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Archive for August, 2011

The Showdown Begins

Final Word Count: August 30, 2011- 5,406 (10 pages); 1 journal page

I’m currently sitting at 48,040 words and 103 pages. For someone who 4 days ago was 10,00 some-odd words behind, I have to admit, I’m impressed with myself. I’m kind of stuck now though with my work, I’m just not sure how the action sequence is going to go. Plus, I’m a little sad that the story has come to an end. I’ve struggled and fought it, let it steam roll me and pummel me until I was a mass of disgustingly malleable jelly and now it’s over (well it will be in 1, 960 words).

I’ll save the dissection of this month’s challenge for my victory post that will hopefully be written later this afternoon. We’ll see how this last bit goes. Is this generally the most difficult bit?

I was heading home from work yesterday and suddenly had this thought: am I being selfish with this project? I didn’t ask my roommate, coworkers, friends or family for their permission (not that I needed it or even should have) but to subject everyone to my writer’s anguish, frustration and manic euphoria? that’s a very cruel punishment, my friends. In fact, tonight, my roommate is being treated to dinner as a thank you for her patience. If I were her, I’d be slipping her numbers to therapists, psychiatrists and anyone else I could find for some drugs. I’ll admit, I was pretty psychotic some days. It wasn’t pretty.

It was tough on me but I really feel sorry for everyone I’ve dragged along for the ride. They’ve all been such wonderful troopers so far but realistically, how much can they take? I have to find an outlet that I can use for my frustration so that they’re spared the rantings of a lunatic.

As I dive into the melee of the climax of this story, wish me luck! I look forward to a victory post within the next few hours. But for now, Yesterday deserves a walkies.

 

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Final Word Count: August 29, 2011- 4,847 (10 pages); 1/2 a journal page

I’m miraculously on track. Somehow I’ve pulled myself up by the suspenders, gave myself a kick in my wedgied bum and got moving. I psyched myself up last weekend (really, was that only the day before yesterday?!) to write 15,000 words in 3 days and so far I’m right on track. I’m sitting at 43,013 right at this moment and tonight with the roomie at work until later, I’ll have the house to myself for some serious marathon writing.

there’s no way I’m going to be able to keep below 100 pages this month; I’m sitting at 94 right now. This is so exciting but I’m a little afraid to  get the action started because even though my characters have made numerous references to their game plan, I still have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s a little stressful, especially since I have a feeling someone’s going to die, but whom? *Frustrated yell*

I’m really looking forward to the next one (a Dick Tracy- style Pulp Fiction) but I’m not going into it with the same excitement and effervescent optimism that August had. Is it because I attempted a piece in this style once before? Ir is this project starting to feel like a burden sometimes?

I may whine and complain about my writing but I clearly still care about it. Why else would I give myself a ridiculous 5,000 word count deadline 3 days in a row, PLUS write in my journal AND update my blog each day? (Ok, I’ll admit, the blog is a pretty awesome procrastination tool.) This has been my saving grace; I refuse to give it up.

I never thought I would be the kind of person to write a Western, or anything longer than an undergrad research paper (no theses for me!) but this just goes to show that you never know what you’re capable of until you push your limits. I’ve been far enough out of my comfort zone for long enough that I’m starting to feel quite comfortable in the outer limits. I really do get an adrenaline of deadlines, character and plot development and seeing my word count slowly creep up towards the 50,000 mark. There is a really wild sense of life satisfaction and a completeness in my soul that I never expected to find, mainly because I never knew it was missing. People comment on how hard it must be to do this everyday but for me the daily struggles are forgotten the moment things fall into place and I get a glimpse of the story that’s waiting to be told. It’s magical.

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Final Word Count: August 28, 2011- 4,270 (lots of pages); 1 journal page

I finally hit my stride. I don’t know where this came from or what had happened but my story’s fallen into place, I have a clear picture of where it’s going, what’s going to happen and how it’s going to resolve. And the best part? It’s jam-packed with action! There’s kidnapping, murder, outlaws, and all sorts of wild things going on that I never contemplated.

I absolutely LOVE writing without an outline. Yes it’s a little stressful sometimes but you have to trust yourself as a writer and sometimes you need to give yourself the freedom to let things happen as they want to. Nothing good ever comes from forcing something (and this isn’t just true for literature). Can I writer 5,000 words a day for the next 3 days? I’m not sure but I’m certainly going to try.

I’m hoping the last 15,000 words will come quickly and easily; in the grand scheme of things it’s not that much. If I had 20,000 left I’d be worrying. There’s lots of action happening and still some back story to fill in and 2 more characters make their purpose known so it should go by pretty quickly. With all this, I’m expecting the writing aspect will be fairly easy. I can’t wait to get back into it; I’ve already almost completed 2,000 this morning!

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Final Word Count: August 27, 2011- nada; no journal entry either

So I have officially given up trying to plot this story and make it the western I envisioned it would be. Instead, I’ve come to a truce with it- let me “finish” it (as in please help me get as close to 50,000 words as humanly possible) and  I’ll let it turn into anything it wants to be. Romance? fine. Horror? ok. Erotica? Bring it on (it has been lacking action…)?

Obviously my inexperience with this genre is shining through. I have no clue what is happening or how it’s going to end up but I’m looking forward to finishing this troublemaker. I think I can understand how teachers with difficult students feel by the end of the school year. You just start praying for the strength to make it through and  look forward to the day that you will never cross paths with the little beastie again. Perhaps not; perhaps that’s just how I’m feeling at the moment. I know I’m counting down the days.

I had no idea what is going to happen with my story but guess what! There’s a kidnapping, a rescue attempt and a girl gang! And don’t forget about revenge, vendettas and desperadoes. I think there’s still potential for some wild west action!

 

 

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Final Word Count: August 26, 2011- 1,453 (a few pages); no journal entry

I’m stymied. I got myself out of the corner I had written myself into but now I have no idea how the problem’s going to shape up or what’s going to happen. I have to admit, it’s not feeling very western-y, I’m not quite sure what it feels like right now.

My main character, Eleanor is driving me bonkers. The story’s twisting in ways I never allowed it to in my future plans and I have no idea where to direct things or what to write about. It’s kind of just coasting now with minimal progression and development. When  I started this, I was so excited for cowboys, gunfights, the lawless west and perhaps a kidnapping or two.

What do i end up with? One measly gunfight right in the beginning, some weak descriptions of old western towns, minimal reference to the desert and a gambling riverboat. It’s awful. I’m not a big fan of myself right now. I can guarantee you that if I didn’t writer this, I wouldn’t touch it with a  10-foot pole. And I certainly don’t want to edit it next year. *Shiver*

Just a few more days. I can hang in there.

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Multi-Media Exploration

Final Word Count: August 25, 2011- nothing; no journal entry

Ok. This is getting ridiculous. And painful. As promised, I won’t give up this month, but at the same time, I’m obviously not trying too hard which leads me to this post. Does anyone know any other movies/t.v. shows that involve writers and/or books (magazines are okay too)? So far I have:

“Murder, She Wrote”

“Castle”

“Sex and the City”

“You’ve Got Mail”

“Finding Never Land”

“Finding Forrester”

Oh yes. And all the comic book based movies.

I can’t really think of any other movies that involve/feature writers, writing or anything literary. I’ll even take movies that are based on books (although they’re almost always lacking when compared to their literary companion such as “The Help.”). Does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations?

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Final Word Count: August 24, 2011- Peanuts.; 1 journal page

The month is winding down. I’m starting to feel like an ER doctor (sadly not one of the beautiful ones that snagged George Clooney), more like a sleep-deprived, first year resident with no clue what’s going on. It’s all about damage control now. My stitches are going to be sloppy, the materials used for stabilizing this dying “patient” are adequate at best and I’ll be lucky if it makes it through the next week. It needs a creativity infusion and soon! It’s getting pretty weak…

I feel as a writer that I can’t leave a story behind unfinished. I took on this project and I can’t quit. I’d never contemplate quitting altogether but it’s easy to succumb to defeat when failure is staring back at you. Is there a Hippocratic Oath out there somewhere for us because I feel like there should be.

The Western right now sits at a glorious 66 pages and 29,615 words. I hate to admit it but I think I’ve lost interest in this one. Is that bad? It started off so promising but it’s really fizzled out. I started out with this grand plan of ending up with a thick pile of manuscripts- 12 complete books full of promise and sparkle. I think I really knew though, in my heart of hearts that this project was really just to purge the 4 ideas that were floating around in my mind. The rest were just to keep the year interesting and challenging. Still, nothing would appease my inner overachiever than to have finished a complete novel each month.

I’m not giving up yet but I will admit it’s hard to continue when I’ve accepted that I just don’t feel the inspiration to finish this one. Perhaps the pulp fiction/Dick Tracy-esque story next month will revive my imagination. Cowboys just don’t do it for me. I have a feeling handsome gumshoes do though.

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Back on Track

Final Word Count: August 23, 2011- 1,234 (3 half pages); 1 journal page

I took C.B. Wentworth’s advice and revisited the part where things started going screwy and the pieces started falling into place. There was no more forcing anything. I flew through the story and the questions of how to advance the story solved themselves. And the biggest tell that I was on the wrong path? The boy character, Charles never showed up.

Oh don’t you worry, I have plans for him but not right now. I have to get her settled in her new town then the characters I’ve introduced int he beginning will show up again and Charles will make his grand appearance. I know, I know, it’s a lot to do and i have a crazy amount of work to do but I look at it this way- it’s my own showdown/gunfight. I can do it but it’ll be tough.

I feel like I’m back on track and all is not lost. It’s not over for another week.

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Who Knew?

As a little side note, I found the “I Write Like” writing analyzer listed in C.B. Wentworth’s blogroll so out of curiosity, I tried it out.

I write like
J. D. Salinger

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Phew. No pressure, San. Seriously. No pressure.

I’m not familiar with his work (I know… how could I have made it through high school without reading The Catcher in the Rye?) What do you think?

 

I plugged in some other random pieces and got the following: Cory Doctorow, H.P. Lovecraft, David Foster Wallace, Dan Brown and Margaret Atwood.

Phew.

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Final Word Count: August 22, 2011- not a lot but at least I got a journal entry done

So my characters are not behaving themselves. Am I going crazy? I feel like I am. I thought it would take longer for me to reach this point but apparently not. Is it due to the sheer amount of work I’m doing (or in some cases attempting to do) or is it the subject matter that’s driving me to drink? That’s right, yours truly, who’s not a drinker would love nothing more than to crawl into a dark room with a cold compress for her forehead and a pitcher of something alcoholic. Drama, drama, drama.

The characters are being so bad it warrants being said again- they are doing all sorts of naughty things. How am I expected to keep the story going and developing when the boy character who’s been hiding in the shadows all this time suddenly appears? I haven’t even figured out what his purpose is. And the girl characters? I think there’s a case of summer love. But this is a Western, dammit! I said there would be no mixing genres but they obviously have different ideas. Well, it’s not going to happen! I think it’s time for someone to die.

That’s the beauty of writing- when something gets difficult you can always kill off a character or do something that seems reasonable but would never happen in real life. I’m all for wild coincidences. Am I lazy? Perhaps but I don’t really care. Think of it as a plot twist that keeps you on your toes. It’s actually pretty fun.

Sadly, I don’t think I’m going to make the 50,000 word count this month seeing as I’m not at 30,000 words yet but I’m going to do my best. Each day I say that and each day it’s a little bit of a lie but I mean it now. I want to succeed and I want to do well so as my roommate’s mom says, I’m putting my big girl panties on and dealing with this delinquency. It’s only 9 more days. I want to finish the month with a story I’m proud of and at least sketched out. How frustrating would that be if I worked for a month on this and not know how it ends? Sheesh! There has to be at least one more gun fight too!

Until I get things going again, just call me Slacker San.

 

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