It’s been a while since I posted here, as I’ve spent the last few years having a kid and experiencing some major disruptions in my life, including career changes for both myself and my husband. Surprising everyone among our friends and family–most of all himself, I believe–Jeff has launched a successful career as a writer.
CJ Jessop, one of my writer besties, tagged me in a recent post on her blog, and seeing as I’ve been neglecting my blog in the most dreadful way, I thought I’d give it a go. CJ is inspiring not one but TWO blog posts, as she’s just published a collection of her short fiction, which I’m quite excited about. We’ll get to that in my next post, but for now….
I’ve always been a night owl. 10pm rolls around and suddenly I’m full of ideas and a burning desire to start projects and be creative. This is especially true for my writing, since the late evening is generally the only part of my day that offers any quiet or solitude.
The drawback to this is that when I’m really on a roll with my writing I tend to start keeping vampire hours, writing from 10pm until 3-4am. Sometimes I greet the dawn with bleary eyes before retiring to my coffin. This wreaks havoc with the rest of my life, of course. Responsibilities and commitments suffer, my family never sees me, and the house looks a mess. Make dinner? What do you mean? I just woke up!
Tomorrow is August 26th, which will mark exactly two months from the day I finished my second draft of Chaos. Instead of diving right into draft 3, as I intended, I had a number of non-writing-related projects fall into my lap over the summer. While I’m not usually happy about having very little time to write,
Wait! Before you groan that I’m ranting about TV rather than talking about writing… this post is ultimately about storytelling, so stick with me!
TV takes a distant second to books, for me–but I’m a complete Whovian. Or at least, I was. Well, no, I am—it’s complicated. I’m the sort of person who would wear these with a straight face.
…. but, I have to say, I’m completely unmoved by the impending death of the eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith.
Why? Well, it took me a while to sort it out. I’m not a fan of post-Tennant Who. At first I thought it was because I didn’t care for Smith (though I eventually warmed to him). The problem is a bit more serious than that, because while the actors who play the Doctor will come and go, the show runners generally stick around a bit longer.
My second draft of Chaos is complete at 163,020 words. This is actually the first time I’ve had a complete, consecutive manuscript with no holes and nothing missing–everything would make sense read front to back.
My husband was thrilled. This was the birthday present he’d specifically asked for, and I managed it 2 days early. My kids did a little happy dance around me in the kitchen, and my youngest (who was only a year and a half old when I began this project) offered me a celebratory sip of his juice in honor of the momentous occasion.
CJ Jessop, a beta reader for Chaos, and one of my bestest writing buddies (whose contract-signing party I’m sure I’ll be vicariously attending very soon) has tagged me with a Q&A for my novel-in-progress. I suspect she did it because I sent her my most recent chapter two months ago and haven’t made any noises since.
That is one hefty stack of paper. I’ve heard some writers say they prefer editing a hard copy of their manuscript, so on a whim I thought I’d give it a try.
Wow, did I underestimate what that would entail.
After blowing through one brand new ink cartridge on my printer, and draining most of a second, I chickened out and settled for just printing out Chapters 5-15.Yeah, that’s not the whole thing. It’s roughly 65,000 words–less than half of the total length. And I’m not even finished yet! I still have a few holes to plug, and I’m guessing I’ll have around 170,000 words once I’ve done.
Every once in a while, reading a book/blog/other article on writing, I’ll come across an exercise where the author encourages readers to list their fears regarding writing.
I’ve never paid much attention to these, because they sound suspiciously like fluffy psycho-babble pep-talks, having nothing to really do with writing, which is what I’m interested in. To be fair, I’m sure it’s relevant… we all have our insecurities, and I’ve heard many published authors state over and over again that these insecurities don’t magically vanish upon publication, even if the work is successful. There’s always the wonder… was it a fluke?
Today I was perusing one of these books, and I came across the fear exercise. What the hell. Perhaps it was boredom, but I decided to indulge the author and do the exercise.
Surprisingly, I discovered something I wasn’t conscious of.
When I was 13, my sister bought Collective Soul’s first album (Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid), and played it all summer long. As a result, every time I hear a song from that album, I am suddenly and very vividly 13 years old again. My brain has linked that music so irrevocably to my 13th year, and all the things that happened then, it’s the next best thing to a time machine. What memory my own mind has not been able to keep hold of over these years, that music has stored away for me, perfectly preserved.
I wrote a post on characterization a while ago, and I mentioned the idea of giving your characters a theme song. You can take advantage of the mental link between memory and music to help you keep your characters separate and defined in your head–very useful when you’re dealing with a large cast of characters, or you’re one of those writers that likes to story hop, working on more than one project at once.