notes for cabinet particulier, part iv: draft of first chapter completed

Dear Internet,

It’s about 8:30PM and I’m sitting on the front deck, still in my jim jams from the night before. This is the second time today I have stepped foot out of the cabin, the first being this morning when after I woke and received a phone call from the Cedar postmaster telling me the post carrier had flagged where we can put our new mailbox and I had walked out to check to verify the location. After that, my butt was parked either at the island in the kitchen or in the chaise  (so very chic) writing and researching.

My book takes place in 1907 London that revolves around an aging actress who is  not terribly good but she is what matters most and that is she’s one of the most beautiful women of her age. I’m styling her looks after the famed American silent film actress from the same era, Maude Fealy.

maudefealy

As my character is an Edwardian London stage actress, I spent some time today gathering moar research on the theaters of the era and discovered a gem of a site that also had a handy Google map of theaters from the era, including play programs, photos, and loads more.

I also dipped into cosmetics and etiquette of the era, finding a boon of a book entitled Every Woman’s Encyclopedia, from 1910, which ran into a hefty 8 volumes and 6000 page. The book is intense. Here is a gem on how Edwardian lady should keep her eyes more becoming:

thinkingcap

Yes, let us not weary our poor optic nerves, shall we ladies?

I had the idea of how I wanted the book to open and numerous first lines had already appeared, so instead of working out a vague outline of where I wanted the book to go, I just sat down and wrote instead. Several hours later, I had 2100 words in a pretty good first chapter under my belt with ideas of where I was going.

Tomorrow I was to go kayaking with Emili, but I just texted her to beg off since I’m in the zone and needed to continue plowing through with my work. Kristin is coming up tomorrow evening for the weekend and we’ll be busy and I’m heading back to Grand Rapids on Sunday (can’t miss my Sunday evening telly). Next week is going to be busy as John is coming into town on Tuesday evening to stay at Throbbing Manor and we are heading to the Code4Lib Midwest conference on Wednesday/Thursday. Since many of my favorite people are going to be at the conference as well, there will be lots of socializing. Friday I head to Mt. P to hang with Kristin for the weekend and we’re meeting up with some of our cmmrb pals and then it’s back to the grind on Monday when I head back to the cabin for MOAR writing for a week and then the cmmrb weekend will be here and then it will be August.

Jesus fucking Christ. In the four days I’ve been up here, between blog posts, writing the chapter, and research I’ve cranked out 10,000 words. I am a mutherfucking machine!

On that note, I’m getting off the laptop and calling it an early night. I’m going to brush the fuzz off my teeth, wash my filthy body, and make a bowl of popcorn. Yes, yes I did indeed bring my beloved hot air popper to the cabin with me. I’m then going to curl up around my ipad and watch Downton Abbey, for you know, research.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2008, 2003, 1999, 1998

WIP: July writing schedule

Dear Internet,

It’s mid late Sunday afternoon and we’re still up at Throbbing Cabin. TheHusband and I are teaching ourselves how to relax and he’s doing a fine job of it at the moment if his snoring is any indication by cleaning the gutters and other yard work.

Me, on the other hand? I‘m actually working but it’s the kind of work I love to do so it is actually fun, not work. Following him around the perimeter of the cabin with the shop vac on my shoulder so he can suck up all of the last years worth of leaves from the gutters.  And isn’t this what the whole adventure was to be about in the first place? 

Fuck. I was tricked into doing yard work.

Moving on. I am not allowing myself feel guilty for not getting much writing work done my first official week into this new venture. Domesticity had to be done and so it was and now that I have a sort of rhythm going to my day and making heavy use of my calendar, I’m sort of figuring out what direction I’m going in.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. When I’m not being tricked into doing yard work, that is.

Today’s writing task was to sort through all of my scraps stored on Google Drive and Dropbox, consolidate them and remove the duplicates, then import non-journal based things into a Scrivener project I manage for such works I titled Story Ideas. Story Ideas is my launching pad for all of my fiction writing as any idea, line, scrap of something lands up here and organized into one of seven main sections, Book Ideas, Story Ideas, Stories in Progress, OuttakesResearch, Scrivener Projects (projects with their own Scrivener project file), and Completed.

Most of this is pretty self-explanatory except perhaps for Outtakes which is chunks of writing I’ve removed for whatever reason and did not want to trash and Research, which is links to things I want to dig into more but not sure what for just yet.

This task turned into the rabbit hole of all holes as I have folders inside of folders in various places across Dropbox and Google Drive. I’ve now made a ToDo item to dig more to figure out what each piece is (journal entry? prose? short story? something else entirely?) and sort it out later. Everything that could easily sorted today got moved into Scrivener to keep it all in one location.

Right now the stats are

  • 46 story ideas (various states)
  • 16 book ideas (mainly first few chapters, synopsis, and related material)
  • 8 short stories in progress (most are near completion)
  • 8 notes in Research
  • 4 completed short stories
  • 2 existing Scrivener projects

This does not include all the notes I’ve made in paper journals or index cards not yet transferred, notes made in SimpleMind for an Icelandic saga cycle I’m working on, or what other treasures are still lurking on my drives.

(If this all sounds impressive, it is and isn’t. I had no idea the sheer amount of prolificness BUT  a lot of it is dreck. I’ve got NaNoWriMo projects dating back to 2001 (and novels started as far back as 1999) that are very clear indicators of what I was into at the time, which isn’t the same as I am into now. 95% of this will probably never see the light of day as it’s pretty bad, thank fuck.)

The big thing I need is accountability, because this current organization in its natural chaotic state is a hot mess.

At the beginning of the month I’ll put up my writing plan and at the end, summarize what I did. I’m not going to do word counts (yet) because I have no idea how to apply it realistically. From June 28th – July 5th, on the blog alone, I cranked out 9, 724 words over 13 blog posts. That’s not including work I’ve done on note taking, story editing, and anything else since I don’t have those numbers. So word counts are out (for now).

Additionally, TheHusband wants to see some kind of timeline of my work progress so he knows when he needs me to crack the whip or for me to calm the fuck down. All very civilized in our household.

Behold! Projects for July:

  • Launch lisarabey.com finally
  • Plow through current library loans and ARCs from NetGalley and get reviews written
  • Collate notes on the Edwardian mystery, continue with research, and get most of the structure sorted
  • Start fleshing out 45th parallel story
  • Finish or shelve in-progress short stories and submit completed ones
  • Get Vol 1 of secret Kindle project completed and online
  • Continue note carding ideas / quotes / etc for future projects

Is this a lot? It feels like a lot but at the same time it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I feel what needs to be done.

When I check in 25 days, we’ll see how it went!

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2003

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