More Than This and Less

With the exception of maybe writing down a few addressed and double checking everything to make sure I’ve got it all in place, The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced is really to fly.  There is nothing more for prepping; at this point anything left is just busy work.

I’ve done prep work on novels before, and most of the time I’ve been over that stage in a few weeks.  My first NaNo novel was through pre-planning in about two weeks; my second in about a month.  This one has been going off and on since the end of May, but part of that was due to writing an intro novel to this series for Camp NaNo.  The actual work on this book has been going on for about three weeks, but my body and mind seem to think it’s been a lot longer.

My intuition tells me this story will top out around one hundred thousand words.  Throw in the fifty-three thousand I wrote for Camp, and by the end of the year there should be close to one hundred and sixty thousand words ready to edit.  Along with all the other stuff that’s ready to edit, which is in . . . well, lets see:  seventy-two thousand for Suggestive Amusements, around twenty-five thousand for Fantasies in Harmonie, six thousand for my short story The Relocator, and fifty-two thousand for The Scouring.  One hundred fifty-five thousand written this year, and this novel could take the world count to a quarter of a million.

Really not that bad.

But nothing published.  Yes, I have another edit to run on Couples Dance, but I’ve so many others ready to go.  It’s time to get the editing machine rolling.

After the first of the year there has to be a big push to get a couple of things published.  Edits and a cover for Couples Dance are required, but mostly edits; I do feel as if I need to give that story a process makeover.  Same with Fantasies in Harmonie:  I can see the story laid out in my mind, and there is a lot of “said, said, said” in it that I want to redo.  It’s something that needs fixing before anyone gets the book in their hands.  I’m also of half a mind to do that to Her Demonic Majesty and do a re-release.  Yes, nothing like a big rewrite to get things going again.

First quarter 2014 has to be a lot of editing and some publishing.  There’s too much waiting to get out, and the longer I sit on it, the longer it does nothing.  There is more than nothing, there is always something, but you have to make something happen.  It doesn’t do it on its own.  just like writing:  the characters don’t do thing by themselves, you make that happen.

If I don’t publish, then no one but me ever reads the tales.  I want more than that.

Big story and big plans:  it’s all ahead.  When does it start?

Sooner than you’d imagine.

 

The Story at the End of the Lane

Well, there you have it:  for the first time in the three years since I began writing with a determination not seen in my prior forty-five years, and probably in the whole of my time as a writer, I finished a short story.  I said I was going to finish it on Friday, and being the good girl I am, I was up until about a quarter to midnight working through the scene until I felt I’d reached the point where “The End” was ready to be slapped into the text.

Final numbers for last night:  one thousand, three hundred, thirteen.  Thirteen-thirteen.  Nice ring, I think.  Total word count:  five thousand, eight hundred, fifty-three.  Well under my seventy-five hundred word limit the SFWA uses for determining if you get a short story Hugo for all your hard work.

Yay, me!  Right?  Lets hear it . . . yay!

Given that yesterday was a huge pain in the butt, it was nice to finish the day with a sense of accomplishment.  Sure, I was without music all night–thank you crappy motel internet–and I discovered I may not have my internet up and running when I move into my new place on Friday–thank you Comcast management bullshit–so doing what I said I was going to do–write a short story and have it finished on Friday, 6 September, 2013–I went to bed with a certain goodness burning in my tummy.

Or was that the cod I had for dinner?  No, I think it was goodness.  I’m sure of it.

I know what you’re saying–what’s next, Cassie?  What do you have on your writing plate now that you’ve written your short story and you have nothing else to do but let your royalties roll in so you can lay upon that pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck?  (Yes, I stole that line from Breaking Bad.  I steal from the best.)  As I may have indicated yesterday, I need to get my NaNo novel whipped into shape.  I need to figure out what I’m going to write, and the overall plot of the story.  I have a basic idea, but not much beyond that, and I don’t want to wait too long to get this worked out.

I have editing to finish, and I intend to do a few chapters today and tomorrow.  I want to write an article.  I want to shop; I want to buy; I want . . . well, there’s a lot of things I want, but there are few things I get.  But there will be editing.  As for the article, I could at least start it, no?

Also, there’s this annoying story rolling about in my head . . . I don’t know why this fantasy erotica won’t leave me alone.  It’s hanging out, nibbling at my brain, whispering, “You know you should write this, ’cause with all the crazy shit on Smashwords, you could be Queen of the Crazy Shit in no time.”  Go away, kid, you bother me.

So much to want to do, so little time to do it all.

Guess I should get started.

One Life in Short Sketches

No moving things were accomplished yesterday–well, almost none.  I should have my internet up and waiting for me when I get into the new digs next week.  I’m going to be on the eleventh floor of a complex, and I’ll have a studio with a balcony looking out over a river.  I’m going to have to come up with a cool name for the place, something better than the Hole Away From Home, like the last dump was dubbed.  Yeah.  Good times.

Yesterday I edited and I wrote.  The editing was planed, the writing wasn’t.  I didn’t think about getting into my story until it was close to nine PM here, and then I thought, “What the hell?”, put on some Queen, and went at the story.  An hour and fifteen minutes later I was thirteen hundred words closer to the end of the story, and more confident I was that I’d end up doing one more scene and calling it fins on the story.

This means another thousand to, at most, fifteen hundred words, and The Relocator is in the bag.  By any math that one employees, this would put my final word count at fifty-five hundred to six thousand words, and that’s less than seven thousand five hundred words, and that’s a real short story.  The shortest I’ve ever written, because up until now, if I eliminate the crap that I first wrote many, many years before, the shortest stories I’ve written to this point are between eight and ten thousand words.

As Brother James might say, I jump back, I kiss myself.  Muaaah!

I know how I did this, crazy dream feelings not withstanding.  I got the idea, I saw the story as a series of scenes, and I started stringing them together in my head.  I even knew the ending:  that is, before I decided that I didn’t need that extra scene and did away with it, and focused on the new ending that was the original end of Scene Five.  Which is to say, I worked it all out in my head, and edited there as well, before I started writing.

I knew the story, I knew what I wanted to say.

But . . . what did I say?

I know I drew on some inspiration here, the kind that isn’t obvious until you start getting the words down, and then–bam!  You’re hit with the realization of what well you’ve dipped into for your material.  It’s easy for me to know these things, because I seem more focused of late, and that’s helping considerably with knowing what I want to do these days.

Maybe I’m finally finding some peace in my life, because I’ve finally grown comfortable with what I’m doing, and what’s happening around me.

Does this mean I’m going to write these crazy erotic fantasies that are rolling about in my head?  Well . . . Maybe I should.  Or maybe I should get back into the business of getting my next NaNo masterpiece ready.  Or maybe I should get a last polish on Couples Dance, like I said I was going to do, and get that sucker published next month.

So many things to do, so little time to do it.

I need to live until ninety, I really do.

Simulationville

I doesn’t take long to realize that sometimes your plans aren’t going to come through for you, no matter how hard you try.  You can always keep trying, of course, but at some point you realize that you may have to work extra hard to get things done.

Like yesterday . . .

I’m in the process of moving again.  I need to check out of this hotel by next Friday and slip into my new old apartment that same day.  I’m trying to get an internet hookup, but the contact person I’m trying to reach isn’t returning my calls.  Tonight I need to stop by and arrange to have some furniture delivered to the place next Thursday, and then I need to eat, and then . . .

Well, then comes either writing or editing.  I’m flipping a mental coin here, because I know what I should do:  it’s a matter of what I want to do.

Last night I wrote a lot.  I took my time and got it right, and there were a few moments when three or four hundred words flew out of my fingers in a good, fast spurt.  In two and a half hours I wrote a little over twelve hundred words, which isn’t bad–until I remember there was a time when I used to do that in an hour.

Distractions.  I haz them, you haz them.  Strangely enough, I’m writing about them.  My story is about a person trying to make a report, and how they’re distracted by . . . well, there in lay the kicker.  Needless to say they don’t have email to check or Facebook to suck up time like a meme-ridden black hole.  I’m actually getting better at ignoring these things, and my writing slow down, as I’ve said, is more from a sense of trying to get things right more than anything else.

I need to pick up speed, however.  If i want to do NaNo, I need to speed up.

Someone asked in one of the writing groups, “How do you manage to write when you’re working a job?”  The answer?  You just do.  You lock yourself up in your little simulation of life that is writing time in front of whatever medium you use, and you start making with the words.  You make like the character I’m writing about:  you get in said simulation and try to pretend there’s nothing outside of your current world, it’s just you and your characters and the setting, and you advance the action along.

Unlike my character, however, you don’t go for the virtual modeling menu and start screwing around making up another world to play in so you can get your mind off the fact that you have something in front of you that needs doing . . .

The next scene in my short story will see the character getting something they don’t want.  I won’t say what, but it leads to a resolution in the fifth scene, and I’m now thinking a sixth scene may not be necessary, because it doesn’t add anything to the story.  Five scenes, maybe another twenty-five hundred words?  If so, I have accomplished what I wanted to do:  write an actual short story.

Then it’s time to build another simulation of life.

The Moments of Lost Time

Yesterday was a strange one for me.  There was so many things going on, and yet, I feel as if I accomplished nothing.  I was up early and I did–what?  I can’t tell you, other than I did watch Breaking Bad, and wonder just what’s going to happen in the last few episodes as we see the demise of Walt’s meth empire.

I’d planed on writing and editing and some other things, but damned if the time didn’t simply slip away from me.  Oh, actually, now that I think about it, I do know what I did.  Oh, boy–yeah, do I know.  Anyway, that’s boring; you don’t need to hear about my makeover.  You want to hear about other things.  I think.

I was chatting with a friend who wants to write.  She told me that she’s a horrible procrastinator, that it takes her forever to get an idea out, that she finds it difficult to brainstorm.  I offered some advice to help her along, but then remembered that while I was giving this advice, I was also working on something of my own.  That’s where so much of the time goes:  distractions.  There are so many things pulling at everyone at all times that being able to find the time to take this thing so many consider a hobby and making it your work seems impossible.

Yet, the fault lay not in the stars, but in our own inabilities to filter and focus.

Yesterday a friend posted that there are two months remaining until NaNoWriMo.  I commented that many attend, few complete, and a lot are on Facebook going, “Hey, I need help, I’m looking for the name of a town . . . and a dragon . . . and my Main Character.  Anyone got any ideas?”  My first NaNo I was confused by these comments, because my novel was laid out and ready to go, with characters, locations, and definitions, before one word was written, and I didn’t understand why some people were still trying to figure those things out a week into the month of November.  (This also led to someone on a group telling me that I was a hack and my novel was going to suck because I didn’t know how to be spontaneous, but I published that sucker and he vanished, so onward–)  On my second NaNo I wasn’t surprised by this, and when I do NaNo ’13, I probably won’t venture into the group too often as my time to crank out a couple of thousand words a day will be highly limited.  I also know I’ll hit fifty thousand this time around, but won’t finished the novel until December, but that’s another story.

Writing is a time consuming effort.  For this short story I’m doing, I must have spent two or three hours, here and there, thinking about what I wanted to say.  This for something that’s likely to end up about five thousand words.  For some novels I’ve put in weeks of research and thought before writing anything, and when you lay that off against everything you’re written, the time adds up.  It becomes a living, breathing thing that can’t be ignored.

And when you’re unfocused and you have a million distractions going on about you, that lost time begins to stretch out before you.

That said, I need to get started on my story . . .

Sniffles and Starts

Most of the day yesterday was spent running around.  I shouldn’t say, “Most of the day,” because I was here at Panera in the morning, then later in the morning I ran up about twenty miles north of here to the Appalachia Trail, snapped a few pictures, drove back to The Burg for lunch, did some shopping, and was back in the hotel about one-thirty.  It was quite uneventful, but that’s the way most days are now.  I get up, I get down, just like I’m living in a Yes song.

I’d promised I was going to get into some writing, and in time I did.  I did it slowly, because I had the TV on to give me a little background noise, and I found myself getting drawn into what was happening.  It was easy to get distracted because I was suffering from a stuffy nose and a strange tickle in my throat, which is usually the warning signs that a cold is coming on.  That’s some crap I don’t need; it seems like whenever I get back to work, after a couple of weeks on the job I catch a cold.  This is why I should be a shut-in and work from home all the time:  I don’t pick up strange germs from other people.

So I spent the gathering evening sniff and snorting, getting lots of fluids in my body while I pecked away at my new short story.  Yes, I want to emphasize this:  it’s a short story, one that I already have worked out in my head, so I know there are five individual scenes to write, though I can’t say how many words are going to be in each scene.

I set the Project Target at five thousand words total, and five hundred words for a daily goal.  Hey, easy, right?  Nice and easy, I can write the story in ten days at that rate, and it leaves me time to do other things.  So I got into full screen mode and started writing–

Slowly, carefully.  I didn’t want to get wordy; I didn’t want to get into a lot of things that were going to fill up the story and turn it into another novelette, or worse, novella.  Nope, I set my goal:  five thousand words.  Best stick to it.

The nice thing about Scrivener’s full-screen mode is you can’t bring up your Project Targets every couple of paragraphs to see how you’re doing.  You write on the limited interface you’re given, and that keeps you focused.  Of course you can flip over to a browser every so often, but I didn’t.

Oh, and the TV was still on, and HBO was playing Les Misérables, and there’s Russel Crowe singing to an unrecognizable Hugh Jackman, and before you know it Anne Hathaway is getting her hair done in a boy cut and I’m trying hard not to think of the opening chapter of American Psycho–“Bum, sixteen; bum, seventeen; bum, eighteen,” and the bus with the poster of Cosette with “Whore” scrawled at the bottom–but after a while I started thinking that someone’s already written fan fiction where Wolverine and Catwoman are running through 18th Century France trying to stop SID 6.7 from killing the king before the revolution–and if SID still looks like The Thin Green Duke.  At least Russel’s band’s music wouldn’t be part of the soundtrack . . .

I finally reached the end of the scene, and I went back into normal mode and checked my word count–

1066 words.

Yeah, I thought I’d do five hundred, and I did just a little over a thousand.  Knowing I have four more scenes to write, that’ll put me between five and six thousand words for the story, which isn’t bad.  And that will keep it under seventy-five hundred words, which means my story could end up being eligible for a Hugo short story award.

Now there’s some science fiction for you.

 

The Group Fade

There was something goofy with the computer last night, because I’m trying to edit and it’s making everything on the system drag.  Not to mention I was in one of those, “I do everything at once!” modes last night.  And my hair was driving me nuts, too.  What is causing this?  It’s not a full moon, that’s for sure.  The aftermath of a blue moon?  A change in the weather?  The impending end of Breaking Bad and the downfall of the Heisenberg Meth Empire?

Don’t want to say it’s aliens, but . . .

I realized yesterday that this coming Monday is Labor Day, and I’ll be spending it in The Burg alone.  In the past I was always around family during holidays, even when working in The Undisclosed Location.  This time–no.  Too far to drive.  I suppose if I were crazy enough I could leave out Friday night, spend ten hours in the dark driving, and arrive home about one in the morning–only to turn around and come back on Monday.  But that’s not how you do it.  That’s a waste of time and money.

I suppose I’ll get through  Maybe it’s time to explore . . .

I haven’t started writing anything new yet, but I think this weekend could be the time to start.  I’m getting to where I want to do something, but I don’t want to start on a novel or novella.  I don’t want to spend a month putting another thirty thousand words down, because I’m going to turn around and do that in November.  I’ve decided I will attempt NaNo, but I’m concerned I’ll actually “win” it this year.  Anymore it’s not about winning or losing:  it’s about writing a good story.  It’s about doing something you can publish–

Which, speaking of publishing, I need to get on my own stuff.  I need to do one last edit, then hand out my story and see about getting a cover.  I’m slacking there, but it’s not as if I haven’t had a lot keeping my busy of late.  The last month seems to have gone on and on with non-stop fun, though with September coming in things are starting to settle.  I think the next few weeks will see everything getting into a normal swing.  And once that happens, then I can start doing something else.

But I want that short story written.  And with it an article or two I’ve been sitting upon.  It need to be done.  And soon.

There was something in my dreams last night that I found unusual.  I was standing on the edge of something–building, hill, don’t know.  And there were thousands of people in an area below me, all of them mumbling something.  I looked out over them, then waved my hand and told them, “Go.  Leave.”  And they turned and started walking away, still mumbling, making their sounds.

I have no idea what that’s suppose to mean.  Was I looking over the past and telling it to leave me the hell alone?  Was it the present?  Were they the people I knew or know?  Or was it, you know, just a dream, one of those things where strange things happen–

‘Cause I was also stripping in the dream, too.

I didn’t look half bad.

Can’t Get It Out of My Head

I am deliberately ripping off a song title today because I’ve been listening to Electric Light Orchestra for a couple of days, and I’m currently listening to a concert they performed in Osaka in 1978, and that particular song just finished.  Which gave me the idea for what to write today, as well as the title.  See?  Inspiration comes from all sources.  You just have to know when to grab it when it pops up.

The little story that I’ve been working on, Fantasies in Harmonie, isn’t so little any more.  It was suppose to be quick and smutty, a nice piece of naughty erotica that would sell quickly and overtake all that other stuff on Smashwords and Amazon that pass for hot writing.

Alas, it’s no longer little.  Two night ago I wrote a bit over twelve hundred words; last night I wrote just under twelve hundred words.  That’s like a third of a short story right there, and it only covers one transformation and one scene of one of my characters sorta, kinda, actually playing with her lady bits.  Twenty-four hundred words of fantasy and sexiness, for one person.

Oi.  They should all be in bed together right now, and I’m sitting at ninety-seven hundred words with maybe another ten thousand to go?  Some smut writer I am.  I think Gore Vidal had the same problem, so I got that going for me.

The story continues, and I’m at least getting into the stuff that’s suppose to be in erotica, which is the sex.  Then I push through that, then I finish up the story, and then . . .

Yeah, what then?

See, here’s the problem:  I’m working on this story, and I’ve got like half a dozen things rolling about in my head at the same time.  It’s likely one of the big distractions I’m having with Fantasies, because when I should be thinking about this story that was going to be written more as a lark than anything else, I’m thinking about what story I should edit next to prep for publication; I’m looking at Create Space so I can offer physical copies of my new novel, Her Demonic Majesty (available in fine ebook versions everywhere); I’m thinking about stories that haven’t moved out of the world building stage–

It’s this last that’s really driving me nuts, because the characters are there, wanting to come out and be made whole, and I’m busy getting Dagny, Brittany, and Skyller all heated up so they can do some nasties and write about it later.  (Writers: they’re all so damn kinky, doncha know?)  Then when I have a break in the action–which is most of the day, actually–my mind wanders back to a place I’m calling Sigle, and before you know it I’m thinking about what I should do with certain characters, and what events will shape their lives–

I should really be thinking about mecha battles and the such, because that’s also a story I want to write.

What’s a girl to do?  Well, writing would be a start . . .

The Truth Through the Lies

After a few days of chatting and playing and doing things that might not be considered necessary for the art of writing, I flew into my story.  It was done because I was ready to do and say thing that needed to be said, and I did those things.

I did it in two stages, because I had real life tell me I needed to do something, then I had free time, then I had to do something again, then it was Project Runway time, and then . . . I had six hundred words to write in the hour before I headed off to bed.  But for the first time in a while, I felt like I wanted to tear up the keyboard and rocket the story like I hadn’t since NaNoWriMo.

So on with a little music, then into the story.

Keith was being lied to, of that I leave no doubt.  This happened in the business world, where much of a day is spent dealing with the illusory bullshit that some people seem to think is important.  He’s getting massive amounts of smoke blown up his ass as his human resources people try to tie an action they want him to take to an action they want to take.  But he’s not going to take it; in fact, he’s starting to throw the truth back in their faces . . .

Six hundred and fifty words next came so easy.  I was finished with my writing for the evening about 9:56, which means I was on a tear for about twenty-five minutes.  Most of the time I’m a little more deliberate in what I want to say, but this time, the word were flowing like water from a new hose.  I was on a rate of fifteen hundred and sixty words in an hour, and that’s something I haven’t done in–oh, maybe a year?

What brought forth is gush?  Why was there a firestorm of creativity all of a sudden?  Was it because I knew exactly what I wanted to say?  That’s part of it:  I’ve worked this scene over and over in my head for some time, so it wasn’t difficult to pull it out of my mind and into Scrivener.    Or, was there something else I’m pulling upon?  Something more personal?

One of my favorite stories is Harlan Ellison’s All the Lies That Are My Life, which is found in his collection Shatterday.  It’s the story of two writers and the relationship they share while both are alive, and in the aftermath of the death of one of the gentlemen.  I’ve always felt that the title is a good way of summing up any writer’s life, because as one person pointed out to me, writing is usually a hell of a lot better than any therapy you seek.  You take people you like and make them your friends and lovers; you take people you hate and throw them into the Sarlacc.  You take events that happened to you, and . . . you bend them, shape them, do anything you want to them, and turn them into the events you wish you’d lived through, rather than the ones you did.

Writers pull from this well and transform their experiences–and in doing so, transform themselves.  When you look what “What could have been,” you start to see the outlines of “What could happen next,” and file that information away.  For one never knows when a situation will arise where you can use that–

For your next story.