22 October 2010

Two NaNo Things

1. The door locks are genetic. (*eyepop!!!*)

2. "Ich bin im Wasser verbrannt...." (hmmmm....)

.

11 October 2010

Six Impossible Things

So the brilliantly funny/entertaining posts that are the NaNo forums have already begun. Yaay! One of my favorites is "How 'Impossible' is your Novel?", in which the original poster has challenged WriMo's to name 6 impossible things in their novel.

Naturally, it took me about 5 minutes to come up with mine....

  1. The entire human race abandoned the dying, uninhabitable Earth in huge space ships jetisoned off to each of the known (and hopefully) habitable extra-solar planets.
  2. Faster-than-light-speed space travel!!! :D
  3. The main female character is stronger than any man.
  4. Also, she has fangs.
  5. However, she is NOT a vampire!! 8-D
  6. Her people biologically engineered themselves to survive the nasty not-so-habitable-for-humans planet they ended up on (the fangs are part of that, see? :).

And, yanno, that's just for starters. And before I've even begun writing. And they're even somewhat believible!

Just wait til NaNo actually starts. I'm sure I'll be back with a list of Truly, Outrageously Impossible Things in My Novel....

Ah, NaNo.... how I lurve thee!

.

01 October 2010

So a while back, kick-ass authoress Holly Lisle, in her fantastic newsletter, mentioned something about multi-tasking as a writer. Not in those words exactly, but what she was getting at (paraphrasing here...) was: 'don't work on more than one project at once'. Or at least, if you're serious-writing on one project, don't be serious-writing on another at the same time. World building on another project and/or final polish-editing on another project (i.e., max: 3 projects at once) is probably managable (if-and-only-if you MUST).

And I thought: 'is she serious'??

Because I am a many-many projects at once sorta gal. At least I thought I was.

But then I got to thinking and it sorta started making sense. When you're serious-writing on a project, you're immersed in that project's world. You live it. You breathe it. If you're a bit of a method-writer like me, you become your characters and take on their personalities from time to time in your real-world life (handy, if you're naturally shy and you're character's not... ).

World building and editing, on the other hand, at least for me, is work that can be done bit by bit, piece by piece, a section (or two or three) at a time. It's different, in other words, from serious-writing.

And, oddly enough, I hadn't really thought about it exactly like that. The "sub-tasks" of writing -- world building, character development, serious-writing, editing -- these things had been melded together in my head before as part of the Big Picture -- part of the Process of Writing. I had not separated them out and seen them as discreet and different before. Seems obvious, but yanno -- if anybody's gonna miss The Obvious, it's gonna be me....

Anyway, it makes sense, now that I think of them separately, that serious-writing on more than one project is going to get you Nowhere Fast.

And that's not where I want to be.

So....

Somewhere in the deep, dark, secret recesses of my mind, I'm thinking I really need to finish -- and I mean Finish-Finish -- the first complete draft of Dragons before NaNo starts.

Which gives me a friggin' deadline, I suppose, of October 31.

Fuckin' A.

Guess it's a good thing I've got my NaNo all plotted and ready to G.O., since I failed miserably at Screnzy. The up-side of failure being I have the plot for NaNo pretty much all D.O.N.E. (other than some world building.... conveniently enough....)

Hmmmmmmmm......

Methinks the wisdom of me elders might be sinking in...

.

21 June 2010

Test of Mobile Blogging

Testing this blogging via email thing, because while i would prefer to post updates from China to Facebook (because it's easy and I'm lazy...), ye ol' FB is blocked in China. So no FB...and that will be no fun for the folks back home who will worry about where we are and what we're doing, so.... this is a Test of Alternative Updates Method # 1....

Let us hope it works....

.

27 April 2010

MayNoWriMo: Das Plan

So the plan for MayNo is to complete An Actual Revision and in order to do that -- and because I know myself all too well -- I know I have to break that overarching goal down into small, quantifiable steps, things I can formulate into a Grand To Do list and tick off one by one. Without that, I will get sidetracked and bogged down and Go. Nowhere.

Which will piss me off.

And will piss Dorothy off. And will make Inge very, very freakin' happy, because she hates mucking around with MY writing. That's very uncomfortable for her and she would really rather tear to shreds somebody else's writing.

Thank goodness dear Inge isn't in charge and I am.... heh...

Anyway, below is The Grand and Wonderful Plan that I came up with this evening to achieve my MayNoWriMo Goal. I even put time limits on each major step so that I have mini-deadlines in the midst of the Grand Deadline of May 31st.

We'll see how it works. I'm a little worried about not setting an upper limit on the number of items in Step Two -- Inge could subversively suggest change after change after change and thus ensure I never finish the damn thing -- so somewhere in the back of my mind there's really a range: 3-5 plot-related changes, 3-5 character-related changes, etc. The range is fairly small, because the original manuscript is only 20 pages long and this thing is NOT going to turn into a full-on novel (ya hearin' that, Dorothy dear??).

Right, well: Das Plan:

Overall Goal: Complete a revision of the fairy ring story

Step One: Read Through Manuscript and Make Notes [DONE]
a) Read through manuscript hard copies (full first draft and started-but-abandoned second draft). [DONE]
b) Make notes on the h/c and in a separate notebook on changes that need to be made. [DONE]

Step Two: Evaluate and Plan Changes [5 DAYS MAX]
a) Identify at least 3 specific plot-related changes
b) Identify at least 3 specific character-related changes
c) Identify at least 3 specific world/setting-related changes
d) Identify at least 3 new scenes that need to be written (~7,500 words)
e) Identify at least 3 existing scenes that need to be entirely re-written (~7,500 words)
f) Identify at least 3 scenes that need a minor amount of work
g) Identify at least 3 items to research

Step Three: Research [3 DAYS MAX]
a) Research the 3 most important items identified in Step Two g)
b) Spend NO MORE than 2 hours on each of the 3 items

Step Four: Make Changes Identified in Step Two [15 DAYS]

Step Five: Make ONE pass of the full manuscript to line-edit/polish [5 DAYS]
a) Read through a HARD COPY marking changes
b) Type in the changes

Step Six: Send the Manuscript to Beta-Readers.

One final side-note: Step Six, though it may seem sort of trivial, is really important. The whole point of writing for me personally is to get shit out of my head. All well and good, that. The point of revising, however, is to create something other people can read -- so that has to be the ultimate goal and the final step and measure of success or failure here. That is to say, on May 31, 2010, I have to be at the point where I can send out an email or post a facebook status that says, "Hey, I wrote something. You want to read it?"

Yoiks. I think I just scared the piss outta myself.

.

15 April 2010

What To Do, What To Do...

Trying to decide what, exactly, I'm going to do for MayNoWriMo.

My first inclination is, of course, to jump into that new thing and just run with it --bang out 50K in a month, even though I still don't know its ending. In other words: my usual.

I'm thinking, though, that that isn't probably what I should do.

For one thing, I already know I can do that. I've done it 6 or 7 times now -- enough times that I've actually lost count, which means....

Probably, what I should do is something I've never done: Finish. Something.

Well, maybe not finish-finish... but, at least, Get Through. Yeah, Get Through would be great. In fact, in the interest of creating an actually-attainable-though-challenging, goal, I should be quite specific: Get. Through. A. Revision.

There. It's in writing.

I think I'll do that weird fairy ring thing that came out of nowhere in the middle of December when I had 900 other things to do. It didn't totally suck when I read through it. And it's small enough to actually Get. Through.

Kewl.

Love it when a plan comes together out of nothing. :)

.

14 April 2010

MayNoWriMo!!

So the FANTASTIC Joely Sue is instigating and organizing MayNoWriMo, a writing-project extravaganza of the NaNoWriMo variety. And I'm so pleased, because the whole script writing thing just isn't happening for me.

Like at all.

Like, I'm still on Page-Fucking-1.

I could blame the foreign formatting thing. I could blame the as-usual-IN-FUCKING-SANE Evil Day Job. I could blame the county's timing of Spring Break during the first 2 weeks of April....

But I won't.

The fault is all mine and all the fact that I can't seem to connect with my characters unless I get to Be. In. Their. Heads. And let them spew their innermost thoughts, desires, urges, and unpleasantness through my fingertips. That's where it's at, apparently. At least, for me.

So I'm frikkin' bouncing in my seat about MayNo! Because the alternative was to wait and world build (a.k.a. procrastinate) until fucking November.

Hallelujah!

.

13 March 2010

Struggle

So I'm trying to prepare for this Script Frenzy thing and, apparently, certain aspects of screenplay writing are going to be no different from novel writing for me. That is, I'm up against the same old brick wall: I've got great characters, I've got a fabulous, far-out setting, I've got absolutely No Plot.

OK, I'm exaggerating. Slightly.

There's an inkling of Plot. There's a beginning of one in that my characters want something (each other) and can't possibly have it without risking their lives and the lives of everyone they care about. There's even a real, nasty bad guy this time.

And here I am: Stuck and No Idea what to do with them now.

Aaargh.

So. Frustrating.

.

03 March 2010

Whose

Learned something new the other day while editing a client's manuscript. I love that.

I ran across this sentence:

The Mann-Whitney test was performed to identify genes whose expression was altered during allergen exposure.

I stopped short at "whose", thinking "WHAT?! 'whose' should refer to a person, right? A 'gene' is not a person. I need to fix this."

Unable to come up with a rewording that I liked, I went looking for an alternative to 'whose'. Strunk and White had nothing to say on the matter. Likewise, the 9th Edition of the AMA Style Guide.

Stymied, I turned to Google. (When Strunk & White fail you, what else is there, right?)

And I found Grammar Girl! Grammar Girl had this excellent explanation of why 'whose' is, in fact, perfectly fine. Shakesphere used it this way. So did Milton. I won't bore you with repeating what Grammar Girl has already explained well, but the gist of it is: English doesn't have a relative pronoun for use with inanimate objects.

Which I find absolutely fascinating! (Yes, I am a certifiable geek....) We clearly have a need for such a thing, and yet we have only this uncomfortable stand-in. How did that ever happen? WHY did that ever happen? Will we, eventually, ever do anything about it? Like come up with something else. If we did, what would it be?

*sighs*

Ah, the things one can wonder about once the children are abed...

.

08 February 2010

How to Amuse the Muse

I think I've figured out part of the reason for my writing slump of the past year. OK, aside from the ridiculous idea of going back to school and taking actual classes for actual college credits (which was a well-worth-it but miserable experince). And aside from the full time job, two kids, freelance business, house, and husband.

My car sucked.

No, really. I hated it. And that's a bad, bad thing if your muse lives in your car like mine does.

Oh, fine, laugh all you like, but she does. I don't know why, but she likes to sit behind me when I'm driving (and obnoxiously cranking my tunes) and whisper in my ear about worlds, weapons, and wonderment. Not sure if it's the motion, the tunes, or what, but she likes it there, and when I'm stuck on a character or plot, that's where I go to to get unstuck.

And having to drive a car that I grew to actively hate made that impossible, since I spent most of my time in the car cussing at it (and its utter inability to accelerate properly and tendancy to require an Act of Congress to change gears). This left the muse little opportunity to whisper anything, nevermind the fact that whispering wasn't going to cut it over the volume of the cussing (though, surprisingly, the whispering does just fine against the tunes - go figure).

Anyway.

In December, we got rid of the Stupid Car and bought Ruby. I love Ruby. Ruby shifts when I would shift. Ruby pushes you back in your seat when you hit the gas. Ruby has a bump shift, which means I can take her out of Drive, put her in Manual, and shift her myself, if the roads are a mess of snow and ice. Or if I just need to.

Yeah, silly as it is to love a car, I LOVE Ruby.

More importantly, my muse loves Ruby too. And the last few weeks she's started whispering again. And that makes the brain happy.

So what if Ruby was just barely in our price range. So what if the payments give me a heart attack. So what if I had to compromise my high-gas-mileage-or-forget-it principles.

The muse is amused. Some days, that's all that matters.

.

16 January 2010

Review: The Chocolatier's Wife

by Cindy Lynn Speer

A beautifully sweet story (pun unashamedly intended).

OK, leaving aside the fact that anything having to do with chocolate is almost automatically certain to be a hit with me, this really was a great story. Set in a world far, far away where marriages are 'arranged' by magic and one's mate is usually determined when one is very young, the story consists partly of letters written back and forth between William and his 'intended', Tasmin, over the course of the time before they meet and partly of the 'present day', in which William has been framed for murder and Tamsin comes to free him, since she knows from his letters that he's no murderer.

Their letters to each other alone are a good enough reason to read the book. They are charming and cleverly written, not only because they subtly reveal the nature of each of the main characters, but also because they evolve through the story, moving along from the first letter William writes as a 7 year old to Tamsin as an infant to them writing back and forth as adults. This imparts a depth to the characters and the sense that you have known them their whole lives yourself.

Meanwhile, in the main storyline, touches of magic, mystery, and romance are deftly woven together into a memorable tale that I really didn't want to end, since it meant leaving William and Tamsin's world. Throughout, author Cindy Lynn Speer's eloquent writing repeatedly put a smile on my face just from appreciation of the sheer skill it takes to write sentences that are cleverly put together, but still easy to follow.

So, in short, if you like a well-constructed, sweet (but not sappy) story spiked with a bit of whodunnit, The Chocolatier's Wife is Very Highly Recommended!