The Coileáin Chronicles
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I’m now two weeks into this month’s session of Camp NaNoWriMo.
In my last post, I talked about how I was crushing my word count, mostly because I was writing out two separate timelines because my character has to make a choice (retreat & recover or keep going & kick ass), and I have no idea which choice is the right one for the story. So I’m writing them both, hoping that one timeline will eventually emerge as the clear and correct choice.
But…I’m still not entirely sure. I am leaning heavily toward one path over the other, but I feel like the final determination is coming down to one pivotal (at least to me) scene on which I am currently working.
If this one scene can accomplish all the things I would ideally want it to accomplish, then I can go with Door #2, and Door #1 can go live in the deleted scene file with all the other displaced and obsolete storylines.
But I don’t know if that one scene can accomplish all the things I want it to do. It feels like it’s a lot of emotional whatever for one scene, and at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t have enough emotion in it. It feels like I have all the right pieces to this puzzle, if I can just figure out how they all fit together. But it also feels like these pieces may belong to two entirely different puzzles.
I don’t know what it is about this WIP that just refuses to be finished. Maybe my characters are screwing with me, Home Alone style, in an attempt to keep me from writing the end of the book because they suspect it will only lead to more misery for them.
Which, to be fair, it probably will.
So, on the word count front, I am good. I am better than good because, as you’ll see in the Camp Stats section at the end of this post, I have both reached and exceeded the word count goal I set at the beginning of the month. But, as I have stated in previous posts, the word count doesn’t matter here.
My real goal this month is to finish the first draft of Full Circle. And that?
Well, that’s still a work in progress.
Word Count Goal: 20,000
Where my WC should be: 9,030
My current WC: 22,504
Average words per day: 1,731
At this rate, I will reach my WC goal by: July 11th
Well, gang, I’m about a week into this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo session, and I am way ahead of my word count goal (I’m already over halfway there). But there’s a simple, if odd-sounding explanation for that…
I don’t know what’s supposed to happen.
In my last post, I detailed my writing plan for this month, which was basically to fuse together parts from two rejected plans to create a new possible path to a possible ending of the WIP that refuses to be finished (AKA, Full Circle, AKA Book Three in my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles).
The plan started off pretty well. I had lots and lots of pages of notes to guide me that detailed exactly what I wanted certain scenes to look like, so it was just a matter of writing them out.
But then I came to a place where the detailed planning ended and became more…theoretical, I guess I could say. More specifically, one of my POV characters was left with a choice: retreat & recover or keep going & kick ass.
(Note: There are a lot of details behind those two choices which I am choosing not to divulge, so even though one option may sound waaaaaaay more interesting than the other, they do each come along with their own sets of merits and possibilities. Hence the indecision.)
I have yet to make a decision on which one of these paths is the right choice, so I’ve been writing them both.
What would it look like if she chooses Door #1? What would it look like she chooses Door #2? Where do each of those doors leads? What subsequent choices will she have to make, and where will those choices lead?
All of this has left me feeling like I’m now writing one of those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that were popular when I was a kid (Note: various forms of this storytelling method do still exist today). You know, the kind that allow that reader to decide where the story goes. At the end of a page, there’s a choice. Do you want to do A or B? And you continue through the story, making choices, until you reach one of the book’s possible 1,000,000 (Note: may be a slight exaggeration…) endings.
I assume, at some point, one of these paths will start to feel right to me. That’s how I usually know I’m heading in the right direction with a story—I just feel it in my gut—but, so far, my gut is all…
Once I make a decision, I’ll delete the imposter timeline and focus on the other one. But until then…at least this multi-verse-esque thing I’ve got going on is doing fantastic things for my word count…right?
Word Count Goal: 20,000
Where my WC should be: 4,515
My current WC: 11,726
Average words per day: 1,954
At this rate, I will reach my goal by: July 10th
How do you decide which path to take? Have you ever written a Choose Your Own Adventure story? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, how’s it going?
Stay safe and well, all.
The following is that plan.
So, here’s the situation: I’m going to focus on Full Circle. My desire to finish that damn WIP has taken over just about everything in my life, so it’s once again getting the nod. It may be a terrible idea—it may be the most horrible idea anyone has ever had in the history of time (I’m pretty sure it’s not, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) and will only lead to me hiding under my desk, crying into a pint of…something before the end of the month—but I’m determined to do it anyway.
But there’s a twist.
And a long rambling tale that goes with it. (But of course there is. I am the one telling this story, after all…)
Right. Okay. Anyway, each installment in my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles, is written in three parts. I don’t know why, really. It just kind of happened that way.
With Full Circle, I’ve been mostly happy (for now) with the first two parts. I know there are things that will need to be addressed and fixed and perhaps outright cut and/or changed, but it’s first draft done and has been for a while now.
The problem is Part Three. I’ve had a plan for the ending but haven’t had any luck with its execution. I think that may be because the original plan involves introducing too many new ideas/characters/whatever too late in the game. Meaning that Part Three has been reading more like the start of a new book, rather than the end of the current one.
As is the case in many things, accepting there is a problem is the first step in dealing with and maybe even solving said problem. So I set out to devise an alternate plan. If the ending was actually a beginning, where did Full Circle actually end?
After some time spent staring at my storyboard, I came up with a possibility. It involved redrawing the lines between the first two parts and the need to write a fourth book in the series, but it was a possibility.
It was also a possibility that survived almost twenty-four hours before I kicked it to the curb, but really, the fact that it made it that long was quite the achievement.
After which, I went back to the original plan. I was all determined to make it work. Because I liked the original plan (and I really didn’t want to write a fourth book…). Which was fine except for one small detail…
It doesn’t work.
But anyway, all of this leads up to the actual, current plan. (You were beginning to think I forgot about that, weren’t you?)
Let me introduce…FrankenWIP.
FrankenWIP is meant to be a (hopefully) successful and happy (well, ‘happy’ being a relative term. No characters will be happy because this is an M.J. Fifield story and she doesn’t do happy, but she herself will be happy if this damn WIP actually gets written) hybrid of the two rejected plans.
I think there are good elements to both of those plans that can be extracted and cut and pasted together into one functional plan. (Hence the name ‘FrankenWIP’ because I’m super clever like that.)
Here’s the process:
First step: Create a new version of the novel for experimentation’s sake. This way, if FrankenWIP is ultimately deemed a failure, nothing is permanently lost. If FrankenWIP is somehow a success, then the original draft will go live at the ‘outdated draft’ farm upstate with all the other outdated drafts.
Second step: Make a massive amount of notes (thirteen pages and counting…) on proposed changes to the plot and character arcs and the domino effect those changes will have on every damn thing in the book. Also note any scenes that can stay as is (I think there may be one so far) or need to be tweaked slightly to reflect the coming avalanche of changes, scenes that could possibly be merged into one new and improved scene, or scenes that need to be outright deleted because their storylines are now obsolete.
Third step: Make a list of all the scenes/dialogue exchanges I would reaaaallllllly like to repurpose for the new Part Three, if I can find a way to pull it off. There are a lot of darlings on the chopping block here. (If they have to go, they have to go, but I will be immensely sad about it.)
Fourth step: Build a new storyboard to reflect the FrankenWIP experiment while keeping the original storyboard intact for reference because I am a visual learner, dammit, and seeing the entire project laid out before me is an integral part of my process. Ignore the significant other when they ask, “How many damn Post-It notes does one person really need?” because the answer is ALL OF THEM.
Fifth step: Delete the now-obsolete scenes (and by ‘delete’, I mean ‘safely store in a separate file, in case this damn thing doesn’t work or I need to strip old scenes for parts to build new scenes’) and don’t freak out when the deleted word count crosses 35,000. Or, rather, don’t freak out too much. Remember that (in theory) those deleted scenes will be replaced with scenes that will lead to the end of this damn WIP. (And a fourth book, apparently, which I’m not psyched about, but that’s a problem for later. Much, much later.)
Sixth step: Start writing those new scenes, following the aforementioned pages upon pages of notes. Typing with my fingers crossed may present a challenge, but I’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
Seventh step: Celebrate when the first six steps lead to a completed novel, even if that celebration looks like me taking the world’s longest nap because holy hell, I’m tired.
So that’s the plan. I don’t know if it’ll work. I don’t know if it can work, but I am currently working my way through steps 1-5, so it’s at least giving off the impression of accomplishment, which is…not nothing?
Step six will begin tomorrow.
My goal was pretty arbitrarily set for 20,000 words in 31 days, which averages out to approximately 646 words per day.
I may write more. I may write less. I don’t know. The word goal itself doesn’t particularly matter. The real goal is to finish the WIP. Regardless of how many words that takes. (But I’m pretty sure it’ll be more than 20k. Because of course it will. I’m writing it, after all.)
I really hope this works.
Stay tuned to this channel for updates…
And, as always, thanks for stopping by. Be safe and well, all.
Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this July? If you’re looking for buddies, you can find me under the very clever user name M.J. Fifield.
Hello, all! It’s the day you have long waited for…Goal Post Day.
But before we get to the main event, we’re going to take a look back at April’s goals.
—Participate in and (if possible) win Camp NaNoWriMo
Well, I did this. I both participated in and won April’s Camp session. My goal was set at 25,000 words because I foolishly believed that might be enough words to get me to the end of my WIP, Full Circle (Book 3 of my fantasy series).
Yeah. It wasn’t.
So I’m not feeling particularly like I actually accomplished anything here, but I did technically complete the goal.
—Figure out April’s monthly marketing attempt and, you know, do it
I think I did this. I don’t know if it exactly counts as marketing, but I asked my social media followers to choose a number corresponding to pages in my current WIP (Full Circle), then shared snippets of the scenes on the chosen pages.
Thank you to everyone who helped me out with this experiment, by the way. It’s much appreciated.
—Read a book
I’m not sure, but I think I may have read two. Look at me go!
—Walk at least three miles every day
I slacked off a couple of days, especially toward the end of the month, but my daily average is still decent. I logged nearly 122 miles in April, for an average of just over 4 miles per day.
Now for something completely different…May’s goals!
Sure, they may look pretty much identical to April’s goals, but that’s only because I am really not great at actually completing projects.
—Finish the first draft of Full Circle
Because it STILL isn’t done. And I’m super happy about that. (Narrator: She was, in fact, NOT happy about that.)
—Figure out May’s marketing attempt and, you know, do it
Anyone want to do this one for me? I’m just so tired. And also, I really hate marketing in any form.
—Walk at least three miles a day
Because everything else about my lifestyle is incredibly unhealthy.
How about you? Do you have any goals for the merry month of May?
Thanks for stopping by, all! Stay safe and well!