Katherine Mankiller


Note to self.
January 2, 2008, 8:20 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

Dear Self,
Whenever you feel uncertain of what happens next in your novel, why not readest thou of the holy outline? In fact, maybe you should randomly reread the outline for kicks, from time to time. I’m just saying.
Love,
Me
P.S. 10,113 words, go me!

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Five hundred words.
December 11, 2007, 8:05 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

I started the new, improved chapter one of lizardfic today. I have a
daily word count goal of five hundred words. That’s doable.

There was a moment of, “Oh, no! Start? Do I dare to eat a peach? I
shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach. I have heard
the mermaids singing, each to each.” But then I started typing and it
went away.

Also, I started a fresh copy of The Motivational Spreadsheet of
Doom. To instanag me if I don’t write my 500 words and attagrrl me if I
do.

I could have written more, but it’s Tuesday. Better to pace
myself.

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Not bad.
November 27, 2007, 6:52 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

Amount of actual words on paper I’m getting down: Almost none.
Amount of figuring out what this story needs to work: Ginormous.
That’s not what I sat down to do tonight, but I’ll take it. I’ll definitely take it.

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Holy hand grenades, Batman!
November 15, 2007, 6:13 pm
Filed under: novels, writing mysticism

I generally think of myself as bad at plot. Maybe I think this because I sometimes end up writing a first draft in which I follow a character around a setting and nothing happens to him or her. (This is generally what’s wrong with the hurricane story, by the way–I followed Chinequa around for 10,000 words, and lots of stuff happened, but there wasn’t really, you know, plot.) That happens sometimes when you’re a pantser, and apparently I think with my fingers sometimes–sometimes I just need to follow a character around and type.
I feel like I made a lot of plotty breakthroughs in my Outline of d00m. I still don’t have anything really resembling an ending, but, you know. I have time to come up with wacky things like endings, especially since I now have what I think are fairly logical, interesting, and conflicty beginning and middle.
Wow. I may actually push this novel out of the ditch by the side of the road yet.

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Lots of work for not a lot of prose, and nonfiction reading.
November 9, 2007, 7:44 pm
Filed under: novels, reading, writing mysticism

My outline for the novel codenamed Lizardfic is currently 5008 words. That’s longer than most of my short stories. This is more outlining than I’ve ever done for any project, ever. On the other hand, stalled novel, yo. Horrible feeling. Must unstall novel. I’m probably going to outline even more, until I am half-mad with outlining. It’s not that I don’t like writing from an outline, it’s that I really suck at outlining. Hopefully, this will help.

In other news, if you’ve heard Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is an excellent book, you heard right. I’m already a Twyla Tharp fan–my sister is a dancer–and she has a lot of advice for creative people of any discipline. It’s very applicable to writers. If you don’t want to buy it, go to your local public library or bookstore and fondle it. Trust me. I’ve been reading slowly through it, and finished it today.

I’m not sure if Thomas A. Limoncelli’s Time Management for System Administrators is as applicable to writers, but it is applicable to people with day jobs (especially scary devil monastery day jobs) who want to have time to write, so there you go.



Outlining is HARD.
November 3, 2007, 4:59 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

Outlining is hard. Let’s do hard-core coding instead!

Seriously. I’d ask y’all to tell me that it was only this bad because I’m a complete pantser and usually pull shorter stories out of my ass out of my subconscious like Athena leaping from the forehead of Zeus, but I know that’s not true. It’s just hard.

Maybe you can tell me it sucks less if I get better at it. Does it?

Also, I want this. My house is a cellphone black hole.

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Your attention, please.
October 21, 2007, 9:47 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

My writer’s group is made of win.

That is all.

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Getting Things Done
October 21, 2007, 12:38 pm
Filed under: novels, short fiction, writing mysticism

I’m getting lots of things done today. I just don’t have any new prose to show for it.

  • Critiques!
  • Edits on the hurricane story.
  • I’m pondering the outline for the new improved Lizardfic.

The outlining in particular feels productive. I’m pretty sure that novel stalled because my outline sucked so much. The outline for the NaNovel was a lot better, and I still blew right through it one third of the way through, so clearly it also sucked in its own way.

We’ll see how much better I can do this time.

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One hundred words.
September 5, 2007, 9:45 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

Hey, it could be worse. I had the summer of overtime. I’m even feeling like I might be able to take the hurricane story out behind the woodshed and beat it into shape soon. Maybe I’ll even be able to tackle Lizardfic.
I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo, though. It was fun, but my zero draft was so filthy compared to my usual drafts. It served its purpose, in getting me over the novel anxiety, but…

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Intent, Schmintent.
July 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
Filed under: writing mysticism

Every now and then I go out to someone’s author blog or something, and they have a post like, “I’m a writer because when I write I’m GOD. I create entire universes and control everything in them. All of creation and destruction lie in my hands! Mwahahahaha!”
I’m not this kind of writer. In fact, the idea of applying this kind of statement to the way I work is ludicrous. Maybe other people’s creations are better behaved than mine, but on a good day I’m creating consensus between my wishes, the rules of good story, what the characters want to do, and whatever my subconscious has slipped into the text today. On a bad day, I referee (“Sorry, id, story wins”). On the best of all possible writing days, I’m just the typist. I always like the stuff I didn’t intend the best.
My least favorite part of art school was always artist’s statements. I loathe them. If I wanted to write a cheesy essay about Man’s Fierce Struggle With Navel Lint, I’d do that instead of writing a story or making a piece of art. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to write one that doesn’t feel unbearably pretentious and cheesy and it won’t be so bad, but I doubt it. 😉
I’m sure this entry wins me no cool points whatsoever. I feel like I’m supposed to be saying, “Why, yes, I meant that, because I’m Dostoyesvky! behold my depth and symbolism!” or something. Meh.

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