This is the second check-in and I’m happy to report that I managed to get ahead. This week I should be starting Week 10 of the 2 Year Novel and I’m on Week 14 of 52, which means that I am now about 4 weeks ahead.
Lazette Gifford has said in the past that this course can be completed in far less than 2 years; 1 year, 6 months, 3 months. It depends on how much time you can devote to the project, how much you have to plan, and how skilled you are at each stage. Don’t be discouraged if others get through these sorts of courses faster than you. I might be ahead now, but I may get hung up in the world building or outlining stage. Or maybe I’ll get hit by a car and be in ICU for a month. It happens (…I hope not!). For now, I’m ahead, which means that I have some wiggle room for when life hits me with a car.
The only reason that I was able to get ahead is because I intentionally, and specifically, blocked out writing time for specific projects instead of waiting for the mood to strike. I was dictating on most commutes, but what I dictated was determined largely on a whim. Do I feel like working on the novel or working on the flash fiction? Maybe I feel like working on the short story instead? Sometimes I forgot to plan something, so I would sit in my car, silently waiting for me to make a decision. Unhelpful.
In February I assigned each recording session for the month to a specific project. I don’t get a lot written in the mornings because my brain is still in drooling cactus mode, so I devoted the morning sessions to the flash fiction projects I still had outstanding from Holly Lisle’s course.
The afternoon sessions were divided up between the novel and the short story I’m still wrestling with (I’m starting to hate that thing). Because I want to get the short story out of the way fastest, I gave it 3 evening sessions a week and the novel got two. Week 1 looked like this:
|AM||Flash: Grandma||Flash: Lazy Kid||Flash: Princess||Flash: Secretary||Flash: Escapee|
This means that I had 2 hours to spend on the novel each week and, usually, I would get through 2 weeks, or more, of the course in that time (I read the chapter on my lunch and 15 minute breaks). I spent 3 hours a week on the short story, but I am using a different method for that one.
Week 6 (Feb 6-12)
Writing a scene in first person, third, and omniscient of someone else looking at the main character.
Week 7 (Feb 13-19)
Considering possible archetypes that could appear in the story and how they may hinder or help.
Week 8 (Feb 20-26)
Physical description. Write a scene from the POV of someone that has never met the character.
I had to decide on a seal species to model my main character off of, as well as determine both her human and seal forms, and what differences there would be: How she moves, how she sees, what physical traits may hold over between forms, etc.
Week 9 (Feb 27- Mar 5)
Strengths, flaws, personality, weaknesses. Here I I started to layer in some character assignments from Lisa Chron’s Story Genius here to get a better handle on what the main character wants, which will be tied to who she is and what her weaknesses are. This let me get a better handle on possible themes from Week 3.
Week 10 (Mar 6-12)
Emotional words that relate to the theme (probably to help get a handle on the tone of the book later). I now have a better idea about what motivates the character and words that relate. I still haven’t gotten the theme totally hammered out.
Week 11 (Mar 13-19)
Character growth and change. This is where the Story Genius method is especially helpful. I wrote up a thumbnail sketch of where the protagonist is, externally and internally, the day before the story starts when everything is peachy.
Week 12 (Mar 20-26)
This week’s assignment is optional: Cast your character as movie/tv characters. I did this, but that was a 5 minute task, so I moved forward with the Story Genius method to identify more of why the character is the way she is.
Week 13 (Mar 27- Apr 3)
Determine a narrator to go with your POV from week 6. List the characters created so far and the parts they play. I didn’t get far with this. I haven’t decided who the best narrator will be, but there are three options. I also don’t have very many characters. So, more Story Genius refinement!
Weeks 14-25 will focus on world building.
Weeks 26-33 will focus on outlining.
Weeks 34-52 will focus on the first draft.