darkemeralds: Photo of fingers on a computer keyboard. (Writing)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
Happy New Year to the few, the strong, the loyal who are still here at Dreamwidth.

2016, like 2015, has been about my homemade MFA program in creative writing. My "thesis"--which was due on December 31st and should be done this week--is a publishable final draft of Restraint. I expect 2017 to be about writing, too.

My program of study has revolved primarily around story structure and editing. As I approach the finish line, here's a roundup of the changes my studies have wrought:
  • Word count: Fanfic 230,000, Profic 145,000.
  • Character names changed: 15
  • Characters cut: 2
  • Subplots cut: also 2
  • Subplots added: 1
  • Scenes cut: I've lost track. A lot.
  • Scenes added: about 10
  • Average sentence length: Fanfic 16 words, Profic 14 words
  • Reading ease score: Fanfic 69, Profic 72 (higher is easier)
  • Number of drafts to get here: 8
Here's a rough and improvised heat map of the restructured novel, scene by scene. Green bars are scenes that end positive; red, negative. Height of bar approximates scene intensity:

a bar graph with green bars rising above the centerline and red bars descending below it, representing scene-by-scene valence shifts in the novel Restraint


Three fellow writers have volunteered to read and comment on the final draft. Assuming they find no major failings, I'll polish it up and start sending it out in March.

In other writing news, I'm taking Shawn Coyne's Story Grid Workshop in New York City in February. It'll be three days with the story structure master and 25 other writers who are ready to go pro. Since Restraint will be finished by then, I'll be applying what I learn there--and everything I've learned in my Homemade MFA Program--to my next novel, which is currently in the proto-outline stage.

Date: 2017-01-02 01:00 pm (UTC)
linaerys: (Default)
From: [personal profile] linaerys
This is awesome! I did an MFA at NYU a few years ago, and found that one of the best things about it was just committing to being serious about writing for two years. And now I'm committed for life. Congratulations on all of this.

Date: 2017-01-08 11:16 pm (UTC)
greghatcher: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greghatcher
I think those of us that do this would do it in any situation. Even when I was drinking I WROTE. Letters, fragments, story ideas, diary stuff, there was always, ALWAYS wordage.

The part that's commitment is learning the disciplines that go with it and sticking to it... things like FINISHING stuff, which hangs up an awful lot of us. Another is actually sending it off to a real editor or otherwise trying for actual publication, and that's another hurdle not very many people clear. Especially now with the internet providing so many inviting, non-critical substitutes that scratch a nearly-identical itch. Blogs, fanfic sites, everything else. Those certainly are great things and many folks serve apprenticeships there-- hell, I did-- but sooner or later, if you are in it for real, you have to dig in and set professional standards for yourself. Eventually if you are ANY good at ALL, it pays off. And once you cash your first writing check, you never go back, it spoils you for half-measures forever.

I've known you were one of the good once since we were in our twenties, so it delights me to see you going back to it.

Date: 2017-01-02 02:07 pm (UTC)
cookiemom6067: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cookiemom6067
Congratulations! What an achievement!

Here's to a wonderful, creative 2017 for you

Date: 2017-01-02 07:47 pm (UTC)
thishobbitslife: (crowd goes wild)
From: [personal profile] thishobbitslife
Yay, you're back!!!!

Date: 2017-01-03 03:56 am (UTC)
thishobbitslife: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thishobbitslife
I moved all of mine here, and then deleted the account. Seemed the best thing to do for me. :)

Date: 2017-01-02 08:13 pm (UTC)
bluemeridian: Methos from Highlander: "Perfection". (HL :: Methos :: Perfection)
From: [personal profile] bluemeridian
Congratulations on your accomplishment!!

Date: 2017-01-03 01:29 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Photo of baby wearing huge black glasses  (eyeglasses baby)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
That's a ton of hard work.

(Also, what tech creates that remarkable heat-map?)

Date: 2017-01-14 12:02 pm (UTC)
lyr: (Shiny Kaylee: annasiconnas)
From: [personal profile] lyr
Happy New Year! It's great that you're so close to the sending-out stage; that's pretty exciting.

Date: 2017-01-15 12:14 pm (UTC)
lyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lyr
I look forward to buying you in print soon.

Hey, also, I am going to be in Portland in March. I'd love to have lunch if you have some time.

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