callawrites: (Default)
It's midnight and I really should be in bed. In fact I was getting ready for bed when I decided I needed to come down and write an entry here.

I've been frustrated with the whole editing business. I loathe sitting down to fix my work. and surely it does need fixing. I am never really sure how to go about it. People try to give you advice on what to do and I don't know if I should listen. I'm not even really certain I WANT anyone's help on figuring out what is best for me. I am a control freak. I need to be the one who makes the decisions. Unsolicited help is unwelcome help in my mind, no matter how well intended. If I ask for help, ok. I'm still in control of who I ask, and whether or not I will use that info. Otherwise, I need to figure it out for myself.

So with editing. I look online for advice, and things aren't easily found. I don't know many writers personally that I would be willing to speak to on the matter. Looking at books about it is tedious; the effort of pouring over the contents just to glean the information that I would find useful is almost as overwhelming as pouring over my manuscript to find the bits that need fixing.

I know by now that I need to listen to the "voice" in my head. The problem is finding the right one to listen to. There's the "Voice of Doubt" in the back of my mind telling me to just put off the task until I'm sure of myself. It makes me loathe my work when I sit down to do what I intend to do. It makes me second guess. There's also the "Voice of Reason". It is often hard to hear over the Doubt. And it isn't as easy to recognize because it tells me things I wouldn't expect to find reasonable.

This voice will tell me occasionally when I truly need to put a task aside in favor of something else because it's really something I can't deal with at the moment. How do I know it's not the Doubting voice? A person who is driven wouldn't just give up on something because they are frustrated, would they?

The truth is I'm not like every other person. I can't say that I'm particularly driven. I'm not one of the people who pushes to succeed past obstacles. Why? Because I need to be happy. I need to feel happy about my life and what I do. If I cannot succeed under the weight of doubt and frustration. I would walk away from something and never touch it again if I found it was too burdensome to my mood, even if it was something that I believed could be worthwhile should I just push past the troublesome bit.

As I was thinking about what I needed to do to get myself motivated to edit I tried to think of what my next step would be. There are a couple things I would like to do. I want to get my story broken out into it's scenes and chapters in Scrivener. It's an easy task but I haven't done it yet because it seems like a waste of time. I can do that as I go along with the edit. BUT... I'm not editing because it's frustrating. And if I'm not editing out of frustration I'm not getting my book into scrivener and nothing is getting done at all instead of SOMETHING getting done. Now I realize, Reason said do it; Doubt said it would be a waste.

I've also waffled about whether I want to print a copy of the first draft. I've told myself I don't need it. At the same time I think it would be good to have something to flip through. I love my kindle, but when it comes to reference materials I prefer "analog" books. In a sense my manuscript is a reference material. Therefore I should print it.

But of all the things right now, One item stood out as being the thing that is really holding me back from editing SM right now. I don't know what time of year it is in my story. This plays a huge part in the story. It starts here in Philadelphia, then goes to Montana, then Alaska. These areas have vastly different climates. The story either needs to be set in the fall or the spring. Too far either way and it will be too cold in AK for things to happen. Too warm and hikers are getting into the region of AK I'm writing about and I don't want them there. I also need to find a feasible time that has a 3 day weekend for a college student.

This isn't the first time I thought about the When of my story. At the same time the Doubt was saying "why take all that time tonight to figure out what time of year the story is? Just go edit one scene... heck just write the one with the MC and her boyfriend that you need to write." Then I'd stare at the blank screen writing three words and deleting 2 of them because I thought trying to figure out when the story was at that second was a waste of time. It's not. because I can't seem to concentrate on any other aspect of the thing until I get that figured out.

I know these are the things I need to do because when I think of doing them there is a certain excitement that I didn't feel before. When I would think "just sit down and just edit 1 scene" I felt like I was walking into a wall. These are things I can do without feeling that wall. If I can listen to the Voice of Reason in stead of the Voice of Doubt I will at least be making some progress instead of none. Then those walls will turn into doors.

TO DO Weekend of 3/18-3/20
figure out at what time of year the story is set
print a copy of the story
break the scenes/chapters out in scrivener
callawrites: (Default)
There is so little time to be doing the things I would like to be doing.

Yesterday I made up a nice little to do list. I came home from a good workout to find the house covered in dust because the guys came to sand down the new wall. We spent hours cleaning up the mess, wiping everything down, mopping the floor etc. then it was time for dinner and i was drained. I sat down to write and fell asleep. zonk! just like that.

so.. I need to set priorities for things I would like to do and what I need to do. there needs to be space so my days are simply filled with my needs and none of my wants.

I'm such a horrible planner.
callawrites: (Default)
Little by little I'm chipping away at my B&B WIP. Editing the SM WIP is not going so well, but I'm not going to worry about that. I feel more inspired for B&B. I've learned that I need to focus on what my mind says I need to focus on. Soon I will be inspired for SM and I can get back to that.

One of the things that is daunting about SM is that I want to get the editing right the first time. I'm sure this is relatively impossible. It's just that the thought of going over it 3 or 4 times feels worse to me than just going through it with a fine tooth comb once. Only I'm not a fine tooth comb kind of person. I should know better than to try to work against myself like that. I should realize that one piece at a time, reading it over and over, no matter how daunting it seems will get the job done faster than if I sit here dreading opening the file. I think I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.

I also need to take more time to relax and chill with my husband instead of diving into seclusion to write or do whatever.

I think this is all I have the brains to talk about right now. I've been stressed the past couple days over some other issues. I need to take some time to recenter.

On a very happy note, I tore my alphasmart completely apart, let it dry, put the keyboard back together and now it works! I was truly surprised. I thought it was surely dead and I would need to buy another. I'm so glad it's well! :D
callawrites: (Default)
Thursday night I went out after work and got home around 9pm. The kids were already in bed, husband had bathed them and all that good stuff. We were talking in the kitchen and I kept hearing this noise. I ignored it because the cat was batting stuff around the floor and I thought it was her. Finally I investigated and there was water dripping from our ceiling in the living room.

We've been having an issue with a leaky faucet in the bathroom that we've just been dealing with for over a year waiting for this year's tax return money in order to fix it. It drips hot water constantly, and we turn it off at the shut off valve behind the tub. Well I guess that valve is failing now from always being turned on and off in ways it wasn't meant to. So it is now dripping water. GREAT.

it was dripping down into the space between floor and ceiling, and coming out of the ceiling right above our armchair. My alphasmart Neo was sitting on the armchair. It got all wet. Now it won't work. I has a sad.

I love my alphasmart for writing, especially during nanowrimo, but also during other times of the year. I can focus on writing without distractions from the internet. It's also light and fits in my purse. I will be sad if it's broken, though you can usually find them on ebay throughout the year for very decent prices. I have a Dana and an Alphasmart 3000, but I don't like those as much. I should actually get rid of the Dana because husband gripes about me having so many of them, and it is my least favourite. I took it all apart so it can dry, but I don't know if it's going to recover.

Naturally now that I can't use it I am wanting to write with it.

I haven't written much the past few days because I've been grumpy and stressed and very busy. I will try to make some headway in one of my stories or editing or something tonight if I'm not exhausted.
callawrites: (Default)
Oh god. Editing. It's like rubbing salt on a wound. While I'm writing I've got no problem getting stuff down for the most part. But the process of going back over it is killer. At least it makes me want to kill something.... probably my computer.

I've been trying to focus on it, but it's hard. I even have scrivener beta on the computer and I've got things broken into pieces. I think, "let's just focus on this scene." and I get caught up in something else.

Tonight I sat down to work on last year's nano novel. I'll call it SM. then got caught up trying to figure out something about the setting of one of the later scenes. I was thinking about what time of year it was in the story, and the time of year has a big effect because they go to a couple different areas with very different climates. So I was looking all over southeastern Montana at towns and scenery and stuff to try and figure out if my Ranch is really where I had initially put it. It doesn't really look the way I thought it would. bah. I may have to find a different place.

So I spent an hour doing that... I'm not going to say it was time wasted, because when I have a better idea what I'm seeing the story will be better.

Monday I spoke to the ornithologist that I emailed last week for another WIP, the B&B story. The conversation was so insightful. At first I was so crazy nervous about contacting him. I felt like I was a high school kid writing a civics paper and I was calling the Vice President to ask how government works. But he was very nice and easy to talk to. He gave me some great info for the story. I learned that the main scenario that propels our MC into the big plot is not at all out of the realm of possibility (going on an expedition into the amazon in search of an almost mythological bird). In fact he goes when he can to Mexico in search of a bird he can't find. It was a relief to learn that. He also gave me some great info that will help me shape her career and the expedition, and even.. THE EVIL BAD GUY OMG. The big picture on that story is really coming into place after our conversation.

That is all for now. I've not been getting much sleep. I've been staying up super late for no good reason at all other than I start farting around online or watching tv. I should really get ready for bed NOW.
callawrites: (Default)
I mentioned in a post last week that I bought a livescribe pen. I'm using a trial of a program called MyScript to take my handwritten pages and convert them to text. As I had mentioned the transcription isn't perfect, but it's adequate. And at times comical. Under the cut I'll put a picture of a screenshot. On one side is my handwritten page, the opposite page is how it converted in MyScript. The picture is large (1259x650), otherwise you wouldn't be able to read it very well.

click here )

This was one of the better handwritten pages. Most of the other pages have scribbles and are more sloppy. My handwriting is pretty bad.
So what do you thing of how it did? It's not terrible, but it's not great. I'd have to go through it anyway.
The scene is from B & B. Beast is trying to be nicer to Bea, and she's feeling a bit homesick.
callawrites: (Default)
I've decided to throw my hat into the ring again for NaNoEdMo. It's a month long challenge to spend 50 hours editing your work. Rules are on their site as far as what counts as editing (research does NOT count. Blast!). I tried to do this once in 2009, but didn't get very far at all before I stopped feeling very frustrated with my garbage of a first draft. This year I have a much better first draft, which doesn't mean I don't have a whole lot of work to do on the manuscript.

I'm going to be editing my novel from last year's Nanowrimo. I'm eager to start fixing the rather obvious problems before I assemble a mighty team of beta readers. I started a list of issues to work on while I was working on the first draft. There's a few things I need to fix which I am pretty bad at.

I'm really bad a character descriptions. I start writing and I don't really give any thought to what someone looks like. I have a pretty basic background for them, but that's all. So physical descriptions and figuring out exactly how to work them into the story seemlessly is one thing I need to research beforehand.

Hand in hand with the characters are the settings. I need to have a better idea in my mind of exactly where they are and how a place is set up. As I wrote I had an idea of what sort of location they were in. Then things changed as I wrote and rooms were added, etc. I need to fix that up.

I swear reading those last 2 paragraphs I sound like the worst writer ever. I promise the plot and pacing are pretty good!! *eek*

The biggest challenge with EdMo is finding the time and sticking to it. Nanowrimo takes a fair amount of time, certainly, but it's easier for me to bust out the words and allow the story to flow. In going back over it I find myself tripping over my words and second guessing every keystroke. Then invariably I discover another bit that needs to be researched and I lose track of time trying to find the perfect fit for whatever tid bit I need to fix. 50 hrs during March works out to about 1 hour and 40 minutes every day. That will indeed be a challenge with work, kids, and general household things getting in my way. The husband would surely be displeased if I stopped doing my share of the cleaning because I'm working on a "hobby". He deals with my negligence during Nanowrimo, but twice a year would be different. On the other hand, any time I spend editing is time well spent. Even if it only ends up being 20 hours, that's good. Everything adds up.

So I've got some research to dive into this week. I've got a list of things to look into today. During my lunch break I'm going to work on character descriptions. I also need to find an ornithologist (bird scientist) that will be willing to answer a few questions for the B&B story. In that story my MC is an ornithologist who goes on an expedition to the Amazon in search of a rare exotic bird and ends up in the realm of the Beast. (queue spooky music) I want to make sure that the situation isn't completely outrageous and also find out what exactly an ornithologist does when they aren't in the field.

If you think you'd like to do Nanoedmo, you can sign up by following the link to the website. I'm callaflower there. There's also [community profile] nanoedmonet here on DW for people to talk about what they are up to.
callawrites: (Default)
My favourite Lady Gaga song without a doubt is "Dance in the Dark". I looked up the "meaning" of the song (I always feel that whatever things mean depends on whatever the person listening to/reading it thinks of it) and it's apparently about a woman who has sex with the lights out because she feels she can't be herself if her lover can see her. I've always felt something similar from that song, though certainly not about sex.

I suppose I've always had unusual tastes. My favourite movies/music are not generally the norm. Even my tastes in men do not generally reflect the standards of usual attractiveness. (mmmm.. big mustaches and top hats). Over time I've learned to just keep my mouth shut when out and about with people I don't really know so well, because if i were to blurt out something like "Butcher Bill from Gangs of New York.. man he needs a bath but otherwise he is SOOOO HOOOOOTTTTT." Then I get stared at like I'm completely insane.

When I was in my early 20's I let someone I worked with read some writing I had done. It was poetry from my late teenage years, and then maybe some recent things. I'm not sure. I let him read it because he had majored in English and I wanted to hear what he thought. I felt sure it would be well received. It wasn't really. He didn't rip me to pieces. He had some very valid points about weak and repetitive spots in the work which I was not well equipped to handle. After that I didn't write for a long long time.

Since I started writing again I haven't let anyone read anything I've written, partially because of that experience of almost 15 or so years ago when I had my poor little ego bruised. I realize now I was just being silly. Criticism is just a part of the process of work. You learn from it. You improve from it. And if you are lucky someone might actually give you praise as well.

It's time for me to stop dancing in the dark. This week I want to post a page from my WIP that I wrote with my Livescribe pen mostly because the pen is just freaking cool, and because the transcription is pretty hilarious. This means that you will actually get to read something I wrote. It will be one page, and probably stuck right in the middle of a scene, but it will be something. And for me that will be a start.
callawrites: (Default)
Well. As you can see, if you've read the post below, I decided to create a dreamwidth account for writing after all. Since they don't import from Blogger I had to copy and past each entry. That was ok since I had only made 6 posts.

nothing further to say... move along...
callawrites: (Default)
Maybe I've been living under a rock. I'm not sure. But I checked out dreamwidth.org yesterday for the first time and I'm tempted to move this blog there. While I have no major problems with using blogspot, I do find it to be a bit difficult at times. I have had trouble writing an entry in Word or notepad and then pasting it into here, which is something I like doing especially at work. The formatting comes out all strange and I can't seem to fix it. Perhaps I'm stupid, but I like the familiarity of dreamwidth since it's based on LiveJournal's code. Yes, I could just make a different LJ account, but I prefer the idea of a fresh start on a different site.
The only real issue is that dreamwidth is not really a well known place for an "official" blog of sorts. I should probably not really be worrying about this kind of stuff. Yet I do. Next week Dreamwidth is allowing people to create an account without an invite code, so I will determine next week if I am indeed moving the blog.

In other news, I purchased a Livescribe pen. If you are unfamiliar with these pens you should check out the website. I did so because I sometimes enjoy writing stories by hand. I feel I give more care to what I write instead of simply letting my fingers fly at the speed of thought. I have one story I'm working on called B & B, a twist on the old Beauty and the Beast tale, which I'm writing by hand in a notebook. The Livescribe pen can record the handwriting and save it on my computer, and a program called My Script can translate that written word to text if I want.

Certainly it isn't a perfect transcription. My main character's name is Bea, and it often reads it as Bert, which is funny to me. My handwriting is this crazy mix of cursive and print and I often stick small sized capital style letters in the middle of words cAusing things to tRAnslAte like thiS if I doN't take care with my writing. My hope for using this is that if I take more care with the first draft, even if I need to go back and fix loads of typos, editing the story as a whole won't require extensive character rewrites/additions/etc. So far so good. As I transferred the two scenes I've written so far into my new Livescribe notebook I was pleased with how they were written. It may not be just the fact that I'm hand writing them though. Perhaps it's because I'm writing this book out of order, giving attention to whatever scene comes to mind. I've never written in a non-linear fashion before. I'll see how putting the pieces back together goes.

Signing off...
callawrites: (Default)
I believe I mentioned in my last post that I was feeling somewhat frustrated with the final scene of my novel. I wanted to end it one way, but as my mind turned over the way I started the scene I didn't like how it started. Writer's block set in I suppose, and I found myself unable to wrap my head around a different way of doing it.

Last night as I rocked my youngest child to sleep an idea broke through. I seem to get pretty good ideas while rocking her. Must be the quiet and the rhythmic movement. I'll be rocking her until she's 15! LOL. I have also been reading a lot more, one of my favourite authors, Diana Gabaldon. If you are unfamiliar with her writing, she is very descriptive, occasionally bordering on overly descriptive. I don't mind as I love the way she sets a scene and gives the reader a perfect picture of what's happening. I'm not as good as her at describing things, which is fine because I don't want to copy her style. At the same time reading her prose gives me better ideas of how to describe scenes and actions in my stories.
As I rocked the baby the characters started conversing, recreating the final scene from the beginning. As they did so I could really see their movements and expressions. I could sense their emotions much better than before. Finally one of them changed what they had done and the breakthrough came. After I put the baby to bed I went right downstairs, grabbed my alphasmart and finished the book. YAY.

I'm happy with the story I created. It is certainly not perfect, and editing is going to be some work. Still I'm pleased with things like pace and plot. Setting and characters need to be worked on more before I'll be happy with it.

After I got the final piece of the document on my computer I sent it off to my friends to read. I can't wait to hear their feedback, though it is mostly in the form of "i liked it!" or "i didn't like this or that." I'm very happy to have given them a conclusion, albeit 2 months after the last installment they received. oops.

So now.. Editing. I already started a list of things I want to work on. I really want to get my document into Scrivener. Breaking it into pieces helps me a lot. I'm not going to press myself though. It's not like I have some sort of deadline. Other stories are knocking on the door to my imagination trying to worm their way back into the spotlight. Particularly Penny's story, for which this blog is named. I'll get to you, Penny dear. Let me just get through this work day first....
callawrites: (Default)
Uh. Yeah. It's February 1st and I see that I never posted anything about my Nanowrimo experience after that initial post in the beginning of November. I guess better late than never. Let me tell you how it all worked out.

This year went great, though it definitely had its ups and downs. The first day was rough, with me ending up behind and feeling very disheartened about my story's potential length. However things quickly turned around and I found myself staying a day or so ahead of the daily word count quota. That worked nicely. For a bit.

By the last week I found myself faltering again. I knew I was going to fall short of the 50,000 word count and was at a loss for a few days over how I could eek out my fourth win and still have a book that wasn't appallingly bad. Finally some inspiration struck. I had a great idea to run with. The trouble was that this amazing idea would add potentially 15K to my story. Once again I was feeling blah. I had my heart set on not only hitting 50K but finishing the book during the month of November. One of those would happen and the other wouldn't. Oh well. I had to keep going.

This year, I was feeling a bit less embarrassed about my writing and allowed 2 of my friends to read the first draft as I wrote. Their praise fueled my motivation and a desire not to let them hanging with what would happen next. I have to say, they sure are nice friends. They always had very nice things to say about the writing and the plot. It made me feel good about where I was headed with this even though there would likely be lengthy revisions.

On November 30th I found myself with over 3100 words left to get to the finish line. I took a vacation day (really) and wrote all day. I wrote until my head was splitting and I felt like I might get sick from so much thinking. Reading that last sentence sounds dramatic, BUT. yeah.. I was worn out by the end of that day. I wrote over 5400 words, finishing Nanowrimo with over 52K.

But the story wasn't finished. I had thousands and thousands more words to write. December came and I did pretty well, pushing myself to write at least SOMETHING. My friends harassed me because they weren't getting updates as quickly as before.

And now it's February. I'm still not done with the story, though I am on the last and final scene. What's keeping me? What's holding me back? I suddenly got to the end and there's one thing I don't know if I'm happy with. Too much has been going on to get a good grip on what's bothering me and fix it. That needs to change soon! I'll let you know when I'm finally done.

Then we can talk editing. *loud groan & facepalm*
callawrites: (Default)
Ahh.. November, I knew you were coming, but you kind of snuck up on me there! And I haven't updated my pitiful writing blog in 2 months? Oh the shame.
Anyway, that last story I was writing made it roughly to the 20K mark before being pushed aside for the moment. I will return to her, but for now I'm in the grips of Nano.
My original plan to write that book, plan the sequel and write it for Nano have obviously gone down the tubes. I spent a bit of time wondering what I would write for November, then inspiration struck me at the end of September.
An online friend posted a link on twitter to a vampire transformation spell on eBay. The listing was hilarious. It was full of bad grammar, misspellings and the like. The funniest bit was that it assured the potential bidder that the spell was legit because it was expensive, and cheaper spells would obviously be from scammers. I laughed for a good few minutes at that.
So what would happen if someone bought a spell like that and it worked? What if it didn't work as expected, or it was cast on the wrong person? That seems like an interesting idea.
And then my Nanowrimo plot was born. A girl is accidentally turned into a vampire when her identical twin sister buys a transformation spell online. The original plan was for this to a funny story, kind of like a caper. I'm not so good at thinking that way I suppose. As I began planning it turned into this monsterous story that involved real vampires and an outside force bent on world domination. uh.. yeah. you are allowed to laugh at that if you want. When I say it it sounds pretty funny to me to.
Now it's day 3 of Nano and I'm about 300 words behind schedule, which is no big deal. Perhaps I'll keep you updated as I have the time.
Good Luck to all my fellow Wrimos!

Wrinkles

Sep. 3rd, 2010 04:42 pm
callawrites: (Default)
Once upon a time I had a beau who would rub his finger on the crease between my brows and say "You need to stop frowning.  You're going to have a line there when you get older."
The thing was I didn't even know I was frowning.  I wouldn't even have considered it frowning.  What I was doing was focusing on something, or at least trying to.  To this day I do it, and of course, just as before, I rarely take notice.
These are the little thoughts that pop into my head while I'm writing.  I realized the other day while working on a scene that was doing that very thing.  Moments later I found myself looking up Wikipedia articles on wrinkles and trying to find all natural anti-aging serums.  None of this helped me with the issue at hand.  I didn't know what the hell to do with this scene.
In the end I never did finish the scene eactly the way I wanted to.  I skipped over the description of the scenery, an important one, and I also wrote "Describe various alien races" as a place marker for a future epiphany.  I found it very frustrating and difficult to leave it that way, but I was getting far too caught up in those details.  I couldn't move forward.
I really do need to move forward, even if those scenes frustrate me.  It certainly isn't easy to tell oneself, "this is just a first draft; perfection is not an option." and really believe it.  We all know our first drafts aren't going to be perfect.  Personally I dread the editing process and possible rewrites of various scenes.  I did set myself a deadline, though, and I plan on sticking to it.
Time to go work on my wrinkles.
callawrites: (Default)
I was going to start this by saying "This is my first post" but then it says that in the subject line. Seems somewhat senseless to reitterate that doesn't it? (even though I totally just did.)

Anyway, I'm writing a book, and like so many many many many other people who are also writing books or have written books I've started a blog about it.

The thing that is somewhat of an issue is that I haven't the faintest idea what to write about. I am by no means an expert at writing a novel. It would be a waste of anyone's time to listen to my naive advice on the subject. So for now I'm simply going to bear this post by Chris Brogan in mind, and get to writing. Perhaps I'll see you again when my first draft is done.

Calla
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