Uppity Women (NaNoWriMo Day #4)

Today’s word count: 507
Total word count: 1368

Dear Internet,

Note to self: A dinner of Lucky Charms, chased with a half bottle of Witches’ Brew, is probably not one of my more ingenious ideas.

I want to thank everyone for reading, sharing, and commenting on yesterday’s post. We’ve been having some really great conversations on Twitter as well, and I’m loving all the thoughtful commentary. The page is also been shared quite a bit across the social networks, which is also a bonus. Thank you to everyone for participating in this very important conversation.

While TheHusband is one of my biggest champions, he’s often one of the least likely ones to read my blog. This mostly has to do with how sporadic my updates have been over the last few years as compared to the last four days where this will be post #6. I also calculated the word count those posts are at about 5,000 words. My NaNoWriMo piece, well, not so much, but I’ll get to that in a second.

This morning while we were getting ready to head out for the day of errands, he seemed pretty excited by my story idea, which of course got me talking about what I wanted to do. We spent the better part of an hour with me verbally walking through some things about the story, what I liked, my ideas, what wasn’t working. We continued this later, over lunch, where we started drawing up an outline so that I could work from that.

His hypothesis was there were two types of writers in the world: Those who outline and need the skeleton before the flesh, and those who write and need just the flesh. (He listened to every episode of CBC Writer’s and Company from the last three years, thus the basis for his explanation.) He says my problem, or style, is that I write from the flesh AND I over edit. A paragraph could take me four hours. There is a beauty in that, for word precision is very important to me but that is obviously not going to work for NaNoWriMo.

To which I agree.

As we had left late in the morning, our errands were done by mid-afternoon, which would give me about six or so hours to write before Sunday night television kicked in. I was pretty excited about having that much time blocked off with all of my day’s chores done.

Except, I didn’t write. I read Facebook, Twitter, mailing list emails, Google reader and as well as wrote postcards. I had opened up Scrivener as soon as I sat at my desk and kept in running in the background, tabbing to it every so often to stare in petulance at it before tabbing back to whatever I was doing.

I even started answering the political robocalls.

But I wrote nothing.

Nearly every interview or piece I’ve ever read about writing, the author in question always, always, always mentions that in order to write, you must read. Read in your genre, your interests, outside your interests. Doesn’t matter, just read. A particular situation that worked in one story, could be tweaked for yours. As I noted in June , I knew I was depressed when I stopped reading or listening to music. I used to read 10 books a month, now I’m lucky if I will do that every six. I found when I started reading Game of Thrones this week, the connection to reading and writing became clear. Ideas were coming, sometimes fast and furious, as I traveled around Westeros. I got what those authors were throwing down.

(I’ve also read enough interviews of authors where they are often asked, “What are you influences/where do you get your ideas?” and they come off with a flippant reply that ideas are everywhere / from their brain / I make everything up or some other they-think-is-clever response. These authors, some very well known, are full of shit. You read, you get ideas, you make your own connections, you write. It’s cyclic. It’s simple. It’s not magic, no matter how much you want it to be.)

But today! Today after talking and walking through ideas, nothing came to pass. I was worried, I told TheHusband, for I started in one direction and now I have to change it fit this new theme. I’m even changing point of view (first to third) and that means I have to re-write everything. He argued with me, of course, for he said that you should continue in the new path and worry about the opening stuff later.

But I need to read what I have written in continuity to make sure it is making sense! He told me I was procastinating and sent me back to my desk.

I huffed in indignation like a three year old, grabbed my laptop, the notebook with story notes, and with Wednesday trailing behind me, came down to our dining room. Why I thought changing location, where TheHusband was arguing the Internet was possibly my real detrator, would help, I had no fucking idea. I thought perhaps liberal liquid lubrication would be helpful, so I uncorked a bottle of cheap wine and sat down.

And I began to write.

The take away from all of this: I need to develop a drinking habit to get things done.

There are a couple of things about this NaNoWriMo that are important to me: Finish a story, possibly in book form, write it in third person, and make it interesting. I know I can do this, I know that I want to do this, I need to stop allowing the oooh shiny from distracting me.

Or start visiting my local adult beverage store more often.

ttfn,
Lisa

NaNoWriMo: Day #1

Dear Internet,

Today’s word count: 861
Total word count: 861

One of the projects I worked on over the summer was consolidating my writing into a manageable organization to figure out what needed work, what didn’t and so on. I found all of my Scrivener files floating around various locations, consolidated them into one central location, and was pleasantly surprised to see how much notes and writing I had done on previous existing works. I spent a couple of hours reading and making mental notes because truthfully, I had no idea what I was going to write this time around other than I knew I had to write. I was hoping to put together ome kind of outline or plan, but even with some works in progress, this felt like it needed to be more off the cuff then researched based. Plus, I’ve also been bursting with so many ideas that it is hard to decide which one needs the love most of all.

I found a couple of pieces I had started writing from way back when and pulled bits of what I liked from them, using those ideas to craft something new. I cranked out almost 900 words in about 1.25 hours, which is pretty awesome I say. I know tomorrow, Friday, is going to be hard to steal time to write and I plan on making up most of the slack this weekend. I also need to start constructing something resembling a plot so I can get this project moving forward.

Here is what I’ve come up with: Unnamed female (so far), whom we’ll call Jane Doe for now, wakes up to the looming faces of her best friends to find out she’s lost several days. In panic, and concern, they reach out to one of Jane’s family members, a great aunt, who owns a store of some sort in norther Michigan, specifically on the 45th parellel. Her friends pack Jane, her dog Gaston, and most of her belongings into Jane’s car to send her to this mysterious to figure out her life.

Here is what I know:

  • From the 900 words, with very little written description  I know Jane is a blonde, ex-smoker who cheats like mad, and likes old technology. She’s angry, confused, and brave. She doesn’t know what happened, but she knows she’ll find the answer sooner or later. She has a dog named Gaston who is trained to respond to unique keywords. For example, “Chocolate chips” is his cue to go into attack mode. All of her immediate family is missing/presumed dead and she is an only child (this part may change).
  • Her aunt is going to be Nanny Ogg from Discworld mixed with Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. Her store (yet undetermined) will also act as a meeting place for the local supernatural/paranormal world. Jane doesn’t know it yet, but her family has some special skills. This also will help explain her missing/dead parents.
    • A year or so ago, I was digging around for conspiracies about the 45th parellel and came up with, well, quite a bit. There were once thought to be magical properties and a major ley line, so if there is any good place to have a paranormal world, this would be it.
  • A couple of years ago, I wrote a very detailed sequence of events of how one of my characters lost time, but it doesn’t quite fit in here. I’ll see what I can beat into submission.
  • I recently read about when the British moved from Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1752, that Wednesday September 2 moved into Thursday September 14 to make up for the drift of time over the centuries. I’ve been toying with the idea this “lost time” as it were, plays into my story. Think of something along the lines of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, except significantly less funny.
  • I’m debating on creating a new village in the area I am placing Jane or usigng an existing one. Jury is still out on this.
  • NaNoWriMo doesn’t have genre to fit this but it will best be described as paranormal/mystery/magical realism with a dash of quirk.
  • No romance unless it somehow moves the plot forward and pairing will not be the end all/be all for the final.
  • This will not be the great American-Canadian novel and I’m okay with that.

This should be enough to get me going for awhile.

More tomorrow.

TTFN,
Lisa

Brevis in longo

Dear Internet,

Apparently, I’m pretty prolific. In addition to upping my writing here, I’ve also been writing every day in DayOne, which I mentioned here, and also actually working on my fiction. There is one thing to be said for a humanities scholar: We know how to crank out verbiage like no one’s business. Between the three, and this is including the re-writes of public blog entires and the fiction, I’m cranking out about 5,000 words a day. And that is being conservative. Now how much of that is “good” writing? Hard to say, really. My writing in the public sphere tends to be tighter since I obsess over the editing, the writing on the private journal has better readability (because I an writing more freely and more about the minutia of my life), while the fiction writing is still uneven in a deckled edged way. Some of what I produce for the fiction side is dreck and other times, it’s pure gold.

(Also, I decided to style myself as a modern day Samuel Pepys, at least in my head.)

I think one of the reasons why this is becoming a lot easier is that I have finally figured out a system that works for me to keep all of this organized which was so problematic for me for years. I know, it’s crazy considering that I organize shit for a living, but I couldn’t organize my writing to really work for me until now. Finding the Day One app was probably the tipping point, and also being a heavy user of Evernote and Scrivener also helped.

Here’s the status of my current projects, and which will find it’s way to Readers. The main landing page for my writing will also have all posts about this topic on the page, and if a project has their own landing page, those too will have posts updated on their landing page. Thus, if you’re hot into Edwardian good times but not Viking gore, you can skip directly to the landing page for the Edwardian projet instead of slogging through all the posts about Vikings and everything else.

Books

Project Name: Cabinet Particulier
Status: Research
Details of the project on its own page, so I won’t repost them here. I started collecting the research in July and currently haven’t moved forward yet other than doing the readings. Ideally, I see this as a pretty big project (read book series) so I want to get it off to a good start and I have a vague idea of how the first book will go, I want to dig deeper into her world before I begin writing.

Project name: Unnamed Medieval project
Status: Idea formation and preliminary research
Details: At this point I know it’s going to concern a woman, possibly in Scotland, sometime before 1066. Possibly containing Vikings.

Short Fiction

Title: PETITIONS OF THE GODS
Status: 80% finished
Summary: From my notes: Anonymous protagonist gives background on the invitation, a brief history of the Althing, and beginning of the world creation.Our protagonist is losing power and she knows this. The struggle with her, and with others like her, is how to remain relevant in a world when less number of people are believing in them. What would you do to stay relevant?

The beginning and ending are strong, but I’m floundering in the middle. It’s already at 2500 words with some heavy revision in the last week, so much so that the outtakes have their own folder in Scrivener. TheHusband read one of the first drafts and liked a lot of the clever uses for explanation of things but I can’t unstick the sticky at the moment. While I think this is at 80%, I would not be surprised if I end up ripping it entirely apart and restructuring all of it.

Title: AD LIBITUM
Status: 80% finished
Summary: What happens inside the Sistine chapel when no one is looking? Answer: Sex, drugs, and disco.

Idea sparked a “what if” when reading an article tonight about Russia’s Golden Ring and the author wrote eloquently about the medieval cathedrals and churches they were visiting. The line, “Jesus jumped off the cross, stretched, and went to light a cigarette.”, which sparked the idea of what in the hell happens in a cathedral at night when no one is around? Within minutes, I found this gorgeous virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel and the story started writing itself.

———————————-

So far, I have nearly a dozen people signed up for Readers, which is awesome. I haven’t decided if I should close the request at this point or keep it open. I had planned on start pushing some of my older stuff through the list to get those cleaned up and publishable, but after reading through many of them decided not to. They are that wretched or I am not into the genre as much anymore or the story just doesn’t appeal to me. So they will stay buried in the digital trunk.

I’m so motivated to be creating again but I keep thinking what do I want to do with the stuff that I create? I definitely want it to be read by the world, but how to go about that is tap dancing in the back of my brain. Having been a bookseller for many years, I work now as a librarian, and then throw in all the writers, literary agents, artists, booksellers, and other people in the publishing world I either know personally or stalk online, I feel pretty grounded on the back end o the industry. I just want to make sure that I do the right thing by my work.

I was pretty thrilled to discover Duotrope yesterday in my quest to sort out submission organization for at least the short pieces because my librarian-fu was actually failing me looking for a comprehensive source for magazines, literary zines, and other such publications to submit my work to. At the very least, I know this is the path I want to take with my shorter fiction. I’m also thinking of some kind of crowdsourcing shenanigans might also be in place too. This is going to be amazing.

TTFN,
Lisa