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Posts Tagged ‘writing life’

It’s been a helluva week.

At work, I had all my tasks back-burnered by “walk-on” issues, I called in chits to get assistance from team members who’ve moved on to greener pastures, and I yelled at my boss in an open meeting (no profanity, and no actual “yelling,” per se, but my blood was definitely up).

At home, I tested a new recipe, answered my correspondence, got a chance to playtest a new boardgame, and (after days of back and forth texts) finally got the contractor to agree on a date to start work fixing the back stairs.

But it was my Work-In-Progress that really did me in.

I sat down with what I have written so far and the current outline, and took a look forward. Even though this novel has so far been the hardest for me to write, all indications are that the real struggle is going to be getting it up to a decent novel-length, a realization that thoroughly depressed me. I mean, it’s hard enough to sell a novel these days, but selling a thin novel is likely to be even harder.

There are thin novels out there, true, but in general they’re either classics (when the expectations of novel length were different), or they’re written by established authors. Neither of those cases pertains to me, a modern writer with only modest credits to my name. Word counts of my previous books have all been in the 90–120k range—standard for their genres—but this one looks like it’s going to be closer to 60k.

Some of you may scoff at my struggle to reach 60,000 words. “Pish tosh,” you say. “I know folks who can write 20k in a weekend.”

I know some of those writers, as well.

I am not one of those writers.

In my head, the novel already exists. I know where I’m going, I know how it will all be resolved. But I am not Zeus, and things do not sprout fully formed from my mortal noggin. Putting the words down is torturous, as my desires and my failing confidence vie in a battle royale. Even the good review the WIP got from First Reader cannot cure that malady. It’s why NaNoWriMo is such a turn-off for me; it requires a skill that, try as I might, I cannot acquire, much less master. This book especially, with its new genre and its intensely personal content, has been very difficult to write.

And yet, I want to write it. I want to finish it. I want it to be read.

I also want to sell it, so it can reach more readers than I can garner on my own, but that will be a long hill to climb.

First, though, I have to finish the damned thing.

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I breached the 20k-word mark on the current WIP, and everything was going fine, just fine, until things began to . . . happen.

No, it wasn’t the few days of fine weather that demanded a drive (or two) in Pepper, nor was it the completely frenetic week I had at work, where no sooner had I gotten a handle on Task 1 than management pulled me off and told me to work on Task 2 (I’m currently on Task 4, which is not only a black box I have to crack open and suss out, but it’s also on fire and has a digital readout that keeps counting down toward zero).

Nope. None of that was the problem. (more…)

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letter-handwriting-family-letters-written-51159.jpegWork on the new novel is moving along pretty well, now, and I’ve achieved what (for me) is a rather brisk pace. I’m not threatening to break my personal best, set back when I was under contract to deliver the Fallen Cloud Saga, and I’m nowhere near the blistering pace consistently set by some writers I know (cough cough Barb Hendee cough), but I’m not complaining. I’m about halfway through Chapter Three (regular readers may note that I’m now posting progress in chapter increments, not in scenes) and settling into a new groove.

Experience, however, has taught me that “settling into a new groove” is, by itself, insufficient for success. New behavior can easily be scuttled when faced with distractions or downturns, especially in early days, when anything shiny is a temptation to wander.

To keep things moving, I need something more. (more…)

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Beneath a Wounded SkyFour years ago my ninth novel, Beneath a Wounded Sky, hit the shelves. It was the final volume in my Fallen Cloud Saga, and it was a hard book to write for several reasons. The years since then haven’t been kind, and my writing was relegated not to the back seat, but to the way back (those of you who remember tumbling around in the back half of an old-style station wagon will understand).

My writing output for those years was, primarily, this blog and the poems, vignettes, essays, and short stories it contains. Larger projects have consistently fought my control and eluded my grasp. I’ve started one novel several times. I’ve outlined a screenplay. I did a full proposal for a sitcom, worked with the creative team on an indie film, and spent a month or so researching and outlining a biographical novel of a regional sculptor.

None of these attempts got any traction, though. Rather, they just sat in the muddy ditch and spun their wheels.

(more…)

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