W.O.L.F. Sector
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

Progress Reports - More Info

The progress reports are mostly for me. I enjoy looking over the chronicles of my writing journey every now and then. They also keep me motivated by keeping me accountable, since by posting them online, I know anybody who comes along can see whether I've been working or not. I also hope they keep you updated on where I'm at with any given story, so you won't feel you have to e-mail me to ask me about it.

When I first came up with the idea of listing all the story updates in one place, it was mostly out of curiosity. I wanted to see how much I've really worked on my stories, though I realized pretty quickly that there were huge gaps in the information because I had never intentionally kept track of when I actually worked on any given story.

This left me to play detective, so for the oldest dates, the information is based on my working file save dates, journal entries, notes I posted to my old 'What's New?' page, and saved e-mails (I'm still going through old e-mails to look for references to when I worked on a story so I can fill in the gaps, since I know I worked on my stories more than a couple days for most months). For periods where I couldn't find any info regarding what I was working on, I've simply indicated there were no story updates during that time. That doesn't mean I wasn't writing. It just means I don't have a daily record of it, probably because I was saving over the same file instead of creating a new version each day.

Since somewhere around 2010, I've been posting the notes directly to the progress reports pages, usually the same day I've worked on anything (sometimes I forget before I get off the computer, so it doesn't show up until the next time I get back on, which could be a couple days if it's the weekend and I'm forgoing technology to spend time with my wife).

If the most recent date isn't very recent, then I haven't worked on a story recently, probably because I'm ill or dealing with other life stuff (check the News page to see if there's a more recent post to let you know what's going on with me). You will not receive any further information by e-mailing me about when the next update will take place.

On the other hand, a lack of reports could also be because I'm doing research, like reading or watching documentaries or writing notes in one of my many notebooks, none of which I keep track of or report because it's far too much trouble (see update below). Basically, whenever you see a report that says I worked on the notes for a story, it's not that I wrote the notes right then, it's just the date when I entered the notes I've been collecting into the computer, so all those hours of research spread out over weeks and sometimes months are condensed into the few hours it takes me to transcribe my notes into the computer.

Update: As of around April 2013, I got the bright idea of writing the date next to my handwritten entries (I don't know why I didn't think of it before; I guess I was stuck on the notes not counting until they were in my computer). So, instead of using the date I enter the info into the computer, I'm trying to use the date I actually wrote the text or notes. This new system isn't foolproof, since I still forget to write the date sometimes, and it's also quite possible for me to do research for several days and not take any notes because none of the info was useful, but hopefully this will allow me to keep a more accurate record of when I work on a story.

Definitions

The summaries listed in the progress reports usually contain certain words or phrases to describe the type of work I performed on a story. The following is a list of what those words and phrases mean to me.

Story text is what you read when you read the story. Having worked on "story text" is what most people probably think of when someone says they worked on a story.

Revisions involve reading over and editing previously written story text to get it to a more final form. Revisions could include expanding a scene, completely rewriting it, or even cutting it entirely, or simply changing a word or correcting typos. Having worked on "revisions" is what most people probably think of when someone says they edited a story.

The outline is an overview of how the story will play out, usually broken down by scene and written in present tense. It could consist of something as simple as "Character A and Character B have sex," or be a highly detailed description of dialogue or action that is almost story text. Having worked on the "outline" means I've written the glossed over version, which I will use as a guide when I work on the story text.

The timeline is similar to the outline, but includes events that may never be shown or even mentioned in the story and puts everything in chronological order, regardless of when events are shown in the story (a flashback would be listed when the event actually happened, not when it's shown in the story). Having worked on the "timeline" means I've worked on a synopsis of one or more events pertinent to the story, which I will use as a guide when I work on the story text.

My notes include ideas for scenes, snippets of dialogue, narration, plot points, character bios, etc. Having worked on "notes" means I copied notes from my notebooks into my note file or added a note directly to the file regarding one or more of the above. I tend to let these pile up in my notebooks and then work on getting them into the computer all at once.

Research is basically looking up facts. Research is a special case in that I only document it when I add notes to my note files or create a new file for a specific topic of research (for example, my notes about the Egyptian Books of the Dead and the NYPD for The Vampire Hunter series are in separate files). There are plenty of times when I perform hours of research and never actually write anything down because I'm trying to learn enough about a subject so I can begin asking the right questions and taking the right notes. Having worked on "research" means I looked something up online, read a book, or watched a documentary or movie, and actually put the notes directly into the computer.

Brainstorming is when I spend dedicated time coming up with story ideas, scenes, events, etc., I want to have happen in a story. I started doing this in December 2015 (I only wish I'd started this approach sooner). Brainstorming differs from notes listed above in that notes are usually something that comes to me while I'm doing something else, so I just write a snippet down. Brainstorming is me setting aside specific time to work on a missing piece of story or a problem I need to solve or how I want a scene to go.