Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I actually spent most of last night revamping the entire first 500 words of OHN (it had to happen sometime). But then I looked over some of the other entries and realized the ones that held my attention had treated it not as a "first 500 words" contest but an actual "first page" contest and broken off their story at a moment of high(er) tension instead of just running to the end of their tether. I checked those wordcounts and they were closer to 300.
So I went with my gut (and something similar to Christy's suggestion) and cut my own off after about 300 words at a good breaking point. (From there she's just going outside and observing the setting until she runs into Old Teresa, which is an interesting exchange but doesn't have a good break until around the 700-word mark.)
Here it is, FWIW:
From One Highland Night (c) 2007
Today was supposed to be her wedding day.
Elizabeth Martin should have been standing in a little church back home in Kentucky, surrounded by friends and family. Instead she stood in the lobby of the Loch Awe hotel, a massive granite structure in the Baronial style nestled quaintly in the Scottish highlands. The person looking back at her was not her husband-to-be but an overly perky desk clerk who apparently didn't know the difference between polite chatter and prying.
If I am forced to answer one more personal question from a nosy Scot—especially that question—I will find the nearest haggis and cram it down their throat. Sideways.
Outwardly, she forced a smile and accepted the brochure the clerk handed across the counter. "No, I don't have 'a fine braw laddie' to go out on the loch with. I'm by myself."
She was not going to cry.
The clerk shook her head, setting short, tight black curls to bouncing, and clucked her tongue. "Ah, now that's a shame. Pretty lass like yourself with your great dark eyes... Did ye no' go and pick some St. John's wort last night?"
Her incomprehension must have shown on her face, for the plump-cheeked young woman leaned forward over the counter and whispered conspiratorially.
They say it will tell if you're to be married in the comin' year—if the flowers dinna wilt. It's best to do it on Midsummer's Eve, ye ken. But I'm sure it'd still work if ye tried tonight."
"Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for some," she lied as she turned to go.
Married this year? Not likely. She didn't need folk tales to tell her that was not going to happen. Doug had done so quite effectively three months ago, when she caught him making out with her best friend.
She was absolutely not going to cry.
*Interesting side note: I was actually really getting into revamping this thing. It gives me hope and renewed encouragement to get into rewrites (first round of many, no doubt) soon.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Copied from Precie, who copied it from Backspace... *g*
Aside from being authors, what do Kahled Hosseini, Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Weiner, Lisa Jackson, and Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University Irvin Yalom have in common? They're all blogging today to boost the sales of another author's novel.
Patry's Francis's debut THE LIAR'S DIARY came out in hardcover from Dutton last spring. The trade paper release is today, January 29th, but a few weeks ago, Patry was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She's had several surgeries, and her prognosis is good, but given that she doesn't have much energy for promoting, these five authors, along with over 300 others, have banded together to do it for her.
In support of Patry Francis and this remarkable blog initiative, Penguin Group USA would like to offer 15% off the paperback edition of The Liar's Diary when purchased online from us.penguingroup.com until 2/15/2008. On the shopping cart page, enter PATRY in the 'coupon code' field and click 'update cart' to activate it.
From the Backspace web site.
Please see Lit Park for more information on how this day came about.
Well, last week at work kicked my ass. Worked late (meaning past 7 pm) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. (This after getting there around 8 am. Yeah, I was pushing 60 hours.) And I was busy most all of that time, so unfortunately not much blogging, Forum, or anything besides work. I was lucky to see Little Boy before he went to bed.
Had Book Club with my playgroup Wednesday night, during which we discussed The Time-Traveler's Wife. I also passed around my copy of TSL - hey, we were in a bookstore - and recommended it in case there were some closet romance readers (or anyone interested in becoming one, or who liked books about spies). *g*
Saturday was spent almost exclusively with LB at a playgroup thing, giving DH the day off to bum around the house. Sunday was church and then in-laws (the fun ones).
And so passed my second week of "rest" before diving into rewrites. I'll probably do that around February 15th, give or take.
I decided this week is all about the fiction for me. I just finished One Night for Love by Mary Balogh, one of my favorite Regency authors. (Save TSL, I hadn't read much Regency since starting OHN, so it was a nice change.) I'm also reading Hand of Devils and The Peculiar Princess *nods at Christy* and coming up in my TBR are the Kinsales and Woodiwiss that the good folks at the Forum recommended for me. Also Child of Awe, which I never finished. Hmmm...and I've got The Sixpence Bride by Virginia Farmer, another time-travel which looks good - cover art notwithstanding! - and The Highlander's Touch by Moning (I wasn't overly impressed with her first, Beyond the Highland Mist, but I've heard her later stuff is better).
Next week will be the non-fic, the craft stuff, that I was putting off reading (or rereading) until I had a first draft. Sin and Syntax looks as fascinating as grammar books can get *g* and I have Writing the Breakout Novel by Maass (some of you *cough* may know him). Also The Novel Writer's Toolkit - signed! - that I picked up at a Crusie-Mayer workshop. And such staples as The First Five Pages (Lukeman), Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Browne), and Characters and Viewpoint (Card), etc.
We'll see how many I get through. Hopefully all the reading will get me charged up for plunging into OHN and making it really shine.
I also need to fiddle with Liquid Story Binder and get everything set up, since I think I want to do my rewrites in there and take advantage of all the nifty features it has. I've already set up character dossiers and photo galleries for Alec and Elspeth. I can do a timeline, storyboard, track changes, auto-backup...
Gah, it's after midnight, and tomorrow I don't get to go in late like I did today. (I went in at 11 am this morning, after a leisurely family breakfast and some errands, thanks to my gracious and understanding boss, who suggested it after all my hours last week. Unfortunately I was also at work tonight until almost 8 pm. *sigh*) So I'm for bed.
OH! I just sent off an e-mail to a really awesome comic book/graphic novel artist (Jason Badower - see his blog here) who is accepting commissions to find out how much he would charge to do a drawing of Alec and Elspeth. How kick-ass would that be? Extremely kick-ass. So I hope I can afford it and he has time to do it before his next big project. *crosses fingers*
Friday, January 25, 2008
In honor of the occasion, here is the famous Burns poem (from this site):
Address to A Haggis
by Robert Burns
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they strech an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.
Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o 'fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!
For an English translation and more fascinating information about haggis, see this page from the World Burns Club.
And those of you who can enjoy the wonder that is haggis *g* tonight, please do so on my behalf! It's banned here in the States.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Then, as most of you know, I got braces yesterday. For all the gory details, you can go here.
After that I went to the spa. Man, that was awesome. I'm talking fluffy-robe-with-chocolate awesome. I had an hour-long custom facial, then a 20-minute "hydrotherapy" (it was basically the natural child of a bathtub and a jacuzzi), followed by a one hour massage. I think I slept through part of the massage, hehe. Forgot I had braces, though. *w*
Today's been good. Slept 10 hours last night - that's twice my recent average. I've had hardly any pain from the braces, really, and I finally got all the Christmas stuff put away (!) as well as some laundry and general cleaning. It's a good feeling, this getting things done...
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
1. Your genre(s)?
2. How many books have you completed?
ONE!!! (Sorry, still riding that high.) *g*
3. How many books are you working on now?
I guess two. Just finished the SFD for One Highland Night and while I'm letting that sit prior to rewrites, I'm starting to think more about the second book, One Highland Wife, for which I actually have a plot brainstorm and several extant scenes written already.
4. Are you a linear or chunk writer?
5. The POV you're most partial to?
Deep Third, a.k.a. Third Limited
6. The theme that keeps cropping up in your books?
Now you're starting to sound like my high school English teacher... Well, in OHN it's - I think - the sacrifices we're willing to make for the one we love. And looks like OHW will incorporate that as well.
7. How many days a week do you write?
On average, I'd say five. I try for seven, and succeed often, but sometimes stuff comes up. (And sometimes I take months off, despite my best intentions and still mentally working on the story. *sigh*)
8. What time of day do you get your best writing done?
It was late evening, around 9 pm-midnight. Lately I've been doing well in the early morning (5 am-8 am or so) as well.
9. Who are your mentors?
Depends on how you define mentor. If it's someone who has specifically influenced my development as a writer, I'll credit most everyone at the CompuServe Books and Writers Forum. Especially Jo(anna) Bourne, Beth Shope, and all my friends/future betas reading this blog. *g*
10. Who are your favorite authors to read? (different from mentors)
I still have to include Joanna Bourne here ('cause hotd@mn I loved her book and look forward to the next one). Also Diana Gabaldon, Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Mercedes Lackey, and many more I'm leaving out but to remember and list all of them would take ages...
Gah, I live a fairly normal, boring life really. Some of these will probably be pretty lame. I haven't eaten grubs or gone undercover or anything like that... *w*
1. I've been invited to audition for Jeopardy! (Never got called, though - and last week a woman from my city was on and failed miserably. I couldn't help thinking "She took my spot!" *sigh*)
2. I've broken/snuck into an archaeological site in Israel (that takes care of you, Claire *w*) after hours. (Full disclosure: I was with a group, and our guide was an IAA archaeologist with clearance to the site, and we were just running late so he took us around and we all climbed the fence and went up the back side of the tel.) It was Tel Megiddo, the supposed site of Armageddon (from har Megiddo - mount/hill of Megiddo) if anyone's interested.
3. I've played the part of Satan in the wordless (okay, I'll say it - mime) drama entitled "A Tale of Two Kingdoms" while on a missions trip to Mexico.
4. On that same trip, I was on a bus with a woman possessed by a demon (or several). Seriously.
5. I've...ah...well...you know what up on a service ledge in the tube room of a very large research Van de Graaff accelerator. Beam wasn't on, though; it was after midnight and the lab was shut down for the night. And at least one person reading this can say the same thing.
6. I have, in fact, started beam, tuned, and done research on the gamma spectrum of Te-118 (an isotope of the element tellurium) with the aforementioned Van de Graaff accelerator. That also involved filling the HPGe detectors with liquid nitrogen. You can have lots of fun with liquid nitrogen. *g*
7. I've broken a $50,000 piece of physics beam scanning equipment by rotating a multi-ton linac (LINear ACcelerator) gantry into it while I was in grad school. They didn't kick me out or make me pay for the repairs, thankfully.
8. I have a literal right to the moniker "Bahama Mama", considering my son was conceived in a cabin on the cruise ship Carnival Fascination, somewhere in the waters off Nassau.
9. I've solved a mathematically-impossible puzzle. Honestly. But I was 12 or 13 at the time, and the puzzle was presented to me as merely "hard." I spent the better part of a day on it, found a solution, had this confirmed by quite a few people, and promptly lost it. Some years later, I was presented the same puzzle and dismissed it with "oh, I've solved that one." Presenter: "No, you haven't." Me: "Yes, I have!" Him: "You can't've - it's impossible." Me (obstinately): "Well, I did." (I've never been able to solve it again.)
10. I offered to elope, immediately, with my high school boyfriend if he could solve same puzzle. I was serious, and would have followed through if he'd done it. (He didn't, but it all worked out for us in the end. See #5 and #8...)
Wow, I can't believe I'm about to hit publish with some of the stuff I included here. Let the Reader Beware. *w*
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I'm utterly exhausted and kind of in shock at the moment, but just typing those words did kinda bring it home and made me a little teary-eyed. Appropriately, even though chunking, the last scenes I wrote were the end of the final chapter and the epilogue. Alec and Elspeth have their HEA at last.
Final word count: 111,587 (give or take)
It's completely SFD - emphasis on the S - and riddled with brackets but it is a complete, contiguous story after 18 months of work.
I'll be excited once I've had some sleep, but for now, I have to get ready for work.
Monday, January 14, 2008
It had started to rain, a fine, misty drizzle just this side of snow that seeped into her clothing and chilled her to the bone. Where was she? Kilchurn—the knowledge blossomed and she clung to it, an anchor in her swirling confusion. When was she? Ah, now that was the rub.
She stumbled through the empty ruins and found the spit of marshy land that connected the once-island to the loch shore. Later than the nineteenth century, at least.
The sound of voices caused her to turn. A group of brightly colored and heavily clothed tourists walked around the edge of the castle from the direction of the pier. She caught snatches of their conversation as they drew near.
"She looks burned—"
"Miss? Miss! Are you all right?"
"The date, what is the date today?" she asked urgently.
They gave her odd, concerned looks but someone said "March first" in hesitant Gaelic and it was only then she realized her own question had been in Gaelic as well. She turned toward the sound of the voice.
"What year?" she asked, this time in English.
"Two thousand eight," said the voice.
"Oh, thank God." And she closed her eyes and fell blissfully unconscious.
But in the meantime, your LOL of the day, courtesy of ICHC. I now present a summary of OHN, chapter 25:
When you get within 2500 words or so of finishing your WIP, you get pretty optimistic.
Then you realize that's still over 5 hours writing at the top of your form, with no breaks, and somewhere around 4 am you start to slow down. No matter how much caffeine you've consumed. *w*
To that end, I think I'm going to call discretion the better part of valor and turn in for a few hours of sleep. I'll pick up full steam from there. I will definitely finish this tomorr-- er, today.
Looks like I'm going to hit 110K, which is more than anyone (myself included) guessed. The front end is heavy and the back end is light, but that's what revisions are for. Also gives me room to cut where needed and still maintain a healthy final wordcount.
But I've always like this line, and reading back through the scene it's in I was impressed with it again. (I allow myself these little enjoyments, because I generally feel like 80-90% of my stuff is complete tripe.) Well, okay, I'll give you a whole snip. This is from chapter 27. The line in question is the one about singularities.
She squeezed her eyes shut against the smoke and heat and certain death. Please, God, let it be quick. The fire shrieked and roared in her ears and then it was utterly silent and she knew in that instant she was about to die, felt herself falling into the abyss even as the ropes that bound her burned away.
But no—she knew this feeling, recognized it on some primordial level. This wasn't death; she wasn't moving toward the light but toward a void, a different kind of unknown. The wormhole. The shrieking had been the stone, the warmth of its resonance lost in the heat of the flames. Where would it take her? Home? Or would she find herself in another time—past or future—where once again she must start from scratch and try to fit in and survive?
No matter what, there would be no Alec waiting for her on the other side, no friend or lover to guide her even if she did return home, and that prospect was very nearly enough to make her hope the flames claimed her before the portal opened fully.
All this she thought in the moment when time slows, the one that comes before death and at the edge of singularities.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends…
I am finally, finally done with Act III, the climax. Within Act IV it looks like two half-chapters (about 1K each) to complete and some other odds and ends. Maybe 10 pages. And a bit for the epilogue. The rest is in place. Rolling on...
That mad dash to the end that some writers say catches them up and propels them onward.
It's 1 am and I'm quivering with excitement. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and at last it's drawing nearer. Pass me another Mountain Dew, and has anyone seen my caffeine pills? It's going to be a long night.
But I am about to finish this book.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
But! I have gotten through chapter 25 "in the black" - which is to say, in completed form. (In my spreadsheet, the wordcounts for each scene are black if that scene is complete, red if it's "in progress".)
Chapters 26 and 27, which I had hoped to complete, are still only half finished. I was going to finish them tonight, but I decided instead to finish sorting all the extant bits and Act IV. I finally have everything organized! Right now it looks like there will be 34 chapters and an epilogue.
I have about 20 more pages to write, give or take, to finish the SFD. Can I do that in two days? Dunno. It's certainly within the realm of possibility. I'll just really have to make sure to stay on track.
But with the aim of being as productive as possible tomorrow, I think I'm going to go to bed. I write faster if I've had a decent amount (which for me is 6 hours, anymore) of sleep.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Just go HERE.
Leave a comment about how you heard about the book. Winner will be randomly selected on January 25th.
It's this CD I just got:
Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra
A piece from this came on the radio in our office about a week ago, and my boss turned it up for me. I really liked the music, especially since I've been looking for a Scottish "soundtrack" to write to that didn't involve bagpipes. *g* Turns out he knows the violinist. I ordered the CD that day, and it came in today.
The music is beautiful. It puts me "there" and there's also an extra connection with Alec since he plays the fiddle/violin.
Now back to work. I'm trying to wade out of the end-of-week morass at my day job, and I've got bunco tonight. Over 1800 words written so far, and moving well along through chapter 23. Hopefully I'll continue that momentum tonight when I get home (whenever that is).
P.S. Take a close look at the backdrop on the cover of the CD. Recognize that castle? (If not, look up. And to the right on the sidebar.) *g* It's all over the CD case - there are two or three shots of it. A sign?
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Anyway, I've been googling around looking for a Windows equivalent. And I think I've found something pretty close in this program:
Liquid Story Binder XE
Like Scrivener, you can organize multiple files and associations, have pictures and notes available with texts, work with individual chapters and have the program combine them into a master document for you...there are a lot of options. Timelines, outlines, dossiers, storyboards...it even tracks project goals and opens where you left off. At the very least this would replace my spreadsheet. There's a full-screen editor and I like that it has the tools I need - text formatting (italics, bold, etc.) and none of the stuff I don't.
I'm futzing around with it right now and so far I like what I see (except the default white-on-black text display which took a bit of jiggling to change). But I'm way behind on my WIP progress, and the clock is ticking. I absolutely *must* be done writing by Monday night. And I'm getting ready to do some (okay, quite a lot) more "hacky, slashy, poky-poky" as I move into Act IV.
One nifty thing - you can load it on a memory card or USB data stick and take not only your files but the software with you and use it on whatever computer you're on.
Also like Scrivener, you get a free 30-day trial and then the cost is reasonable, about $45.
I have a feeling I'll be plunking that down in 30 days...
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Sunday night I didn't finish chapter 22. Monday I didn't either. I didn't get any words on Monday at all. But! I was up quite late hashing some things out with DH and I discovered 2 things: A) I actually have a lot of underlying reasons/motivations for stuff that happens in the book, even if I didn't plan it that way. So, yay! And 2) I figured out kinda how I wanted the blank stuff in 22 to go, which was a big breakthrough 'cause I'd been massively writer's blocked on it but I couldn't really move forward without it.
Yesterday I did get 22 finished. And I spent quite a bit of time organizing the remaining Act III chapters and I think that's pretty much set now (still have to finalize the chapters themselves, though). I'd been moving scenes around trying to find the best division of wordcount and "cliffhangers"/breaking points. Should this scene go at the end of 24, or the beginning of 25? That kind of stuff. But I think I've got that worked out now. Only thing is, that opened up about another 1K to write for 23 - which is leading up to the "big night" - and left about 2K in the newly created chapter 27 to be filled in. 24, 25, and 26 are pretty much there, just need to be smoothed in.
I have to decide how much revision I'm going to do on the old chunks. Some are slated for massive rewrites but I've known that for a long time. Maybe I should do that as I go along, but it would eat up major time. Part of me says just do what's necessary to tie it in to the overall current storyline, insert it, and move forward with the stuff I need to do to have a complete MS. The rewrites can be done during - gasp! - rewrites. *g*
So today I hope to finish 23 and smooth as much as I can from the remaining Act III chapters. If I can work on 27 too, that would be great, but I don't know how that will go.
I've decided "endcapping" (getting up a little early, and staying up a little late to work in two sessions) doesn't work as well as well for me as one big session. So depending on how much I get done during the day today, I might go to bed after Little Boy goes down and get up right at 5 am tomorrow to get a solid freshly-awake 2 hours in before work. We'll see. I've been skimping on sleep lately so I'm due for a catch-up night anyway.
Oh, FYI: I have closed entries for the guess-the-wordcount contest! I want to keep updating and that would give late entries unfair advantage. (I suppose if you had a guess and have been meaning to enter I'll give you one last chance. E-mail me here and let me know before 5 pm EST today.) Those of you who've entered, don't despair yet if you see me overshoot your guess. There is stuff to be cut as well as written. Nothing's final until it's, well...final. *g*
Monday, January 07, 2008
"A Walk Through History"
Featuring a Q&A with history experts, examples of historical clothing, and a discussion of historical resources for writers.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
So last weekend I thought I could finish this book. 10K in two days was a stretch, but if I holed up in my writing space and didn't come up for air, possibly doable.
So I went at it hammer and tongs all week. "I'm so close. Any day now."
Thursday and most of Friday were a bust, though, 'cause I was reading Spymaster's Lady. Can you blame me? *w* (And most of early Thursday was eaten up by that other book I was supposed to review, which was a monumental waste of time. I would have stopped after the first chapter if I hadn't had to discuss it. Which, of course, got postponed a week.)
Then it was "If I don't do anything else this weekend, maybe I can finish by Sunday night." I've gotten up early, gone to bed late, skipped church and any other activities, and barely saw my husband and son.
Well, you see where that's gotten me.
So I've come to the conclusion - as others *did* warn me - that you've always got more to do than you think you do when you get close to the end.
Where do I stand right now?
Well, you'll notice I have broken 100K. Which pretty much everyone expected. *g*
Up through Chapter 21 - that's Glencoe - is complete. I have the remainder of Act III sorted into chapters, which are chapters 22-26. Chapter 22 is barely half written, and 23 has big gaps. 24-26 are mostly complete, but I flip-flop on how I want the division of scenes to go, so I need to finalize that and fill in a few gaps.
Act IV is mostly written, but I need to divide it up into chapters, cut a few things, add a few scenes of moderate length (1K or less), and finish a couple scenes. Oh, and write the end of the ending. *g*
To that end (ha), I've got a new (hopefully realistic) end date: the 15th. That's the end of Sven Round 2, the goal of which is to have a completed MS. (Also only 2 days before my braces go on and I get distracted by other things.)
I'll be joining Deniz in her 8-day marathon. Here's my plan:
Tonight: finish writing chapter 22 if it kills me
Tomorrow-Tuesday: finish chapter 23, and finalize 24-26
Wednesday: sort Act IV into chapters, as much as possible (27-32?)
Thursday: write new scenes for Act IV
Friday: finalize 27-28
Saturday: finalize 28-30
Sunday: finalize 31-32
The latter half of the week depends on how it all sorts out, of course. I'll leave Monday and Tuesday (13th-14th) as overflow just in case.
But I was checking my sitemeter referrals, and one of my previous Mary Sue posts came up, and when I checked the search string to see what other stuff people were sorting through and encountered my blog I found this:
Accused of Mary Sue
And one of the things that was said in the comments really struck home:
"It does not simply mean a protagonist who has some things in common with the author, or who has adventures the author enjoys living through."
'Cause I mean, really...if a protagonist couldn't share some things with the author or have adventures the author enjoyed, why the h3ll is the author writing that story?
Anyway, I'll let the sleeping dog, er...dead, I mean...when did Schrodinger get here with a box?...Whatever, I'll give the subject a rest. *g*
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Current wordcount: 99,755. 260 pages of contiguous MS.
The holes in chapters 18, 19, and 20 have been filled. I'm breaking now to go see my husband and son, do some shopping, have dinner, and put the son to bed. Then, back to it.
I'd like to finish chapter 21, which is Glencoe itself and now mostly written, tonight. Chapter 22 as well, if I can swing it. But that's a tall order. I have quite a bit of new stuff to be written for that chapter.
From there, it's (optimistically) downhill. More knitting together and smoothing. I'll likely be a heathen again tomorrow and skip church. Hopefully the last time I'll need to.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
From One Highland Night
(c) Jennifer R. Clark
One of the soldiers shoved him, staggering, into a snowbank. The frigid mound could not chill him further than he was already. Greedily, he swallowed what he could, for they had given him no water and his throat burned from exertion and the cold. His lower lip was split, and the right side of his face was crusted with blood from a gash in his scalp, made by a Campbell musket. He could feel it tightening the skin when he winced. Which was often.
Wrists still bound, now rubbed raw and shaking, he struggled to pull his plaid around himself once more. The action aggravated his ribs; if they were not broken, they were at least bruised. All of this he noted with some detachment. His concern was focused elsewhere, miles behind him in the valley of Glen Coe.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I am both excited for and (somewhat) disheartened by my friends who have kicked up their outputs lately. Seems no matter what I do, even if it's getting up way early and planning to spend the entire day writing, I can't manage more than 2-3K a day.
Of course, having a toddler in the house is a distraction whether or not I hole myself up in the spare bedroom with my laptop. A big part of my "lost" time has gone to him, which I don't really consider a loss. (Today it was lunch and putting him down for his nap, then when he woke up he seriously spazzed out because I wasn't around, so I had to go calm him down and play with him a bit before he'd let me back upstairs. Then it was dinner, bath, and bedtime. But I'm a mom before I'm a writer, that t-shirt I like notwithstanding.)
And I'll admit, as the scheduled date for my braces appointment nears, some of my attention has been drawn back to preparing for that.
But the main thing for me has been the organization. I've written 95K to date, primarily in chunks. Going through the story and knitting everything together is eating up loads of time. I might spend over an hour on 200-300 words that round out a chapter, or tie up a loose end, or smooth the transition from one event to another. When I'm free-reining it on random chunks, my pace is usually twice that, at least.
The part of the book I'm in now, late Act II moving into Act III, is the part with the biggest gaps. And they're the detail-filled gaps, the stuff that a) I've been avoiding and 2) takes more time to visualize, because it incorporates all that has come before and sets up for the climax and end of the book. Oh, and it's the really historical bits. This is the run up to Glencoe, and I'm constantly fact/date checking. [Brackets] won't help me here, because I can't visualize the scene without knowing exactly what's going on in the bigger picture.
So even though I had put up to chapter 17 in order over the weekend, it took until today to really complete parts of 15 and 17 and get halfway into 18. Now I'm staring probably two chapters' worth of blank pages in the face, and though most of Acts III and IV (with Glencoe itself the notable exception) are already down, there will still be extra writing for that. Finish on Sunday - or today for that matter - what was I thinking?
Nevertheless, I've revised my goal to the end of this week, and I'm going to keep slogging at it until I finish or collapse from exhaustion.