megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I'm currently in the throes of post-novel ennui and moved quickly from the "wow, I'm done!" euphoria to the "what idiot let me become literate enough to write this drivel?!?!" stage. The one where you can't stand to look at your own work and you wonder why you thought it was ever a good idea. The one where you despair of your ability to be worth anything.

Which is par for the writer course. At least for me.

It's good that parents don't go through that same stage with their children. Or maybe they do. I'm not a parent (and god willing never will be!), so I can't say what you go through with kids. I hear it involves not sleeping and a lot of poo for the first few years.


I need stuff to fill the huge sink hole left in my brain by this novel.

I need links. I need recommendations. I need new sparkly material.

So, if there's a book I should be reading, a blog I should be visiting, a thing I should know about, now would be a fan-damn-tastic time to tell me. Especially since my dance card will be mostly free for at least a couple of weeks while I rest and keep editing the Tower!Guy story.

Although, good luck telling my brain this. Today was Let's Think of Very Good Half-Ideas Day. My brain spit out lots of good pieces, but nothing that was remotely complete or worth exploring.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
The UF!2Girls (that's it's working title/codename) is finished. It came out to 125,353 words in Open Office.

What's weird is that I didn't even start outlining this project until the first week in January, didn't start writing it until the 10th of January, and I'm finished already. So 120k divided by 44 days comes out to about 2848 words per day for this novel.

This novel is an odd bug in my collection of works, and I'm not even sure I like it or know what to do wit it. I wonder if it's worth even editing the damn thing. Because I'm not sure it's any good due to the fact that I went at warp factor nine on it, and because I can't decide if I lost control of the story or controlled it too much when writing.

I think I need a reader or two for this, but I have no idea who to ask. I might be able to scare up people who like urban fantasy (I think this counts as urban fantasy), and wouldn't mind reading something that has adult content and a giant smattering of teh_queer. Maybe.

I wonder when post-novel ennui [(c) Elizabeth Bear] will kick in and in what form.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
The problem with writing very educated, learned characters is that you actually need to be very educated and learned yourself or at least go out and get a mini-education via wikipedia and a few smart friends. Especially if you need said characters to talk about very high brow things, even if it's in the back ground.

The current novel I'm working on is going at, like, lightspeed. This is because my job goes in boom and bust. Sometimes I'm so busy I can't breathe, sometimes I have nothing to do for days. During slow periods, I no longer go looking for work (they want me, they damn well know where my desk is), instead, I write.

And you'd be surprised how much writing you do when you have nothing else around you that's even remotely appealing to do. I can't even piddle on LiveJournal at work. So, it's just me and Google Docs and my intense desire to not be there.

Want to write a lot very fast? Go sit in a room with nothing in it but you, some paper, and a pen. You'll write like a frickin' jackrabbit. It might be crap, but it'll be the Speedy Gonzalez of crap.

This time around, I'm making my life easier. I'm doing a bit of editing as I go. I'm making notes in places that I know can but cut for length or places that I know, as I'm writing, that they're crap and need to be fixed but I'm not at all sure how to fix them right now and they just need to get *done*.

Hopefully it will make revision less painful and slow than it is with the Tower!Guy story, which is nearly stalled because I need a big block of uninterrupted free time to sit down with the story and I just don't have that right now.

I should do some more book reports soon. I've finished another batch of books and, well: My opinions. Let me show you them.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
A story about an author who "faked" a publicist in order to get published..

The opinions regarding this story on my f-list have ranged from outrage to "wow, that's clever!".

Sorry to say it (well, actually I'm not but I'm being polite here), I fall squarely with the people who think it's clever and aren't that outraged about it. I get why people would be outraged, but frankly I don't agree.

The fact is that while the publicist may have been fake, the book, the author, and the quality therein were not. No one was deprived of anything substantive. Okay, so he changed his name and pretended to be someone he wasn't. But the book was real. The quality of the book was real.

It's like saying you're mad because the guy who sold you your vacuum cleaner at a really good price said he was Steve from Pittsburgh when he was really Fred from Knoxville. You still have your vacuum cleaner at the price you desired, so what does it matter? The vacuum cleaner and the money you paid for it were genuine. And if he said he was from Pittsburgh because he saw you were a Steelers fan and knew it it would make you more inclined to listen to him, that's just good salesmanship.

So long as his product, his price, and his promises were genuine, I have no issue with it.

And I think getting freaked out over the sock puppetry is actually a bit disingenuous, really, especially for writers.

The history of writing is storied with people who have assumed names and put on personas so that they could get past an obstacle and allow their stories to be heard by people who would other wise be unwilling. People have switched genders and race and all sorts of thing for the sake of their stories. They just did it on the other side of the line. Do I need to begin with how many women authors have had pen their works under male names just to have someone even consider them worth reading, much less publishing? I didn't think so.

My real reason for not being at all outraged is a little less poetic, however. When someone finds a way to beat The System at it's own game, I cheer.

The fact is that you can be the most brilliant writer ever and never see print. You can do everything right and fail miserably. So, obviously doing right isn't the point of this industry or business. So long as publishing is based on business rather than merit, I don't see where anyone has room to bitch when someone plays the game better than they do.

The fact is, publishing is a business and this guy found a better way to place his product. Now, given, he was good at it and it was a triple lundy off the high dive which few (if any) should attempt to mimic, but he did it.

He knew what he was doing and he wasn't trying to run a scheme. Nobody was defrauded.

The facts are these (as they say on Pushing Daises): The publishing industry isn't going to be nice to you. They aren't going to be fair. They aren't going to hand you anything. They are not going to look out for you. Writers face everything from agents who really are just running scams to publishers who don't pay them fairly.

So, yeah, you have to look out for yourself. The publishing industry gets theirs, so you gotta get yours - to put it crudely. This is the business world, baby. Dog will eat dog.

Publishers and agents have bent more than a few writers over a chair, so I have no problem with a writer very skillfully making them grab *their* ankles for once.

As for me, I have no intention of trying to execute this kind of smooth move. I don't know a damn thing about marketing and I know that I just don't have the right kind of sensibilities for it. I already know that I need to have an expert (an agent). But if I really thought I had a grip on what to do and how to do it? I might give this a whirl.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
My little internship at Unnamed Publishing Company is not going so very well. It's not the worst job I've ever had, but it's certainly not the best. The company I work for is not really a literary publisher, so I'm keeping in mind that a job at a more literary press/company might be more my speed.

Still, this internship and this job? Not. Working.

At this point in my life, I'm past the, "What the hell do I want to be?" question. I know precisely what I want to be and it's what I've wanted to be since I was eight: A Writer.

BUT. Being a writer pays peanuts. Actually, less than peanuts, because peanuts you could live off of. I've got bills and loans that need paying. The people at the bank care about as much about my happiness and my dreams as lions care about the fleas on the back of the antelope they're about to bring down and suffocate with their razor sharp teeth.

I bet there are maybe five hundred people on the whole of planet Earth who make enough to make their living solely off of writing. Five hundred out of six billion...carry the four...and...yeah.

My odds suck. Hence, having a day job.

The year of unemployment that preceded having this internship taught me that, if I didn't have to worry about money, I wouldn't even consider having a job. I'd write. And I'd love it, and it would fulfill me and I'd be happy as a clam in a gram of spam (trust me, this is great happiness).

The question now is, "How the frick do I keep food on the table and not make myself miserable doing it?"

My f-list is mostly composed of writer, and entirely composed of very intelligent folks. So maybe I could pose a question.

What kind of day jobs do you think match well with being a writer? What about them makes them compatible with writing (especially writing with publication in mind) and how does one go about getting said job?
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Now that it's December, and I have my life back from NaNoWriMo, I'm still wondering if I should finish up the project I was writing or start on a new one that's gathered in my head and demands to be written.

Of course, there are still many revisions of Tower!Guy novel that needs to be done, and as [ profile] lagringa said, the story needs shaping. And now that I'm a few projects removed from it, I think I can finally go back and look at it with some objectivity.

You know how they say that you need to leave a finished project in a drawer for about a month or so to give yourself fresh eyes? I don't need time, just something to distract me long enough for me to forget. The thing is, when you're writing, you make all these internal notes and have all these ideas that become "canon" for the story, and you read using that lens.

When the lens goes away, you see the story in a truer way.

So I've had time now to wipe off the whiteboard and make new notes on a different project.

Not to mention that some of my latest genre reads have been really fantastic, both from a writing and reading stand point, especially now that I'm making an effort to seek out and read some works that are recent and have garnered a lot of praise from sources I respect. I'm paying close attention to some of the things I enjoy most about those works, and thinking about how they were done, and how I can incorporate the principles of those things into my writing.

I think maybe revisions this time. Frankly, I'm a bit burned out. My final wordcount for November - the one on the file, not on the Nano site - turned out to be 90k. That's a 3000 a day word pace for a month. Whew.

Plus, I wanted to have revisions done or at least very much underway by the new year. Because 2008's resolution (amongst the others of lose weight, etc, etc) is this: submit something. Actually, it's: submit something and have a box of kleenex nearby for the inevitable rejection that will cause you great heartache, but then have a good cry and keep going.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)

50479 WORDS IN 15 DAYS.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
So, in my novel there's a part where a character asks another character if he can use her bathroom.

Well, in the midst of all this talk, I decided *I* needed to use the bathroom. So I got up from my computer and what do I find:

"Sure, just take no mind of the monkey on the counter. He is just the washroom attendant, be sure to tip him a banana and he will be happy."

As much as I would love to let the monkey remain, alas, it doesn't belong in this novel.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
The subject basically says it all. I have a great idea that is just chomping at the bit for NaNoWriMo to arrive. I cannot wait to get going. It has plot!conflict! interesting characters! superpowers! It has it all.

I won't say it's the most original idea, but there are no original ideas. There are only reinventions, some better than others.

Also, I'm currently going at a good click through Whiskey and Water by Elizabeth Bear and it's actually better than its prequel Blood and Iron, thus far. You probably need to read Blood and Iron before digging in to W&W, but it's worth it.

Let's put it like this. If I can be so distracted that I don't smell the very stinky guy on the subway who is pressed against me because I am that absorbed in the book, you have done your job as a writer.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
If anyone wants to be my "writing" buddy, my profile is here. I've friended as many of my friends as I could find, but if there's anyone I missed or who isn't going under their usual nom de interweb, I'd love to find you as well.

So many people are doing NaNoWriMo this year, and it makes me really happy.

It is my firm belief that everyone should at least once in their life try to write a novel. I believe that we should all be writers.

Then again, I can't imagine a world where writing isn't a cornerstone of my being. I kind of wish I could explain that to people in a way that would make them understand. I figured out that I wanted to be a writer when I was six years old. That's seventeen years of making up stories and playing pretend on paper and scribbling poetry and writing in journals (I kept my first diary when I was in the 3rd grade, IIRC, at age eight) and reading books about how to write, and admiring writers, and spending Saturdays in the library reading every thing I could reach when every other kid was doing something else normal.

Yeah, I was the kid who's parents had to *ground* her from the library when she got in trouble. I loved it that much. It was quiet, lots of books, lots of tables for writing and reading. If you were ever so clever you could sneak in a little snack. They even had stools for short people to reach the tall shelves. Even better if I had my dinky little walkman with me.

So. Seventeen years. There are a good amount of people on planet Earth who can't even say they've been alive as long as I've wanted to be a writer. Presidents have come and gone. There are technologies that weren't invented yet when I discovered that writing was it for me. There are clothes and hairstyles that have gone out of style, come back into style, and gone out again since I decided I wanted to be a writer.

So maybe you can understand how writing has been an unwavering, unquestionable constant in my life. Maybe you can understand now why I start with this and end with it. Why it's part of my Alpha and Omega, why it doesn't matter if you take my computer, take all the pen and paper in the world, or even chop off my hands that I'll find a way.

Maybe I'll get published, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll make my living from writing, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll write fifty more novels, maybe I won't. Maybe next year I'll decide to give up this crazy publication dream, maybe I won't.

But I will always be writing.

I started talking about NaNoWriMo, didn't I? Huh.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
The new job still has me in a bit of a tailspin, as far as my time and schedule goes. Although I have begun to understand where I have bits of time.

I also have two new ideas that are kicking around in my brain. One better developed and more fascinating than the other, and I think I might give it a go for Nanowrimo this year.

As far as the Tower!Guy novel goes, I'm still waiting to hear from one reader, and I'm moving forward on the revisions with the suggestions from [ profile] lagringa in mind. Also? I sort of have had a craving for chicken souvlaki. I'm probably always going to associate her with really awesome Greek food. I hope she doesn't mind.

I'm using Holly Lisle's One Pass Manuscript Revision, although I've had to do it in starts and fits because of time issues. It's a pretty effective, ruthless method if I do say so myself. It also is very good at forcing me to really solidify what themes and ideas I want, and forcing me to make sure the manuscript accurately reflects and shows that in a clear, interesting, intelligible way. Because hey, the reader can't see inside of my head. My forehead is NOT transparent.

Thus sometimes, you *do* have to explain.

There's an age old argument about whether if a reader misses something in a manuscript, if it's the writer's fault for not being clear or the reader's for not reading carefully enough.

I say, when in doubt, blame yourself. You being the writer, of course.

The fact is? No reader is obligated to give your manuscript even a moment's attention, nor are they obligated to read it as though it's the most important piece of writing on the face of God's green Earth. You're the one imposing on *their* time and they have plenty of other writers who are willing to invest in clarity as well as style and plot and interesting window dressings.

Also? Two weeks of proofreading at my day job has taught me this:

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but clarity is the soul of communication.

Imagine what you could do if you're very brief and very clear.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
You know what I love (said with all due sarcasm) about my mind?

I love how, when I had an abundance of time and nothing much to do, my brain couldn't be arsed to come up with one measly little idea, not even a proto-idea or a psuedo-idea. Nothing. Crickets were chirping in my frontal lobe. That's how empty and vacuous it all was. I had nothing. I had to go back to an old story, because there were no new stories.

But now that I'm about to start a new job and have a buttload of revision work to do on the tower!guy story?

My brain presents me with this sparkling little gem of a story seed, now that I won't have time to even work with it until I get my schedule hammered out.

Thanks there, brain. Thanks a lot. Thanks for years of bad coordination, questionable attention spans, and laughable ability to deal with numbers. It's nice of you to give me this little gift here in the same way cats give their people gifts of dead birds and mutilated rodents. At least the cat has an excuse (and is fuzzy, good for macros and lulz).

I guess you mean well and nobody said this writing thing was for the faint of heart.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Frak a quack, man.

You know how I was going to get started on a new project? Well, I got a card on Friday that inspired me to start all over again, one last time, on Revenant Blues. Except it has a new title and has gone to the chiropractor to get straightened out. I've tweaked the formula, and surprisingly, The One Pass Revision Guide that I'm using for the Tower!Guy revisions (on hold until my readers chime in) helped me see what was wrong with the *last* five drafts.

So, I started rewriting, from scratch, on the novel yesterday and today.

This is my wordcount:

Wordcount: RB!Last Try
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,513 / 100,000

Yeah. I actually wrote 7373 of those words on Saturday.

The story came in a gigantic gush that would *not* turn off. I actually sat up in bed, with the Boy's laptop, writing late into the night while he snoozed on beside me. Because the story wouldn't go the frell away.

And today? Same flood. This is probably not the final wordcount for today, either.

The only thing that worries me is that this draft won't be any tighter than the last five, and will end up coming up too wordy.

Or: I do not have it in me to go back (again) and try to slash through another 150,000 manuscript and find the 50,000 words that need to go.

I'm also giving myself permission to tap out of this novel if the other idea I've got fermenting in my head ever solidifies itself into something. Thing is, I'm kind of afraid to commit to this story.

And like a cat, this novel is attracted to the person who least wants it in her lap.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I've decided that the post-novel ennui goes in stages, and right now I'm in the "fret, pace, worry" stage of it.

Right now, the novel is in the hands of two readers who I extend my full trust to. It's only been two weeks, so I know it's going to be a bit longer before either one of them get back to me. Which is cool. They have lives and, yanno, other stuff to do.

Plus, I know how long it takes me to plow through even the easiest-to-read novels. I can't imagine what kind of pain and suffering my poor readers are going through.

I should maybe look into sending them gift baskets and abject apologies. Definitely gift baskets. And now I'm asking myself whether chocolates, fruits, or bath goodies are most appropriate for begging forgiveness for bad writing.

Not sure Hallmark has a card for this, though. Hmm.

But having the novel in the hands of the readers puts me in the same state that turning in tests and papers used to. That's why I always hated taking tests or turning in papers on Friday. Because then you had *all weekend* to second guess every single answer you gave.

So right now, I'm looking over my manuscript and going, "Oh god, I can't believe I sent this to them. It's terrible. I just know they're regretting being nice to me and reading this. What was I thinking? This isn't fit for human consumption! My characters must be so flat, my plot is trite and badly paced. GAH! Why did I ever let myself write this stuff? For the love of cheesecake, who let me near a keyboard? Isn't anybody PAYING ATTENTION?"

This is also why I suspect I'll never have long enough nails to ever get a manicure.

And why I think writing is a sport best left to lunatics.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I'm back from my sister's wedding, and have a relatively empty plate. I did a good job at clearing away my to-do list before I left.

I expect the ennui to siddle up to me anytime. I'm sort of undecided about projects at the moment. I may take the time to go on a read-a-thon or something. I do have a queue the size of Toledo. And Toledo ain't nothing to sneeze at.

Part of me wants to give Revenant Blues another run, and part of me is screaming and waving its arms, telling me that the story is dead. And by dead I mean the first draft that was not fit for the English language, and the following *five* revisions would burn your retinas so bad that you require immediate medical attention. Seriously. I'm wondering why the people who read it for me the first time through didn't send *hit men* out to get me.

And part of me can't let go of the parts of the story that are juiciest, and IS wondering if it can't be remixed maybe into something that doesn't, yanno, suck. There are parts of the story that I still think about, still find myself jotting down notes about.

Still, maybe that's just fondness. That novel was a first for a lot of things, and an important step for me. It taught me a lot of things about myself as a writer and a person. It also taught me what a novel looks like when you're knee deep in its guts.

Writing is a very emotional art, but I think the best writers make their big decisions based on something more calculating and ruthless.

I'll sit on it. I do know that I have a lot of ideas that have been waiting in line patiently for their turn, and some of them are really good ideas that could sell to someone someday.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
The thing about finishing a novel is, that after your crow of victory, you get up the next morning and you almost forget.

You sit down, you eat your breakfast, brush your teeth and think, "Okay, I need to write this many words today....wait. I don't. I'm done."

You lay back and you think, "Gah! Why am I laying around, I should be writing!"

Except you *shouldn't*. More than that, you don't have anything to write. You're done. There is no more to do. No scenes to add, nothing to work on (just yet).

Also, it's kind of like not talking to a friend anymore. It's for the best, but you're so used to having long, late night chats until 2am and working that in to your daily schedule. Now, you don't have to.


Now I'm going to read like a fiend, let the tank refill, hope that my sister's wedding doesn't end up on YouTube for any reason that will bring shame and derision upon my family, and contemplate what to do next.

Also, I'm wondering if I now owe royalties for how utterly I've made the phrase "post novel ennui" a part of my vocabulary, both externally and internally. I can't help it, it's just sort of the perfect phrase.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)

It's done, it's done, it's done!

  • 122,585 words, in total (which, after revisions will probably go down to >110k, thank you monkey!god.)

  • 424 pages in Open Office

  • 34 chapters, plus epilogue and prologue

  • So now, I get to sink into what [ profile] matociquala has referred to as "post-novel ennui", go out of town to see my sister get married, come back, let it sit in a drawer for a bit, and then revise it and hopefully carve off 10,000-15,000 words.

    megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
    I'm really glad that I have a fiancee who's so supportive of my writing. He shows his support, often, by sitting down at my computer when I've gotten up to go the restroom or get a glass of water and adding his own special magic to the mix.

    So that when I sit down again, there are words that I didn't type waiting for me.

    Since I'm near the ending, he's trying to finish the novel for me.

    His ending is:

    Then monkeys ate them all.

    The end?

    The question mark is his, because he feels it would be the cleverest, most original thing ever done if a writer were to leave a book open for a sequel, because no writer's ever done that before.

    For those who don't know, my fiancee has a monkey obsession. I don't know why but monkeys, pirates, and zombies excite and tittilate him to no end. I think it might be because he possesses a Y-chromosome. Not sure.

    But I probably need to go back and make sure that there aren't any hidden monkeys in my novel. It would be really embarassing to have to explain to an agent why, in chapter twenty five, the emotional climax of the novel is interrupted by a horde of flying zombie pirate monkeys who eat everything in sight and then disappear suddenly as they came.
    megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
    With my luck, this would be the one time people were actually reading and giving a crap about this journal.

    Please ignore any unlocked snippets that you may or may not have seen. You didn't see aaaaaaaaaanything. [/penguin]*.

    Seriously, though, I didn't mean to leave that unlocked. I've been having to dump my progress for this novel into livejournal entries (which are damn useful for this purpose, btw) because I'm in Connecticut and the rest of my novel is in New York City.

    I've been locking them, because they are filled with deeply shaming mistakes. The thing is, I'm hoping that if I can't become a good writer, I'll at least get to be a very good editor. But if people see your first drafts, then it shatters the illusion that you actually knew what the hell you were doing.

    So pretend like you didn't see that.

    *Props to anyone who gets the reference.
    megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
    Secretly, in the back of my head, I've been worried that I won't ever become a real writer until I have a small fuzzy mammal or two around. Specifically, cats. It seems that the vast majority of people who are literarily respected have cats and have a snarky, lolarious relationship with said catS.

    I have two dogs and three cats I'm pet sitting for the soon-to-be in-laws (who I love dearly).

    The entire menagerie seems suitable for the task of snark and lolarity. Especially while I'm trying to write on a computer that isn't mine.

    Because unlike cats, dogs can't really be said to have mischievous intents. They're just so *well-meaning*. Especially when one is an obsessive border collie and the other is a lazy, giant puppy that weighs 30lbs at six months old. And a cat who's an escape artist, and has to be allowed outside only when leashed. I kid thee not.

    Let me give you an example:

    behold, the multi-mammalian extravaganza! )

    Expand Cut Tags

    No cut tags