Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cleaning house

Well, I've not written - or even somehow worked on - my story in over a week. Bleh. I had hoped to start today, but by the time I was done taking the Jeopardy! contestant test (yes, I am that much of a nerd) online it was too late to really dig in.

I decided to do something, however, so I started organizing the Excel spreadsheet in which I keep track of my chunks with file names, word count, etc. (That's a subject for its own blog post, if I ever get around to it.) I finally figured out how to link my filenames with the actual file so all I have to do is click to open it. I went through all my current chunks and reformatted them to the paragraph and line spacing I wanted, updated my word counts, and tossed out a couple of scenes I decided a long time ago weren't really part of the story.

That last hurt, 'cause I lost almost 4K in those two scenes alone. But I'm not ruled by word count - I'm ruled by making the story the best it can be. So I'm okay with it. And I rediscovered a lot of good jumping-off points built into the stuff I do have, so I have a lot of places to start writing again when I come to it.

Tomorrow I'm going to begin with the reworking of all current scenes into deeper POV and smoother style. I'll be looking for ways to add depth to the scene and trying to cut unnecessary "stage direction." Also checking for consistency across the storyline and such. Getting all those done and writing another 2K (for a monthly total of 5K) by this time next week is my January goal. February is looking like a research/organization month, mainly, and then I'll be into writing big time starting in March.

Well, that's the plan, at least.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Life is what happens...

...when you're trying to write a book.


"Blogger forgive me, for I have lapsed. It's been 12 days since my last post..."

It seems like every time I hit a high point in my writing, when my inspiration and motivation are high, my path is well-lit and I can see down the road ahead, and words are flowing onto the page night after night, well - that's when my life gets crazy hectic again and I get pulled away for a week or more, only to drag myself back to the computer, aimless, the motivation and inspiration but dull foggy memories.

Needless to say, that's what's happened again. The Day Job is insanely busy lately (and likely to stay that way for a while). My new aquarium - the "other hobby" - has had issues and required my coveted post-baby-bedtime for water changes and fish medication when I could have been writing. I've been sick, and therefore exhausted and good-for-nothing by the time I got home for most of the last part of last week. Oh, and I do like to see/spend time with my son and DH on occasion.

But now the Siren Song of writing is calling me back. I feel the urge to delve in, see what my characters are up to, add some more punch to previously written scenes. Will I get the chance? Maybe. Tonight is dedicated TV night, and one of my fish is sick again. But I fully plan to be back on the bandwagon by the end of the week. I do have my monthly goals to think about, and there's only a week of January left. I'll try.

On top of everything, I've recently diagnosed myself with an ailment first identified and described (hilariously, and accurately) by Susan: Historical Burnout.

Unfortunately, having a modern character isn't alleviating my symptoms much, since 80-90% of the book is historical, and I'm now facing down scenes that I can't begin to write (even with brackets) until I do major research.

I say again: gah.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This is encouraging!

Kristin Nelson's most recent post.


...Now if I can just get this darn thing finished and ready to go...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Throwing it out there...

Well, there's a scene I thought that I wouldn't show anyone until the entire book was finished. It's Scene Zero, the Very First Scene (not chronologically), the one where I started writing this whole entire business. As much as anything in the story could be, this scene is my darling, my baby. It's also a fairly climactic scene. It was my little nugget to hoarde and treasure, and think to myself any time I posted anything else for anyone to read "Yeah, but wait till they read this!"

For all the snippets and excerpts and exercise threads, I danced around this scene. I've revised it, refined it, and the process is still ongoing. It hasn't been through my New Year's reworking-mill yet, but it will be. But still I didn't plan to show it to anyone until the very end, when I started getting critters and beta-readers to look at the whole book.

But you know what they say about "best-laid plans"... A certain discussion/thread has begun in a certain section of the Compuserve forum. I thought it would be fun to participate. "I can trim a little section off," I thought, "Give them a little taste." Well, I read over the scene (and got caught up in it again, even with an eye to revision I'd find myself halfway down the page not paying attention to anything but what was happening in the scene) and I couldn't find a good place to snip it. "I like this part, but - oh, that little bit is great, I need to leave that on there, too..." Finally, I took the main chunk of action and posted it all. There's more to the scene, before and after. But this is the heart of it, and now my baby is out there in the world where people can see it and what if they don't like it as much as I do?

I know this is part of being a writer, and it would have come to this point eventually. Hopefully people will like the scene (there's been good reaction to the one I posted as a January X, which I was also a little nervous to post). And any comments can only make it better in the end, even if it means abandoning parts that I'm really fond of. But still. More than ever before I feel exposed, and a little breathless waiting for people to comment on it. OTOH, what if they don't comment? What if it doesn't have enough of an impact for them to say anything about it? That would be worse.

Anyway, I guess we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...Chapter One!!!


Only 1400 words tonight, but what a 1400...I finished chapter 1!!!

Background: I've been writing in chunks, and mainly in the latter parts of the book. I started chapter 1 way back when we did the openings workshop, and got about halfway through when I stalled. I knew what was going to happen, but couldn't get it down.

The stuff I've been working on for this marathon grew out of the December SOC exercise, and involves the pivotal event of the very end of chapter one and the first bit of chapter 2. I started out working on that tonight, then opened up chapter 1 to check up on something for continuity's sake.

Well, I ended up working through what I already had of chapter 1, tweaking and toning...and then I just kept going, all the way to the end. Now I have a complete and whole first chapter, and the first half of chapter 2, and bits and pieces - as well as an outline - for chapters 3-5.

It is very concievable that by the end of the month I'll have chapters 1-5 complete, and that just seems like a really big deal to me. I'll finally have something substantial, sequential, and sensical to more people than just myself!

Whew, okay, I'm calming down here. Still have a long road ahead of me. It just seems like a milestone, and I'm kind of jazzed. *eg*

Finally updated my word meter; I'm up to almost 29K! I'll still probably lose some of that when I finish cleaning up all my old stuff, but for now I think I'm going to run with the momentum I have for the first 5 chapters, then when I hit the wall with that I'll do the reworking, then some necessary background research and organizing of thoughts, then...onward! (Mind, all the above will probably take several months. I am undaunted.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year, New Words!

So after spending most of December completely unproductive, last night as I was waiting for something to finish at work I sat down and wrote the first new words of the new year! Only about 500, and in very rough form, but hey - it's a start.

And then I had the happy luck to stumble onto the Compuserve forum for the first time in a while lately, and find out we've got another writing marathon going, starting today (or yesterday, but I'll go with the original plan). So I talked DH into having a writing night instead of video games (more on that in a bit) and I managed to hash out about 1000 words. Only about half of those will go into the story--the rest are a stream-of-consciousness from the December exercise--but the SOC provided a strong base for an important scene that I still have plenty of wordage to mine for tomorrow. A strong start, I think. And getting me excited about writing again.

I had meant to spend last week getting caught up, revising, and prepping for a big first-of-the-year push, but there was one main problem: DH got a Nintendo Wii and the new Legend of Zelda game for Christmas. And I, well, I am a Zelda junkie. Not to play, no--I just watch, and offer suggestions borne of my years of experience watching DH play Zelda. I'm an "armchair gamer," much like a backseat driver. I'm sure it drives DH crazy, but the truth is I really get into the game, even if *I* am not the one actually playing. And every night (and most of some days) since Christmas DH has been playing Zelda and I've been sucked in. Therefore, not writing. It'll be tough staying away for the next few nights to complete the marathon, but that's the point - to get me back to writing. DH is about halfway through the game (I think) so hopefully he'll beat it soon and we can go back to our regular evening lives.

Oh, and the baby now has 6 teeth--2 more have broken through in the past day or so. He's taking it really well, all things considered. At least 2 more are imminent, and then I hope he gets a break.

Wrapping up so I can go to bed, my 2007 resolutions:

-Finish this book. Preferably by July, but I'll take end of the year as long as it's finished.

-Lose the last 10-15 pounds to meet my goal before I stop breastfeeding (and lose the extra calorie burnoff).

-Revise and stick to our family budget. We do all right, but don't save as much as we could be if we were a little more disciplined.

Not too many, and all--I think--doable. And now: to sleep, perchance to dream.