of which is to deepen audience delight with genre sequences, dramatic irony, and making sure that the story escalates well.
I’m now working on Pass #5. This pass takes care of the Fou Rs or as H. R. D’Costa (the creator of this outlining method) calls them The Four Workhorses. The four Rs are Realism, Relevance, Repetition, and Rhythm.
For the past few days I’ve been working through my stack of index cards—the continuously growing stack—looking for, and creating, setups and payoffs. And, tomorrow sees me tackling the fun/teeth-drying task of wrangling my subplots into shape.
Time for a quick update on Working the Asset. My goal for July was to complete Pass #3 (Premise). Amazingly enough, I managed to achieve that on Saturday–a whole week ahead of what looked like a tight schedule!
So, this morning, I started work on Pass #4 (Deepening Audience Delight) and am 7% of the way through.
The story is starting to come alive. I love Elle and Adam and their enemies-to-lovers journey. And, I’m not ashamed to admit, I have a soft spot for Trevor, their Big Bad–he’s so much fun to work with.
Until next time, thanks for reading, and take care.
I had zero plans of posting a progress update on Working the Asset until Sunday. In my last post, I said that I had the foolish goal of finishing the second editorial pass of the outline by Sunday. Well, it’s Thursday, and I’ve done it! The second pass is complete. Woohoo!
Here’s how the last few days went:
I can’t wait to get back on it tomorrow where I’ll start work on the third editorial pass. The focus of this pass is on the premise (Act IIa). This is where I’ll work to ensure that Adam and Elle (my co-protagonists) are taking action on their story goals, that the adventure, suspense, and romance elements fulfil/exceed genre expectations, and that I’ve not inadvertently created an escalation problem.
It’s been a few weeks since I last updated on my progress on Working the Asset. As I mentioned in a previous update, I’m writing my outline with my non-dominant hand (lefty) owing to CRPS in the right one.
Fast-forward 27,000 words, a stack of index cards with writing so small only a fruit fly can read it, and a terrifying amount of coffee and this is what you get:
Last week I posted about getting stuck into adding some meat to Working the Asset‘s story skeleton. I’d fantasized that I’d have posted that I’d gotten that done by now and was on the way to editorial pass #2…I may have bitten off more than I could chew for the time I had allowed for it.
Some Background (The CRPS Bit)
For most writers, physically writing on those index cards (or anything) is so easy and effortless that the only thought required to fill them out is what happens in the scene.
For me, there’s a lot more involved. For the last twenty years, I’ve suffered from a chronic pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It affects my right hand and arm. Take a guess to which hand is my dominant one. Yep, you got it! 😬
Very long story short, the CRPS was caused by an injury sustained while serving in the Navy, and it eventually ended my career. And any prospects of ever having one.
It’s been a while (a really long while) since I’ve done an update post for my writing progress. That’s mainly been down to life getting in the way of writing.
In the last month or so, I’ve taken steps to remedy that—pretty much bahookie in chair and head down kind of steps.
What I’m Working On:
I’m back to working on the outline for Deniable Unit #1. Also, I finally have a working title for DU1: Working the Asset.
The outlining method I’m using is called Iterative Outlining, a method created by H. R. D’Costa.
A quick reminder of what iterative outlining is: it’s like doing all the developmental editing that usually happens after the story is written, but at the outlining stage—in three phases.
There’s a lot of work upfront, and it seems like it’s neverending, but it’s worth it. So far, I’ve saved a whole lot of time by fixing a plot issue I hadn’t even noticed was there. One that would have cost far more time editing at the end.
The Final Stage
At last, I’m on the final stage of iterative outlining, called the working outline. This one consists of seven editorial passes:
Odds and Ends
As of today, I’m 70% of the way through the editorial pass for the plot. Woohoo!
My progress will pick up steam as I work through all the passes, and I’ll share how it’s going here on the blog.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll join me as I get ever closer to typing THE END.