Friday, September 30, 2011

Problems

I keep saying I want to write something short because I still have yet to write a full draft of anything. (That is so sad when I say it.) I said that about my Merpeople story, I said it about Malevolent Soul, and I said it about Red Sun in Evening. But everything always develops into novel length stories! Ok, so maybe just 100 page novels, but that is still definitely out of the short story range. I can't think in short stories. Probably because I can't stand them, and never go near them. I've bought several short story collections, because I really WANT to like them, but I'll read one or two of the interesting-sounding ones, then put it down in disgust, omg I can't believe I wasted my time on TWO of those.

Hence my problem. It is damn near impossible to just bang out a novel. Actually, I'm pretty sure there is never any "banging out." I know I need to just sit down and keep writing. One thing that I know DOES help is focusing on only one chapter at a time. I KNOW I say this all the time. I KNOOOWWWW. Now I just have to write the fucking thing. This whole writing thing would be so much easier to fail at if I DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT. Too bad life's a bitch, eh?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sit back and relax, enjoy the ride.

By golly, I love Let The Words Flow.

Do you have any idea how often I have an almost-realization, I get about halfway there, then a blog post on LTWF comes out within the week and I'm all "SHIT I was just thinking about that!" and then it's BAM REALIZATION! I LEARNED SOMETHING!

Yeah, a lot.

This post by Vahini Naidoo talks about how you need to just let your characters ramble, find themselves, lead their lives, and work the plot into the background.

Aaaand... Ok, first some history. When I was in high school, I was all about the plot-driven novels. R. A. Salvatore, Dan Brown, James Rollins, J. K. Rowling (although she is another matter entirely); you know, those guys. The "sit on the edge of your chair" people. To be honest, I wasn't reading as much genre fiction then, and was still heavily swayed by what was pimped in the bookstores.

That all changed in college, when I read The Historian my freshman year and The Name of the Wind my sophomore year. Alright, so I picked up NotW because it had a sweet cover. But all of a sudden I was lost in this amazing writing with truer-than-life characters, getting in a few pages between classes (and sometimes during classes) and then I finished the book and realized that not very much happened. But it was still so good! How is that possible?!? IT GOES AGAINST PHYSICS!!! Sorry, nope that's neutrinos. Then I was picking up books like Among Others, very laid back and fully immersed in the characters and I could just sit back and relax and and lose myself in the book, like old times before JOBS and BILLS and everything else.

Now back to the writing. I know I'm still trying to get through an entire story. Trust me, I know. I'm going at a good clip, then I realize I've meandered too far off my path and I start over. Then I get frustrated all that work was wasted, and move on to something else. And this time, I outlineoutlineoutline because I don't want to waste a month of writing time again, and my writing turns out like a blow-by-blow sports recap. Just the other day I started at the beginning of my current draft, and added simple day-to-day things, like strolling through the market on a foreign planet and taking in the strange scenery. I'm working on beefing up my first drafts, and what has been helping is to focus on one chapter, but write everything scattered throughout that chapter instead of writing it chronologically. Overall I will have to continue writing the first chapter then the second and so on, but this has been a good method. I know what my goal is for a single chapter, just focus on that and don't even worry about the rest of the story.

Still massively tweaking my process, but it should get there someday. Right now I have to work on getting back into the swing of writing everyday. I was doing great until I decided to start a new draft, then I didn't write anything for a month, and even now I am working on the first draft of something else. Keep chugging through, just deal with it regarding work, and really make sure I sit down at night to write and/or start working on the train again. Not ideal, because sometimes I just want to sleep. Did you know Seanan McGuire still has a day job? I wonder if she'll be quitting that soon with her recent Hugo Nomination... Speaking of, Feed rocks. I recommend the audiobook, she landed a really great narrator.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Updates

Instead of writing a blog, I'm going to WRITE. So here I am, not blogging.
Peace out, y'all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Blogs

I love 'em. They take up 90% of my internet browsing. And their all bookmarked (for the most part) on my [newly created] Blogroll.

I always check up on Susan Dennard's blog, but usually only when she says something snarky on her Twitter and I follow the link posted there. I don't know why I never regularly checked it, because she has a lot of good things to say. In any case, she has a really great list of 13 Blogs All Novelists Should Follow and 13 More Blogs All Novelists Should Follow. I put them all on my own page for my ease of bookmarking, because I want to see which blogs I like from her list. It's going to take me a while to go through them. But, there are some gems there, so I thought I should share.

I'm also re-doing my pages of links, so hang in there while it looks like a mess.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Coolest Thing Evah

http://www.wordle.net/

Quick Gush

Alright, my dearies. I'm currently in the middle of God's War, by Kameron Hurley. This is the book I needed to finally get focused on reading again while simultaneously working on my writing. It is fascinating! You should grab a copy. And then start reading it. And then finish reading it, and pick up Infidel when it comes out October 1st (ish). Seriously.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I SERIOUSLY NEED TEN EYES

Ok people, I have WAY TOO MANY books I want to read! And I've been trying SO HARD to hold back on buying piles of books, and I've been doing so much better, but I still have so many books on my shelves I want to read that are just getting buried under the new books I want to read! And then there's the whole hardcopy vs. nook discussion, but we're not going to get into that.***

Here is my new TBR list (that I started only a few days ago). The list on my bookshelf page is waaaay to long, and there are a bunch of books that I don't really want to read anymore anyway. But I don't have the heart to just delete them! Ok, the books:

The Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
Nights of Villjamur - Mark Charan Newton
Awakenings - Edward Lazellari
Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation - (Foundation Trilogy) Isaac Asimov
This Dark Endeavor - Kenneth Oppel
Blackout - Connie Willis
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
God's War - Kameron Hurley
Zoo City - Lauren Beukes
Retribution Falls - Chris Wooding
Elfsorrow, Shadowheart, Demonstorm, Ravensoul - (Legends of the Raven) James Barclay

Damn those editing classes for making me such a slow reader! (Although I don't think I that fast to begin with anyway.)

***Ok, we will. Mass market? Hands down I'm buying it. They're so comfortable to hold and so satisfying to watch the pages slowly build up in your left hand... I know I'm a MAJOR dork but I can't help it! It's the hardcovers and trade paperbacks that give the problems. I just love paper so much! But the nook is just so space-saving in my already too-full bag, and you can't beat $15 off a new release...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Test-driving

I'm currently test-driving several different plot methods, because meandering through no specific plot or path is great for the zero draft, but once I have a feel for thing I need to buckle down and get some organization.

My own organization page - My compilation of other people's genius. I don't remember where I got everything. This is what I have pasted in the front of every notebook and printed out in about 100 different iterations. I love reading about other authors' methods, so I figure it's only fair to post my own.

J.K. Rowling's Outline - Not only is this fascinating because it's J. K. Rowling, but I love how the outline deals with the every subplot, and breaks it down chapter by chapter. Plus, I'm a huge fan of crameverythingontothesamepage-style Cheat Sheets (as evidenced by the link above).

25 Ways to Plot, Plan, and Prep Your Story - It's Chuck Wendig, self-explanatory. And it's relevant to what I'm doing now with my WIP. Even better.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stuff

Why does it take so long to get words out on the page? And it's not a matter of typing, it's thinking and typing and putting things into proper sentences. I have the story outlined in my head, I can see all the details of the current and next scene or two, and yet the process of getting it down on the page can be so frustrating! It feels good to be writing again. Not just doing writing "things" but actually writing. I can't wait till the whole story is laid out and beautiful! I'm currently working on a little story-within-the-story, which is actually the history of my villain. If this book was actually getting published, it most likely wouldn't be included. But since it isn't, hell yeah it's going in! I wanted to shoot for about 10k with the mini story, but it's turning out much longer than that. My instincts tell me to keep writing and let it be however long it is, but I don't want to focus on it that long! =/ I'm eager to do the second draft of the main story, but I wanted to get this done first as a sort of warm-up. To have one story written from beginning to end, even if it is only 10k and only in the first draft, but still complete.

And, I need to start running again. I need some exercise, a good physical outlet. But for some reason running makes me all scatterbrained, and I don't have the attention to get any work done after a run. Maybe my warm-down isn't good enough? But I AM going running tonight because I HAVE to. And ideally I would also like to take some notes for draft two and cut some more fabric for my quilt. In a perfect world, right? I hope the quilt turns out as cool as it looks in my head. Red, orange, and yellow starbursts on a solid black background. I winged it. I was supposed to wait until this coming weekend to go to an awesome fabric store, but I was super bored and couldn't wait so I went to JoAnne's yesterday. I figure I'm still a beginner and don't know what awesome fabric is like, so belt them out on the cheap while I still can. =]

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It has returned!

And by "it" I mean "that spark that keeps me interested in my writing project." Duh. It's been nice, thinking about it again all this week. I'm currently working on the story-within-the-story part, which means some research on the Black Plague, which I've been interested in reading for a while now anyway. And it's just as interesting as I thought it would be. Will probably start writing again next week or this weekend. That'll be three weeks without any writing, two of those weeks without thinking about the book at all, but I'm super ready to jump back in again. I'll think of it as a summer vacation.

We went to Six Flags Great Adventure over the weekend (which was miserable) but we also got free admission into the safari and did that for the first time, which was AWESOME.
 There were a whole bunch of rhinos, and at one point they went charging across the street and it was really nerve-wracking for a few seconds. Rhinos are extremely territorial, and can destroy entire farms in a single night. There was a white car ahead of us and about five car lengths on empty road between us, and we seriously thought the rhinos were going to smash into the car. They ended up going right behind it. If I was in the white car I think I would have pissed myself.

The giraffes were super friendly. It was really annoying though, because the biggest rule of the place was NOT to roll down your windows, and so many people were doing it and sticking their hands out and waving... So annoying. I really would not have felt bad if one of them were bit. I may have cheered the giraffs on a little. This one giraffe was just standing in the road blocking traffic for twenty minutes, and the trainers drove right up to it with their trucks to try and scare it off the road (they didn't hit them, of course, and their trucks were painted like zebras!) but as soon as the truck pulled away it was right back in the middle. It was kind of funny. But while the one had traffic stopped others were just walking between the lines of traffic. It was awesome. And there were elephants! I love elephants.

I'm reading The Magician King right now. It's a bit boring, definitely not holding my attention as well as the first one did. But I'm sticking with it for now. Also listening to the audiobook of Blackout. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Don't get me wrong, it's great. But it's slow to start up, even though you can get a hint that something big is going to happen and the shit's gonna hit the fan. But the shit is currently sitting quietly in it's bucket, and I think it needs to get a move-on. It also suffers from white-room syndrome, but I'm attributing that to me spacing out at the wrong times during the audio than by any fault of the Hugo award-winning author and novel. Same for the transitions. All of a sudden the character is somewhere else and I have to figure out where and who it is and what's going on. Frustrating. But again, audiobook, I'm sure. I bought God's War by Kameron Hurley for National Buy a Book Day, and read the first chapter last night. Really like it. It may be replacing Magician King soon....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hi all

Haven't been in a while. To be honest, I haven't written anything for a week. I was completely disheartened for a couple of days, but something thankfully snapped back around Tuesday and I started thinking about draft two of Malevolent Soul. Like I said, haven't written, but I don't feel completely at a loss, at least.

Everything has been kind of crazy, actually, and I don't know why. I haven't been able to finish anything until finally The Magicians last week. I really enjoyed it. I'd like to read the next one but I'm thinking of waiting until I can get my hands on a library copy. Hardcovers just kill me. They're expensive and uncomfortable to hold, and they take up a ton of space in my bag. Plus, they're way too pretty and I always worry about denting the corners of the cover or ripping the dust jacket... I actually spilled a pen on my cover of Magicians. Figures. I'm definitely a mass market paperback kind of girl - I like it rough and dirty. =]

I've had a lot of cravings to re-read books lately. Not sure why, because I hardly ever re-read. But I want to read Name of the Wind and Among Others. I think I'm getting very sick of books that are just more of the same. This Dark Endeavor, for example. A great premise for a story, plus it makes me want to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but I'm just super sick of the YA voice. Plus it's a period book, so it's weird Victorian-speak along with the YA. I need a good adult book with some fuckin' and some swearin' and some heads chopped off. Maybe I'll give Gardens of the Moon another shot, though it'll probably be way too dense for me right now.

Not to mention, I ran out of good tv shows. I just finished Firefly and Serenity and Dollhouse and now nothing else can measure up. Talk about a Joss Whedon kick. I need something good! Any recommendations? maybe that's why I've been a bit down about my writing, Whedon is just so freakin brilliant! Who am I kidding, I'll probably just rewatch Firefly. That show is what made me take my last break from writing to evaluate my characters. It's hard to write a story about lame characters. So I've been working on that. For example, Bernie used to be a nurse (in some weird, noneducated way that obviously didn't work) but now she is a seamstress, and it fits so much better.

If anyone has some book recommendations or tv shows, I'd love to hear them! PS. Happy Birthday Phil! =] (birthday week, remember?)