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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Added 3300+ words to ms yesterday. Most of them involved copying, pasting, and typing stuff from the bible/outline and other reference materials, to help me stay on track. But I counted them as my own words so that I could reward myself with a little work on the former GN.

I kind of like where this new tack is taking me with the former GN. I think it has potential. If nothing else, it's shaking me out of the mental rut I was in. I'm having to restructure the beginning* and make it more grabby and think in terms of tension and in terms of planting at least a grain of a seed of a question in the reader's mind, for g*d's sake, instead of drifting over 250 pages in a namby-pamby lyrical cloud of a non-story.

*Or rather, the old beginning, which now comes after what used to be the ending section. I'm cutting up the old ending section and interspersing it as a framework for the whole story. However, I think at some point framework and story will meet and the ending will just continue on as the ending in real time.

This all sounds very complicated. I guess it is. Still, it's right up my alley because it means playing around with various permutations of voice, style, and especially format. For now I'm just writing for myself, for fun, to see what I can get the words to do on the page. And what places where there aren't any words can do.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I was bad on Wed. and only did 250 words. Yesterday I was good and did 400--that 400 was during an hour grabbed in the middle of a busy day, which is why it's good.

Now my word count is about to go out the window because I'm going to copy and paste huge pieces of the bible/outline in hopes that I can work faster by jumping around. I keep having to stop and look stuff up, but if I jump around I might be able to work on one story thread at various places in the ms and focus on following it through. Maybe.

Lunch at Chuck E. Cheese yesterday with non-writer friends, and discussed economic/social aspects of dystopian ms with them. If you have a high tolerance for kid noise--which I do--you can get a lot of discussing done at Chuck E. Cheese. Hmm, that sounds weird, but I'm serious. I realized I need to lean more toward a Dark/Middle Age European mindset for this dystopian project and try to forget the vestiges of Mycenaean background that have crept in from the former GN.

Will try to get a copy of Brunelleschi's Dome for sure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Now I remember why I never do word counts. Yesterday it appears that I wrote 2000 words, but I'm sure it was more like 800 because I copied and pasted pieces from the story bible to keep me on track. Plus I rewrote parts, trimming them considerably to make them fit together more smoothly, so my word count went backwards sometimes. Word counts never mean squat, where my writing is concerned.

Still, will pretend they do mean something for now, because I will surely hit the keyboard daily to avoid having to man up and blog that I didn't do what I was supposed to do.

In more interesting (to me) news, I had a small epiphany while jogging. It's interesting--not just because I am now seemingly used enough to jogging that I can think about something besides how much I hate it and that I really ought to quit right this second because only crazy people do this to their joints and anyway I could go get a Milky Way or some Ruffles--but because I think I may see a way into the former GN. I'll keep the new experiment in structure (i.e. starting with the ending section and interspersing it throughout the story) and do some hardcore change-up with the voice. I'd like to stick with third person (I'm uncomfortable with the idea of first in this particular ms), but pull into a closer third that matches the protagonist's age and outlook.* In other words, the reader will grow with her, and realize things with her. This feels like a good idea to me, a good thing to try. It feels like it might be forward progress.

In fact, it sounds like a lot more fun today than trying to write 2000+ words of someone else's book. However, first things must come first.

*Now that I think about it, this is similar to what Karen Hesse did in Music of Dolphins, although that didn't have anything to do with age.

Monday, July 26, 2010

No writing at all yesterday. 2800 w-f-h words today.

I'm not allowing myself to work on my own stuff on any given day until that day's w-f-h quota is met. I may not be working on my own stuff for a looooong time. After I've written that many words, I don't want to write any more.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Now I need to settle in and write an average of 2000-2500 (or more; more is even better) words per day on the w-f-h novel.

Today: 2000+

Also decided to change up the ending of chapter five of the dystopian ms, in an effort to keep it moving. I went in and quickly cut out one short scene, cut half of another, and ended on the gun going off. Will have to see later what effect that gives; no time to read it over for flow right now.

The w-f-h novel shouldn't be too bad; I like the character, and probably will have to watch that I don't wallow in too much character-driven stuff, as this is meant to be an action-filled midgrade for boys. Also must try to stick to schedule since packets will overlap, and sons' school starts in mid-August, which always seems to use up days of time, although I'm never quite sure why.

I'm hoping that the looming humiliation of not meeting this now publicly stated words-per-day goal will drive me to keep up. Because otherwise I'm going to be an utter mess by the end of August, putting in sixteen hour days and longer (!) to get the job done. Don't ask how I know that this is what happens when I don't keep up. Some of my writing history is better left unexamined.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Have been tinkering with the former GN. Pulled the ending to the front...and am stuck there, not knowing how to lead into the old beginning.

I seem to keep running into the same problem of balance in all three of my current WIPs. All three require world-building and backstory, and I keep hitting the same wall, over and over again: at some point the story slows down too much.

And now that I think about it, this probably relates at least partially to my old nemesis, transitions. Either I'm leaping around from scene to scene, or I get immersed in the minutiae of the characters' daily lives and have trouble thinking outside that natural progression. There isn't much middle ground in my head, and that middle ground is where the transitions are. It's also where the world-building needs to be, I think.

Maybe the thing to do (with the former GN) is to keep tabs on what idea needs to come next. Usually every scene needs to carry one main idea. This ms is not a normal format with normal scenes, but maybe trying to think in big-picture terms of scenes would help.

Technically maybe this book shouldn't be possible, since the MC has no goals, positive or negative, and doesn't want anything at all until the very end. But now I'm thinking that surely there's a way to get the structure to carry the story forward, since the content apparently can't do it. That's what I'm looking at now. I'm thinking I might be able to use structure rather than content to pose the "questions" that keep the pages turning, if I mess around with this long enough--and if I can keep from falling into the same old mental rut.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Was discussing former GN with a fellow writer, who wondered if the problem of boringness might be solved by starting with the last section of the book and interspersing the current story along the way as vignettes or flashbacks. I am very interested in this suggestion and will be considering it in depth when I have the time, which won't be for a week at least. Well, I won't have the time then, either, but it's interesting enough that I'll probably make time when I shouldn't.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Partial of 60+ pages, first five chapters, done and sent. It's as good as I can get it right now. So that's off my mind for a while, probably. Unless agent tells me I screwed up and have to fix something.
Am second-guessing myself re. chapters 3, 4, and 5. I've looked at it too long and can't tell whether I'm shoehorning stuff in. Normally this would mean I need to lay off--but I can't, because people are waiting to see it. So I've been going over and over it, and when I see a spot that doesn't seem smooth, I zero in and think about whether it's going the way it would naturally go if left to its own devices. The unsmooth spots are getting smaller and smaller, but like I said I've lost all perspective, so it could be that as the ms gets more natural, it also loses conflict and tension. Because basically what this part of the ms needs to do is start shifting the reader's focus to new tensions, and it needs to do it pretty quickly. Hard to do that without losing steam.

Anyway, the d*mn thing's going to be off my desk today. Period. Before midnight, it must be gone. I'm behind, behind, behind on everything else.

Also, decided maybe I don't have to kill that character. Also, made notes laying out the basic sequence of one of the plot threads that has eluded me, the one that brings about the climax and ending.

Also, am thinking about former GN, as far as POV--maybe the fact that it's in third person could be helpful, maybe there's some way to switch to serial close third and use the changing POVs to ramp up what the reader wants for the character vs. what she wants. Or maybe not. Just randomly musing.