Monday, April 30, 2012

The story ideas, they're attacking!

So I signed up for this writing challenge in May - 31 stories. Short stories. The only stipulation is that no matter what the length, they must be a finished story (finished = beginning, middle, end). But the ideas! They're haunting me early! It's like someone turned on the faucet, and I don't have the right wrench to turn it back off.

Let's just hope the creative flow stays running once May hits.

I woke up with an idea. One of those ideas that won't shut up. Ever have one of those? I get them from time to time and generally, those are the stories that end up working. This one just sat there screaming at me until I got out of bed, opened my laptop and started writing.

The weird thing was, this is the not the sort of thing I usually write. In fact, I've never written plain old general fiction before. I'm a genre kind of girl. It blame it on the fact that I'm currently working my way through (meaning it sits in my car and I read when I'm waiting to pick up my son from track) Friedman's Fables. Which also isn't the kind of book I'd normally pick up, but there were slim pickings in the sections where I pick up books for my NaNo writing group prizes and it seemed like something anyone could get something out of. For the record, it is exactly that.

It's April 28, and I've just given birth to an 1,800 word short story called Sunset Cruise that I'm in love with (for at least today). For the record, I'm holding this in reserve as one of my 31 stories in case I miss a day because darn it, I wouldn't have even had this 'problem' if the challenge hadn't nudged my creative faucet.

Update: Two other ideas are knocking at the door. I'm fending them off for now. Hopefully they'll gather some backup and mob me tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2012

May Challenge: I should be committed

Whether that be committed to writing or in the psychological sense, you be the judge.

It's nearly May. It's not near November. It's not even near June when I plan on doing Camp Nano (Because, yes, I am insane, thank you for asking.) But I'm nearing the end of edits on A Broken Race, and I'm not ready to dive into another novel project until I get this one wrapped up - which means a synopsis and query head banging session is in my near future. That leaves me with finding something writerly to occupy my time while my percolator finishes a few things and the last two chapters go through critiques.

This is where the evil little mention of 'hey there's this writing challenge in May' comes in. No, no I really shouldn't. But darn it, the seed is planted! Enter: A Story a Day in May. Witty name, isn't it? What is it? Exactly that. One short story each day in May. (Or the days you commit to.) I haven't done flash fiction in a while, so I'm thinking that's my goal. Short and simple, one a day. I can do that, and who knows, maybe one of those shorts will blossom into something larger later on - like in November and I actually am totally committed to writing.

Will I hang out on their website? Probably not, I have enough distractions in my life, but I have signed up and I will be writing. Care to join me? *cough* Fred? *cough*

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weaving a novel

My favorite part of editing came upon me yesterday. That moment in working on a novel that the light bulb stops flickering and stays lit. The point where my percolater goes *bing* and the questions I've been pondering are suddenly answered. I want nothing more than to curl up with my laptop and connect all the dots that I've just seen before I forget the knowledge my subconscious has just bestowed upon me.

For me, writing a novel is much like weaving fabric. I start with thread. Some of it is pretty crappy quality but I weave it in anyway because I don't have enough of the good stuff to make the design I see in my head. The thread knots. It breaks a few times, so I tie it back together. Occasionally I even use the wrong color. Hey, I never said my rough drafts were pretty to look at.

Once the fabric is done, I take it off the loom and watch in horror as one side pulls all crooked because I wove that section too tight and another section has huge gaps because I wove it too loosely. I spend weeks pulling out the crappy thread, inserting good thread, and adjusting the weave until it looks uniform. But when I show my cloth to other people, they point at the knots and the spots where the pattern doesn't quite line up. I spend a few more weeks fixing everything until surely it must be just right.

And somewhere in there it hits me--the point where I see that the pattern is much more intricate than I'd first thought. And I know just what to add to create it! Who knows, I might even add a few sequins for a little sparkle. (In this case, they were black sequins--the sparkle was quite dark.)

I've still got a little embellishing to do, but I'm liking what I see. What does your moment when all the threads fall into place feel like?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playing along with Lucky 7

No, I wasn't tagged, but I was intrigued. And really, what better way to tune out not one, but two mother freaking robins now pelting my window, than by scrolling through my WIP to see if it passes the Lucky 7 test?

Bird lover disclaimer: These birds have covered my deck railing in bird poo because they sit there all day between attacking my window and sitting in the tree ten feet away when I bang on the window. I put big white clings on the outside of my window. I put a huge freaking hawk cling on my window. I even taped a 3ft by 4ft piece of paper to the outside of my window (which blocks a lot of my needed natural lighting, I'll have you know) and still, the stupid robins are hurling themselves at the very edges, were a one inch strip of window is still there. (Hey, I need some sunlight, all right?) What the hell, you stupid, poopy robins? What the hell?

So this Lucky 7 thing is to see if your WIP holds up to the 'is this interesting all the way through test'. Something should be happening on every page. The rules to the Lucky Seven are as follows:
*Open the document for your current MS/WIP
*Go to page 7 or to page 77
*Go to line 7
*Copy the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them exactly as they are written. No changing or cheating!

Here is the designated excerpt:

He felt her neck. Dead. A perfectly good breeder, dead. Dread took hold of him. “Did Jack kill her or you? What happened here?”

The Simple backed away. He shook his head, but didn’t utter a word.

Nothing better than a body to spice things up! If you feel like playing along, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Banging your head on the window

As I type there is a Robin banging itself against my picture window. Repeatedly. I rather feel like this Robin.

I spent the majority of my Easter plunking away at chapter twelve of A Broken Race. Yes, it was fully written and all, but I didn't like it. It had repeated information and seemed to be missing some vital connection points between Chapter nine and fourteen. So I added them in. Ta Da! All fixed!

Oh hell. The previously 3,500 word chapter is now 7,000 words?!? *insert Robin body slamming the window*

And there's no tension at all? *more Robin*

But we need the connection bits or the story gets lost between point A and B. Sigh. *insert sleeping on it*

All my pretty pastel Easter words are getting flushed. I just spent the last two hours of my morning reworking the first half of the chapter to add some tension and severely reduce the word count. Thank you Robin, for understanding my frustration. Oh, and it's your reflection, you idiot! Quit doing that!

I'm off to hang something on the window and contemplate the second half of chapter twelve. I hope your day is less frustrating than mine and Robin's.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fools, Writing and Eggs

Being April first I feel like I should have come up with some fantastical fib to attempt to fool everyone with, but I decided to spent my creative energies elsewhere. Instead I've spent yesterday and today catching up on edits for the previous three chapters of A Broken Race. Yeah, probably time better spent, but a fib would have been fun too.

Only five more chapters to run through the critique mill before A Broken Race gets fully spit back into my hands. So far so good with only a few minor noted hiccups. I know, I've just cursed myself, but I am truly happy with the feedback so far - especially from those who have caught some staging slip ups on my part.

In other creative news, it seems my Easter egg project post has been selected as a finalist in the Easter Craft Challenge hosted by Happy Hour Projects and Here Comes the Sun. I feel I've already won by having this project done weeks ahead of time (rather than next Saturday when I would have realized I didn't even have the Easter decor out yet.) So thank you to the lovely hosts of this challenge for getting me thinking about Easter much earlier (on time) this year. If you'd like to stop by and check out all the finalists and cast your votes, here's the link.