writing mysticism


I was doing 250 words a day as a goal, but Jen and I signed up for stickK together.  It looked like a time commitment would work better with their site than a wordcount commitment, so I said ten minutes a day/an hour a week.

This works a lot better than I expected.  I almost always write more than 250 words, and I feel like I’m making a lot of progress on the story I was working on.  I plan to up the time later to a more ambitious number.  (Jen chose five hours a week.  There’s no way.  I’d be setting myself up to fail.)

I also signed up to run more than 134 minutes a week.  I usually run 3-4 days a week for 45 minutes at a time.  This is also going well.

I didn’t even put money on either one!

Future running goals include running outside (right now I’m treadmill only) and eventually signing up for a race.

I finally reached the central conflict on the story in progress!  As one of my nieces’ other aunts pointed out, some add clay to an armature and some chip at stone.  I’m usually the former.  Which is why the amount of whacking I’m going to have to do on this one is so disconcerting.

In other weed-whacking news, it occurred to me that the hurricane story I was working on in 2007 anticipated the Occupy Wall Street movement, and I may have to fish it out and try (again!) to finish it with that in mind when I’m finished with this one.  Note to self:  Less (or no) cyberpunk, more politics.

I’ve already had that special moment when you realize that you’re probably going to cut 6,000 words from your short story in progress. Today I had that special moment when I realized that I’ve written 13,000 words and haven’t reached my central conflict yet.

This is the point where my ex would traditionally inform me that I was writing a novel. Nope. I think it just took me this long to figure out where the hell this thing is going.

I didn’t write much last year, and the reason why is that I was constructing a different kind of narrative. My mother died unexpectedly last year while I was at WisCon, and finding a way to tell yourself the story in a way that makes sense is an important part of grief. Unfortunately, the whole thing was so sudden and unexpected, and so followed by the near death of my father and the death of my friend who was my primary support during this time that I feel like I need to instead retell the story of who I am.
I have, however, learned a lot of things about how much of what I think of as myself is a construct. Having the ground yanked away from under your feet will do that to you.
I’ve also learned that I have a deep psychological need to write, even if it’s just a sentence a night. I think that part of the that is that I like fiction better than life because fiction makes sense. Life seldom does. Life tells the truth, but it’s a dry, factual truth. Fiction tells you the truth in a way that won’t hurt you.
It’s almost the spring equinox, and I am Persephone, returning from the dead. Only it’s a sort of reversed version of the story, with Demeter in the earth, and my return is leaving her behind. And the ground opened up beneath me last spring. And I’m not quite back yet.
But I will be.
Flowers for Mom

There’s this thing I used to do sometimes while writing, where I would follow a character around and see what happened. Dishearteningly, sometimes nothing happened. Other times I would figure out what the heck I was trying to say or do and the story would take shape.
I think I’ve figured out what one of my problem child stories wants to be. The problem being, of course, that the characters and the structure have changed completely. I don’t know what that 10,000 word thing I sent through Critters was, but it wasn’t a story. Not structurally.
I have a four sentence outline that feels like a story now.
The thing is, I think it took me several revisions and 10,000 words to figure out what the hell this story wanted to be. I’ve got to figure out a way to speed up that process. I enjoyed following Chinequa Mark I around–for certain values of “enjoy”–but I’d really like to have a story sooner.
And now, I think it’s yoga time.

Woe is me! I’ve decided that Untitled AI is not a story about Julia and Rob, my intrepid reporter and photographer. In fact, Untitled AI is probably two projects, but Julia and Rob have nothing to do with the AI and will need to have a new project just about them. This makes me sad, because I really like Julia and Rob, but there you go.
As for the untitled novel which desperately needs a better title than Lizardfic, I’m going back and making big lists of threads I dropped. D’oh! Most of these are things which are very clearly in the outline, and I got to the end and said, “Oh, wait. I need this.” Ah well, this is what revisions are for, right?
Speaking of new titles for the novel formerly known as Lizardfic (and briefly known as Monkeyfic), I feel a perverse desire to play off titles like “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” or, in a more threatening and dadaist vein, “The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors.”

My novel has changed during the course of writing, which is okay. And I’ve updated the outline to reflect the changes. Sounds okay, right?
Only there’s a bit of a problem. My main POV character is away from all the action for several scenes. Ack! There’s a list of five to eight scenes in a row where the POV character isn’t her.
No, no, no. I can’t do that. I need to restructure things so she’s involved in the big bang finale. She is at A. She needs to be at B. In the original outline a bunch of stuff happened at B and she headed out to B to [spoiler redacted], but no, she needs to be involved in the stuff at B.
I may be junking a chapter or two. Sigh. Oh well, it’s more important to have it be good, right? Of course it is! Pay no attention to my wibbly lip at the thought of my decreased wordcount.

One NaNoWriMo novel, one incomplete screenplay, and a novel-in-progress with outlines and I suddenly no longer want to work without them. I suppose this is a good thing, since writing without is sometimes a big timesink, but I still feel like an outline junkie. I’ve never outlined short fiction before, but I craved the direction.
Not that I, you know, actually wrote on those stories, but you know.
As for the novel, I’m 33,500 words in right now. Despite the outline, which has everything that needs to happen plot-wise, I still find myself pantsing chapters to get to the plot point where I need to be. That seems to work for me. I also have the abortive stub of a chapter in a POV that I decided not to use for that chapter, but I’m not going to cut it yet because I’m trying to keep my wordcount up. Seeing my wordcount go down instead of up is too disheartening to cut things. Rewriting a scene to be someone else’s POV was bad enough; I wrote 1000 words that day but only gave myself credit for 500 because as part of the rewrite I cut 500 words. It’s silly, but the wordcount really makes me feel like I did something.
Speaking of something, I really need to write some short fiction and send it out. I’ve only got four stories in circulation right now.

My first drafts of action chapters are about 500-1000 words. This is pitiful, and caused my outline spreadsheet to say my novel would come in short. So I sighed, and turned sentences into paragraphs. It’s now about 2000 words, which is still too short, but at least my outline spreadsheet doesn’t say my novel is going to come in short any more.
Which is good, because my stuff always gets longer in revision. So my goal is my minimum wordcount. People tell me that’s not right, because it’s easier to cut than add, but it’s more in line with the way I work, so there you go.
Current wordcount: 29387. Guesstimated final wordcount: 80288 (still a little stunted by action miniscenes). Percent complete: 36 and change.

I’ve been procrastinating about writing. I thought it was because I was stressed about car repairs and the like, but no. I think I just didn’t want to write Chapter Four.
Well, I went ahead and started it, and it wasn’t so bad while I was writing it, but now I’m all moody again. I don’t know why I decided to write something that’s so personally button-pushing, but I did.
Things will be better after Chapter Four. Then I can get into more of the things that I liked about this idea, like the love story. But until I finish Chapter Four, I’m probably going to be cranky.

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