Thursday, July 12, 2007

Time To Start Writing

I gave myself until Friday to prepare my inner and outer spaces for writing for the Seventy Days of Sweat Challenge. Times up. Time to start generating word count. I think I'm going to panic.

I spent most of Thursday working with the timeline of the story, trying to establish the ages of certain characters at the time of certain events. This is one of the tasks that I had been puttig off. It was one I had done once before but then lost all my notes when we abandoned our storage unit in 2001. This is a complex task because there are so many major characters with family trees that are entwined.

Ed downloaded a geneology program for me. I was excited to hear that it combined both family tree and timeline view. But then discovered that the timeline view was not part of the freeware version. So then I wasted several hours looking for a freeware timeline generator. The timeline is important not just to show the lifelines of the characters against each other but to show the events of the story against their current events in history.

I fianaly started working it out the hard way: paper and pencil. I took the events in the story Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dolar Maybes as my starting place as I consider that story fairly close to a final draft. I don't want to have to do any major rewriting to adjust age discrepancies. Complicating things then is the fact that sixteen or so of the characters who have significant roles to play throughout the story timeline, are introduced in this one story. I was working from my notes when I wrote the story so most of those characters are the right ages in relation to each other. Knowing that helped me to reverse engineer their ages by taking the stated ages of one character at two events spaced approximately 9-10 years appart and the working with what was implied or stated about the ages of the other characters in relation to hers.

But I made a major editorial decision to bring the story forward in time to the new millenium from the time setting of the late eighties through early nineties which was current at the time I was writing it. There are no current events mentioned in that story but there will be in many of the stories. For example: there is a character who serves in the military during a conflict. I once intended that to be the Korean War but have switched to Vietnam.

Well, I guess I shouldn't be wasting any more time talking about it. I have one more major organizational chore to do before I can start writing. I have to convert all twenty some of the story files and note files from Microsoft Works wps format to RTF because I want to make OpenOffice.org my primary wordprocessor and it can't open Works documents. I might as well make the transition now while there are only twenty some files to convert. Another consideration is that most of the work I did for NaNoWriMo the last two years has been in WhizNotes which uses txt and rtf. I never got around to merging the work I did in WhizNotes with the wps files in 2005 and last fall I already had OpenOffic.org and have been intending to move all of it there, an intimidating and tedious chore. OpenOffice.org is comparable to Microsoft Office but is freeware and opensource.


I forgot to click publish. Not sure when it was I was wrapping up that last paragraph. Something distracted me.... Typical.

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