Monthly Archives: July 2010

Willful Distraction

That feels like it should read “willful destruction”.  Perhaps in a weird way it is.  I am willfully destroying my available time to work on my novel by taking every opportunity for distraction that is offered to me.

How to stop this?

~Will differently.

What if my will is napping over in the corner with Pooh Bear after a lovely round of honey mead?

~Set it up that distractions aren’t easily available.

Such as?

~Close your email program so that the ring of newly arrived email doesn’t invite you to play hooky from the story.

Are you nuts?

~Yes, but that’s not the point.  It really will work.

Maybe–probably–yes…but then I wouldn’t know a new email had arrived!!!

~My dear, that’s rather the point.

<glare>

~That doesn’t change anything.

I hate reasonable plans.

~You mean you hate having to give up your excuse for avoiding your novel because of your innate fears of success.  Failure, too, but we both know success scares you more.

I really don’t like you right now.

~Hate away, I don’t mind.  Now go turn off your email and get a few more minutes of intense editing in.

I hate it that you’re always right.

~I know.  But you can always take comfort in knowing that I’m you.  Now stop distracting yourself and have fun editing!

That’s a mild contradiction in terms, but fine, I’m going.  But since I’m the one typing this, I get the last word.  So there.  Nanananabooboo.

Downtime

I am trying to remind myself that downtime is important, too.

Sometimes I get so focussed on showing up to write that I start feeling what I did at the end of my bachelor’s degree:  a freaked out need for freedom.

In university, the only true free time was during the break between semesters.  Otherwise there was always something you should be doing:  reading, writing, studying, completing a project and on and on.

Sometimes I get to feeling that way about writing.

That I should be writing before anything else.  Most of the time I encourage this feeling.  It helps to get me in front of the computer and working my heart out.

But there are times when that intensity backfires, when it becomes a burden.  And that’s when I need to give myself permission to relax.  That would be the trick of it.  Honestly giving myself permission to “waste time”.  (Don’t I realize I could be writing?)

Tonight, I am enjoying some downtime.  Or trying to.  :/

Panster Plotting Trial #5

Yes, I’m a panster.

For those in the writing know, that means that I write my stories by the seat of my pants.

The opposite end of the spectrum are the plotters. They plan, they outline, they strike me as exceedingly organized, and they add the wordiest parts later.  As I understand it.

As a panster, I can only imagine the life of the plotter.  But when I do, I cringe.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it!!!  Not at all.  I’m afraid it’s not just my thing and the thought of working that way makes me feel like I’m back in high school, not in a good way.

I love to see my created world unfold before me, to let the words flow and the action come and discover as I write what is going to happen.

When that’s all done, though, the panster must become the plotter.

Except I don’t know how.  I remind you, it’s not my thing.

So it’s been trial and error.  Today’s trial we shall call trial #5.  I’ve tried a few other things already and perhaps one day I’ll blog of them, but today it’s #5 for discussion.

I began by taking my list of chapters, a really basic list.  Number, title, one word descriptions of where things took place (i.e. scene shifts).  Most chapters had 2-5 such words.  But that’s not the plotting aspect.  Well, maybe it’s plotting trial #2, One Must Have a Summary of One’s Novel’s Chapters.

The plotting aspect was adding symbol descriptions of tension for each chapter.

Arrows up were for a tension increasing chapter, a star for a holy-fuck-tense chapter, a watery squiggle for a more relaxed, catch-your-breath chapter.  Some chapters had more than one marker, like a main indicator plus a modifier.

I marked in the current state of feeling in the chapter and then went to Analyze Town.  A wonderful place that all writers should spend time in, imo.

I saw at the start of my novel a lovely anticipatory intro then a big tense chapter then a drop to catch our breath.

The middle was decently paced.

The end of the book had a generally higher level of tension but it doesn’t have the good variation, the rolling waves that bring readers up to the pinnacle of the climax.  Like a great round of sex, or love-making if you prefer.  You don’t want to just get all excited and then poof done.

You want the excitement to draw you in, tantalize you, until you have to follow the story further.

And then it gets more intense until you are feeling almost over-stimulated and so the love-making slows, letting you catch your breath, and relax just a little.

Why?

So that when you start getting seriously intimate again, you can handle more of the passion, can feel more intense sensations without hitting that too much stage.

By ratcheting up the intensity with periods of apparent calmness you can get to a much higher fever pitch.  And that means a much bigger orgasm in the end!

Well, unless the end moments fail to live up to the promise and then it’s just a frustrating fizzle.

I don’t want to finish my story with a frustrating fizzle.  That’s just depressing.

So trial #5 is telling me where to relax further, where to make the conflict and tension stronger.

Which means tomorrow…okay, saturday, it’s back into the story with much more clarity of what my next stage of editing will look like.

Booya!

~Samantha

At the boyfriend’s house

Yes, being somewhere besides home is no reason not to be working on writing.

It helps that I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who is cooking dinner while I write.  (How cool is that?!?)  But that isn’t the only thing.

I’m being anti-social, I’m sitting in his living room while he does all the work.  And I know that it is necessary, for how else will I get in writing time?

I’m not Diana Gabaldon, capable of getting up at 4 in the morning and writing for a couple of hours.  I love my sleep far too much.  So that means carving my writing time out of my happy evening after work time.

That can be tricky.

There’s the after work tired.  The need to clean the home and kitty litter and do dishes tired.  There’s the need to make food and eat it and clean up from it.  There’s social time with friends and cats.  There’s the rest of living and the question of having energy to do any of it.

And then there’s writing. The love of it.  The heart of me.  The joy of creating.  And the sheer frustration of it.

So enough of the story of my writing, time to get on with the real thing.

Showing Up – Yes, I have Plans

Robert A Heinlinn’s first rule of writing is that you must write.

Actually sit down and put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, chalk to wall and get the words out of your soul and into a realm that other people could conceivably one day experience them.

You have to show up. You have to say ‘yes, this is a priority, yes, I’m going to sit on my balcony and pound away at the keys, yes, I’m going to say no to going out YET AGAIN so I can finish editing this story’.

This is me showing up. In just a minute, once this post is done, I will switch over to working on my current WIP (that’s work in progress for the other nubes who, like me, get stuck trying to figure out the jargon).

This blog is about sharing what works for me, what doesn’t, my successful days and the failures, and to have those moments (hopefully) reflected and shared back by fellow artists.

Dammit, I’m showing up to write. I choose to live my dream, not just fantasize it. And now I’ve put it out into the world to be held accountable to anyone who has the desire to comment.

I must trust that is a good thing. Ah, trust, that is a topic for a different day.

Writing calls. Rather insiduously.

Samantha