Return to In Progress

It’s the end of July, and you know what that means?  It’s Juliet’s birthday.  Hey, star-crossed lovers killing themselves since 1597, the printing date of the first quarto, what could be better?  Yes, I’m aware there’s another literary character who was born today, but lets give original props where it’s deserved.

Besides, we all know the kid born yesterday is the real Chosen One . . .

Blender is proving to be great fun, and a lot of work.  You wanna build a road or paths, it’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of things that one needs to do to get these things laid out and looking right.  Already this morning I’ve canned a path twice because it ended up looking like a hot mess.  I’ll return to it later, for now I am blogging, and the twenty minutes or so it’s taking me to build this thing is twenty minutes I’m not writing.

Not that what I’m working on isn’t somewhat writing related, but it’s for a story that’s already gone, and one that’s waiting in the wings.  Thinking about that waiting novel, there’s so much coming to mind, and the realization that there are a couple of things in need of research.  Nothing major, but I know they are things that are needed if I’m going to give this story any kind of “realism”.

But I need to slide that story to the side–at least for a few hours a day–because Productivity Returned to Hell Town tomorrow.  It’s time to publish, and that means I’ll begin editing Couples Dance tomorrow.  I’ve decided on this story for a couple of reasons.  One, it’s a short novel–about fifty-three thousand words, so one can get through it in a day or two if one so desires.  And, two, it’s horror erotica, and I’m sure there’s a few people out there–okay, more than a few–who might just enjoy sexy horror.  Or is it horrific sex?  I’ll leave that up to the readers.

Couples Dance was the story that taught me not to be afraid to write things that will come across as over-the-top unusual for your readers.  There were many times when I was writing this story that I felt like stopping because I’d think about what I was about to write, and my mind went, “Are you actually going to write that?  Seriously, that’s some jacked-up shit.”  Then I’d blog about how I felt about needing to write some jacked-up shit, then get to writing.

There is a Stephen King quote somewhere–damned if I can find it now–about pushing yourself to write things that you feel you aren’t ready to write, about how that’s the moment when you make yourself a better writer by going outside your comfort zone of creativity.  A lot of Couples Dance is like that.  It’s strange, it sort of becomes erotica one moment, then horror, then . . . something else.

In the end, however, it’s a story.  One that I want to publish and have available for people to pick up and read.  I may even try publishing this the traditional way–

Wouldn’t that be something different . . .

World and Tunnel Bound

Strange day, it is.  I was up at three AM, my mind full of trepidation and the nagging feeling that something was going to happen today.  Something did, but I’m not ready to speak of this thing yet, because . . . there are other things happening.  I will keep those who follow me–and you know who you are–in the loop, so to speak.

With nothing to write yesterday, I had to fall back on that old staple, fooling around.  Oh, sure:  I was told that there’s always something to write, and I’ll get into that come 1 August, but right now I just want to play and think.  There are so many things existing out there in my Idea Bank right now that having new ideas pop up is something I’m trying to avoid.  Yes, there is a new idea popping about in my head:  it has been there for a couple of weeks now.  And its an annoying little bugger, because it wants attention.

But I’m not going to write it, not yet.  I have other plans, sucker, so go away.  I’ll get to you in time.

I did have an enjoying time, however, helping someone out with building another world–one in space, mind you.  I offered some ideas that weren’t initially considered, and after thirty minutes, things were looking better on the other person’s side, or so I believe.  It always feels good helping out where one can, and in matters like this I like to go one-on-one with another writer.  As I stated last week, listen to the signal, cut out the noise.

I’ve gotten deeper into Blender, though, and I’m having fun laying out the setting of my last story in glorious three dimensions.  I did this throughout most of yesterday, usually while listening to the early albums of Elton John, but towards the evening I started working my way backwards through The Electric Light Orchestra’s catalog, and since about nine PM I’ve been playing and playing ELO 2, which–if you haven’t guess–is their second album, and probably their least commercial record.  It has a raw, unpolished nature–save for one song, and if you listen to the album you’ll know which one–and also contains the longest song ELO ever recorded, Kuiama.  The last song had me going, “Hey, I remember hearing that song on The Loop when I was the only kid in my school listening to FM in 1973”, and getting a little smile going as I remember those days . . . not always fondly, but that’s the way the world goes, right?

Back to the Blender . . . what originally started out a few weeks back as giving myself a look at the appearance of my Great Hall, and how it looks sitting in the middle of The Pentagram, has now become pretty much the whole of the core school, both above and below ground.  It’s big, it’s spread out–and there are tunnels galore for kids to use to get to classes when the weather sucks, or there’s a foot of snow on the ground, or they’re looking for a private moment.

And now it’s time to figure out how to build a road.  ‘Cause i need roads and paths.

So many things happening.  I’m counting down . . .

Pack Up the Camp

According to the work count genie on the Camp NaNoWriMo page, I have fifty-three thousand, one hundred eighty-one verified words for my Camp story, The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring.  According to this statistic, I have not only met my word count total, but I’ve “beaten” the fifty thousand total that is the goal of all these NaNo events.

I wrote throughout the day, because life kept me busy, so between prepping dinner and cooking it, eating it, and cleaning up after it was over, I’d roll up here to my computer and start typing.  A hundred words here, a couple of hundred here–and when you’re through with the typing, you’ve written another fifteen hundred words and put said story to rest.

I’ve been here before, but this time it felt as if I’d never reach this point.  The whole month of July has been a grind, and seeing how I’ve written eighty-six and seventy-one thousand word novels during the last two NaNoWriMos, this time I felt as if I could take a break and do something shorter and simpler–

Oh, yeah.  What was I thinking?

Originally I believed the story would run about twenty-five thousand words, and I went doubleplusandthensome on that estimate.  Maybe that’s why I felt worn out by this story, because it just went on and on . . . though that’s more the fault of the writer and not the story.  The story consists of the words I have in my head that I put into the computer.  The characters aren’t writing the damn thing; if they were, I could wake up every morning, look at my Scrivener project, and say, “Oh, isn’t that nice?  Jessica wrote out her second confrontation with the headmaster.  And Erywin threatened to kick his ass.  Thank you, ladies:  now I have a few more free hours to spend playing games.”

That never happened.  If it had, there probably would have been fewer deaths.  Maybe.  Hard to say, since I’ve created some bloodthirsty characters in my time.

So, that’s three new stories, almost one hundred forty-seven thousand words, written this year.  With two novels and a novella completed this year, I’m not about to dive into anything new.  The next thing on the menu is to finish editing Couples Dance and get it published, and if there is any time left over before October rolls in, then I’ll start polishing Fantasies in Harmonie so I can get it ready for publication.  But no new work, not until November–

By then I’ll know if I’m writing my novel as part of NaNoWriMo, or if I’m going to say “The hell with it,” and just write.  While the NaNo thing can be conducive to productivity, I no longer need it to get my ass started on a project.  I don’t need to produce fifty thousand words in thirty days, because I have done that, and can continue to do so when necessary.  I can track my word counts, which I normally do anyway.

I write because this is what I want to do, because this is what I want to become.

It’s easy to do, you know.  You only need sit and do it every day.

 

The Hell-Bound Pony

For this title I want to thank Meredith Woerner of io9.com, aka Unicorn Farts, for today’s title.  I’ll neither discuss unicorns or farts, but as I read her weekly reviews of True Blood–or as it is sometimes called, “Sookie’s Magical Fairy Vagina”, which would make a hell of a lot better title–there was a line she delivered in her last review (as of this post) that made me laugh.  Which is something I seem not to do much of these days.

By this time tomorrow my Camp NaNo story, the first part novel of The Foundation Chronicles, should be finished.  Sometime tonight I’ll write the last chapter, get another twelve or fifteen hundred words in the bank, type, “The End” at the bottom of the document, back the novel off to my Seagate drive, and consider it fin.

Another novel finished.  Give me that Fluttershy cheer . . . (deep breath) . . . yay.  Since the start of this year, good old 2013, that’s two novels written, one novel published, and a novella thrown in for good measure.  In terms of new material we’re talking about one hundred and forty-five thousand new words:  thrown in the blog and a few articles here and there, and we’re adding another one hundred and twenty thousand words.

That’s a quarter of a million words this year.  I’m tired.

A section of my mind is thinking, “Okay, what’s next?”  That should be getting one of my short novels in shape for publication, because I need to get something else out there, start cutting into this backlog that’s building up on my computer.  But there’s a section that’s screaming at me to take a break, to step away and do nothing for a while.

Yeah, right.  I know how that works, because it’s happened before.  In the past I’ve said, “Oh, I’ll set this story aside and come back to it in a month.”  Next thing I know, it’s five years later, and while I’ve gotten very good at driving the Nordschleife on my computer, I’ve not looked at said story once.  It lingers on, like some creature on life support, waiting for me to either rescue it from oblivion, or pull the plug.

Today I was going to blog about something that I felt bothered me, then realized–why?  Why bother?  Not write, of course, but why rant about something that I don’t care for, but no one else will give much of a shit about.  After a bit of reading and thinking, I decided that if I write about the monkey that seems to have crawled onto my back, I’m indulging in a bit of the insane, time wasting crap that has occupied my mind of late.

No, what I should do is finish my story, then think about what comes next.  Think about what in the future, and not what’s pissing me off, or what’s bothering me, or what sort of annoyances I can drop like a bad habit instead of hanging on to them and allowing those little things to bug me for no other reason than I want to be bugged.

Saddle up that one trick pony and ride that sucker straight into hell.

And enjoy the scenery along the way; I understand there are some painted roses I should see . . .

Power Line Math

I guess when you depends on energy to get your things written, you better hope your energy is coming uninterrupted.  Most days this isn’t a problem.

Yesterday it was.

I was just starting in on afternoon writing when the power went out.  It was just after two PM, and I had to do a  quick “Open up the laptop and save and bring it down” move before things died.  I work on a seven-year old laptop, and the battery is pretty much crap; after forty-five minutes I’m looking at a cooling hunk of metal.  So if I don’t have a power source, then I best save what I have and move on to something else.

Power was out for two hours:  it think it popped back on around four-twenty.  Power up the computer and start in on writing again–  Then it was time to go out to dinner.  So save off what I’d written after about twenty minutes, which wasn’t very much if you’re asking.

Go eat, return to the house about six-ten and . . . no power.  Utility people are right across the street replacing our power box.  The juice is back on in the house at six thirty-seven, not a big deal, so I get into writing again . . . and reading a few things here and there, and chatting, but nothing out of the ordinary, right?

Finally settle into writing about seven-thirty, and I’m going along, struggling with lines, and–out go the lights, a little after eight PM.  Save what I have, shut down computer, go outside and relax in the cool air.

And thinking about what I wanted to say.

I knew the discussion my two on-stage characters were going to have.  I’d even worked out what would be said for more than a few days.  But when it comes to showing the scene, to saying what they need to say, I’m holding back.  The words I want to say don’t come as easily as before.  Particularly with this story, which I’m trying so hard to have come out, in my mine, good.

Sitting in the back yard I thought about what was being said, how people felt.  I had a lot of math coming up, stuff I worked out earlier in the day concerning numbers for the student body, and spilling that out was going to come fairly easy.  Breathing deep the gathering gloom–yes, Moody Blues there, who I once saw play in the late 1980’s–I worked out the conversation in a way that made sense, and that didn’t puzzle me now.

Power was back on right around nine-thirty, and it was back up, power up, write up.  I wrote things, I made conversation, I showed body language and sensed emotions.  I’m not necessary happy with that last part, because I feel things didn’t turn out as I wanted; some of the feeling seem forced.  So I have the file up now, and I’ll give it a quick peek to see if there’s anything I can change.

I want this story finished; I want to move on to the next thing.  This weekend feels like a good time to wrap it all up.

If the power stays on, it might actually happen.

The Guardian Arrives

Yes, it’s true:  I was distracted by Project Runway last night, and that took almost two hours out of my writing time.  I don’t watch much in the way of TV, but I’ve never missed Project Runway if I could help it.  Seeing how this year they have a good amalgamation of drama queens, stress freaks, a crazy Russian who it trying to keep Old Soviet Union from asking for its stereotype back, and a dude trying to save unicorns, there’s enough insanity to get through the season–at least until they start culling the herd, then it’s every person for themselves, and you grab the popcorn and enjoy.

When that isn’t happening, I write.

The last part of The Foundation Chronicles is here, and that light at the end of the tunnel is probably me, the glow girl muttering, “It’s a girl, Mrs. Walker.”  Before the runway I wrote about a meeting in a format headmaster’s office between a Foundation official and the woman who ate the headmaster’s face–rule one:  never piss off the wrong teachers–and in the process of writing that scene I began mention people who will appear in the upcoming novel.  No, not this novel:  the next one.  Remember?

The writing part was a bit slow, due in part to having people PMing me, due in part because I needed to look up time lines to make certain a person who was recommending another for a position actually knew that person when they were together in school.  Remember those all those time lines I made before I began writing this story?  Yeah, they work.  I’d recommend making them and using them, but that would be proselytizing, and who wants that?

Really, try them.  It can make life easy to do your homework up-front.

But after almost two hours away from my computer, after all that time when I wasn’t writing, with it being nine forty-five PM and knowing that sleep would call soon, there was something I wanted to write.  There was someone I wanted to bring onto the stage.

There was someone I wanted to create.

I’ve been waiting for this moment to bring onto the stage a character I created two years earlier, and who would play a rather full part in this novel I’ve got kicking about in my brain.  So now I’d reached the point in my current novel where this mysterious woman, she who was mentioned earlier in the novel, to walk on and make her grande entrance . . .

By the time I’d finished, I had a little over five hundred words written, on top of eighteen hundred or so I’d written throughout the day.  It was a double good feeling to have all that wordage out of the way, and to have my character show up to–well, not save the day, but lay out some ground rules.

That chapter is on for today.  I hope to finish it tonight, then do a short scene–and, yes, I do mean short–then write the final chapter, and . . .

Check back tomorrow.  We’ll see about and then.

The Lights Go Down on Past Ways

I start off this morning with a little advice from Henry Miller.  He’s the sort of writer I’d like to become:  banned everywhere for writing interesting things.  Who doesn’t want that sort of notice?

As noted on the Novel Spaces website, Miller left behind eleven points of writing advice:

 

1.  Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2.  Start no more new books, add no more new material to Black Spring. (At the time this was his WiP.)
3.  Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4.  Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5.  When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

 

I have rules that I stick to, or at least do my best to dance to their tune.  It’s not always possible–yesterday was a great example of how you can’t always write when you want to write–but I still get my writing in every day, even when I feel as if I’m drowning in a pool of fetid water, surrounded by the crap that are my stories.

That was this morning, when I crawled out of bed, by the way.  Now I feel much better.

Most of the time I get lost on that eleventh point; I also get lost on the tenth as well, which is distracting as hell, because that’s happened to me for the last three stories I’ve written.  But back to the eleventh . . . with social media all over the place, it’s easy to lose the signal because you’re trapped in the noise.  (Yes, that was a Peter Gabriel reference.)  It’s a simple matter to roll over to an online group, and think, “Oh, I’ll just check in and see what’s happening,” and before you know it an hour has gone by because you’re eye-locked upon something that, more than likely, has you scratching your head because you can’t believe what you’re reading.

Last night a friend of mine summed up a feeling for me pretty succinctly, which she does well.  This happened in a group of which I’ve been a member for some time, but where I’ve stopped participating because it’s become more of a social gathering hole than anything else.  One person was lamenting how people have begun turning on one another in the group, and they can’t understand why it’s happening.  After a few posts where people were kind of saying, “Mean people suck,” my friend stepped in and said, “Because all that gets posted here is insane, time wasting crap.”  The moral being, when you post insane, time wasting crap, you draw to those posts the people who love to wallow in said crap.

Rule Eleven is important.  You want to write, you write.  You don’t continue asking if you think it’s strange that you’re looking up techniques for dismembering a body, or what’s a good name for an alien (I always go with Bob, you can’t miss with that name), or your main character tells you they want to have an affair with the cute girl down at the Steak n’ Shake, but you want them to go skydiving, what’s a person to do?

What you do is write.

Cut out the noise; listen to the signal.