Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Strix Metrics 01

Holy Toledo, I'm ahead of schedule. Only for four days, but it has been so long since I was ahead of schedule on anything, I'm going to bask in it for a while.

Basking done. What am I doing and what have I accomplished? I took Todd Stone's "12-Week Novelist Boot Camp" plan out of Novelist's Boot Camp, and plugged it into my calender--only giving myself two weeks to complete each week. I just finished all the exercises for the first week. (And thanks for the earlier comment, Todd. :D)

Now the first week's work is on getting your mind set to write and focused brainstorming. So I'm not claiming to be a writing wiz with my progress, I've done a lot of brainstorming on this universe. And using the Big Rocks and daily MITs has helped me focus my energy on what needs to be done. This progress visible despite taking the weekend off and needing two days to recover from that.

So what do I have accomplished storywise?
  • Comprehensive Concept
  • Cast List
  • Setting Notes
There are still plenty of background holes--a couple of character need names, for example--but there's enough down to get me started on the next section.

It takes a little of the happy buzz off to realize I have to be told what to do and when with writing. It's nothing I have never done before, so it's not learning new tricks. More like rewiring my brain to do this again, which still makes me ask "what the frell?" to myself. I don't know why my brain needs rewiring, but since I'm getting results, it must need rewiring. *Shrugs* Like I said, it's working so I'm not questioning much.

Comprehensive Concept: I know I have used this technique before though I'm fairly sure I used a whole paragraph. But shrinking it down to a sentence covering four essentials of the story is brilliant.

Strix: : In this paranormal suspense (genre), a vampire (main character) disguises himself as a superhero and then must protect a human woman (main character) from the murderers (opposition) trying to frame him for their killings in the upper classes of Haganville (macro setting).

Cast List: This was a great exercise, thinking about your inspirations, setting, and genre then listing the people you would run into. Normally, I just get a hold of the core cast and let them rip, and make up new people when the story reaches them. But this list creation and then picking opposites have inspired some dramatic scenes in my head at least. I'm not sure if those scenes will make the final cut, but they are new possibilities.

Setting Notes: These usually end up wrote all over the place. My notes on Zy's novel... *shudder* I love having them in one self-contained spot to add more to if I think of it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Biker Mice From Mars: Evil Jack: For Worse 22

I finally got the second draft finished! I've got some peeved feelings about it. It should not take me so long to finish drafts. It makes me feel that I suck at time management.

Progress Bar from Writertopia

I only managed to cut 297 words when I was supposed to trim 2456, which means I added too much. I'm not beating myself up over it now. I'll let beta readers have their say and then cut again while correcting those edits. If I get any beta readers, everyone seems to be in hiding right now. Shmeg.

Now to finish the metrics.

"For Worse" Metrics 28 March 25, 2008

Character Pass
7. Are your character rehearsing or playing their parts? No.
8. Are the bit players stealing the show? Don't think so.
9. Is the point of view consistent? yes.

Objective Pass
Make the character matrix before starting this pass. I can only assume this stage will be less time consuming when you have all the pieces in place having created them during writing and brainstorming stages.

1. Are the objectives clearly visible in the beginning? Yeap.
2. Are the objectives clearly visible in each scene? Yes.
3. Are the characters taking actions to achieve those objectives? Yes.
4. Are objectives in conflict with each other? Yeap.
5. Can you track the progress as you go along? Yeap.
6. In what ways can you raise the stakes? Scene 31 - stretch out Throttle's dismayed time with what he thinks Charley's answer is.
7. Do the objectives get resolved in the end? Yes.

Dialogue Pass
Need to figure out how to spell MacCyber and spell it that way in all stories!

1. Are your characters using words as weapons? Tweaked a few, especially in the Scene 2.
2. Is dialogue only there to show something? No.
3. How could this dialogue more strongly reveal the characters? I think most of the tweaking fell here. Tweak Stoker and Carbine's dialogue for this.
4. How could the dialogue work harder? Figured out what was wrong, I had Carbine and Throttle referring to two different scripts. Better now, sounds like they had the same conversation.
5. Is the speaker's identity clear? I think so, but I've had this story in my head for a long time.
6. Does the dialogue contain beats to punctuate it? Not really sure what Stone means by this question, and also unwilling to mess up my natural ear for dialogue trying to find it.
7. Is there a better arrangement? Tweaked for this.
8. Does the dialogue fit? Yeap.
9. Does it feel real? I think so.

Biggest tweak was in the Stoker and Carbine scene.

Description and Narration Pass
1. What description can be cut?
2. Does the description do its job?
3. Does the description convey a mood?
4. How can more variety be introduced?
5. Is it part of the scene?
6. Is there a better arrangement?

"For Worse" Metrics 29 March 30, 2008

Here's where I addressed most of the narration problems I had thought of in earlier passes.

"For Worse" Metrics 30 April 1, 2008

Sending the word count on a diet. I'm working backwards through the scenes. Goal is to reduce by 10% meaning 2456 words have to go.

I ended up adding more description and combining two scenes into one.

"For Worse" Metrics 31 April 8, 2008

Narration Diet
Pass to cut out adverbs I missed on earlier passes.

Action Pass
I think the actions are fine.

"For Worse" Metrics 32 April 16, 2008

Logic Pass
Yes, I think everything flows together as it should for chronology, scene structure, and for the characters.

Miscellaneous Pass
There's only one technical detail I need to double check--how the black bike pops out cannons.

After watching the "Masked Motorcyclist" with a lot of fast-forward, I was ready to fix everything I had marked. Luckily, there was nothing to do on the paying job and I plowed through most of the manuscript there. I finished up at home.

"For Worse" Metrics 33 April 17, 2008

Bloody hell, I'm counting the disclaimer and my keeping track of the dates as part of the word count! Cut those out and do a recount.

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Okay, so I only need to find 2010 words to cut. That's progress.