Thursday, January 19, 2012

A shockingly good update on Project Demo

Since I've returned to my blog from my holiday break, I've complained about TV and waxed poetic about angels. It's probably time to get concrete and writerly, and to give an update on my current work-in-progress, Project Demo.

You're never going to believe this, but... it's going well! I know!

I've been working on Project Demo off and on for over a year. I've completely given up on it twice. And I don't believe I've ever reported that it was going WELL.

When writing on a novel, I keep a running list of questions and notes on everything that isn't working: characters, setting, background details, plot... The list helps me from becoming overwhelmed, as I can always promise myself that eventually I will return to all those nit-picky details.

Well, since I returned from the US, I've been tackling the list in earnest. It's frighteningly long (16 pages. Yes, that's 16 pages of JUST THE LIST!), but I've crossed off over half of the items on it.

Even better, few of the items left are exceptionally daunting. I'm at that stage where I suddenly find the novel holds together in my head. The plot is consistent, the characters are fully formed. I might be missing some description here and there, but I have a sense that everything belongs and has its place. I'm rarely creating, but more often (to mix several metaphors) merely filling in blanks and stitching together loose threads.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to get notes from my most recent beta reader, but have gotten a few (gushy) hints to assuage my fear.

When did this happen? No, seriously, does anyone know?

I would suspect novel-writing fairies broke into my computer over the holidays, but this happened with Project Sparkle, too. Suddenly my words have formed a complete, coherent story. Hard work has turned into magic.

Give me another month or so, and I might finish Project Demo.

I really need to throw a party when I do. Hold me to that.

Have you ever found yourself unable to pinpoint when your writing goes from mere words to well-crafted story? Or do you always remember every excruciating step?

6 comments:

  1. That's awesome! What a great start to the new year. I'm a "question logger" too ... am currently at that phase with my WIP - writing questions in whatever notebook is at hand. I'm a big believer that questions help us refine and improve our WIPs.

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  2. Congratulations, Anne! What a happy surprise =D

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  3. See? I told you that you would find your stride. I always keep a list of things just to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. For me, it's hard to pinpoint but it's almost like being in love -- you just know.

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  4. Elisabeth: Ohhh, so interesting to know I'm not the only "question logger". Great term!

    Ruth: Aw, thanks! Happy surprises are such a nice change from the other type, aren't they? ;)

    Karen: Aw, right you were! Interesting comparison to falling in love. I agree, both are definitely hard to pinpoint, first you're not sure, but interested, and then, bam, love! Or maybe things just tend to sneak up on me... ;)

    Interesting to hear I'm not the only question logger! I definitely agree, I'm so afraid I'm going to forget all these little things I mean to do (plus the bigger things I constantly worry about), that it helps to keep a running list to refer back to.

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  5. Lovely post, Anne. Those points of illumination are the real reason, at least for me, for doing this work.

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  6. Mirka: Thank you. And yes! All of this has got me thinking exactly that. This is the best part of writing--actually finishing a story I'm proud of. Help me to hold onto that!

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