April 29, 2002

"Girl Behind the Counter" is

"Girl Behind the Counter" is going nicely. Over the 4,000 word mark now, and getting into the climax of it. At this rate, I'll have a finished draft at the end of the week. I'm starting to work on some serious longterm goals as a writer. Be afraid. By the end of the year, I want to be seriously looking for an agent. We'll see.

Posted by Lisa at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2002

I've hit the point on

I've hit the point on "Girl" where I know where the story's going from here. My favorite place to be. :)

However, I'm frustrated with "Midsummer", still. I think it's well-written crap right about now. I'm going to try Julie's notecard trick: put all of the scenes on notecards and try rearranging them to see if changing the structure will make it more alive. Who knows, maybe I will rewrite it so the whole thing might or might not be just a fantasy born of Michael's midlife crisis. I mean, what better midlife crisis for an aging bookworm? He doesn't run out and chase younger women or buy sports cars, he imagines that he's captured a selkie! Hm. That idea might have some possibilities there...

Posted by Lisa at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2002

What would we do without

What would we do without AIM during the workday?

Maegara: Oh yeah! Well, I don't know where to look to find out what trends were in a certain period at a certain time. With Harper, I have this image of a town that was pretty much a wide spot in the road until after the Civil War, when it became a popular tourist spot, maybe closer to Williamsburg than Myrtle Beach in feel. But I don't know if that area developed that way at all.
naiadej: Hmm. Lemme do some checking.
Maegara: Okay. :-)
Maegara: I'm also wondering if I should try something as ambitious as drawing a map. :-)
naiadej: Did you decide on a state this town is in?
Maegara: Not really. I may leave it ambigious, but if I nail it down, it'll probably be North Carolina.
naiadej: That night help, even if it's just a rough skecth for you to cement it in your mind.
Maegara: Me, drawing maps. Scary! :-)
naiadej: I was going to draw a map for Purgatory, until I realized making it at all linear and organized will ruin the whole thing :-)
naiadej: To start, this site might help you get an idea of the areas history:
naiadej: http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/default.htm
naiadej: and this: http://www.co.catawba.nc.us/otheragency/ccgs/timeline.htm
naiadej: Oooh, this looks like a good one.
naiadej: http://www.ncecho.org/
naiadej: Even if you never say it's NC, you have some shitorical models.
naiadej: historical.
Maegara: *gets the giggles* That is, without a doubt, the best typo I have ever seen.

Posted by Lisa at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Oh! I can't believe I

Oh! I can't believe I forgot to mention this. "Midsummer" is up for critiquing at Critters this week. I'm hoping to get some (more) good feedback. It's pretty unanimous what I need to fix on it so far, we'll see if any other problems crop up.

Posted by Lisa at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

"The Girl Behind the Counter"

"The Girl Behind the Counter" is venturing a little into the wish-fulfillment area. I mean, it's about a writer who magically starts doing very well. Not instant-superstar well, but 'wow my career is starting to pick up a little' well. I don't know if that's going to make it a stronger or weaker story in the long run. I'm afraid it's going to read like 'This is what I wish would happen to me'. Enh, I'll just write it and see. I mean, the main character is nothing like me. He's a little bit of a bastard, really. Good thing I like him anyway.

Hey, they say write what you know, right?

Posted by Lisa at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2002

Another 500 words on "The

Another 500 words on "The Girl Behind the Counter". I'm starting to get into the feel of this story now, but I'm still not quite sure where the storyline is leading me. Our hero is just starting to discover the oddness around the corners. Interestingly enough, and I posted about this over at the AHADD page, my hero -- who's a writer -- gave me an idea for a story. He briefly mentioned something he was working on, and it occurred to me that it was a pretty damn good idea for a story. As I've asked elsewhere, is it plagiarism if you're stealing from one of your characters?

I'm thinking about what I'd like to do after I finish this story. I'm thinking maybe I'll try to outline "Heaven's Orphans" as a novel, and see how far I get into it. As far as really really long term goals go, I want to get one good draft of a novel, and -- dare I say it -- start possibly looking for an agent. The more I read, the more it seems that to get a foot in the door with a larger publishing company, you gotta have an agent. Most big houses won't even look at an unagented submission anymore. Then there's the possibility of trying a small press too... I dunno. But for the first time in my life I actually feel like I have ambitions. It's a little scary.

Posted by Lisa at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2002

Bless me, I actually did

Bless me, I actually did some writing this morning. I'd missed it. I suppose it's probably normal that right after finishing The Host I'd take a few days to do more administrative stuff, like edit and research and send off a submission. I changed my goal for the rest of the month. The formerly unnamed Harper story has a title now, and I'd like to have a first draft done by the end of the month. I like it so far. It's in first person, which I haven't written in in quite a while. I've always liked first person better. Coming back to it feels like coming home.

Posted by Lisa at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2002

Just got a rejection on

Just got a rejection on "Rhythm of the Tides" from Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. I was a very good girl and immediately turned around and emailed it off to Strange Horizons. The letter from F&SF may or may not have been a form letter. It was signed in what looks like real ink, and it mentions that the story was 'nicely written'. He said it didn't hold his interest though. This sounds suspiciously like the letter Julie got from them as well, so I have a feeling he may say that to all the girls. Nice turnaround time though: 13 days.

I'm feeling very fidgety about my writing right now. It really bothers me that "Midsummer" doesn't seem to have the emotional punch I want it to have. That's my strong point! I know, based on the comments I've gotten so far, that it's probably because one of the characters, Natalie, isn't drawn well enough. That bothers me too -- that's my other strong point. Because emotion and character are so intuitive for me, I have no earthly idea how to consciously fix it. Grar. This probably explains why I haven't done my hour yet today. Hard to feel motivated. I feel like I'm writing more, but not necessarily writing better at this point.

Posted by Lisa at 07:23 PM | Comments (2)

April 20, 2002

Maybe I've just got novel

Maybe I've just got novel on the brain now. I'm not sure. I've been poking at "Heaven's Orphans" all afternoon, and it keeps coming to me, that even at nearly six thousand words, I'm nowhere near the real story. I'm tempted to sit down and start trying to outline it as a larger work, but right now that seems too big a task to take on. It feels far too large to just be a short story, but I'm not sure there's enough there to be a full novel. Maybe it's that there's not enough there yet. I'm turning it over in my head.

My other source of frustration today is with the whole idea of Harper. I've never been a writer who was really into world building, unlike some people I could mention. I have bits and pieces of history coming to me, but I have absolutely no real world knowledge of how cities come into being, and history really works. Part of me suggests that since I write fantasy, why does it matter if the town I create has any basis in fact? But the other part argues that precisely because of the type of fantasy I write, the more real world details there are, the better. I think I'm balking at doing research. I want to just be able to dive in and write and have the correct details just show up where I need them. I do that to some extent with minor research, but this is big stuff. (How the hell did writers survive before the internet?)

I'm toying with the idea of playing around with "Midsummer" some more, making it more magical realism than fantasy. As it is right now, it's a selkie story, a retelling of the myth. It could be something very different. It could be the story of a man's midlife crisis, really, triggered by childhood memories and what might or might not be a supernatural experience. I don't think I'm ready to do it yet, but the idea is intriguing me madly right now. I want to submit it as straight fantasy a few times first.

I think I might be stalling a little. I think this is post-novel letdown. I don't want to lose momentum, but I don't feel ready to dive right back in to something else right away.

Posted by Lisa at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2002

Well, I've been thinking about

Well, I've been thinking about The Host all day (surprise, surprise), and already the enormous flaws in the manuscript are leaping out at me. However, rather than itching to dive in and fix it, I'm despairing a little. :P I started thinking about the whole process though, and I realized there are a lot of things I learned.

Things I learned writing The Host:

  1. I really can write a story long enough to fill a novel!
  2. There's something exhilarating about writing at a breakneck pace and a devil-may-care attitude.
  3. An outline might not be such a bad thing next time. I had to outline everything for Tribe 8, and the writing and editing went very smooth for the most part.
  4. Writing really is something I enjoy doing.
  5. Stealing from one's own real life is not only acceptable, it's downright necessary sometimes.
  6. Anything can be used as inspiration.
I'm sure I'll add more later as they occur to me...

Posted by Lisa at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

I FINISHED THE HOST!! Ahem.

I FINISHED THE HOST!!

Ahem. Sorry to scream, but I have a feeling my coworkers would frown on me screaming for real around here. I finished the final, confrontational scene last night at Write Club, figuring I had about 1,000-2,000 words left to go to wrap everything up. Then when I was writing this morning, it all came to me and everything was wrapped in a single scene. It might be a little rushed, my endings usually are. I see the ending getting close and I start galloping like a race horse, but I don't care! That's what edits are for, right?

I am an honest-to-goodness novelist, by god! Now it goes in the hypothetical trunk until at least June. At least.

Final word count on the first draft: 64,987.

Posted by Lisa at 09:24 AM | Comments (1)

April 17, 2002

I had a wonderful day,

I had a wonderful day, complete with a solid hour or so working on The Host. Even though it's nearly midnight, I've an idea how I want to shift bits of "Midsummer" around, and I'm tempted to get to work. Sleep, who needs sleep?

Posted by Lisa at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2002

Okay, this is it. I'm

Okay, this is it. I'm writing THE SCENE for The Host, the scene where our heroes face down their demons (nearly literally) and either come out the other side with heads held high or don't come out at all. I'm leaning towards the former, but you never know. I'm sensing a bittersweet victory ahead, but I'm not sure where the bitter is coming from. This is all very exciting! :)

Posted by Lisa at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2002

Perfectly lovely day today, in

Perfectly lovely day today, in all senses of the word. I got a lot of things done, including writing for the day. About another 800 words on The Host, and I'm still wondering, even in the midst of the final scenes, exactly how it's all going to end up. I have no idea. No, that's not true. I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete.

Posted by Lisa at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2002

Watching "Photographing Fairies" on the

Watching "Photographing Fairies" on the Sci-Fi channel tonight. This after spending the ENTIRE DAY (I'm not kidding), reading War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Believe it or not, that's the first time I've read it. There's something vaguely unsatisifying about it, just like there was with the Charles de Lint I've read. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed both. I'm dying to play Changeling again after reading today. But it was like the old joke about eating Chinese food. An hour later I was hungry again. I'm starting to understand the introduction to Night Shift, where John D. McDonald talked about reading voraciously, and reading everything with either a grinding envy or a wearying contempt. He didn't say anything about feeling both. Which I do. I'm insanely envious that these authors got to this field before me, but I'm irritated too, because deep down part of me thinks I could have done more with their ideas. Is that egotistical enough for you?

In other news, I obviously haven't written yet today, but I do have a new title for "Blue Lady", it's over on the left sidebar. Stolen shamelessly and paraphrased, I might add, from a quote in "Photographing Fairies".

Posted by Lisa at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2002

Spent most of this evening

Spent most of this evening reworking "Midsummer", ironically, rather than going see A Midsummer Night's Dream on campus. Thanks to some of Brand's suggestions (the less esoteric ones, I think the narrative class he's taking is breaking his brain -- I had to look up some of the words he used in his notes, and I have a huge vocabulary), the beginning is a lot stronger. There's still some weak spots that need polish, though. I think by the end of the month, definitely, it'll be ready or nearly ready to start sending out.

Posted by Lisa at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2002

I finished the scene! There

I finished the scene! There was much rejoicing at Write Club last night. Not only were Julie and I both incredibly productive, with 1200 words each, but I finished the Scene That Would Not Die and crossed the 60,000 word mark with The Host. I'm into the climax now. I can't believe I'm getting so close to finishing this thing.

I had a thought on "Blue Lady". Since my opening scenes are so enthralling to me... maybe that's where the story is. Maybe that should be the ending. Considering tearing it all apart and rebuilding.

Posted by Lisa at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2002

*sings* This is the scene

*sings* This is the scene that doesn't end, it just goes on and on, my friend. Well I started writing it not knowing what it was, now I'll continue writing it forever just because this is the scene that doesn't end, it just goes on and on, my friend... *repeat ad infinitum*

Still writing. Still thinking it sucks. It's getting a little better. I spent as much time revising today and backtracking to fix continuity as I did anything else. It still feels clunky, but at least it's moving forward. I have to keep telling myself that.

Posted by Lisa at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2002

Today's writing was not fun.

Today's writing was not fun. I managed 800+ words on The Host, but I hated almost every one of them. At one point I stopped and scribbled in my writing notebook: "I am barfing up huge indigestible chunks of exposition in this scene." Maybe I'm not. I've gotten to the point where questions have to be answered by someone other than the main characters, and it's coming out as a Twenty Questions session with the guy who has the answers. Part of me wants to sit and stew over it to find another way to do it, but if I do, it will never get written. So I forge on. My internal editor is having a fit.

This is a new kind of frustrating for me. I'm at the point where I pretty much know where I'm headed from here to the end, but I can't see a way to get there except by crappy, trite, boring writing. Which isn't fun. Grar.

Posted by Lisa at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

Today's writing was not fun.

Today's writing was not fun. I managed 800+ words on The Host, but I hated almost every one of them. At one point I stopped and scribbled in my writing notebook: "I am barfing up huge indigestible chunks of exposition in this scene." Maybe I'm not. I've gotten to the point where questions have to be answered by someone other than the main characters, and it's coming out as a Twenty Questions session with the guy who has the answers. Part of me wants to sit and stew over it to find another way to do it, but if I do, it will never get written. So I forge on. My internal editor is having a fit.

This is a new kind of frustrating for me. I'm at the point where I pretty much know where I'm headed from here to the end, but I can't see a way to get there except by crappy, trite, boring writing. Which isn't fun. Grar.

Posted by Lisa at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2002

I stumbled a bit over

I stumbled a bit over the weekend. I only wrote a half an hour on Saturday (for reasons not entirely my fault), and not at all yesterday (for reasons entirely my fault). This morning I didn't manage to drag myself out of bed in time to go write before work, but I made up for it tonight, picking up some threads on The Host again. I've learned to delibrately stop myself in the middle of a scene. That way when I go to sit down again, it's easier to build up momentum instead of staring at a finished scene and going, "What now?" Answered a few more unanswered questions I had about my own plot. The answers were the obvious ones that had been sitting patiently in the front row with their hands raised, waiting for me to call on them.

I really missed my hour of writing this morning. I felt off all day because I'd missed it. I think this is a good sign.

Posted by Lisa at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2002

Stalled on "Blue Lady". Utterly,

Stalled on "Blue Lady". Utterly, utterly stalled. I know who the protagonists are, I know who the antagonist is, but I have no idea why they're opposed or how they'll act on it. So it's getting shelved for now.

On the up end of things, though, I started a new story today based on an idea I had back in November. In the process of starting it, I realized that this story was set in the same coastal city as "Midsummer". Now, I liked the city I vaguely described in that story, it had a real shape in my head, one that made me happy. I thought about using one of the characters in other stories. Then when I started work on this story this morning (which has no title yet), I realized where it was set, and the city just started to come to life. The city's name is Harper, and it's set somewhere in the southeast, possibly North Carolina or South Carolina. It's a midsized sort of place, with maybe a small college. A favorite tourist spot, too. And there's all sorts of quirky little things going on behind the scenes that most ordinary people never see. :) Like selkies dancing on the shores. And muses brewing up ideas in coffeeshops. And gnomes printing quaint tomes of curious lore. I think I like it here.

Posted by Lisa at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)

April 03, 2002

The Dare continues. I've managed

The Dare continues. I've managed my hour everyday so far, and I'm actually enjoying my hour each morning. Did I say I thought I'd hit a wall on "Blue Lady"? Ha! And again I say, ha! No no. Today I hit a wall on it. I've reached a point where I have to decide what the final confrontation is and what it means. No more writing to stall. I think I'm going to have to wait and let my subconscious stew on it a bit more, because I'm not sure where it's going. So, I started reading over The Host, trying to remember where I was. This is really the first time I've read huge chunks of it, not counting when it was being written.

I'm pleasantly surprised. The story seems to flow pretty well, and I still like my characters (what a relief!). I'm looking forward to diving back in, which I plan to do starting tomorrow morning.

I also rejoined Critters today, partly on a whim. I sent in one critique, and dropped "Midsummer" into their queue of stories to be critiqued. I think doing more critiques will be good for me, analyzing what makes something work or not work. We'll see.

Posted by Lisa at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2002

Well, I got the first

Well, I got the first day of the Dare off to a decent start. I wrote for an hour in Starbucks this morning, managing a slow 500+ words on "Blue Lady". The title is becoming more and more tentative, but I think the story is starting to take on a life of its own, maybe. Hopefully. I'm at the point where I'm hitting a wall on it, which probably means I'm about to have a breakthrough, but still... this is where the writing stops being fun. :P I'm giving it until the end of the week. If I'm not coasting by then, I'm switching to working on The Host again.

Posted by Lisa at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)