April 29, 2004
Why can't my work behave itself?
This novel (Sword in the Mound) started out as a joke. It was supposed to be a silly, fluffy little romance novel. Even the title's a joke! But no. It's getting delusions of grandeur. Re-reading what I've written of it so far, I realized that it quite likely is set in the same mythos as The Exile's Daughter, and could easily be a precursor to everything that happens then. (I'm spotting several ideas that I've apparently been developing in my subconscious for a long time now.)
Then I started thinking that my problem in ending Sword (and hello, if it's going to pretend to be a serious epic thing, then it needs to give itself a more dignified title than Sword in the Mound) is that there's more story potential here than in just one book. I mean, a bittersweet ending might work okay if there's a sequel coming, right?
And did I mention that one of my minor characters might have switched sides on me (again)? He's hinting that he might be more of a villain than I'd originally thought, the bastard. And all of this just from notecarding!
Clearly, this is why I can't write short stories. My brain refuses to think small. If I start pulling a Robert Jordan, someone shoot me, please?
I love this part, I know I do. I know that's why I have such a hard time editing, because I love this part so much more. I'm starting to think that I should just let my work ethic go where it wants, and work on what I want to work on, as long as I'm working on something, and quit second guessing it. I'm tired of constantly questioning what I "should" be working on. Am I wrong in this? I don't know--but tired of questioning myself. I realized this morning that maybe by working on continual first drafts, practicing on getting it closer to right the first time, I might get to the point that complete overhaul editing might cease to be necessary.
April 28, 2004
Clearly, pushing myself to work on nothing but editing (The Exile's Daughter and "Don't Look Back") was making me crazy, and making my work days devolve into shuffling papers and notecards around while I played Solitaire.
Part of the problem was that just because I can sit and write first draft material for three or four hours a day, I expected to be able to edit at that pace as well--so far, not working. Also, I've been frustrated at not turning out anything new.
So here's the plan: I'm going to spend a minimum of a solid hour each day editing. No paper shuffling and whining about how much I hate editing, but real work. Once the minimum hour is done, I'm free to continue, if I'm on a roll, or I'm free to go on to my 'new' project--which is a reworking of The Sword and the Mound.
This idea I'm actually excited about right now. I've started using Holly Lisle's fast plotting technique to whip the plot into shape. It's a non-linear approach, which is something I've never tried before. Hopefully this will kick me back into gear, cause I'm tired of playing Solitaire and whining.
April 26, 2004
There's no pleasing me, is there?
I'm not as excited about it as I thought I'd be. I'm not sure why this is. I mean, that was my favorite story for so long. I wrote the bulk of it three years ago--and that may be the problem. It doesn't feel like mine anymore. I've revised and edited and changed and fixed so much, it feels like it's as much the product of various editors' notes as it is mine. More so--my parts of it don't seem like me anymore either. I don't think I could write the story now. I've changed too much.
Another part of the problem is that I'm still not entirely happy with it. It still, after three years, isn't the story I wanted it to be. But for all practical purposes, it's done. It's published, I got paid for it, it's time to let it be what it is and move on. I know, I know. I'm bitching about publication. You are all entirely welcome to smack me when you see me next.
April 23, 2004
There and back again
Whenever I've been away from writing for a long time, there's always this fear that I won't be able to get back to it. Right before I start. I procrastinate, I waffle, and I generally avoid starting, because there's that fear sitting there staring at me. ("It's looking at me, Ray.")
So, yeah. Between my full time temp assignment (which is now over) and spending this week looking after my mom after oral surgery (which may be partly an excuse--especially since "looking after" often translated to "both of us falling asleep in front of the living room TV"), I haven't written in a while. I can't decide what needs the most work. I need to whip "Don't Look Back" into shape, and since that sounds the least intimidating this morning, I imagine that's what I'll do.
April 07, 2004
I'm still alive, I promise...
Starting this new job has been more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. So far this week I've come home and collapsed for a few hours, then gone to bed. Writing has pretty much fallen by the wayside, but I'm hoping to get back to it next week.
But in GOOD news for those who haven't heard it: "Midsummer" was accepted by Kenoma! It will appear in the April issue. Trust me, you'll read about it here when it's up.
April 05, 2004
"Don't Look Back"
My story has a title, temporary though it may be. The story as a whole is at that frustrating stage where it's almost there, damn it. It's a rough stage. Too much tinkering and I'll lose the edge. Not enough and I miss the potential that's there. I hate this part. I do, however, love the story. I just can't figure out what neat parts to develop the most.
And since I started a new job today, I'm feeling remarkably brain dead. As much as I hate it, writing is definitely taking a back seat, at least until I get used to the schedule change.
April 04, 2004
A story ambushed me in the shower this morning. I'd been considering the idea for about a week now. Apparently my subconscious got tired of turning the idea over and over, and decided it was time to push it to the surface. So, I wrote it. It's a rough sketch. There's a lot more details I have to put in and polish, but for the moment, I am in love with the idea. It's a retelling of a myth from a rather skewed perspective--one of my most favorite types of stories. More later, maybe when I have a title for it.
April 02, 2004
When the going gets tough, the tough... websurf
A fairly productive morning, but I realized that I have three scenes that cover very similar emotional ground within close proximity to each other. However, all three provide important information, both about the characters and about the world. So, after rewriting another scene, I realized that I'd need to combine the information from these three scenes into one, more likely two, separate scenes that didn't overlap quite so much.
I did some basic organization, and then my brain got mushy. I had to fight my tendency to go find something else to do when the writing (or rewriting in this case) gets hard. I was mostly successful. I have an idea how I'm going to tackle these scenes, but I don't have the mental capacity to do it right this second. Possibly this afternoon, more likely tonight or this weekend.
There's SO MUCH dead weight in this novel. I think there's far too much transition between scenes, and not enough scene. I'm very tempted to step all the way back and replot the whole damn thing using the notecard system from Holly Lisle's site. It worked for Mer, and worked damn well.
I'm starting to think this draft isn't so much a second draft as another first draft. There are plot and worldbuilding issues to fix before I can even worry tremendously about pacing and such. If nothing else, once those are fixed, maybe I'll just go through and strip out all the transitions, see what happens. I'm afraid to try it right now. It'd be like messing with the mirrors and stripping the chrome while I'm trying to fix the engine.
April 01, 2004
A productive day! Hallelujah!
Chapter 4, finished. Chapter 5, Scene 1, finished. I worked out exactly which flashbacks I want to incorporate and where I want them to go. If I could be this productive more than one or two days a week, I'd have this rewrite finished in no time!
"Sic Transit Gloria" came back on Tuesday, went out again yesterday, came back today--gotta love a fast turnaround time. I'm really at a loss for a good market here. It's not quite spec fic enough for most of the spec fic print markets, but it doesn't seem to be quite literary enough for the literary markets. I know there are a lot of excellent (and probably quite appropriate) online markets out there, but darn it, I wanna see my name in print again... I know. I'm being a snob. And a silly snob at that.
Also, quotes are up for the writers' retreat last weekend. It was, to no one's surprise, the Mer show. :) She's funny when she's fraught.