Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh, Amazon,

how you tease me. Look what showed up in my inbox today as a suggested purchase:
(You may need to click on it to read...the text is a little smallish.)

I think it is a sign.

Like, 'Hello, Lee. Get off blogger and go write. Right now.'

*Will not argue with the AmazonGods.*

Currently listening to Thought I'd Never Call? by James Newton Howard

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Snug Fit: Apparently it's not only me who needs to go run/workout. We'll 2012. :)

Hope you all are having a great week/holiday season!

(who is not off to go run.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The (w)right words.

For me--hands down--the hardest part of writing a novel is, well, the writing.

That sounds more moronic than I meant it to. Let me clarify: For me, the most difficult part of writing is sitting down and pulling the story out of my head. It's the capturing of it on paper. I'm not the most disciplined writer ever (if you couldn't tell), and I delude myself into thinking I'm too busy to write all the time (I'm not. But I am a black-belt in the art of time wasting.)

How does one combat extreme lazy and still get words to paper (almost) every day?

Well, it's a process, but mainly, I force myself to. There's really no other way. Many new writers are amazed at how hard it is to keep writing, especially once the newness of an idea has worn off. When the shininess has faded. (Consequently, this generally unknown difficulty is what makes many nonwriting people think that writing 'isn't a real job--anyone could do it.' Um. No.)

So. To get that story written. Some use the BIC Method, which stand for Butt-in-Chair. Some go a step further and subscribe to the BIC-HOK (Butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard).  Others use incentives, set daily word counts, etc. I don't use bribes, mainly because I end up outsmarting myself (that sounds conceited. it's not meant that way) or cheating. (<---Usually this one. ie: Instead of writing 500 NEW words, I'll EDIT 500 I'm also fairly impatient with myself, so it's really no surprise that I get all irritated and sometimes have internal debates* like the following:

WriterMe: Should probably be writing now.
LazyMe: But I know the story. It's not going anywhere.
WM: Should probably get that on paper.
LM: But--
WM: No buts. Write.
LM: Arg, okay. Oh look, chocolate chip cookies!
WM: You're just like all the others.

But eventually I sit down and write words. And sometimes that's all it is--writing words. It's turning down (not off, because I can't do that) the inner editor and just writing the story. Making that lump of clay. It's the only method that works for me, because as much as I love the writing process and creative process as a whole, I like completing things more. The Write Words Method (WWM) gets me a crap ton of clay to work with and refine.

Once the WWM gets me a completed WIP, that's when I move into the Right Words Method (RWM). RWM is about choosing the perfect words or phrases to show this scene. Finding the best way to elicit emotion--sometimes changing one word can alter the perception or emotion a reader has, even subconsciously. Right words means pondering if I made you care about these characters (are they sympathetic?). Are they 3-dimensional? Is that a typo? It's during the Right Words time that my inner editor gets to run wild, and ultimately, whip a work in progress into manuscript shape.

So, what's your method for going from blank document to manuscript? Do you bribe yourself? Combat the lazies like me?

The Battle. Thankfully sleeping doesn't always win.

*For the record, I do not have dissociative identity disorder (DID), or as it's more commonly known, multiply personality disorder (MPD). I just have an overwhelming and distracting case of chronic lazy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For the love of editing. (Subtitle: Where the (fake) money be made)

*lets loose big sigh*

*clears throat*

*shuffles feet*

Oh, hell, never mind. The Painted Queen is now completed *resists happy dance*. For anyone who has ever completed a WIP (and if you haven't, keep truckin' and it'll happen), the high you get is pretty much indescribable. Proud? oh yes.

For a long time I was a serial starter. Either through faulty design (erm. plotholes) or waning interest (A.D.D.), things just never seemed to get done. And they never will unless you MAKE THAT MANUSCRIPT YOUR BIOTCH  BEND TO YOUR WILL. Write, dangit. Write right now, and you can sort out the problems later.

And now I'm at the 'later' point.

Now, lovelies, it is time to edit this 90k monstrosity. It's not going to be pretty. I bow to those who can manage a publishable first draft. Mine looks nothing like that. Potential, yes. Publishable--nowhere close.

Hopped up on copious amounts of caffeine, my editing session (cliff notes version) goes something like this:


Yep, editing is where the money* is made. It's what separates the joyous premature queriers or submitters from people who are trying to do This Writing Gig** for the realz. If I were to start querying this thing now, it wouldn't be pretty. I'd just be setting myself up for some serious Rejection Pie. This is because THE FIRST DRAFT IS ALLOWED TO SUCK AND OFTEN DOES. It bears repeating: The first draft is allowed to suck. What's not (shouldn't be) allowed is submitting it before it's ready. That's like going out without your pants. You are either Lindsay Lohan or not ready. It's one or the other. Probably the latter.

To mention that often used metaphor--the first draft is like a lump of clay. It may not be beautiful, but maybe it's close to the right color or texture. It likely needs some adjustments, some added bits here and there, some trimming for clarity. You can probably see some of the seams in this lump of clay. Smooth those out. Work with it. Be pliable enough to listen to advice. Implement the good advice. You'll be amazed with the results.

That willingness to work through the suck, to keep trying no matter how people point and laugh, is what separates the I-AMs from the wannabes. It's the difference between being successful and being a whiner. (And nobody likes a whiner.)

And, oh goodness, this draft is full of suckage. (Not that kind, you silly perv). The first editing sweep for me is something akin to a controlled burn--I try to identify major problems and kill them with fire. Kill the adverbs with fire. Scene that doesn't contribute? Dead. Strange chunk of writing that is probably aliens trying to communicate with me because I don't remember writing it? Ashes.

Then I generally move on to more annoying things.

For instance. Some of my thoughts during this editing sweep go as follows:

Oh man. Messed that up. *inserts quick fix*

Whoops. Stupid spell check. *laughs*

Whoa. *sinking feeling*

Hey, MMC, why are you so bipolar? You were just happy and Sexy. Now you're brooding. Still Sexy though. I guess that's a win.

A six-year-old could write better dialogue than this. Srsly.

Villain: Why don't you laugh evilly already are you kidding me this is ridiculous.

I'm pretty sure that is a physical impossibility. *doublechecks* OH YEAH. NOT HAPPENING.

*Snorts in derision* REALLY?

FMC: You're acting like a moron. And I'm pretty sure that's all your fault.

OH, HAI, PLOTHOLE THE SIZE OF TEXAS. Didn't see you there.

*Sees Wednesday the EvilMonsterCat has walked across keyboard, deleted a whole chapter and replaced it with ‘weov,asdoiethasdvp34098* *Drinks more coffee* *Thinks hard.*
*Decides that's probably an improvement*

What? Who are you?? I KNOW I DIDN'T WRITE YOU HERE.

FML. (Realizes a character got left behind in chapter 7, never to be seen again. #toomanycharacters and #probablynotthatimportant)



But then, when it seems all is lost, I find that one scene and think, hey, not so bad, Lee. Not so bad.

*Enjoys that for a moment. Then goes to make the other 50 chapters not so bad.*

You just think I'm sleeping. When you leave I'm going to minimize AW, open your WIP, erase 6.56234 chapters and replace them with gibberish that's probably better than what you manage, even when you're trying. And I think I've figured out the 'save' function, just to really tee you off.

*In this case, I’m not even talking monopoly money. One day.
**The Writing Gig means different things to everyone, but to me it means procuring actual real agentperson and editor.

Currently listening to: Prepare For Battle--Jerry Goldsmith and The National Philharmonic Orchestra of London and Sportscenter on the TV.