callawrites: (Default)
I should probably remove those question marks in the subject of this entry. A Period would be more definitive. I'm hoping it's a good week, but if I get rid of those question marks and make it a period I will have decisively made it a good week.
On the other hand if I remove them and then you read this paragraph you will be sitting there saying "What question marks?" I suppose I'll leave them there. :)

After my somewhat rambly post from Friday night I went to sleep and got up early because I had to go to work. (doing some overtime) After work I went to Staples and had my first draft printed out. I could have done it at home but my printer has not been the greatest lately. I didn't want anything to be illegible. I also got a nice big binder for it, some post it red flags and some red pencils. I've since ordered some red lead for mechanical pencils, because I simply can't stand writing with a normal pencil. As soon as the tip gets the slightest bit dull I can't stand it. I'm obsessively sharpening it. That should come tomorrow from Amazon. I suppose the demand for such things is not that high and the product isn't sold in stores.

I didn't do the other things on my list yet, but I'm feeling good about what I've done so far. To my surprise printing the book out has really motivated me to start editing. I've started going through crossing out and adding and fixing and blah blah blah. I'm 12 pages into the 211 page draft. It feels good.

I also love carrying the thing around. There's something about picking up this binder containing my story that I love. The weight of it feels satisfying in my arms, like cradling a child and knowing that you have so much wonderful work to do. It will be hard and you will have to take care, but done well the end result should be something you can be proud of.

So for now, until I feel stuck, I will just work on doing these edits. When I feel frustrated I will move on to one of the other tasks I can do to at least keep things moving along. I am for once feeling excited about editing.
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)
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)
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'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.

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Calla writes...

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