Monday, May 3, 2010

Busy, Busy Day

Saturday was the Walk; I began at roughly 9am and ended around 10:40am with barely a throb of soreness or exhaustion. It was a nice walk around a nice area. It gave me time to think and try to recall the sensations you get from a park (or near a lake, or in a wooded area).

That failed. I lifted my mood by taking in the scenery, but thanks to the heat it was hard to notice anything other than "It's hot!"
I figured I would go ahead and put up a picture of the team I walked with, and horrible camera pictures of the view.

Oh yes, and still working on Serpenttongue, almost to the second to last chapter. Being so close to the end of the manuscript I've worked on sporadically for the past two years gives me a strange feeling. It's not despair, disappointment, or joy just...different.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why Yes, I AM Still Alive...And I've Done Stuff Too.

Hello, hello, been awhile of silence but I'm back-hopefully for more than three bad posts. Life kind of crept up on me, reenacting the shower scene from Psycho. I didn't die, but it halted things for some time. I've caught up, mostly: gotten used to the busy mornings, the afternoon exercises, the strange disappearance of that block of time between morning and evening. It's ironic that right after I created and printed a schedule for myself, everything kind of back-flipped, so I have to analyze my days again.

So, on April 17th, 2010 I attended a festival with my sister, the Black Heritage Festival at University of Baltimore. There were vendors and performances-mostly vendors-and it was a nice taste of what she and I are in for.
I mention the festival because our table happened to be right across from the table of an author who also runs a publishing house (J.M. Benjamin, A New Quality Publishing). He made conversation with us, gave me a little info about writing a synopsis (or at least something to tell people on the street when they ask what I'm writing) as soon as possible, and told me to try submitting work to them to see where I'm at. I made my first connection, woo!

I did something I have never really considered before on Tuesday. I always read people's suggestions on other places you can go to write and thought "yeah, that sounds good" with a noncommittal nod to myself, but for whatever reason it occurred to me to spend my free day there. I didn't get many pages, but the atmosphere was a nice change; with nothing in the environment to distract me it was a bit easier to get coherent lines on the page.
It was a nice experience for me...or maybe it was the hot chocolate. I learned two things: I need to be in the library writing more often, and Seattle's Best makes very sugary hot cocoa, or sugary vanilla, or sugary hazelnut, I threw both in so I'm still narrowing down the suspects.
It hadn't occurred to me until a few days prior that the notebook was nearly full, and I was but two chapters away from the ending...and that I'd wasted most of the month being lazy instead of working toward my goal of finishing before May.
I did the same thing in February, and March. Pattern?
I think I've made some good progress. There's a frame, but the door is still under construction...and someone painted the bottom half puce instead of white. I'm not an expert painter, but I can fix it.

Lifewise, I'm just a bit anxious about May 1st, when I participate in the NAMIWalks event: a 2.5 mile walk through a park in support of NAMI (I'm lazy, so I'm just going to post the link to NAMI's website for more information- It'll keep NAMI functioning, which I'm all for.
It'll be 2.5 miles of me getting to know my teammates better and get a lot of thinking done. And if my sister says it's cool, I might take her camera to take pictures of the park. Should be nice.

There's my updates for the past two months, and now I have to get work done.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This is going to be harder than I thought...

It's February 26th, 2010.
Ask me if my novel I was going to finish this month is done yet.

I had some good momentum when I first started writing it, then that gradually died down to a full stop, then it picked up again in spurts of 1k a day every day, then became 1k every two days...this week I only managed a total of 3k.

But I guess as long as I'm moving, I'm good.

I won't be able to finish the first draft at this pace (obviously), I'm now looking to March since I'm over 80k words - finally. I want to get it completed so I can bask in the glorious light of having completed something, but also because I want to work on another WIP that I started two pages of before deciding I didn't need to divide my time up like that and just focus on one WIP at a time. Scenes from this one have been leaping into my head like fleas on a dog. (Please don't ask me why that simile was the first thing I thought of.) I should be writing them down...but I think I've officially run out of empty notebooks.

I know what I'll be buying next month.

I am rather proud of my 3k for the week. It's small, but it's the most writing I've done in the time span of a week for quite some time. And it's not only at the doctor's office waiting for my turn, but also everyday at a regular time that I've scheduled. (Why did I ever leave the wonderful world of time management?)

So, if I had a glass of wine, or even just a bottle of juice, I would give cheers to everyone for what they have accomplished in February, and encourage them to keep going, because there's nothing like passing that finish line...or writing/editing that final paragraph.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

End of the Month Update

Well, I failed. I couldn't manage 50,000 words in one month.

In my defense, life hit hard and I started in the middle of the month.

I end January having written 16,000 words, bringing my novel's total to 73,000. I'm not so disappointed in myself for not making it, since I got some fairly good stuff written and I'm moving along in the story (A life-changing piece of information learned, oh no!). I would like to say February will be the month I finish this thing, as I shouldn't have that much longer to go, but I won't make it a definite; anything can happen in the next month, like, I don't know, me having to get a job to pay off some bills and finding myself too mentally drained at the end of each day to concentrate on words for a novel. Just putting it out there.

Nightmarish employment aside, I'm looking to February with a positive attitude. This novel will get done (the first novel I've completed in years, first novel over 60,000 words) by the end of the month, and then I can let it sit awhile before I get to do revisions...yay.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Bane of My Novel Completion

It's 5:19pm, and I've written maybe one hundred words of my novel (oh yeah, I'm so reaching that goal of 50k by the end of the month). I want to finish this novel, I really do, maybe I'll be alone on this, but I believe it has potential...and I like Taryn, and Satche. I'm undecided on Mars and Lady Cherie.

Anyway, my low word count wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't have other ideas vying for my attention. It's like having my nephew in my ear all day going "auntie, auntie, auntie," which he does whenever there isn't a game controller in his hands. But the ideas just buzz around in my head going "write me, write me, write me!" And they sound so much more appealing than fighting through the bog that is the middle of my novel (it's been too long since the four had to fight so I think I'll give them some exercise. Other than that, got nothin'). And not all of them are new ideas; most are just parts to the other WIP's I've put a hold on.

  • Tanessa and Brandon's life on the run
  • Just what, exactly, Hope and Loki find in the city
  • Nicole's introduction to the secret world around ours
  • Getting Mia and Noah to the snowy kingdom in the mountains
The biggest one of all, however, is the Urban Fantasy. That one screams at me, and it screams "I don't want to just be a short story, make me into a novel too!" I don't think I'd have enough of a plot to make a whole novel out of it, but that one certainly interests me.

All because I picked up that UF short story collection at the library in October.

Octavia and Natalia both insist on having more than a short story, and I like what they're saying, but they're getting in the way of finishing Serpenttongue. I would really like to avoid putting it on hold to explore another idea. I've done that already, more than once. I want to buckle down and get one finished!

But as the fight gets tougher that UF starts to look better.

I guess I could work on both...ugh, that's going to take quite a lot of time, but it might make the ideas shut up for awhile.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winded...and Story Progress

Whew. It's been two days of writing a minimum of 1,700 words and has taken FOREVER to get through. Methinks I need to do a little more planning, which means I'll be carrying around that notebook in my purse and putting every spare second tomorrow at work in thinking about my story and where I want it to go next. I mean, I have a general idea of where they're going next, but just what is going to happen along the way, and what will happen when they get where they're going.

On the plus side, I did something I liked: I created a bit of tension and conflict between the Main Character and a Secondary Character. They're having a bit of a power-struggle. The Main Character is losing, and it's going to take a toll on her mentally...somehow. The tricky part will be continuing the struggle, dragging it out and making good use of it.

Here's hoping I figure something out tomorrow.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

[Insert month] Wri Mo

It's January 9th, nine days into the month of January (obviously) and I've hardly written much in my novel. I finished up what I thought was both an interesting and difficult chapter and then spent the past two days fooling around online (must not get addicted to AW, must not get addicted to AW...). I haven't had the desire to write anything else, which clashes with my whole finishing a novel this year goal.

A fellow blogger suggested I try JaNoWriMo, which is basically NaNoWriMo in January. It's funny how quickly I buckled down and decided to continue working hard on my novel after agreeing to take part. All I need, apparently, is a deadline, a goal to shoot for. I wouldn't say I'm one who works well under pressure, but not having anything to strive for just makes a lazy Charlene, and Charlene hates being lazy, productivity is her focus.

Now, looking at the novel not from the perspective of "oh I have 50k words to write still" but from the outlook of "I have to write 1,700 words today that relate to what I wrote yesterday in some way" makes me sigh in relief. Yes, finishing this novel might be I said before, if I managed 50k of a novel in November, I can certainly manage 50k this month and quite possibly every month.

And on that note, I need to start writing, because I've already missed eight days of writing and that's around 15k to write!

Do you find daily goals (words, paragraphs, pages) keep you moving even through the difficult parts?

Friday, January 8, 2010

So it's the New Year...

I'm not a big believer of New Year's Resolutions, or the whole "new year, new you" idea, but I DID make that promise to my doctor to worry less about what others think of me...

Okay, I guess you can call this a resolution. I want to finish a novel this year. I have roughly four (Serpenttongue, Wanted, Devil's Hand, untitled urban fantasy), but would like to finish at least one of them, and lately, my time has been with Serpenttongue...don't know why, it just has.

(OR it could be because Wanted requires a lot of thought and research, Devil's Hand is dark and takes me some thought to keep up the tone, and the Untitled is still in the "what is this story about?" phase).

When I was nine, back when I wrote the Out of Reality series, I managed to finish 50k novels in a matter of weeks (I think). There were at that point three or four of them. If it were for NaNoWriMo standards it would have been three or four months. Not bad, young me, not bad at all.

So what happened to older me?

I got in my way (look to previous post). I started thinking all my work was no good and too boring and all of that which slowed me down...well that and the depression of course. But I want to finish a novel that is greater than 60k for my own satisfaction (okay and yes, I will revise and submit to agents too). I think it would make me feel better to finally complete something.

So, here's to that goal that's looming over me.

Any writing resolutions/goals for the New Year?

Getting in the Way of Myself

It can be so rough having self-doubt. It constantly eats away at my dream of getting published with things like "you'll never be good enough," or "no one will want to read your boring junk." It takes a lot of my mental energy to keep writing through the doubt, hoping for the feeling of reward to come. But if its going to come, as I'm slowly learning, it's going to come from writing for myself, and not really to be published.

Why did I write that? Well, I did lose my train of though halfway through it, but it was all to say that I have been tripping myself up with all the negativity and comparing myself to others too harshly; I need to take time to sit back and just remind myself that someone may want to read my work, and if not, then I'll just have to write things that I'll like reading over and over again for my own enjoyment.

Yeah, I think that was it. What about you? Find yourself constantly getting in the way of your good writing?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

That Short Story You Wrote

Back in November of 2009 I wrote a urban fantasy short story. I had read a collection of urban fantasy short stories and wanted to try my hand at it. I finished it within a few weeks.

Now, it just sits on my computer...

I like the story, but a part of me fears that no one else will, that the moment I put it up for critique it will get hacked in two, and I'll learn that what I thought was one of the best pieces of work I've ever done, is still amateurish.

I'd still like to do something with this piece, I think it could make it into a magazine, and I feel compelled to write more short stories about this same character. I guess I've hit a bit of a roadblock...

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