Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘drafting’

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately. Which is weird.

When I was a little girl, I used to get night terrors and I sleepwalked even into adulthood, but I haven’t had trouble with either again until lately. The dreams have been pretty vivid and run the gamut from those mundane and obviously drawn from things I’m worrying about in everyday life to the creepily fantastical and so-horrific you wake up shaking. The latter, at least, are providing good grist for the story-generating mill. Still, it’s disruptive. I’m tired today 😦

In other news, I had a recent ‘come to Jesus’ moment on my writing. I’m a pretty busy gal. I’ve got a day job that might as well be a full time job for the amount of time it requires. I also manage our calendar, including planning all trips and social events small and large. I run our household, doing 90% of the cleaning and errands and 100% of the cooking. And I’m trying to turn my writing into a career. Now, I realize there are plenty of folks who do ALL this plus have kids or even a full time job on top of it all. So I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. There’s always something to do. Something pressing. And of late I’ve been letting all those somethings take priority over my writing. Productivity has fallen sharply.

The last few days I’ve been trying a new experiment. Since writing is the thing in my life that has no immediate deadline, it’s what’s been getting short shrift. So, I’ve decided to do the writing first thing in the morning. For example, if I have a lecture to prepare and exams to grade for the next day and I do those things first…well, by the time they’re done at 3pm I’m tired and I push off my writing or make a desultory effort at it. BUT, if I write first and then, at 3pm, turn to the schoolwork. Well, no choice but to do that, is there? It’s due the following day, after all. And, boom, it all gets done.

This has been working out pretty well so far. Hopefully I can keep it up and thus increase my writing productivity (and my overall productivity).

So. That’s my week so far. Nightmares and lessons in productivity. Not related (I hope).

Read Full Post »

So, I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately that I’ve been struggling with my first draft of Project Awesome. This struggle has been frustrating, and not just because it means the draft isn’t getting written as quickly as I’d like. It’s frustrating because I wrote an outline. A really detailed outline. I outlined the heck out of this novel.

I know exactly what I should write next. So why am I getting stuck?

It’s actually taken me three cycles of “stuck/unstuck” to figure this one out.

I’m getting stuck because my outline is wrong. It’s telling me to write things that I want and need the characters to do but which they just wouldn’t do.

Now, I know this is one of those big rules of writing – don’t force the characters into inauthentic actions just to serve the plot. I know this. But somehow I have still created an outline that is telling me to do that very thing.

Sigh.

I guess learning and doing are two different things, but since I was at least able to figure out the problem and fix it, I’m going to chalk this one up as a win.

Still, it’s frustrating, and I think it highlights some of the problems with relying too heavily on plotting (and, perhaps, on the rather artificial and somewhat dishonest division of writers into “pantser” and “plotter” camps). Of course, whether we favor outlines or free writing, we must all sometimes engage in both practices.

I’m usually kind of a control freak (which is probably why I favor outlining), but lately I’ve forced myself to diverge from the outline and just write, just see where my characters want to go – authentically and as themselves – in this rather sticky predicament I’ve created for them.

It’s rather liberating.

Go figure.

Read Full Post »

Welcome to this writer’s workspace. Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk.

What I’m working on: I’m carrying on with the first draft of Project Awesome, as well as starting a few new short stories. So, lots going on in terms of new projects, and I must say it’s nice to take a break from all the heavy revising and rewriting I was doing a few months ago. Here’s a peak at a new short I’m working on:

Snippet from the screen: “Lou is old. He’s wearing a stained Grateful Dead T-shirt and faded blue jeans, two sizes too big. Goodwill, I’d guess. Everything about him sags. Everything but his smile. I frown, suspicious. Only fools and five year olds smile like that.”

Keeping me company: Mr. Ramses, of course–though, he’s not much company since he’s recovering from yet another gum surgery. Poor buddy. I actually have company other than Ramses today, though. My friend Jeff is here, working across the table. A few months back he, my friend Sarah, and I formed a work from home group in our neighborhood. We get together once or twice and week and keep each other on task. It’s cool. So, say ‘hi’ to Jeff, everybody.

In my mug: boring old water. Teatime is over for the day, alas.

On the iTunes: Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”

Out the window: it’s a rare cloudy day in the midst of an otherwise glorious Brooklyn summer (I’m only being about 50% snarky on that last one…)

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: well, that’s true if you’re not interested in the link I’m going to share today, or if you’ve already seen it. But if you are interested…let me just apologize in advance for the massive amounts of time you’re about to waste. I discovered this over the weekend and have been binge-watching ever since. So…if you’re a fan of Jane Austen, click on through to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern vlog & twitter adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Good morning!  Welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I’m working on:  Revisions to ABSENT, my archaeological time travel novel, are roaring ahead, plus I’ve started drafting a new, very exciting project (top secret, of course).  Here’s a little excerpt:

Snippet from the screen: “Daniel laced his fingers through mine.  His palms were callused and his dark skin was warm.

I sighed.  “I don’t deserve you, you know.”

“Sure you do.”

Huh.  Like I’d ever believe that. 

We sat in silence, holding hands.  Outside, the rain began to fall.  A gull shrieked as it sought shelter in the broken-down third floor turret and raindrops pelted the window, tappity-tap, tappity-tap.  They sounded like a fairy’s tiny fists knocking against the glass. 

If only.  If only magic was fairies and rainbows and wishes.”

In my mug: Mighty Leaf Tropical Green Tea, with a little honey.

On the iTunes: Keep on Tryin’ by Poco.

Keeping me company: No pictures of Mr. Ramses today.  He’s found some dark corner to hide in; probably where he’s working on his manifesto for a world free of human overseers.  Maybe I’d better go check on him…

Out the window: global warming continues to offer Brooklyn a deceptively mild winter.  Sun. 52 today.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: a few links to share.  First up,  if you haven’t been over to Adventures in SciFi Publishing recently, you should check it out. There’s all sorts of yummy book reviews, podcasts, and interviews with awesome authors.  And, speaking of book reviews, some fellow VP alums have started a new blog for that very purpose, Spec Fic Chicks.  They have in-depth, thoughtful reviews of books featuring strong female characters or written by women authors.

Okay, that’s all from me today, folks.

Over and out!

Read Full Post »

Good morning!  Welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I’m working on:  It’s been a tough week writing-wise as I struggle to keep up with developing lectures for the new class I’m teaching this semester.  Still, I’ve managed to squeeze a little bit of outlining and drafting in at odd hours (waiting for the bus, during office hours, during commercial breaks of Dancing with the Stars (priorities, people!), and while I administer exams).  Today, if I can knock out slides and discussion questions on Teotihuacan and write a review sheet for the next exam, I earn writing time.  Maybe even a whole 5 minutes!  Thus, the 2nd draft of ABSENT is inching forward (emphasis on “inching”), as is the first draft of my short story about skull collectors in a Steampunk 1830’s Florida.

Snippet from the screen:  “The dusk crept in and wrapped itself around Elizabeth.  It shrouded the scrub brush of the Seminole swamplands, and with it came a great Charon transport machine, clanking and groaning across the battlefield to collect the dead.”

On the iTunes: nothing but the sound of my own teeth gnashing as I overcaffinate and wallow in stress.  Yay!

Out the window: the Great Deluge of 2011 continues.  Rain, clouds, yuck.

In my mug:  My supply of crack cocaine Numi Chinese Breakfast tea has been replenished (I know you were all worried after last week’s shortage), but our Pur filter isn’t working and the distinctive tang of NYC public water can be detected beneath the tea’s flavor.  Not that this is preventing me from drinking buckets of it…

Keeping me company: His Royal Highness, Mr. Ramses, King of Cats, is launching a full-on cuteness offensive.  Asserting world domination, one nap at a time.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone:  truer words, and all that.  Today I just have one link to share, but it’s a super-special one, I promise!  Check it out: top ten (most hilarious) Amazon reviews of ridiculous (yet real!) products.  Wolf urine, anyone?  I know I’m running low.  Thanks to George for pointing me towards this one 🙂

What’s on your docket today (after you run out and buy your Official Luke Skywalker Ceremonial Jacket with Medal of Yavin, that is)?

Read Full Post »

The strangest thing is happening to me.

I’m close – oh so very close – to finishing the rough draft of my archaeological time travel novel, ABSENT.  I’d estimate I’ve got less than 10K left to write and I have the whole thing mapped out.  I know all the twists and turns of the climax, all the awful and wonderful things I’m planning to put the characters through, and the denouement is pretty much a done deal.  The ending could practically write itself.

Thing is, it may have to.  I am feeling a great and terrible reluctance to finish.

Can’t explain it, but every time I open the document to start working…I just don’t.  Work, that is.  I stare at the page.  I sigh.  I open the internet.  I invent chores and errands that simply cannot wait one more second (I mean, if we don’t get a “no leaflets” sign from the hardware store RIGHT NOW, the world will surely end).  Worse, I decide I should *actually* be editing what I’ve already written, obsessively, repeatedly.  Anything, really, other than finish the stupid thing.

For whatever reason, I just can’t seem to seal the deal.  I didn’t have this problem with BLOOD RED SUN, or really with any of the shorts I’ve written, so an inability to finish is a new problem for me.

What’s with this?  Has it happened to anyone else?  Any advice?

Help, please!

Read Full Post »

Another month, another monthly run-down.

1. I’m happy to say that June saw me bring the thunder on my rough draft of ABSENT.  I hammered out nearly 25,000 words this month.  Most of those words were of the craptastic variety, but as Chuck Wendig has rightly said: the draft is for writing the words, the revision is for making the words not suck.  I’m almost done with the novel, but finishing it will have to wait until I return from the field in mid-July.  As will the aforementioned ‘making it not suck’.

2. I started a new short story this month–a steampunk/horror mashup set during the Second Seminole War that focuses on skull collectors and the nefarious uses they put to their macabre prizes.  It’s threatening, though, to turn into a novel on me.

3. I’ve got 5 other shorts, plus BLOOD RED SUN, out to markets and agents.  Lots of waiting on that front.  World-building and outlining on my urban fantasy novel has stalled; set aside in favor of trying to finish ABSENT.  I hope to return to that in July.

4.I did a bundle o’beta reading this month: one novel for my crit partner, Eric, which I finished, and another that I’m halfway through.  In addition, I did three short story crits this month.  All told, I read and critted well over 180,000 words in June.

5. Even with all that beta reading to do, I managed to squeeze in a fair amount of pleasure reading, making my way through Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (a re-read), The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, Hexed by Kevin Hearne, The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

6.  School’s out, so no day job to weigh me down.  Ah, lazy, lovely summer.

7. In the travel department, I journeyed to Miami to visit a friend and am off tomorrow to Honduras to work on my archaeological field project.

So, June was busy, as every month seems to be, but it will pale in comparison to what’s coming down the pike in July.  I’ve got the aforementioned archaeological expedition for the first half of the month, then a trip up to Boston to attend Readercon, and then the hubby and I are moving into the apartment we’ve just bought.  So, deep breath….here we go!

How was your month?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: