Writer’s Log 4

Writer’s Log 4
21/05-2018

Mission Log
Today’s goal is to finish the Creative Voice-Creative Piece.
I’m in Swanage for the time being, staying with Harvey. He’s in the process of applying for jobs and I’m writing this piece, to hopefully finish my degree with a bang. Most likely my last ever creative piece at uni. So weird!

Andrea Wold Johansen Writing Nook Swanage

10:35 I’ve got this.

10:42 So, I just went through everything I wrote about in my last Writer’s Log, and I may or may not have scrapped it all. Didn’t really resonate anymore, it was too much backstory and not enough actual story. Will keep it and maybe put the backstory in as an appendix though, or just use it as something to reference to as I’m working on it.

11:17 Scrapping what I had might actually have been the most useful thing I’ve done with this story! Ended up creating an entirely new storyline, and now the protagonist has a proper mystery to solve. “Kill your darlings,” and all that; even if you like something you’ve done, if it doesn’t move or add anything to the story, it doesn’t belong in it.

12:00 So, this story has taken a completely new turn, and I’m loving it. It now starts out with a teacher fleeing into England’s last existing forest (in the year of 2187), to hide a 100-year-old forbidden dream journal. This is gonna be a ride.

12:22 This feels more and more like a speculative piece, and when it’s done, submitted and marked, I kind of want to post it here. At the moment I’m trying really hard to not make it into a Technology-is-scary story, though, it’s more a comment on how we as a society overwork ourselves and where we might be headed if we keep it going like this. The technology parts are just a bonus!

13:03 Rocky demanded belly rubs, so I had to take a break. It doesn’t matter if you’re well into writing or if you’re in the middle of a good “flow”, there is always time for belly rubs.
Andrea Wold Johansen, Rocky 004Andrea Wold Johansen, Rocky 001Andrea Wold Johansen, Rocky 002

13:15 Since I started the day by deleting everything and had to start again, I’ve changed the goal of the day to 1500 words. Should be doable.

13:45 I’m really struggling with updating the writer’s log today, but that’s actually not a bad thing. I started the writer’s log series to keep myself accountable for how I spend the time I set off as “writing time” and to keep track of how well I’ve been working, but today I’ve just been busy writing and writing. I’ve been banging my fists against a bit of a creative block lately, so suddenly just having the words flow out feels really good again. Not gonna worry too much about the earlier stated goal for today, but I’m having a really good time writing now.

15:05 Okay, Rocky is demanding pets again and I’m feeling good-tired from having been at it since about 11. Gonna call it a day and just keep working on the plot in my head until I can get some more words down!

Andrea Wold Johansen 023
Also, just found this image again from June last year (while looking for some research on my laptop), and I have to admit that I do miss the hair a bit…

Recap of the session:
Did not reach either of my goals (1. to finish and 2. to reach 1500 words), but still, a very productive session! Starting from scratch gave me new drive to keep writing, and I’m a lot happier with what I’ve got now. Now it’s actually an interesting story with a proper action and character-driven plot, instead of just being musings about how the world ended up being as it is.

Mistake of the day: Accidentaly. Acidentaly. Acidentally. ACCIDENTALLY!

Wordcount of the day: 1367

Writing location: My favourite ever writing nook looking out over Swanage bay.

Phone breaks: Not a single one, my phone is very battery-dead at the moment.

Beverage of choice: Started off with just a Yorkshire tea, but have switched over to this green tea one of my flat mates brought from Hong Kong. I’m normally not a fan of green tea, but this is really good!

Mood before writing: I’m not entirely sure where to find my plot after the 1000 word long backstory I wrote last time??”
Mood during writing: Delete everything. Start afresh. See what happens.
Mood after writing: Need some time to really figure out how to use the plot to explain how this world works, and how to use the characters to show how not physically (and genetically) being able to sleep would affect an entire population. This is gonna be fun, though!

Question of the day: When you write, do you start by planning out the plot or the setting?

-Andrea

Writer’s Log 3

WRITER’S LOG 3
09/05-2018

Mission Log
A bit of an evening session. The weather here in Winchester (and the rest of England and Europe if we are to believe the weather forecast and my granddad on the phone) is so wonderfully warm and sunny now, which, of course, is nothing to complain about, but it does make it difficult to get any actual work done. The goal for tonight is to reach a 1000 words, though!

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19:26 I’ve got my water, got my tea, got my extension for this assignment, let’s go!

20:06 I actually really like the world I’ve created for this story! It’s a creative piece exploring how the world could end up looking like beyond 2050, so I’m writing a story set in England in 2087, after a huge economic crash has changed the entire structure of the world as we know it. Companies have pumped resources into very unethical experiments and scientists have eventually managed to change human DNA and make it so our bodies don’t actually produce melatonin anymore. This means that in (this hypothetical and highly fictional) 2087 we’ll have a world where no one is even able to sleep; only be awake, to create and be productive 24/7. Terrifying, but interesting to explore.

20:30 There are now 578 words of a prologue written, kind of like an introduction to how the world came to be the way it is. I do believe that’s a bit much and that I’ll have to cut it, but for now it’s a nice part of the process. It’s always nice, when you’re writing new worlds, to be able to create all aspects of it, to really get into how it’s working. It’s one of my favourite parts at least. Now on to introducing some characters! Stories do kind of need those too, yeah?

20:46 Character update:
Harper – leading lady, interested in dreams (which are only a vague, and slightly unbelievable, myth in this world).
Lydia – leading lady’s best friend, not so great at accepting her friend’s obsession with said dreams that no one’s had for 36 years and no one can really prove are true. We already have conflict.

21:08 A bit stuck on character motivation now, but have actually managed to get the prologue and first “scene” down in about an hour and a half. Heading to the fiction section now, for just a little bit of inspiration and a teeny tiny break.

21:39 Okay, that break turned out a little bit longer than planned, but I started writing an “I’m back!” blog post, and got a bit stuck in it. Lots of pictures of the past couple of weeks to make up for the radio silence. Back to Harper and Lydia now, though!

22:04 Making up fictional technology for an England set 69 years into the future is actually a lot of fun! I’m trying to base it on the technology we have today and then looking at where that technology may go, but also going a bit crazy and maybe stretching a lot of things too far. But I feel like if there is one assignment where you’re allowed to go a bit far, it’s the one called “Life Beyond 2050”.

22:30 Remember the article I talked about a couple of months ago, about my favourite places in Winchester? It’s been published now and they sent me a couple of copies! My mum just called to tell that the magazine was sent to my house back home in Norway, which means that I don’t have an actual copy with me right now, but I’m so excited to read it when I go home later in May! It looks so good, and I can’t wait to show you pictures of it, and tell you about the work I’ve been able to do with some of the people at one of the marketing teams here at the uni. So happy!
(Also, if you want to read some of this other, earlier work mentioned one sentence ago, click here!)

23:12 Okay, I’ve got my prologue, introduction scene and first conflict; time to pack it up for tonight. Tomorrow’s another day, and I’ve set it all aside for more writing! I’m trying out a new strategy a lecturer talked about, that is leaving the story before you feel “done” writing, so you know you’ll exactly where to start again tomorrow.
Very excited about that!

Recap of the session: This is a very world building heavy story

Mistake of the day: I always write “in between” in one word, and today was no exception. I’ve learnt to correct myself now, though, which means that not everyone work shopping my pieces have to, and I call that progress.

Word count of the day: Goal reached, 1166 out of 2500

Writing location: Library, top floor, computer 53, wonderfully quiet in here tonight.

Phone breaks: One quite long FaceTime break and a couple of messages, but no actual “hanging out” on social media or anything. Getting there.

Beverage of choice: Strawberries and Cream by Dorset Tea (I’m going to sneakily link you to their webpage because this tea is seriously my favourite tea ever and I stock up on it every chance I get).

Mood before writing: “I really like my idea and the world I’ve created for this assignment but I’m not entirely sure where I want the plot to go.”
Mood during writing: What kind of technology can I make for this world, and what kind of phones will we have in 2087? Still not entirely sure about the plot further down the line.
Mood after writing: I’m really enjoying this piece! Need to rework the plot and shorten down the prologue a bit, but having a good time with it so far!

Question of the day: How do you think our technology will develop in 2087?

Also, have a picture of some really good crepes we treated ourselves to today (I went a bit overboard with mine, but Bex had some chocolate covered strawberries on the side with hers too, so it’s okay).

Andrea Wold Johansen Crepes

-Andrea

Writer’s Log 2

WRITER’S LOG 2
26/02-2018

Mission Log:
A short (but important) rationale session

10:59 I need to write a 2000 word rationale about a 8000 word creative piece. It is due in nineteen days, 1 hour and 1 minute. Normally I really enjoy writing rationales for creative pieces, but I’m struggling with getting started with this one. Maybe it’s like a head space thing. I’ve got lots of research already done (I really love research) and a lot to talk about, but it’s a bit scary to write about such a “big” assignment. I can do this, though!

11:11 Not writing-related, but it’s actually, proper snowing today! A nice view from the library. Also, 11:11! Make a wish!

11:29 Had to do a bit of “paperwork”, send some emails (5 emails, to be precise) and figure out some dates for course related events. But now I’m really getting started.

11:36 This is going okay, have finished the introduction plus the first couple of paragraphs. Tips to anyone wondering whether to go to uni or not and/or wondering what kind of course they should do: creative writing. It lets you write about your favourite books into academic essays. There’s something special about being able to quote lines that gave you chills when you read them as a child, and as I’ve basically based my entire creative piece around the book Mio’s Kingdom, that means getting to use quotes like “If only the trees hadn’t grown so close together, […] if only the darkness wasn’t so black and we weren’t so small and alone.”

12:17 Got distracted by an article I’m writing for a  Student Life magazine at the uni. It’s a feature article with lots of pictures and 500 words, about wonderful places in and around Winchester. Not rationale working, but still writing!

12:34 Finished the piece for the article instead, now I can tick that off the list too.

13:12 Done with writing for today, am heading into town for coffees with Jeanette! It’s gonna be great to see her again and to catch up. But first, raiding the library for more books, research is absolutely the best part of essay-writing!

Andrea Wold Johansen 007

Recap of the session:
Not the most productive session wordcount-wise, but great for research, decluttering the brain and for crossing things off the old to do list.

Mistake of the day: More typo of the day. “Thing” is now spelt “thign”. Every single time.

Word count of the day: 635 (plus 548 words on the article, to be fair)

Writing location: Library, top floor, computer 48. Not as ideal as computer 57, but it’ll do.

Phone breaks: Getting better!

Beverage of choice: None. I forgot my tea at home and can see it just waiting on my desk, slowly getting cold. It’s a tragic story, indeed.

Mood before writing: “I am stressed”
Mood during writing: “I am significantly less stressed now that I’ve started working” Mood after writing: “I may not have finished my rationale, but I got a lot of other things done”

Question of the day: Any tips for being productive when a thousand things are running around in your head at once?

-Andrea

 

 

Writer’s Log 1,

WRITER’S LOG 1
29/01-2018

Hello! I want to make a series on this blog called The Writer’s Log; a semi-frequent update on the creative process behind my writing and creative pieces, from floaty idea to finished product. However, as I’m currently in the last semester of my third year at uni (how on earth did that happen), I’m also working on my dissertation right now. So for the first log of the series (and for this blog in general), please join me in the editing process on my Extended Creative Project.

My story is a children’s story (9-12 years) about kids growing up in hospital. I love both reading and writing fiction for children, and I’m really fascinated about how books for children approach heavy subjects, like death, illness, anger and loneliness. This story began as a creative piece last year, but after the assignment was handed in, I didn’t feel like I was completely done, neither with the characters or the story. So, I’ve reworked it and am now using parts of it for my ECP.

Christmas this year blessed me with lots of inspiration (and a bit of justified terror as the deadline rapidly approaches) and so I finished the first draft over the holidays. I’ve spent the past weeks editing it on paper, and am now applying all my edits to a word document I’ve saved on three different memory sticks, two computers, and my google docs. Paranoid? Me? Naaaah.
The point is, I’ve got the first draft of my dissertation done, but that is 25 pages of unedited writing. Now, let’s try to make it good.

Andrea Wold Johansen 002

Mission Log:
Day 1:
First day of editing

12:06 I’m in the library, armed with pink pens and a caramel waffle. Also with a printed Google map over a very small part of London and Mio’s Kingdom in three different editions and two different languages. Let’s go.

12:15 Page 1 done, this is going great.

13:32 Editing your writing on paper is a lot of fun, but getting the changes into the word document isn’t as great. However, different coloured markers for different kinds of edits are very helpful and makes everything a bit more manageable!
Am going for a walk. Just around the library. Not a long one. Promise.

13:55 Okay, I might have gotten stuck in the fiction shelves. Found Philip Pullman’s Clockwork again, and I just can’t resist the whimsical but also kind of terrifying world. “Stories are just as hard as clocks to put together,” it says in there, and that is very true. But back to work now.

14:57 Page 13, right, this is going a bit slow. Have rewritten huge passages though, and spent fifteen minutes figuring out the difference between “scrubs” and “uniforms”. It’s all a process, right?

16:11 Very tired of my own handwriting. Scribbles doesn’t even cut it anymore, it’s more like a long, squiggly line. Have found some cool sentences I forgot I wrote, though. Only 5 pages left!

17:00 DONE! With the second draft at least.

Recap of the session:

Mistake of the day:
It took me seven tries to write the word receptionist. Wow.

Word count of the day:
9183. (Of course, I didn’t write those words today, if anything I tried to cut them out. Currently at 1000 words over the final word count…)

Writing location:
Library, top floor, computer 57. The best computer. Not entirely sure why, it’s just the best one.

Phone breaks:
Way. Too. Many.

Beverage of choice:
I thought it was Four red fruits, but turns out I got rooibos tea from the Food Hall. This makes me a little sad, but is still okay.

Mood before writing: “Got my tea, got my pens, let’s just get this editing over with now.” Mood during writing: “I need to get rid of a 1000 words. And all of this is awful. Can I even write? What am I doing?” Also “Hm, that’s a cool sentence. I love my characters, must nothing bad happen to them ever please and thank you. I’ve got this. Where did my pen go?”
Mood after writing: “I did a thing!

So I think that went okay!

 

Question of the day: -Done any kind of writing lately? What’s your mistake of the day?

-Andrea