ScriBuJo 14 (En)

Version française ici.


Why change a winning formula? We’ll be doing the same thing than yesterday, except we’ll be talking about places, not characters. It doesn’t seem great said that way, but whether your story is set in real places or whether you create them from scratch, it can be useful to takes some notes. Just knowing where it is to avoid putting Strasbourg in the south of France or Chicago in the place of New York (I’m exaggerating :p but if you’re setting your novel in a foreign place, it’s useful to use a map).

Today, as the day before yesterday, you don’t have much homework: just write a list per projects. You can choose to mention only special places or put them all if they are important. Depending on your way to do it and the meaning it holds, you can choose Hogwarts or zoom into the potions’ room or one of the Houses’ dorm.

As for characters, use one page by project, with enough space to write down the page where you put each place’s sheet. Depending on your page’s size and your writing, you can make one or more columns.

The second part, tomorrow!

 

ScriBuJo 13 (En)

Version française ici.


Each character is supposed to be specific, or else he’s not interesting enough and we don’t care about him. I suggest a quick and light version of the character sheet. As many of the notions I wrote about on this challenge, I’ll get back at it later and delve deeper. Here, the goal is to start.

For my short version and for a quite important character, I wrote the following:

  • Names of the character
  • Age (even if it’s vague)
  • Appearance (eyes colour, hair colour and hair cut, height, silhouette, fashion style if it’s particular)
  • Motivation if needed
  • Some principal traits of character
  • Side notes if there is something important that you shouldn’t forget

I doubt that you can develop a character that is quite important (even if it’s not the protagonist) without theses information. Even if a part of it is fairly basic (for contemporary writing in the real world, they don’t want to slay a dragon nor find a great magus that master death), I’m quite sure that it’s necessary. Even if it’s just for consistency, like Camille, school mate, redhead then blonde, once dance fan then gymnastic champion. For secondary characters or less important, you can shorten by deleting the motivation and maybe the character’s traits. I also have a « background characters » list where I keep only the name, the function and a few details, like Duena, old and deaf servant of the Familia del Agua, who helps Alessa and Vala taking their bath before a mundane event. As least, it prevents me from using the same name in the same universe.

You don’t need to keep everything here, on the contrary. As I said yesterday, I keep a short version on my ScriBuJo and a digital full version with a cute avatar (made on a FaceMaker as I don’t draw well enough) for short cuts on smartphone and tablet.

The goal is here is a quick reference without having to switch program, in case you forgot something or if the character invites himself somewhere you didn’t plan it.

ScriBuJo 12 (En)

Version française ici.


Today, we’ll work on the first writing pages. You’ll have some work to do. Take a page by project, (de préférence) by story, but if you write some short stories, you can take half a page for each or a full page and add subtitle each time you’re done. You can divide more, depending on the size of the page. I use A6.

You put your story’s title and you list your characters’ names. You can make two columns, depending on the shortness of the names or the number of people. You just need to let some space to write the page number of the character’s sheet.

Some people will say they don’t need characters’ sheet. If it’s truly the case, then you’re free to skip that part, but I strongly suggest that you test it for a small project.

Write some notes about a secondary character that came around the corner of a scene on chapter two named Christopher and who had blonde hair, it can be useful if he pop out of nowhere in chapter five and you forgot everything about him. You can put two or three details you mention, like his job, an important hobby for the story line or his eyes’ colour (other things depend on how much you said when he appears).

Saying the baker’s name is Camille and she’s a redhead is enough if the main character doesn’t fall in love with her. On the other hand, if she’s a class buddy of the heroine, she will remember in which class they were together, that she made one sport or another, that she had hazel eyes and freckles. Theses information are to be written if you don’t want her to turn into a buxom blonde haired woman who tries to steal the main character’s love interest.

Be cautious, I’m not asking you to write an essay on each one including deep motivations and all the details of their lives. Only useful information that can be needed for a quick check.

During nearly a week, we’ll do lists and sheets, so don’t hesitate to use it to develop your characters, backgrounds and universes.

And then, we’ll see tomorrow for the characters sheets precisely.

 

ScriBuJo 11 (En)

Version française ici.


We’ll start with writing, but I’ll stay a little longer with trackers. I admit, I forgot about this essential page.

We’ll start with writing, but I’ll stay a little longer with trackers. I admit, I forgot about this essential page.

The project tracking can be very different depending people. I cut down very much and I use many methods before starting to write.

Depending on your way to do it, it can be:

  • ideas
  • big lines of scenario (initial situation, inciting element, climax, resolution)
  • character sheet (light or expand, according to your preferences, the length of the story, the character’s importance, …)
  • cutting down (in chapters, in scenes, in parts or nothing at all)
  • writing
  • review
  • rewriting
  • proof-reading
  • sending to beta readers
  • finishing

If you cut it down, you’ll have a number more or less define of boxes to tick. If it’s not the case, you’ll have the step’s box, it’s not bad. Ticking boxes motivate me, it’s not the case for everyone.

For the novella I’m writing, I have 15 steps, the same as if I was writing a novel, but quicker.

  • Once I got some ideas of what I want to do and I let it macerate a few days (at least, some wait months or years… :p ), I use the 1 hour plot (Marg McAilster) then I set things in order with the minimal 6 steps of the Plot Planner (Martha Alderson).
  • Then I develop it into 9 steps with a method I found on Youtube, but I can’t put my finger on it. It was for my 2013 NaNo novel, so it’s a little bit old now. I develop into 21 steps with the same method.
  • Numbers are always the same until now, so I make the grids when I start this page for the first time. Then I complete along with the progression, or when I know how much scenes I’ll have.
  • I script with Dwight V. Swain method (I don’t remember the name but I’ll write a post on his book soon). This step allows me to check the links of causes and effects between the parts and condense or expand some. In the novella’s case, I got from 21 steps to 15 scenes.
  • I write beats (Monica Leonelle and Steve Scott), a very short summary of the scene were there only the essentials parts. Everything is told, it’s awful to read, but it allows me to have a more general view. It’s way easier to change totally a story that doesn’t work when it’s 4k words than 20.
  • I let it sleep for some weeks then I keep asking my husband for his opinion.
  • I add what’s missing, cut what’s too long. For the novella, I should go to 12 or 13 scenes, but I’m currently on it, so I don’t know for sure.
  • I check that every needed plot line is here where it’s needed (Stuart Horwitz) and I cut those that are not needed or slow too much the pace.
  • I finish the characters sheets (Martha Alderson and traits from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi) and I copy a short version of it on my ScriBuJo. I keep the full version as digital in a synching application between PC, ios, browser and android. I’ll write about it later, as there were changes. I’ll continue to use it, but I’m not sure I’ll suggest it to other writers. As I’ll explain when we will be on the characters sheets (very soon!), I only check the short paper version when I’m writing, or else it can cut me from the flow and prevent me from writing for hours or days. And I don’t need to see the full motivation and background of a character when I’m writing. I’m supposed to check this before starting to write the scene.
  • Then I write the story. 😉
  • I let it rest for a month, so I can take it out of my mind and I can read it all as a reader. I might need it, as I might no longer want to work on it. As I always work on two things and the blog, it changes often. :p
  • I get my handsome checklist (Marg McAlister and Rayne Hall) with everything I need to have and I tend to forget. And the deadly sins of writing. I got back on every scene and change everything that needs to.
  • I read it again, in case it turns heavy, flourished, not natural or not dynamic at all, and I change what’s need to.
  • I take the orthographic and grammatical corrector because there’s no need to use it before as you don’t know what will stay and what will have to go.
  • Here, I take some rest (or not, as I always have two projects ongoing) and I wait for beta readers reviews.
  • Once I got some, (I rush on every one I get, but I wait to have some to start making changes) I change things that don’t make it and I have the last run of corrector to be sure.

You had a preview of a pantser method (at first) and a plotter one (mine). You can add or lighten steps, it’s up to you to adapt to your way of writing. The more you do before writing, the less you’ll have to change after, but if you over prepare, there will be no surprises and you’ll grow tired of your story. On the other hand, when you know where you’re going, you’re less subject to writer block (it won’t protect you against demotivation and others blocks, sorry, no miracles here).

It will be some works, but tomorrow, we really get into writing! I hope that since the beginning you made a little bit of story with at least one protagonist, we’ll need him or her.

ScriBuJo 10 (En)

Today, it’s a page I name « The Way To » (insert here something linked with the tracked information). I’ll cheat a little, I didn’t put a « Way To » yet, so I’ll put a pic of my personal BuJo. It’s used for the steps I walk every day.It’s easy and it works well for stuff that’s adding.

It’s easy and it works well for stuff that’s adding.It can be used to see how much you wrote or how many days you wrote on the month, without consecutive concern.

It can be used to see how much you wrote or how many days you wrote on the month, without consecutive concern.You do a cute serpentine way (it’s easier if you follow the lines on the page) and you colour the cases accordingly. For me, 1 square is 500 steps. It grows quite quickly.

You do a cute serpentine way (it’s easier if you follow the lines on the page) and you colour the cases accordingly. For me, 1 square is 500 steps. It grows quite quickly. In order to avoid demoralisation, of longer goals (or too big pages, I’m on A6), I suggest adding section along. One or two weeks at time.

In order to avoid demoralisation, of longer goals (or too big pages, I’m on A6), I suggest adding section along. One or two weeks at time.To optimise time, I only fill it during the weekly or monthly review. I forgot to fill it even if I wrote my words every day. It’s one of the only « artistic » page of my BuJos.

To optimise time, I only fill it during the weekly or monthly review. I forgot to fill it even if I wrote my words every day. It’s one of the only « artistic » page of my BuJos.Depending on material and will, you can have fun with coloured pencils, pens, felt-tipped pens or simply cross the boxes.

Depending on material and will, you can have fun with coloured pencils, pens, felt-tipped pens or simply cross the boxes.

It was short and that’s all for today. Tomorrow, writing!

ScriBuJo 09 (En)

Version française ici.


Today, we continue on the same way. I wrote about daily trackers, we’ll speak about general trackers. No big differences, except where they are. The daily tracker is on each daily page, just after the day for example. The general tracker can be on the weekly page, the monthly page or a page only for trackers. You can also dedicate a page for each tracker and put their many months or the whole year.

As general trackers, you can take some of your dailies trackers (or not, as you wish) and add some. I tend to forget to update my trackers if they’re not under my nose, so they are all on a printed header (optimisation of my time, hello) and in the writing level 10 (optimisation again!). I know I write about it much. It’s a kind of tracker, but with an action plan to work on what I want to improve. I’m still testing it.

Here are some trackers of mine:

  • writing the minimal daily goal
  • read (studying)
  • plan or revise a text
  • practices (as drabble, to get out of my comfort zone)
  • if I worked on each principal project (each has its own tracker)
  • if I worked on the blog

You don’t have to have that much, or you can add more if you want.

The advantage of trackers is that it works with rewards. I’m already writing a post on it.

For now – I know I’m repeating myself – the goal is to take the habit to use your ScriBuJo, develop it and found what’s work with you. I recommend to test everything, to see next month or the one after it what’s better for you.

From now on, you can mix trackers and reviews. Everything is done to track your progression and act accordingly.

Try the classics and customise later.

Tomorrow, we’ll speak about trackers and after that, we’ll be in writing.

ScriBuJo 08 (En)

Version française ici.


« Daily tracker »? What’s that?

No big deal. Just some boxes to fill or tick. If you wrote, if you did your 50 to 500 words, if you studied or read… All the information you want to track. If you do want to track some.

You just need to know how much, because when you have 20, it’s too much. If you do need the 20 and you add them gradually, you can handle them, but 20 at once, it’s too much. Even 10.

For this challenge, we’ll begin slowly. I suggest some and you pick those that matters to you:

  •  wrote this day
  • wrote 100 words
  • wrote 5 or 10 minutes
  • work on a project (named or any project you have)
  • fill you ScriBuJo
  • made progress on the current month’s challenge
  • made progress on the January’s challenge
  • use the prompt of the day
  • read

This list is not exhaustive, it’s only here to give you ideas. You can add and drop some whenever you want.

I’ll write a more detailed post on what I track and what you can track related to writing.

It’s not because I want to track each word I wrote every single day that you should do the same. It’s useful if you want to see your progress and if numbers motivate you. If you take it more as a hobby or a stress relieving tool, it’s useless (Writing is my day job, I can’t take it lightly 🙂 ).

Now, you just have to put it under the date of the new day or session and remember to fill it. It’s your call to use a textual one or an iconic one.

You’ll see that I use a colour code to fill my boxes. It’s not necessary, but it motivates me. I already spoke about it, so it’s cut it here.

 

ScriBuJo 07

We have goals and planning, then we have reviews, or it will be meaningless.

It can take time or be quick, you just have to accumulate what you have done and compare.

There are many ways, depending on how you set goals:

  • Count days you wrote your minimal word count goal.
  • Count the total words you wrote to compare it to the goal.

With more precise goals, like rewrite scenes, write a chapter and such, you did it or not, that’s all.

I use a squared washi tape and I tick boxes. It’s more visual. I just have to think « this day, I ticked the minimal words written, I tick it on the review ». A cross for a cross, nothing to think about, it’s quickly finished.

Every day, I fill a spreadsheet, to have more in-depth stats, compare projects, months, a year with another, if I rewrote more than I wrote, if all my words were for the blog, and so on. It calculated automatically the week’s total, I just have to have a look, compare if it’s bigger or not and cross the square if it is.

You can use the January challenge’s spreadsheet, I added some stats to it.

For now, we’ll add no more, but it can be done later (it’s planned) or as the « life level 10 » writer’s style (I’ll write a post on it as soon as I tested the concept all the way around). The goal is to keep moving, not drowning you with too much.

As for everything else, I recommend you to test everything I propose and, at the end of this challenge, you’ll see what you keep and what’s not working with you.

Each year, I’ll redo this challenge, so it would be the time to test all of it again, to see if it works now or not. You can also customise it at will. It’s not because I do it that way that it will work for you the same way.

We were not made the same way, we don’t motivate ourselves the same way, we don’t write the same way. I suggest rather standard things, so it should work with most of you. If the weekly review doesn’t work with you, I recommend you still try it for this month. I can be the initial resistance: you just have to set the engine up.

You don’t need to make pretty pages. Box to cross with squared paper or dots works too. And you’ll don’t make me believe that tick five or six boxes with a plain cross with two diagonal lines takes time. If it’s your reward page to got the work done, you can take felt-tip pens or coloured pencils to fill the boxes. You just have to be reasonable.

If you do weekly reviews, the monthly review – which is at the end of the challenge, as you can guess :p – will be easier. You’ll see then which one is better.

ScriBuJo 06

For the weekly planning, you’ll need a simple table with as much box as days you can write. No other rules. Some cute boxes can also work, if you don’t overdo it. You can add a box for the tasks to do for this week, that are not time-related.

Some people works better with weekly goals, some with monthly, I ask you to try both (for 2 or 3 months, to test it in conditions) then you choose. It’s not by saying « Hmm, that doesn’t work for me » that you’ll know if it works or not. If you tried something likely and it sends you to depression, I won’t hold it against you if you pass your turn. It’s your ScriBuJo, do what you want as long as it’s working.

For the weekly planning, you have to put tasks on the available sections of the week.

First, you have to list when you can write.

Take care to always put a manageable task, nearly easy. The goal is to cross it, not to put you under pressure because you took more than you can eat.

As I already told on the January’s challenge: if you can write 1000 or 2000 words a day when everything is fine, put a goal of 500. You’ll do it every day and it will motivate you to continue. The big goal can be the secondary objective, this one is to make you proud of yourself. You have to make 500 every day, even if you don’t want to, if you’re tired or busier than the usual.

Take care of the other side of the coin: don’t tick 5 boxes for 10 minutes of works (you may if you deserve it). You can design task so they’ll be just at the limit of your comfort zone (if you’re interested, I’ll put a post on it later).

The other possibility is to adapt the task to the session. If you have a medical appointment that will take all you afternoon, you can divide the word count goal by two.

I recommend, from my experiments, to set a word count or time goal plus a more precise goal. As start scene six, finish chapter three, even if chapter goal is quite difficult. According to people, a chapter can be 500 words or 30ish pages and it varies from chapter to chapter. It’s fine for a week or a month, but I won’t try it for a day. As I plot much, I work with scenes (from 500 to 1500 words) and I add chapter later.

You can also put « work on this chapter », it’s vague enough, so you can tick it when you did it without falling into the trap: »I thought about it, it’s enough ». If you’re writing it isn’t working, but if you’re plotting, it works. Every minute spent thinking about your story is a usefully used minute. Yeah, writing is not only putting words on the page or on a sheet of paper. There are differents ways and you can think during hours if this character will say this or that before writing a single sentence.

If it motivates you, you can use a different way of ticking boxes or a colour coding like I do here (no translation yet but it’s for the pictures only).

It’s up to you to choose what to do if you are ahead of your planning: either you let it as it is or you can move it to keep the same amount of work each week.

You have to find what’s working better with you: « I’m ahead » or « Great, I did more and I’ll continue with this pace ». Both have advantages and drawbacks. It can also change from time to time. That’s why you always have to question what you think you know.

Each day, as you make you daily page, or the previous day, or at the end of the previous session, or at the beginning of the new session, you rewrite what you have on your planning for this session. At the end, you tick what you were done, if you don’t do it along. And to use it all, we’ll talk about the weekly review tomorrow.

ScriBuJo 05

Next part of yesterday, I hope you did your little list (sorry no Santa Claus will fill your goals for you).

Today’s work will be longer or quicker, depending on everyone.

You have to think about what you want to accomplish at the end of the week, in what you listed. You’ll have to take into account the time you can get for writing in each day or the week, and your rhythm.

You can cut into 4 or 5 according to the month and do one part a week.

Don’t aim too small nor too big, the daily cutting will be tomorrow.

If you begin or get back at it after a long break, you can’t write as much on 10 minutes as if you do it daily and you’re typing fast.

It’s not a competition, but knowing your rhythm, word per minute, is a good scale to know how much you can aim for a week, a month or even a year.

Be careful, the dactylographic speed, when you simply tape a set text is not the same as when you write. As you have to think about it, it takes more time, it’s normal. I’ll get back at it later.

You can set as a weekly goal:

  • work on a project,
  • continue to write 50 to 500 words to start or continue the January challenge (it’s perpetual).

You can decide to make things that take a variable time, like develop character’s sheets, a plot, etc. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about these sheets next week.

Many of you will say « I don’t need sheets, I don’t need notes, it happens just like that. » It’s your right and it can be your way of doing things, but I recommend you to write the minimum on it. I’ll explain why when we’ll be at it, or I’ll digress again. Yeah, I do have arguments better than « Sheets are great ! ».
With theses suggestions, you should find something to put it.

If you work on a short stories collection, you can try to write one a week, like Ray Bradbury recommends, but if you don’t have short ones, it’s a lot of work. I tried a light version (2,5k words on a short story per week), that wasn’t easy ! I think I’ll rework and set that challenge later on the year, with different level of difficulty, when we’ll be on the rails together. Minimal needs where between 1000 and 2500 words on a short story a week.

Today’s triple goal is:

  • Fill little by little the ScriBuJo.
  • Begin to set goals and see how much you can or can’t do it to fight procrastination
  • Get a regular contact with writing. It’s not by writing two days a month, every three months, that you’ll finish your story and will get better at it if it’s your goal.

I say this again, you don’t have to set how much words or which task for each day, you’ll plan it tomorrow.

 

Your mission, if you accept it:
Make the page and set the work for the week.
Fill the Index with the page number.