The Celestial Way (Revived Project)

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The Celestial Way (Revived Project)

Postby Broken Dragon » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:12 am

So, here I am, five four years later, ready to try my hand at another self-appointed stint. :D

As of yesterday (Nov 1, not what the timestamp says) I have "officially" entered the National November Writing Month, and begun my 7th---and hopefully last for this particular title---attempt at writing a full-length novel. So far it has been a frustrating and dreadful experience, full of wild ideas and a skyload of daydreaming. But now I have finally taken measures to make the wheels spinning. Or so I hope.

So far, I trudged for two and a half years, with six failed attempts, and more than 20k words all to waste.

How is this going to work now?

Currently, I'm working under a development plan known as The Snowflake Method. It is kind of a comprehensive roadmap, which begins with a single sentence---the novel's high concept---and then fractally expands outward, growing the initial sentence-concept into a paragraph, then into a one-page plot synopsis, and so forth, until we have a completed manuscript; just like a snowflake, whose sub-regions resemble the whole in general, as well as the sub-sub-regions that are their own structural components. Hence the name of the method. :)

I tried to finish the Snowflake during this year's summer months, but as fate would have it, I just wasn't ready yet. I managed to do the first four steps, and even that miniscule amount of effort (some 3-4 hours in total) completely drained me. However, the results were immediate: while the idea itself was sound, I instantly saw that the whole structure was weak and full of holes in the logic. Sadly, I spent days, then weeks trying to overhaul the story structure, and in the end the work just ground to a halt; I gave up for the time being and decided to focus more closely on my healing treatment, but that's another tale.

Fast forward a couple of months, I returned to the novel again. This time I gradually picked at the details one by one, working in parallel on the characters, the setting, and the plot itself. I took notes bit by bit, and then realized that NaNoWriMo was looming again on the horizon (I had taken an attempt in 2016, but it failed). I decided to make another major push.

This time, however, I was prepared.

Armed with my latest notes, I decided to not follow the regular progression of the Snowflake Method, and dive ahead at the heart of the matter: the character backstories. As people say, everything happens for a reason, right? Nothing comes forth in a vacuum; it's the same with a story. Someone somewhere does something, and there is a reaction---Newton's Third Law comes in effect. Every crime has a motive behind it, and every action, from the smallest individual deed to the behavior of entire civilizations, are driven by some initial ambition or goal. Yes, things change; but some thing sparked the initial conflict (stories are about conflict, yes?), and that thing is the core of the story.

So my goal is to visit the characters at their earliest moments, way, way before the story starts, and see what makes them tick, find their initial conflicts. Then I'll build upon those conflicts, growing and intensifying them, and throwing them at one another, until there is enough friction that the spark is born.

Randy, creator of The Snowflake Method wrote:You will probably go back and revise steps (1-6) as your characters become “real” to you and begin making petulant demands on the story. This is good — great fiction is character-driven.


Indeed it is; I can personally attest to that with one of my previous (sadly unfinished) novels: I had taken time to write the backstory of the main antagonist, and I was astonished at how clear the entire plot became after outlining his motives and goals.

Which means I can do it again. And, of course, I will start with the main antagonist.

Where do you fit in?

That's entirely up to you. When I first posted the beginning chapters of Космически залог (Astronomical Stake) five years ago, I wasn't exactly sure what I expected. True, I was looking for some feedback but it was more along the lines of "Is this narrative okay, or does it suck?", and I just wanted some gratification from the knowledge of having posted it at a "public" place. (though considering HuLi's forum public is quite a stretch, lol)

So, do whatever you feel like: just read and enjoy (or scratch your head), provide feedback, troll to hell and back*, or, ya know, just ignore. And if you happen to respond and comment, I'll be happy to have a discussion. :)
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*Like that's ever going to happen here... :roll:


Regardless of your choice, I'll be here... leaving my humble legacy for others to see.
(Temporarily. I'll explain later what I mean)

Goals, progress, and status

My main aim for NaNoWriMo 2017 is to complete the Snowflake. There is no actual writing planned---although I'm prepared for it, should the stars align so favorably. I won't share my notes on the Snowflake; but I'll post here anytime there is some progress going forward, and will answer any and all question regarding the nature of the novel or the setting. However, I'll be happy even if I only finish STEP 7 outlined here, because of the following:

Randy, creator of The Snowflake Method wrote:Take as much time as you need to do this, because you’re just saving time downstream. When you have finished this process, (and it may take a full month of solid effort to get here), you have most of what you need to write a proposal. If you are a published novelist, then you can write a proposal now and sell your novel before you write it. If you’re not yet published, then you’ll need to write your entire novel first before you can sell it.


...and because I believe that this step contains the key to solving my story's issues, as I've explained above.

I think I can manage this. Wish me luck, aaand, happy reading! (Once it actually begins :mrgreen: )


CURRENT TASK: Complete STEP 7 of the Snowflake

NEXT TASK: Revise STEPS 1-4 of the Snowflake

PS. And, yes, I write in English since the novel itself will be in that language, and there's no point to switch to Bulgarian just for the explanation part. And a small bit of extra practice never hurts.
Also, who knows? Maybe I can manage to persuade some of my new English-speaking friends to take a look in this corner of the virtual world... ;)
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:09 am, edited 4 times in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:57 pm

UPDATE AT LAST!

Yesterday, after twelve long, grueling days, I finally finished...

...the backstory of the main antagonist, which clocked at just under 14k words.

(facepalm)

I guess I went a bit overboard with that... though when your character is someone who has lived for almost eight centuries and survived through several world- or galaxy-wide conflicts, brevity kinda starts to chafe under the weight. :roll:
Still, despite sounding sometimes more like a travel guide or encyclopedia rather than a personal bio, I like how things turned out in the end - I started with a noble, idealistic person, and when I finished, well... let's say that person has all the justifications to be a villain in everyone's eyes... except their own.

It was epic.

But it cost me 40% of my entire time-frame! (Actually, 30%, since three days went without writing - one day because I was exhausted, one day because of bad weather and cramped schedule, and one day because it was the day off for the place where I go to write)

So now, after so much effort, I feel emotionally drained; and not necessarily in a good way. I spent so much time on a single character! Imagine... if I go through all of them at the same pace! I'll need way more than a NaNoWriMo to get anywhere near a first draft.
That's why I feel a bit lost. I'm not sure how to proceed; the MA's backstory opened my eyes so much to the plot and nature of the actual novel, yet this is only a part of the entire Step 7 of the Snowflake. The problems stems from lack of perceived progress: 14k is no small feat, but when those 14k words are put into the perspective of their function, I've only covered 1/10th of a 1/10th of the overall process.
Yeah, it's as underwhelming as it sounds.

I'm tearing myself between continuing onward with Step 7, or leaving it for now (or even... skipping it entirely) and moving on to the other tasks of the Snowflake.

I guess I'll understand that tomorrow. Because no matter what, I'm not backing down this time.

CURRENT TASK: ???
NEXT TASK: ???
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way, Book 1 (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Кал » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:04 am

I can't imagine anything less than 14K pages doing justice to a character who's turned 800. That's the trouble with near-immortals: you need huge backstories (and often, a huge book) to make them convincingly unusual. Incidentally, I don't find Tolkien's elves convincing in the context of their longevity.

So perhaps you've undertaken a project that needs not one but two--or six--months to prepare properly. As long as the next steps keep flowing, I woulnd't worry about the schedule.

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:50 pm

Well, thankfully, I have only (rofl) two (maybe three, not sure yet) other characters that are in the same (actually, greater) age bracket. The rest are all under 200 y. o., safe from developing a true transhuman psyche... yet. 8-)

Regarding the schedule - somehow, I feel pressured to do this sooner rather than later. (Especially after I factor the two-and-a-half years of "composting" as the Snowflake creator calls it)

Again, thankfully, I decided to double back and return to STEPS 1-4, skipping the rest of STEP 7 for now, and after a gloomy walk to my workplace and half an hour of staring at the screen, I went back to business. In truth, it was somewhat miraculous - I was afraid I had blown my steam for this attempt, and then, just like that, my creativity bounced right up and kicked inspiration in the arse. This means either I'm finally onto something for real, or that I'm a blissfully ignorant fool. :mrgreen:

So, work went good today (because I've used some of the foundations I've laid last year), and things look spiffy again.

At least until I have to face STEP 7 again.

FINISHED TASKS:
- Complete STEP 7 of the Snowflake (partially done)


CURRENT TASK: Revise STEPS 1-4 of the Snowflake

NEXT TASK: Complete STEP 5 of the Snowflake
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:20 pm

UPDATE!

Finished revising STEPS 1 through 4; the last one will need some tweaking later on, but the info I need is contained in STEP 5, so I'll return to it when that's done.

Today wasn't a very productive day but I reached another milestone, so I'll vote it a success.

FINISHED TASKS:
- Complete STEP 7 of the Snowflake (partially done)
- Revise STEPS 1-4 of the Snowflake (Step 4 needs tweaking)


CURRENT TASK: Complete STEP 5 of the Snowflake

NEXT TASK: Complete STEP 6 of the Snowflake
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017
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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:28 am

Another update.

Finished STEP 5 of the Snowflake, the character synopses. I'm definitely starting to feel the weariness of Nanowrimo; I've never before had submitted myself to such brutal creativity pressure, and though the results so far had been incredibly rewarding, I still have a lot to learn endurance-wise when it comes to creating and designing fiction.

Also, on another note, I'm feeling that I'm reaching the point of diminishing returns from the Snowflake for this particular novel. I'm still going to do STEP 6, and maybe a part of STEP 8, but I'm not going to do any additional work on STEP 7, and STEP 9 is super-optional so I'll skip it*. I already have a good grasp on all the characters featuring in the book, so I don't need to write detailed backstories for them; even if I need additional details later on, I can always improvise as I go, or just return to the Snowflake; its fractal approach enables it to be revised on any stage of writing. At least so the ad says.

The important part is the Snowflake is only a tool; and a tool is useful only as long as it does a job. My job with the Snowflake is nearing completion, and I'm itching to do some actual writing after spending so much effort on the design documents (close to 30k words and counting).

So, even at this stage, I will definitely consider this Nanowrimo a success; and a smashing one at that. Even if the manuscript I produce afterwards sucks, it'll be my fault, not the Snowflake's - the work on the design docs so far has been epic, and I already believe there is a truly excellent story in them that deserves to be written. At least by my account.

FINISHED TASKS:
- Complete STEP 7 of the Snowflake (partially done)
- Revise STEPS 1-4 of the Snowflake (tweaking done)
- Complete STEP 5 of the Snowflake


CURRENT TASK: Complete STEP 6 of the Snowflake

NEXT TASK: Start STEP 8 of the Snowflake

*STEP 10 is writing the actual first draft.
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:13 am

Update.

I've completed STEP 6 - and with that, I have pretty much wrapped-up the Snowflake in general, at 30k words and change.

What a journey! I've never felt more exited to actually write in my (budding) career as a fiction writer as I'm now. I don't know whether it is due to the Snowflake, or because I finally broke my 2year+ writer's block. One thing is certain, though: I am definitely... gratified right now.

I'll use the remaining days of Nanowrimo to make a solid headway into STEP 8 and also write up the character descriptions (origin, visual, clothing, mannerisms, etc). I don't think it'll take me more than a couple of days, unless I decide to over-think STEP 8 - which I have no intention to do - and this means I'll actually come up ahead of schedule and have a few days extra. Oh, how I thought I'd fallen hopelessly behind only two weeks ago. :D

After I'm done with NaNo, I plan to take a 2 to 4 weeks-long break to "catch my breath" and catch up on other stuff from my life. Since this will overlap with the holiday season, I'll probably play safe and begin writing after New Year.

Yeah. That's it for now. :)


FINISHED TASKS:
- Complete STEP 7 of the Snowflake (partially done)
- Revise STEPS 1-4 of the Snowflake (tweaking done)
- Complete STEP 5 of the Snowflake
- Complete STEP 6 of the Snowflake


CURRENT TASK: Complete STEP 8 of the Snowflake + some additional notes

NEXT TASK: Take a break
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:11 am

A small update, I changed the title of the topic slightly, omitting the "Book 1" part.

The reason? Well, I've been watching quite a few lists on Amazon, and there are loads of (mainly fantasy) series that all slap "Book 1,2,3 from the XYZ". I'm getting the feeling this practice has probably gotten extremely grating and/or trite for potential readers by this point. At least it has for me. It also dilutes the uniqueness of a given title, and lastly, it isn't necessary at all - see The Dresden Files for example.

Also, I've decided that the first book will bear the same name as the entire series, so I think it's an appropriate change for the title.

03.05.2018 ^That is not true anymore.
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Thu May 03, 2018 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:19 am

IMPORTANT NEWS!

I've talked today with Daniel Bensen, a fellow writer and an acquaintance of mine, and I told him about my plans to serialize here the first draft of "The Celestial Way".

And he told me that if I wanted the novel published traditionally, I must not do that. Like, capital B big "no-no". He said that trad. publishers generally just don't pick up a manuscript if it's in any form or part available on the public net.

Since I want to try and get published before potentially pursuing the self-publish route, this means... I won't be able to serialize TCW here in this topic, on this forum.

However, Dan also told me there are some alternatives that offer some sort of compromise, like a closed forum, or a mailing list if the recipients are low enough in number. So I will investigate these workarounds, and see if there is interest in pursuing any of those options. If there isn't it means this will be the end of the road (sort of) before official publication.

So this is not another update, peeps, sorry. But it was important, and I wanted to give a warning to any of you who might've invested even the tiniest of attention in this project.

Till next time.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Кал » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:28 am

I can make a closed subforum (under this one) and create a group of users who will be the only people who can see it. No guests, no search engines.

However, first please ask around how many people would be willing to read it. (Count me in. :) ) No point in doing it if they're fewer than five; then a mailing list should be good enough.

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Mokidi » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:29 am

EDIT: Kal already said it all.
********************************
********************************
I'm not sure I want to read it though. Not if a mailing list is involved.
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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:59 pm

Кал wrote:I can make a closed subforum (under this one) and create a group of users who will be the only people who can see it. No guests, no search engines.

However, first please ask around how many people would be willing to read it. (Count me in. :) ) No point in doing it if they're fewer than five; then a mailing list should be good enough.


I will be thankful if you manage that. Also, "five people minimum" quota is a reasonable condition.

In that case, let's settle it this way:

If five (5) or more people express desire to read the novel during its writing (being "alpha readers") until the end of this year (31.12.2017), then I will ask Кал to make a closed subforum that search engines are barred off from, and can be viewed only by registered users.*

User who have opted-in so far:

- Кал
- Mokidi (?)



I will update this list as people gather, until the deadline is up. In the meantime, I'll see if I can come up with other alternatives, and I'll also listen to your suggestions, too.

Thank you for your efforts.

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*Question, though: Can the subforum operate with a "mixed" userbase, or people have to make a "general" registration? To clarify, is it possible for outsiders to register only for the particular subforum, or they will have to make a full (ie normal, like current users) registration?

In the former case, I can potentially ask around for some people who otherwise might not be interested in if there is more "hassle" involved (or the Library might not want to "tangle" with them outside this project); in the latter case, I'll leave only an open invitation, and current users will decide for themselves whether they're on board or not.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Кал » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:15 pm

There's only one way to register for these forums, any and all of them--via ucp.php?mode=register

The "hassle" part will have to do with the "trick question" during registration.

Option A: You send the answer ([REDACTED]) to anyone who may be interested and instruct them to copy-paste it verbatim.

Option B: We produce another trick question, more intelligible to English speakers.

I don't like option B, because it requires us to get off our lazy, overworked bums. Especially this Dante Lee guy who produced the image for the first trick question--and who's supposed to be working on the e-dition of Mell's new collection right now ... but I digress. ;)
Last edited by Кал on Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Hid it ... but it was only meant to deceive bots anyway.
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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:35 pm

Final Snowflake update.

And thus Nanowrimo has come to a close.

As I have posted on *cough* Facebook *cough*, it has been a truly fantastic journey, and also a somewhat bittersweet one - despite that I've yet to write a single sentence from the actual novel. :D

Progress-wise, I completed all the character descriptions (they proved tougher than I imagined!), and another couple of minor characters began to crop up in my mind as I worked.
(Goodness, they're already like, what? 20+? *checks spreadsheet* Nineteen. Phew... Wait, they're twenty if we count [REDACTED])

Regarding STEP 8, I couldn't complete it. I finished what could be defined as "ACT 1", but as I struggled onward, I felt as if I was doing something wrong, and I just stopped somewhere before the depths of "ACT 2"; it's no coincidence Jim Butcher and others call the middle point "The Great Swampy Middle". Anyway, with Nano already winding down, and I suffering from the price I paid for my success* during it, I had neither time nor energy to analyze the problem (though I sorta understand it now---it was overdoing), so I just decided to draw the line and be done.

Even with that minor setback, I'm confident enough that things will pan out super; looking at my synopsis, the first and last third of the novel are pretty straightforward, and to avoid drowning in the middle I've set up not one, but TWO** major set pieces to keep things interesting. The main problem will actually be not the main plot itself, but getting the personal arcs for all characters right -- this may be the one area where I may have gotten overboard. :mrgreen:

So, there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this rather dry and amateurish Nanowrimo log.
To all who want to alpha read, I'll see you in the new year. And to those who don't I will have more for you once "The Celestial Way" sees its public release. :)

FINISHED TASKS:
- Complete STEP 7 of the Snowflake (partially done)
- Revise STEPS 1-4 of the Snowflake (tweaking done)
- Complete STEP 5 of the Snowflake
- Complete STEP 6 of the Snowflake
- Complete STEP 8 of the Snowflake + some additional notes (STEP 8 was botched... in a way)


CURRENT TASK: Taking a break

NEXT TASK: Write the novel

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*I'm telling about it only to those who I meet in person.

Скрит текст: покажи
**SPOILERS The first event is the United Interstellar Olympics (work title), and the second is the fake climatic battle! :lol:
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:37 pm

Скрит текст: покажи
Кал wrote:...
Option A: You send the answer ([REDACTED]) to anyone who may be interested and instruct them to copy-paste it verbatim.
...


Damn, Кал, hide that pass quick! You outta your mind?! :shock:

Anyway, thanks for the technical answers, Кал!
Last edited by Кал on Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pass? What pass? *whistling innocently*
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Кал » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:08 pm

A structural question:

Why don't you ditch the second act altogether?

I've never understood people's insistence on the three-act structure. Isn't it something that originated in screenwriting, with its time limitations? A novel can go for as long (or little) as you need it to go. It can have a single act, or maybe 13. How many acts does The Neverending Story have? Two? Three? Four? The Last Unicorn? (One? Two?) Malazan Book of the Fallen?

I mean, make the structure work for your ideas, not the other way round.
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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:41 am

Кал wrote:A structural question:

Why don't you ditch the second act altogether?

...

I mean, make the structure work for your ideas, not the other way round.


Ummm, because the story will feel rushed and suck as a result?
The way things are right now, there is just too much happening around the half-way point, not too little. That's why I say I could get a bit lost during the writing - not because I'll be grasping for fillers, but because I'll have to be concentrated to get the events in the right order and cram everything inside without becoming too verbose and/or long-winded.

Regarding the second part of the selected quote, notice my use of... well, quotes, when I'm describing parts of the novel with "acts". I use that word in only the broadest defining sense; and also, while it is true that the three-act structure is the most overused cliche in storycrafting, it is overused because it works, whether it is trite or not, and I'm using it because it is the only type of structure that I'm adequately versed in and comfortable working with.

After all, Tropes Are Tools. And I don't believe TCW will be a worse book for following a well-established, if ancient, story structure.

Скрит текст: покажи
If I have to get into detail, "ACT 2" (again, notice the quotes) of TCW is actually more like a story within a story, since the main plot arc actually kinda "pauses" while a lot other sub-arcs (mainly character ones) get developed or significantly advanced.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:51 pm

Хайде. Започнах. Пожелавам си успех.

IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:38 am

So, currently I'm googling "how to write a natural dialogue"; I've found this, as well as some other so-so useful links, but I think my woes will continue for now. :(

See, the problem is that the dialogue I've written so far isn't between what can be called "everyday" characters; this is especially troublesome in Chapter 2, where the dialogue is held mainly between two very taciturn individuals (and one of them hates the other), and a SAI (standard AI*), and they all talk strictly business** - which means no idle banter to get some characterization in.

I dunno, maybe I'm too stressed out; after all, in my first novel, the dialogue also sucked until I went over the entire draft and "enhanced" it by adding individual speech patterns, introducing changes to phrases and reactions, etc. Yet this time around I have character spreadsheets with personal backstories***, developed POV's, descriptions of outward appearance and mannerisms, and whatnot; I should be able to handle this better. :S

And yet, I'm not. Sigh.

I'll see if things get better after the introduction of the second protagonist; she should be able to provide a nice, obvious counterpoint to the other main character.

Скрит текст: покажи
*The second type of AI in the setting is TAI, "true" AI

Скрит текст: покажи
**Save for a single snarky line in the beginning that's not even that great to begin with. :|

Скрит текст: покажи
**Ok, the backstories specifically are mostly in my head only, but it still counts
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:15 pm

So, February has passed. Let's draw the line, and see what I've accomplished so far.

In two weeks, I've completed the prologue, two interludes, and three chapters for a total of ~11k words.

I must say, I'm quite dissatisfied. :|

Making a rough calculation, this means It's going to take me anywhere between five to eight months to complete this manuscript, and it would be only a first draft then.
And my target period is four months at most.

Sigh...

I hope the weather gets warmer soon. Somehow, I feel in my gut that then I'll pick up the pace. Maybe because I'm sick of the cold I had to endure for almost two years straight now.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:53 pm

So, exactly seven weeks after I started, I reached the first major milestone--so to speak--in my manuscript.

Which means around 25-30% of the story is complete. More like 15-20% - dear God, I'm practically up to nowhere.

But there is one problem: it took me almost thirty-eight thousand words to get here.
Which translates to around... 130 standard pages.

It's too freaking much; drawing estimates and checking notes, this means the finished manuscript can possibly clock above 150k words or even further, given the scopes I have set for myself. That, or I write really, really sloppy in terms of descriptions and scene length.

It gives me anxiety to no end, and even (internally) prevents me from showing the work so far to potential alpha readers (and people have already volunteered and are waiting). Not to mention that I feel the characters and personal story arcs are an absolute mess right now, which further makes me... wanting to scream and dish everything.

So I've resorted myself to do the unthinkable in the world of literature: Edit a manuscript mid-writing.

Yes, it may be absolutely the worst idea, but I am desperate. I need something to bring me back on track, and this "taboo" act is what I came up with. There are several reasons I think this would help:
- Reviewing the text even once will enable me to fix the most obvious mistakes (and thus raise the outcome for a favorable reaction from alpha readers);
- Seeing the work I've done so far, if it's good enough, should rekindle my motivation to push forward;
- I have a chance to detect what (potential) flaw in the text is tripping me subconsciously, and remove/remake it;

So yeah. This is the plan for now. Anyway, I could use the "break".
If all goes well, I'm onto the next "part" of the novel.

(Great Cosmos, I never imagined this story would be such a struggle to write.)
Last edited by Broken Dragon on Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Кал » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:05 am

A brief interlude ;): Personally, I would never EVER inflict an unrevised manuscript on my alpha readers. I may send them specific scenes with specific questions; but if I want them to comment on the whole thing, I'd give it at least one polish. Otherwise, they'd have to wade through a swamp of mistakes that I'd have seen myself before getting to the ones that I'd have missed.

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:17 am

Скрит текст: покажи
Finally finished the "edits". (Or rather, fixing things into semi-readable shape.)

It was a very, very tedious task, particularly the last two chapters. (Which actually hold the majority of the text.)

Still clocked at around 39k words.

The "good" news is, I'm ready to send this first batch to potential (or volunteered) alpha readers. I'm going to take a small break from writing (which means I'm going to catch up on other tasks), and then comes the crucial part. The thing is, that me continuing to write depends almost exclusively on what the alpha readers think. If the feedback is positive, and people want to know learn how the story continues, I'll write the next "part" of the manuscript. If feedback is poor, or readers drag their proverbial feet and take too long to go through what has been written so far, then.

Then I'm going to start over.

Seriously. I'm not even scared (much) anymore. I have already realized that my skill is just too low to produce anything nearing a best seller (masterpiece is totally out of the question), but I want to try my very best and do this story justice. (Which I think it deserves.) And that means I need solid, page-turning start that will get readers right into the heart of things, without having to slog through... whatever sticky substance slow starts are made of.

So, I present the first eight chapters of Ascension War - the first (and definitely not last!) book in The Celestial Way series.

If anyone is interested to give it a go, you know where to find me.

PS. As I've edited in the previous post, this is only about 15% of the story - in other word, the very beginning. Yeah, either the novel will need some heavy-duty trimming afterward, or it's going to be at least 130k+ words at the finish line.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:58 pm

RE-Start.

It's the only way. IF I'm going to write this series at all. (Yeah, even that's in jeopardy right now)

Honestly, I am not scared or blaming anything, including myself.

I'm only just... disappointed.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017
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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Кал » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:36 am

If you don't mind waiting for a few days, I'd like to talk to you--live--about this writing process. Just let me finish reading what you've written so far. I have the sense that you might be beating yourself too hard (which is another symptom of those states we probed during our stroll) ... but I would know for sure only after we discuss it in the flesh.
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Re: The Celestial Way (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Postby Broken Dragon » Tue May 01, 2018 5:35 pm

So, I've slowly started working on the book again.

I've made some whiteboarding (both in my head and on an actual whiteboard), and this resulted in revision on several aspects of the book: characters have been dropped, structure has been re-analyzed/re-arranged, and "goals" have been defined for each part, and the target maximum word count has been set firmly on 120k.

Speaking of parts, I've also decided, thanks to earlier discussions, to do away with the three-act structure. I made some mental mapping-out, and decided that the story would be more easier to write in a five-act setup, and benefit thus in a more streamlined structure. Essentially, instead of having a beginning and a conclusion with a giant narrative mass in the middle, I'm splitting the former Act 2 into three smaller parts, each with their own internal focus.

The five acts are ambiguously defined along the following milestones:

Скрит текст: покажи
- Act 1: Introduction (to everything - characters, environment, backdrop, story stakes)
- Act 2: The war between the Consortium and the Union
- Act 3: Subplots and internal storylines about the Radiant Order
- Act 4: Subplots cont. + the taking the fight against the Big Bad
- Act 5: The Twist, main characters arc resolution, final confrontation, and the Ending


I've decided to play more fast-and-loose with the story this time around, and while the major details are the same (for now), everything else is liable to change.

Let's see how far I'll get this time.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (Writing Phase 2018)

Postby Broken Dragon » Tue May 22, 2018 6:43 pm

So, finally an update after this incredibly slow re-start.

Today I've reached a milestone, namely I finished writing one of the protagonists' backstory (the other doesn't have one :P ), which will be presented in the book in the form of four interspersed preludes that gradually reveal how they became the person they are at the start of the story.

Again, I am not pleased at all how long it took me to write those four preludes, which amount to a little under 7k words.
(Aw, man...)

At least I'm happy that this part is finally over and I can begin re-writing the main plot of the novel.

The prologue will remain pretty much unchanged, and I managed to salvage Chapter 1 almost in its entirety - by actually cutting out words! Yay! That's how I like things - two (or more) in one. :)

I will probably take another break now, maybe do some more whiteboarding to refresh my mind, and then...

...yeah, back to the endless toil.

(Or is it? I hope things will be different this time.)

EDIT: Changed the topic title to reflect changes in project stage.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (Writing Phase 2018)

Postby Broken Dragon » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:36 pm

Looking at when was my final update, I feel quite disheartened.

For the past month I've struggled with the re-write of Part I of the novel, and this taxed my creative stamina and motivation heavily. I reached right up the Chapter 8, and it's been hell.

That's when I decided to screw it, jump straight ahead, and just continue the story.

The trouble is, I feel completely drained. So much so that I have almost no desire to finish the book. My inspiration, my hope for the story being good, my emotional investment in characters/narrative - everything is gone. There's only a mechanical, soulless text that's left in my head, one which I can probably churn out like a drone in a dry, serviceable prose without any passion whatsoever. It's a terrible feeling.

I figured out what went wrong with the Snowflake (at least one of the things), and I'm taking measures at correcting the problem. However, it seems somewhat too late - I don't feel like writing anymore, and any vacation "away from the story" is completely a no-deal this late into the year. So I'm in a seemingly unresolvable quandary - a zugzwang as they say in chess; I take a break now, more time is wasted and more stress added; I continue to write, more mental fatigue is accumulated and less quality put into the narrative, which again leads to more stress.

Fucking hate how awful the situation is.

I look back with irony at the recent past, and it makes want to laugh bitterly. According to my oh so optimistic prognosis, I was now supposed to be just completing the last chapters, and finishing the novel in a month at most.
...
What went wrong?
(This is a question posed to me, not to you.)
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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Re: The Celestial Way (Writing Phase 2018)

Postby Кал » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 pm

Като се завърна от морското ми странстване в началото на юли, те каня да си спретнем една спасителна среща. Като не е съвсем ясно кой кого ще спасява. (Хех, може би двамата ще спасяваме света? Отново? :D )

А ако усещаш, че няма да издържиш две седмици – ще я сместим и преди сряда. Само дай знак, може и в пощата ми.
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Re: The Celestial Way (Writing Phase 2018)

Postby Broken Dragon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:49 pm

Sooo, things are turning for the... well, they get in some direction - but what exactly, I cannot say.

Today I again experienced a hard crash writing/creative-wise, and as I was sorting out the predicament in my head, I had a strange revelation -- that the book is actually complete, and its merely not in readable form. All the components are planned out - story, characters, plot keypoints, setting, even up to and including some of the major conflicts and themes in the series in general. A couple of weeks previously, I even made an outline of all the chapters of Book 1, thus truly getting the story to its conclusion. So, "The Celestial Way: Ascension War" is again, actually a complete project, except - you know - not legible since the "finer points", or indeed 75% of the narrative is still not there.

Buut... I guess I'm too burned-out to make that stuff happen. So I'm debating instead of calling the whole thing done, and moving on with my life.

One of the things that compels me to take this course of action is the fact that I've been recently dwelling on my plans for the book once if it was completed. I've spoken before that I desire to publish it traditionally - yet these days I'm reading (lol, irony) more and more about the problems of copyright and freedom of information, and I realize that if my book gets published traditionally, I'll fall in the same camp as "the bad guys". In essence, I had stopped thinking about art, and had instead committed the "cardinal sin" - I was thinking about money. In truth, my financial situation has been dire for some time now - and it only gets worse each year, while I... well, I fight other battles, and have neglected this one for too long. To tie this in with my previous statement, I began to write "The Celestial Way" to give again my inspiration to the world and its people, yet somewhere along the journey I lost focus and turned this project into "Get out of jail free"-card.

Yet if I decide to "return to the Light side", i.e. re-think my strategy about the book post-writing, and go the copy-left route, then I'm facing some... trials I think I'm not prepared to face. Or rather, I can face them, and win in the short term at the cost of failing to prevail in the long-term. (I'm talking on a very meta-level here, so I understand if you have trouble following.) The gist of it is, I'm speared by Morton's fork right in the abdomen, and... that's it.

So there you have it. The Dilemma and the Solution... sort of. At least, that's how I see them today.

Maybe I'm just too emotionally exhausted at the moment.
(Or, as Traxas would've put it, I may lack the necessary backup the achieve the task at hand.)
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Broken Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

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