What I accomplished this week (08/09/2011-08/16/2011) :
1. First and foremost -- I got the oldest kid to school starting last Thursday (where did the summer go?). Youngest kid and I are renegotiating the terms of staying at home alone together. "No, you can't watch television all day just because older brother is away and can't play with you."
2. Am halfway through next chapter of work in progress. After reading The Help, I have been aware of what I'm calling 'mini-scenes' that last a few paragraphs, fill in some gaps in the story and then continue along their way. Say what you will about the racial aspects of that novel (read this, I think it's a pretty good review), Stockett is a very good 'mini-scener.'
Now, the thing to understand with mini-scenes, as I'm learning, is that you can really set them anywhere. Mainly you just have to ask "What's the character thinking about?" and then think about what setting would trigger it. Since the focus is just on a mini-epiphany, or a mini-struggle in the character's life, the field is wide-open. Which is both freeing and frustrating at the same time because you wonder "Where would be best?"
The chapter that I'm working on now is a sort-of series of mini-scenes -- it has information that needs to be covered in order to move forward, but didn't quite serve a large, cohesive scene. Plus, I want to show a little bit of time passage, so again, the mini-scene is coming in to do some heavier lifting.
Until I caught on to the concept of a mini-scene, I was completely floored on how to write this chapter. So, if you find yourself stuck...you may wanna try them too. Don't be afraid of writing a section that's just a few paragraphs long. Throw in some white space and call it good.
3. I also created a Track Changes version of all the critiques I received last month. As I was stuck on the above-mentioned chapter, I decided that reviewing people's notes and typing it all in to one document would let me see problem areas.
Luckily, all of the problem areas boil down to one chapter. So at least I know where to hit when I do the big revisions. For now, I'm plunging through and trying to finish a rough draft by the end of October, so no time for MAJOR revisions unless it absolutely changes the outcome of the story (as it is, the critiques mainly wanted more POP and some clarifying details, which doesn't change the overall information presented in the problematic chapter...so I don't have to tear it up this second).
And by the way, I hate Track Changes. I did that so when I'm all finished I will have to retype everything in a clean draft. That's the easiest way to catch all the glitches anyway, may as well force myself to do it the right way instead of the easy way, ya know?