The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Note to self: reread Elie Wiesel's Night

I need to get a copy of my own, too, at some point. But I guess the library will have to do for now.

I do not have time to work on this dystopia* ms. It's stupid to work on it. It's bad, bad, bad to work on it. But by g*d, I'm going to do it anyway. Just for a little while. Just an hour or two this morning. Even with two w-f-h deadlines tomorrow--in a few hours, I'll be good and close that file and open the ones I'm supposed to be working on, and behave myself. And meet the deadlines, even if it kills me. Which it might.

I also think next semester I might schedule my Vermont packets at two a week. I think most other people put them all together, five in one week. But I don't think that's going to be the optimum way of working for me. I don't even think the way I have it now--five packets spread over nearly two weeks--is going to be optimum. Maybe I have ADD, I don't know. I just don't seem to do my best writing-related thinking when it's just one thing straight through. It's like the back of my mind thinks better when the pressure's off and the front of my mind is doing something else--so long as that other thing isn't teaching (like math/English/reading), or yet another family crisis.**

Perhaps that's why--oddly enough--packets are not only not interfering with my own process (so far), but seem to be stimulating it. Of course, it's only been a month or so, so we'll see what happens with that. But I'm thinking it could be because the packets are just writing, and thinking about other people's writing has never really interfered with my process. However, we shall see.

*That's what I need to reread Night for. I want to play around with the idea of mercy, pity, compassion and empathy in a world where not only is there no upside to those things, they're also a flat out liability.

**I also wonder about the feeling-overwhelmed thing people keep telling me about. It was supposed to happen at the residency, but didn't all that much. Maybe they meant physically overwhelmed with exhaustion rather than mentally and emotionally.*** Or maybe it's still coming. Or maybe one good thing has come out of having a life where multiple urgent situations explode all over me out of nowhere: I'm immune to low-level overwhelm-ed-ness. Maybe now it's like a gnat I just brush away. But then again, this is still early days. Maybe it'll get worse when I find out I was supposed to be doing certain paperwork that is now late.

I have a terrible foreboding that I'm not doing some kind of vital paperwork required by the office, and at the end of the semester I'll be in trouble and people will either be hounding me or tsk-tsking and making me feel like sh*t.

However, notice that this foreboding is not quite terrible enough to make me contact any powers-that-be and find out if I am supposed to be keeping up with vital paperwork.

***I did hit the wall everybody told me about, the one halfway through. Except that everybody said "On X day about halfway through the residency you'll hit the wall, you'll be crying, but don't worry because everyone cries on that day, and the next day you'll feel better." And--this says something about me, I don't know what--I didn't cry at all, I just suddenly hated everybody and everything and wished an earthquake would swallow every person at the residency and replace them with other people who didn't yammer on and on about writing all the time. But that only lasted half a day or so, and then I was better. And I don't think I ever stopped yammering about writing while I was there.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Note to self: let it go; do your work.

Put other crap aside. Deal with it later. For now, do your work.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Still very busy, but once in a while I think about the new ms. Yesterday while out with Tyson I figured out a bunch of stuff I want to explore re. conflicts between personalities. Also some situations/flashpoints. I also think I'm going to go back and add a character into the first chapter/scene, which means switching from all internal narration to some dialogue. I'm thinking this will present my MC as more fully rounded from the get-go, but we'll see. Dunno when I'll have a chance to do any of this. I wrote down a page or so of notes so I can remember the stuff I thought of.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No time to work on my own stuff, but I did glance at the first scene of the new ms last night, just to see how it reads. I was wondering exactly what I'm going to need to figure out as far as voice in my head vs. voice on the page, because it's already clear to me that this is going to take some juggling. Transcribing dialect straight to the paper is usually not a great idea because it trips up the reader's eyes. What we hear in our head is not how other people are going to read it. Often a good way to handle that is to spell everything normally, and let the grammar and sentence structure carry the dialect.

So I looked over the first scene and saw right away that I do need to spell everything correctly, even though it's a long step from how you'd actually hear the guy in person. But I also saw that I probably need to clean up the sentence structure some, too, because transcribing him straight gives an immediate impression that he's stupid. Which he's not. I don't want stupid, I want laconic, removed, with a touch of menace. So...this should be interesting. No time to think about it much right now, though.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I was very bad a few days ago, because I worked a little on my own stuff as a break from the other writing-related projects I need to get done. Sometimes you think so much about one thing that it wears a groove into your brain and you have to switch gears to clear your head out so you can come back to your task with fresh energy. I should have switched to one of the other writing-related projects; that would have been the responsible thing to do.

Instead I opened a new file and started in on this idea my agent had--or rather, I took a couple of ideas Agent had and mixed them together and came at it from an angle that appeals to me. When you start something that way, you never know whether it's going to sputter out and die, or whether there's so little meat to it that you'll get it all out of your system then and there, or what.

I didn't get it out of my system, and today I checked out of curiosity, and in that one sitting I wrote nearly 3000 words in a few hours. That's a lot for me, on anything. And then last night I had to get out of bed and write stuff down that was coming into my head. I don't have time for this right now, but it looks like it'll be a book at some point, with any luck. I may turn to it after this time crunch is over in a few weeks, and see if I can pound the whole thing out, since it's pretty simple and fun and appealing (to me; not necessarily to anyone else).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Suddenly swamped. Multiple projects, overlapping deadlines, and everything has to be carefully handled with full attention. Yow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two things seem pretty clear to me today.

One, I'd better be vigilant about keeping up with whatever writing tasks need to be done, whether they're mine or someone else's, or I'm going to be in deep sh*t very quickly--like, within a week. And once I get vigilant, I have to stay that way during the periods when I have multiple writing tasks pending. I can't afford to put things off, because there are going to be too many in the queue, all with people waiting to hear back from me.

Two, my WIP really is weird and probably doesn't have much of a future. It's a luxury, writing-wise. Just saying.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I've been working on my own writing about every other day. Sometimes it's just an hour or two crammed into everything else that has to be done, but that's fine because I've got a lot of little pieces that I can pull up at any given moment. Yesterday I started a tiny new piece of another section from the difficult middle, writing it from within scene from the first time.*

Hmm, just checked. I spent over two hours getting a very rough draft of 203 new words. That sounds pretty pathetic. But it's actually terrific, because I'm finally starting to cover this territory that must be covered. However, it could be end up being pathetic after all, if this ms is as boring as I'm afraid it might be.

*as opposed to just sketching some dialogue, or writing a main point out for future reference, or jotting down an image. I set the scene in my head and went through it from the MC's pov, thinking what to dwell on for the reader, what to point out, what needed to be mentioned to carry ideas that I want to echo slightly in the reader's head. Basically I spent two hours getting my MC to walk halfway across a room. I haven't even gotten her to the other side yet.**

**So I can't complain if I finish this ms then find out it truly is boring. I'm the one who's making it be about walking across a room. You reap what you sow.