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Hi @grumpy cat! Welcome to my little corner of insanity!

Hey, so I saw all those fantastic words you dumped on the Hermione thing, that was so awesome of you! Thank you very much! Dramione is also one of those things that I can't. We are definitely on the same page there. 

Okay. Whew. Before I tell you this, you're going to have to promise me to tell me whether you facepalmed or not when you read this, okay? 

The Outsider was in response to a dare. It went like this:

Other people: Dramione, yeah.

Me: (sticks nose in someone else's conversation where it doesn't belong) Dramione doesn't work for me

Me: unless there's vampires involved

Other people: DO IT! I DARE YOU!!!

Me: ...

Yeah, I wrote a novel on a dare. 

Did you facepalm?

To be fair, it's taken me five years to build up to it. I dropped it like a hot potato twice. Now, I'm just too stubborn to stop. 

Thank you for appreciating my dumpsterfire story!

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i did not facepalm :elmofire: that's the best novel origin story ever :elmofire:

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, Pix!  Look!  I'm posting something on the forums again!  Not because I've finished my yard work, you understand, but because I have forced myself to take at least one day off from battling the overgrowth in order to read some stories and write some reviews, etc.  So I caught up on the final four posted chapters of The Outsider.  I get the feeling that the story is winding towards its conclusion -- that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, especially with the shocking events of your most recent one or two chapters.

My son has said that when I finally finish writing Crofter/Snake, he will have to re-read the entire story in one fell swoop, and I feel that way about The Outsider also.  As is true with many complicated stories, I really will have to go back to the beginning of your story, having gained a a broad vision (though not a good understanding) of the sweep of the story in my first reading, and pick up all the connections, implications, nuances, meanings of Hermione's  wealth of internal monologue, to understand better her train of thought.  That's okay.  It's always easier the second time around.

It's hard to wrap my mind around the idea that How To Retire... and The Outsider  emerged from the same brain.  One heavy on factually correct research, and the other one from a "dumpster fire" (your characterization, not mine) of runaway imagination/fever dreams.   A very happy and productive summer to you.

V icky

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/25/2024 at 9:30 PM, Oregonian said:

It's hard to wrap my mind around the idea that How To Retire... and The Outsider  emerged from the same brain.


I've had that comment before, when I switched gears after a long form writing run to a shorter, more fun thing that I needed as a palate cleanser. Sometimes after a long story, I just need to head in a different direction for a while. Somebody said I had great breadth as a writer. Mostly, I feel like I have a good grasp on flailing in broad circles. Whatever you want to call it is fine. Hee!


This new project is Magical Investigators with a Big World Issue that I want to turn into a series. After long pondering about what form it's going to end up in, I can decidedly announce that it will be a novel between 80-100k. I'd love to say that it's nothing like either of the two previous stories, but the truth is probably going to be that it will develop into a big mashup, hopefully with a more graceful approach since I supposedly "learned stuff" over the past two years. I can't see the forest for the trees right now, but I can dream about leveling up, right?

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Oookay, it's been another hot minute since I've been here.

*blows dust off Writer's Journal*

Hello there!

So it's the 6th day of July NaNo, and I usually jump on these trains early. Not that I missed the train entirely, but I have been woefully remiss in my reporting. Here we go:

November 2023 - April 2024: picked up The Outsider and revised it to Timbuktu and back. My completion date was marked in my Google Doc as April 15th. I had a small, private party with myself. There may have been cake. Then I  jumped right into my next project. 

According to my next Google Docs notations, I began planning my next project, a Fanfic rewrite and expansion of Coffee and Cursebreakers, on March 27, when I was flailing around with the last few chapters of The Outsider. I allowed myself two months of rehashing the old story, rereading Luck of the Draw (which I intend to pull into the series somehow) and making tons of notes about the magic system and the characters and what kind of world I want to have, and all the things.

So many things. My notes tell me I was on this for two months.

On May 27th, I started with a scrubbed down version of Magical Investigators 1, which I will refer to as MI1 from here out (until it gets its real name, whenever that might be - hello evil little boy who I called "boy" for sixty thousand words until he finally gave me his name. I'm stubborn. I can wait.)with about 9k of prewritten words. I wrote hard (and surprisingly consistent) through the end of June, and ended up with 55k of drafty drafted words. They're not pretty, friends. They never are at this stage for me.

On June 25th, I hit a wall. I spent a few days writing around the wall and under the wall. I threw stuff at the wall. I even went back in my document and filled in more details leading up to the wall to see if that would help. But after about a week, I realized that yes, this was a Real Wall, and I was not equipped to scale it in my present state. 

I did what I am best at. I flailed. (swings arms wildly around head)

And then I started looking for Other Things to do. Because procrastination is fantastic. Maybe I needed time to work things out. Maybe I needed New Tools. Maybe I needed a break. I read some books. I got sidetracked with Scrivner. I found out that I still had an old license and could get the new edition real cheap. 

So that's what I did. I downloaded the latest version of Scrivner and decided to take a week to learn how to use it. (It's a HUGE TOOL, you guys. SO BIG.) The best way to learn how to use the tool is to use the tool. After watching a day's worth of Youtube videos on how other people use Scrivner, I downloaded a template from some author that looked cool and workable, and started in on it.

Of course, that means that I have to put stuff into the app, and so I took that challenge, telling myself that this would be a great time to review my outline. Because wall. Because maybe if I went back far enough, I'd see where I wrote myself up to the wall and be able to fix it.

I don't know if I'm talking to myself here, this is getting pretty long, but anyway, for reporting-sake, I went ahead and did my outline revision while learning to use Scrivner. I color-coded and moved the little "notecards" around on the screen (which was really fun for me) and saw how moving scenes changed the story. I set aside the "wall" and concentrated on the character arc setups at the start of the story, found ways to make those stronger, found plot threads that I should have included but didn't, and anyway, after two weeks of that, I went back and wrote a small paragraph summary for each scene outline card through to the end of the story. My original outline had 46 scenes. The revised outline is at a healthy 49 scenes. It'll probably expand in the later parts, because stories do that. I'm prepared.

That's where I am today. I have a newly revised summary outline with all kinds of little adjustments to the story that I get to make, and I didn't look back at my 55k at all. But here's the cool thing. Are you ready?

I looked today. I looked at my 55k of words and went right up to that wall. It was labeled "scene 37". I skimmed it and then went back to my revised outline and located that section of the story in my cards. Surprisingly, it was in the same spot! It is currently labeled "scene 38", how cool is that??? But what's even cooler is that I know what goes there. It's not a wall anymore!

So this week, I get to go to "scene 37-now 38" in my draft doc and keep writing. I whined a little to a friend about maybe going back and rewriting the last 55k first, but I realized I don't have to. My summary outline is done. I know exactly what I have to change, and I don't have to change it Right Now. I can move forward and write to The End.  I'm expecting that there will be more changes in my head that I can put in the summary outline as the story moves forward, too. If I go back now, I'll just end up going back again after I reach The End.

Let's call all of that "preplanning", lol.

Which leads me to July 6th, the end of the first week of July NaNo.

It's coming up on the second week of July NaNo, and I'm estimating MI1 has about 25k draft words left to write to get to the end of my revised outline. Meanwhile, I've also started a Scrivner shell for MI2, and I'm jotting down notecards there as I get ideas to move forward. Someone in some planning video mentioned that when they coach writers on series writing, they encourage writers to plan and draft outlines of all the books at once. That lets plot threads connect and gives an overall arc for the series. Since I love plotting so much, this sounds like a fantastic idea!  I have an MI3 in the planning stages and should probably knock out a shell for that one, too. (Gotta put the thrift store voodoo doll somewhere for safe keeping.)

Let's do this thing. 

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Oh, I love this whole posting you did here, Pix @Pixileanin.  It's so much fun to read.  Your excitement really shines through.  You are rebuilding your stories as if you were an engineer (both my kids are engineers, so I see the similarity clearly).

I like your idea of having a party, even if only a private party, to celebrate the finishing of a story, such as The Outsider, which was actually pretty long and worth celebrating.  Now I ask myself, "Why didn't I ever think of that?"  I'll have to seize on your idea and do it when I finish C/S, but with more guests.  But contemplating that far-off day, I wonder if I will hate to let Howard go, and if I will miss him like heck, so my question for you is: when you finish a story that you have worked on so long and so hard, as you seem constitutionally made to do, do you ever feel sad about letting go with your characters and their struggles and triumphs?  Like saying goodbye to good, even well-loved friends?  (Not sure if that would apply to The Outsider; was The Outsider ever intended to pull at anyone's heartstrings?)

MI1 (and MI2 and MI3)  sound more like mysteries and thrillers (something an engineer would write :) )  Would that be  a correct impression?  I should think it would be a big challenge to create the nuts and bolts of a new magical universe, with all the technical details of how this universe works and the need to avoid creating illogicalities, and yet at the same time exploring the humanness of the characters.  I'm sure it can be done, it would just be a lot of work.  I foresee that it will take you a long time.  Lots of success (I won't say "Lots of Luck," because, as the old man said after rappelling down the side of the Portland Bank Tower, "Luck has nothing to do with it.")


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So, hey. It's the 15th of the month, and we're halfway through July NaNo.

Let's see where everything is.

I'm finally back to words. Wording my draft makes me feel like I'm moving forward again, so that's really, really good. I had to go back to scene 30 when I jumped in, instead of starting at scene 37. The momentum for the stuff that happens in scene 37 needed a buildup, and I couldn't just do that in my head. Good news is that after this morning's writing stint, I've finished a draft of scene 34, so I'm getting there. I'm not sure how confident I can be in drafting 14 more scenes before the end of the month, but I won't know if I don't go for it. If I can set aside the second-guessing, I think I have a chance at making it.

Lots of good things are coming out in the draft, though. The characters are speaking to me a lot more clearly. Their personalities are popping in the height of the conflict, and I'm starting to get a feel for the tone of the story. Finally. My process still feels kind of convoluted and backwards. Like, who waits 60k words to find the tone?? *raises hand*  I think it was there all along, but it took me this long to focus it and recognize it for what it was. I guess. There's a lot of guessing in first drafts. Sigh. 

What do they say? Trust the process?

Other good things: I have a better feel for my antagonist (s). I got to a scene where he got a POV and I let him tell me all the things in draft mode. It clarified a lot of things I hadn't yet nailed down in the plot, and inwardly I cheered because I can now check off a bunch of "I don't know"s from my list of "things TBD". And yeah, there was a guy behind the guy. My muse told me this months ago, and today, the pieces finally clicked together. I finally got a good look at how these guys are working together (sort of) and the conflicts between them (even more exciting) and how that impacts the world conflict in my story (exceedingly giddy about all that).

Huh. I guess I can trust the process after all.


If anyone's counting words (which, hey, we all are because it's fun!), I've gotten back to the words three days ago, and I'm averaging about 2,500 words a day, which I think is a good NaNo pace. Let's pretend I can keep this up for the next 12 weekdays of July NaNo and stick my goal like this:

12 weekdays of writing remaining

14 drafted scenes to get to "the end" (some of which are partially drafted already)

30k new drafted words


Other people have done it. Why can't I be one of them? And if I can manage this, August is going to be one heck of a revision month. Woo!






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