Wednesday, July 30, 2008

and we're back!

Current tuneage: Rockin' With the Rhythm of the Rain - The Judds

Alrighty, well after a week and a half hiatus, I'm back. I've been in a weird funk (are there other kinds?) for nearly two weeks and it was getting to where I couldn't get anything done. For whatever reason, the mood has passed and I feel incredibly refreshed.

I'm still working on several projects at once. I haven't seem to found the time to begin editing novel #2 yet, which is frustrating. But I realize that it's going to take a lot of work and I'd prefer to wait until I can give it the attention it deserves as opposed to rushing through it just to finish it. Novel #3 and my first short story are getting the most attention right now. I'm doing a lot more pre-work with both of them than I ever have before and hopefully will reap the benefits down the road.

I'm pretty excited about both of these projects and hopefully they will continue to go as smoothly as them seem to be now!

More later :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

are they serious?

Current tuneage: The Scientist - Coldplay

Ok, so I know I've been bad for the last week and I haven't blogged. Blame it on the weather...or my mood... or something else I have little control over. Either way, I'm here now and that's all that matters, right?

So there are a few blogs (mostly writing/agent/editor blogs) that I read daily. And one entry yesterday really caught my attention. It was about rewriting and drafting a novel (which I'm in the process of doing for one of my novels). I struggle with this step in the writing process, because although I generally get pretty excited about it (I am improving it and deleting things - which is always fun) but on the other hand it's A LOT of work. Well this particular blogger made the statement that the only way to edit your own work was to print it out.

Now, I've heard this statement made before. Particularly just before I began editing my first novel. I rolled my eyes, thinking that these people obviously were crazy to think I was going to print off 250+ pages and read through them with my little red pen. Isn't just reading it on the computer and editing it as you go SOOOOO much easier?? Why yes, I think so.


I got to thinking yesterday that perhaps these "crazy" people may have something with the whole idea. Several months after finishing my first novel (having edited it 3 times) I thought it was ready to go. Several months after that I began thinking that maybe it wasn't quite as polished as it possibly could have been. Could this be thanks to me having edited it on my computer instead of printing it off and making notes for separate problems in different colored pens? Who knows. Once it's been seen by my entire list of agents (and we're getting close) I will probably sit it down for another round of editing (yes, by printing it out first) and see what I come up with.

In the meantime, I'll take the advice of those who have been in the biz significantly longer than me and try it their way with novel number 2. I figure I don't have much to lose. :)


Friday, July 11, 2008

rejections and outlines

Current tuneage: I'll Be Your Lover Too - Van Morrison

Well, I finally got a response back from the agent that requested the full manuscript on exclusive. It was a no (clearly, or there would be a lot more exclamation points in this post), but she was nice enough to comment on why she wasn't going to ask to represent it. Several of the comments she made have been made by other agents which is good because it lets me know that there's one aspect of the novel that I definitely need to work on. (It's much harder when one agent says they loved "X" about my novel and another says I need to work on "X". When two or more agents say that something needs to be worked on, I generally take their advice!)

So needless to say, it's not exactly the news I'd been hoping for. But then again, I think being a writer has made me somewhat of a realist if not a pessimist. It really just makes it easier to take the rejections and to convince myself to keep pushing on. The longer this goes on, the thicker my skin gets. And from everything I've heard about the publishing industry, if you don't have thick skin, you'll never survive.

On a slightly happier note, I've finally found some time these past few days to work on my short story. I got stuck a little bit ago and came to the realization that perhaps even short stories need to be outlined in advance. I suppose I could have gone on without an outline, but I believe it would have just created more (and unecessary) editing work down the road. If I have a clear idea of where the story is headed, it makes it easier for me to write. Even if I stray off that path, I at least have a direction.

Work has been pretty stressful this week, so it's always nice when my writing is going smoothly. It makes taking other things a little easier... not to mention it's FRIDAY!!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

procrastination: friend or enemy?

Current tuneage: November Rain - Guns N Roses

It's times when I have very little to do that I actually find it harder to begin writing. It's times like this I've considered giving up typing my stories (temporarily... or at least the first draft) and hand writing them, or even investing in some sort of word processor. Instant access to the internet only gives room for more distractions ("okay, just one more check of the email before I start to work..." "just one more game of solitaire...").

So my conclusion today is this: the more work I actually have to do, the more I get done.

That being said, I'm off to be productive. I hate to admit it, but this blog has the occasional tendency to be one of those "just one more" things to do before I get to writing...

Monday, July 7, 2008

delayed gratification?

Current tuneage: Killer Queen - Queen

So I obviously haven't written anything (blog, stories or otherwise) in several days. For the first few days of my vacation my mind felt free. I allowed myself to be unconcerned with work or schedules of any kind. I focused on relaxing and tried not to brainstorm or plot unconsciously (you'd be surprised how often that happens).

But a funny thing happened sometime Saturday afternoon. Despite the fully relaxed mood I was in, my mind started to wander. I started hearing character voices in my head (also happens to me frequently... and I promise that's normal too... ask any writer). I could literally hear parts of the story I'm working on playing out in my head. This is one way I know that what I'm writing has the serious potential for being successful. If I just can't get the story or the characters out of my head, I know they'll stick with me for the duration of writing that piece. If they stop talking to me, I've gone off down a road that doesn't make sense and I need to turn around and start again.

So needless to say, though I've been itching to write for the past few days, certain other projects that require immediate attention have taken up most of my day today, leaving me still unfulfilled and probably a little bit crazier than yesterday. Hopefully tomorrow my schedule will be a little clearer and I'll finally get to pour out everything that's been building up over the past few days.

A quote I was sent today coincides well with everything I've been talking about/thinking about, so I'll leave you with that.

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." -Henry Ford

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

follow up to yesterday's post

Current tuneage: Reckless - Alabama

Well, I tried yesterday to use the new writing techniques that I'd read about the night before. I wasn't able to successfully immerse myself in the writing, but I do believe these strategies will work for me in the future. Part of the reason I think I'm struggling lately is I'm still in the after-writing stage. I just finished the second novel less than three weeks ago and I'm mentally exhausted and drained from that. It usually only takes me a few weeks to fuel back up, so I'm hoping that once the anticipation of the holiday weekend is over, I'll be back to being good and focused on Monday.

I did finally finish compiling my list of literary magazines that are potential fits for my short story, so perhaps that will encourage me to be extra productive next week.

Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

writing without thinking?

Current tuneage: Move Along - The All-American Rejects

So, I was reading two interesting articles last night. They actually have quite a bit to do with one another.

The first talked about the left and right sides of the brain and how writers actually need to utilize both sides in order to sucessfully write. By "successfully" I don't mean they are able to finish something, I mean that what they've written is good because they've written it both creatively and logically. By using both parts of the brain, the writer is able to plan out where the story is going through either outlining or freewriting (logically) and also come up with a creative story (obviously creative). For a long time, I thought it was necessary to shut off the part of my brain that told me that logically what I was writing didn't make sense - the inner critic. But as it turns out, the inner critic (as long as you don't let her take over) is incredibly useful during the writing process.

The second article discussed the need for writers to write unconsciously. This particular author compared it to Alice's little adventure down the rabbit hole. It is only when a writer is able to detach himself from the act of writing that he/she will actually be able to accomplish great writing. As I was discussing above, the inner critic is often what causes writers to pause in what they're writing, even if they're on a roll. They stop and reread what they've written, critique it, change it, rewrite it, or maybe even get frustrated and stop altogether. Part of this idea of allowing yourself to "fall down the rabbit hole" is really just letting yourself write without thinking. It's only when you later read what you wrote and realize that you don't actually remember writing it that you've successfully allowed your subconcious to take over writing.

During my writing slots today, I'm going to try and employ both of these ideas and see where it gets me. As always, some days are harder than others to even make myself write, but hopefully with the excitement of trying out a new idea, I'll get quite a bit done.

More tomorrow!