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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yesterday I spent most of the time thinking about other people's mss, and then I worked some on the dystopian WIP. In my WIP I jumped around doing I don't know what all, because I'd start one scene, and then whatever I was working on would make me realize I'd better remember to do something else in a another scene. Being worried I'd forget exactly what needed to be done, I'd jump to the other scene and do a bit, then realize another piece I'd better remember and jump again. And while jumping around I found some old stuff that had no bearing anymore, and cut it. So yesterday wasn't a straight-line kind of day, but a productive one nonetheless.

Now I'd better set it aside for a while and let the back of my mind mull it over while the front of my mind thinks about/works on other writing-related projects.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Worked on chapter two today. It's funny how when you slow down to consider where everyone is and what's really going on in the scene--if you stop to set it, thinking about what's around the characters, how they're moving, what they're wearing, etc.--little bits develop in and of themselves to flesh the whole thing out.

Ah. E-mail just in--more w-f-h up for grabs. Must take it. So, back to juggling like mad. Oh well, at least I got some good solid work done on my own stuff.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The way it's going to work for now is: first violent scene, MC beats the bejeebers out of a guy with his bare fists. He's cool, almost regretful about it, just trying to make a point so he can head off future trouble. He isn't aware of how torn up he is about it inside. Second violent scene, MC is in a rage, vengeful, full of hate, enjoying the guy's distress and trying to prolong it. This time it's physically removed, with a gun so there's no sensation or contact involved. This time he steps back mentally from himself at some point and can't recognize himself. Probably that's when he ends the torture and kills the guy.

I'm not sure yet how this all works around to fit in the story arc, but I think whatever he recognizes in that second scene is one of the keys to the book. I think there's maybe one more violent scene where he has to deal with whatever he realized about himself in the torture scene--maybe at that point he sees he has a choice to make about the kind of person he is, and makes it? Dunno. I kind of have some ideas about who's in that last scene--it may be the next to last scene in the entire book--but am not sure yet.
Am getting opinions on first chapter (of dystopia ms) and a cr*ppy draft of the synopsis. I hate writing synopses. Bleh.

Started a new scene, a violent one, but I will have two scenes that are similarly constructed, one earlier in the ms and one later, and I need to think which one shows what. What does each one do in the story, what is its job? They're both about the MC hurting someone. I can't get a bead on whether he's mad or cold about it in this first scene, whether it's deliberate or in anger--because right now the big difference between the two scenes is going to be in how the MC is when he comes home after he beats the h*ll out of a guy (well, in the second one he'll kill the guy, probably). In one of the scenes, he suppresses and ignores his distress about what he's done. But which one?

Was also thinking about former GN. How do you show that something's at stake, when nothing external is at stake? When everything would be perfectly fine if the MC continued on in the same manner for the rest of her life? That's the problem: what I want to say is that it's not fine--not with me, anyway. It's fine in the eyes of the world, though. Hmm.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Late last night I ended up going over the first chapter of the dystopia ms, trying to get it into shape. Feels great. To be working on it, that is. Right now it looks like the first chapter may be several scenes, which is not my usual way of doing things. Usually I do one scene, and the chapter ends. I'm not sure--will look at it at some point today, I hope. I've got other people's novels on my mind and need to organize my thoughts on those, too.

So far it really does look like having to think about other people's mss is actually keeping my creative wheels greased rather than getting in the way. That's unexpected, considering the number of mss. I knew it could be that way with two or three, but not for five plus my own.

I can't get the right name for one of the characters in my ms. I've been through four names so far. Just can't hit it right. Every time I get one, it interferes with another character's name--it sounds too close, too similar. Maybe I'm being too picky.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Worked on other writing-related stuff this morning, then pulled up dystopian work and tried to put a synopsis together. Didn't get very far. It takes me forever to try to write something like that. I am putting it aside and asking fellow writers for advice to keep me focused next time I pick it up.

It has taken me years to be able to even answer the question "So, what's your book about?" for any of my novels. Now I can usually answer with a one-liner--but only because I figure nobody really cares what it's about anyway. It doesn't matter if the answer is accurate or not, or whether it gets across any of the things I think the book is really about. The stuff that interests me is usually not what interests anybody else.

So when I try to tell what this dystopian ms is about, I immediately get off into backstory and world-building, because to me the story doesn't make sense without it. But I guess what I need to do is think of it more as catalog or flap copy, because otherwise I'll go on for pages and all the conflicts that drive the story will be buried in piles of boring blah-blah-blah.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

W-f-h: done. For now. Probably.

Yesterday I took 45 minutes that should have been spent on something else, and worked on the background info/synopsis/whatever-it-is for the dystopian ms. I really have no idea what this side info needs to look like or how far I need to dig into it. I don't think I'll go all that far.

I was trying to think where the story takes place. This won't make any difference to the reader, but I need to have pieces of it fixed in my head if I want to move on. At the moment I've vaguely got parts of Mission Concepcion in my head for the actual "house." I haven't been there in a long time, but the place has a strong feeling to it. It was abandoned for a while--even used as a stable, I think--and parts of it have fallen down, but most of it still stands. The walls are thick so in the smaller rooms sound is muffled and it's very quiet, and also cool, and the light has a still, filtered quality, like in some Dutch golden age domestic paintings.

stairwell at Mission Concepcion

This is an outside stairway, though, so it's not quite the same feeling. This is kind of the feeling:

window at Mission Concepcion

If you put those two together, plus

ruins at Mission Concepcion

The feeling of it might be just about about right.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I couldn't get the Story From Hell finished Sunday (lord knows I tried), so yesterday I got up early to try and finish it before 9 a.m. New York time. I set the alarm for five, but decided I'd get up as early as four. In the morning. To write. Egad.

So I woke at four, got up and dressed, ate breakfast--and then realized I'd accidentally reset the time on my clock as I was setting the alarm. So I'd gotten up at 3:00 a.m, not 4.

No point in going back to bed, so I went to work. Still didn't finish by open of NY business day--but the first draft is done and turned in. I expect it back today for at least one rewrite.

Still have to rewrite other story and get that in, too. Plus packets have started. Also, I have Conspiracy of Kings in my grubby little paws now, but don't want to start it till I at least get these rewrites in.

Agent is still waiting for first chapter of dystopia ms. I've probably actually got it, but it needs to be fixed and molded into a real chapter with a chapter ending and everything. Plus, I need to write down the general idea of the story--which I also have, just not in a form anybody else could easily understand. I am very reluctant to do a synopsis or outline for this, because this time I'm trying a different method of meshing my writing process with a more plot-driven outlook. What I'd like to do is list the separate storylines (because I know what they are, just not how they'll fit together) and not try to smush them into a certain order. I don't know if that'll fly, though.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Horrible last couple of days, writing-wise. This last w-f-h story is the story from h*ll. I should have turned it in Wed. but it took longer than I expected, so I stayed up late and got up early to get it done (son #2: "Have you been working all night?") but that took longer than I expected, too, and then when it was finally almost done, I realized it sucked and I couldn't turn it in like that. I have no confidence that I can fix it before Monday morning, and it's therefore likely to be late and suck. A double failure.

I hate it, I'm sick of it, and I'm not even going to look at it today or I might slit my wrists. I'm going to work on my own stuff. Then tomorrow I'll return to the lowest circle of story-writing hades, oh joy.