Friday, February 29, 2008

I think I'm getting better at this

I made my goal of 8K for the month of February. Considering the month I just had, I'm very surprised by that. But yay, me! I think I'm learning to let go a bit.

So this month I'm raising my goal to 10K. That's just over 300 words a day, which sounds emminently do-able, does it not? (blink, blink) We'll see, yup. I've got my game on, now!

Congrats to Vicki on her one-year anniversary - SCENT OF SHADOWS came out one year ago! There's a give-away at Urban Fantasy Land, to celebrate.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I'm still a bit short of my goal for the end of the month, but I think I can pull it off. Some good advice from a friend - (get a quiet spot, dolt) - has been working out very well. I was writing at the kitchen table with my Beloved going about their business all around, and even though I thought I was fine, it was really interfering with my ability to really "get into" my character. So that's working much better now.

I'm also reading THE SPYMASTERS LADY, and lemme tell you, our Ms. Bourne has some chops. I'll be back to rave about that later.

In the meantime, eliminating distractions and making the most of my time remains key. I don't know what I'd do without my few buds though, this is indeed a lonely biz.

I have some funny stories I want to tell, but alas, the time...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Business as unusual

It's a full moon. Those of you who have worked in retail will understand what this means.

Take the man who called me the other day.

Him: "Yuh, hello? Zis the computer place?"
Me: "Yes, how may I help you?"
Him: "Yuh. I was just wondering, you know. My brother in law, he was goin' duck hunting. And he hadda get a gun permit AND a hunting license JUST to go duck hunting."
Me, reaching for the ibuprophen: "Right." And this has what exactly to do with me?
Him: "So, every time I turn on my TV I see people are using these computers to, like, steal money and mess up kids and stuff. I wanna know how comes you don't need a permit to have a computer."
Me: "Um. What?"
Him: "Well, yeah, like. So I called the RCMP, and they said call my MLA. And my MLA said why don't I call the computer people."
Me: "Wait, now. You resent that your brother in law needed a permit for his gun, but you think the 600 kids at my son's elementary school should require permits to have computers?"
Him: "Well, I don't see the difference. There should be a test you take to make sure you're a good person and stuff."
Me: (splutter)
Him: "See, you can use them both to hurt people."
Me: "I could use a hammer to hurt y...someone...but..."
Him: "Anyways, it's all just a money racket."
Me: "What?"
Him: "Yeah. I don't see why we can't just get rid of them."

It went on from there. I had actual brain damage. I think I still do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

mental space

Yes, I did it again. Three-four days went by and I did not write. Now I'm sitting here wearing a grimace and a dunce cap, trying to slip into character while the phone rings and customers come and go. What I really need is a door.

I've been thinking to myself about private mental spaces - retreats - that writers go to when they're working. I'm building mine now, maybe you can visit me when it's done. Jo has a nice spot (See December 1st, 2007 post). Where do you go to block out the world?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My poor little brain

I'm still wrestling with this, but it's not a grim, life-and-death battle, it's more like trying to get the top off the pickles.

Today I sat down and explained my whole story to my co-worker. This is a strategy I often use when I'm "stuck" - whether it be something to do with accounting, a personal dilemma, or my writing. "Come here and listen to me for a sec" is a request that my employees come to understand - they're really only required to pull up a chair and be a warm body with ears. Maybe nod occasionally. The act of explaining the problem to someone else often squeezes whatever synapse is clogged, and I am suddenly free again.

Anywho, this verbal synopsis did help to clear up some of my muddy-headedness in regard to the way I want to develop some of the suspense through the end of the first part of the story. Today I'll sketch out a few scenes to fill in that gap. Yay! It's working!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Writer, know thyself

I am now at the point where it all died the last time – the beginning of the middle. I know what went wrong with JUNIPER – the getting stuck, and the endless rewriting of the first third of the book - and I'm determined not to make the same mistake again. And yet, I feel the gears slowing.

What's happening? I'm losing track of my plot, and I'm feeling that impulse to go back over what I've written, to refresh my memory, to make sure it makes sense. Trouble is, I don't fool me. I know what's happening here. This is starting to look like a big job, and I'm getting intimidated. I want to reassure myself that I know what I'm doing, so I think it's a good idea to go back and look at what I've written. And I know exactly what I'll do, if I go there.

I'll fiddle. I'll pick. I'll rearrange. I'll stall. I'll do anything – except tuck in my chin, put my head down, and work through the doubts.

The first part of my story is like the shallow end of the pool, and I'll wallow there indefinitely if I give myself that chance.

So I've struck a compromise. I've got out the damned cue cards, yes I have. And I've written a brief description of each scene on one, right up to the place where Part Two definitely begins. Then I put a butterfly clip on that stack of cards, and set them aside. That process was my review, and that's all there's going to be for now. No setting them out of the floor and arranging them according to the tension requirements, no organizing them to best show the development of relationships. That's it, that's all. I've got blank cards now, and it's about brainstorming the new material from this point on.

And you know what? I think it's going to be ok.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Blowing chunks

I'm entering a new phase here - leaving the more-or-less linear pattern I was following, and reverting to my previous habit of floundering around in chunks of story which have no apparent destination in the actual book. I mean, of course they go somewhere. Hehe. I think.

Writing style - not voice, but strategy - is something that seems to happen TO me, rather than being a tool I use to get the job done. Sometimes I feel like I'm just here for the ride, just listening, just getting it onto the paper. This week has been like that. And since the characters are fighting for air-time, I'll take it! The trick will be to take control again when they stop. One ought not to be a victim of the craft, after all.

So for now I'll take it on faith that all shall be revealed to me in good time, and happily fling nonsense on the page until then. At least it's fun.

My January goal was (cough) not met.
In February, I will aim at 8K again, and try to get to the keyboard every day, even if it's only to write fifteen lousy words.