Friday, April 15, 2011

Update on Project Demo: Operation 50/50 Part II

Today is the last day of Operation 50/50, Karen at Musings of a Novelista's scheme to write 50 scenes in 50 days.

I haven't been a dedicated participant, after taking a week and a half off to go sightseeing around England. However, I've since started back up, and have continued to be thrilled with my progress, day by day, scene by scene.

I'm now on my third go through Project Demo. It still feels rough, but the plot is finally consistent, the characters mostly keep the same names throughout. Yesterday I figured out a major detail that had been eluding me, so I'll start working that in. I'm almost at the stage where I need to stop working linearly and start attacking bits and pieces: character arcs, back story, setting details, the beginning. How I hate beginnings!

Lately, I've been thinking that writing is a bit like playing an instrument. When my orchestra is in season, I practice most days. But I don't play pieces the whole way though, or favorite songs; rather, I slog through the hard bits, playing the same lines over and over. I'm hardly blown away by my talent, or inspired by the music; it's just about learning each note and playing it as well as I can.

And that's what I've liked so much about Operation 50/50. It isn't about creating exquisite writing, but about plowing through, adding words, and working towards the target of finishing a book. And every day I've had the same goal: just write (or revise) one scene.

So I'm going to keep at it for a bit longer. If I really wanted to be scientific about it, I'd count the days I missed and set a new due date... but for now I think I'll just keep going, at least as long as I'm thinking in scenes. Thank you, Karen, for the inspiration!

What about the rest of you? How are your writing projects going?


  1. Yesterday, I finally took out an old NaNoWriMo project I started ages ago, revised the first thousand words, and sent them out to be critiqued, (having won a free 1000-word critique from Marcia Hoehne). That's the first writing-related thing I've done for the past month (not counting emails and editing for friends, or volunteer projects).

    I'm in a bad writing slump right now and need to do something to kick myself out of it.

  2. I love what you said about working in bits and pieces. I've started a new manuscript—novel, for adults—and for the first time am seriously using Scrivener. My kids' work was too short and I ended up sticking with Word for them. What I'm loving about Scrivener is that I CAN work in bits. I find this much more productive for me. In Word, I feel I have to write linearly. I'm the type that has bits, pieces of dialogue, scenes, sketches scribbled on paper here and there. Scrivener lets me do that, then lets me compile it to work on the ms as a whole when I need/have to.

  3. Mary: Eek! It's so hard for me to get back into writing after having been away from it for a while. Maybe this critique can spur things forward! Or your own Operation 50/50? =)

    Andrea: You know, it's interesting; I've been using Scrivener for so long, I had completely forgotten how hard it is to jump around to different points and write different scenes in a Word document. Love my Scrivener!

    How exciting that you're working on an adult novel. Good luck with it!

  4. Well done, Anne!

    I love your approach - just get something done each day.

    I've switched my focus back to my YA Fantasy project, which has morphed into 5 projects so far and yesterday I managed to transcribe my handwritten stuff that I wrote on the train about 3 weeks ago. That felt like an accomplishment!

    Right now I have 1.25 hours to myself (!) while the kidlet is playing at a friend's house so I am about to sit down again and see what I can churn out in that time.

    If I can just stay well, and the kidlet can just stay well.... this is my new mantra that I chant under my breath as a plea to the universe....


  5. Elisabeth: Thanks! It really has been a good way of work for me, not based on time or word counts, but just accomplishing something.

    Wow, FIVE projects. Goodness! Good luck with your 1.25 hours! I'll chant your mantra too, maybe that will help the healthy magic work!

  6. Anne,
    I'm immersed in a project (writing, but not fiction) and have only been nibbling at my manuscript in 15 minute chunks (or not at all). I find it so hard to write this way, but it is what it is.

    Good for you for finding your mojo. I will be back in a few weeks to borrow some inspiration and discipline. :)

  7. Bridgette: I hope you can find some manuscript writing time soon--how maddening! On the flip side, though, I've been amazed at how productive I can be when I only can write in short bursts.

    It's so nice to share these tips and support with each other, isn't it? Good luck!

  8. Thanks Anne! I needed that shot of support. :) I'm fighting off a wee bit of writing discouragement at the moment. Had happy news from two good writing friends which made me excited for them and anxious for me. I have no idea why the two emotions go hand-in-hand for me, but they do. I just feel like I'm running waaaaaay behind. So thanks for the cheerful words. :D

  9. Oh, I'm sorry, Bridgette. It's so nice when writing friends get great news, but I always feel that other, hard side, too. Just keep plugging away, your time will come!

    By the way, thanks for the tip on Victoria Marini (figured I'd bury my response here rather than on my current post)--tips always welcome. Unfortunately, with her I had a form rejection about a month ago. *sigh* It almost makes it worse when you know the agents are LOOKING for something like what you're writing, but somehow it's still not what they want.

    Ah well... onwards and upwards, for both of us!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.