Friday, April 28, 2006

If you'd like to swing on a star

I'm back in the swing of working on novel! Woo! Back to where I can't wait for work to finish so I can have at it. Where I wake up thinking about the scenes ahead and go to sleep thinking about them. Where I stop watching movies cuz it cuts into my writing time. 'Course, that last part was helped along by the death of my television set. I've shifted my deadline for completion of the novel up to May 19 from the 22, but I expect to complete it much sooner than that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Progress check-in

Hey! I'm two-thirds done with the novel edit. It's 150 pages, and I'm exactly on 100 (er... that's probably quite misleading, cuz of the weird Word settings I prefer. Let's see... in Times New Roman 12, single-spaced, that would actually be page 143, of 220.) So, this one's going to be just about exactly 3 months to produce the first draft; three month to edit/write draft 2. Interesting!

Two-thirds done and starting act three exactly on cue. Not planned intentionally, but it came out that way just the same. This from a story written with no pre-existing outline and penned almost completely on the fly. Makes me realize how little I have to think about such things any more. Natural plotting is so engrained in me, it'd be almost impossible for me to BREAK this kind of structure, even not knowing where the novel is going. Cuz, really, my novels are just movies. Everyone single book I've written, for better or for worse, follows the pacing/structure of a two-hour screenplay. Again, not with any deliberate intent, it just seems to be the way my brain tells a story. Yeah, yeah, I know. Boring. No avant-garde, push the literary box stuff from me. Tough.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Finally slogged through chapter 12. Bloody hell. This has to be the most revised chapter to date and I have a feeling I'll be back to it, after I straighten out some later stuff. Can't quite see it objectively cuz too much is going to change in the rest of the book from draft one. And character priorities can be such a pain. What do they think about and in what order? There was a scene I really wanted to put in the chapter, some set up for the end of the book. I spent a good part of last night working on getting it right. And it was beautiful! Just what I wanted. I deleted it today. Just didn't work. Tonight was spent re-writing another part of the chapter, a part that gave TOO much away too early.

Too little, too much, too hot, too cold... Just call me Goldilocks.

Mystery is all about balance and truth and sleight of hand and concealing curtains blowing open in the breeze, just so. Writing is all about knowing when to turn on the wind machine.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Goodbye, hello

Watch and see. I'll make progress on novel this weekend. It's been one of those nights. One where three unlooked for disparate things came together with uncanny timing to take me someplace new. I was hoping for a serious kick in the pants to get me moving again...

As they say, be careful what you ask for.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

still not in the swing of things, but improving

If all else fails... switch writing projects until clarity returns.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

feeling no pain

Apricot brandy. Writing.

Nope, the combo doesn't work for me.

An icy snow-laden gust of wind blew across the room, from open window through open door, and Smith shivered. 'My God, it's bitter.'

'Loss of blood,' Schaffer said briefly, then added, unsympathetically: 'And all that brandy you guzzled back there. When it comes to opening pores--'

He broke off and lay very still, lowering his head a fraction to sight along the barrel of his schmeisser.

--from "Where Eagles Dare," Alistair MacLean

Dang muses

So, last night, in the interest of finding wonderful titles for the two title-less novellas, I thought I'd see if Muse #5 wanted to add "title muse" to his shingle. He's low-man on the totem pole and an agreeable sort of chap. Plus, he's around a lot, as opposed to certain other AWOL members of the dream team.

I thought I asked him very nicely, with my best smile and everything, thank you very much, but he just raised an eyebrow, then shook his head, the uncooperative so-and-so.

I know, it doesn't work this way. The muses pick me, not vice versa, but you'd think, when I asked for one tiny little thing that one of that bloody lot might help me out. Just a little.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sleep, Data, sleep...

Eek. It's been ten days since I worked on novel. Now, I gotta find the writing rhythm all over again. Darned vacation/trips. Mess me up. Doesn't help that I got little sleep while I was away, and I've been waiting and waiting for today to come just so I could crash out for a few hours in the middle of the day. They say you can't truly catch up on sleep, but I don't know. Some extra ZZZ's seems to do the trick for me. I don't feel guilty for sleeping, but I've also got three movies from Netflix I haven't watched yet (over dinner, I keep going back to the ones I own instead of the new rental ones, *shakes head*).

And I've had the word "maladroit" stuck in my head for two days now. Not sure why.

And I have two novellas, both completed but in various stages of revision, that do not have titles. They've never had titles. Today, here and now, for some perplexing reason, this is really bugging me ("You're buggin' me, man, you're buggin' me! - Sylvester, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World). I want titles. I want something to call them instead of "the mother story" and "the telling." I'd also like to finish them but, really, that's secondary to finding decent titles. Argh. Why this popped up here and now, I have no idea. But now that it's in my head...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Hell Interrupted"

Sold a short story to AlienSkin Magazine this week! Yay! It will be appearing in their June/July 2006 issue. I love them! I particularly love seeing how they illustrate the stories they publish. My neices and nephew favorite was their cartoon for my "Faster-than-Light Man" story. They always wanted me to write more of his adventures. The fact that I killed him off never seemed to matter to them, they still wanted more stories. Too funny.

I was visiting with them this past weekend, and my sister made the mistake of mentioning that I used to do these "traps" for her. Really, it was just a choose-your-own-adventure type maze that I would draw out on paper first, then lead her through it verbally. She (and sometimes her friend too) would lie down and listen while I spun them a tale and gave them choices... It was much fun, and challenging for me, to describe as accurately and interestingly as possible the environment they had to traverse. Well, she mentioned that, and my youngest neice pounced. So, I had to make up one on the spot for her. I took her through a dank smelly cave, and she ran into a pink and cream feathered dragon-bird thingy and got eaten. And she loved it, loved being told a story she could visualize in her mind and make decisions on whether to climb the boulder or cross the cave or whatever, and, of course, I couldn't help it and got really swept up in the telling (I've been listening to too many Dana Andrews radio shows... I'm turning into dramatic unreliable narrator girl). She bugged me incessantly the rest of the weekend for another one, then my nephew found out about it, and he wanted one too, but I got out of doing another one. But I guarantee the next time I'm visiting, I'll be pulled into making up a wild story for them.

So, anyone who says the oral tradition is dead... lies. All kids need is someone to start telling them exciting adventure stories that involve them, and they're hooked.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

10 things I've learned about writing

I wasn't going to do this meme. It's long since played out at most of the other writer's journals, but as I learned a couple things reading some of their entries, I decided to jot down the first things that came in my head on the subject. In no particular order:

1. The more you read, the better your writing will be.

2. Write, write, write, write, write.

3. For productivity: a deadline is good, an actively waiting audience is better.

4. There is a huge difference between an idea/concept and a story. You usually need both to create a successful piece of fiction.

5. You can argue successfully with characters when they start trying to lay down the law and tell you what to do. You can also threaten them, shoot them in their next story, or simply tell them to go to hell. You can do none of that with muses.

6. Writing flash fiction (1000 words and under) is the best exercise I've ever found for learning how to eliminate extraneous words and tighten prose.

7. It's okay to take a break and not write a single word for awhile.

8. Never submit a story the night you finish it, no matter how awesome it seems in the exhilaration of the moment.

9. Have at least one beta reader who gives it to you straight. And listen to them.

10. There is nothing you write that can't be improved in a re-write, even if that re-write means throwing out the original story and starting over from scratch.