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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

I haven’t been writing much–NaNoWriMo went well in November and I was able to wrap up a zeroth draft of Waiting for the Hurricane. I had plans to finish a first draft right away, but I couldn’t keep going through the holidays and extensive family obligations and travel. I’ve been working on my art but the writing has not been there.

Today when I was cleaning my desk and putting some stuff away, I knocked a box off the shelf. It landed on my foot. It was the draft and notes for Crows, the ghost story I drafted for NaN0 2013 and did another pass on for Camp NaNoWriMo last year.

So I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo with a goal of finishing the second draft. It will involve mostly filling in the places I skimmed over scenes, probably 20-25K worth of stuff, and deciding what to do about the two romance subplots. If I leave them both in, it might require quite a few more words. We shall see.

I even wrote a synopsis:

Everybody wants to find Carly.

Mrs. Norwood wants to kill her to protect herself. Her mother doesn’t want to lose her unpaid assistant. Heather wants her sister back. Dwight used to date Carly, but now he cares because Heather cares. He’s doing it for the woman he loves.

But the woman he loves doesn’t want him doing it. The woman he loves doesn’t believe in all that psychic stuff, not ghosts and especially not talking crows. The woman he loves thinks he’s batshit crazy.

And the crows are going to make sure he stays that way…

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It’s been kind of a difficult year for me, for no particular reason. Just sometimes life is harder to handle, y’know? Kind of like a common cold of the psyche, I suppose. There are family stresses that I could blame it on, but that’s not really the cause. I just haven’t been coping as well. Maybe more on that later.

I’ve managed to keep going. Art class, lots of music events, golf league, training for and then going on a week-long wilderness canoe trip in Canada, cruise vacation through Alaska, Japan, Korea, and China, Christmas with family here and in Germany, and lots of other fun stuff. My weight continues down, I’m fitter than I’ve been for a long time, and my blood sugar remains stable. The kids are all doing fine. Problems with my big toes, but compared to the stuff many of my friends are going through with hips and knees and backs, it’s nothing.

But when I sit down to write, it’s just–well, truthfully, I don’t usually sit down, or if I do, I read or crochet or play video games. There are words and ideas waiting. I just don’t want to write them down. I’ve had constipation of the creative process before, and this isn’t it. I thought maybe the family stress had drained me more than I thought, and gave myself the summer off, but I’m no closer to writing now than I was in May. The peer pressure and support of National Novel Writing Month let me push through most of a new draft, but since then, not much.

Truthfully, I’m scared, and that’s not something that has happened to me very often. I’ve had specific projects I’ve been afraid to tackle due to the emotional difficulty of the story itself (Michael’s unfinished story comes to mind), but most of the time, words have been my refuge and comfort. But now they’re a threat.

I don’t know what the threat is. I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

I know, I know. Sit down and write anyway. No other way around. Draft will be finished!

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July plans

Decision one: Camp NaNoWriMo?

Decision two: If so, what?

I can tackle Crows again now that I have a better idea what’s going on (and I need to remember to make some posts here about some of the things I’ve learned.)

Likewise, I could go back to Troy and Sal, or Genie-ous, the two other stories that hung up badly on the same issues.

I could write something new (several choices there)

I could revisit some of my old SF stuff, particularly the intelligent spaceship, or one of the steampunk stories.

I dunno. Thinking about it makes my brain hurt. Just too many choices

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The first part of the year has been less productive than I had hoped, mainly due to serious family drama (middle son and wife splitting up) which really hasn’t taken that much time since they’re in California and we’re in New England. But there’s been a lot of time in conversation, and a lot of time lost to just pondering.

Possibly as a result of having so many churning emotions that are hard to articulate, I put a lot of emphasis on my art classes. I’m quite pleased with the progress I’ve made there.

Got one shiny new idea and worked on it for March Madness. Will keep poking at it and the teenage vampires story; hopefully one of them will be ready to go for November, if I decide to NaNo it.

I’ve made it about halfway through the Crows draft. I’m working on it for Camp NaNoWriMo this month, with the goal of having a solid though not polished manuscript by the end of the month.

May will be primarily a reading-and-crocheting month, with a scaled back Story-A-Day.

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It was a busy year.

Grandbaby in February. New kitchen floor, gas range, washer and dryer in May. We bought a canoe, used it, and went on wilderness camping trip. And as usual there was golf league and art class.

Lots of walking, though no hiking this year. The focus was on learning to canoe so I’d be ready for the week-long wilderness trip.

Shoveled lots of snow. LOTS of snow.

Besides the trip to California for the grandbaby in February, David visited in June and the whole family including grandbaby was here in August. I visited my family in Montana in September and we took a major cruise in October.

My only goal for the writing this year was to keep working, and I succeeded in that. I had about 125K in new words and lots of revising, worldbuilding, and notes. Specifically:

* Revised outline for the first Sal and Troy book, and started the revised draft.
* Revised outline for Darien and started the revised draft, which stands at about 30K now.

* Revised the genie story, decided the short version wasn’t working, and expanded it to novel length for NaNoWriMo.

* Worked on PattiSue (new adult vampires and werewolves. Oh, the shame…)

* Story a Day yielded 11 ideas, 8 of which became partial drafts. Haven’t looked at them since though.

So it was a pretty good year. Except that for the second year in a row, I didn’t finish anything. And there were a lot of smaller things, like posting here, that I let slide. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Isn’t it nice to know I have things to work on next year?

Today’s post was inspired by the prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour!.

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The other thing I’m doing this month is the May Story a Day challenge at Forward Motion, the online writing community I belong to. Some people over the years really have done a story every day, but I’m only trying to write a few.

They’re posted on Forward Motion, but unless you’re a member there, you won’t be able to see them. So far I have a short humorous fantasy about some incompetent fairies and a contemporary story about an elderly woman trying to preserve her life. It’s probably the summary for a novel 🙂

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April wound up being fairly successful despite the personal chaos, which can only be described as “internal crisis.” There’s nothing going on outside. The world is good as far as that goes. So I decided to just ignore it and signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d had a thought out of the blue about how I could resolve a plot-and-motivation problem in Darien’s story and wanted to implement that.

I figured it ought to be good for 50k, but when I got going, I discovered further complications (of the not-good-for-the-story sort 🙂 ) and issues arising from inadequate character development, which in turn revealed big gaps in my worldbuilding. The characters were doing things but they didn’t have attitudes about the world around them, and their interrelationships were exactly like relationships in 2015 America. I had written the earlier draft on the assumption that I could go back and fill in the details later, but clearly that wasn’t working. So I lowered my word count to 30,000, which turned out to be a comfortable pace.

So my plan for May, complicated as it is: keep writing at a comfortable pace 😀

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