pjthompson: (salome)

I like this combining old novellas with new WIPs thing. It means hitting patches where I’ve got a new chapter in two days, like I’m writing really fast, when usually I’m…not quite so fast. Maybe I’ll do this for every novel from now on. I’ve got a trunk full of old novellas, stories, and novel partials. Maybe I should spend my time figuring out how to make the dear old things work and cleaning them up rather than coming up with, yanno, fresh ideas…

Or not.

But it sure is fun to drop a bunch of text into the manuscript and spend two days twiddling and poking and prodding rather having to crank it out.

And so it goes.

Chapter 4 is complete and chapter 5 is started.

I’ve also decided my opening paragraph sucks big suck monkey straws, but I am not going to fix it again. I’m pushing forward to a completed draft. Since I’m so big on giving other people that advice.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

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I am not a daily meter kind of gal, but maybe I'll post this weekly. Unless I don't feel like it. Since the word meter neither helps nor hinders me, it's sometimes a random kind of thing.

I've added a megaton of stuff to chapter one and am now worried that I've buried my hook, but I'm pushing forward from this point. I'll have to worry about that/edit that at some future point.

I actually think I have two hooks, though one is rather mild: a family mystery up front, and a major hook at the end of the chapter. It's hard to say at this point (perspective!) if that will be an effective way of drawing in the reader. Only time will, etc., etc., etc.

Sympathetic Magic

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I am moving forward on the WIP, but some days it's just not there, or I only get a little bit done. I don't feel stuck, exactly, but it's definitely inching along. Rather than waste my precious writing time on the days when the WIP isn't moving, I've been working on other things. Stories. Older novels. Novels-coming-up-next.

*sigh* This book has really blown my novel-a-year pace out of the water. Maybe I'll get back to that pace some day because the imagination certainly hasn't deserted me.

One thing that's been tickling my mind is an old novel, my second, Blood Geek. Not the novel so much as the world I created for it: a small, very strange carnival traveling through the Midwest in 1938. Sound familiar? When people started telling me about the HBO show, Carnivale, I despaired and was glad I wasn't trying to market my carny novel. Subsequently, I've learned that while the outer trappings of that show are the same, my novel is very different.

Besides, what's tickling me these days is not really the old novel but a character who played a minor role in it. Those who read the novel expressed a lot of interest in her and I've always thought she deserved her own story. I guess I must be seriously considering it because I just went online and ordered volumes one to three of A Pictorial History of the American Carnival by Joe McKennon. There are a number of books on carnivals now, but back in the day when I was doing research for Blood Geek (1992ish), there was not a lot to be found. Tons of stuff on the history of circuses, but carnivals are very different fish. Although they've featured prominently in fiction and movies, there wasn't a lot of hard facts to be had, or it was in rare book collections and hard to get access to (for someone with no travel budget like me). McKennon's book was a lifesaver when I found it at a local library. The used book trade online wasn't really up and running at that time, so I still had to depend on the UC system library catalogue (online/offline) and etc.

And what about Blood Geek? I did try to market it back in the day, but I probably won't be marketing it again. It's the closest thing I've written to a paranormal romance, but it's not really a true paranormal romance. Loads o' sex, sure, but there are some very dark elements—and it is an early novel, after all. I haven't reread it in years, and shudder to think what I might find there, but there are characters in it who really think they deserve books of their own and who might be rather interesting protagonists. Maybe they'll get a novel of their own—one of these days, if I can ever finish the current WIP.
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Slightly more words, Chapter 24 done, but not much to see here...

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No new words, just a new meter.

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But if you keep marching, sometimes you get a break right there at the end and a momentum, almost a giddiness, takes over. At least for me. Though not for every one of my novels. Some remained death marches until I typed The End.

Happily, I think I've made it through the death march phase of this one and the juices are flowing again. I'm actually having fun. I sometimes think the amount of stuff I have to edit out is in direct proportion to how much fun I'm having, but I'm in that place of not caring much. I'm having fun, I'm getting the story down on paper, and I can smell the ending. It has the fragrance of green and verdant nature, beckoning.

And I shall go, tra la, tra la, traipsing through the long, green grass, unafraid of snakes and tigers! Tra la!

Venus in Transit:

(Actually, I'm sincerely hoping it won't go this long, but I've traipsed through this kind of greenery enough times to know that I usually wind up at about 120k and then have to edit down. *sigh*) (But that's infinitely better than being stuck in the quicksand.)
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I have this genealogy program which I recently upgraded mostly to get access to old files, but another strong motivator was that I wanted to do a family tree for one of the characters in my WIP. So now I have this lovely, full color flow chart of the people who went into the making of my character. I won't use ninety-nine percent of it, but it sure does look purdy.

Which reminds me, I need to update my map of Dos Lunas County.

And I flowed right into the end of chapter 23 today. I've done 3,000 words in the last three days. For some of you, I know, that's a daily word count, but when you've been eking out 500 words on a good day and zero on many, that's a good amount of words. I am a happy woman.

Venus in Transit:

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Yesterday, as a reward for finishing chapter 22 of Venus on Wednesday, I let myself write another section of chapter 1 for the new novel. What a treat! I wrote 1100 words as easy as falling off a log. It felt great. (The writing part, not the falling off a log part.) I know the new car smell will wear off this novel eventually, but for now it's saving my sanity.

And it proves to me that the Muse hasn't deserted me, he's just not liking the discipline of finishing Venus.

Back to the discipline mill today, rereading the last chapter of Venus and tweaking. Then back to wading through the outline.
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Another 700 words today, which I feel good about. Unfortunately, they were not for the novel that's nearing completion, Venus in Transit. Today was all about writing the opening of the next novel, tentatively called Time in a Bottle (which may not live long, it's just what I came up with on the spur of the moment). It felt really good writing those words! They flowed easily and without any stomach churning.

Which tells me many things, not all of them good for Venus. But it may mean that I'm not finally sick of writing. I'm just sick of Venus and my psyche is being especially rebellious about it.

Something of a blow to my pride, though. I always finish my novels, no matter how sick of them I become.

So, I stuck a fork in myself and discovered that I was not yet done. Still more cooking to go. Maybe, having given the next flirtatious thing its way today, I can settle back down into my disciplined approach and finish the current thing. We'll see.

As [livejournal.com profile] stillnotbored says, I just work here.
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Today I only managed 432 words on my novel, Venus In Transit. But seeing as how I've only managed 1590 new words since Christmas, I'm actually pleased with that—in a Please-Universe-Don't-Hit-Me-Again kind of way.

Only tomorrow knows if I can sustain this blistering pace, but I'll be happy if I can sustain any ol' pace at all, thank you very much. It's been a rough winter, writing-wise, but when I look around me at the truly rough times other people have been going through, artistic whining didn't seem particularly relevant or important. In the larger scheme of things, it truly isn't.

But writing is my thing that I must do. And so I must do it. Whining is optional and extremely unproductive, so I'll try to keep that to a minimum.
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Maggie Stiefvater writes a Dear John letter to NaNo.

To which I say: Testify, girlfriend.
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[livejournal.com profile] larbelestier is doing a daily tip for those participating in NoNoWriMo. Today's is Word Count Is Not Everything.

I'm not doing NaNo—never have, never will—but I'm so glad she said that. I read posts from people banging out 5000 words a night and I shrivel with feelings of inadequacy. If I'm really cranked up and in the groove of a novel I can average between 750-1000 words a day. When the stars align right, maybe 1500-2000, but those occasions are the blessed exceptions.

I've actually heard a lot of pros address this subject and I know I'm doing okay with my piddling three to four pages a day. But reports of these other word counts still get to me now and then. The ability to generate high word count is a blessing: either the person has the energy and capacity for it despite being busy, or doesn't have to worry about a day job, or whatever—but they are blessed. Those of us on the other end of the spectrum will just have to keep plugging away as best we can. 750 words a day still equals 21,000 words a month and that equals a book every 4 months or so.

If you're working steadily at it, that is. That's the true accomplishment, I think, for most of us: putting one slow foot in front of the other day after day until you achieve Bookhood Bodhisattva. Remove yourself from the Wheel of Word Count, ye seekers, and find your own enlightenment... Ommmmm...
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I've finished through chapter 17 on Venus. I'd finished 22 chapters of the novel before I realized something was horribly wrong and needed to be fixed before I could proceed to the denouement. My life went a little south on me, too, there for awhile, so it's taken much longer than anticipated to sweep through the zero draft and fix everything.

Those middle chapters were ugly, ugly, ugly and I did extensive rewrites in some cases. But the chapters I'm going through now have far less that needs changing. They're moving along pretty fast. I'm much happier with the book I have now and once I really do catch up with myself I think I can wrap this up fairly quickly.

Think being the operative word. I never like to make bald predictions about my work's progress because inevitably something comes up I hadn't anticipated, but this is looking hopeful.

So, we'll see what we will see.

Venus in Transit first draft rewrite:

Venus in Transit total first draft finished:

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Chapter 15 came together much better than I thought it would, including a couple of new, shiny kitchen sinks—but what are ya gonna do? I'll reread it at a later date to see if it works. I'm a little worried about the Return of the Convenient Character syndrome, as I was worried about the Whiplash Turn of Character Motivation in Chapter 14, but I'm moving forward anyway. All things are for smoothing in the next draft.

And here's the word count with the material I'm currently working included:

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Not much. I'm doing a lot of thinking and cosmic digesting of said thoughts. I may blog about all that or may not, depending on how the digestion process goes. I find myself mostly wanting to convey little blurps of information—which is right up the Twitter alley, of course. I am writing, and dealing with a series of physical irritations. Nothing at all serious, just a string of little things to deal with, but it's amazing how a discomfort can occupy so much of one's thoughts.

I've been working on chapter 12 of the reconfigured first (incomplete) draft of Venus in Transit and it's been kicking my butt some. Yesterday I wound up deleting six pages of what I managed to complete last week and wrote three more. I'd gone off on a tangent, it wasn't working, there wasn't any choice but cutting it. Or, actually, transferring the pages to my "off" file in case I change my mind later. I always have off files for first drafts which often get quite large and I almost never go back to that material—but you never know! Every word is sacrosanct. Ha.

The problem with chapter 12 is that there are a series of events that must be introduced to the story now, the gradual reveal of the mysteries, and I didn't think that the old timing worked as it should have. I needed to throw more tension in the way of the MC's so I rewrote accordingly. But over the weekend it occurred to me that not all of the new sequence worked. That's what got cut. I did manage to introduce material that will have the reader waiting for the other shoe to drop, even while the characters remain as yet unaware of the conflict. So I have a kind of chapter 12 now, but I'm not sure it works. I'm going to let it sit for awhile and push ahead before I post it to the workshop.

And the thing I'm itching to do next? The rewrite of my historical vampire novel, The Making Blood. I don't know why because I thought I was done with vampires for good, but it's really making a case for itself these days. Not the entire 170k failed monster with three timelines, but the cut down 6th century-only section that comes in around 100k. If I thought I could knock that off in a couple of weeks, I might take a break from Venus and give it a shot, but these things always take longer than I think they will. So I'll keep slogging on with the current WIP.

Venus in Transit through chapter 12:

Venus in Transit in total:

Et finis

Apr. 7th, 2009 04:30 pm
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The rewrite of A Rain of Angels, she is finished. Many things about this novel pain me, but I am done. Done, done, done.

I've gone back and tried to plump up the backstory of the villain because once again I've managed to write a paper thin antagonist. My baddies either have way the hell too much backstory or none at all. One day I will learn to walk that tightrope. In the meantime, I will wear a parachute.

Now, I will lay this aside for a week or so, then reread selected chapters, then...out she goes, for better or worse!




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I absolutely can't stand the thought of reading Angels one more time. What do you think that means? I think it means I'm done when this rewrite is done and it's time to start sending it out. I'll reread selected chapters to make sure things are okay, but no more.

Unless or until an agent/editor asks me to, of course.

Or until some time has elapsed and I've forgotten how much I loathe it at this moment in time.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

A Rain of Angels

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There was a good post on the writer's dilemma in regards to publishing at Editorial Ass today. A sympathetic look at the various minefields a writer must consider.

And another good post on writing speed over at Writer Unboxed. There's all kinds of ways to write books, and no right way. What ultmately matters is not how fast or slow, but whether your technique helps you consistently finish books.

Me? I'm thinking a lot about structure these days. I have a twisty mind that comes up with complex stories and sometimes getting it on the page is tough. I think I've got the sentence-level stuff working pretty well; I think I'm doing a pretty good job with characters. My plotting skillz are okay, but could still use some work, I think. But structure--structure structure structure structure structure. That's killing me. I find myself wondering if I'm attempting things that I may not yet be good enough to pull off.

I'm mulling a lot. Thinking, pondering, weighing, sifting.

I suspect this trend will continue.

Meanwhile, the rewrite continues.

A Rain of Angels

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Proofread? Who needs to proofread? Besides, images generated by typo are so much more interesting.

The true word count for the rewrite of A Rain of Angels:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
54,250 / 111,750
pjthompson: (Default)
Yeah, I've reached the part of the manuscript that makes me cringe. Chapter 12 and one too many scenes with people sitting around talking. Brain no work so good. Can't think of nothing better. I've lost all perspective—so I'm just going to keep pushing forward.

A Rain of Angels rewrite:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
54,250 / 11,750

Not crazy about this new Zokutou image. It's looks kinda nasty.


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