Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Draft 1: September 2012

I don't know how well this format works. On one hand, I'm not flooding my blog with meaningless complaints and drivel every other day. On the other hand, how many people avoid this post like the plague because they don't want to read chapters and chapters of meaningless drivel and complaints? Actually, I guess I just answered my own question. One post it is. I write them for me, and for the people interested in reading them. This way they are easy to avoid for the people who don't want to read them. But I know I like seeing other writers flounder and succeed, because it tells me I'm not the only one. Read at you're own risk, thar be pirates after the break, arr!

Ok, so I've had a little snafu with my writing. I finished the scene I was working on at the end of last month, and then I haven't written since. Maybe three hundred words there, two hundred words here. But even those were just fluffing up existing scenes, not starting a new scene. Was it Melville who always ended the day's writing in the middle of a sentence so he could always pick it up the next day? Maybe I should start forcing myself to move on to the next scene before letting myself sleep on it. Then yesterday I cut out a scene and rearranged a bunch of things, added a POV, and figured out the ending. And this is where the unraveling starts, I'm sure.

I have an entire day of writing all to myself today, and yet I can't seem to get any words out. I blame the caffeine, which I rarely ever drink and has me flying in my seat, and I all the chores I keep thinking about, like laundry, showering, I need more cat food, etc. So I'm going to stop for now and come back later after I have some things done. In other news, I spent $250 dollars on two pairs of shoes yesterday, which I'm pretty sure was a bad idea but I love them both anyway. And no, I don't have a shoe fetish. I think I have less than ten pairs, and each has a purpose and I have all the basics covered. One of the pairs I bought were my new boots for the year, which I will wear every day and by March will be so run into the ground they will have to be tossed, and I will buy another pair next fall.

I didn't write anything yesterday. And it's not even like I was being super productive in other ways, I was just a sloth all around. And then after work I went to yoga, and then ate dinner and filled out the paperwork for my class that starts today, and moved my big pile of clean laundry into a laundry basket instead of the heap on the floor. I didn't even fold them, which would have been productive. After my shower and everything I was way too tired to do anything (read: lazy) so I went to bed early. And my class hasn't even started yet! I have no idea how my writing is going to keep up once it's in full swing. The month is a third over! Eeep.
       But, the good news is the few thousand words I wrote over the weekend in the second POV got it out of my system, and now I'm ready to go back to the main POV. Which is a very good thing! Because that's where the main story is. The second POV existed only to properly forshadow the badass ending I thought of, so I guess it's still up in the air if I decide to use it or not. I have lots of words to get out before I worry about that!

The Other Side of the Story by Janice Hardy - My bible right now. That, and The Kingkiller Chronicles

I'm beginning to think that an autistic character who doesn't speak is just too much to handle. While I think I know a bit more about autism that the next person, the thinking that goes into making her work is taking too much away from just finishing the story. I find myself shying away from using her because she is so challenging, but she is an integral part of the story. But, I guess her autism is not. That kind of extensive research can wait until the second draft at least, otherwise I can whip it out for another story if I wish. A condition like that deserves to be important, not just color. I don't want to make my book purposely simple (because then I'll get bored), but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. Again. (I keep attempting an underwater setting. That's up to three (?) abandoned manuscripts now. One day...)

I was flipping through my journal. It's full of tiny writing where I can let loose all my doubts and insecurities. If anyone ever read it they would think I was the most unstable person in the world. But that's what a private journal is for, yes? I never read through what I wrote again. It's the physical act of writing that matters. Anyway, the important part: It's full of quotations and tips for writing motivation by writers of all sorts. Highlights and boxes and ALL CAPS and sharpie marker for the important ones. Which is most of them. When I first started this particular journal back in April, there are a lot more quotes than the recent pages.
       And when I think about it, I have been more confident in my writing. And not the writing itself, that is still just as bad as ever. More that it doesn't feel quite so wrong to spend time on it. Maybe it's the particular story. I like to think I made it over some kind of hump. That I finally accepted that this is the first draft and it doesn't matter how bad it is, because when it's a story and I can hold it in my hand I can fix it to be anything I want it to be. I can revise it to death until the prose is crystal clear like Rothfuss or full of enlightening curses like Wendig. (Can you imagine The Kingkiller Chronicles told by Miriam Black? Hee.) I have more faith in myself than I did five months ago, more confidence in my writing. I'm still holding out hope that this could one day be a complete story.

Feeling very humdrum about my story today. It's not that I don't like my outline, because I do. More that everything I've written so far is lifeless and crap. I didn't even think about my WIP over the weekend, and now I feel a bit guilty about that as well. But the semester has started, and I new it was going to slow down my writing. I did not sign up for this course to float by the way I did through most of college. Let's be serious, no one does the assigned readings. Well, dammit, I'm doing them now. And taking notes. And I like it, actually. I feel proud of myself every time I knock out another chapter. But damn, it's time consuming. I'm still thinking about doing an analysis of A Matter of Blood to help give myself a framework. My story is nothing like AMOB, but the feel is the same. And hey, I should start somewhere. Especially if my writing is all lackluster. Too much Rothfuss, probably. Kvothe is sweet-talking my brain right out of my head. AMOB will help with that, too. Looking at the last post, it's funny how quickly a writer's confidence can turn around. We really are unstable people. It reminds me of Holly Black's Curse Workers series, where the characters get blowback from whatever their particular power is. So the Memory Worker loses his own, etc. And the Writer goes fuck-balls nuts. Ha.

It's a long process for anyone. 

I want to keep writing, even if I get through this story at 200 words a day. I can spare 15 minutes for that, even if this class takes up all my time.

As you can see, I've had a bit of a break in my writing. In reality it was only four days of no writing, but it felt longer. But, yesterday I wrote 1500 words!! Awesome. They weren't the best words, not by a long shot, but I still sat my ass down and banged them out. And it's funny, my goal was only 900 words. (That's my goal for every weekday until Dec 31. That's what I need to reach 100k by the end of the year.) Everything was slogging up to about 800, and then by 850 I was flying and I typed nonstop until 1500. Mentally, I don't know what happened, but I liked it! Since I have my class tonight, I have to see how far I can get on my lunch break. Hopefully the same thing happens!

Why a break from writing will kill your spirit.

I'm proud of myself! I met my goal yesterday, even with my class. Two days running! I know you're rolling you eyes, but I don't care. I'm just happy that I sad my ass down at 11:00 last night after my class and wrote a few more hundred words to meet my goal. That's the biggest thing. Since I wrote so much Wednesday night, I only needed 300 words to be on par, and I wrote about 200 over lunch. I ended up writing another 380 or so last night. Yay! I know those numbers are tiny, but I'm happy I did it. And I'm still ahead of the game! Tonight is going to be a challenge, because all I want to do is crash into bed and go to sleep once I'm home. I have to up at the crack-ass of dawn again tomorrow for CPR training, even though I already know how to do it. blargsleepdeprived

Well, I definitely did NOT get as much writing done this month. Not even close, actually. My manuscript stand at 17, 772 words, which means I only added about six thousand words. IN A MONTH. Ugh. That is definitely going to have to change. Granted, I started my class and that takes up a lot of time, and last night I was doing research on an unnamed topic (but I want to tell you soon! But no jinxing! Absolutely no jinxing! BUT OMG EXCITED) during my would-have-been writing time. And then I went to sleep after the research because I slept like shit the night before, and while that's just an excuse I can't help it when I spend all night at class two days a week and get home at 11, only to wake up at 5:30 for work in the morning. And for some reason work has been insane for the past two weeks and I have no breathing time during the day. I get tired, yo. And honestly, with this new unnnamed endeavor, my priorities have changed and I can tell my heart isn't in my class anymore. I'm still interested, but not ready to put in the time. We'll see how it goes. It would be sad if I had to drop it, but it was only $425 dollars, so it's not the end of the world, I guess.


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