Tuesday, February 4, 2014

WIP Marathon [Pre] Report

My awesome critique partner and friend, @ifeomadennis, runs a great event for writers known as a #WIPMarathon. The way it works is for one full month, participants write as much as they can on their current work in progress. Once a week they post an update on their blog, letting their followers (and other participants) know how many words they were able to write, some of the challenges they faced that week, their goals for the following week, and so on. What I love most about this particular writing marathon is 1. You start with your current WIP (unlike NaNoWriMo, which requires you to start with a brand new project) and 2. You do not have to reach a certain word count (unlike NaNo, which requires 50K). It's all about setting goals for yourself and working at a motivated--yet realistic--pace.  

The bad news (for me) is I already missed the last WIPMarathon, and the next 'official' one won't take place until August. The good news is I can still participate in a WIPMarathon report once a month, starting on March 1st. Here's how it works: A Not-So- WIPMarathon-Goodbye.

So, to get the ball rolling, I'm going to do a quick pre-report. My rationale for this is if I don't record where I'm at right now, I won't be able to see my growth come March. Here we go:

Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: None (since this is my first report)
Current report WC + CC/ SC: 80,283, 394 words into chapter 25.
WIP Issues This Month: I can't seem to budge even an inch passed my last paragraph. I think I'm struggling because I'm not a crime-fiction writer. Seriously, I don't even watch crime shows on TV, like Bones or SUV or SVU or whatever. But now I have to flesh out this scene involving a restaurant-shooting, and of course I want it to be convincing and believable, but I feel like everything I add sounds cliche. To make it worse, I'm squeamish about hurting my characters. I need to get over this, fast. 
Four things I learned this month in writing: FOUR? Okay, I've got this. How about...did you know that playing music can be a cure for writer's block? Other cures include a change of scenery, skipping a section, and my personal favorite, taking a caffeine nap. There. FOUR. 
What distracted me this month while writing: Pinterest. I discovered so many awesome writing tools and articles available on Pinterest and spent hours compiling a board of my favorite stuff (including the writer's block tidbit listed above). I wouldn't say it was a complete exercise in futility, because now I have a one-stop-shop for all of my writing needs, but it did get to the point where...well, here. This says it all:

I like it that he called me sweetie. 
Goal for next month: I'll settle with getting past this restaurant scene.
Last 200 words:
  His body convulsed. Get a grip, he willed himself. He forced his clenched, white knuckles to stop shaking and drew in a deep breath. There was plenty of time to suffocate in his own guilt; plenty of time later to confess. Right now he needed to save Grace. It was the only way he could even come close to atone for what he did. He couldn’t go back to last spring and erase this horrible mistake. He couldn’t keep himself from going to that party; from getting behind that wheel. He couldn’t do it.
   But he could change this. He could save one little girl. He could save them all. 
   With a newfound sense of resolve, Stryder looked Joe straight in the eye. “I’m going to get us out of here.”
   “You two, enough jabbering!” Jason, looming over them, bellowed. He pointed the 38 fixedly at Stryder. “You cause any more trouble, I’ll blow your damn head off.”
   In a different world Stryder might have called the gunman’s bluff. But knowing what he did, he nodded and clamped his mouth shut. 

That's actually my last 183 words. I tried to add the prior sentence but then I was pushing 220.

Anyone want to keep this baby going since I'm stuck here? Anyone, anyone...? No...?


  1. Haha Jodi, I love your favorite method of curing writer's block. Would try that out and see, since I'm having a sort of block now :D

    Super happy you're joining us! Hopefully, you'd write past the restaurant scene before the end of the month ;-)

    1. Apparently the method entails that you slam down cup of coffee, and immediately take a 20 minute nap. *Supposedly* you will wake up feeling like a million bucks and ready to write! Hmmm. I don't know. I feel like I'd wake up feeling jittery and really, really having to pee.

      I'm happy that I'm joining you too! Thanks for giving me a way to participate!

  2. I can't wait to read more of your WIP. As for writer's block, sometimes I make a few notes of what the scene should accomplish and skip ahead. Good luck.

    1. I'd love to have you as one of my beta readers come this summer Scott, so I'll let you know when it gets closer and you can tell me if you have the time. :)

      "Skipping a section" is one of the techniques I read on that writer's block info graphic as well, so I think if I'm still stuck by tonight, I'm going to give it a try.

  3. Lol! :) But music absolutely works. I can't write without listening to my WIP specific playlist.

    Looking forward to reading more of your WIP and checking in with you once a month!

    Happy writing - Chris Pine is watching you ;)

    1. Every time I try listening to music, I find myself rocking out to the music instead of writing. Maybe I need to put boring crummy music on...?

      I am super-excited to read your work and follow your progress as well Suzanne!

      Chris Pine can watch me ALL day long. OH YEAH. ;)

    2. Update: I just checked out your books on Goodreads Suzanne and WOW they look intriguing as all get-out. You'll have to tell me which one is your fave so I can have some good reading over spring break (I'm leaning toward Obscura Burning).

  4. I know it's off topic, but I want ALL of those typewriters. Okay, now onto the topic. I think this is an awesome idea! I may take part, too. But, mostly, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your excerpt. You really write beautifully!

  5. Me too Kristyn! I have a thing for typewriters lately, especially Royal brand typewriters. In fact, it's possible that this whole post was just an excuse to post that pic. ;) The ones shown above are not factory colors--they were refurbished. I'd love to restore one myself. Clint surprised me with a Royal typewriter last week (I'll post a pic eventually), but I don't think I'll refurbish it because it's already in such good condition. So an eye-popping red or turquoise one might have to wait until I find a nice crappy one on eBay for a reasonable price.

    Thanks for the comment on my writing! (says the person who just used "nice crappy one" in a sentence).


Thanks for your comment!