Saturday, October 20, 2012

When I'm on...

...I'm really, really on.

Last night I wrote 1,500 (or so) words.  Blogged about writing.  Read about writing.  Made notes about the book.  Drew inspiration from various sources.

Then late at night, as they always do, little rumblings started happening in my head, the seedlings of ideas beginning to sprout as I was trying to fall asleep.  And when I woke up today, I spent 45 minutes laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, working through the plot of book 2 in the Emerson series.  Got up, talked through the plot with the boyfriend (who was definitely impressed and saw exactly how book 2 would move the whole series forward in interesting ways), and sat down and wrote up that plot.

It feels really good to feel like I know what I'm doing.  And it feels good to be able to come up with an interesting, viable plot.

I think Muse's "Panic Station" played a role in this; I was hearing that song in my head just as, in my mind's eye, I saw the end of the last major scene in book 2...  Muse--so aptly named!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Writer stuff.

Sometimes work, life, and everything else gets the better of me...and my writing.  Sometimes I can't write as often as I'd like, due to time constraints, sleepiness due to busy days, etc.  But in order to progress as a writer even when I'm not diligently writing chapters every day, I have a list of "writer stuff" that I do regularly in order to keep the creative part of my brain sharp, primed, and ready to write as soon as I'm able to...

  • Write notes.  I have an electronic file of notes as well as a pink basket that I throw scrawled-upon scraps of paper and napkins into.  (I really love writing on napkins with ballpoint pen.  I have no idea why.)
  • Read good books.  Choose books that get you going--as in, inspire you, have a similar style to yours, make you think, etc.  Just take in how other published stuff is written.  You can't be a good writer if you're not a good reader.
  • Read writer stuff.  Find and read books, blogs, magazines, etc that deal with the writing process.  I made a Writing group in my Google Reader so I can keep up with all the writing blogs I find informative.  I subscribe to Writer's Digest.  I scour Amazon for helpful books on both writing and promoting books/promoting yourself as an author.  I also find articles about some of my favorite authors and read about their inspiration, writing process, etc.
  • Find inspiration.  It doesn't have to be directly related to writing.  There's nothing writing-related about Muse's The 2nd Law or Metric's Synthetica, but they get me in a writing state of mind by making me feel something--I don't even know how to describe the feeling.  It's like I'm on edge and more emotional.  My writing is better because of these influences.  I've also been reading a bunch of interviews with Project Runway's most recent winner, Dmitry.  In these interviews, he talks about having a dream and--after putting in a ton of hard work; staying calm, focused, and dedicated; and having a ton of passion for his work--he's done something huge that brings him one big step closer to accomplishing his dream.  Seeing people I admire succeed in their dreams inspires me to put in the hard work that I need to succeed in mine.
  • Stare at the wall.  I do a lot of this.  It's a benign thing to do when I'm mulling over story ideas.  Hey, at least I don't stare at people--that would start to freak people out.  Especially if they were to find out I'm writing about an assassin.
  • "What would Emerson do?"  I play this game a lot, especially when faced with situations I don't like.  I use it as inspiration--I figure out what Emerson would do.  I don't often do what Emerson would do, since she is an assassin and a liar, and I am not.  But I like thinking of how she'd handle situations--it's a good exercise that can also conjure up ideas for future chapters and storylines.
  • Interact with other writers.  By far, this is the thing I'm the shittiest at.  I'm only semi-social, and I need to be in the right frame of mind to be social (I'm definitely an introvert!).  But this is a goal of mine, this networking thing, and I'm publicly vowing to become better at it!  :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Get Lost.

Know your characters inside and out, every article or book about fiction writing will tell you. There’s one way, above all others, that gets me to know my characters best, and that’s by answering this question: What would they have been like on the Lost island?

Now, I’m hesitant to write a main character unless I think they’d make a good character, and by that I mean they have to be complex and interesting with a backstory that’ll grab attention and a clear character evolution that ends in some sort of change. Emerson definitely fits that. But where would she fit on the island?

 • She would have followed Charlie and Claire into the woods and beaten the crap out of Ethan. She’d be sensitive to Claire’s desire to be a good mother and protect her baby.
 • She’d follow Sayid around, trying to work on what he’s working on. She’d be drawn to his protective nature, and the fact that they have each had a darker profession. He would understand that she’s not a normal girl and respect her for it.
• Sawyer would be a little frightened of her, but wouldn’t show it. Charlie would be intimidated by her and totally show it.
 • Jack would know she’s someone he could count on.
 • Hurley would ask her a bunch of awkward questions and she’d answer them honestly but gently. She’d want to keep in shape by working out, so she’d get Hurley up in the mornings to go on beach runs with her, or do water aerobics with her. He’d protest but secretly love it. She’d be sweet and encouraging to him.
 • Miles would eye her up very warily; he could almost smell her Finn profession on her.
 • She’d almost certainly try to off Ben, but in a way that the group didn’t know about. When Ben would thwart it, the two would become somewhat friends—never fully trusting one another, but always being respectful of the other’s abilities. She can also always tell if he’s lying, but she usually only uses that for her own information.
 • She wouldn’t be one of the Oceanic 6; she’d stay on the island. There’d be nothing for her to try to go back for.
 • Locke would be nonplussed by her; they’d be friends, and he’d accept her help on various projects around the island, maybe even a boar chase or two. He’d raise his eyebrows in a very Locke-like way when she wasn’t squeamish about boar blood.
• She’d have a friendship with Sun—two women who are not what they seem. But the guys would be more willing to accept Emerson as a participant in their adventures.
• In general, Emerson would be kind and helpful, but she’d also have a feral streak and be enthusiastic about going after the Others, for instance. She’d be known as smart and overall good, but not to be crossed because they’ve seen the look she gets in her eyes when they’re going after someone.
 • She’d have conflicts with Kate and Michael. She and Kate would be wary of one another, and she and Michael would have a few screaming matches. Walt would really take to her, though.
• Arzt was one of her clients, off-island. She’s also ran into (literally) Boone and Shannon at a party that she was at because one of Finn’s targets was there.
 • She’d secretly long for Richard Alpert, adoring the way he loved his wife.
 • Jacob touched her hand when she went to the police station after what her mother did to her father. He was acting as a counselor there.

To be continued...  :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In a funk.

It's been a rough few days, and I don't even know why.

I can list a few reasons why.  It's not easy to write a book while working a demanding full-time job, for example.  Life's not easy to handle when I get glutened and/or dairied and, as a result, in addition to the stomach-sickness, bloat up so that I appear to be 7 months pregnant.  (I'm not pregnant.  I'm also not fat.  But if I get unintentionally glutened or dairied, I could be mistaken for either pregnant or fat.)  Write a book?  Hahaha, such a lofty goal.  First, let's try to fit my enormous stomach into my jeans!

The new Muse album came out this past week.  I've been listening to it nonstop.  I can't listen to the whole thing straight through.  It's too much, too emotional, too heavy...too much to handle all at once.  It's more proof that Matthew Bellamy is a genius--he creates stuff that make people feel this way, music that almost borders on making people feel too much.  I wonder if eventually I'll treat this album like an Elliott Smith album: So, so very good, but I simply can't handle listening to it because it's just too much to bear.

I have to get myself into some sort of rhythm, some type of schedule, to write more Emerson.  But days like today, it's tough to even brush my hair or take a shower.  I did both, but it wasn't easy, and it took much more time than usual; I've also spent a lot of time today staring at the walls.  I don't even know what I'm thinking about in those moments; the thoughts fly by so quickly, and I'm rarely able to catch one as it sails past.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A finished product.

No, no, no--don't get excited.  I didn't finish the first Emerson story (yet).

But what I did finish was a short story.  I'd heard about a Writer's Digest short story contest whose deadline is in November, and I've been wanting to enter.  But I'm not usually a short story writer--oh no, I get these grandiose plans not just for books, but for 7-book series!  I don't have any short stories on hand that I could just submit.  So I had to write one.

The idea came to me the other morning.  "She likes to win," I heard the voice in my head telling me.  But I didn't know who it meant, or what was being won.  But soon enough, I did.  My brain sorted it all out and I wrote down a bunch of notes.  And then today I glanced at those notes and wrote the story in under 2 hours--yes, that's including editing.

I'm happy with the story.  It's very, very me.  Edgy and twisted and weird and focused on the things I write about best. 

Submitting this story for the contest is not about winning.  It's about having an idea, writing it well, and creating a finished product that I'm proud of.  I've done that, so in my mind, I've already won.  If I win any prizes, well, that's just the icing on the cake.

For all the shit I constantly give myself for never seeming to write enough, that inner critic is silenced today.  Today I did enough, and I'm proud.