July 30, 2004

The Weekend Is Nearly Here

And I can't wait!  Today has been a total bust at work.  I feel as if I've sleeping all day with my eyes open.  I don't recall surfing the net all that much.  Or doing much of anything else, either.  Weird. 

Maybe I was trapped in a time-warp?

The Middle Ground

Epiphany of sorts.

I find the middle of the book easier to write than the beginning or the end. 

In the beginning, I'm so worried about things like hooking the reader, providing a strong dominant impression for my characters, balancing description with action, and myriad other elements that I invariably convince myself what I've written is complete crap.  I must rewrite the beginning of every novel at least a half dozen times--and that's not counting the little "tweaks" here and there.

The end is just as important as the beginning.  A weak or contrived climax can ruin an otherwise good book.  And don't foget to tie up all those loose ends and sub-plot threads.

The middle, on the other hand, I find rather enjoyable.  Don't get me wrong--it's still work.  I have moments when the words refuse to accommodate me.  I worry about boring my readers by rehashing or dragging things out.  But, for the most part, I really do find the middle so much easier to write.   Once the necessary plot elements have been introduced and the characters are put into play, the act of writing becomes less of a chore.  It becomes a matter of following the character's motivations, challenging their worldview, and introding obstacles. 

Lucky for me, I've just reached the middle of ED!  Let the fun begin!

 

July 28, 2004

Graduating

It has taken me a very long time to reach this point in my writing career.  Now don't go getting all giddy on my behalf (as if you would, right?).  I haven't got a publisher or agent interested in my writing.  This post is more of a shared introspection.  A realization of growth.

I am a writer.  

Do you know how hard those words are for me to say?  They feel pretentious.  Arrogant.  Egostitical.  Don't ask me why.  They just do.  To hear those words come out of my mouth has always had the power to make me blush.   I feel as if I'm claiming some rite of passage I've yet to attain. 

After all, a writer is published.  Read by an audience composed of more than friends and family.  I am unpublished and my readers are few and far between.  I don't have the luxury of sitting at home and writing full-time as I wish I could.   In the last five years I've submitted one manuscript to one publisher and received a very nice rejection for my trouble. 

So, how can I call myself a writer?  I have no idea but the words are coming easier.  I have graduated.  Admitting my desire to be published, talking about my submission and rejection, and sharing tidbits on my current WIPs (Works-In-Progress) is not something I usually share with just anyone.    But today I broke through a barrier and told a casual acquaintance, "I am a writer."  She seemed intrigued by the idea and asked lots of questions.  A pleasant surprise.  I only felt slightly foolish for my admission. 

Maybe next time it will be even easier.

 

 

July 27, 2004

Good Writing Day

I wrote 1,194 words yesterday. 

The story is running away with me but I'm willing to allow a few unexpected scenes to appear.  This wasn't so much a tangent as an unexpected appearance by the MC's local goddess.  It seems the gods and goddesses in this world take an active role in the manipulation of mankind.  :)

She needs to leave soon, though.  My hero is just about to arrive and the goddess's presence would seriously derail the plot-line. 

 

 

July 21, 2004

Tired but satisfied.

Added 740 words tonight to ED.  Inserted a few paragraphs near the beginning of Chapter 8.  I'm going to need to make a few notes in my NewNovelist database regarding the changes I just made.   Might even copy and paste a couple of the paragraphs into the note section so I can easily reference the Lainir legend if need be. 

I'm sure I'll spruce up these additions tomorrow or the day after but, right now, I'm satisfied with the results.  I've just upped my character's stakes...it just kind of happened.  I love it when something just happens and you know it's a good thing.  :)

Well, I'm off to wash my face.  I'm tired enough to fall instantly to sleep tonight.  Bet it won't take me five minutes!

 

July 20, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me!

I've turned 29 again!  It's been a wonderful day so far. 
 
Happy birthdays from the hubby, sons, a distant cousin, and the ladies in my office. 
Got a HP Photosmart printer from the hubby and boys--I love it!!!.  Really makes me want to scrapbook...but it was too nice to be in the basement (aka "my scrapbooking room") this weekend.   The ladies at work had donuts and flowers for me this morning--there's a cake with candles for this afternoon. 
 
Have I mentioned lately how spoiled I am?  Sickening, isn't it.  LOL
 
 

July 19, 2004

Only 20K

Edited for typo.  Thanks, Geisha for pointing out my yearning to turn back the clock.  LOL
 
 
I just realized how sad it is that I'm excited about hitting the 20K mark.  This novel was brainstormed into being in July of 2002.  By the end of this month it will have taken me 2 years to reach 20K. 
 
Pathetic.
 
I'd like to blame it on the full-time job, the kids, the housework, family obligations and unforeseen hardships (like death and divorce), but the fact of the matter is...I've been very lazy.  Any excuse not to write this story has been a good one.  I've shown no dedication or forebearance.  I don't force myself to find new words every day.  Heck, I'm lucky if I force myself to find them once a week.
 
If I really want to see my name on a cover someday...and not just my computer screen...I need to develop better work habits.  I need to force myself to write at least every other day.  Everyday would be better but I know that's unlikely and, therefore, an unreasonable goal.  But every other day seems plausible.
 
Very well.  New plan of action: Write New Words Every Other Day.
 
Next step.  Determine a goal.  (Deep breath and drum roll, please)  Finish First Draft of Endangering Destiny by December 31, 2004.
 
Yeah, that sounds good.  And reasonable, too. 

July 16, 2004

20K

Finally broke the 20K mark on ED.   Things are progressing nicely, although I know I need to get the hero and heroine together soon.  I'm glad this isn't genre romance--I'd be deep trouble for keeping the two apart for so long! 
 
 

July 13, 2004

Working Out

While I really want to start exercising with regularity again, this post isn't about free weights or cardiovascular feats. It's about exercising my brain.

The BN workbook is proving to be a challenge. The simplist questions have the power to freeze me in my tracks. Of course, I try to tell myself it's because the characters and the story I'm using are new. Underdeveloped. In truth, I'm confident this is part of the problem. But it's not all of it.

I tend to write characters I don't know very well. At least, I don't know them very well through the first dozen attempts at telling their story. Eventually a character of substance emerges but it's often after I've wasted weeks, if not months, getting to know them. Doing the BN exercises is forcing me to look beyond the surface of my characters.

For instance, take Aislinn, the heroine of a future WIP. Surface information: I know she's pretty but not beautiful. Intelligent. Observant. And that she's going to fall madly in love with Kade.

In the past this has been enough information for me to at least begin her story. Forget plot right now--that's another topic for a different day. I'd write a chapter or two, realize I don't enough about her or the hero, and trash what I've written. This would continue for weeks, each week culminating in a higher chapter count before being trashed.

Answering the BN questions has already revealed some significant aspects of Aislinn's personality. I now know how a stranger would view her and what the opposite (less known) trait would be. I know at least three inner conflicts she will have to face during the course of the book. I've also managed to identify a couple of out-of-character aspects I should incorporate into the novel to move her beyond an ordinary character.

And I've only completed Exercises 1-4. So while I curse Donald Maass for making me think--a true work out if there is one--I also praise him for helping me break out of a habit that needed kicking.



July 9, 2004

Away for the Weekend

Leaving this afternoon to go camping.

I don't think I'll get much done on Endangering Destiny. It'll have to wait until Monday. Even if I took the laptop it wouldn't do me any good. The story is saved on a ZIP disk and the laptop doesn't have a ZIP drive. Ah, well.

However, I can work on Love's Aerie. Have notebook. Will travel. Worldbuilding beware.

BN Workbook Exercise #2

Discussed Exercise 2 with my partner and a few others.

I must admit I'm not as good at this stuff as I'd like to be. I think I get it, I give answers, and then I discover I've not dug far enough down. Although, in my favor, I'm at least breaking ground or, at the very least, scraping the surface.

When I originally answered question #1, I said "Aislinn is very determined young woman." This wasn't wrong. Aislinn is a very determined character but the answer didn't perfectly capture her most obvious character trait. Someone then asked me a question I felt really opened up the purpose of this exercise. (Thanks, Andi!)

Imagine meeting my character for the first time at a party. I know nothing about the challenges facing her, the upcoming plot twists, her past, or her future. We're just two people who happen to run into each other by chance. What are my impressions of this young woman?

This really opened up my eyes to how others would see my character. First impressions matter not only in RL but in fiction as well. What would my first impression be if I were to meet Aislinn Kelly at a party?

Friendly, smiling, more attentive than talkative. She listens when people speak. She watches people. Yet, she's not shy. She's comfortable interacting with people. She doesn't draw undue attention to herself but she certainly doesn't fit into the shadows either.

In short, Aislinn Kelly is a quietly confident young woman.

This answer, pulled from me piece by painful peice, is a much better fit for Aislinn than "determined". Even as we continued to discuss the opposing trait, I felt Aislinn become more defined in my imagination. I began to feel her as more than just a plot device. Yay for me!

For the sake of curiosity I guess I should discuss this opposing trait. What is the opposite of "quietly confident"? Loud and fearful come to mind. So does blantantly insecure. There are any number of opposites I can choose from for Aislinn. The problem I'm having is figuring out which one is right for her and, at the same time, the most drastic out-of-character trait for her to possess. After all, the purpose here is to create multidimensional characters. Unpredictability and fallability make a character interesting.




Peeling!

Eww. The peeling has begun.

July 7, 2004

WIPs Update

That's no typo.

I am working on mutliple WIPs at the moment. It's a bit freaky. I'm not really comfortable with it but I feel the need to do it.

Why? Well, Endangering Destiny is finally at a place where I think the writing is getting fun. I've got everything set up and the characters are now acting on their goals. Fun. I plan on writing a couple hundred words on it before bed.

Love's Aerie is a new genre romance in a fantasy setting. I'm in the pre-plotting stages. Building characters, creating a premise, worldbuilding on a big-picture scale, and exploring possible interpersonal conflicts. This story is actually what I've used for my BN Workbook exercises, which is difficult because I think the workbook is aimed more specifically at rewriting.

Dragonborn is a novel I finished over a year ago. It's in need of a serious overhaul. Looking at it now, I understand why it was rejected. I think the rewriting is going to be horrendous. If it can be salvaged. Honestly, I think it's that bad. I know I had a few positive readers but now I wonder if they were just being kind. My MC is a pushover. He's not hero material. Revamping his character will have major impacts everywhere.

BN Workbook

Found a partner to work through the exercises with. Should be fun.

Sunburned

Got a lot of sun this weekend. Not doing anything fun, either. Nope. That wouldn't do! I was helping my dh stain the front porch. While I paintbrushed on a nice, rich sweet-smelling stain onto the lattice work, the sun baked the skin off my back.

I'm so going to peal. Yuck.

I really thought I had sun-stroke or sun-poisoning Saturday night. My head felt funny, I was nauseous, and radiating heat like a furnace. I went to sleep and woke up unable to move without wincing. Touching my back proved an agony--not even aloe soothed the burn. Two days of laying on the couch, belly down, with very loose, soft t-shirts and shorts a size too big preceded today's adventure of putting on a bra and going off to work.

The girls at work tell me I'm blistered. Not those little, pinprick blisters. My blisters are huge, welt-like sores. Fun stuff. The Health Care major told me I might want to see a doctor. She mentioned words like raw skin and infection. I don't think it's that bad but what do I know? I can't see my back. I can only feel it. And it itches.

Yep, the burn has diminished to an irritating itch I can't scratch.

Don't want to pop those blisters...nope, I don't. Letting the skin underneath mature a bit as the old stuff dies sounds like a good idea.

Well, this will teach me to believe the hubby when he says I'm not even getting pink.