Tag Archives: design

Writing Process

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So I was discussing with Mroo and Dangland the other day and decided that I should just make a big blog post on what my general workflow for writing is. I’ve gotten kind of big on writing longer short stories lately for some reason (closer to novellas really), and right now I’m in the lull between one wrapping up and beginning to draft the next. So. Let’s workflow!

Most of my process is adapted from the Snowflake Drafting method and One Pass Revision method. You can use any writing implement of choice, though I’m partial to Scrivener with it’s layout options.

1. First, an idea. I usually aim to have a 1 sentence summary and then 1 paragraph summary that I can work with. I prefer the one sentence summary to be pretty cut and dried. For Enough, the one sentence was “Loki escapes capture and goes half-mad on the road to recovery.” The one paragraph just expands that, detailing the conflicts that will arise and a final sentence of how it resolves.

2. Character development. Each character gets the following treatment:

Summary: One line explaining the character

Motivation: The abstract thing driving them, usually an emotion

Goal: The physical thing they want

Conflict: What’s stopping them

Epiphany: What lets them break through (and I do allow for this to be another character’s actions depending)

1 paragraph synopsis: The character’s progression through the story.

I do this for every major character, villain (if there is one), and usually strong supporting characters who may not be the main characters.

3. Next, I expand that 1 paragraph into a page. Each paragraph is basically covering one of the sentences from before.

4. I then take every MAJOR character (and not always the villain, if they won’t feature heavily) and write the same 1 page summary, only entirely from their perspective. This usually shows me things that the other characters won’t see, gives me more ideas on how they interact and think about the other characters, and so on.

5. I then write a four page summary of the entire plot–1 page for opening and ending, 1 page per conflict. This usually takes me roughly an hour or two to sort through, and let’s me see how the story is going to move, flow, whose doing what where, and who gets focus in each area. This is a really great way to know what’s going on at all times and keeps down on the extraneous.

6. This step is probably the least fun, but the one that keeps my stories very tight, and any additions that happen and aren’t in this step are usually necessary and grow from writing the story. I create a table and take my four page summary and write down what each and every scene will be, from one to the next. I group ones that go together well as chapters, and number them so that I can quickly and easily move them around. This lets me see the logic of the story, know what I’m doing, and generally be prepared for any changes. This makes it so later I will have a much easier time in the revision process.

7. I finally start writing. Since I use Scrivener, I move over to my Story folder and create my first index card. Each index card for each chapter will have a rough run down of what scenes are in it so I don’t have to constantly look at my scene list. I’ll usually add document notes with any potential changes I’d like to make once I finish the first draft of a chapter (for instance, the latest story I wrote I was thinking about adding a scene but couldn’t decide if I wanted to. I noted it, and when revising later determined the scene to be unnecessary).

8. Once I finish the first draft, I usually send it off to Dangland, who reads through it. He’s usually reading each chapter just as they finish, and I basically use him to make sure that the plot is interesting and my basic scenes are not out of left field or unnecessary. He also makes sure my characterization doesn’t go off track. He does a lot, he just doesn’t know he does. 🙂

9. Once anything gets changed after Dangland reads it (this will usually be massive cutting of scenes if it happens at all (it rarely does, for which I thank step 6)), I will start in with the one pass revision method. I tear into things, fix temporal warps, figure out tenses and flow. I make sure that I have the entire story as one big document, that way I can verify things work between chapters. My readers (at least the ones that are starting from when I post the first chapter) may not necessarily appreciate this, but anyone who see it in complete form will. Since my works are usually not nearly as long as a novel, I usually don’t feel like I have as much tearing apart to do (I’ve written novels and revising them is oh my god horrible).

10. I send the revised story over to Mroo. She will read through it, commenting on grammatical errors, awkward phrasing, and generally things she particularly enjoys or notices to be slightly off.

11. I make at least one more pass, incorporating changes suggested by Mroo. At this point I’m only tweaking phrases or tiny details. After a third pass, I will not make any further tweaks. You have to stop some time, and that third is usually when I’m reviewing a chapter before uploading it online.

12. sweet sweet victory. I’ll give myself a day or two to chill out, gestate over any new ideas, and be a bum.

 

And there you go! Hope you found it interesting. If you’d like to see a story completed with this method, well, I don’t think my WordPress readers are gonna dig on the Avengers fic I just finished; the next story is still Avengers related, but it’s alternate universe and can stand apart from any knowledge of the movie/comics, so I’ll mention when it’s done going up.

A little motivation.

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So I’ve been knitting but it feels like I’m getting no where fast. I wondered why so I pulled out all my current UFOs I’ve been bouncing between.

Hmmm.

We have my Bex socks. I did the first one two years ago and I’ve been working on the second one as my bus project off and on.

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Nearly at the heel flap and I know it will zoom along once I get to the foot, what with decreasing the complicated stitch work by half. Then I’ll finally have a lovely pair of socks I’ve wanted for a while now.

Then there’s my Vivian sweater, which I’ve dragged on because I’m worried I don’t have enough yarn. It’s a good computer project so I’ve been doing the sleeves and prepping for the big join in the evenings when I don’t spin.

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Its gonna be quite lovely. Then there’s my Christmas vest–the kit was a gift from my friend dangland for Christmas. This one is an off again on again relationship I keep coming back to when I don’t have a knitting project to work on and feel like colourwork.

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But I have S’ mitts to finish up do I’ve been working on the second. It’s taking forever thanks to the fact the heat wave put me off knitting them, but now it’s chilly again so I’ve started them. Should have it done soon if I can just buckle down.

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And theeeen we have the shawl I’ve designed, second for the year. This is an eventual gift for my mom, if I ever finish it. I still love it, I just sort of forgot about it in the rush to KNIT ALL THE SOCKS. Ahem.

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Yeah, I don’t have a problem there. I’ve been really feeling the Estonian lace lately, and contemplating design. It’s not difficult to whip together these shawls, and I like making stuff up. Been thinking about doing more of these and selling them at that lower price point. Worse that happens is I make a buck or two off of it and become a better designer.

Oh, and I mentioned spinning. Nearly done with this yarn for a sweater at last:

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Which is quite exciting. It’s all chain plied and is super squooshy. At least I hope I have enough for a sweater, I haven’t had a chance to do yardage yet.

Whew! So there you go guys, that’s what I’ve been up. Also bros:

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What have you been doing?

Orange is a pain to photo

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This is literally the only decent photo of this I’ve gotten. Orange is a pain to photo.

This is a second shawl that I’m designing for release. It’s a fair bit more complicated than the last one. I’m enjoying it though and it’s really helped with my reading lace.

When done, I’ll be sending it along to my mother. I feel like she needs something cozy with the passing of my great grand pawpaw.

Oh god photographing this for the pattern will be a pain in the ass. D:

Sneak Peak–Heargyle

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Remember that skirt design set that I never got past first post on? Well, a lot of that was my computer blowing up and needing a new one, having to recover part 2’s photos, and then my sewing desk getting taken over by the new desktop.

With my birthday coming up this week, I decided that I wanted a birthday skirt for myself. I finally finished off the skirt, and remembered to take some more photos along the way.

I’ll get some better photos of the details (what few there are) for the skirt, but for now have a quick shot:

Expect to see the next post in the design set in a day or two.

What’s this thing you call a life?

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Well, whatever it is, I sort of have one again. Thanks to graduating YESTERDAY (saturday), I suddenly find myself without the awfulness of homework again. It’s quite nice. My new job starts tomorrow (no, I won’t tell you, other than it is related to my area of study from uni), all bright and early.

Since my last real update of stuff I’m working on–namely, the bad iPod photos of Lizette–I haven’t really done too much. I acquired the lovely design book I’d been pining after during Interweave’s big sale, much to my delight, and it’s proving quite useful in understanding more about sweater/vest design that I lack the experience to really know.

(Oh and it’s got beautiful things in it. I like beautiful things.)

I also have the yarn (I know I’m going to spin up another batch, but I want to knit it nooooow *whine* ) to begin knitting up a test version in size medium (36″/91cm bust with planned 2″/5cm ease). I snagged it during a WEBS deal of the day, and I absolutely love it–I wish the red were a bit fierier, but it’s really lovely anyway. (For whatever reason, I see this vest as a deep red in my head)

It’s Ella Rae classic, a smooth worsted weight wool yarn that has enough plies to show off stitches well. Very important. I’ve got the swatch done:

And am quite pleased. I’ll have about 200 yards extra playing room with the amount of yarn I have, which is good in case I messed up my calculations. I am also really happy I managed to reverse engineer the stitch patterns from a few not-quite sharp enough pictures, even if it took several attempts. I’m already writing up a prototype pattern with Scribus, and will be using that prototype pattern to test knit the initial vest. If it goes well, I should be able to expand it for more sizes fairly easily.

I bought myself a bit of graduation yarn. Ok, I didn’t plan on buying yarn, but they had a single ball of Kauni in a colour I didn’t want but Kauni.

I’m sure I can come up with something to do with a giant ball of rainbow.

I also got some Rowan Tweed to pair with it, but found out when I got home I need about 100g more for the pattern.

Absolutely lovely, with some beautiful blue flecks in I thought would complement the rainbow well in the Thistle Shawl (following picture is by entill, and also uses rainbow, thus why I’m showing it instead of the green and white initial):

Alas, I’m not sure what to do with it now. The tweed seems like a lovely excuse to design a set of arm warmers for myself.

In some utter fail on my part, I haven’t finished the Turkish socks from Knitted socks around the World because they won’t fit me OR the intended recipient. Alas! But the one that is done is super pretty:

That’ll teach me not to swatch.

I also spun up a tiny bit of yarn. I have more to go yet (of a similar colour, though the batch is a bit different), but this is what has been set:

For once, the purple actually photographed right. I started this at Mroo’s over spring break, and it’s proven to be a pleasure once I got over the fact I thought it was the wrong fiber when I started. It was more practice for longdraw for the vest. The current stuff being spun is much more even and consistent, which is good–that was the whole point of doing this stuff. I imagine I’ll tackle the vest next; that, or save it for this year’s Tour de Fleece.

Finally, on non-knitting and almost-food front, we have this year’s ‘garden’–a pot with roma tomatoes:

Provided they make it through the week, I’ll be going out to get them some supports soon.

Nothing is in the little pot yet–any suggestions of herbs I should put in? I may also get another smaller pot for a different herb, so suggestions are definitely welcome! I’ve gotten one for cilantro, chives, or basil so far.

Hopefully more blog posts will happen now that I’m not in school all the time! Hope everyone is well, and I’ll try to keep you updated on the design process of the vest. 🙂

Some Tour Lessons

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I don’t think that this is necessarily because of the Tour, it’s just I know have enough handspun to make projects–like the socks that I’m knitting out the gradient spun. I’m a pretty picky knitter when it comes to sock yarn and lace, and there are things I will and will not tolerate.

The gradient spun is making a beautiful set of socks, don’t get me wrong. I just absolutely despise the yarn at this point. In some places are these big fat lumps–not huge, I wouldn’t call them slubs–and they are driving me up the wall. They weren’t nearly so present when I started spinning this yarn, so what happened along the way? (They were there, though, don’t get me wrong) For that matter, almost all the green and end of the gold is generally a little thicker than what I started with. Annoying.

They look very pretty, though, I promise, and I’ll get some pictures.

So what’s the lesson from all this?

I really should sample. Really. I should spin that initial amount–say just 10 yards–ply it on itself to see if I’ll like it. Then tape it to an index card so the singles can’t untwist and check against it far more often. And carrying around an index card won’t kill me.

I can handle bumpy yarn on a larger project, but when I’m doing near constant stitch manipulation I refuse. It’s why I consider Noro to be overhyped commerical single that isn’t worth a damn–slubby and rough and full of more grit and dirt than I want to handle. Beautiful colours though. I’m handspinning to get that without the horrible, right? Right?

The Spinning of Thai Lantern – 0

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To start a pull off a bit of the roving from the chain that I would like to use. I usually limit myself to one or two major colour shifts, or in this case, three.  I pull it all off at once, divide off the ‘strong’ colour that I want to preserve (in this example, the green). This is still big and floofy, and while some people start spinning at this point, I usually do not.  We’ll get back to the green later, but first let’s deal with the two other colours in this example.

I divide the roving up some more, trying to separate the yellow orange and the strong orange.

Then, once I’ve mostly divided up all the colours, I start splitting the two floofys (that is a technical term, mind) lengthwise, preserving any colour similarity they have. These thin strips are much easier to draft, since I usually try to open the fiber up some as I go.

Since the green tufts have both more orange and are shorter than I usually like to predraft, I lash them onto one of my carders. Carding is a really nifty way of blending two colours into a more homogeneous mass while still preserving the colour that isn’t as present.  You can also card different colours (say a yellow and blue) to create a green, but that’s another post all together.

Once I’ve carded a bit–usually no more than two passes, I pull it off and relash.  This helps break up the orange that’s still really strong even further so that it’s nicely blended. With that done, I carefully pull the bunch up, and then roll it into a rolag with the fibers loosely aligned.  Drafting it out and then lightly rolling it up for storage gives me a cute little fiber fluff ball that can be spun from.

Now the real fun can begin.  I almost always do the above a few times over when spinning.  It forces me to take a break, which is good for my hands and body, and keeps me from prepping a bunch of fiber that will just get smooshed later on when it isn’t spun immediately. I start with what the next colour was from the roving way back when I started prepping, in this case the pale yellow-orange:

After much spinning, usually the large sections like the pale-yellow-orange entirely cover the cop before that (which is why you can see a rose pink hiding underneath it). Then I move onto the orange, followed by the green (no picture of the green going on, sorry).

Next time, I’ll have pictures of the full cop, and how I’ve decided to ply this, along with pictures of both the yarn pre-setting and after drying. Maybe I’ll even have totals for the yardage after the first batch!