Monday, November 29, 2010
And I'm alright with that.
I knew going in that I wouldn't have enough time during the august month of November to generate 50,000 of the right kind of words. I think my goal was something like 25,000. I had a solid outline, and now stand right around 28,000.
Shortly after I acquired an agent, I developed a deepseated terror of revisions. I can do them, mind you, and they inevitably make the story delightfully bettah. But my first reaction upon receiving notes is to sprint for a (metaphorical) knife so that I can commit (metaphorical) seppuku stat.
So I took my time this year. I cranked through Act I, then stopped. I backtracked, chopping excess words with the editorial machete in my right hand and tweaking characters and phrasing with the polishing wrench in my left. I've written about 45,000 words to date in this manuscript, and currently stand at 28,000. But they're a good 28,000, and they're going to roll me into another good 28,000. And, hopefully, by the time I get the last third of the story set, I'll have a draft 1.5. No zero drafts for this girl.
So, my dears, how are you going to be celebrating Endo-Nano? With a bang, or with a whimper?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I went to pick up Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue, which I sampled on my kindle after hearing wonderful things about it from many people, most recently the lovely Margo. And, while I was there, I picked up a book I had ordered.
I am now faced with an odd situation. A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim on my kindle. It was free (LEGALLY SO), presumably part of the publisher's marketing of the sequel, Kill the Dead. I really liked the book. Nay, I loved it. I loved it so much I drove to a bookstore to buy it. And, when it wasn't on the shelf, I was so determined to show my appreciation to the author by buying it that I ordered it.
So, now I've got it in my hand, a book that I love, that I recommend to anyone I think might enjoy it, and a few people who might not, but should. And I don't want to read it. I mean, I just finished it and I've got other books stacking up on my nightstand at an industrious rate, including the oddly-sized sequel, plus I own another version.
So, what am I to do?
I think I'll give this copy away in one-a-them new-fangled contest thingamajiggers. I might actually drive back down to the bookstore (not tonight - we have a second glass law in my house), purchase a few other books that have delighted me over the years, and then give them away to blog followers. Probably I'll limit it to U.S. states, territories and possessions because my local post office is staffed by two hard-working ladies and one Gorg. I always end up with the Gorg, and the Gorg doesn't know shit. (No offense, Jim Henson)
So, stay tuned...contest a-coming.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
An odd tendency has slipped into my spoken communication lately: the desire to add a punchline in the form of a hashtag. For those of you who don’t use/don’t pay attention to/hate with a burning passion all things Twitter, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
A hashtag is this: # (the sign formerly known as “pound”). It’s a way to unite tweets in the twitterverse. For instance, the hashtag #followfriday (or #FF) is a way for people (on Fridays) to suggest that other tweeps follow the same people they follow. #moviesinmypants was a trending topic in which people could take movie titles, add the phrase “in my pants” to it, and laugh until they peed themselves. I think the movie Shaft (in my pants) was the frontrunner, but personally I preferred my entry Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (in my pants).
The hashtag has evolved, though, into a way for individuals to punch up a joke or reveal irony in their tweets. Remember you’ve only got 140 characters, and sometimes you have to condense your thoughts to convey them in a single tweet. A couple examples:
I feel like my sex scene lacks rhythm #whitegirlscanthump
@michaelianblack (Comedian and author of several acclaimed children’s books, including A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea)
I have no cash on me so I stole one of my daughter's dollars to put under her pillow after she lost a tooth last night. #true #shithead
So now I find myself in conversations where I have something funny to say, but it will only be really funny with a hashtag ending. However, unlike “air quotes”, hashtags don’t yet have an off-the-page equivalent. At least, nothing that doesn’t resemble throwing out gang signs, which are frowned upon at our office.
I assume that, somewhere out there, a university is in the process of applying for a grant to study this phenomenon (the etymology of hashtag humor, not my ignorant and probably offensive use of gang signs). I look forward to the results of the study.
For the time being, I will clasp my hands firmly in front of me while speaking, and work on my comic timing.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
DEAR JOHN~a drabble
“I’m not good with art,” John says, squinting at the note.
I look down at the crisp white paper, the even black script.
“It’s not art.” I point to the three distinct words. How can he not see? “It says…”
He makes an impatient sound, a sound of finality. The world is suddenly blurry and I blink to clear my eyes.
“Sorry. You know I can’t find the meaning in this creative shit.” He scuffs out of the room, drops into his ergo-set and links into the feeds.
The words droop, the ink bleeding away. “It says ‘I love you’.”
Please check out the other fine and varied participants:
Bettedra direct link to her post.
FreshHell direct link to her post
CScottMorris direct link to his post
AuburnAssassin direct link to her post
Aheila direct link to her post
Bibbo direct link to his post
YOU ARE HERE.
Thanks to Bettedra for hosting!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I just finished cleaning my office (read: spare bedroom). And by "finished" I mean I became equal parts distracted and frustrated and gave up.
Twice this week I’ve put laundry in the dryer and then walked away without starting it. This is an obvious (to me) sign that I’m overtaxed. Stretched to the point of being rice-paper thin. I used to lock my keys in the car when I was in such a state…while it was running. I don’t do that anymore, but only because my current car does not allow it.
It’s November. My work is gearing up because we’re busiest at year-end. I’ll be traveling later in the month, so I’m trying to get ahead. I have to pull out my ever-expanding Christmas shopping list and get my shop on. I hate getting my shop on.
Coworkers and friends have noticed my frazzled distraction and, in an effort to help, suggested that I pull out of NaNo. Inside my head, this sends me off into peals of hysterical laughter. In the real world, I plaster on a sincere smile and say: “Oh, that’s not the problem.”
Because, what they don’t understand is that I was writing almost every night and weekend before NaNo. I didn’t have as high a daily word count. Sometimes I counted making it into the chair and staying awake while the laptop whirred to life as a success.
Quick Aside: In Defense of NaNo
I’ve heard NaNo decried as a self-glorifying way for a bunch of talentless hacks to crank out loads of crap. Believe me, talentless hacks don’t need to be encouraged to crank out the crap; it comes naturally and inexorably.
NaNo gives people who toil alone a chance to be part of an energetic, enthusiastic community. It gives the writers who haven’t been able to get past the 10K, 20K or 40K mark just enough positive pressure that, this time, they might make it.
Will NaNo2010 result in a lot of very bad stories? Of course. Most will die unfinished deaths, or wither from the writer’s priority list during the revision process, the beta reading process, or the query process. That’s the natural order of things. Some beautiful novels have come out of NaNo. I’ve seen the sales of two intriguing novels within the last year, and I’m sure there are many more I’m unaware of.
My problem isn’t that NaNo is wearing me out. It’s that life is getting in my way. My employer, like many others, is pushing higher profits without providing more shoulders on which to balance the work. My child is fully aware of the time his mother spends away from him, so I’m trying to shift more of that to his sleeping hours. I’m also trying to add two hours of workout time to my week since coming to realize that, despite all the science fiction I read, this is likely the only body I’m going to be allowed.
So, where does this leave me? In a half-clean office but, more importantly, sitting at my computer, about to start writing again. Because, you know what? I have to. I have to go to work because I have bills to pay. I have to clean because, even in the far north, we get vermin in unsanitary environments. But I have to write because, if I don’t, I will go stark-raving mad. It’s my escape and my entertainment, and the effort I put into it is returned tenfold in satisfaction. It is, dear readers, worth it.