Tag Archive: complete immersion

Good Bye, Complete Immersion

me with a cup of tea reading Paper Hearts

Hey guys,

I am reading Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice by Beth Revis right now which you may have noticed because it is mentioned in my sidebar. Anyways, in her book, Beth talks about letting go of writing projects. She wrote ten novels before she was published and I have spent the last three years on one story. Hence, the title of this blog post.

I have decided to move on from the story I have been working on for so long. So, without further ado, good bye, Complete Immersion. I will miss you and your characters. I poured hours of my life into this story and it was worth it in the end because I learned new things about writing and about myself but mostly about writing. 😛

I had a lot of fun the last three years working on this story, but it’s reached the point that I just don’t even want to work on it anymore. I still want to write but I feel bad not working on Complete Immersion. It’s not even good enough to query and I’ve revamped the plot so many times that I’m not sure what’s going on half the time. On top of that, my work has been very stop and go which is confusing and frustrating, so I am shelving it. I may return to it some day when I have the strength to tackle it, but I may leave it on the shelf, too. It was good practice for future stories and that is what truly counts.

While working on Complete Immersion, I’ve been piling up ideas, and I am looking forward to moving on to a new one. While I was in London last May (check out my vlogs from that trip), I started Ahlam Warsi: Private Detective. It is the story of a young, English-Muslim woman moving to London for a new job as a private detective. The plot of the story itself focuses on her interactions with the human trafficking industry in and around London. I wrote the first two chapters and an outline for it last May. Now, I’m moving forward with the rest of the story and I’m super hype! I don’t feel guilty for not working on Complete Immersion because it has been shelved. I can move on with a clean slate.

On that note, you can look forward to future blog posts about my new project and I will stop complaining about Complete Immersion. Also, I changed the word count bar on the side to account for my new story, so you can watch that grow as well. 😀

Have you benched a project after working on it for a while? I’m curious, but also, I don’t want to be alone in this.

Anyways, thanks for reading

-Alora

Week One Report from Camp NaNoWriMo

Me looked confused at the notes I've made on this mess of a novel.

Heya,

So Camp NaNoWriMo has been going pretty well. I haven’t written anything today, but I’m only 2,000 words behind. I can easily catch up and finish by the end of the month. My only worry right now, is the impending road trip….

Anyways. My novel is officially up to 58K! Fifty-eight thousand words. How crazy is that? It’s the longest thing I’ve ever written and I’ve deleted and rewritten over half of it. It’s utterly unbelievable. After the initially slow word counts, I managed to pick it up. I wrote over two thousand words yesterday. Below is a graph of my daily word counts for this past week. As you can see, day one and today are very sad looking. I haven’t written anything today because I wanted to update y’all before I started in on the grueling task.

bar graph of my daily word counts

My total Camp NaNoWriMo word count graph looks a bit better. The dotted line shows the trend that meeting your daily word count would take you along. I’m not that insanely far below it.

My graph of Camp NaNoWriMo total word count taken from the Camp NaNo website

I’m pretty proud of how Camp NaNoWriMo is going so far and I have a great cabin of other writers I can talk to. I’ve decided that, as a present to myself, if I win Camp NaNoWriMo, I am going to purchase, Scrivener, a fancy processor and writing tool. I’ve used it before, but I didn’t buy it last time. If I win I get 50% off, so I can get it for cheap. Also, as an added bonus, once I finish this draft, which may or may not occur when I win Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m buying myself a Mayday Parade shirt. They are one of my favorite bands and that is all I listen to while I write, so I thought I’d commemorate that with a T-shirt. I can always use a new T-shirt.

Also, I complete reorganized my note system on Sunday. I was home alone for most of the morning and I printed a bunch of my typed up notes and created a bunch more pages in my binder (pictured above). It’s where I store all of my written data on Complete Immersion. I did so much world building on Sunday, I had to almost completely reorganize my binder. And, if anyone ever wants to make this thing into a movie, I have literally mapped out three quarters of the scenes. Whenever I feel lost about where everyone is, I just draw a picture and slap some names on it. Drawing a picture always helps. Listen to your teachers, kids.

I’ve been using my little brother’s room for the past week because it has my desk in it, but he’s back from the beach now, so I no longer have an empty room that I can lock myself in. I need to figure that out. There is a card table in my room that Mom set up for me. I can use that, but I don’t really want to. I like my desk. It’s a nice desk, and it’s what I wrote the first draft of this novel on, so I’m used to writing while I sit here. Oh well, I’ll figure something out.

For now, I must go. I need to work on my novel and I have two book reviews to write. I finished Speak Now yesterday, and then immediately started Trial by Fire which I raced through before I got a chance to update my Currently reading. Oops.

Good luck fellow Wrimos! We can both do this! How did your first weeks of camp go?

-Alora

Day One of Camp NaNoWriMo 2015!

Pic of me with my story binder

Today was the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo! I have decided on a goal of 40,000 words which puts me around 1300 new words on my novel per day. I am going to be revising my novel Complete Immersion which currently has 51,306 words. Hopefully, by the end of the month, that will be up past 90,000. I should be able to finish my current draft this month and then in August I can keep this crazy momentum going and start a new draft to pare everything down. If I get through this month, I should be on track with my goal of finish Complete Immersion by the end of the year. I tend to talk big, but I hope I’ll be able to follow through.

Sadly, because of Camp, I will probably have less time to blog, so these daily blogs have been a bit of a treat and I probably won’t be able to keep that up. I will keep you all updated on my progress, but it’s not going to be daily, unless I have crazy amounts of energy. I encourage you to try out Camp NaNoWriMo too. Unlike actual NaNoWriMo, you can choose whatever word count you want and you don’t even have to work on a new novel. You can always work on revisions like me.

The first day hasn’t gone so well. I’ve written a grand total of nine words. I found a brand new procrastination site where you can help actual scientists analyze their data (Link here). It was a productive day science wise, and I studied for the GRE, but I didn’t get much writing in. I’m not going to stay up super late and write either. I am going to go to bed at a reasonable time and then wake up early tomorrow and get started. It was an unproductive day one, but I will have a great day two.

I’ve decided to not stay up because of the WordNerds’ video on the Camp NaNo survival kit which requires sleep. I write better in the morning too. I’ve decided to take advantage of Maxwell’s absence and use his room for writing. I’m going into hiding for the next month. Revising 40K on top of an already 51K novel is going to be much harder than writing the original 50K was. This is kind of terrifying and I haven’t even really started yet since this was the least productive first day of camp ever. I have lots of words to catch up on tomorrow and a five hour shift making pizzas in the middle of the day.

Wish me luck and join me if you want. No matter your word count, day two is not too late. You can still start and finish too. Good luck at camp. I’ll try to write soon.

-Alora

New Year’s/Summer Goals Update

There is a pretty long list of goals that I have shared with the internet. June is ending which means we are over half way through 2015 and I though I’d give y’all an update on my New Year’s Resolutions. I posted a video with my sister listing them on December 31st of last year which you can watch here if you want. I’ve also included an update on my summer goals that I blogged about a while back. This is going to be embarrasing…

Year-long Goals:

  • Produce a Webseries

    I have many different ideas for webseries, but I haven’t put the time or effort into creating one. I have the ideas, but I haven’t scripted anything or even filmed anything. Maybe I’ll do something in the fall. Maybe it won’t happen this year. I don’t know, man.

  • Stop Yelling So much

    This one I can gladly report some progress on. As a loud, talkative person, with large lungs, I have issues with volume, but I like to think I’ve gotten better at controlling it. I don’t know if my friends and family agree, but I think I’ve gotten better.

  • Visit London Youtube Space

    I wanted to visit the London YouTube Space when I was in the UK for to weeks, but I completely forgot while I was actually there. I visited so many museums and historical sites, but not the London YouTube Space. I don’t think I’m going back to the UK, in the rest of this year, so unless something magical happens, I won’t be going here this year. Maybe I can go to one of the YouTube Spaces in the US.

  • Go to an REU

    So I applied to a bunch of REU’s because this is my last possible summer to get into any, but I was rejected from all of them, sadly. But now I get to spend the summer making pizza’s instead of doing mathematical research. :(

  • Read 50 books

    This one I’m not doing so hot on. I’ve been trying very hard to catch up, but I’ve only read 5 books this month which is just barely over the number I’d need to read if I was on track with the challenge. I’ve read ten books in total. Very sad.

  • Write 200,000 words

    Oh look, another goal I am doing horrible on. In my video I said this was going to be easy, but I was very, very wrong. My year long word count is currently 30,241 which leaves another 169,759 for the writing.

  • Get 4.0 in the Spring of junior year and Fall of senior year.

    I got a 3.68 last semester. My career GPA is 3.9362. I don’t know how well fall semester of senior year is going to go. I have to start my thesis.

Summer Goals:

  • Catch up on 50 book challenge

    I have not being doing too well on this one as I mentioned above.

  • Write everyday

    This has not happened. I have been blogging a couple of days a week which kinda counts, but I’ve only worked on Complete Immersion the once when I posted the blog post on revision. I haven’t worked on it since then because I still don’t have a nice area to myself to work. My mom tried to set up a desk area for me, but I haven’t cleaned it up enough to use it yet.

  • Finish Complete Immersion

    I’m hoping to get this one done. I haven’t worked on it much, but Camp NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and I really need that motivation.

  • Catch up on word count goal

    So far this month, I have been doing pretty well, compared to the last months I’ve been writing. I’ve written 9,516 words this month which is only 7,151 off of the goal for the month, and honestly, if I put the time in, I could write seven thousand words in four days, but I don’t think I’ll be able to put the time in because I’m at the beach with my family right now.

  • Keep up with this blog

    I’ve been doing well on this goal. I haven’t gone a single week without posting since I started. I’ve gone five days without posting, but not a week, which is a great accomplishment for me.

I am looking forward to spending the rest of my weekend at the beach with my family and I will post a review of I Am Not a Slut by Leora Tanenbaum soon. How are your New Year’s Resolutions or current goals going? Mine aren’t going too well, but I’ll pick it up. Maybe.

-Alora

The Hell of Revision

A picture of the writing space I used today.
Hello friends.

Writing a novel is difficult, but I think the far more difficult task is revising the first draft into something readable. Just revising it, so that someone who hasn’t had three different versions of the plot explained to them will know what is going on. That is what I spent two hours working on today.

For those of you that do not know, in July of 2013, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo. I wrote 50 thousand words of a novel in a month. It was amazing. Since then I have been on and off revising that novel. I have often gone months between revisions which makes the act of revision very difficult. As of right now, I am on the fourth draft, but the book is nowhere near done. I’ve entitled it Complete Immersion and there is a counter in my “Currently” widget on the right that I am using to keep track of the number of words it has. You can use it to check up on how my novel’s going.

Today was the first time I’ve worked on Complete Immersion since I’ve been home for the summer, and it was extremely difficult to get anything done. Getting a good momentum was almost impossible and it only lasted a few minutes. My desk is in Maxwell’s room right now, and he is using it, but last night I asked him if I could borrow it for a few hours to get some writing done. He agreed and cleared me a space. After I got home from work, I proceeded to lock myself in there for two hours. It was rough. I only revised two pages. I have seen writing compared to pulling teeth and that analogy would definitely apply to today’s revisions. It was hell.

But. I am going to get back in the habit of revising a little bit everyday and it should get easier. Tomorrow I will revise for another two hours, maybe more. I will get this novel into a good shape this summer.

Now that I have complained about my revisions, I want to talk about how I revise. When I first started to revise Complete Immersion, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’ve kinda figured it out, maybe. Idk, but I am going to talk about it. Please discuss how you revise/edit in the comments and we can have a good old fashioned discussion.

When I revise, I read through the story from start to finish and change whatever pieces I don’t like. Then, when I get to the end, I start over from the beginning. I make sure everything sounds good. I fix dialogue. I check facts. I reconcile character actions with their backstories. I usually end up completely rewriting half of what I already had, because the idea was good but the execution was poor. I wrote Complete Immersion without much planning, so a bunch of my revising time is spent “planning.” I map out locations and write down new character details. I have a binder that I keep beside my computer while I write that has maps, basic character info, character notes, plot notes and just a bunch of thoughts on the story. I reference it and some documents on my computer often. They help keep me on track. That way, I won’t end up with too many plot holes and character inconsistencies when I reach the end of the story.

With each revision, the story gets better and better. In between revisions, I learn so much more about writing and writing well. Also, like everything, writing gets better with practice. Revision gets easier with practice too. (Well, so far it has.) Oh, and here is a biggie. Show don’t tell. Everybody and their mom throws this phrase around, but I don’t think I truly understood it before I wrote Complete Immersion and then began revising it. Now however, I definitely understand and I like to think I am better at it. In my mind, showing gives the reader a stronger sense of being in the story, almost like they were watching a movie. Whereas telling almost feels like a dream. You know stuff is happening, but you can’t quite make it all out. I think it is harder to feel fully involved and invested in the story.

Other than that, revision is mostly grunt work, which is why I am still revising two years after I wrote first wrote the story. Actually, it’s been almost two years to the day since I started Complete Immersion. This July is Camp NaNoWriMo 2015!!!! (I wrote Complete Immersion in July 2013.) I am super excited. I think I’m going to set up a word count per revised page system and use Camp NaNoWriMo to inspire myself to revise, revise, revise.

Now, I must go. Good luck on any revisions that you may be working on. Please share your difficulties in the comments and we can commiserate. Also, check out Camp NaNoWriMo. It is a month of writing where you can pick any word count and work together with other campers to hit your goal. Your words could be working towards a novel, a play, a revision of a novel, a dissertation, anything. It is super fun and I have made a lot of friends through participating. I am definitely planning on participating this year.

I hope to see you all at camp! 😀

-Alora