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Archive for August, 2011

Off Kilter

Final Word Count: August 21, 2011- 446 (1 page); no journal entry

This weekend’s throw me off kilter and I don’t like it. This entire weekend’s been full of crazy business. I’m not sure how this writing project is going to work out. I’m not having doubts about it and I certainly don’t have regrets about starting it but I’m not exactly sure why I took this on and what made me think this was a good idea.

I hoped to be honest in my blog and keep things true to my feelings at the moment so I’m laying my self-doubt and hesitancy out there. I’ve read other bloggers say they try to keep their pages upbeat and don’t like putting less than happy posts up and I agree. I try really hard to keep things optimistic but it’s just not happening today.

Maybe the weekend was more of a roller coaster than I expected- I do feel like my emotional batteries are running low. Could it be a severe decrease in daily walkies? Perhaps. I know a big part has been my sporadic writing schedule and the difficulties I’ve encountered with this story. I really want to finish it and am curious to see how it develops but I’m really dragging my feet. I miss those 1,500+ word count days but I also realize that I won’t succeed at every genre. I certainly can’t force it to happen.

I don’t feel like incentives will work and Pascale has turned into a dud regarding motivation techniques. I think the biggest concern right now is what if this trend continues? Will I be able to complete another manuscript? I know there’s no point in wondering what the future holds; it’s not going to be as wonderful as it could be or even as complete as I hoped it would be if these thoughts keep consuming my time and brain power.

I’ve really written myself into a corner. This isn’t writer’s block per se but rather I ended up with a situation out of  which I’m not exactly sure how to  extricate my character. And the new character I’ve introduced? I’m still not too sure what his purpose is. ARGH. Is it just me or is it super hard to keep track of your characters when they decide to go squirrely? It’s like chasing after delinquent tweens- they have no idea where they’re going and they’re clueless about what’s happening.

This is going to be a crazy last few days of the month. I’m sticking with the story and seeing what happens. I have to at least finish sketching it out since it will drive me crazy if it’s unfinished. *Le Sigh* Now no more procrastination!

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final Word Count: August 20, 2011- 4,000 (9 pages); 1 journal page

It was a long day. It took me pretty much the entire day- 12+ hours- to get my 4,000 words done but I stuck it out and it felt wonderful! I have no idea how I’m going to finish this story, I’m at 27,000 words and the main problem hasn’t even been been set into motion! I can completely understand how authors can end up with 800 page books. I think it’s pretty easy if you have a vivid imagination. Those details can really suck you in!

I’m hanging out at an awesome little neighbourhood cafe to fulfill my post requirement for the day and let Yesterday get some sunshine. I decided to splurge and get a sandwich so I was enjoying it when a piece of chicken went down the wrong way. I was choking. Not the kind that a little cough will get things back in order but the tear-producing death rasp. There were 4 people outside two totally within earshot but no one came over. I was not impressed. Maybe it’s my First Aid training or just that I care about people but if I saw someone in distress, I’d at least go over to them so they know someone is there to help if need be. Luckily I saved myself but it was a close call. And people wonder why I need to have meat swim in sauce or gravy… Ah well. Nothing like a little excitement to make sure the old heart is working properly.

Come to think of it, it hasn’t been an overly stellar day but that will all change. I’m pushing through the story, and I feel like action’s just around the corner. Maybe I’ll break things into parts so I can skip giant amounts of time and avoid the issue of explaining how she ends up where she ends up (the main point of the story has been explained right in the beginning so any other explanation is really superfluous). I may just make it after all! I still have over a week. An amazing amount can be accomplished in that time.

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Final Word Count: August 19, 2011-  nada; no journal entry either

I had done so well the day before yesterday that I think my brain gave me the approval to slack off yesterday. Tsk tsk. I rented 2 movies- “No Strings Attached (loved it!) and Ferris Bueller’s Day off (has anyone seen the thing in its entirety without renting or buying it?)- so my evening got sucked up enjoying pre-fab art. As enjoyable as that is, I always go to bed feeling as though something was missing in my day. It took me a bit to realize that something is the sense of accomplishment. I’ve grown quite addicted to that feeling.

My story is starting to tick along but there is a lot of ground to cover before the en of the month. Maybe that will light the fire under my bum to buckle down and get it written. Enough people have read what I’ve written so far that I feel like I’ll be disappointing them if I don’t have a finished story for them.

I really am excited to see how things develop. My characters are displaying hidden talents all the time. I can’t say life is anything less than suspenseful at the moment.

This is part of a life I’ve always dreamed for myself. I think this is even better than being solely a writer. As seen the week before last, not having anything else going on in my life would be awful. I need a full, well-rounded schedule in order for me to produce the kind of work I want and expect of myself.

With Yesterday crying beside me at the coffee shop, perhaps it’s time to get back home and back to work. The little muffin needs some play time in the backyard. (And I’m sure the owner would prefer the marigolds in the coffee shop’s flower box retain their flowers unshredded.)

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13 Days Left

Final Word Count: 2,626 (7 pages); 1 journal page

Wow, what a relief for things to get back to normal! I didn’t realize it had been a week since my last journal entry but it had. I reviewed the game plan and discovered I need to accomplish 2,100 words a day to meet the 50,000 mark. That’s right, yours truly isn’t even at the 25,000 word level yet! When I look at it that way my heart starts racing and panic sets in. So from now on it’s a day-by-day adventure.

I know I’ll be able to make it; thank God I’m not a social butterfly. I’ve also revised my plan somewhat with the story line. Perhaps they won’t make it to the Territories but instead end up on the western side of Texas, just past the most populated pockets. There’s now a man following my lady characters and steamboats. Will they take a jaunt on a steamboat, is one a ferry that will take them across the river or will they just spend the night in Austin and head out the next day? It’s so exciting! I have no idea what’s going to happen.

I’m hoping that it’s getting more exciting for me now to write so it won’t take as long to get into the story. I’m sitting here writing this and i feel a flurry of excitement in my chest over getting home tonight and working some more on the story. I love curling up on the couch with Yesterday and discovering what happens and how the story will unfold. I may have an idea of what’s going to happen but chances are something else will develop and my ideas are defenestrated. I’m glad they are because the alternatives turn out so much better than I could have imagined.

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Epiphanizing

Final Word Count: August 17, 2011- 1,000; still no journal entry. This is very bad.

I think I’ve discovered a big part of the hang up this month. Movies, new, as-of-yet-unread books and a genre that requires being precise. *Le Sigh*

I’m one of those people who was just successful enough at b.s.ing my way through things that I try it when I can. The Western is a prime example. Without the research done before hand to know exactly what life would have been like and what was realistic for them to encounter, I’m flying blind. So I whip out my b.s. cape and proceed.

A good b.s.er knows enough about the topic they’re dealing with to make something that isn’t true or most definitely on the outer rim of  sound plausible. It’s all bout authority and confidence. When it really matters, I do my research (I’m not negligent or a liar) but when it comes to situations that have a bit of creative space I feel no compunction about colouring in the grey areas.

I just don’t think Westerns are my thing. I like horses but prefer to see them on t.v., running across a plain wild and free versus looking at me face to face and I don’t think I’ve ever held a real gun let alone use one. And gunslingers, aka, bad guys? They make me cry. I always thought I’d be one of the beautiful ladies with a parasol wandering along the sidewalks of a mining town. In reality though, I think I would have been a frazzled mother of 5 (the 6th on its way) begging the kids to leave the chickens alone on our 20 acre farm in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas. Perhaps I should have watched a season of Deadwood before starting.

I do really enjoy working on the story and trying a genre so far out of my comfort zone but I highly doubt this will be a style I’ll return to in the future. I’d like to just finish this one by the end of the month and move on. It’s been an interesting ride.

I now have to get super serious about this story. No more movie rentals (from the “liberry” or otherwise) and all the books I rented (ok, I can keep 2) have to go back as well. Since that night last week when I started the CYOA, that bristol board as stayed tucked behind the table in my room and out of sight. I’ve turned down a few things this week because I don’t want to sabotage my chances of succeeding. Too bad there’s no off switch for procrastination. Hopefuly next month will be a bit r.

What is on the docket for September you ask? Why it’s time for pulp fiction! that’s right- femme fatales and gumshoes and baddies galore. Probably even a Chicago Typewriter or two!

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Final Word Count: August 16, 2011- 1,483 (3 pages); journal has not been resumed.

First off, I’d like to congratulate my parents on making it to their 36th wedding anniversary. For 2 youngsters to  get married and keep the marriage going, that’s impressive. My sister and I are lucky.

Now onto the literary news…

I need to get a map of the old south and southwest so I can figure out their route (my characters’ not my parents- they aren’t THAT old but I’m sure my sister and I make them feel that way sometimes…). As I mentioned in a reply post to the-day-before-today’s entry, I’m kind of stuck with the traveling bit because I don’t know what towns I can use as stopping points between New Orleans and The Nevada Territory of 1849. It’s hard keeping things true to history and geography. I’m not quite sure I like all this research when I’ve only got a month to do my writing. Hopefully I can squeak by with minimal research for the rest of my stories. At least I’m better prepared for the mystery now.

I finally found a detailed map from that time period (I love the internet!) but it’s too detailed to use as my desktop for reference! *Crying tiny tears of frustration* I was looking for detailed and I got it- so detailed that I’ve completely underestimated the amount of growth and expansion that was already happening in 1849 through out Eastern Texas. Whatever. At this point, I just want to get Eleanor and Sarah out to the area presently known as Nevada. If they have to catch a ride with a dragon taxi so be it. Isn’t this what a re-write if for?

So for the rest of the month it’s going to be a mad dash each night, getting into the groove (hopefully quickly) and spinning this story as quickly as I can type (which isn’t very fast…). Now that I have a game plan, as tattered as it may be, let the games begin!

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Final Word Count: August 15, 2011- a couple hundred; no journal pages for a few days now

I’ve really fallen off my routine. This is bad. Very, very bad. It’s not that I’m not enjoying this, I’m actually really having fun with the Western. The problem is is that it’s moving soooooo sloooooowly. I feel like I’m the one trudging through the dusty desert-like landscape instead of my characters. I don’t understand why it’s taking so long getting through the traveling parts, I mean unless my characters get kidnapped or get sucked into a Conestoga caravan (which have yet to happen), this should be the quickest part!

I’m not even at the main part of the story yet so I’m starting to get a little antsy with impatience and nerves. I may have to pare down on this section and keep it bare bones so that I have a better chance at actually finishing this story. I think I have to stop caring about it so much and remember: “Quantity over Quality.”

It’s hard not to become deeply involved with the story and care about how it’s turning out. I want to maintain the quality of writing to which I’m accustomed to producing but let’s face it- when you’re staring down the barrel of a gun being held by the last Midnight of the month, you can only keep going at that pace for so long before things start going haywire. I’d much rather the novels go squirrelly than me. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up the fight easily.

I don’t wish it was September already; like I said, I’m really enjoying this genre. I’m starting to wish I had some background in this before I started though. And don’t even get me started on my chapter breaks! I think I’ve missed a couple because I have some chapters that are 10+ pages and then others are a page and a half!

*Wheeling around on one heel with my hands on my forehead and crazy-eyed* I’m a complete disaster this month!

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Never put off for later what you can do now. That bit of wisdom has been proven to me again and again but have I learned yet? Nope. This past weekend has been a literary disaster- there was the barfday girl then fecal fiascos with one of the other fur-roomies and general mayhem. I felt like I was living in a zoo. Now if only there was a poop-throwing monkey swinging from a blade on the ceiling fan. Happily there wasn’t.

I’m behind on my catch up schedule by 2 days but I’ll work on rectifying that. I’m hoping for 4,000 words today; when broken up into 2 2,000 chunks it doesn’t seem impossible, just wildly ambitious. Wish me luck!

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As of yet, no writing done. Have no fear though… I feel a fire burning in these little fingers to get my work done today!

Happy Birthday, Yesterday! I thought I might post some pictures of the wee darling to celebrate my ability (sometimes due to sheer luck) to keep her alive for 3 years. Cynical? Perhaps but as any parent will agree, protecting a curious, strong-willed, independent little spirit alive is hard work and terrifying sometimes.

Approximately 45 Minutes After Picking Her Up at the Airport

I got her at 12 weeks and weighing in at only 3.5 lbs. She was lost among the blankets in the cat carrier- I was afraid she wasn’t there!

Resting on Top of Her Toy Box Between Bouts of Naughtiness

She discovered that her toy box was delightfully soft and comfy. Sadly, this only lasted for a bit until she ripped the velcro off the lid. That was a sad day…

Sleeping in Front of the Fire with her Bestest Furiend, Cleo

And that is as big as she’s ever going to get but don’t tell her. She thinks she can rumble with the big ones and is always up for meeting new friends, if there’s an empty lap somewhere, she’ll find it and get her cuddles.

So, with a birthday to celebrate ( I think I may have to make some cupcakes) and a story to continue working on, it’s going to be a busy weekend. I’m really looking forward to fulfilling my quota tonight so I can continue writing my CYOA. I dissected the book last night (without having to rip it apart) and think I’ve figured out the structure (I felt pretty smart). I have a phone date with a friend tonight to hash it out with her (because EVERYTHING sounds reasonable, logical and right at 1 am when you’re tired).

They story is coming along well, I’ve solved a problem I didn’t even know I was facing and my main character, Eleanor, is starting to make decisions that I’m not anticipating or expecting. I’m following my gut and when something feels right I do it, no questions asked. For example, Eleanor met someone in the first town she stopped in and it was bothering me that this character didn’t have a name. So now she does. Not only is she developing into another prominent figure in the story, she has a history that I’m not exactly sure what it is yet. I have an inkling, but I don’t think that’s all of the story for her. This process is really exciting. I’m really starting to prefer writing to reading (and when I’ve signed on to write as much as I have that’s a very good thing). Who knows what’s going to happen next!

 

 

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I managed to meet and exceed my daily word count quota so guess what I get to do… that’s right! Start ANOTHER book! Have no fear, I’m not doubling up just in August, oh no. This project is another bit of incentive to get my word count achieved so I’ll give myself the year to finish it (maybe even be through one editing cycle… Ohhhhh how ambitious!).

I’ve always been perplexed how writers successfully write a “choose Your Own Adventure;” it seems so convoluted and confusing but I’ll figure it out. it’s funny- I normally hate puzzles (I won’t even look at one that’s more than 25 pieces) but I’m intrigued and excited by this challenge. I have the basic start outlined, now I just have to do some research in regards to number of endings and how interconnected they are. Are the stories tightly interwoven or are they 2 or three distinct story lines with a few possibilities (i.e. endings) exclusively for them? I suppose the number of choices at each junction will determine how long and involved the story will be. Maybe a bristol board won’t be big enough.

Well, I have my three story lines chosen so at the point I can start writing it and see how things go. I should have invested in some pencils. I have a feeling there’ll be a lot of scribbling out.

I’ll probably explore this genre and fool around a bit with it. Ideally I’d really like to get experienced enough writing them that the choices can be multipurpose (but then the issue of grammar and flow becomes tricky) and nonexclusive. It’d be great to have a story where you’re not shunted down a distinct track right off the bat. That’s not so fun.

I thought by buying one and physically dismantling it I’d have a clearer picture of how it works and how to approach it but at first glance that doesn’t seem to be the case. Well, this is a night to put in a comfort movie (I’m thinking “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein”), plunk myself down on the floor in front of the T.V. with a pair of kitchen shears, my bristol board and a pen. I wish I had more than one CYOA book to go by but I can’t afford to be buying books and ripping them up (and my conscience won’t let me destroy anymore). I feel like I’m committing a crime.

Here goes nothing. I’m ridiculously excited about this one.

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