Nanowrimo, the first week

This was not supposed to happen, I had wanted to update sooner since it’s Nanowrimo. But things have been really busy and I used my time to focus on my writing more than updating my blog.

I’ve written every day, and I’m proud because I had my parents over during the first weekend and still I managed to write. And not only that I even managed to stay ahead with my writing. My story is going really well. I’m very happy with what I’ve written so far, although I have already chucked a couple of scenes into the ‘Un-used chapters’ folder in my scrivener.

I started writing as soon as the clock hit 0.00 on November 1st, the anticipation at that point is too much for me not to sit down and write. I need to get those first words out at that particular point. Even if it is a weekday and I know that I have to work the next day I will still be sitting at my computer to write my first scene. Sometimes just for twenty minutes sometimes longer. I always do this and I was really happy that this year Nanowrimo lined up perfectly with the weekends. Both the beginning and the end are either a Saturday of a Sunday.

Anyway like I said, I started writing as soon as I was allowed to do so and I was off to a good start about 1100 words before I signed off and went to bed. And I was really happy with it as well. That was until I fired up my computer and wrote what I had typed into Scrivener early in the morning.

The idea was fine and it told me exactly what I wanted to say in that chapter, but it felt really distant. Disconnected for some reason and now you might say ‘Oh, that’s fine it’s only a first draft!’ and more comments like that but I really didn’t like it and since it was only the start I figured why not go back and change what I want to change now that I have the chance. Instead of annoying myself with that chapter every time I see it. So I went back and changed my third person point of view to a first person point of view. And it became a lot better and now I’m really happy with the result. So in all honesty I suck at not using my inner-editor and I know it. I’m not even trying to keep it in check, it just doesn’t work for me, it’s part of me and part of my process. It does take away from my actual word count but at the same time I know that if I’m not happy with what I’m writing I might give up completely. Or I write it to get to the 50 000 words and then never look at it again.

Another big issue in my story is that I keep repeating certain aspects of my main characters life. She doesn’t have an easy life … but if she did she wouldn’t be my main character. So it’s obvious but I don’t need to keep repeating that fact over and over again! I had written parts of chapters 3, 4 and 5. And I’m not happy with those either because I was repeating myself constantly and I wasn’t making much progress in my story in general. So yes again you could say it’s just a first draft, just keep on writing and you’ll get through it. Which is all fine, but again a big annoyance to me.

Last Friday we had a meeting, a write-in at our local library and while I kept writing I was contemplating what to do. So I decided that I would set up my timeline in Aeon Timeline and see if I could figure it out from there. And that is what I did.

Aeon timeline

I always screw up in timeline. Not exactly timeline wise, ehm let me explain this in a better fashion. I make a timeline with a general idea of when I want something to happen – the order in which it happens. But when I start writing I always screw up. The key points in the story still happen the way they are supposed to happen – in the right order I mean – however the reference to those key points always get screwed up. Here in this story it already happened on the third chapter. The first and second chapter consist of one big event which explains the start of the story and introduces my two main characters and a minor character and the world they live in. In chapter three I was referring to these events in one scene I said it happened 6 weeks ago and certain consequences would happen in weeks or months to come and in the second scene I referred to it happened a few weeks ago (meaning two) and the consequences would follow in a shorter amount of time than I stated previously.

So I  downloaded the nano-trail version of Aeon timeline which is offered to us by the makers of the program. I put all my main characters into the bottom part. You give them a birth-date and if necessary a day they died. You’re really flexible in creating your own timelines even for fantasy worlds (but I have no use for that, so I haven’t really used it). My story happens in the future of this planet. So far when it actually takes place is not really important in my story. But I did set up a specific start date so that I would have that actual starting point, it’s December 15th, 2857. That is the first event, that is the date of chapter one.

As you can see in the image below I set up three different arcs so far. There might be more in the future, I don’t know. You always start with the Global, so I just started adding events. Important dates like the birth of my characters because if you know when they were born you can always find what age they where when a certain event occurred.

Then I set up the Story arc, in this line I have added key point in my story. So far these are only things I know ahead of time. But new key points will be added when I need them. So I will know when they occur and who was either participating in that key point or merely observing it. You can change this by clicking on your characters arc line where the key points intersects at the bottom of your page. By clicking on your left mouse-key.

The third arc which I have added is called Chapters, it might be a weird name but that is hopefully how I will keep track of my storyline. Right now you can only see the chapters which I’ve already started writing. And when I need them I add a new chapter.

That is the way I set it all up. Underneath you will also find a zoomed in version of my timeline. You can now see the key points and my characters names. Obviously ‘Revar’s sign appears’ is an important event, since this also marks the start of chapter 1. Underneath my characters you’ll find a yellow-ish base timeline. This is what I called the timeline of my book. It starts with zero at the first event. I now know that Ainsleys sign appears five weeks after the first event in my book. Of course that’s still subject to change.

The way I set Aeon Timeline up is what made me decide to chuck the already written parts of chapters 3, 4 and 5 into the bin. It’s still there and I will probably go back and re-use parts of it because it’s usable just not in the way I was using it before. By now I have rewritten chapters 3, 4 and 5 and I am really happy with what I have now, it’s way better this way. I know that this probably falls under the whole don’t use your inner-editor thing but I like that inner-editor especially when I see that what I have edited is so much better and right now I’m still in the stages easily throwing those things out and still being able to keep on writing.

Being able to do this is what keeps me motivated to write. I reckon that might not work for everyone, but it does for me and I will continue to do so. I just hope that someone out there finds some tricks in this post which will help them along in their story.

 

Scrivener update

I still love working with it! It’s great, I have everything I need right there with me in one and the same program and that is fantastic for a chaotic person like I am. It makes the whole process of writing easier for me, so I’m really seeing the benefits of the program.

However there is one thing which kinda annoys me, maybe it’s an option which the program has and I just haven’t found it yet.  Though I have asked my writing buddies and so far no one has been able to help me yet. Chapters can be very long sometimes and while you’re writing you might loose track of characters. In yWriter you’re character names (as long as you’ve added characters in the program of course) will light up in a different color which will make it easier to find your characters. And so far I haven’t been able to find that particular option in Scrivener. And the same goes for places and items you can light them up as well. I know that you can search for certain words and you’ll get a list of all the files in which that particular word is used but that is not what I meant. I would really like it if I could light those words up permanently.

If anyone has any idea how to do this, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I would really love to have the option if Scrivener has it!

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