Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lament for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo's coming soon
And millions will by typing
Their goal? A thousand words by noon
--no blogging and no Skyping!

They'll churn out words by leaps and bounds
Resist the urge to edit
Until they've won their writing crowns
And earned their "winner" credit

December first will end the rush
And make the agents cringe
For they fear the impending crush
Of horrid books formed in a rush
By writers on a binge.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not Writing--Planning (Or Is That Writing?)

Why do I find it so hard to write without a plan? I read about so many who are "pantsers," who write with abandon, with little idea of where their story will go, who will be involved in its development, even where it will be set. They just pick up and start writing.

I. Can't. Do. That.

I can't. I've tried. Sure, I can get words down on paper, but I'll spend pages and pages going nowhere (or heading in the wrong direction), and I'll waste all kinds of time writing blather that will only be deleted in entirety when I revise. Heck, even when I outline I end up writing a bunch of stuff that disappears as I edit... it only gets worse when I try to head off without a plan.

So I spent two days "planning" my short story about chocolate. TWO days! It's just like when I paint--I take twice as much time to sketch out what I'm going to paint as I do painting it.

What about you? Is your magic in your planning, or do you have the ability to sort things as you go, letting the characters act as they will and recording their progress with no idea where it will end up?

While I await your answers, I'm off to finish my story--or revise my outline. I know, it's pretty pathetic. But it's what I do, and it works for me (mostly), so I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting Sick

My son was a beast for the babysitter yesterday, and at two a.m., I discovered why.

Ear infection. That's pretty much the perfect way for my son to feel out of joint. I treated his ear, then did it again at 4:30 a.m. He's sporting a fever as well, so it's no school for him tomorrow.

That means my busy week is over! Yes, I did have a Zumba class scheduled, along with a work lunch with a local librarian... but I'll have to cancel, so that my little one can snuggle next to me and feel sick at home (instead of coughing on all the kids at school). My nose is starting to run, too. Darn!

The silver lining? Except for sweeping and cleaning bathrooms--which simply can't wait any longer--I get to write ALL day long. That's good, too, since I have a children's story to turn into verse form and a death by chocolate story to write out over the weekend so that I can polish it up next week. Plus I need an OUTLINE for my NaNoWriMo novel.

So, why am I writing on this blog? No idea. I guess I just wanted all of you know the ugly voices have been pretty quiet over the last few days since the last post. And they'll likely grow even quieter, since I'll be snuggling up to my son and my laptop over the next few days.

And a box of kleenex.

BTW, how does one disinfect a laptop?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anything But Writing!

I managed, with fantastic creativity, to avoid writing all weekend. I can't write individual blog posts about it, though, for they'd last two weeks, so I'll just list them:

Cleaned out the pool filters
Cut out a costume for my daughter (why do I make things from scratch?)
Nearly finished a costume for my daughter
Spray painted a fan and hat silver
Cleaned more
Took out the trash
Did dishes
Made several meals
Practiced Zumba
Watched two movies
Read a book (hated it)
Cleaned more
Went to church
Captured a lizard and set it free outside the house
Helped kids with their piano practice
Played video games

I'm sure I'll think of a dozen other activities I found to keep from writing. Why do I do this, when all I want to do is write? I have a crayon story absolutely burning to be written, and another one about chocolate which is blooming in my head, too. My kids were in bed before eight, but when I sat down to write, finally, at the end of a long weekend, I just couldn't make myself do it.

I guess now is the time. Signing off. I still have two hours before the kids wake up and get ready for school. That's one huge benefit from waking up super early every morning. I might actually get something written!

Unless I can find something else to do instead...

Friday, October 14, 2011

All the People All the Time

I've decided I'm quitting. No more writing for me, not until my novel sells. And sells big.

Some writers have big goals--being famous, getting millions of dollars, blah, blah, blah. I don't care about the money, or the fame. But I want every single person in the whole wide world to love my book. Not just a sort of "Meh, I guess it was okay." I want them to adore it, buy ten copies for friends, read it every morning before they go to work, sleep with it under their pillows.

After all, any book worth anything is loved by everybody, isn't it? Doesn't everybody love Shakespeare? Stephen King? The Harry Potter series? Jane Austen? The Bible? Okay, perhaps not everybody loves all of this--but they would, if they liked reading? Right?

Then again, isn't the second most published book, after The Bible, Hitler's Mein Kampf? And wasn't Huckleberry Finn banned?

You know where this is going, right? I don't have to spell it out for you, do I?

Know this: I'm not quitting. And if only 1 in 5 people who read my book like it--and even if only 5 read it--that's one person I've touched.

And that's all I need. That's all you need, too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ha! Ha!

Can't post right now--too busy writing! Yup, writing! I'm actually writing! I said I wouldn't, I tried all I could to avoid it, but I'm doing it anyway. So there!

Nanny nanny boo boo!

(Hope you're writing too too!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not Writing--Going to Conferences!

I have always found that the best way to avoid doing something is to talk about doing something, on and on, until you and everyone around you are thoroughly sick of it.

I was dangerously close to working on one of my novels--I had the whole Saturday free!--so I took the best step I could to avoid writing: I attended a writing conference. Actually, it was a writing "master class."

Somehow I found a fellow writer to go with me--another novelist who tends to write in the YA lit category--and we traipsed down to Tallahassee for a class on character building. A pretty lame class, actually (though most of the writers there seemed to really like it). Since we were also both educators, our main beef was with the format of the class. For instance, the presenter had a system for identifying the kinds of elements in one's novel using many colors of highlighters. A pretty cool system. Only we didn't even begin working on the manuscripts we brought until nearly the end of the all-day session. And it wasn't until AFTER we'd highlighted our own manuscripts that she brought out a "practice" sheet for us to all work on together so that we could understand what we were doing.

She also spent a good bit of time (and several handouts) advertising her future online and in-person workshops. And her daughter's. And her 350-page lecture packets. If she'd actually published any books of her own, I'm sure she would have been selling those, too.

Still, I thought, it's not a total waste. After all, it did keep me writing for ELEVEN hours. That in itself would be worth the money spent, since I've been having a really hard time lately keeping myself from writing.

Only it didn't really help. I took the first fifteen pages of my manuscript, and despite the instructor's method, the highlighting made it clear that the reason I hated the beginning of my book is that I had 7 pages of back story right at the beginning, instead of starting the novel in the middle of the action. Eureka!

Now I'm all pumped about cutting that crap out and sifting it in slowly (or dumping most of it). And now I'm bursting to write more, to finish up the last tidying of The Ghost Portal manuscript and query letter (and agent listing) so that I can get to revising this haunted house novel. The only reason I didn't work on it last night is that I was exhausted, but I woke up at 4:15 this morning, ready to write. And the kids are asleep until at least 6:30... so I can't start vacuuming, do laundry, or wash dishes yet.

Must. Find. Something. Else. Now!

(Any ideas?)