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One-day weekends suck. I’ve spent most of the last 20 months with a one-day weekend. Granted my schedule is much more flexible than that sounds; it’s not like I’m a banker chained to my wicket 6 days a week but to have two days off is a lovely feeling. At the moment, I’m enjoying working as much as possible but the lure of two days off in a row is very seductive.

Does anyone else have the problem of needing inordinate chunks of time to sit down and write? What I really need is Mavis Beacon’s Typing Tutorial. These novels each month really are a labour of love. When I’m on the roll I can get about 1,000 words an hour but most days it’s a struggle. I would love to be able to zip off a few thousand words in a reasonable 2 hours but as you know that only works if I have the inspiration.

The story is progressing nicely and it’s a lovely feeling to be able to fall back into a creative zone and have the luxury of seeing the day whittle down as my story grows and develops. It’s such a satisfying way to spend a day but it makes me sad that this opportunity comes much more rarely than I’d like. Of course I have the day dreams of holing up in a warm Dublin pub, always in my very own well-worn velvet cushioned booth to work. Some days there would be a pot of delicious black tea on the table beside me, others will be a single-malt whiskey and Guiness chaser. Invariably I’d be a fixture for the establishment.

Our dreams are as integral to our mental health as vacations are. When you think about it, they’re really the same thing. Both offer an escape for our reality and give us a chance to break out of our routine. So even though I made have given up a 5-day work week for a little while, nothing can make me stop dreaming. There is a lot in my life that is amazing and when things need to be shaken up a bit I’ll know where to start.

 

 

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What a way to start the month! I was beautifully set up to have a wild success this month only to be sidelined right away with some nasty food poisoning. Out of commission for 2 days, I have to conserve my energy for work. This is when I envy all those desk jobs out there… I’m feeling better every day but I miss being back to my old self. I never realized how much energy I had and how perky and sunshiny I was until I’m temporarily not at peak performance.

You would think that this would actually work in my favour regarding my writing. With little energy to do much else and with it being so wet and cold out at the moment, it’s prime time to get some good writing accomplished, well it’s hard to do that when sleeping is a much more enticing option. Especially when Yesterday has no problem cuddling up to a recovering sickie.

I opted to finish a story I started 2 years ago rather than start a whole new fantasy novel. I thought this would be a fitting end to a year of creativity, brainstorming and new beginnings. I’ve had enough months of plotting and thinking of new stories on the fly that it’s time to sit down and address one of the biggies from my past that needs to be be completed.

Months ago I mentioned that there were 4 stories that I wanted to complete because they were dead weights to my creative spirit. This fantasy story is the last of the 4. I finished the autobiography, the mystery was a bust and the steampunk is certainly one I want to revisit during round 2. That leaves this last novel.

Last month I was contemplating about whether to keep it as it is or to begin over again but to re-evaluate the ages of my characters. Once again, my protagonists are teenagers. Yet another YA to be done. With that decision made, it gives me direction and focus but it’s still going to be difficult to write. Five main characters?! FIVE? Yeah, my brain hurts from that prospect as well but it’s essential. Then it’s turning into a satire. It’s pretty difficult to maintain the snarkiness and sauciness required to keep the tone even but manageable somehow! I’m still torn though because it has the potential to be truly terrifying rather than a campy, entertaining, easy red.

I can always rewrite the story later at some point and change things. I have a really good feeling about this story; I firmly believe the creative bits are some of my best imaginings to date. So I think there’s much more potential than can be crammed into a month. So for now I’ll focus on getting the bare bones down on paper then during round two, I’ll work on making it the story it’s supposed to be because wouldn’t you know it, it’s supposed to be a series. From where I’m sitting at the moment, it’s at least a 5 novel endeavour. I used to wonder how authors could write a multi-novel story but I absolutely understand and appreciate their intrepid spirit.

Where in holy hannah did May go? I’ve been so oblivious to the passage of time last month that I spent the entire day using May’s bus pass when in fact it’s no longer May or so my calendar says… I grateful that I’m not the only one who’s obviously missed the beginning of the month. I can only hope that my rent cheque hasn’t been processed yet because you can’t pay your rent on $20 in your account. My life is never boring.

So with June comes the last novel in this project. It’s been a tough year in so many respects but so fulfilling at the same time. Even though I didn’t complete as much each month as I had hoped (some months I fell pitifully behind) I’ve learned so much. I’ll write up a year-end summary July 1st regarding those lessons. I’m flabbergasted about how quickly the year has flown past and that I’m already at the last novel.

I slated the fantasy novel for June because I wasn’t sure where else to put it but had no idea what I’d write. As the months whittled down to the end, I realized that the perfect fantasy novel was already attempted so the idea and rough structure is already in place. At this point it’s clear that brainstorming isn’t my problem, where my weakness lies is in follow-through. So, I’m going to cheat. It’s come to the point where I will take whatever help I can get.

As with some of the other months, this one is going to be complicated. Five main characters and attempting a satire?! Am I insane? Is this even possible? I’m sure it is but it’ll be an interesting experience. As experience has shown, there’s no telling what will happen this month. It might be a pitiful attempt or I might blaze a trail of glory across the finish line and end up with another finished novel. On;y time will tell. I can guarantee that this month’s story is going to be SANtastic. After all, it’s filled with zombies! I really do think my imagination has out-done itself this time. *Shivers of excitement* It’s the second novel that will most likely turn into a series. And that’s pretty awesome.

After days and days of wishing I could get back into my love-o-lee routine of blogging first thing in the morning, here I am! Granted, it’s not first thing, it’s more like mid-morning but it’s the first thing I did since having a shower. There’s something so soothing about about a quiet house, a strong cup of Lapsang Suchong tea from David’s Tea and fruit while writing. It’s like my brain’s finally been switched on. Until now it’s always been set to the energy efficient mode. Tell me, how can you fully enjoy life when you’re not completely functional?

The story is coming along nicely. I’m getting to the point now where my character enters the setting where the murders will happen. That’s right. She’s got her work cut out for her because I’m already planning on 3 characters dying, possibly more. It’s going to be tricky and certainly where I’m going to get creative but that’s half the fun. I’ve never thought before about whether my stories ar reasonable or not until this one. I have a feeling this is going to be a wildly entertaining blood bath. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!

My arch-nemesis has been resurrected- t.v. Even though I don’t have cable (or my own t.v.) I’m constantly sucked into watching shows online. The list seems to grow longer and longer every few weeks. Currently I try to watch:

Sunday: Once Upon a Time, Desperate Housewives, GCB

Monday: Castle

Wednesday: Criminal Minds

Thursday: Grey’s Anatomy

Friday: Grimm

This is utterly unacceptable. Damn you, ctv.ca! I miss out on all the background aspects of the creative process when I passively enjoy the boob tube. Maybe that’s why I had so much success last summer. Most shows were re-runs and with a natural lull in my work cycle, I could really focus on my stories. I need to find somewhere I can just read the synopsis of Grey’s. Criminal Minds can be delegated to inspiration when writing scary/twisted stories and thank goodness Desperate Housewives is finished for good! I was never a super-fan of it but I’d follow it off and on when I could. After this season of the rest, I think I’m going to stick with Castle and GCB. The other two will be best enjoyed by renting the season on dvd.

It’s amazing how far you can slip into bad habit before some inkling of self-preservation kicks in and gives you a little slap. aS I’ve freshly rediscovered with losing weight and saving money, paring back on my t.v. time is a painful process. It’s so much easier to maintain a healthy body/bank account/t.v. habit than it is to fix what you have. Nothing is impossible because there’s always a silver lining.

So, with my shows on break, the beautiful weather of Halifax in late Spring and a delightfully busy work season, I’d be a fool not to take advantage of the perfect conditions to get me back into the shape I want to be. Who knows. I may even succeed my revised goals of finishing 5 of 12 novels. Wilder things have happened!

Ooops. Sorry about forgetting about you, WordPressland! I’ve been so busy with work and have been squeezing in my writing when I can so I completely forgot about updating my blog.

But here I am.

I had a really great observation the other day but true to form I didn’t have a pen and paper handy to make notes. When I sit here and actually think about what it was of course it fades further into my subconscious. I’m sure next November I’ll remember. I can, however, say that I’ve been reeeeeally enjoying the writing process. I’m back to craving entire days off so I can hole up and plow through an entire chunk and get down a few thousand words. I’ve rediscovered the taste of that heady addiction. In reality though, that’s not likely going to happen because I’m such a ridiculously slow typer. Mum’s been pestering me about getting the Dragon software so I can dictate my story but that hasn’t been possible yet. *sad little frowny face* I’m still lusting over an iPad. So one thing at a time.

The typing is going slowly and my beginning is a lot more sparse than I wanted but I’ve still got that silly hang up about putting into words the rated R (and above) material. There’s no getting around the fact that I am a YA writer. That’s great but I want to delve into the more adult aspect of writing as well. There’s so much more I want to explore but it involves swear words, salacious scenes and all sorts of tawdry bits. I feel like a prim old nurse maid in 1597 being dragged by my charge to go see Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor. ” I can’t decide if I’m horrified by the naughtiness or that secretly I’m enjoying it. Prim and proper have their place in life but honestly. I miss Saucy San. She was fun.

While I ignore my writing hang ups, it’s been hard to pin down the soundtrack to write the book to. Considering there’s a strip club involved, I’ve been listening to a lot of Chemical Brothers and Nine Inch Nails and pretty much anything else I can imagine a routine to but the setting’s changed and the music choice is much more ambiguous. When this happens, Classical is my go-to choice. Currently my favourite is an amazing piano virtuoso whom I saw play live in Toronto; Gabriela Montero is utterly brilliant. I’m currently addicted to her cd of improvisations but every cd she has put out is spectacular and inspirational. If she can create something so complex and layered as she goes, surely I can construct the framework for a novel. It may be rather ragged and rough but even that has its own unique beauty.

So, thank you, Gabriela for your inspiration and your beautiful music. It’s a joy to be writing while listening to a cd that drowns out Pascal and Josefiend. I am eternally grateful.

So for you to enjoy on a late Monday night or Tuesday, I’m pleased to introduce you to Ms. Gabriela Montero!

 

I’ve written enough to start forming chapters again! This is pretty great progress. I finish a writing session and I can see the immediate future and have a bit of a game plan for when I get back into the story. That hasn’t happened in a long while. I’m still struggling with getting my daily word count in (ideally 2,000) but I’m writing every day. A big chunk of the battle’s been won.

Yesterday I had a mini break through. Granted, it just involved changing the reason my character was getting on a plane but still it could have a huge impact on the story; I don’t know yet. It does make it feel a little more solid though. I was super early to my language lesson last night so I curled up in the car with Yesterday and pulled out the laptop to write. If I lived in the neighbourhood I’d be a little concerned, some random girl hanging out in her car working on a big old laptop. I really am in desperate need of an iPad now. I keep telling myself it’s a want not a need but I’m not so sure anymore.

So far I’ve spent more time focusing on a secondary character than I have on my protagonist. I don’t know why this is the case but I keep coming back to him and adding little details that aren’t necessary. He’s starting to become real and concrete. I don’t know why I like him but I just have a good feeling about him. The more I think about him the more convinced he’s going to show up later but how? It’s going to take quite a bit of juggling to sort that out. I have no idea what’s going to happen with him, hopefully nothing bad. I really like Too-Late Charlie.

Once again I’m super lucky to have found bosses that are supportive of this endeavour and I can work on the stories in bits and pieces at work. Granted, it’s pretty impossible to get much done but half the battle is keeping the idea and story line in the fore-front of my head whenever possible. Work comes first as it always has but it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to let my imagination go a bit indulge in some creative writing. It’s a pretty amazing balance.

Writing a mystery is a little intimidating. Do I just write the story and whatever comes out of my imagination comes out or do I try to plan and structure and set it up so that readers have a chance to figure out the whodunit?  It’s one of those times when I wish I could ask a famous mystery author how they do it. Do they write the story then fix it up and slip in the necessary details? Do their subconsciouses do the work for them? Do they purposely try to make it so that an astute reader can figure out the crime or do they omit a critical piece of evidence so that the best anyone can do is suspect? Long ago I gave up being an active murder mystery reader so I have no clue how clear to make the trail. Scooby Doo clear? “Murder, She Wrote” clear? Or P.D. James clear ( which means I have no chance in figuring out her killers)?

The best thing for me to do is to forget all this and just write. Obviously there is a huge range of sophistication in the genre and I have my own style to sort out and get comfortable with. Who knows… I may be a genius when it comes to writing mysteries or I may be better suited for the level 4 easy readers. The point is to get back into my writing and to fall back in love with the creative process. My inner drama queen (we’ll call her Viola) is lethargically laying back on her crimson crushed velvet chaise lounge fanning herself just biding her time before she can recommence with the theatrics. There’s nothing more thrilling to her than the struggles of a budding artist. She’s eagerly waiting for the moment when she can convince me to dramatically fling myself onto a couch because I’ve hit a road block or some other foolishness like that.

So, after settling down with a pot of tea, warm slippers and a beautifully quiet house, I can start working. Perhaps I’ll meet my quota today and begin to play catch up! You never know what the day has in store for you!

Happy Friday!

Final Word Count May 1, 2012: 446 (1 page)

How long has it been since you’ve seen that format?!

Well, I may not have started off with achieving my word goal yesterday but it’s something and 446 words more than I’ve written on the 1st of a month in a very long time. (It’s going to be  run-on sentence kind of day I think, sorry!) I’m not feeling the beginning of the story at the moment but I don’t give a crap about it because it’s all going to change. It’s pretty hard to write about a stripper when you’re anywhere but home (so you can listen to strip club music to get the atmosphere) or an actual strip club. And writing at a strip club is just weird. I know if I was performing on the stage I would hate to see someone’s face illuminated by a glowing screen. An iPad is bad enough (which I don’t have) but to trot out a clunky old MacBook, not only can’t I see the keys, the little apple on the front glows too! What a social eejit and uncouth person I would be! Luckily I won’t need to check out the local clubs for inspiration since I already have enough music to set the mood for me. But I digress.

I had this story sketched out for months but true to form, 2 days before I was to begin I began thinking of another one. Why do I always do that?! So when I was having my nightly phone call with my Mom I asked her which one I should do. She recommended the first one because “we all know how you like to complicate your stories.” Ah a mother’s wisdom.

So, my cozy mystery novel is about a stripper. I don’t know how cozy sequins, PVC clothing and pasties are, but she does qualify for the genre since she has no crime fighting experience. No grannies or spinsters for me! I like the hot, leggy heroine much more. Why write about a little old lady when no one can surpass Miss Marple? That character type has been claimed long ago. Good thing I excel at thinking outside the box. Agatha Christie has Miss Marple and I have Candy.