Works in Progress

Words in Progress

So, the Winter of the Novel is almost over. Spring arrives in about a week and a half. Where does the novel stand?

Well, I’ve edited the bulk of it and spent a lot of time parsing out what (out of everything I’ve written) belongs in this novel and what belongs in the other. I’ve also written about 50 or so pages, and that’s pretty good for me, productivity-wise, so yay. Thirty-seven of those pages are typed up and living in Scrivener now.

Is it done?

Ha ha, no. Not hardly. But it’s coming along, and I may even be ready to begin the final act. Not sure, though. With all the parsing and such, I’m not really clear on how the thing flows anymore, so the next step in the plan (and I’m hoping to have the first 4 parts of that step done by the start of spring) is to:

  1. get everything typed up that needs typing,
  2. including all of my scribbled edits, most of which are not in Scrivener
  3. print the results out, and
  4. give to R, alpha reader extraordinaire, so he can read it in its new form (however long that takes), and then
  5. discuss what needs tending to and where to go next.
  6. Go there.

Seems like a good plan. Here’s hoping it works.

In other writing news, I sent back my galley comments for Winter Well this week. It’s a gorgeous book with really cool stories therein; you’re going to want to read this.

I’m also pondering submitting something to Crossed Genres’ newest anthology in the making, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History. More than pondering; there was actual writing last night. We’ll see how that holds up. Gotta say, it was interesting to switch gears from future dystopian USA to early 19th-century England. That might explain the strange dreams I was having early this morning, none of which I can remember now. Should have written them down!

Want to help make Long Hidden an even better book than it’s already looking to be? Chip in, why don’t you? I did.

Parse

Your random pic for the day. Did you know Parse was a place? I didn’t. It’s the Persian name for Persepolis. (Photo credit: m.khajoo)

Categories: Books/Authors, Works in Progress, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Words in Progress

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

As I was getting my novella “To The Edges” (which actually had nothing to do with that Apollinaire quotation, but I just ran across it and it really fits, so now it does) ready to submit a few months ago, I decided that this winter was going to be…

**dramatic fanfare**

The Winter of the Novel!

Because the damned thing has pretty much stalled, and I really would like to finish it before I die. So, dramatic fanfare and bold italics were called for. My plan: from the day I submitted “To The Edges” (which turned out to be Hallowe’en) until the spring equinox, it was going to be all 2082 all the time.

And so it has. I started out by rereading all 169K+ words and was pleased to discover that quite a bit of it doesn’t suck. Some of it, of course, does. Like, why did I give a very minor character almost a page of description completely derailing the scene he’s introduced in? He’s a big guy who sewed his brother’s eye shut. Nobody cares about his business practices, M. And no, I don’t know why he sewed his brother’s eye shut yet. Still figuring that one out.

But quite a lot of these words are very salvageable. There’s a story in 2082 that I still like a lot and want to share with folks once it’s done. What I’m seriously pondering is whether a major subplot even needs to be there, though. It’s interesting in its own right and has ramifications in all my world-building, but is it the story?

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” – Stephen King

That major subplot is a good story, too, I think, but is it this one?

So, that’s part of what’s been going through my mind as I’ve moved on to editing, rewriting, moving things around, crossing shit out. Seriously wondering about structure, pacing, all that. Oh, and what happens next.

Last night, though, while R was rubbing my shoulders (because he’s neat like that), I had a bit of a revelation. I realized that my big problem is that those two stories should each be their own book. When that thought popped into my head, a little weight lifted off my shoulders and I could feel things sliding more comfortably into place. Two stories, same world. One won’t necessarily be the sequel of the other, although it kinda sorta might be. Crossover business will definitely happen.

Does that mean it’s going to be…

**more dramatic fanfare**

The Winter of Two Novels?

No. One at a time, please. That was part of things feeling right: I don’t have to do it all at once. I might even finish one, now that I cut the sucker in half. Here’s hoping, anyway. Especially since I still don’t know how the one I’m going to be working on ends.

I know the ending of other (new working title: The Tribe & The City), but the one I want to finish first (now called: The Travelers), I’m still not sure. I was hoping by getting myself immersed in the book again, I could start to figure out that part. And things are starting to bubble, so I’m hopeful.

Yeah, this is a pants kind of operation. Although I like Felicia Day’s idea.

“When I get stuck writing, I just put in, ‘Suddenly a Nuclear Bomb hits the town and all the characters die. THE END’ and go eat chocolate.”

There will be chocolate. And probably explosions. One of my main characters loves to blow stuff up, so that can’t be helped. Will there be nukes? Could be. One of the darker endings I’ve come up with has that happening, kind of a last man standing sort of ironic thing, but R thinks that’s too gloomy. And if this world is going to hang around for another book, that could be problematic. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

'Hardtack Umbrella'  underwater nuclear test -...

(Photo credit: The Official CTBTO Photostream)

Categories: Works in Progress, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Linkroll

Another Sunday. Looking out the window this morning as I was making coffee, I couldn’t help but notice that the hills are exploding with color. That’s a funny thing about Vermont, at least where I live. The autumn changes start quietly, a tree here, some leaves over there, but one day near the end of September all the leaves seem to go at once. Kapow! Fwoosh! Zingg! as Hobbes would say. It’s pretty cool.

Hobbes loving autumn

My latest story (another novella) is with my betas. One beta has already reported that she likes it, so that’s encouraging. Now to get my head back into 2082. I started rereading the novel to help with that. Although this latest story is a prequel to 2082, it’s much different in its focus. It actually is focused, for one thing. Maximum word counts will do that. 😉

This morning, though, it’s time to share the links I’ve found this week. Let’s begin. Continue reading

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Time On My Hands

I have a long weekend ahead of me that I’m looking forward to. Originally it was going to be filled with a workshop facilitated by Natalie Goldberg and Sean Murphy.

That fell through but so it goes. I still have a larger swath of free time ahead then I usually do. Hard to remain disappointed.

What am I going to be doing instead of writing down the bones? Besides all the standard weekend activities, you mean? Continue reading

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Hooker Headers and Thrush Pipes

Okay, so this post isn’t going to be about muscle cars, other than metaphorically. Sorry, car folk.

When I was in high school, getting a muscle car and fixing it up was something a lot of guys aspired to. Motorhead girls weren’t quite as common. But that’s not the point of today’s post. The point is that these hot-rod guys were fixing up their cars to go faster, sound louder, and catch people’s attention.

So, it is with hookers in stories. I just finished reading Stephen King’s Secret Windows last night, and one of my favorite essays was his conversation with his son, Joe, about writing good first lines for stories or novels (known as hookers in the trade), lines that grab the interest of the reader right off the bat. He listed a lot of his favorites, and that got me thinking about some of mine. Continue reading

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Outsiders #1: The Bodyguard

Okay. It’s been almost a month since I posted about how I want to write about outsiders. I have to admit that this is SOP around here.

It’s always been easy for me to get excited about an idea and what I could do with it, and yet, not so easy to follow through.

But I’m trying. I submitted another short story last month and have written two more chapters for 2082. I get points for that, eh?

Anyway, in the last 20-some days, I’ve been thinking about what to write in this first outsider post: doing research, gathering info, watching way too many film clips on Youtube.

But enough of that! It’s time to actually write about one of these people and why I think he’s cool. Continue reading

Categories: Fangirling, Movies, Outsiders, Works in Progress | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing Necessities

John Scalzi posted yesterday about what he needs to be able to write. Seemed like a fun meme to support, so here are the things I need.

Cat—vital. If Moe isn’t sitting on my papers as I write, I feel incomplete. Given that Dr. Moe-bius is 17 years old now, and there are no other cats in the household, this incompleteness without a cat could be a problem in the future.

Pen and paper—equally vital. I can write without a computer, and usually do, but the words have to go somewhere and get there somehow.

Music—not quite as vital, in that I don’t always listen to anything as I write. But it’s always an inspiration. In fact, just thinking about Calibro 35‘s last collection of tunes from 2011 has been a big help in finding a mood for my latest short story (the floundery-dolphiny one).

What’s on your list?

Categories: Music, Works in Progress, Writing | Tags: , , , , ,

Of Writing and Sea Life

Why do they call it floundering? You know what I mean. That point in a project (or maybe your life) where you’re struggling. Struggling to finish it, struggling to find the point. Going from one thing to another with no real clear mark to shoot for.

I’m at that stage with this latest short story I’m working on. Many pages written; more than half the words I’m allowed for this submission I’m aiming at.

And yet, I’m floundering. Continue reading

Categories: Works in Progress, Writing | Tags: , , , , , ,

Words in Process

It’s funny to me that I’ve suddenly started writing again in the last few years. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I was always writing something when I was younger: poetry, fiction, screenplays, comic strips. But then it all stopped for a long time. I’m not sure why. Life changed; a story I submitted was rejected; I dropped out of college, met R, and moved from Maryland to California. It could have been any or all of that. Who knows. Continue reading

Categories: Fangirling, Works in Progress, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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