November Writing Progress Update

In my October Writing Progress Update, I wrote,

November should bear a lighter load in terms of schoolwork, if my professors are honest…

Well, they weren’t honest.

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So…writing.

I did some of that, if not as much of it as I had hoped. Last month, I also said,

I aim to finish Act II by the end of November.

That wasn’t a hard-set deadline, mind you, but rather a checkpoint. Regardless of what one might consider it, I didn’t hit the mark. I’m certainly closer to conquering Act II, an incredibly exciting segment of story, but I’m just not there yet. There hasn’t been enough time in the day. Events have occurred “In Real Time,” as Jack Bauer would say, and I am unable to stay up for 24 hours at a time. I truly wish I could, but I can’t. No amount of coffee can make that happen.

However, I’m not here to express woes applicable to every writer. I’m here to tell you about what I did get done.

I tested my writing chops when I attacked a chapter I’ve titled ‘On Cliff’s Edge.’ The chapter is told through the lens of the main character, who unexpectedly wakes up to the sound of his companion’s screams. Much to his horror, he is unable to see anything but flashes of color. Something is wrong with his vision. I tend to describe things with extensive, vivid detail, so attempting to write a cohesive scene without his sense of sight functioning properly was a true challenge. But, alas, I succeeded in writing the chapter. There’s a chaos and an urgency to it that comes together quite cohesively. It’s going to need some polishing (as will every chapter, given that this is a first draft!) but I am pleased with it nonetheless.

While the intensity is high in that portion of the story, I slowed things down a bit in a chapter I’ve wordily titled ‘Four Oranges, Three Boys , Two Axes, One Mistake.’ I’ve never taken issue with characters sitting down and simply talking over a meal, and that is exactly the scenario I’ve placed three of my characters in. I’ve always found such scenes, when handled properly, to be fascinating and insightful. So I sat down three lads for breakfast and allowed them space to interact. The bond between them is developing, and it’s cool to witness it happening.

Scenarios stemming from those two main events are what have occupied my writing this month.

As you may know, the hard deadline I have set for myself to finish the first draft of this novel is January 1st, 2017. Here we are, less than a month away from that fateful day. I am behind schedule. Still, I am committed, determined, and prepared to see it through. Last week, my uncle Elvis gave me a breakdown of how many days I would actually have to get this thing done. On the spot, just like that, he took into account my Finals schedule and my pending trip to California for Christmas and the New Year and synthesized how many days I realistically have to finish this thing. And it’s not 29.

Ladies and gents, when I started this blog in October, I made it very clear that I was working to the deadline of January 1st. I simply will not miss it. Remember, I didn’t start working on this book a couple of months ago, I began working on this book far earlier than I started this blog. I cannot be floating around in limbo for months and months, pushing deadlines back another month, another month, another month…

This is my deadline for Draft #1. It is incredibly important that I meet it.

I feel compelled to add that I am sincerely grateful for you lovely ladies and classy gents in the WordPress community. There has been a ton of interaction this month between myself and other bloggers, both on my site and on others, and I am enjoying taking part in it. I put my finger on the pulse of the WordPress community when I first created this blog, but now I feel that I am a part of it. I’m still learning, no doubt, but I do feel a part of something bigger.

Thanks are owed to friends and family as well. They have caught me off guard at the most unlikely of times, asking me how the writing is going and telling me that they read and enjoy the blog. Now more than ever, I am going to take that positivity and channel it into Draft #1.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to do.

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As always, stay classy.

And remember.

Events occur in real time.

Events always occur in real time.

~J.J. Azar

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23 thoughts on “November Writing Progress Update

  1. Good luck! Don’t think too much about it, just do it 😉 You are aiming for getting it out and done right now, not perfect. The neat thing about editing is that you can actually ‘revise’ meaning write entirely new chapters as new ideas come to you, cut entire chapters that don’t seem to fit anymore, rearrange things, and rewrite scenes altogether.

    I know you KNOW that the process doesn’t end on January 1st, but it’s different to FEEL it. I know on my first manuscript, I thought it was PERFECT, unedited, edited once, edited twice, revised, revised heavily, edited, edited again and with three new chapters…you get the idea. I thought each draft was flawless until I finally accepted that changes needed to be made and made them. Revising and rewriting are definitely my favorite parts of the editing process. Anyway, enough about me.

    My point is, don’t forget that it’s just a first draft. You’ll have months more to work on it and the exciting thing is that soon you’ll be able to add in alpha and/or beta readers into the mix and get valuable feedback on how to make it even better. It’s awesome having your stuff read by others for the first time!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RQ, I am definitely looking forward to reaching and working within the editing stage and beyond! I expect editing to be a liberating process where I can take what I’ve written and, as you put it, revise. Some fine-tuning here, some overhauling there, some polishing all around. You hit the nail on the head when you say the aim isn’t to have a perfect draft at this stage but rather a finished draft. This way, I can look at the thing as it is and pinpoint what and where and how things are to change. I totally understand what you’re saying, and I would imagine that reaching the point where others finally get their hands on the work to provide feedback will be a true thrill.
      Thank you so much for your valuable insight. I do appreciate the encouragement and advice, and I do indeed plan to JUST DO IT! *cue Shia LaBeouf*

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Deadlines are a bitch, but as long you do your writing for yourself, one day at a time, you’ll definitely reach your goals in no time! And real life being in the way? There’s nothing we can do but copy Bauer and scream: “DAMMIT!” 😀 Best of luck with your project! 🙂

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish I had somebody in the house named Chloe so I could yell, “DAMMIT CHLOE!” Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury, so “DAMMIT” will have to do! 😀 Thank you for the words of encouragement, Lashaan. I plan to take this a day at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m dedicated to my deadlines. I believe in setting real, achievable, measurable deadlines, and then meeting them. No one is perfect, but I don’t accept excuses from myself, and I think you should be proud that you’re doing the same. People who never finish writing a book are the ones who allow their excuses (which are in reality nothing more than priorities they care about more than writing) to forgive their lack of progress. Now, this doesn’t mean you should metaphorically punish yourself if you don’t meet deadline. Sometimes people just bit off more than they can chew or life throws a curve. The trick is to evaluate WHY you don’t meet your goals and address that. What matters most is you’re working. Keep working. We’re all rooting for you, JJ!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deadlines seem the way to go. If any progress is to be made, if any work is to be completed, if any structure is to be applied, there have to be deadlines. Excuses certainly won’t fly because they won’t help, and I’m not interested in anything that won’t help.

      I learn more every day, but one thing about writing has become clear: It is a discipline. Thank you for the encouragement. I will keep working.

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. I know how difficult it can be when real life intrudes, but I think you’ve gotten some great advice here from other commenters, and you obviously have the right attitude so all I’m going to say is: YOU CAN DO IT JJ!
    Oh, and I also love interesting and witty chapter headings.
    And…Nice use of Jack Bauer!
    And…I read your synopsis and you’ve already got me interested so when you get to the point of looking for beta readers, I volunteer!🙋🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am incredibly grateful for the advice offered on this post and others. There are so many supportive, knowledgeable people who I am humbled to have in my ear.
      I too love witty chapter titles. I can get cheeky with them and it looks nice on the outline!
      Jack Bauer is the best.
      And I am so pleased that you were intrigued by the synopsis. It’s still a work in progress and I am still deliberating how I can best represent the story in a brief overview like that, so it is really great to hear that. I’ll put you on a list for the day I reach the beta-reading stage! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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