In which I subvert my nature and become a morning person…

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! 

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The Home Stretch

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, I think it may work out to be a good thing in this instance. A little distance from a story is helpful when you’re contemplating changes on any significant level.

As I cast nervous glances at the novel, and the list of revision ideas I’ve compiled over the past few weeks (even if I’m not writing, I’m still THINKING about writing!), I’m also thinking more about what will come after this next pass. I’m very much hoping that draft 3 will be my last major rewrite before I start down the path to try to get it published.

CJ Jessop, a good writer friend, is a little further down that path herself. Right now her novel, which I had the opportunity to beta-read (and vastly enjoyed!), is out on submission and she keeps me regularly updated on how that’s going. While I agonize her over every rejection, because I like both her and the book so much, it’s been neat watching her go through the submission process, and I think it’s taken a little of the fear out of it for me.

I’ll be back to biting my nails to a quick once it’s time to send Chaos out, no doubt, but it’s nice to feel like the path is being personally blazed for you before you get there. If you want to read along with CJ as she attempts to get her first novel published, you can check out her blog here.

~ RM

100% – 163,020

And… done.

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. Read more

95.75%

Ooh, gettin’ closer!

Plowing through the last few scenes, trying to get this all wrapped up by Friday. It’s starting to look like I’m going to land somewhere around 165k rather than my previously estimated 170k.

~ RM

91%

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my novel meter has moved.

I think I might be able to make my June 28th deadline for Draft 2, at which point it will be time to come back around and start cutting this monster down to a manageable size.

~ RM

The Death of an Ink Cartridge (or two…)

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. Read more

Fear and Writing

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. Read more

The Dreaded Sag

sagpants
This is a post about writing, I promise.

Since I write fantasy, I know a lot about killing tension. Fantasy and other spec-fic writers have a ton of information and backstory to convey, and more often than not this results in the story coming to a screeching halt. Epic fantasy, in particular, tends toward long, drawn-out ‘saggy bits’ that can try even the most patient reader’s tolerance.

So, as I wrestle over my own cartload of infodumpery, I’ve been trying to figure out the solution. Read more

Music & Writing

Collective_Soul_-_Hints,_Allegations,_and_Things_Left_UnsaidWhen 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. Read more