Category Archives: rambling

I Suck At Juggling

I could blame last week’s lack of post on technical difficulties or a ghost in the machine (now I want to watch I, Robot) but truly the fault was human error.

This human to be precise.  I spaced that it was Wednesday.  I had my 40+ hours at the Evil Day Job, writing, an out of town guest and my schedule just heaved itself out the window.  Wait. *I* threw it out the window.  There, took responsibility like a big girl (have to if I’m going to wear the BG panties).

I suck at juggling.  Not a new discovery but something I need to be reminded of periodically.  I know there are people who are writing, working an EDJ and taking care of home and they aren’t flinching.  I am not one of them.

I whine, swear, wish I had wine, and gnash my teeth trying to get it all done, and I still come up short.  I can live with the fact that I cleaned the bathroom on Monday, but the kitchen will have to wait until Thursday.  I can even operate at work on less than three hours of sleep (though by 2pm I’m a bit of a whack job laughing at my own jokes).

But I can’t be that flexible with my writing.  It all feels like suck and I can’t half or even 3/4 ass it into shape.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m incapable of accepting any less or if I’m still too new to my own process to figure it out.  But I’ve put it on my To Do List to find out.  Which I’m sure I’ll get to … some time this year.

Sasha, who could use a nap

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The Inaugural Haul Ass Draft

Not to get all woo-woo mystical, but sometimes the Universe just gives you what you need.  Last week I was lamenting the fact that I was trying new words for the first time in FOREVER & I was struggling.

Not even twenty-four hours later, some writer buds tweeted that they were going to do a week long Fast Draft.  The rules were just balls to the wall word count harvesting for a week.  Those of us who could would try to avoid any editing.  And there was the push I needed.

I joined up and the #HaulAssDraft hashtag was born (because I never pass up a chance to swear!) and you can search that on twitter to see how the competition is doing. So far I’ve done 6,588 words since Thursday night, which is more than I’ve done all year on my own.  I will definitely be doing this again.

I’m not sure what the winner gets, but I do know that the loser has to tweet that she’s a dirty, filthy Charlie Sheen lover. *shudder*

Down with ego-maniacal celebs and up with wordcount!

Sasha

 

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Switching Gears & Stalling

I’ve been in super Edits Mode since November, and my brain is having trouble switching over.  This is not unlike the time my aunt tried to teach me to drive her stick shift and I spent twenty minutes trying to drive up the street.

The mechanics of what she wanted me to do was clear; however, my execution sucked.  Every time I tried to shift to the next gear, I stalled the car.  Move a foot, jerk to a stop.  Move two feet, jerk to a stop.  That for twenty minutes before I gave up.  For the record I didn’t even make it past the next neighbor’s house.

Don’t worry, the car analogy stops there.  But I’ve been doing the writer equivalent of that since I turned in Light.  Start a story, write a couple hundred word, jerk to a stop.  Start a new story, same.  Return to a WIP from before EditMania, same.

I’ve heard of the sophomore slump for tv shows and albums, but never in any writer circles.  I will admit it: I’m struggling.  It’s almost as if I feel that since I’ve been published, the rough drafts should be prettier and they are to an extent, but they are still not Light worthy.

It’s discouraging, but unlike the car incident, I’m determined to push through.  There is no fuming co-pilot to point out where I’m going wrong.  No incredulous crowd watching who can’t believe I’m doing so badly.  And most importantly, as much as I hate it, there is the safety belt (!) of edits.

Sasha (who’s written 2k new words)

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I Might Be a Tad Over Dramatic But…

It’s been a week since Light has come out.  The good news is that people have read it.  The better news is that no one has gone blind.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m *extremely* proud of my book and feel that I put out the best version of that story I had in me.  But reviews are a fact of life, and they won’t all be glowing.  And when I dislike a book, I tend to go over the top and say that it was attacking me or at the very least I want to file paperwork and demand a life refund.

I’m sure there will be people who are equally as colorful about my work — I like to hold up the fact that I think the movie Titanic is about 3hrs too long and hackney, while many people I know think it’s one of the most romantic movies of all time — I know I have to be prepared.  After the train wreck of an author behaving badly this past week, it just drives the point home.

I can admit that I’m anxious about reviews.  It’s too early for the review sites to get to Light, but with things like Good Reads, I can already see how people are reacting to the book.  So far it’s been mostly positive, but I know at any moment someone could post that I should be launched into Deep Space sans suit and my laptop set on fire.  I’m not looking forward to that moment (well, maybe a tiny bit in the get-it-out-of-the-way sort of way), but I know I can roll with it.

Sasha

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And Then What?

Barring any major catastrophes, I’ll *finally* be sending off my Requested Full this week, and I’m not sure how I feel right now.

Along the way, I’ve been elated that someone besides me liked the story, frustrated that the editing wasn’t as simple as I hoped, and embarrassed that it took so long.  And if I’m 100% honest, at times I was jealous when I saw others doing their edits so much faster.  I grew tired of the characters, had them surprise me, and at the end I love them like when I first sat down to write them.

While getting my last read through I turned my brain to the next project and got stuck.  None of my WIPS seemed to jump up and go “Oh, oh, Me Next!”  Likewise, none of the new shineys I’ve gotten lately seemed appropriate either.  There’s also the full length that I got a request for that still isn’t fully edited (ugh).

So the game plan is to finish final tweaks on this novella and send, finish rough draft of WIP that has the shortest deadline, and then back to edits on the full length.  We’ll see how that goes.

Sasha

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Definitely More Tortoise, Than Hare

Confession time: I’m more tortoise than hare.

Yes, shocking I know.  Or at least shocking to me.  With any other mental endeavor, I’m definitely the hare (sans the cockiness that caused the failure).  Give me any other task and watch me knock it out of the park, most often in record time.

Give me a MS to self edit and watch me grind to a halt.  Other tasks have a definitive desired outcome: I’ve solved for Y,  the colors all align on the Rubik cube, the reports are 100% accurate.  Writing is so subjective, it’s frustrating.  (I always like to refer to Titanic, which I thought was a 3 hr yawn fest and my friends thought was worth seeing in the theaters multiple times).

At the end of the day, the worst that can happen is a “no” which won’t kill me.  But knowing that doesn’t stop me from agonizing over every verb, POV/scene change or (when I really get going) the entire premise of the story itself.  The one thing that *does* keep me going is knowing that I will one day win the race.  Others might get there faster, but I’ll get there eventually.

Sasha

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My Advice to Writers

A few years ago I sat down and got serious about writing. I’d given stories halfhearted tries before, spent chunks of time in hobbyist mode, but that time I was serious about honing my craft and making that leap from writer to published author.

I sat down and combed the internet for information on style and the what-not-to-dos that would mark me as the dreaded ‘rank amateur’ unworthy of a contract. Most importantly, I took notes on the ‘never-ever’ lists. The ones that told me to never use an – ly adverb and that the word ‘was’ is passive. One POV per scene. Don’t use dialog tags beyond s/he said. Never use a semicolon. Never use an exclamation point.

The list of things to never do seemed endless, but being a determined writer, I sat down with a short story and edited it, working my way down the list one forbidden bit at a time. I cut, reworded, polished… did everything required of me according to the collected advice of people I believed knew the ropes. Then I read the finished product.

The story was ruined. Totally and completely.

It took me all of ten seconds to throw out that list. For writing, it was useless, but it did teach me something important.

Those rules that “everybody” chants as their writing mantra are a bunch of crap.

You heard me. There are a lot of things being tossed around the writing world as gospel truth that are flat-out wrong. You can use adverbs. Was isn’t passive. Dialog tags are perfectly acceptable, as are semicolons and exclamation points.

So, if all of these no-nos aren’t really no-nos, why does “everybody” tell you not to do them?

Simple answer: People don’t know how to use them and it’s easier to just say don’t do it than to learn the right way to use them.

My best writing advice on this subject is simple. If someone tells you that any word, any part of speech, any punctuation, or any technique is completely off-limits, make sure you are using it the right way instead of eliminating it. Then ignore the advice.

Nothing is forbidden in writing, You just have to know how to do it right.

Voirey

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