Monday, September 29, 2008

What I Did Today

Tonight's post is brief and to the point:
  • Started/Finished Chapter Eight
  • Total Words So Far = 12,874

I'm a day ahead of schedule right now. Not sure what tomorrow might bring. Tuesday is always an extremely busy day in my week. As it stands now, I can - technically - take tomorrow off from writing. I do that sometimes. I do that quite often at times.

The chapter today came out of no where. I had a very vague thought and then voila the words poured forth and I somehow formed them into enough coherency to make a chapter. Go figure!


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Writing in My Mind

Do you realize that a lot of the writing I do occurs solely in my mind? I kid you not. I never know when/where inspiration will strike. I keep notepads throughout the house, in my car, and on my desk at work. A lot of times I jot things down, but sometimes, I just write them in my mind and - hope beyond hope - that I'll remember them later.

When I'm working on a project, I'm thinking about it constantly. I might be reading a book, yet thoughts of the project are in the back of my mind. Every now and then, a thought leaps to the forefront and I quit reading so I can concentrate on the thought. Many times, I'll stop and jot down notes. This morning, I just let the thoughts free-form, coalesce, and gel into some type of coherence. I continued to read. I continued to think at the same time. Multitasking at it's best or - possibly - worst. Whatever the case, this morning helped clarify where I was going with the new project - the chapter formats and how to change things up, while still keeping the integrity there, of other projects. In the end, if something works, keep doing it. In the end, I like a little bit of diversity in both my life and writing style. The changes to the format of this project, from the project I am currently searching for an agent, are minimal, but enough to stand out.

What I Did Today:
  • Started/finished Chapter Six
  • Started/finished Chapter Seven
  • Total Words = 10,983

If any one's keeping track - I've been working on the project for 4 days. At 2,000 words per day, I needed to have 8,000 words by the end of today. I'm obviously ahead of schedule. I may or may not be done writing for the day. Right now, I need to go iron shirts to wear to work this week.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I Did Today

Saturday and Sunday are often intensive writing days. Today, not so much. I still did something, though, and something counts in the grand scheme of things.

Today I . . .
  • Started/Finished Chapter 4 & 5
  • Total Word Count = 7,774

My normal daily goal when doing the rough draft is 2,000 words. I met that goal today. I normally plan for the rough draft to equal a minimum of 50,000 words, and a maximum of 60,000. At 2,000 words per day x 30 days (did I mention I normally try to write the rough draft in one month's time??) = 60,000 words. What does this mean? It means that, with some effort, and catch up on the weekends (perhaps 5,000 words per day on the weekend to make up for any shortfalls during the week - life happens, you have to cook dinner for your partner, go out for margaritas with friends, take the dogs for a run, ET phone home, etc.) a person can write a rough draft in a month. I learned this nifty trick by participating in National Novel Writing Month - it happens every November. Google it and do it, just once. It was definitely a learning experience for me and taught me that a rough draft is possible in 30 days!


Friday, September 26, 2008

What I Did Today

This is what I did today:
  • worked out initial kinks in concept of new project; in the words of Project Runway's Timm Gunn, I made it work!
  • created bullet point document listing what would/could/should happen (not a true outline - don't do outlines) in the project.
  • asked these questions: what are the conflicts of this concept? and what needs to happen in this concept?
  • answered the above questions
  • created Excel worksheet containing character descriptions (age, hair, eye color, height, family, books they like to read, movies they like to watch, favorite adult beverage, etc.)
  • finished Chapter 1
  • started/finished Chapter 2 & 3
  • total words written so far = 5,564

The above is what works for me. I don't do traditional outlines. I just write and see what happens. This process does not work for everybody. I'm constantly asking myself questions as I go along. I also know that thins can/will change as I go through the editing process. I look at the writing process as the building of the human body. First there is the skeleton (rough draft) and then there are the muscles/etc. (first draft), the organs (second draft), the skin (third draft), and lastly the characteristics (fourth draft) a person human. Each subsequent draft, each read through and edit, brings the manuscript closer to completion. The manuscript does not, just like humans, emerge fully formed. Conception has to occur first. It is a process.

It's All a Process

The joys of a writer's life. For the last few weeks I've been jotting down notes - the normal pre-writing procedure - for the latest project. I had a general idea of where I was going with the new project. What'd I do yesterday - before I created this blog? Tossed all that info out the window and started from scratch. It worked. The words flowed easily for the first section, the characters are in place, and the main conflict is in place as well. I'm changing the format somewhat from the project I currently am doing an agent search. On that project, the story unfolds from the perspective of three characters. It works, for that project. I'm not really sure I'll do three perspectives this time or not, especially with the conflict going on with one of (or the) main characters. I could very well limit this one to just one perspective. Hey, it'd be different from what I've done before and different can be good. It's all a process.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Orm

What is the orm? It is, at least according to Walter Moers, inspiration. He talks about the orm in his wonderful fantasy novel called The City of Dreaming Books. This is an odd little novel all about books . . . and writing. It is one of those books I picked up on a whim and bought because of the nature of the book and the pages (the feel, the texture) of the book. In his words, the orm is as follows:

You'll understand the instant you sense it. Yes, you can sense it. there are moments when ideas for whole novels rain down on you in seconds. You can sense it when you write some dialogue so brilliant that actors will recite it on stage, word for word, in a thousand years times. Oh yes, you can sense the Orm! It can give you a kick up the backside, transfix you like a shaft of lightning or turn your stomach. It can rip the brain out of your head and reinsert it the other way round! It can sit on your chest in the middle of the night and give you a frightful nightmare - one from which you'll fashion your finest novel. I've sensed the Orm myself - oh yes! - and I wish I could sense it just once more. (p. 406)

That, my friends, is inspiration. Does it happen to me every time I write? Of course not. Have I experienced the full force of the Orm? Yes, once upon a time in a major way, and many times in a minor way. The project which I am currently searching for an agent was written with the aid of the Orm. I wrote the rough draft - 50,000 words - in two weeks. Yes, two weeks. It was an obsession. I took notes at red lights and stop signs. I jotted down notes whenever I could and sent myself dozens of emails. I could think of almost nothing else from the moment I wrote the first paragraph until I wrote the last paragraph. I neglected my partner (12 years at that time) something horribly during those two weeks and lost some weight as well since I would come home from work, sit down at the laptop, and type away. Food - at least for dinner - was not a main priority. So yes, I have experienced the Orm and wish that every writer -at least once if not a hundred times - experiences it as well.


The Beginning

I began a new writing project today. The words flowed easily. Perhaps my Muse was perched delicately on my shoulder whispering into my ear. Perhaps the stars were in alignment. Whatever the reason - and trust me, I'm grateful - the words flowed easily and my fingers flew across the keyboard as I wrote the first section of my latest project.

Sometimes, the words come at a snail's pace. I hate those days. I sit in front of the computer, fingers poised over the keyboard, my brow furrowed, and my - often overworked - mind working furiously as I try to force my fingers to type coherent sentences that string together into paragraphs and chapters. Some days, nothing happens. Today was different.

Today inspired me to write create this blog. I'll update the blog as often as possible. Just don't expect everyday updates. I have a life, after all. I work, I have a partner and together we have three cats (Jordy, Tasmyn, and Squeaky) and two dogs (Jesse and James). I also have projects to work on, another blog to update on occasion, and now this one. So, you just never know when you'll see an update.

My plans for this blog are to chronicle the writing journey of this current project, plus just blog about other things - query letters, inspiration, the agent search, and tons of other wonderful stuff that have to do with writing. When I have good writing days, I might blog. When I have bad writing days, I might blog. You just never know when I will or will not post an entry. There might even be days - as with my other blog - when I post three blogs in the same day. Some days just provide that much information.

To that extent, in case you're still reading, let me talk about my new project. I've been tossing around ideas for a while, taking notes, creating (and changing) characters, and doing all the stuff I always do before I begin a project. Today, taking notes, etc., everything seemed to gel together. I have no idea why. It just happened. There are things I question in this life, and there are things I don't question. The gelling together of ideas is one of the things I don't question. I just go with the flow. It works. Why mess with something that works? Anyhow, I started to type and kept on typing through 5 pages. I was going with my instinct, which seemed right on target today. I also got the familiar chill - goosebumps, the good kind - while writing. I never argue with the goosebumps.

That's it for this post. Check back every now and then.