For the past few years, I thought I was immune to this phenomena, because I had so precious little time to write, and when there was time, I used it fully. But now that I have more free time, I realized last week that I'm no longer immune.
Only, my shiny new ideas seem to come in the form of SOFTWARE that steals progress on the manuscript. I've written about writing software a number of times before. Last week, don't ask me how I ran across it, because I don't even remember, but I found something called THE JOURNAL 6, which is everything I've been looking for since forever to organize my blog and to collect all of my writing other than novel writing.
For novel writing, I'm sticking with Scrivener, which I love.
But in all the time I've been working with Blogger, I've yearned for something that would help me organize this crude software. Or if I couldn't organize Blogger itself, then something else that could fill my needs for organization. I mean, give me a break. All you can do with Blogger is write a draft. Choose when to post it. Post it. Then the post drops down into an unending, uncategorized list of posts. True, if you want to see what you've written on a particular topic, you can sort by labels.
I have always wanted to be able to do so much more than that, and do it offline. I'd like to have a calendar posting schedule. I'd like to have a place to store ideas and images that are easy to see within in a file tree. Something better than Windows Explorer, which is a file tree, but hides everything in file folders. I'd like a place for half-written drafts, as well as drafts that are ready to go--two separate places for two different levels of drafts. I'd also like to be able to see at a glance what I've written about, with topics embedded within, so I can sort and keep track of spin-off ideas. My Sunday Salon posts, when I did them, were written to be full of spin-off possibilities.
Now it's all possible, and so much more, with THE JOURNAL 6.
And needless to say, I was lured away from my writing last week by this Shiny New Idea. Often when I should've been writing, I was importing blog ideas that have been hidden away in file folders for the past couple of years. And I'm nowhere near done. About 2/3 of my ideas, and a lot of images, still need to be imported.
But finally, I've found something that works for me, and I can upload my blog post directly from THE JOURNAL 6.
So that was my Shiny New Idea, my self-defeating mechanism that allowed me to stall my progress in the novel last week.
And why did I allow it to happen?
Because I was slated to write a synopsis, and synopsis-writing fills me with anxiety. It's just the worst writing task to have to do.
Fortunately, I finally broke through my break down, and finished writing the synopsis today. It started at 2500 words, and I was able to condense it to 1100. When finished, I was curious to see if the synopsis I'd written last December, which is 950 words, without suggestions by Dramatica, was significantly worse (or better) than the one I just completed, incorporating Dramatica's suggestions.
Basically, Dramatica suggested that I tell more of the objective story plot, in addition to fine-tuning the subjective story (the romance). In essence, it suggested that I more about scenes that grow their love, but also cause conflict between them. The best part for me was that it allowed me to examine some different facets to my story, and to squeeze a few more insights out of my brain--ways that a few of the scenes still need a bit of tweaking to bump up or clarify the conflict.
As to the two synopses, I still want to study them both and decide whether to further shorten the new one, and if so, which additional scenes to pull out of it.
Just off the top, the more condensed synopsis causes the book to read like a somewhat different story from what it actually is, which troubles me. And even though it's shorter, it's not as tightly focused.
That's most of what I accomplished last week regarding writing, not a lot. I also read a notebook full of pitches I'd collected from Brenda Drake's Pitch Madness, and Write-on Con's Midwinter Pitch Fest, both of which I participated in last March, but didn't get very far in them! After studying the pitches that garnered agent interest, I see more clearly what I can improve in my first 250 words (for Pitch Madness) and Query (for the Midwinter Pitch Fest), for next time I enter something similar.
Tomorrow, I plan to revise my query, and to revise my first scene, especially the first 250 words. After that, I'll spend some time looking at June RWA contests to see which ones I can enter. And then I'll pull together a proposal and begin entering contests again.
How was your writing week last week?