Writing, Writing, and More Writing

Despite being busy late today, I managed to write about 880 words today, and finished the first half or so of Chapter 9. So far, I've tallied about 21,500 words of this story. I'm not sure how many words or chapters there will be--but it'll be enough to tell the story. :-)

As for getting it done, getting it to the point where I won't be making any more revisions--well, this is the rough draft, and I want to go through at least two revisions (more likely, three) before deciding to offer it up for critiquing. (I'm going to go with another online crit group, not because the one I'm with is bad, but I feel like a cheapskate at the moment, heh heh.) But all that's down the road, because there's no way in hell I'd offer up a first draft for critting.

Don't give up--keep writing!

Oh, IILAA, You Make Me Ill

I blogged about the International Independent Literary Association last Friday, and it looks like the fit has hit the shan. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. Apparently, a lot of writers and writing boards had quite a few Curly yuks at this lame excuse for a "literary" association/club/whine pit/whatever. The Myst graphics, the bad grammer, and the now-infamous "be a retainer" actually gave me a good laugh when I wasn't feeling all that well on Friday.

But then this morning dawned, and I found the main page has been reduced to: "Hello there! I am currently working on the site....... Thanks for visiting!"

May it forever rest in pieces.


I Thought Yesterday Would Amount to Nothing

That is, as far as my writing is concerned. But I did the EFT thing, and, yet again, the words flowed from my nimble fingers. Sure, some of it's dreck, but that didn't deter me, at least not during this, the get-the-general-idea-down phase.

I finished Chapter 8 with about 2,200 words (give or take a few)! Today, meh. I'm not sure I'll be writing anything today. I had a lot to do this morning during this day job of mine, and now I'm just waiting for my boss to leave before I begin anything. That's so he doesn't interrupt me. :-)

Anyway, I wonder if I've come down with something. I feel a little washed out, so maybe there are some germs circulatin' in this here air on this here floor. I overheard the other day two or three people saying something about their sinuses; a woman that works with them was at home, dealing with her sinus problems.

I've had sinus problems for a good portion of my life, but I can count on one hand (no, trust me, I can do that) the number of times where it was so severe I couldn't function beyond lying on couch with my eyes shut. It's akin to getting migraines, where you have to lie down in a dark room for several hours. It's agony, like someone continually hitting you between the eyes or on either sides of the nose with an aluminum bat.

Fortunately, my sinuses are in decent shape (they're never perfect, that's for sure), but I know there are ill people around here (as opposed to sick people, of which I am one), coughing and sneezing, etc.

Soon enough, I'll be outta here and back home. So, meh, again.

Check This Out...and Have a Good Laugh

If you checked out Absolute Write's boards or Miss Snark, you'll know about this one: the International Independent Literary Association. Eee hee hee hee. Most of these jokers that purport to be agents (HAH!) are on Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agencies List.

Although the graphics on the site remind me of the computer game Myst (that's the first thing I thought of when I went to the site), the background color is garish, and the writing...well, go check it out in the link above.

I don't have time to deconstruct most of what's there but suffice to say: If an "agent" says you have to pay something up front (a reading fee, for example) or tells you you must get your manuscript "professionally edited" (and aren't they nice, providing you with a specific person/company that'll do that for you?)--RUN AWAY! This is not what an agent does. An agent works on commission; why should they try to sell your manuscript if they get USD$100 up front or whatever? As for professionally edited...hell's bells, what do you think editors at publishing companies do (and, yes, agents will ask for edits up front, but they'll reject your baby outright if they think it needs a major overhaul). Contrary to what scam agents tell you, editors at publishing houses do edit.

Want a primer on how the publishing biz works? Go to the Absolute Write boards and check out the thread, "How Publishing Really Works." It's a real eye opener.

As always, don't give up--keep writing!


I Swear I Had An Entry Ready to Go Yesterday...

But, unfortunately, I had to use Internet Exploder (yuck) instead of Firefox because Firefox was uncharacteristically giving me errors (and taking too long to start up).

So I had everything prepared and ready to go, then decided to use spellcheck. Just after I spellchecked the entry, Exploder burped...and I lost the entry.

Can you tell I can't stand IE? Well, enough of this rant.

Yesterday was a productive day, as I had a total of 1,100 words (more or less). Yay for me! I did break one of promises, in that I went and revised the first half of Chapter 7. Diego brings Jackie to the Bastet Society's meeting, and she meets up with the head Elder. I felt the head Elder's language was way too flowery, so I revised it into something less over the top. It still has that character's traits--a bit snooty, very educated--but the more understated, even-handed way is much better.

I did the EFT thing, too, and the words just positively flowed. Jackie gets a bit uppity in the second half of Chapter 7, but she has her reasons. But then she regrets it...although I won't tell why. Suffice to say, it's got something to do with the head Elder.

So I've finished the rough draft up to Chapter 7.

I've been jotting down some ideas, and one is the possible change in venue for this story. I haven't committed to it, and it strictly remains in the idea phase. My concern is that I don't have enough familiarity with New York. Plus, there are some agents suggesting that urban fantasy is not as hot as it was a few months ago.

Who's to say?

Anyway, I'm not doing anything about it right now. I'll continue with the New York idea, but I'm considering changing it to where I grew up. It's changed quite a bit, that's for sure. I just have to do some researchin' and soul searchin' before I make any major revisions, and that's not going to happen in the rough draft.

And with the index card system, it should be easier to find those spots that will need a'changin'.

Something Fun

I was working on another work in progress prior to this one, but I put it aside because I couldn't figure out where to take the story. Bah. I may resurrect it some point, but if I do, I'm definitely using the index cards--I'll be able to brainstorm some ideas ahead of time, instead of waiting until I'm in revision mode to say, "D'oh. Nowhere to go."

Deciding it would be weird and fun, I decided to send the first 150 words of that particular work to see if it had any sort of merit--or at least, some sort of reaction. So I sent it to Evil Editor's blog.

The result? A hilarious continuation (a bunch of words that "continues" the story past the 150 words submitted), and a couple of posters who actually said they'd read more.

Evil Editor decided to gather all these 150 words and continuations into a book (self pubbed, of course), and offer it to his minions (mwahaha), and whomever else stumbled onto his blog. I preordered it today (it's only $11 including shipping), so now I can show my hubby and his sister that I have indeed arrived, er, I think.

It'll be a lot of fun, even though I'll have to wait about 4-6 weeks for it to arrive.

Don't give up - keep writing!


EFT to the Rescue Again!

I haven't written anything the last few days; I was going to do something over the weekend, but taking a nap on Saturday sounded like the right thing to do :-), and on Sunday, I was more concerned about the Giants game (yippee - they beat Atlanta in Atlanta!) and, well, had some fun with my hubby, too...

Anyway, yesterday was a bad day at work. I stayed until 6:30, making copies and typing, trying to get packages of these forms called 5500s into shape. My boss told me to just give him the packages, that he would go to the post office to get the certified receipts stamped.

He made it just in time.

In a prior post, I extolled the virtues of Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT, but specifically for writers. (Okay, I don't think I did it in a heavy-handed way, but I don't like salespeople who sledgehammer pitches at you, so why should I?) It's blechy here in the Northeast, with the rain pouring, so my motivation wasn't there.

Enter EFT. I did a round of this one script that told me it was okay to set aside time to write. And, once again, the floodgates opened: I wrote 1,200 words to finish Chapter 6! Yahoo!

The next chapter will show Diego taking Jackie to the Bastet Society, where she'll learn what sort of curse is flowing through her veins, along with a few other things...Bastet is the Egyptian protectress of cats. Figures, right, that ancient Egypt would have something like that?

BTW, lest anyone who thinks that outlining is akin to having your hands tied--think again. I've dumped about four cards outright and redone quite a few. Heck, I needed to redo the one for the scene that just wrapped Chapter 6. That's the beauty of this system. Although I have a basic idea of where I want the story to go, I'm not locked into anything if an "aha!" moment strikes me. What's also nice is if I have to look for something, I don't have to get bogged down in all the electronic words to find it; I can look to the cards and find any problem spots or whatever much more quickly.

Of course, it helps if you update the cards when you've made changes.

Don't give up--keep writing!


Just a Quick One Today

...and I'm not talking about sex either (as it's that time of the month, unfortunately).

Anyway, I've just finished Chapter 4. We meet Jackie's sister (on Jackie's cell phone), and Jackie whips some dude after she's hung up on her sister. What Jackie can't understand is why the noise of Manhattan didn't get to her, as she figured it would.

She doesn't know how to control her sharpened senses as yet (if she ever will), but it seems to her she's managed to do it without any thought to it...

I've also pointed her to the office building where she works, where she will bump into her ex, Danny Millar (surname is a working name at this point). She's concerned that if her senses are noticed by Danny, he'll bring up some things she doesn't want to discuss; when she wearied of it was when she decided to get a divorce.

But she still cares for him, because he's a decent guy otherwise.

No writerly advice today, although I cranked out a little over 1,000 words today. Yay me!

Don't give up - keep writing!


Two Characters With Opposing Scripts

I finished the first part of Chapter 4 today - 1,500 words! Yay, me!

I introduced two minor characters, one a woman living next door to Jackie's mother, the other a nutty neighbor of Jackie's. This one's interesting, in that Jackie thinks she's faking her nuttiness; she's had some experience with that sort of stuff. But the really interesting thing is that this neighbor, Trish, senses something's not quite right with Jackie; she touches Jackie's scratched arm, and Jackie jerks that arm back.

So Trish has some sort of psychic ability. But it's wrapped inside that nutty act she's pulling (which no one else on the floor thinks is an act at all).

She'll be an important character later on, but I wanted to introduce her here because of that psychic ability.

But Jackie can't wait any longer; she's off to the office for a meeting that she only remembered a few minutes before. Will she make it to the office? Tune in next time...ack, no, it's not as melodramatic as a soap opera (at least, I don't think so).

I hope to do a little writing over this weekend, as there aren't any festivals or anything else like that this weekend.

About Those Characters

I talked about that Sol Stein book that I'm reading, Stein on Writing. I was struck, the other day, by something he said about creating tension or conflict between two characters:

The secret of creating conflict in scenes you write is to give your characters different scripts. - Chapter 7, The Actor's Studio Method, pg. 92 [italics his]
Why did that resonate with me? I'm not sure, other than that this makes a lot of sense to me. Mr. Stein bases this on something he did with director Elia Kazan at the Actor's Studio (Marilyn Monroe went there to study, as did others; you ever hear of method acting?). Mr. Kazan called Mr. Stein and a woman from the audience, keeping them separate. Mr. Kazan told Mr. Stein one thing about his character, and then told the woman something else about her character; neither knew what the other was told.

Mr. Stein states, "Within seconds we were quarreling, our voices raised." [Page 91] They were having at each other because Mr. Kazan gave them different scripts--and the audience loved it!

You can do the same with any two characters in a scene. Make the two scripts different, at odds with each other. If you bring in another character, make her script different from the other two.

That's what's been buzzing in my head. I don't think I've yet accomplished that in my rough draft, but then again, my original writing is pretty sparse. But the idea is in my brain, and should I need to, I can consult the book.

Although Mr. Stein can be condescending toward genre writers in this book, I've cut him a huge break, as the techniques and ideas he gives out sound spot on.

Besides, he's a published novelist and playwright many times over. How can I possibly be snooty about his obvious success?

Don't give up - keep writing!


Re-doing the Cards

After a really cruddy commute in this morning (a normal 45 minute-to-1 hour commute stretched to almost 2 hours - bah!), I contemplated not doing any sort of writing.


Yesterday, I did write, re-doing yet again (for the last time, I swear!) the Chapter 3 ending. Now I've got it right. I'll have to fill in some more details, as I'm a minimalist writer in the initial stages, but I'm happy with what I've got now.

I did decide today to take stock of where the story is going. So far, so good. The beginning needs to be redone, as I liked the original I wrote much better. The second chapter is quite good and funny, and the third chapter's come into its own - finally.

Where I originally was going to take this was to have Jackie go to her mother's condo in Jersey City and, not finding her there, panic. Couldn't do that, as she'd have to leave her shattered apartment door, um, shattered. Nah. I just couldn't see her doing that; I mean, how many of us would leave our house door unlocked?

So I changed that card, to have her wait for the super and call her Mom. Then she'll call a neighbor and find out what the poop is. I'll have her change into her work uniform, but then, while she's waiting, she'll encounter an eccentric woman who lives on her floor...

She's not a major character, but she'll definitely propel the plot; she'll be quite useful later on. In the meantime, in this scene, she'll actually be reminded of her ex and his troubles. It's not too hard to explain, but I like to be a bit of a mystery woman...just ask my hubby! :-)

Suffice to say, this is something I've been thinking about for a little over a day, and I think it's headed in a more interesting, less boring way. (Although it probably sounds a little boring, because I'm just a-tellin' you this.)

No writerly-type advice or website today - work's been quite busy lately. I'll probably have something tomorrow where that's concerned, because something in a how-to book by Sol Stein really resonated with me.

Don't give up - keep writing!