October 31, 2003

At the starting gate...

NaNoWriMo starts in a little over two hours. I'm planning on staying up and making at least a token start to the novel. I'm seriously going by the seat of my pants on this one. I'm hoping after writing a few thousand words I might be able to come up with an outline. We'll see. I don't want a repeat of The Host where I felt lost in my own novel.

I'm sure I'll post after I've done some writing tonight.

Posted by Lisa at 09:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2003

Pre-kick off

NaNoWriMo technically starts tomorrow night at midnight. I don't have much of an outline, but I have some ideas, and I have a character I like. So how am I spending this day before NaNo?

Slacking as much as I possibly can. I borrowed Dawn and Jason's copy of The 10th Kingdom, and I'm considering watching the whole thing in a single sitting today--which will take most of the day. I also have last week's episode of Angel to watch still (last night's didn't tape, goddamn it--anybody have a copy I can borrow?)

So that's the NaNo plan for now. Be as lazy as humanly possible between now and tomorrow midnight. I think I'm going to enjoy this part.

Posted by Lisa at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

I know, I know, things

I know, I know, things were quiet last week. I spent a good bit of time poking at "Alabaster Stones"--which is probably not going to be the title of that particular story, as it's taking a left turn away from what I thought it was going to be. It's also threatening to turn itself into a novel. Yeah, another one. However, I think I can get a short story out of it and put the novel idea for it on the back burner. It's a novel I'm not old enough or experienced enough to write yet, anyway.

Got a few more rejections over the past week, including two in one day, and a one-day rejection from NFG (damn, they're fast). "Midsummer" came remarkably close to being published. The rewrite was done at the editor's request, but it still wasn't quite what they wanted. Also, I was extremely encouraged by the last rejection on "An Eye for an Eye", which was actually handwritten and basically said they didn't have room for it right now.

Gotta keep telling myself that. I'm making progress. The rejections ARE starting to get more encouraging, starting to get something beyond just a form.

NaNoWriMo starts on Saturday. Do I have an outline yet? Well of course not. I may shelve the short story until December and spend this week planning Girls Who Wear Glasses. We'll see. I'm definitely feeling ready to dive back into a novel. This can only be a good sign.

Posted by Lisa at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2003

I'm finally working on the

I'm finally working on the short story that's essentially about my mom's childhood--and there's a problem. Can you guess? Of course you can.

It doesn't want to be a short story.

Right now, I'm refusing to let it be anything more. I'm trying to pick one of the myriad of ideas I have so I can narrow it down to a story for now. The rest I'll write down and put away for later, much later.

This is another of those novels I'm not ready to write yet. In fact, before I'm ready to write this one, I need to not only do more family research, I need to go see the house in Goose Creek. Assuming it's still there. I need to be older. This makes two novels I'm not old enough to write. Grar.

Posted by Lisa at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

I think the table migration thing was only funny to me, but...

There are times when I am humbled and awed to be in the presence of Julie and Mer. Write Club last night was one of those times. Mer was explaining, in true Mer fashion, her latest short story:

Mer: It's like, currently they have stuff, but in the future they have better stuff.
Julie: And that is the core of what science fiction is all about.

She should really know better than to be so very quotable, especially with so much ink and paper lying around.

Posted by Lisa at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2003

Second rejection on "Midsummer" from

Second rejection on "Midsummer" from the magazine that asked to see a revision. Detailed rejections, for some reason, always make me feel worse, even if they're ultimately more useful. Having all of one's flaws pointed out at once can be very disheartening, therefore I was accordingly disheartened. I think this is why I'm so caught up in writing novels right now. I've never had a novel rejected. Or even really dissected. It is a form that is bright with only the success of completion, and no sense of rejection at all.

Posted by Lisa at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

"Only be sure always to call it please, 'research'."

I spent a good bit of time this weekend talking to my mom about her childhood, trying to get a feel for what life was like for her growing up--in addition to being interesting and informative, I was also trying to figure out how I want to do this story, which is currently sitting in my notebook as two pages of notes and mocking me.

Today, all I learned is that the region I'm planning to write about is in the Cumberland Mountains.

First and foremost: my mother's family was poor. Insanely poor. But they didn't know it, because everybody around them was poor too. They were, however, genteel poor. My mother described it as the difference between having clean curtains handmade from feedsacks on the windows and having a sheet thrown up on the windows, or worse, having nothing at all on the windows. According to her, nobody went hungry, they always had something to wear--even if some of it was underwear made from the aforementioned feedsacks. It's true, my mother's early life was, essentially, an early Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn song. (Incidentally, I discovered my father's family was also poor, but they were not quite so genteel. Had there been railroad tracks through that part of Kentucky, my father's family would have been on the wrong side of them.)

There was no running water or indoor plumbing in the area. As a matter of fact, my grandma's father, who lived close by and was by all accounts a very mean old man, refused to have indoor plumbing, on the theory that it was foul and disgusting to shit indoors where you slept and ate. There was, however, electricity. There was a well on the property, from which on one occasion, my mom and her youngest brother got hepatitis. The school was a one-room school. Around the time Mom was seven or eight, the family moved to Detroit, like a lot of Kentucky families post-WWII.

Because they lived in a crowded apartment (five or six people in the equivalent of a very small one-bedroom) with no land to speak of, my grandma insisted that they go back to Kentucky every summer so she could plant a garden (which, in all honesty, was probably keeping them fed for the year). They left before the end of the school year. Mom said, "I don't think I finished a year at school until I was in high school. It's a wonder we passed."

It wasn't until Detroit that my family had indoor plumbing, or a television. This wasn't so long ago. My mom grew up in the 1940s and 50s. Hell, I can remember visiting my great-grandfather in the 1970s, and he still refused indoor plumbing.

I understand a lot more now than I did a few days ago. I understand why there're "Kentucky reunions" held in the Detroit area a few times a year. I understand why mountain people seem clannish. Nobody else would understand. I grew up with this family, and I'm having a hard time imagining a life so far removed from everything I know. I understand now why I've always felt like I hatched, like I didn't fit in with my family. They grew up in a world lightyears away from where I grew up.

I spent a lot of today trying to get a feel for the place itself, to learn what I could about it. The last time I went to the old family place in Millstone, I was too young to be anything but bored. Now I wish I could go back. I don't think I've ever had such a clear sense of where I come from.

Posted by Lisa at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2003

I have many many jumbled

I have many many jumbled thoughts about writing going on in my head right now, some of which I may post in the form of a rant tomorrow, but right now one thing sticks out. I may have made the gravest mistake of my budding writing career.

At her request, I gave my mother the first draft of The Exile's Daughter to read. She doesn't read fantasy. To my knowledge, the only fantasy she's ever read are the first two Harry Potter books, and that's just since we moved in together in June. I don't know that she's going to get my novel.

But there's another problem, a shame that I'm sure most modern writers have faced. It's a problem that transcends genre: I made my mommy read dirty words.

Yes, it's all about artistic freedom and license to say what you want, until your mother delicately brings up the number of times you use the word 'fuck' in your manuscript. The good little girl in me is still cringing.

Posted by Lisa at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2003

FINALLY

I did a rewrite of "Midsummer" that finally, finally makes me happy. I've loved this story ever since I finished it, but it was always wrong. I think I finally got it right. We'll see.

Made some changes on the sidebar, moved some things around. I'm feeling raring to go now.

Posted by Lisa at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

A riddle

Q. How do you cut a story in half but still wind up with more story than was there to begin with?
A. I don't know, but I just managed it.

My last rejection suggested that they'd be glad to look at a revision (a first for me!), and made some suggestions. My mama didn't raise no fool, so I took their suggestions, and lo and behold, I think I'm finally happy with this story. So back it goes to them with fingers crossed.

Posted by Lisa at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2003

Epigraphs and changes and stuff

Like I posted to the writing journal, I printed out The Exile's Daughter last night. Whooboy. That's one impressive-looking pile of paper, lemme tell you. I suppose in a way, it's draft 1.1, because I did make a few minor changes before I sent it to my first readers:
- I seriously shortened the prelude
- I corrected Alex's age, which had been variously reported as 17 or 19--she's 19.
- I finally settled on an epigraph for the last section. It's less apocalypse-y and more appropriate, particularly if you know the poem it's taken from.

If you remember (or if you cared) the original epigraphs were all taken from W. B. Yeats. Well, they still are, but Part Three's epigraph was originally from "The Second Coming". Now it's from "Cuchulain's Fight with the Sea":

'I only ask what way my journey lies,
For He who made you bitter made you wise.'
It's appropriate, because it's a son speaking to his mother before he goes off, at her behest, to kill the man who left her--his father. There's so much parent-child stuff going on through the whole novel, especially the last section. The quote fits so well it gives me chills. :)

Posted by Lisa at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

Progress!

Well, my NaNoWriMo novel has a working title and some character names now. The title is taken from poetry, of course! Girls Who Wear Glasses, a la Dorothy Parker's famous observation that "Men seldom make passes / At girls who wear glasses." My character names I'm keeping to myself for now, because those are even more subject to change than the title at this point.

Posted by Lisa at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2003

Feeling of accomplishment

I printed out the first draft of The Exile's Daughter today. Then spent an hour punching holes so that it'd fit into a three-ring binder. It's a lovely, enormous thing to see. Heavy, weighted with more than just the mass of 338 sheets of paper plus a binder. It's holding a lot of hope, too. I held up and showed my mom and said, "Well, here's my summer." And part of the fall. She's got it now; she wanted to read it before I start the editing process December 1st. I'm just glad to have it printed. I felt like everything I'd done finally was tangible.

Of course, I haven't written a word since Sunday. That's going to change tomorrow. I have a story percolating, then there's the outline for my NaNoWriMo novel, which needs a title and characters and all sorts of goodness. Lots to do before November 1st.

Posted by Lisa at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

What makes someone a successful

What makes someone a successful writer? A good writer?

It's a question that keeps coming up to me a lot lately. I like to think I'm a pretty good writer. I'm better than I was three years ago when I started getting serious about it, but I still think I have a long way to go. I'm proud of the improvements I've made, and I even manage not to cringe too much when I read my old stuff. Because that's where I was then, and even the worst stuff I wrote taught me something. Hell, the years I spent MUSHing taught me a ton, particularly about characterization and dialogue (of course, it also taught me some seriously lazy bad habits, but I've started breaking those, honest).

So I'm a pretty good writer. Am I successful one?

I don't know. I suppose it depends on how you measure success. This comes up a lot lately, or so it seems. I'm the one with a professional sale, I worked on the books for DP9, so it feels like I'm a basis for comparison a lot. I don't want to be. I absolutely do NOT want to knock what I did for DP9; as a writing experience, it was invaluable. But it wasn't anything like writing my own fiction in my own worlds. It wasn't anything like having someone say, "We like what you and you alone did, we want to pay you for your work." It was like getting paid for fan fiction. In a very real sense, the stuff I did for DP9 was fan fiction. (Insert standard "I'm not knocking fan fiction writers" disclaimer here.)

Getting published by DP9 was nothing like trying to get published by any of the big kids in the publishing world. In terms of writing ability, I think it's safe to say that me and the rest of Wicked Ink had no real competition. We could string sentences together interestingly and coherently, we were interested in doing the work, so we got the job. Any one of the writers I know, if they'd had the same interest and had been in the same place and time, would have gotten the same result. It wasn't as much about talent as it was about luck. Blind, crazy luck.

Likewise my one pro sale. It was a fluke. It had to be. "Rhythm of the Tides" was a story I worked on and polished for two years--because it was the only story I had. Game fiction disguised as regular fiction. It was good, and I'm proud of it, but in three years, it's still the only sale I've made.

So if getting published is all about luck and flukes, how do you measure success as a writer? I think it has jack and shit to do with publication credits. I'd have to say it's all about persistence. Dedication. Continually working to improve as a writer. I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible writers, both on collaborations and with the Minions.

I feel like a fraud a lot of the time. That when I trumpet my credits on a cover letter to an editor, I'm telling a great big lie, implying that I'm better than I really am. It's even worse when I feel that way around my friends too.

I'm a pretty good writer. I'm working to be a better one. I've been lucky. I'm trying to make that luck happen again. That's all.

Posted by Lisa at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2003

Weekly progress report

Heh.

Weekly word count: 12,239
Last week: 8633
Highest day: 4356 (today!)

*goes back to singing her new favorite song: "Done, donedonedonedone..."*

Posted by Lisa at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

The 15th? The 15th did I say? HA!

After blasting out the end of Chapter 17 this morning, I went on to write all of Chapter 18 in a long marathon day of writing.

4500 words later, the first draft of The Exile's Daughter is FINISHED!

I love the way the ends came together and tied themselves up at the end. I love the way it ends. I think for once I've managed to write something that doesn't have a totally wimpy and weak ending. I think I may have something here.

Tomorrow, I am SO taking tomorrow off.

And to think it all started with me just wanting to write a combat scene. That was June 6th. By July 7th, I knew I had a novel. And today, October 12th, that novel is complete. I don't think anything feels as sweet as that.

Posted by Lisa at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

You heard it here first:

There are no sweeter words in the English language than the following two:

THE END.

As of 10:15 this evening, the first draft of The Exile's Daughter is FINISHED. I was so exhilirated, so overwhelmed, I nearly burst into tears. I don't recall being this emotional when I finished the first draft of The Host, but there you go. I am riding high right now.

The final numbers, for the curious:
97,172 words
440 pages in standard manuscript format (340 in my draft format)
18 chapters, cut into three sections.

I did it. I really really did it.

Posted by Lisa at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Note to self:

Forget about trying to write while listening to the finale from Les Miserables. You're going to short out your keyboard if you keep sobbing into it. And not crying is not an option when Jean Valjean dies.

Posted by Lisa at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Final chapter

I just finished Chapter 17. Diving into the very last chapter. There's a chance I might push through and finish today. If not today, tomorrow. Holy shit.

If anyone hears a scream coming from my corner of Michigan later on today, you'll know I finished. :)

Posted by Lisa at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

Some times no mail is a good thing

Not one, but two rejections back in the mail today, from Analog and Cemetery Dance. Kinda bummed on that last one. I had some high hopes for that. Ah well. Back out in the mail on Monday.

Posted by Lisa at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

*whimper*

One more scene to go in Chapter 17. Then Chapter 18. Then I get to write that have come to be the two sweetest words in the English language as far as I'm concerned: "The End".

Still on track to finish by the 15th.

Posted by Lisa at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2003

Grrr, revisited.

One deus ex machina, coming up!

Wait. These are my faeries we're talking about. They don't believe in deus and they have all sorts of issues with machina.

Okay, maybe not. Still thinking. Poor Jack.

*looks around for a sword with which to hack the knot*

Posted by Lisa at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2003

Grrr.

There are few things more frustrating then getting one of your characters into a tight, hopefully-pulse-pounding jam at the end of a scene, then realizing when you get back to it that you have no idea how you're going to get them out of it.

Posted by Lisa at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

90,000

Flipped the combat scene over and kicked its ass for a while. I dunno if I won or not, but it's over and I'm still standing. I wrote 1800 words this morning, wrapping up that combat scene and starting the next. Someone please tell me why I, noncombatant girl who's only real exposure to fighting has been on the playground and through RPGs, decided to write a novel chock full of gun battles and sword fights? I have a feeling they might be the weakest, or at least the most laughingly unrealistic, part of the book.

Keep telling self, This is what second drafts are for.

Posted by Lisa at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

90K!

Golly, it's just one milestone after another these days. The next big milestone you're going to hear about (aside from hitting the last chapter, that's not a huge milestone) will be when I finish! I managed to write at another breakneck pace this morning, partly because I wanted to reach 90,000 today (damn that odometer rolling) and partly because I doubt I'll be doing much writing this afternoon.

So excited. So very excited. One interesting note, a part of the final outcome keeps shifting back and forth in my head. I can see two ways to go, and I'm not sure which one will work the best. Of course, if I go with the new idea that occurred to me last night, I'll have all sorts of rope with which to hang my characters for the sequel. That could be fun.

Yes, fun. Writing is all sorts of fun again. Dare I say it? I think I'm starting to coast. (She says, jinxing herself horribly.)

Posted by Lisa at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Frustration

Outline file open and ready? Check
Angry thrashing music? Check.
Caffeine ready at my side? Check.
Angsty sad music cued and ready? Check.
Characters motivated (i.e., pissed off) and ready to go? Check.
Combat scene kicking my ass as I try to write it? CHECK!

Bow down before the one you serve
You're going to get what you deserve...

Posted by Lisa at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

Whew

I can't tell if I'm galloping out of control or just maintaining a steady run. In either case, Chapter 16 is finished--didn't hurt that it was considerably shorter than the average chapter. Two more to go. At this rate, I might well finish the first draft this week, leaving me three weeks to NaNoWriMo, three weeks to rest, recuperate, and outline the next novel.

Posted by Lisa at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

300!

The Exile's Daughter manuscript just hit 300 pages, and is currently at 87,754 words (my draft format is Times New Roman 12, double spaced). Chapter 16 is going considerably faster than I had anticipated. One more scene and it's done. I may finish the chapter today. I've done 2300 words so far and as of this moment I haven't even broken a sweat.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE days like this? Wheeee! Two chapters and a scene left to go!

(Edited to add: I checked, on a whim. Using standard manuscript format--i.e., Courier New 12 font--it's at 397 pages. Heehee.)

Posted by Lisa at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

It's interesting, how time-sucking the

It's interesting, how time-sucking the NaNoWriMo forums are. Not so much today, because I'm feeling quite driven to get some writing done (almost 1500 words this morning, and raring to go for this afternoon), but in general. I'm also remembering why I started largely avoiding the forums last year.

There are a lot of topics with people asking who's written a novel before, who's been published before, who wants to publish their NaNo novel, etc. At first it was interesting to read and to post--kind of watching the vets instruct and encourage the newbies, but at times, seeing just how incredibly naive so many people are about the publication process just makes me blink. Was I ever that naive? Then I remember with what enormous hopes I sent my very first story off to Marion Zimmer Bradley's magazine, and I think, yep, every bit as naive.

For some reason, it makes me feel snarky and cynical. Part of me just wants to sit them all down and reassure them that no, they aren't going to produce anything publishable their first time out, but that that's not the point. That no one's going to recognize their unpolished and heretofore untapped brilliance right off the bat, but that they'll learn and learn and learn, just by putting one word after the other. Then I realize that if I told them that, they wouldn't believe me. I know I wouldn't have.

Then there are the people who rave about vanity presses, or e-publishing their books. They proudly go on about how many books they've published, and it's hard to resist delivering a smackdown. I realize now the appeal of the vanity press--you get to say you published a book. And most people either don't ask or don't think to ask if you had to pay for it to be published. It's the same game I sometimes play with my DP9 credits. I don't always add "they were roleplaying supplements" when I mention that I've worked on four books. It's funny, the things we do for validation.

I don't know. It's a common phenomenon I've seen amongst writers, particularly on the net, a kind of oneupmanship. A game of "I'm more of a real writer than thou." It's rarely put in those terms, but that's what it sometimes comes down to. I hate it when I feel myself start to play along. I don't want to go there. But sometimes I do. It's not like we're all in competition with each other, and yet in a way, we are.

Writing is such a solitary act, it's like we need to give ourselves rivals to push ourselves along.

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

Momentum

Wrote a scene and a half this morning, and stopped only because I didn't want to miss "The West Wing" again. I'm already itching to get back to it after lunch. This can only be a good sign. The retreat really got me fired up again for finishing this. I had been a little burnt out, I think.

"Midsummer" came back again, and I sent it out again. Yay for me. It's getting close to retirement, I think, but I'll try a few more places.

Posted by Lisa at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2003

Weekend recap

Might be short, as I'm very sleeeeeepy.

In short, the weekend rocked.

Okay. Going to bed now.

I'm KIDDING!

The hilarity started on Thursday night, when Mer, Julie, Eric, and I all met up to head out to the relative wilderness that is Mer's family's cabin. I don't envy Julie the task of typing up the quotes, but suffice to say, some of the best ones were in the car and are now lost because it was too dark for her to write them down. On the list of conversation topics: enumerating the various types of apocalypses and figuring how to escape them. As we got to the cabin at midnight, there was little to no writing done that day. The cabin, I should note, is absolutely gorgeous. Sitting in the living room, you're surrounded on three sides by the lake, as the house is built out over the water. I could sit there for hours and look at the water--in fact, I have.

Friday I was up a little bit before everyone else, and dove right into my writing, done on Julie's graciously loaned laptop, since mine is being difficult at the moment. Most of the day passed in quiet work with occasional pauses for conversation and/or bitching and moaning at our characters and plots and the like. That evening we went out to dinner at a local ribs-and-stuff spot, then came home and worked a little more before succumbing to the call of the television. After playing name that movie on TCM (turned out to be Solomon and Sheba--which I almost guessed, I swear!), we wound up watching the 1945 version of "The Picture of Dorian Gray", which was a seriously creepy movie, particularly for 1945.

Saturday, likewise, I was up a little before everyone (when the hell did I become such a morning person?!), but instead of diving into writing, I made the mistake of sitting and sitting. And sitting. Finally, around noon, I started writing. Needless to say, I didn't get nearly as much done on Saturday. Saturday night we hit the big metropolis of Hastings and caught dinner at Applebees and a movie. If you have the chance to go see "The Rundown", do it. I was skeptical and was sort of dragged in, but it's a seriously funny and seriously surreal action movie. Then we went home, and I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch until my snoring made the others drive me up to my bed.

Did you know that I talk in my sleep? I didn't, really. I thought I'd stopped long ago, but at some point in the night, Mer became quite irate with Eric, thinking he was downstairs with the television blasting. Alas, no, it was me in the bedroom next to hers, apparently having an intense conversation with myself. And of course, the conversation was punctuated with snores. I think I have guaranteed that I will never share a bedroom with another human being again as long as I live.

This morning was laid back. I got some writing done, but mostly we concentrated on lazing around, cleaning up, and packing up. I was home before 6:30. As I said before we left, a three day weekend was the perfect amount of time to spend up there. The last time we were there, for just a weekend, I hated like hell to leave. This time, I was sad about leaving, but I was also ready to go home too.

As far as the writing goes, word count wise:
Friday: 3030
Saturday: 1581
Sunday: 1109
Total: 5720 words, or about 19 pages

At least this time I managed to keep from making inadvertent comments about Eric's sex life.

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

Weekly (and monthly) progress report

And indeed, I have much progress to report.

Weekly word count: 8633
Last week: 4886
Highest day: 3030 (Friday)


Monthly word count: 32,021
Last month: 29,473
Highest day: 4071 (September 19th)

The Minions retreat refreshed and rejuvenated me in all the ways that really matter, particularly on the writing front. I'm not going to jinx myself by saying that I'm coasting now, but I feel like I've picked up enough momentum to carry me through the last three chapters of the book (yes, three--I'm back up to 18 chapters).

In other news, I got a rejection from Ideomancer today on "Midsummer", and it was addressed from a "Dorian E. Gray". The Minions will understand why I was incredibly amused by this. (Suffice to say, there are some songs I never want to hear again, and some movies that needed a much larger budget for music.)

Posted by Lisa at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

Home again, home again

I needed this weekend. It really couldn't have come at a better time, from a writing standpoint and from a personal standpoint. I had a marvelous time, and I wrote nearly 6,000 words. I feel ready to wrap this thing up. Due to some restructuring (again--for the last time, maybe?), I once again have 18 chapters. I finished up Chapter 15 this weekend, leaving me with three to go, again. I feel capable though. My goal is to have this finished by the 15th. I think it's a reachable goal.

Also planning to sign up for NaNoWriMo--again. I have a new novel idea for it, a departure from all the upcoming works I've got listed. Once I've got a working title, I'll be sure to post all about it. This one's another mainstream idea--nay, even chick-lit. It should be interesting to write. Something light and fluffy after all the serious epic stuff going on in Exile.

Posted by Lisa at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2003

80K and Writer's Retreat

God. It took me over two weeks to get the last 10,000 words of manuscript out. If I keep slowing down like this, I'll never finish. :P I'm really hoping to be over this rough patch soon. Like, before I finish the novel even. Still, 80,000 words. Whoa. That's pretty cool. I had a few moments of "I hate everything about this stupid novel" this morning, but they seem to have passed with little scarring.

That said, I'm so ready to be gone for the weekend, off to write and laugh and eat and write and maybe sleep a little, all on the shores of a lovely lake in a lovely little house. I'm taking a camera, Julie's taking down the quotes--prepare for lots of incriminating evidence.

I'm sure I'll post all about it Sunday or Monday.

Posted by Lisa at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

I'm not going to say 'I suck', because that's against the rules...

And now's the time when Lisa starts seeing all the flaws in the first draft of this beast. Problems in characterizations, worldbuilding issues, plotholes you could drive a truck through... grar. For now, I'm resisting the urge to try to fix them all right now, settling for just writing them in my little notebook in hopes of letting them go for now. But that, as much as anything, is stalling me from finishing the draft. I keep thinking back over the whole thing and deciding that it's all fucked up.

It's not. It's not. It's a first draft, and I can fix it. The basic structure and story are sound--even in this massive attack of novel-loathing, I know that much. Everything that I think might be wrong with it (and in a more rational moment, I may not see all these flaws) is something that can be fixed with a good, solid edit. Or two. It's worth fixing. But before I fix it, I gotta finish it.

Keep going. One word after another, one word at a time. Hell, one syllable at a time, if necessary.

So ready for this weekend.

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

October 01, 2003

I hate October

Moderately disappointing day today. The weather is really beating down my motivation. All I want to do is stay curled under blankets and watch TV or read. Fortunately, this weekend is the Minions writer's retreat, and I will be forced (through gentle and mocking peer pressure) to write my ass off. I'm also thinking I can get a little more done tonight after the "Angel" season premiere (yay, Spike!).

In not-so-disappointing news, I sent off "One Song Before I Go" to the Zoetrope All-Story Short Fiction Contest. Winners announced December 1st. Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Lisa at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

This might be a plea for help

I confess. I'm considering NaNoWriMo. Why? I don't know, exactly. Part of me suggests that starting a new novel within three weeks or so of finishing the old one might not be a good idea, but another part of me suggests that it might not be such a bad idea either. It would give me some distraction during the self-imposed six weeks (at least!) I'm going to spend avoiding Exile's Daughter. It would push me a little. The first time I did NaNoWriMo, I hit 50,000, and that was with working full time and going to school part time. I've steadily managed 30,000 words a month since I've been writing full time (granted, I'm hoping to be employed at some point here soon, but...).

Would pushing myself be a good thing? I've proven to myself that I can write a novel. I've proven to myself that I can work consistently and for an extended period of time. What benefit would there be by doing this? The only one I can think of, aside from distracting myself from obsession over Exile, is the camaraderie of the other lunatics doing this. The question is, do I need that? Do I want that?

I think the main reason I want to do it is because of how much fun I had the last two years. Writing The Host was, literally if melodramatically, a life-changing experience. Last year... well... just because I only made it to 25,000 words or so, that doesn't mean I didn't have fun.

I guess the biggest reasons I'm not sure I should do it are strange and a little snobby. First, I'm afraid I'll hurt my writing style somehow by trying to go too fast. That sounds silly now that I've typed it out. Let's just say that Lisa is going through a "I hate my writing" phase lately--it's probably related to that. Second, and this is the snobby reason, it's not 'professional'. Gah, that sounds lame too. Somehow part of my brain is insisting that I've "outgrown" NaNoWriMo--which is crap.

I dunno. I'm planning on starting another novel before the year is out anyway, why not do it this way and get the first half or so out of the way in November?

Still thinking about this one.

Posted by Lisa at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)