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I am a world-class procrastinator.
Yeah, I know, *GASP*
But honestly, between Facebook and DVR and Netflix… I’m so easily distracted by it all. Write for a few minutes – notice flashing “Soandso messaged you…” in the Chrome tab. Alt-Tab back to browser. Chat with Soandso for a few minutes. Back to writing. Oh wait – its too quiet in here. Turn on the new episode of Chopped (or what have you) as background noise. End up watching most of it. *sigh*
But the shinies are not the only things that distract me, no. My attention also gets captured by intangibles. Lately, all this waiting for news on “Inferno” has me beside myself with anxiety. I want to both FINISH “Inferno” immediately, just in case, or not touch it in case they have notes for it. I am also stressed about money and school and an up-coming summer move (which requires a lot of money at a time when we have none) and so all I can think about is all the potentially immediately lucrative smut I should be publishing just to pay the bills.
And so I end up in a tizzy, vacillating back and forth, and don’t end up writing much of anything at all.
Which brings me to today. I have such beautiful intentions of writing today, but already I’m distracted by Facebook (which I closed!) and DVR (Longmire, which is almost over!) and Jack (with whom I’m collaborating).
I think I need to really start zeroing out everything that’s not conducive to writing. Imposing a 15-minute limit on my Facebook adventures. Imposing a “TV-only-during work hours” rule. And forcing myself to waste less time every day.
I’ve got a billion stories to write and only a finite time on this Earth.
Damn it, Penelope! As Nike used to say, JUST DO IT!
Love & Rainbows,
At last, weeks of procrastination have finally come to an end.
I’m officially back to work on “Inferno”. For better or worse, I’m going to finish this modern-day mageborn story and move on to something else. I cannot keep splitting my focus like this – I end up getting nothing done (unless you count many hours wasted on Facebook, playing Draw Something! on my phone, or watching entire seasons of TV shows on Netflix in binge sessions… which I do not).
I did not update the word count in the right-hand column because I have removed more than I’ve added in the past few hours, but still – progress!
I’ve run into a few continuity problems – nothing major, but it is slightly annoying that I did not catch them in the first draft.
((ARGH! The remaining 500 words of this post was lost in a connection issue – my host is experiencing all sorts of trouble today. Darn it… I’m not rewriting it, but suffice it to say: Jack is starting a new project we’re excited about, Camp NaNo in July is going to be fun, and Inferno is well on its way.))
Love & Rainbows,
Welcome to the 1st quad-annual “State of the Author” post.
Four times a year – quarterly, that is – I’m planning to give an update on the things I’m reading, loving, eating, writing, hating… you know, whatever floats my boat.
Right now, Summer 2013 is on the horizon and I have SO many things going on; aside from trying to learn to be a runner, finishing Inferno, blogging, training a puppy, and being a working wife – Jack & I are trying to head back to school this summer or fall to increase our non-writing earning potential.
Onto the real stuff:
Am Reading: “Incandescence”, by me. For editing purposes. I just finished “Her Demonic Majesty”, by Cassidy Frazee. I quite fantastically loved it – some of the language was over-the-top for my preferences, but the action and the characters and the amazing world-building just sucked me in! Next, I’m thinking about going back and re-reading some of my life-long favorite fantasy books (soon as I retrieve them from storage) this summer. Just for inspiration. I want to get back to traditional fantasy.
Am Watching: …bad horror movies on Netflix. Chopped, when its new. But its summer time and all the full-season sets of the 2012-13 shows will be out soon… so I expect I shall lose many hours catching up on shows I like, but don’t bother to DVR.
Am Listening To: A lot of retro rock. Jack has been choosing the playlist a lot lately and his favorites include AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Journey… and some old school 80s hairbands, bad-ass metal soundtracks for gaming.
Am Eating: Clean, whole foods. Organic chicken sausage (a lot… its easy and quick). Eggs and onions and mushrooms. Coconut oil. Its a primarily paleo world here at PP & Jack’s abode. Even our dog eats grain-free. There is a lot of summer produce out there and I aim to try as much of it as possible this year. I think we’re even going to try CANNING this year – if we get a chance.
Am Drinking: Water. A lot of water. I miss my flavored ‘diet’ teas, but alas… aspartame is the devil. Also, the only soda we are doing is a “fuzzy cola” on gaming Saturday (its frozen cola – like a Slurpee, I guess).
Am Secretly Loving: Ah, the guilty-pleasure. Cheese and sour cream. That has been the hardest thing to cut back on… I looooove me some cheese. And sour cream. And potatoes. But actually, I think the guiltiest pleasure is MAGNUM Gold Bars. Have you tried them? Do you love them? Oh dear LORD… I do.
Love the Color: Tangerine. No surprises here. I am also enjoying (possibly for the first time in my life) eye-searingly neon pinks on my nails and toes. And if the neon isn’t available, I also like Zoya Yana. Yum!
Am Lusting After: Financial aid and opportunity. Ugh.
Am Needing: A big hug from my Mom!
Am Waiting: To hear back from Harper-Voyager! ACK! Its been like nine months!
Am Hating: A lot of the slang doing the rounds on the interwebs/memes… “All the feels!” or “Right in the feels!” bugs me for some reason. Totes and Adorbs and other shortened terms. Basically, I am getting old and crotchety.
I guess, for now, that’s about it. I am a busy girl with a ton of stuff going on and to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to deal with most of it. I just want to write.
But since bills gotta be paid… on we go!
Love & Rainbows,
So, its nearly Mother’s Day, which to me always signifies that Summer is on its way. I can hardly believe that 2013 is almost half-way over and I have not gotten anything (new) ready to publish this year.
That’s right, this P.P. is a SLACKER.
I’ve been writing, there’s no denying that. But I haven’t been finishing. What’s that line? ABC – Always Be Closing! And so I should be. I’ve got no fewer than a dozen projects brewing and I continually fail to finish them. I need to get my rear back in gear!
I need a kick in the pants!
I had friend lined up as accountability/cheerleader/whatever… but he dropped out after the first week and though I’ve been good about blogging (not here, *cough*) I haven’t been AS good as I ought.
That’s gotta change.
Taking suggestions… how do I get myself more motivated to FINISH all these things I’ve started?
Tee-hee. First thing first, a new office chair because my hiney hates this one.
Then: Complete Inferno. Get a cover done for Incandescence & Inferno. Plot & write “3″. Additional materials. Publish.
Then: Going Home.
Then: Rudabet. Light of Lun.
Then, in 2014: Madaya, at last. YESSSSS!
Love & Rainbows,
This post was originally featured at Dominique Goodall’s blog as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
I do not believe in Writer’s Block. Not really.
Maybe I should say, its not that I do not believe in it, just that I refuse to let it grab hold of my pen and prevent me from doing what I love. Sometimes, I admit it, I get bogged down in details and feel like I might be “blocked”. When that gross, constipated-brain feeling gets me down, I close my WIP (or whatever I am working on) and take a little break.
If a short break does not get the juices flowing again (ew… I’m really regretting that constipation comparison above right now), I turn to Free Writing. One of my favorite things to do is to sort through my Portraits folder, choose an interesting face, and just let the ink fly. Sometimes, however, even that will not loosen the bowels of my brain and I have to dig deeper.
That is why I have about a hundred thousand (this is a slight exaggeration) text files in my possession with anywhere from a single line to a few pages of work that never really went anywhere. I love the random and chaotic. I love to shake things up and just plop out strange ideas.
It never fails to get me unclogged and writing again.
This exercise is the Maximum Strength Ex-Lax of the mind.
But seriously, I definitely recommend trying it the next time you are burned out on editing or feeling as if you have Writer’s Block. Try this:
Completely free of the obligation to continue beyond the starting sentence, just start writing out a bunch of ‘first lines’. Do as many as it takes for your mental wall to crumble and you feel like returning to your project.
Usually, when I have done it in the past, I was not concerned with it being just one sentence and I freely inserted dialogue as well. The version of this exercise I found on (this website) is great. His directions are:
Free of the obligation to complete a poem or story, simply write out a bunch of first lines that are catchy and non-sensical. Aim for ten to twenty[Philip Dacey]. See examples from past students. A million butterflies rose up from South America.
Anyway – whether you adhere to the 1 sentence limit or just go wild with micro-scenes, dialogue, whatever, I guarantee you will have tremendous fun (and likely, a hearty brainbowel movement!) with this exercise. To prove it, I’ve scribbled a bunch of my own sample starts below. Who knows? Maybe one day one of these will feature in one of my novels. Chaos for the win!
* * * * * * * * *
- Hoakes turned to me and belched; the malodorous cloud was so thick, so nasty, so vile, it was all but tangible.
- “Hello, my name is Jimmy Mac-Johnson from Mississip and I’m calling to get my horoscope read.”
- The ice-sheathed grass gleamed sharp and hard and crystalline, like a thousand shattered Rolling Rock bottles in the sunlight.
- “I never was much for offal,” she said loftily, “Though my Mee-maw made me eat rabbit eyes so that I could see better in the dark.”
- Bacon-flavored edible panties? I couldn’t decide to be flattered that he bought me something sexy, disgusted that he thought bacon-anything was sexy, or worried by the notion that somehow he associated me and my ladybits with fried pig parts.
- Sue me. Sue McDonald’s! Sue the bitch in Apartment 3A and her yappy little dog! Sue the President! Sue the world! Sue God!
- He was named by his mother after a week-long acid binge.
- Stealthily, Bandit stretched his neck as far as he could, took the cookie delicately in his teeth and then stole away into the night with his prize.
- Why do they call them foothills, Daddy?
- In Santiago, in the smallest basement cell of the largest, poorest orphanage in the city, a tiny spark changed the world.
- Autumn came late in Winter.
- Sundered shield, severed sword; ask ye not why they are broken, but why they must exist at all.
- She licked the spoon slowly, meeting his gaze with a startling directness. The seductive look was somehow all the sexier when she lifted a pink and orange, kitten-bedecked coffee mug to her lips.
- Sputtering to a stop, its inertia utterly gone, Earth hung impotently in space – its inhabitants long dead – until it was torn apart by the invisible pressures of the universe.
- I always liked to write death scenes for people who wronged me, annoyed me, or pissed me off.
- Naked, save for brightly lacquered nails and a tiny golden cross around her neck, she threw her thong at me; the other was held at the ready.
That was weird. But fun. Right? Right…?!
Now go forth, yon brilliant minds! Go forth into the unknown and write your own random starting lines. And who knows – maybe one of them will end up being tweaked and twisted into your next brilliant story!
Love & Rainbows,
P.S. Leave a random starting line in the comments, I totally want to read them!
I counted up all the hand-written bits and pieces I’d done, feeling super sad about bailing on Camp NaNo this session and found my mind BLOWN when it turned out that I squeaked by and got a win.
Somehow, some way, despite having a really terrible month as far as finding writing time and concentration went, I eked out 30,661 words. Yes, I lowered my goal to 30k early in the month because between the two blogs, regular correspondence, gaming RPs, and work – I knew 50k was going to be a rough goal.
Anyway – by some miracle I “won” but it doesn’t feel like much of a win. Most of this draft of “Going Home” is going to need serious re-working, I didn’t hit 50k (the real goal), I’m going back to “Incandescence” and “Inferno” and a little depressed by that, and its nearly MAY already. Eeek!
But, May will be a busy month. I’ve got lots of RPs and stuff to work on in addition to “Inferno”. I’m so excited to get that one finished.
Still, for all the April felt like a lost cause, I came away with a “win”.
Love & Rainbows,
Guess what time it is?
Time to abandon my Camp NaNo project at ±17k to get back to work on “Inferno”. Time for re-reading “Incandescence” and opening up Scrivener to re-work “Inferno” from scratch. Time to get that last edit on Book One, then edit Book Two. Time for moving toward publication.
I’m inspired by a colleague who is making her writing goals come true – who just commissioned two great covers (sincerely, like… I was a fan of the first one, but the second one really blew my skirt up!) for her novel and who is getting ready for the release of that one all the while, preparing a whole slew of other projects for publication. Have I ever mentioned how much I admire her work ethic? She’s a freakin’ MACHINE, man. In the best way, that is. Hardly misses a day of word count, punching out quality work and an excellent blog day after day. All of that while
I strive to be more like her.
Anyway – why am I giving up on “Going Home”? I’m not. Just… I can’t get “Inferno” out of my head. I keep thinking about how its going to end. And then wondering if it still ends the way I originally planned. My first draft is incomplete, so I have not yet “discovered” the ending.
Unfortunately, I’ve just started another read-through of “Incandescence” and I keep finding things that seem asinine and which I want to change.
I know, I know. A writer is really never satisfied and at some point, we just have to relinquish control and call it “done”. So, I shall finish this read-through (making notes as necessary as I go), then I shall re-work my first draft of “Inferno”. Then I shall probably give “Incandescence” one last edit before starting my final draft of “Inferno”. And in the end, I will (assuming I don’t find a publisher) commission two covers and release these babies out into the world!
That’s the goal. By the end of 2013, one way or another, Hannah, Mike & their 102-year-old great-great-grandmother will be published. Boo-yah.
Plus, I want to finish “Going Home” and get back to “Rudabet” and I’ve got several shorts.
Love & Rainbows,
Hello again folks!
So, I haven’t had a “new” post since January 1st. I’d like to say it is because I have completed six novels and am getting published with a big fat contract… but mostly its just that life has interfered with me for the first quarter of 2013. Which is not to say that I haven’t been writing – I have – but that I haven’t been as productive as I might wish.
That said, life as a newlywed is pretty sweet. Jack & I are the happy new “parents” of a fluffy, floppy, funny puppy and we’re just hanging out, living the life. You know. That’s how we roll *chuckle*
I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this April, working on a new piece – notice “Going Home” on the sidebar? – but I haven’t made nearly as much progress as I’d like. Worse still, I keep wanting to go back to “Inferno”. Which is silly because I started on “Going Home” to take a break from “Inferno”. I was getting really uptight about getting it “right” instead of getting it out. I’m a firm believer in getting it on the page and worrying about “right” or “good” in the subsequent drafts.
I pressured myself SO hard and then got SO frustrated…
Anyway – as April Springs into life and the year really starts to warm up, I’m back on track with writing and blogging and all is well.
Now, if only I’d get one of those previously mentioned big, fat contracts ;D Tee-hee.
Oof! We’re getting some heavy thunder tonight and the puppy has never experienced that before. Time to pretend nothing strange is happening and hope she stays calm.
Love & Rainbows,
P.S. I promise it won’t be four months between new content!
This post was originally featured at Debra Jayne East’s blog as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
When I first started writing stories I went to the library and checked out Baby Name Books. I was eleven or so and the librarians gave me strange looks when I came back for different ones and to renew the ones I liked best. Eventually, I found some at yard sales (and much later, bought them from Amazon) so I could have my own copies on the shelf next to my poison-guide, police procedural walk-throughs, and various other reference books.
At the time, I liked to give distinctly ‘appropriate’ names for characters. I named the clumsy friend of my main character, Claudia, which means lame. She was a clod and thus the name worked. The haunted beauty with the mysterically green eyes? I named her Jade. Also, I liked mythical and biblical or literary names. Someone meant to evoke thoughts of the ever-faithful wife might be named Penelope (Jack, take note!) or if I wanted to conjure up images of a guy who would face unsurmountable odds and win – David. Things like that. Those names have their uses and places. But really, when I was using them, they were totally…lacking in subtlty.
These days, whether its creating names in some fantasy realm – Sarios, Damaiar, Lourdan, and Safyr – or in my modern day fantasy novel, “Incandescence”, I really do not go looking for names. At least not for the main characters. They generally just organically appear on the page as I write. Hannah and Michael Brighton. Granmama Adina. Alexander. Summit. Shalisa. Evander. Jonas. Gideon.
Other names, I am not ashamed to admit, come to mind as homages to folks who exist in my real world. Hopefully they will be honored, not vexed, to find that characters such as Isaac, Professor McCormick, Jeremy, Zebulon, Rote, Nguyet, Emily and so on were named after them.
For important characters – names just seem to happen. For secondary, tertiary, one-offs, and other back ground types, I rely on… whatever is around. Phone books are great for surnames and placenames. Business cards, advertisements, tv, the interwebs… Anything goes. If it suits the situation and setting, it stays. If not – I just keep looking.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I do not have a real strong “process” for naming my characters, not anymore. If a character doesn’t name herself, or come pre-equipped with a name, I have to go in search of it. Which is why my first drafts are often littered with OLDGUYNAMEHERE and ANGRYKIDNAMEHERE… and when it comes time to fill-in the blanks, well… I’ll let you know. I’m still working on “Incandescence” and there several INSERTNAMEHEREs to fix.
How do you name your characters? Does inspiration flash while you’re making up outlines? Do the names come first and the characters come later?
And while we’re on the naming kick – how do you come up with your titles? Because WOW – I have trouble with titles. If you ever happen upon the WIP page of my website, you will notice that every single title is a Working Title. Because I have no idea how to name books, I simply refer to them all by a characters name (for example: Rudabet), a theme, a phrase that relates to the plot (ex: The Light of Lun), or even acronyms (ex: PASaRN).
So – I’m going to change my question. How do you come up with solid titles for your poems, novels, shorts, papers, series, et cetera?! Because that is what this writer needs to know. *grin*
Love & Rainbows,