July 31, 2003

Enh

Not a great morning in terms of word count, only about 300, and all of that outline. BUT, had some serious character breakthroughs, and as a result, the plot shifted a little bit if a way I hadn't foreseen. This is a very good thing. I'm off to the library to get some books on faeries for research, and then back to dive back in this afternoon, make up some of what I didn't write this morning.

Posted by Lisa at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

"We've just been given crab monsters and a plot twist. Let's go home."

(Okay, the subject is a stolen Buffy game quote, but it fits in a weird non sequiturial sort of way.)

Right. I guess when you poke at a character enough, sometimes they eventually at least stand up and go, "Will you stop fucking poking at me, bitch?!"

Hi, Weylin. Nice to see you finally decided to join the party instead of sulking in your corner. Thanks for letting me know what's going on in your head. It's useful for things like, oh, figuring out what you're going to do next.

And the plot twist? Well, let's just say that was the result of Weylin reaching up and rearranging my world view--not to mention my outline. I find this immensely ironic, considering the comment I made just this morning in 's journal. Apparently Weylin took that as an invitation.

Times like this are when I love being a writer. It's kinda like that moment in every Frankenstein movie you've ever seen, when the voltage shoots through the reassembled corpse and the doctor shrieks, "It's aliiiiiiive, it's aliiiiiiiive!"

Edited to add: Wow, now that I know what he's up to, Weylin's a clever little bastard. He might give Jack a run for his money in the cleverness department.

Posted by Lisa at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

Off the edge of the map

As of yesterday, I wrote the last bit of novel that I had something resembling a scene by scene outline for. So... I imagine this morning I'll be doing more outlining than anything else. My favorite thing in the world!

I kinda feel like all of my characters are standing around looking at each other going, "I dunno, what do you want to do?" This should be an interesting day for writing.

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

July 30, 2003

Easy as pie

This morning was like rolling down a hill. It's funny, dialogue comes so much more easily for me than action. When my characters speak, it's like I'm just there transcribing what's going on. When they're actually doing something, it fumble for the right words to describe it. I guess that's not so weird, really. We all talk every day, but how many of us narrate exactly what we're doing to an unseen audience? Barring those of us who are film-noir characters, of course.

Posted by Lisa at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

Note to myself (take 2):

Never stop writing for the day in the middle of a scene. And definitely don't stop in the middle of a combat scene.

Last night, thinking I'd set myself up to dive in this morning and get to work, I ended with the following sentence: Several things happened at once. This indicates, of course, a major shift in the action, a turning of the tides, blah blah blah.

I CAN'T FUCKING REMEMBER WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.

Okay, not quite true. I can remember basics, but not the specifics I'd planned and mapped out in my head last night. Now I need to go traipsing through my brain and refigure it all out again.

I swear to god, just when I think I've gotten this writing thing down to a science...

Edited to add: Crisis averted. Memory returned, sorta, and scene continued. And I have, once again, piled on the pain. Poor Alex. *insert evil cackle here*

Posted by Lisa at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2003

Another 2,000 word day!

Wow. I feel like I'm flying. I mean, when I'm doing the actual process, I don't. I feel like molasses. But when I look back at the end of the day, I feel completely exhilirated. Got most of the way through the big combat scene today. I think it's clear, but I don't know how exciting it is to read. As I keep saying though, that's what the second draft is for. Right now I just want to get the blocking done, so to speak, to figure out who's where and when and why and what happens.

It felt really really good to cross the 29,000 word mark on the 29th. Despite the several days off I've taken this month, and the several really crappy writing days, I'm averaging over a 1,000 words a day. Yay! At this rate, I really might have a first draft by Labor Day.

Posted by Lisa at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

Finally... fight!

I finally wrapped up all the lead-in this morning for my big combat scene, which I'm a tad nervous about writing, but it's a nervous excitement. After all, a desire to try my hand at writing combat is what got me into this particular mess. That was one on one combat though, and this is mass combat, with lots of things going on at once. We'll see how things go after lunch.

Oh, I also had a character realization about Weylin that amused me. I described him to Julie and Mer "sort of Aragorn-ish, if Aragorn had much of a sense of humor at all." There are a few other major differences there too, but I won't go into those here, so as not to spoil the plot for some of you who'll be reading this later.

Posted by Lisa at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2003

*flop*

Another 800 or so words, making this a 2,000 word day. Some of that was outline work, filling in details and getting them out of my head before I could work on starting the new scene. It's funny, some days the words come and they're all crystal clear and others they feel muddy and blah and when you finish you try and remember exactly what you said and can't. That's how this afternoon was.

Interestingly enough, that feeling isn't always indicative of the writing being bad. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it's just that maybe I'm writing more directly from my unconscious or something. Unfortunately, I have a hunch today was not one of those days.

I keep telling myself, that's what second drafts are for.

Posted by Lisa at 05:29 PM | Comments (2)

Progress once again

Back on the horse today, go me. I managed 1200 words this morning, with plans to write again after lunch. Apparently the brain dump I did yesterday really helped, because I was able to wrap up my exposition pretty painlessly. I don't know how well it's done, but it's done. Polishing it and making it something worth reading I'll leave for the second draft. The important thing is that now I know what's going on in my own world here.

I went on a library ransacking last night, wandering through my local library's online catalogue and requesting a bunch of folklore and mythology books from other libraries, since the local one doesn't have much of a selection at all. It may be a case of too little too late, but it'll be entertaining reading anyway.

Posted by Lisa at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

o/~ EXPOSITION! o/~

1200 words this morning, chock full of exposition-y goodness. I followed the old tried and true method of "the insider tells the outsider things she needs to know, which the audience also needs to know". In this case, Alex asked Weylin, essentially, why Jack thinks her dad was such an asshole. Which resulted in a brief history of fae prejudices, society, and genetics. (Weylin being a friend of her father's from long ago--those of you who played on Something Wicked This Way Comes might remember the name. Yes, I cannibalized one of my own characters.)

Of course, I needed to figure out what exactly Weylin was going to tell her, because those were details I hadn't clarified in my mind yet. I think it worked out okay.

Planning on writing again this afternoon. This should be interesting, because the next scene is going to lead into the first large-scale combat scene I've ever written. I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Lisa at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2003

Bump in the road

After not writing at all yesterday, today was a difficult day. As Mer has been prone to doing lately, I found myself resisting the urge to sing out "Exposition!" while I started today's scene. Alex, having heard some unpleasant rumors about her parents, is asking Weylin for the truth of the matter--or at least, part of the matter. What I realized today is that I haven't thought things through a lot, in terms of the faerie society that I've set up. I know some of how things are, but not why. So most of what I've done today has been to try and untangle all of my thoughts on the subject. Which has resulted in a brain dump straight into my world-building Word doc. ;)

I also realized that I need more encyclopedic-type books on fairy folklore. I miss my copy of A Field Guide to the Little People. It was cheesy, but it had some useful stuff in it. My biggest fear right now is that my fae will look and feel and sound like they stepped straight from one of White Wolf's Changeling books. Or worse, that it'll seem like I tried too hard to make them UNlike White Wolf's changelings.

Grar. Not thinking about that one too hard.

Managed about 500 words today. Back on the horse tomorrow. Gods, I hate exposition.

Posted by Lisa at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

Note to myself:

Never stop writing for the day at the end of a scene. Stop in the middle of a conversation if you can.

Guh. I haven't written a word yet this morning and I've been staring at Word for nearly an hour. Why? Because I finished at the end of a scene on Friday that made me extremely happy. Starting now from another scene (and I KNOW what scene, so that's not the problem) is like starting a cold engine in the middle of January. Won't turn over. Feeling sleepy isn't helping. Bouncy Scottish music and caffeine aren't helping yet either. Yet.

Whine whine whine. I need to either shit or get off the pot.

Posted by Lisa at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2003

New title, whee!

The new working title for the novel is The Exile's Daughter. There's some debate still whether the "The" will stay or not, but for now it's there. I like it.

I'm also dangerously in love with Jack. Someone please tell me that other writers do this too. He's an absolute delight to write about, almost more so than Alex, the protagonist and title character. It's like, when I know he's about to show up in a scene, I get all excited about writing it. It's a little unsettling.

Posted by Lisa at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

Writing, again, what else? ;)

There is an insane joy at writing a passage that absolutely sings to you from the page or screen, a gibbering, bubbling happiness that threatens to start pouring out of your ears.

There is also a frustration or two as well. It stalls any further writing, because your eyes keep being drawn to that perfect exchange of dialogue or that concise, poetic description so you can glow over it further. And because trying to follow it up is a bitch. Also, it reminds you just how solitary an activity writing is, because the first thing you want to do is read it aloud to someone, or force someone to read it.

The sad truth is, it rarely, no matter how much the audience loves it, means as much to anybody else as it does to you, if only because they can't share in the wild joy of creation. I imagine it's a lot like being a parent. No matter how awesome somebody thinks your kid is, it's never quite as awesome as YOU think they are. ;)

All that said and aside? I am absolutely head over the heels in love with one of my own characters, Jack. He literally makes me laugh out loud sometimes. I don't know where his dialogue comes from, because it sure doesn't seem to come from me half the time. He also breaks my heart because he's in deadly earnest about not making the same mistakes his father did, and he's about to.

Alex, my main character, better make damn sure she deserves him. ;)

Posted by Lisa at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2003

Plugging right along...

Another 1,500 words today. It's an eminently reachable goal for me for a day. Some days I can manage more, but 1,500 is always a challenge, but not so much of one that I want to rip my hair out (usually).

I may have a new title. The one I've got in mind has gotten a favorable response so far. If I still like it tomorrow, I'll make it official.

Posted by Lisa at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

"There are days when all you can do is go to the movies."

Thus spake Lawrence Block about what he calls "head full of cotton candy mornings". I'm having one. I keep feeling like I'm going to doze off. I've managed just under 500 words. The coffee isn't working.

Grar. I know where things are going, I just can't manage to pull the words out. Working until noon or until I hit 1,000 words, damn it. Even if they're the dumbest, suckiest words I've ever written.

Posted by Lisa at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2003

Woohoo!

After another slow start this morning (I'm noticing a trend here--I think I just start slow), today was an exhilirating day of writing. Not so much for the morning's word count (1396) but because of how things took off and twisted on me. What was supposed to be a lightly bantering conversation where one character asks for help from another character started out that way but morphed into an all out fight, even turning physical at one point. It was one of those scenes where I had to keep typing because I didn't know what was going to happen yet. I had to write it to see. :) It also served to bring out some nasty family secrets that had been hidden from some key people until now.

You know, I wasn't going to write this afternoon, but I may have to, just to see what's going to happen next... :)

Posted by Lisa at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2003

Afternoon writing a success

I had the same problems this afternoon in getting a jumpstart as I had this morning, but once I got going, things weren't so bad. The scenes for the rest of the chapter are slowly but surely starting to gel together in my head, and one of the characters, who was seeming sort of limp, is getting crisper--although damned if I understand what his motivations are yet. All in all, this was the most productive day I've had all month: 2500 words, with all but about 200 of that directly on the manuscript itself.

Posted by Lisa at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Not an entirely horrid morning...

Well, after a serious case of the blahs this morning, I managed to do fairly well. I'm going to try for another couple of hours this afternoon while I'm doing my laundry, see if I can't crack the 20,000 mark, at least for the month if not on the actual manuscript, which at this particular moment stands at just under 18,000 words.

I'm rapidly approaching the point where my map goes hazy and uncertain. I may have to send ahead a few scouts to figure out the territory before I get there.

Posted by Lisa at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Very interesting...

"Midsummer" came back again overnight, but with some startlingly thorough comments attached. She felt a linear structure would have been better than the flashback structure I used--and ironically, I started with a linear structure. Most interesting of all, however, was this comment: "I almost wonder if it isn't trying to do too much for a short story." As I'm leaning that way myself, I'm wondering if I really shouldn't just set it aside until I finish the current novel and then go from there. Nice to see that an editor sees the same issue with it that I do.

Posted by Lisa at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)

July 21, 2003

11 days and counting!

This is the eleventh straight day I've sat myself down to write for several hours a day. GO ME! This has been therapeutic for me in so many ways. I feel like I'm really getting somewhere, not just with this novel, but with my life. I may be unemployed, but by golly, I'm writing a novel!

I love my villain. He's a wonderfully villain-y villain. But as I've said, he's not pure black. I understand completely why he's doing what he's doing. Everything he's done so far, he's doing out of his own arrogance combined with a misguided sense of loyalty and love. Which, for me, makes him the best kind of villain ever. :)

I spent a huge chunk of yesterday reading Betsy Lerner's Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers. I'm over halfway through now, and I want to own this book. And soon. There's so much information in it, not to mention a considerable amount of encouragement. I feel like I'm on the right track here.

So far I've just been doing my work in the morning, then spending the afternoon goofing off or doing housework or whatever. This week I'm going to focus on spending some time in the afternoons writing as well, see if it works or if it's too much. Maybe not every day yet, but say three days a week. Not today though. Today I'm rewarding myself with a second viewing of "Pirates of the Caribbean". Whee!

Posted by Lisa at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2003

Feh

Fuck it. "Midsummer" is back out in circulation. I'll keep sending it out until I'm actually ready to start expanding it into a novel. If nothing else, maybe I'll get some helpful comments on it.

Posted by Lisa at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

I think this is a sickness...

Back on the horse, at least as far as the novel is concerned. Did quite a bit today, including some exciting parts that made me bounce while I was writing them. After last night, this can only be a good thing. Novel word count is now over 15,000. One of my characters, who started out loud and strong and clear, is becoming increasingly murky and difficult to work with. I need to poke him until he tells me what he's up to.

Decided to set aside "Midsummer" for a bit. I have absolute faith in the story I'm trying to tell, I'm just not sure I'm going about it right way at all. It occurred to me this morning that maybe the problem with it is not that it's too long, but that it's too short. There are a lot of ideas and themes I tried to sandwich in there, all important things that I wanted to say, using the selkie myth as the backdrop, but several things got cut or given just a surface run through. So as I was eating breakfast this morning, it came to me: what if it should be a novel too?

Before you roll your eyes at me... it could work. Of course, it would be a completely different sort of novel from any of the others I'm tossing around. I can see it being a very small, thoughtful, dreamlike sort of novel. Maybe even a touch surreal, a la Jeanette Winterson or Toni Morrison. Hell, it's practically that sort of story already, which might explain part of the problem I'm having getting it published. It's a story where the point is not the story, so much as how it's told and what it brings up. And the markets I've been sending it too aren't so much interested in that sort of thing.

So anyway, I'm going to set it aside until I finish the first draft of Alex's story (I HATE the working title at the moment--I think I need a new one) and then see what happens.

Posted by Lisa at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2003

*sigh*

Well, I just got my fifth rejection in a year on "Midsummer". The same old "liked the writing, not the story" type. A couple of times I've gotten the comment that it's too predictable. That one irks me a little, because I'm not sure how to fix it. It's the retelling of a myth. How can I make that unpredictable? :P

I think I love the story too much to see any of this objectively. A little discouraged, but not entirely so. I'm just not quite sure where to go from here. Strange Horizons said it was too long. I'm inclined to agree, but I'm not sure what to cut. So... kinda stuck. I'll take a look at everything in the morning.

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

Day of rest

Well, sort of, anyway. I did about five hundred words today, most of which were outline and plotting-related rather than actual manuscript words. I had a few major plot revelations in the past 24 hours, which can only be a good thing. Suffice to say, things just got considerably more complicated. It's not longer completely clear who's evil and who isn't. There are protagonists and antagonists, but with a few exceptions, they're all shaded in gray. Some are just darker gray than others.

While I am trying to work every day here, I think I may use weekends largely for edits and that sort of thing. I passed the pages I printed yesterday on to a friend, and reprinted the first two chapters today for myself. I went through the prelude and chapter one, marking a few changes and noticing a few questions I need to answer later. Which led to the second plot revelation I had--so I feel like I actually did get something done, even if I wasn't furiously typing.

Looking over my word count spreadsheet (yes, I have one, yes it's ridiculously complex, but it makes me feel good), I noticed that I've written every single day since the 11th, and I've been working regularly all month, with only five days of absolutely no writing work at all. It feels very very good, to put it mildly. :)

Posted by Lisa at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2003

It's been a distracted couple

It's been a distracted couple of days, but I've managed about a thousand words yesterday and today. Things are perking right along, plotwise. I've finally filled in all the holes in what I'd written up to the point I decided this was a novel instead of a story, and am now ready to move ahead with the storyline.

I also printed out the prelude and the first three chapters. Partly because I wanted that sense of accomplishment, to see those forty pages of paper all in a big pile, evidence that I've been working my ass off. Also partly because I'm really tempted to hand them off to someone else, to see if they find the story so far as fascinating as I do.

I'm always of two minds when it comes to showing someone an unfinished work. On the one hand, I seriously crave some validation. With a short story, it's easier, because it's finished sooner. With a novel... well, I'm in it for the long haul. And also, I'm spending so much time focused on this now, I want to be able to share it with someone who'll know what I'm talking about when I start rambling. We'll see. Maybe I'll just print it and stick it in a binder and look at it every so often until I've got more to add.

Posted by Lisa at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2003

Music, routine, and rambling

Crossed the 10,000 word mark today on the actual novel manuscript. I'm starting to think I might actually have enough story in mind to make this thing long enough. Yay me! It was another slow start day. I stared at the screen and wriggled and growled and generally was frustrated until about 10:30 or so. Part of this is because I started a new chapter, and I hate starting new scenes and chapters cold. Even worse, it wasn't a chapter where I originally saw anything particularly exciting happening. Instead, it was supposed to be more of a "lull before the storm" chapter where we see the main characters going through their usual lives before it all gets turned upside down.

Finally I got started and... whoops. One of my characters insisted on being somewhere I hadn't planned for him to be, resulting in two characters meeting that I hadn't planned to have meet yet. Yes, there is ordinary life happening here, but the world has already started its inevitable flip. It turned out well, and it feels right. Once again, my characters know better than I what should be happening in the story and when.

In case I haven't mentioned it, I've become a creature of frighteningly regular habit, at least where writing is concerned. I'm usually in front of the computer ready to write by 9 or 9:30 each morning, and I try to work until at least noon, depending on how much I get done. It's almost become a ritual. There are several things I have to have to settle in and work. First and foremost, a cup of coffee at my left hand. Not just any cup of coffee, but my gigantic Starbucks ceramic mug of coffee filled with hazelnut coffee creamer and sugar. Next, music. Here's where I really get anal. I used to set up MP3 playlists for each piece I was working on and listen to the appropriate one. However, my MP3s are unavailable at the moment, so I've gone back to using the CD changer on my stereo. The list of CDs I can actually listen to while writing, however, is very limited. Each morning, I pick any three of the following, put them in, and hit random play:

  • A Slight Case of Overbombing, Sisters of Mercy
  • Changeling: The Seattle Chronicles, a mix CD I made for my Changeling game, which contains various bits of classical music, classic rock, and Celtic-ish bits I used at various points in the chronicles
  • Twenty-Five, Sweet Honey in the Rock
  • Rites of Passage, Indigo Girls
  • Parallel Dreams, Loreena McKennitt
  • The Cross of Changes, Enigma
  • Into the Labyrinth, Dead Can Dance
  • Tribe 8: Children of Prophecy, another mix CD, this one for the Tribe 8 game I keep wanting to run. Also has bits of classical mixed with other things, but is edgier than the Changeling CD, with more goth-industrial type stuff thrown in.
There's even a pattern to what gets picked. There has to be at least one hard CD, one softer one, and something in the middle. Today, for example, was Sisters of Mercy, the Changeling CD, and the Tribe 8 CD. I actually tried putting a new CD in the rotation the other morning, and I was so distracted by the novelty of it I couldn't concentrate. I know, I'm weird. This has been going on for almost three weeks now though, and I can't argue with the results.

Right now I'm actually shooting for about 1500 words of new manuscript a day. If I follow through with that, and actually write seven days a week (which I haven't managed yet), then I should finish the first draft by Labor Day. That's right. Six weeks from now, approximately. I'm a little awed and scared by that.

Posted by Lisa at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2003

Holy crap!

Another 2,000 word day, putting my monthly count so far over 10,000 words. I'm astounded and amazed. Today I did a pretty big chunk of fleshing out my outline, realizing that the outline I had so far was not going to be much near novel length. So one of the center sections got longer. And a subplot or two got thrown into the mix. This is so cool. It's like this weird combination of my usual freestyle writing combined with a more analytical, building block approach.

The novel word count itself is approaching 10,000 as well.

Yesterday I went to the library and found two books on writing I'm looking forward to reading. The first was Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print by Lawrence Block. I've read one of his writing books before, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, and while I don't always agree with his approach, he's amusing to read and has some good insights. The other one was The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner. This one I'm really looking forward to diving into, after I finish the Block.

Heh. The librarian who checked out my books said, "Oh cool, you're a writer?" I answered, "Well, I'm trying to be." Then I stopped and corrected myself. "No, I mean, I am a writer. I just haven't been paid much for it yet." Of course, she asked what I was writing, and her eyes went blank and kinda glazed when I told her it was urban fantasy. ;)

Posted by Lisa at 12:49 PM | Comments (3)

July 14, 2003

I think I'm in love...

Well, it took me forever to get focused and motivated enough to get anything done this morning, but get something done I did. About another 1100 words today, most of them focused on Jack, who, by the way, I am officially crazy about. He's a wiseass, and he's either very brave about it or very foolhardy. He's fullblooded fae, but only half what I've come to call High Court fae (i.e., sidhe). His father was some sort of cat-shifter, cait sidhe, maybe. Anyway, here's a bit that made me especially happy this morning, Jack returning 'home' after his interview with the Prince, and after playing a trick on a mortal couple. It also introduces Jenny, who I have a feeling I'm very much going to like as well.

Whiskers twitching with glee, the cat moved out of earshot of the couple. Within a few minutes, it reached a dark alleyway, and bounded into it. It did not move unnoticed, however. A waifish girl with black hair done in a myriad of tiny braids, scarves and spangles hanging from her tiny body, saw the cat and followed, darting across the street on mismatched blue and purple high top sneakers.

"Hey!" she called. When there was no answer, she gave an exasperated sigh. "Come on out, will ya? I know it's you." Again there was no sound, save for a rustling behind one of the rusted dumpsters. The girl grew irritated. "Fine, be an asshole." Rather than leaving, however, she folded her arms across her slender chest and stayed where she was.

"Go away, Jenny." The voice, perfectly human, sounded from behind the dumpster.

"We were worried about you!" Jenny shot back, patience wearing thin. "Word on the street was that you got hauled in, Jack. Nobody knew who had you, if it was the cops or..."

"It was William," Jack said, sighing and stepping out from behind the dumpster reluctantly. "I'm out, Jenny. He threw me out."

"About damn time too," Jenny said with an approving nod. "You've been nothing but trouble all along and now you've come to the bad end everyone always said you'd come to."

"I know. Aren't you proud of me?"

"So proud I'm about to bust," Jenny said, face breaking into a grin.

Posted by Lisa at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2003

Holy cow...

I've been Productive Girl this weekend. At our impromptu Write Club session yesterday, I managed about 1200 words, and today I managed over 2000. The main points of my outline are finished. I know the major plot points all the way through the ending of the novel. There's still plenty of room for improvisation and inspiration to strike (like today, for example, I realized a few things about the Prince--who did, by the way, move up in the world), but I know where I'm going approximately.

Also, Resistance Boy has officially been given a name: Jack. And so far he's a pretty nifty character, I think.

Right now I'm so very excited about this project. I'm trying to figure out what an appropriate deadline for a first draft would be. My first thought is October 31st. We'll see. I'll need to get a better idea of what sort of word count I'm shooting for. If I can keep up this pace though, I could have a respectable sized novel by October. Of course, all of this depends entirely on my employment situation, which is always subject to change. But hell, as long as I'm unemployed, I'm going to write like a fiend.

Posted by Lisa at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 11, 2003

Outline, ho!

Or maybe that should be "outlining ho", cause that's what I've been today. I did a little bit of worldbuilding, nailing down some of the "rules" that my faeries have to cope with in their modern world setting. Then I touched up my summary a little bit, raising such valid questions as "If the faerie prince is living in an abandoned subway station, where the fuck does that put the city's fae underbelly?" The prince may end up moving up in the world, literally and figuratively.

Then I actually started doing the outline itself. I have never, EVER actually done a formal outline for any work of fiction except the Tribe 8 stuff, and only then because the editor required it. So far... it's incredibly liberating. I can just blue-sky plot ideas and copy and paste them around until they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I'd forgotten that I sort of like this part, even though I generally detest outlining. I guess you could say I'm drawing up my travel plans and road map. Always allowing, of course, for detours.

Is it bad that so far one of my brand new major characters is only referred to in my notes as "Resistance Boy"? I dunno. I know he needs a name eventually, but it's keeping me so amused...

Posted by Lisa at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)

July 08, 2003

Process needed badly

Now see, here's why I get grumpy when a short story idea turns into a novel idea. I know how to write short stories. I have a process to follow, and it works pretty well. I haven't figured out a good way to write a novel yet. For The Host, I followed pretty much the same procedure I use to write short stories: dive in and go, handwrite notes and journal my way through plot knots. I wound up with a big, confusing mess of a first draft that I have no real idea how to organize or edit.

So when I got the idea for False Light, I decided to take a different approach. I have a notebook full of plot notes, character notes, title ideas, subplot ideas, partial outlines, setting notes... and I haven't written a single useable word of a draft yet.

Then came my second attempt at NaNoWriMo, The Sword in the Mound. Now, admittedly, since I didn't really take this novel seriously when I first started, I did a rather Host-like approach, with only a few more notes than the first time. Now my problem there is that it got serious on me, and wants to be a real novel instead of an amusing bit of semi-pornographic fluff. So I'm kinda feeling stuck on it, 25,000 words in.

Now I have this urban fantasy thing that I can't even seem to find a decent title for. Grar. I'm trying a combination of all the above approaches. Since I started it as a short story, I've got about 5,000 words of a draft that I really am pleased with. I have characters that interest me. I've also tried to map out the whole mess, so I at least have a vague notion of where we're all going and how we might get there. Just something to follow in case I get lost--which based on experience, I will. I wrote a 500 word summary this morning of backstory, current plot, and where I see the novel going. I've got my notebook o' doom already set up, filling out character ideas, ready for relationship maps and research ideas.

It's almost like, for The Host, I just hopped in the car and started driving wildly off. I got to where I wanted to go, sort of, but now I can't find my way back home. For False Light, I've spent so much time carefully planning and mapping my destination, I've never even managed to pick up my car keys. Sword in the Mound? Hopped in the car, grabbed a random atlas, and forgot to fill up the gas tank. This time... I hope, I HOPE I've learned my lesson. I'm already in the car and driving, but I have a map with me, and am making little notes on it as I drive along, looking at the scenery so I can remember the way home.

Please God, let me make it back home on this one.

Posted by Lisa at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)

Setting questions

Now that I've actually commited myself to writing this monster, I'm left with some of the same questions I've had before, particularly with Sword. How do I describe a setting I'm not completely familiar with? Writing The Host was easy in that respect. I set it in Ann Arbor, which I know pretty much like the back of my hand. NOW I completely understand why Stephen King sets everything in his little corner of Maine (with some notable exceptions--which I've noticed, are also places he's lived). The only problem with that is, I haven't lived in very many interesting places. Just Michigan and Nashville and then the hellhole that was northwest Tennessee.

I don't think this story will work in any of those places. It's definitely urban in feel. I decided on Philadelphia because I've at least been there several times, but I still don't know much about it. I could probably fake my way through writing about New York, but that seems a little tired and cliche. I suppose this means setting research as well as mythological research--although, not so much of the latter. I've got a good handle on the fae side of things, I just need to figure out what take I'm using on it. And unlike with The Host, I'm not going to leave the major questions like that until I'm 50,000 words into the manuscript.

Posted by Lisa at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2003

I suppose this means I

I suppose this means I need subplots now, doesn't it? And an outline of some sort. *sigh* Work, work, work. Plan for July updated to reflect this.

Posted by Lisa at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

Fuck.

Well. "From a World More Full of Weeping" is not a short story. It is not a novella. It's a goddamn novel. Ah well. At least I realized it early enough that I can start fixing the worldbuilding holes I left and filling in details--but it's late enough that I'm well and truly sucked in by the characters and plot so I'm eager to work on it. However, it means that I really don't like the title for it, but it'll do for a working title for now.

So if anyone asks me what I got for my birthday, I'm going to tell them I got a new novel to write. To quote Julie, "Happy birthday from your subconscious, Lisa!"

Posted by Lisa at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

What'd you get for your birthday, Lisa?

Why, I got a brand new novel to write!

Grar. All I wanted was a simple little short story to work on, to get back into writing after time off. But nooooo... ;)

Posted by Lisa at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2003

Excerpt

I didn't have much time to write this morning, since we're going to a cookout here shortly, but I wanted to write at least a little bit, if only to keep up my streak. ;)

After finishing a pretty intense scene with my villain, I switched back to Alex and her two year old sister, introduced in an earlier scene. What came out amused me, so I thought I'd post a bit of it:

"Go out?" Callie said hopefully, for what felt like the hundredth time that morning.

Alex sighed, her patience wearing thin. "No, honey, we have to stay inside today because of my hurt arm." Well, it was almost true. Alex didn't dare stray too far from home with her sister, for fear that she'd run into another of the Prince's men.

Callie looked at the bandage on Alex's arm with a two year old's skepticism and sounded dubious as she asked, "Alex owie?" Clearly, she wasn't buying it. Of course, she hadn't bought it the first ninety-nine times either.

"That's right, Callie," Alex tried to sound as soothing as she could, recognizing the signs of an impending tantrum. "When I'm all better, we'll go to the park."

That was a miscalculation. Callie wailed, "Paaaaaaaaark!" It was followed by another rousing chorus of "Go out!" as she burst into tears.

Yielding to the inevitable, Alex winced slightly and kept out of the path of Hurricane Callie for a few minutes, when over the cries and whining she heard a knock on the door. Grateful for the distraction, she went to look through the peephole--but not before stopping by the kitchen and pulling a knife from the cabinet.

Well, I amused myself, anyway. ;)

Posted by Lisa at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2003

Busy busy girl!

In addition to knocking out almost another 1,000 words on "World" (putting the story over the 4,000 word mark with no real middle even in sight), I also finally got off my ass and resubmitted all four stories listed in the "In Circulation" section. Technically, that hasn't been true for a bit. All four stories came back with rejections while I was in the middle of the crap I went through this spring, and I never had the energy or confidence to resend them back out.

Well, they're back out now. "Girl Behind the Counter", "Eye for an Eye", and, "Computer Dating" all went to Glimmer Train, since they only do submissions a few times a year and they allow you to submit up to three stories at a time. Lazy of me, sure, but hey, I can't find my envelopes (haven't unpacked them yet, apparently) and I'm running out of e-sub markets. ;)

"Midsummer", after a lot of thought (and about four or five rejections elsewhere), went to Strange Horizons. I was kind of reluctant to send that one to them next. Yes, they actually BOUGHT my last submission to them, but my last submission to them was "Rhythm of the Tides", which is also a selkie story. I was kinda hoping to send them something non-selkie-ish before sending them "Midsummer", lest they discover my obsession. But, it's a good market for it, I think, and "Rhythm" went to them over a year ago, so... I went for it.

But, it feels really GOOD to have stories in circulation again!

Posted by Lisa at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2003

Hooray for villains!

I didn't manage much actual word count today, but I do have the Prince a little more mapped out in my head. He has a name that isn't TOO screamingly Celtic, and he has a description. I also pinned down a setting for the whole thing: Philadelphia. Or, as Alex now thinks during the opening fight, "City of Brotherly Love, my ass." Have I mentioned how much I love Alex?

Also figured out what I want to work on this month. I finally realized that if I just keep sticking Sword up on the list, I'm never going to work on it, so I'm being more specific. Besides which, this Beltaine scene has been a thorn in my side for months. I already know it's going to be the first seriously sexual encounter between Tiernan and Catriona (although, true to genre form, it won't end up as actual intercourse--unless the two of them overrule me on the subject *grin*). This is the stuff I've been nervous about writing ever since I started writing this damn novel. Given the encounters the two have had so far, I'm not sure this is going to be a sweet, soft-focus, Vasoline-lensed scene at all.

And damn it, I WILL write it this month.

Posted by Lisa at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)