Wednesday, August 31, 2005

1,614 words today

I seem to have trouble writing anywhere other than home; I should work on this! :-) I'm not sure I'll be finishing this week, but if not this week than next.

Saturday, August 27, 2005's my baby

0 words today. I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm actually becoming sentimental about 'ending' the book. Not that I won't be struggling through rewrites and editing for months, but I have to say I'm a little hesitant about finishing it. And sure, I've got a new project to start after I'm done. But still. I don't quite want it to end, and it's getting so close that I know soon the first draft will be completed. I suppose I want it to last a little longer, like savoring all the moments with an 18 year old child before they go away to college.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

2,545 words today

It's amazing how much you can write when you get stuck in the minds of your characters...I swear the last 500 words are simply 'she thought this' and 'she thought that.' (Whisper: I love rough drafts)

I've been entering the planning/brainstorming stages for my second novel, which I plan to write for NaNoWriMo, and I was interested in having more than one viewpoint. Most of the books I read and enjoy (not all, but most) seem to have at least two viewpoints, if not three, four, or more. But I don't know if this will happen...the way the character and plot ideas are unfolding, I'm at a loss as to who would have a decent viewpoint other than my main MC. Maybe I'm just looking at it the wrong way. Whereas in this one that I'm starting to finish up now (should be done by the end of next week if things go well!), I can see several people that might have effective viewpoints. I think my problem is, I tend to think that if there is a second viewpoint, it should be a character who is present throughout the whole story. Yes, I have a lot to learn.

Sometimes it seems impossible that anyone can write a work of fiction. I can't even begin to imagine how fantasy/sci-fi writers do it, with all the world-building. I know that things aren't arbitrary, but in the beginning stages of planning so many things are arbitrary, because they are just ideas floating around in a brain. I regularly vacillate between two world beliefs/philosophies: sometimes it seems everything that happens is for a reason (however subtle or oblique), and other times (most of the time, for me) things happen simply because they happen - and not always causal, although of course fiction should work that way.

88,706 words total.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

1,728 words so far today

I'm dazing a bit today, but still managed to get a few words out so far. I'm going to start experimenting with writing at different parts of the day; unfortunately it's hard to write when my husband's home from work.

I was writing last night when he was out jogging (and the words were really flowing!), and when he came home he decided to scare the bejeezus out of me but saying something really loud into the window. I was not very happy about that. Then I got started again, and my mom called...we don't talk that often, so I can't really obey the 'rule' a lot of writers have about no phone calls and interruptions. But I'm making progress.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

1,305 more words...

I found some words! I actually got into a zone where I wasn't paying attention to word count or page count...I need to keep this in mind, that this is what I'm striving for. At some point recently I stopped expecting to become involved in the WIP, I stopped expecting to lose myself in it. And so of course my motivation went down - that's part of the joy of writing, when you forget everything else. Now I feel my motivation is partially back. Until tomorrow of course, mwah hah hah (that's my evil internal 'you can't write' voice laughing, FYI)

I have conscious knowledge that if I just start writing, things will usually fall into place...but somehow when I'm anxious about writing it's hard to 'know' that. Or doing the first few sentences/paragraphs, thinking "this doesn't work this doesn't work." I just have to be consistent with pushing myself - and also consistent with not beating myself up if I only wrote 200 words today...I KNOW that the past few weeks of being disciplined helped me write more today. It's as if there is something missing when I don't write as much as I normally do. Something nags at my brain, not because I feel bad or because I'm making myself guilty for not writing that's because not writing is not part of the routine anymore. Thank heavens.

I was just talking to my mom tonight, telling her how writing, even if I'm not directly writing about my problems, is great therapy. And it is. I'm thankful for that, since I can't afford a psychologist, LOL.

84,433 words total.

226 words today

No comment. Just trying to find my happy place. It's hard.

Monday, August 22, 2005

2,153 words today

I wrote, I didn't get far and can't escape the nagging feeling that my WIP is void of meaning or excitement. It really sucks. But I'll get through it...

It was raining all weekend, so my husband didn't get to climb his fourteener. I was actually thinking I might give it a go with him, but it didn't happen that way. So, we went and soaked in some hot springs instead. That was nice.

Didn't help my WIP any though, I had been planning to write yesterday and didn't get to; I thought that would make me more motivated to write today, but it didn't. I really need a direction right now...plodding along with this boring-sounding dialogue is not working... And waiting for the next scene or scenes to come to me through inspiration is not working yet...I'll actually have to force my brain to think through it logically.

82,902 total.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

travel time

I took Friday off from writing because I've been having a lot of trouble getting the words out lately. It felt wrong. So I hope this means on Monday (or Sunday, if I decide to write in the hotel we'll be staying at) the words will come more willingly. I'm not counting on it...I'm imagining an all-out struggle for the next two to three weeks to get the first draft of my first 'real' novel finished. But we'll see.

We're leaving town, just for a day, so my husband can climb a fourteener. I had thought about going with him (I've climbed two myself), but it's a 'practice' for him before he does Longs Peak...and I don't feel like walking 2/3 of the way up a strenuous mountain (Quandary Peak) only to have him meet me on his way down. Don't get me wrong, Quandary is easy for those who are in shape; hence, hard for me. (I haven't done any exercise except walking down the aisles of the grocery store since Grays and Torreys Peaks, which we did in July)

So, here's to relaxation in the hot tub in our hotel, an internet connection, and a free breakfast where I can sit alone and maybe write a few thousand words (or finish editing that short story).


Thursday, August 18, 2005

2,010 words today

Getting slightly back on track. Working on a scene with four people in it...getting the feeling that my mix of slightly humorous moments and very serious moments is making the work seem unfocused. Oh well! Who cares. That's what rewrites are for.

I can't believe it's Thursday already. This week flew by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

1,373 words today

Another slow day. The forward motion is becoming a problem...a post in Absolute Write about mid-book blues says if you are going to quit, this is the time you will do it. I will not quit. I'll keep plodding along...waiting for the light to shine somewhere in my feeble little mind. Maybe it would help if I read over the last few days' writing...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

2,052 words today

77,366 total.

Ugh. I'm not enjoying myself the last few days. I hate my laptop keyboard. I don't know where the story's going. Everything I'm unsure about that I already wrote bogs down what I'm writing now. There is no vision I'm trying to capture right now; I'm still struggling to see something that's lost in the fog somewhere. I have ideas when I'm not writing, that make me excited, but when I actually start writing it's impossible to visualize them.

But, life will continue, and even if I have another shitty, confusing day tomorrow, at least I'll still be writing.

I didn't set out to write a particularly 'good' book anyway, dammit. It's my first try at a novel, why am I being so hard on myself anyway? I'm learning plenty so, it's not a total loss. I just hope my disillusionment will go away at some point. It's such a downer.

Monday, August 15, 2005

1,549 words today

That's all I have to say today. It's one of 'those' days.

Friday, August 12, 2005

What? Something other than word count?

It recently occurred to me that I could use this blog as something other than a word-count journal (besides, I have my little mini-notebook where I keep the numbers). What a concept, huh?

I just want to share my enthusiasm for the book Stein on Writing. The town I live in doesn't have a major bookstore (the most reasonable imposter is Kmart...ugh), so I order most of my books off the internet, used. I've heard so many great things about this book; I was so excited to see Sol Stein's book in my mailbox today. I couldn't make the small walk back to the apartment before getting it out of the envelope. A plus: the copy is in great condition. I've been lucky with used books lately.

Now that I'm actually in the process of writing a book, things click so much more and this is the perfect time to be reading Stein on Writing. While it's daunting to think of all the aspects of my finished WIP that will need work, it's mostly incredibly exciting. Scene structure, characterization, conflict, and maintaining suspense are all covered.

This book is highly recommended for any aspiring novelist! While many books about writing will tell you what you need and give maybe one example, Stein gives you more. (Doesn't this sound like an ad? sorry...) An amusing note: It appears that in this 5th printing (if I'm understanding those numbers correctly) has this error on one of the last pages: "...for reader's crave such action..." It almost makes me wonder if he did it on purpose just to imagine the joy of some unpublished writer like me spotting it and twittering. He does make a point of showing how many of the best-selling and acclaimed authors write weak prose at times.

I'm finding that inspiration for writing (not the ideas, but the actual writing) is something that I need to search for continually; it's not something I can wait on. This book is my current inspiration.

2,128 words today

Much of yesterday's writing is now has a note to "CUT THIS" in the rewrite, but that's okay. I'm trying to relax with two of my major characters right now...then as soon as I figure out what's going on I can throw them back into the fray. Nothing wrong with a little makeout scene just for the hell of it, eh? I didn't even get there today, my characters are too busy drinking and ordering pizzas. I know my scenes are way too long, but I don't care. Just getting up the energy to write even when I don't quite know what I'm doing is enough for me.

73,701 grand total.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

2,184 words today

71,573 total.

I'll admit, I'm flailing a bit right now. I think I'm rushing things and today I wrote yet another twist into the plot...well, not a twist but...a change that happened too fast, because I'm anticipating the ending too much. My husband recommends that I take tomorrow off, take a few days to think about it and come back fresh on Monday. But I don't know if I can do that! Perhaps tomorrow I will try to work on the timeline a little bit, sketch out the scenes I need to complete the work.

I'll probably end up writing something tomorrow. I sooo want to delete certain sections, get rid of them and start over; but I can't do that yet, I know that I'll lose control and start rewriting the whole thing. So, plowing ahead is the only answer, I think.

some late night write

Tonight I perused Stephen King's On Writing for a little while. It made me feel better about my WIP's condition right now. Specifically, there was a line about endings:
"And why worry about the ending anyway? Why be such a control freak? Sooner or
later every story comes out somewhere."

I partly realize what my problem is lately, why I'm experiencing this anxiety about the process. I'm scared that I won't be able to get it all in. I'm rushing things because I think, "Okay I need to gear towards the ending now because I only have this many words/pages left until my goal of 100k." That isn't the right way to think, I realize now. Sure it would be convenient if my ending happened to come at that 100k mark or somewhere close; but is it likely to happen that way? Probably not. All it's doing is making me anticipate something that I haven't gotten to yet, which makes what I'm doing now all that much more forced, rushed and restricted.

I need to trust myself. I need to focus on where I'm at in the story now, not where I'm ultimately going to end up. I'm going to relax a little about the whole "I need to know the ending now, and exactly how it comes about" and just let myself write without worrying how long it will take to end the story, without anticipating that point where I will write "The End." I'll get there when I get there.

Tonight: added 854 words.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

2,132 words today

Grand Total: 68,535

Well, I wrote today. It was hard. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. My characters are feeling stale and confused (oh wait, that's me). But I'll keep at it.

These last couple days have been harder than usual. I know it's because I'm committing to page the ideas that are going to bring about the ending; and since I sort of know the ending but don't quite know how I'm going to get there, it's getting harder and harder. I've always had a problem with endings. In my short story attempts, the ending/resolution is always the hardest for me. Why would I think it would be any different with a novel?

Next time I'm going to write an outline....maybe....

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

added 1,313 yesterday but only a measly 258 today

grand total from yesterday: 66,145.

Yesterday was great. About an hour after I had finished my main bulk of writing, I just felt that I had to keep writing; I think it was something about finishing that particular scene. So I wrote a little over a thousand more words and was quite proud of myself.

But it backfired today. Actually it's probably not so much that as the fact that I had some other things that seemed to have more priority (that was dumb...but I got it done and don't have to think about it for another couple weeks) and I wanted to get those done first; these things ended up taking up my whole morning and most of the afternoon (as I knew it would...). Also, I read a whole book last night: Evanovich's Two for the Dough, it's one of her Stephanie Plum novels. I don't think I should have done that. Now instead of visualizing my characters, I'm seeing the guy my protag. is interacting with as Joe Morelli. Dammit.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better, after my mind has relaxed a bit. I've been toying with the idea of slacking off, today was my day to do it, so tomorrow it's back to business. And no more Stephanie Plum novels until I'm done! Now I'm going to have to reread half of my freakin' draft just to remember where I'm trying to go with this...

Monday, August 08, 2005

2,100 words today

An okay day. I had to keep looking at my notes though to get back in the story, maybe because I took the last two days off. I never take days off from thinking about the story, trying to figure out how I will end it, etc. But I take two days off from the actual writing.

I'm in a bit of a difficult part again, and the further I get into the story the more I see how my story needs to tie together with pieces in the beginning. It's great when I realize I foreshadowed something without even realizing it.

The last few books I've read lately make me realize that my setting in the story is vague. I think I'm doing okay with the houses, restaurants, etc., but it's the city in the background that I realize I'm being very vague about. That's okay. I have a whole list of things that will need to be altered already, and now I realize that instead of finishing a draft and then having much less of it after revising and editing (I was thinking 80%) , I might actually have more. And that's okay too.

I'm having so much fun though. It's become a serious project because, how can a 100,000 word first draft not become serious once you're into the story and you want to tell it? In the beginning I started out saying, "This will be crappy and I don't care." And for a little while, I didn't care. It was the beginning of the story, I could write and write and not need to be going anywhere in particular (just a general direction). And I wanted to give myself the freedom to write crap, just so I could write.

Now I'm at the stage where I do have a stake in my writing. I have a specific place I want to go, a specific ending I want to achieve--I actually came up with ideas for a concrete ending last night--these last 35k words need to complement and highlight and make sense after all the other stuff that's happened. So it almost feels like, after I hit that halfway point, that I started working backwards in a sense. Everything in the first part of the story becomes very important because it MUST dictate what happens in the last part of the story. I'm not opposed to this, not 'fighting' it or anything, but it just makes me think that much more about what I'm writing, and how aware I need to be about where my story is going at this point (and at the same time be willing to change things in the beginning to suit what's happening now). I've built everything into it; now I need to carry it.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

All the Voices in My Head

Every single day, I deal with the voices in my head. The ones that say, "God, there's been a million books about that" or "That sentence? Sure didn't look that way in your head" or "You got a long way to go before you're gonna be a real writer" or "This is just plain boring." I could go on and on, I assure you.

I just block them out. That's all there is to it. If I didn't, I couldn't continue writing. I'd be stuck at the first paragraph forever. There's not a specific way to do this; I just have to do it. There's no other choice; if I want to finish something, I have to tune them out. Wait them out, until they realize I'm not listening and they're only wasting their voices. Usually the constant tapping of keys with no regard to their complaints speeds up the process.

I also constantly imagine what someone else would say if they saw the drivel I'm writing right now (as far as the voices inside my head are concerned). Solution: no one sees what I'm writing now. Tempted as I am to send some glittering piece of writing on to someone, I know this isn't the time.

This is First Draft stage. And in this draft, I listen to no one but myself. Period.

Friday, August 05, 2005

2,788 words today

62,732 total.

The writing went pretty well today. I even teared up once while writing. That was cool (a good change from an earlier part of the story, where I typed in frustration, "Why's this girl so damn apathetic?" of course it was because that's how *I* was feeling that day). And now I'll take the next two days off, which is good because one of my wrists is really hurting. I picked up that stupid laser printer twice, knowing full well that I shouldn't, and now I'm paying for it. And the stupid thing doesn't even work right. Dammit.

Today I had to get up from the laptop a couple of times in the beginning, do other things before getting back to writing. I think it helped; I wrote more today than the two days before that. But I'm not going to get all analytical about it, it just happened that way. But I'm not going to prevent myself from getting up, like I've read in some writing books you should do. (Hint: writing books are like religions--take from them what you want, discard what doesn't work for you)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

2,486 words today

59,994 total.

Tomorrow I will hit 60k, which is a good stepping stone! I really think the story is actually going somewhere right now, instead of on the way to going somewhere, which is what the first 1/3 of the story feels like...I'm thinking I might lose a lot of the first 30k words, but that's the breaks. I won't know until I'm finished anyway. I'm very much in the "meat" of things right now, I'm learning much more about a character I introduced earlier in the story and was having struggles with before ("Who the hell is this guy?"). I still don't know the outcome of one major part of the story, but this will come to me (I hope) before I need to figure that out.

I've got dozens of places in the story that I need to fix logical-wise, but I'm trying my best to ignore them right now, just jot down little notes in my notebook (that notebook is getting filled with all sorts of stuff right now! I know a lot more about comas than I did a week ago...even been thinking I need to check out a hospital before the next draft to get my descriptions a little more concreteness). I just keep thinking, if I go back to fix one thing, I'm going to have to fix another, and another, and another and before I know it I'll have completely changed everything and won't have the energy to finish.

To finish is the only goal right now. It looks like it might be another month before the first draft is complete. Sure, I have some great days where I'm writing furiously...but I always seem to get a hard day or two thrown in there that evens out my progress. I'm not going to push myself too hard and then watch myself give up because I wanted too much out of myself. I am looking forward to the revision process: one big thing will be after ironing out the big details, I'll be able to break sections down into chapters. You don't have chapters? I hear you say in surprise. Nope, no chapters. So that will be fun. When it starts to take on the shape of a real-life book, that will be cool. Definitely something to look forward to!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

1,220 words today

57,458 total.

What is it about Wednesdays? *sigh* I'm totally zoning out today. I'll write a paragraph, or maybe a sentence...and then start looking around, not even paying full attention to my WIP. I can't concentrate. I reached a wall where I can't go, come on, just keep writing...I just don't freakin' feel like it.

But, steady progress is good. I might be able to squeeze out another 800 words and hit my "new" goal of 2k per day, but if not I'm comfortable slipping back to the "at least I wrote 500." Maybe it's because I'm sitting in the chair in the livingroom instead of on the couch where I usually write. I won't be sitting in the chair tomorrow. It's probably only an excuse, a mental thing, but I can't let those things get in the way too much.

I'm thinking it's mostly because I spent HOURS last night tweaking a short story I had--god that takes a lot of concentration. The 7&7 didn't ultimately help, either. So I dreamed, all night, about messing around with different stories. I wish I could remember them.

Tomorrow's goal: get my focus and bang out those 2k words.

2,681 words today (TUESDAY)

Things are going well. I'm also working on some short story submissions, and even thinking of gathering some of my old poetry to submit for publication. I need to get some credits under my belt, as well as a healthy pile of rejections. ;-) I'm trying to decide between starting with small, more realistic markets or being egotistical and sending to big name places.

56,238 total. I should be past 60k by the end of this week.

I did a lot of research last night on brain injuries, it is something that is important to the plot. I'm hoping I'll be able to formulate some kind of conclusion that works before I'm 10k away from the ending, but I don't know if that will happen! One of the "pleasures" of writing your first novel without a big plan. I know the "what," even have an image in my mind of the very last scene, but I don't really know the "how" yet.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Word count for today: 3,142

Another good day of writing. I'm finding that I'm gaining momentum in this phase of the story.

53,557 words total.

I'm really enjoying the writing right now. The story just took a turn and everything is changing, and I'm getting new ideas for scenes and how the novel will end (and beginning to wonder if the 100k goal will suffice or if I will need to write a lot more, lol).

I took the weekend off, as usual, and I think this helps me. I spent all weekend thinking about the story, letting it gel inside my mind, and even though I don't know exactly what's going to happen in each scene, I only know "Ok, she's going to the hospital today," things come was cool today when I tallied my word count and was about 40 words away from 3k. So I said, I can do 40 more words - and I did, and guess what? A detail came up that I hadn't thought of before that, and it is a cool detail that I'm glad I "thought" of...sometimes I don't think of actually thinking of things, they just sort of appear in my head.