lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Just shy of 1100 words yesterday!

It took me something like six hours to do it, which since I was writing in bed at night means that it was about 4:30 am when I finally added the last one-more-bit and shut down the laptop. On a morning when I had to get up early, of course.

I'd figured out what order to put two things in, you see; it'd make things much harder on my character if they happened at the same time, so that's an obvious win. It didn't come out as tortuous as I'd envisioned, but it did keep him from pursuing the thing he wanted to do because of the thing he had to do. And I've got something planned for later in the scene that should mess him up nicely. ;-)

Eventually the caffeine will wear off and I will plummet like a sheep. But still, nearly 1100 words!
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
So far this morning, WinAmp has randomly played two songs that are on the Mars-novel writing mix. I think I need to get back to work.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
I didn't mean to spend the whole day in bed. I was only going to spend a couple hours sitting in bed writing. But then this kitten came and used my foot as a pillow -- and stayed that way for about six hours.

Who's going to argue with that?

So I stayed in bed all day, and wrote 1052 words, and made my kitten very happy. And LittleGirl as well, who jumped up and curled up beside me a couple of times.

And me, too. ;-)
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Last night I went to bed with the laptop with the intention of working on the Mars book, decided I'd rather play with an early old-mission story instead, and ended up writing a couple of lines that set up another bakery story.

Mono-focus is not exactly my problem. ;-)
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I have come up with a "what the hell's going on" for the Mars novel that is just evil, evil, eeeevil. I probably won't use it -- it's not quite the kind of story I thought I was writing, and it's got its own "what's going on" that would need to be solved -- but it is so far the only idea I've come up with that connects all the dots.

There are things I want to do with this novel that I can't do if I do that (probably... hmm.), but it does put a happy evil writer grin on my face. My main character is staring at me in appalled disbelief.
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
The problem with giving myself permission to goof off writing that DW fanfic for a while is that I haven't been in the mood for gothic-y horror. Which is not surprising, after Mars; not enough of a change of pace. I needed something light and fluffy, maybe even silly, to work on.

Luckily the housemate gave me a prompt last night, which turned into an 800-word completed story. (Tentatively titled "First Contact", unless I can come up with something less generic.) It makes me chuckle. And it's done, in one sitting no less, and that makes me very happy indeed.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I realized the other day that not having a novel I'm actively working on was making me sad. The whole point of saying I'd finish some short stories first was to get some easy wins under my belt, which since everything I tried turned into a horrible sucking mire was not serving its purpose.

So, I pulled up the Mars novel and am gradually getting reacquainted with it. Not much word-count level progress, though I tweaked a word here and there, but I'm feeling better already.

Also feeling better about the currently-in-progress short story, now that I'm not forcing myself to work on it when I'd rather be looking at something else. ;-)

and writing

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 06:34 pm
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
...Aaaand no sooner do I settle in after posting that, than I have to go jot down the 500-odd word beginning to a new novel. Beginnings have been murder for me lately, but this one came smooth and relatively easy like beginnings should. I can't prove it was due to the run, but I doubt it was just coincidence.

It's not the beginning of anything I'm supposed to be working on, of course, but I'll take it. ;-)

December Word Count

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 12:25 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I had meant to do some writing on the first, to start the New Year off right. Instead, I got sucked into errands and tasks, and haven't gotten unsucked yet. So it looks like the new year is carrying on true to form. ;-P


So what did December have to say for itself?

original short fiction: 1920

Total new words in December: 1920

Disappointingly low, but then I did give myself permission to go easy in December. Plus, that total represents two completed short stories, both of which were previously stuck, as well as tweaks to a third story which got it to the point that I'm willing to send it out. So actually I'm pretty darned satisfied.


No queries sent, and there won't be until I've found a new email service that doesn't randomly delete messages with the subject line "Re: Query...."


Short stories submitted: 2


So overall not bad, given the limitations and the time of year. I'll take it.




For January: The laid-back approach still seems to be working, so I'm going to carry on not stressing about word-counts for a while longer.

I did finally make a list of all the works-in-progress (credit less to willpower than to curiosity). It was not as traumatic as I'd feared; stories-started-then-stuck made up a much smaller portion of the list than I'd anticipated. And it was useful as a focusing tool. So:

January's main goal is to dig into the Highway of Mirrors revisions. At minimum, fix the logical inconsistency, and sort through the other notes I've accumulated to see what fits where. It may be worth trying to recruit fresh betas between the logic-fix and any emotion-conveying revisions. (Psst, hey, anybody wanna read an old-school-inspired spy novel with a complicated-romance sub-theme?)

Stretch goal: Finish a short story (probably "Measure", the one that needed the railroad research).


Carry on submitting stories as opportunity presents.


In a writing-related vein, get going on the email research. I've been concentrating on cleaning out my existing accounts, and not that that doesn't need to be done, but that doesn't have to happen before new accounts can be test-driven. And too much is waiting on having new accounts established.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I considered doing a round-up of all my works-in-progress (or should-be-in-progress), but it would probably just harsh my mellow. And I'm feeling pretty good about writing these days. In the past few weeks, I've finished a story that was doubly-stuck, on what-happens-next and on an indecisiveness of tone ("A Cold Day In Spells", for the record); finished another story that's been an opening in search of a story for about eight months (not sure "Dinosaurs Taste Like Chicken" lived up to the promise of the opening paragraph, but done is still good); figured out the vital Thing to un-stick the Mars novel; and, just recently, found the tweak to take a story that's been in not-quite-right limbo for several years from "this needs something" to "this could go out now" (and hit Send on it today).

(Writing is cool. Also weird. What that story's been waiting for was a better punchline. What it got instead was a line or two of character-reaction just before the end. While a better punchline still wouldn't hurt, what's there now works, because the earlier tweak refocused attention on the characters, and now the existing punchline means more. I was startled.)

And perhaps the best bit of un-sticking, which I am intermittently giddy about, is something I thought of yesterday for Highway of Mirrors. I haven't talked much about it, but my last round of revisions introduced a small but significant inconsistency. It took me an unconscionably long time to realize it was there, and once I did, I didn't have a clue what to do about it. And it's been really bumming me out. But this new idea not only doesn't involve either cutting the clever bit in Chapter 4 or mutilating the new scene in Chapter 10, it may even introduce an additional cachet of ominousness (ominousity?) to the central story issue. And it's a fairly small tweak (not that those can't be as hard to wedge in as larger changes). I still need to ponder it to make sure it'll work (and won't inadvertently introduce a new problem), but the prospect is making me excited to have another go at the manuscript, whereas before I wanted to pull the covers over my head and not come out.

So, after a year of mostly poor productivity, things are starting to look up. And that's enough of a round-up for me.

New In, New Out

Monday, December 21st, 2015 02:54 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
About a month and a half ago, I started a new job. It's nothing glamorous, just a part-time gig at the local hardware store, but it's a little steady money coming in, and it's a little me getting out of the house. No question that both of those needed to happen, but I was concerned what the effect on my writing would be.

Well, within the last few weeks, I've gotten un-stuck on the current short story (figured out what the thing my characters were investigating was meant to do, figured out how it tied together with some other things I wanted to include, and worked out how it all gets resolved). I've also, and here's the bit that needs a fanfare playing in the background, gotten un-stuck on the Mars novel! It's been stalled for months because I needed my character to discover a Thing, and while I knew the general parameters and what kind of effect it needed to have, I had no idea what the Thing actually was. And now I do! It fits nicely, it has possible implications for later, and it will really mess with his head.

And I do think the job is why this inspiration is finally happening, or at least a part of it. The amelioration of a certain amount of financial stress is probably a factor (I love doing freelance/contract work, and it's great when the clients are there, but it's a fiscal crap shoot). However, I suspect most of the credit goes to simply getting new input for the brain. It's a lot easier to have new thoughts when the neurons have new things to process, even if it's only where the mouse traps are or what kind of pipe to use for gas vs. water. Like any other part of the body, the brain works better when it's exercised regularly.

On the other hand, having come up with the new idea for the Mars novel, I haven't had a chance to do anything with it beyond the 250 or so words of jotting down the main concept.

The down side is the time management issue. I know lots of writers manage to write around full-time jobs, and I don't pretend my couple of days a week ought to be a major obstacle. But I'm still having trouble finding my footing. I'm not an every-day writer anyway, so the days when I've been on my feet for seven hours are obvious choices for no-writing days. But it seems like all the other demands of life are ganging up and overwhelming the remaining time even more than they already did, and if I do manage to beat them off and declare a writing day, I come up for air to find rubble and chaos everywhere. ;-) Trying to fit in writing in less than all-day chunks hasn't been working at all. Or at least not very well; I'm getting better, but I still need a lot of boot-up time before staring at the screen turns into putting words on it.

So as far as writing is concerned, the job is a net good, because all the writing time in the world won't help if your brain is mired in stale sludge. But all the new ideas in the world won't help if you don't make time to put them to use, either.

I need to be very careful about taking on any new demands on my time (especially this time of year, when baking and crafts will Eat My Life if given half a chance). And I need to establish a better balance of life maintenance and writing.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I have no idea how to count the story that I ended up with four different partial versions of, all of which are cannibalized off of each other to a considerable extent. And none of which are, I think, the keeper version, though major pieces are likely to be salvaged. For sanity's sake, I guess I'll go with the totals, but understand that about 3K of this isn't "real".

original short fiction: 4510 (or not, as the case may be)
Falling From Ground: 1145

Total new words (more or less) in October: 5655

Pretty sad, or quite decent, depending on how you look at it. At least it reflects the amount of effort I've put in, even if a lot of that effort involved applying forehead to brick wall repeatedly.


Queries sent: Let's not talk about that, eh?


Short story submissions: 5



For November: Keep the short stories out there. Figure out what the bleep to do with "A Cold Day In Spells" and do it. Figure out what's next with the Mars novel, and at least start doing it. And, um, queries, yeah.

lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I've come up with two new novel ideas in the past few days. Saturday, full of pierogi and sunburn, I got an idea for the early Department novel I've been wanting to write, with one of the tertiary characters from Highway of Mirrors. It's maybe not the most stunningly original plot-line ever, but it will allow me to do lots of stuff with the early formation of the Department and bring in lots of backstory on this character, which is what the book's actually about; the plot is just to hang all that on. ;-) Then a couple days ago, a song that I've been listening to rather a lot, thinking there's a story in there somewhere, suddenly clicked, and a whole new scenario+plot grabbed my neurons. It's a sort-of fairytale retelling, except it's several fairy tales thrown into a blender and by the time I'm done messing about with the results, I doubt the sources will be recognizable beyond a couple of scenes. And it's still trying to take over my brain, most reluctant to wait its turn.

Meanwhile, I feel like I'm getting some traction on Falling From Ground again. Frustrated with not being able to keep the flow of the chapters-so-far in my head, I sat down and did a paragraph-by-paragraph outline of what I'd written. It's incredibly tedious, but if anything'll get the details of a piece into one's head, that will. And it made clear that the reason the text felt like an incoherent mess was that it was flopping from one thing to another and back again; my character established that he had to know X to be able to figure out Y and Z, then proceeded to spend pages speculation about Y and Z without yet knowing X. Luckily, once the problem was identified and pinned down, it was easy to fix; I moved a chunk, tweaked a couple of sentences, and voila, relatively coherent flow. I also finally yielded and tried the post-it note method for organizing what happens next in what order and what needs to go along with it. It didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, but somehow it made it all seem much more logical and coherent. So I'm still doing the same thing I planned on, but I feel a lot better about it now. ;-) I think the story is more focused now, both on paper and in my head, and that's something it badly needed.

I hope I'm not jinxing it by saying all this. There's still plenty of work to do, and I'm still at the stage of cutting up salvage text and stitching it in where it'll be more use. (I've got a great scene of my character being followed that no longer makes any sense whatsoever in the early part of the book; I'll have to see if I can fit it in later.) I'm beginning to want a dedicated writing space just so I can pin things to the walls, though I suspect that wouldn't work out well long term.

I hate revising

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 02:28 pm
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
Am revising the first couple chapters of Falling From Ground per feedback from the 4th Street Workshop. Primarily, I've moved the "big punch" scene from the end of Chapter 1 to about a third of the way in; both the people who liked the chapter overall and the people who didn't thought that bit could come earlier, and since I'd been tempted to put it earlier in the first place, that seems like a reasonable change. It made a heckuva chapter ender, but I think it'll grab more folks here, and some other things will be stronger for having it happen first. Once I get everything adjusted to accommodate the change, of course, and also fix the really screwed-up stuff that the workshop didn't see because it's in Chapter 2, and get the focus properly focused, and....

I hate revising. I particularly hate this revision, and I know why: I'm stopping each time not because I'm done with a particular bit, not because I've written a satisfactory number of words, but because my brain is full to overflowing and the story-so-far is turning to gibberish inside my head. Which means I'm walking away from each session feeling like the story is an incoherent mess and I've just been pushing text around in circles.

(Even if, in reality, it's getting better. I hope it's getting better. I'm at the point where I've had to give what I've got so far to the alpha-reader, to get a perspective check if I'm on the right track at all.)

Things Writers Say

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 10:20 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)

"I could just take tomorrow and do clown research."

Oh, come on!

Monday, February 9th, 2015 01:49 pm
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
Having a terribly efficient morning after cranking out another 1000+ words last night, and the next task up is to get one of the two currently "resting" stories submitted. So I turn on the computer...

...and there in my in-box is a rejection. Really? You can't even wait until I get one of the others sent off?

I swear, the universe has a "Reject Me Now" light that goes on every time I think seriously of my submissions spreadsheet. I know it's not supposed to be easy, but man, this is getting old.


ETA: And just for that, I sent two stories out. And now I'm going to go have a nice hot shower and then see if I can't write some more. So take that, universe.

Action!

Sunday, February 8th, 2015 01:42 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
1090 words this morning.

I like writing action scenes. I don't know why I don't do more stories involving more of them. They're easy, they're fun, and what feedback I have indicates they come out pretty good. And yet, even the stories I do that are centered around a fight scene are really more about the fall-out from the action than the action itself. Which is also the fun part, granted. But it does make me long for an all-action-all-the-time story, however much that would be a yin without its yang.

Still, nearly 1100 words. I feel a bit guilty counting these old-mission stories toward pay-copy quota, since I really don't know how well they work separately from the novel, but the idea is there. And the word count ain't peanuts.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Haley mission story: 1811
Green Ring: 1222
A Cold Day In Spells: 482

Total new words in January: 3515

Queries sent: 1 (and three ruled out)

All quotas achieved! And the revised target of 3000 words handily passed with a generous margin. Had to push a bit at the end of the month for that, but not ridiculously so. And the Haley story is done, and in the hands of the housemate for critique.

Also, I submitted 4 stories! Or rather, I submitted stories 4 times; some of them were the same stories. (That prompt-response thing has its drawbacks.) My goal of keeping all submittable stories out there is going pretty well; only one story is "resting" right now.


For February:

3000 words, at least some of which had better be on the Mars novel.

Extract agent lists from the AAR database.

Keep all short stories that are ready for it in circulation until somebody buys 'em.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
...or, the genesis of an idea.

One of the side-effects of deciding to finally send "Rising to the Occasion" out into slush-land was that I re-read it, and one of the effects of that was that the characters moved back in and took over my brain. I've even scribbled down a few snippets, though it's all been slice-of-life stuff that probably doesn't belong anywhere and certainly doesn't count toward word-quotas until/unless it acquires a plot.

Today I happened to glance over some of the ideas I'd brainstormed and rejected for the first story, one of which still catches my fancy... but it'd have to be set a couple of years after the first one, and I'd like to do some more stories in the series first, if series there is to be. (Which is probably something that should wait til I've at least sold the first one, but writer-brain will persist in these things.) There was one element of that idea, though, that just didn't fit, entertaining though an ice-imp potentially is. ("Imps are a myth." "Yes, I know, but....") But it might be enough to carry a story by itself... and then I went to take a shower, which I should have known was asking for trouble. (All the best ideas come in the shower.) Somewhere between the shampoo and the hot water running lukewarm, it acquired a setting, and I worked out how the main character would get involved. And then while I was getting dressed, it went and evolved a name.

So now I really had better finish up the Haley short-story, so I can make room for "A Cold Day in Spells". (Yes, I really did go there. Sorry.)
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Patricia Wrede is a very sensible person, and today's post on getting back on the writing horse after a crisis is a prime example.

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