Thursday, June 30, 2011

I am my own downfall

I was writing at a pleasant pace during my lunch break and I suddenly had to stop myself. Why, you say?

BECAUSE I JUST HIT 20%!!!

Working on this project has just been amazing. I've been knocking the idea around in my head for a month or two now, but I just outlined this story last thursday! And now I'm 5,000 words in. Ok, really not that much by most other people's standards, but that's really damn good for me. Especially for not writing anything over the weekend. (Though that will change this weekend, because I have four days off and I am not going that long without writing.)

I don't know what's different about this project that it seems to be working so well. Maybe it's because I have yet to hit the 1/3 mark of doom. Maybe it's because I finally set a goal for myself that's attainable. Maybe I found just the right amount of organization and outlining that lets me discovery write while still having a goal in mind.

Whatever it is, I don't really care because it's working.

I'm planning on posting the packet I used to outline my novel. I'm a big fan of worksheets and checklists (ohgoodylists) and I even made something similar back in high school for the dreaded five-paragraph essays. Old habits die hard, I guess. It's been so helpful, and it's already looking mighty disheveled since I carry it around with me everywhere and keep defacing it with notes to remember.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's working!

After three days of writing (and a weekend thrown in for a break) I'm ten percent into my new WIP! I know, I know, I have a super short goal. But that's ok. Ten percent is ten percent. Yesterday I wrote 1300 words, which I think is my max ever. Maybe not. I think I wrote 1400 one day. In any case, AWESOME. I only got about four lines this morning before giving it up as a bad job and pulling my book out, but that's okay, there's always this afternoon, and maybe even a little bit tonight. But probably not, because no matter how much i think I'm going to write once I'm home, life takes over and it never gets done.

I've realized a huge source of motivation is getting that little progress bar to increase. =] Whatever works! I think I've finally recovered from Bree and Gary's wedding, which is good. I went running for the first time yesterday in about three weeks. And I didn't have a good reason, I was just lazy. I restarted my audible subscription, and downloaded Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente to listen while running. It's really good so far. I was trying to listen to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, but I just couldn't get into it. I am so out of my Twilight phase. I thought listening to something easy while running would be better, but turns out Palimpsest is much better at keeping my mind occupied while the rest of me is occupied with not dying. I have mixed emotions about running.

Echo City is as good as I hoped it would be, though with this new writing project I haven't had as much time to read as I'd like. But I need to keep focused, and just keep writing at a sprint so I don't lose momentum. That's why I wanted the goal to be small, so I could make progress through the plot arc in a shorter amount of time, before I could think of another ending to fuck up everything I had written. Here's to keeping it going!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aaaaaand it happened

I plotted out the new story yesterday on the train. I'm actually happy with it so far. And I'm impressed I got it all plotted when I was half asleep. But of course, in my tired-stupor I left my papers at home. Sitting on my desk, likely to get run over by the cat and stuffed into the litter box. I didn't write anything on the train because YET AGAIN I fell asleep. This really has to be remedied. Anyway, I hope to write some during lunch today. I hope I hope! There's got to be something better than just hoping. Oh yeah. Just doing it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#wowisuck

Yep. That sums it up. Apart from not writing for an entire week, I still suck. (Though not writing is okay, but it's making me antsy. Baseball, wedding, and recovery = still tired four days later.) I was reading articles on plotting on the train to straighten things out, and I thought of a new direction for my story that fucks up everything I've already worked on. The problem is that the new direction is GOOD. I knew my plot was crappy. It was just something to get me writing. But I told myself I would stick with it to just FINISH SOMETHING. I can't decide what to do. I'm thinking take a break from Merpeeps, and try to get a really short but complete story out. So I can practice writing through a whole arc. I'm talking like 25k. Maybe even 20k. I don't know. Am going to try plotting something out today. I found a really helpful article and am going to try that method. Will post the link later when I find it again. Oddly enough, it wasn't the article that was super-helpful-tothepointof making my story implode.

Awesome.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Howdy y'all

Not much on the writing front to report. My best friend got married over the weekend, so the past four days have been spent preparing, participating, and recuperating from all the hoopla. It was super nice. I'll post some pictures from the wedding when my sister (the photographer) makes them pretty and passes them along. She expressly forbade me from taking them before she touched them up, though she did promise me that she wouldn't delete any of them, even the bad ones. Did I mention it was super nice? =] And she was an awesome bride (not that I've been in any other weddings to compare), zero bridezilla-ness and she was probably the most laid back of her whole family. We kept telling her to let her bitch-flag fly. I'm surprised I got any writing done last week actually, but I did ok. A few thousand words. Nothing spectacular, but like I said it was a week of preparing, along with my company Phillies game, so Thursday was shot since I didn't have my computer on the train. I didn't bring my computer today either because I knew I was going to be a zombie on the way in (which I was) but now I'm regretting it for the ride home. Oh well. I can ruminate on all the chores and errands I have to catch on since I've been out of commission on that front for a week. I have to stop at a restaurant in the city (not a big deal, just have to hop on the subway. I love my anywhere train pass) to pick up Cherrywood smoked malt, or somesuch, for Phil. He entered another beer brewing competition with his buddies and this one has a secret ingredient. I guess I don't really mention it on the blog, but Phil is really into beer. It's awesome, because I get to reap the benefits of all the good beer from him without having to do any of the work. =] But I guess pitching in to pick up supplies every once in a while (first time? what?) counts as helping. This is a scattered post, but whatev's. Just breaking between tasks at work. Peace out.

Also, the prologue and first chapter of Brandon Sanderson's next Mistborn book The Alloy of Law (out Nov 8) was posted on Tor! The Mistborn Trilogy was awesome, and I recommend it to all you folks out there. They will be posting everything up to chapter six, so keep checking back! Read the prologue and first chapter.

Ha, another update. I dropped all the books I mentioned in my last post and am now reading Echo City. I kept checking BN and they never had it so I finally broke down and ordered it. Yay!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's just so easy to get frustrated

I finally have a routine. It's not perfect, but every day when I get on the train, I pull out my laptop and try to write. It doesn't always work, sometimes I only write 100 words before giving it up as a bad job. But some days I write 850 words at a sprint, and those days are awesome. The train is perfect for me. I hate it, so making it writing time makes it worth it. Plus, as soon as I get home there are a million other things I want/need to do, so being able to push writing to the back of my mind for a few hours is one less thing to worry about.

I love that I am getting writing done. But now I wish I could write more. I'm just never happy. Thus is the curse of a writing life, I suppose. =] I'm also getting better at shutting off my inner editor and just getting words down on the page. I'm still a long way from finishing, but I'm already thinking about how I'm going to turn that off to edit. I may just immediately start working on another story. Which actually, I think is a good idea because it will give this story some time to rest.

I'm tossing between three books right now, A Madness of Angels, City of Bones, and A Matter of Blood. I've wanted to read City of Bones for a while, and it's okay. It's what I expected it to be, a fast-paced teen urban fantasy/romance. More interested in the other two right now, for something a little deeper. Not really to the "story" part of either yet, though.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Updates

I had to give up on The Passage by Justin Cronin. I mean, I would like to keep reading, I would like to know what happens, and I have already invested enough time to read over half the book... but I just can't do it. There is too little time in the world. And it's funny, yesterday I read a blog on SF&F Writers (whatever it's called, I know I have it linked from the Resources page) and the guy was saying about a book "he won't name," how the characters were just unrealistic. He was so talking about The Passage. Mainly, the part in the beginning where two medical researchers are e-mailing back and forth, one whose life is in danger from the mysterious virus he's researching, and he's going on a ramble about how he was wronged in the kindergarten. Wow, if I'm dying, I don't give a fly about what happened to me in the kindergarten. He should have been spewing out these medical terms that everyone would have had to go look up and put in with frantic half-complete sentences but nooooooooo we get little Johnny getting bullied. Pass. On to The Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin next. But I am expecting A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinbourough to arrive in the mail any day, and when that comes in I'll probably start reading it right away.

As for writing, last week was AMAZING and I guess it would have been too much to hope that I would be just as productive this week. Bah. At least I've written something, 200-300 words a day, but I'm still not making the 500 that's my goal. The problem is that I cant visualize this chapter in my head as well, it hasn't had as long to fester. I can always go to a different chapter, but I haven't given up hope yet. And I've been doing a lot of things after work, so I've been getting to bed late and thus been too tired in the morning to get anything coherent out. This weekend is my best friends bachelorette party, so there's no way anything is getting done over the weekend. =] There's always tomorrow though, I have off too! Even if I do have a mountain of appointments to go to.

And I got a nifty progress bar for my sidebar, isn't it awesome?? Now everyone can know at a glance how much I'm NOT writing!! =]

Monday, June 6, 2011

Two Articles on Censoring YA Lit

First, the WSJ article, taking the smothering-mother approach.
Second, a response, and one I have to agree with.

The WSJ article makes good points. Why subject children to horrendous things, that they shouldn't have to deal with during their last few years of childhood? Wendig's reponse makes better points. This is not a perfect world, and kids are submersed in shit before their parents can even think about it, and books are a good way for them to wrap their heads around it.

Yes, media these days can get unnecessarily violent. But to an extent, a shock is necessary for anything to be grounding. Things need to be exaggerated for a sheltered kid to understand the consequences. And just to be straight, under no circumstances is censorship okay.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thinking Makes My Brain Hurt

I sat down the other night and tried to outline a bunch of my story. I wanted to get down some of the subplots I had in my head and I made sheets for the main characters, magic system, and setting. I was going to centralize all my notes in one place.

Fuck that. I have better ways to use my time.

Thinking I was an outliner was one of the reasons I never started writing. I would get a great scene down in my head, and then immediately sit down and start taking pages of notes. But nothing of the story would ever get written. "I don't have enough information," I said, "I need to know more about the characters." A notebook full of notes on a story but not a single word written towards it, and I would get another idea and start brainstorming that one. The cycle would repeat over and over, and still I would have written next to nothing.

So I changed tracks. I would see a great scene in my head (as is the way ideas usually come to me) and I would write that scene. Finally. Words on a page. Then I would think of another scene, a beginning, and I would write that scene. Then scenes would start coming to me so quickly there was no way i could keep up with writing them all, so I would jot down a paragraph of notes for later and then go back to the scene I was working on, or quickly take notes on where I was going with the current scene and then write the new one.

The point is, I was finally writing.

And it's amazing. Sure, I struggle with weeks where I don't get a single word down, but that just how it is. I try not to let myself go to long. But everyone deserves breaks, otherwise you get burnt out.

I think I may have finally found a groove with writing time. I take my computer to work with me, and write on the train first thing in the morning. Sure, I'm still half asleep, in desperate need of coffee and more often than not don't have anything in my stomach yet. But I get at least 300 words down, sometimes 500-600 on a good day (it is an hour and 20 minute train ride, after all). But the best art about this writing time is not the 300 words I get in the morning. It gets me thinking about the story, and I can't get it out of my head all day at work, and by the time 5 o'clock rolls around, I'm on the train home and writing at a crazy sprint. IT'S WONDERFUL. =]

Look at my word count for just this week: May 30 = 470, May 31 = 530, June 1 = 1200, June 2 = 600, June 3 = 850. I think that speaks for itself.

"But Gina," you say, "it's only been a week. And come on, it was only 3600 words. In a week."

I know, I know. I'm trying not to get my hopes up. But it makes me really happy that I wrote so much this past week, and I wasn't pulling hair out every day to do it. My goal is still only 500 words a day, but I couldn't stop writing just because I made my goal. Don't be ridiculous. I had something to say! It's awesome. I actually thought last night, Friday night, as I was driving to the gas station at 11:30, that I was totally willing to go into work on a Saturday to bang out another 1200 words on the train. What the hell is wrong with me? THAT RIGHT THERE is where productivity needs to STOP. Haha.

I love bragging. I never got to do it before. EAT SHIT you second place fools, I wrote more than you this week! *grin*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Word Count

May 1 = 0
May 2 =1100
May 3 = 1000
May 4 = 315
May 5 = 0
May 6 = 1083
May 7 = 107
May 8 = 1000
May 9 = 40
May 10 = 0
May 11 = 700
May 12 = 650
May 13 = 0
May 14 = 0
May 15 = 0
May 16 = 693
May 17 = 0
May 18 = 570
       May 19 = 200
       May 20 = 0
       May 21 = 0
       May 22 = 0
       May 23 = 0
       May 24 = 538
       May 25 = 0
       May 26 = 0
       May 27 = 0
       May 28 = 0
       May 29 = 0
       May 30 = 470
       May 31 = 530

       MAY = 9000
       MS TOTAL = 19,100
       AVG = 290/day

There they are folks, in all their shining glory. Not really. Yet again I have weeks where I don't do any writing at all. May second was when i decided I was going to write 4000 words in four days, and May fourth is when I started a 50k in 50 days challenge that would start on the 6th. Around May 22nd is when I quit the 50k challenge.

1000 words a day is just too much for me. Since May 30th, my goal is 500 words a day. Completely doable. The best part is, I write on the train first thing in the morning. I've only been doing this for a few days, but I'm LOVING it so far. Sometimes I hit 500 in the morning,sometimes i don't and have to finish later, but writing in the morning makes me think about it all day, so when I get on the train in the afternoon I am SO. READY. TO WRITE. Yesterday, I banged out 800 words at a sprint on my way home, and I only need 100 to meet my daily goal. Awesome. Writing on the train is going to be my new thing. =] I still have to see how it holds up over the weekends. I want to try to keep writing 500 words (or at least something) to keep the rhythm up. Preferably in the morning.