I spent a lot of yesterday working on a novella outline. I intend to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo next month, and I’ve by-the-seat-of-my-pants-ed that 50,000 word dash before, but I’m usually happier with the results when I have a loose plan. So, I hammered out a three page summary and started playing with the pieces.
I wasn’t quite happy with it when I closed the file last night, so I opened it again this morning. I found many good things, and among them, the following notes:
… Intro Elodie (El) as well. She’s a little jealous of the pretty clothes the servant is wearing, but she’s mostly just really good with a hammer, and fire, red-hot metal, and murder. Okay, no murder. Wrong story.
Anie passed Chas most mornings. One of them was always coming in for breakfast when the other was leaving, and he ran around the walls just like the rest of them. He and a whole company followed Ern through the laps, with Wynn or Leolin or Gan calling instructions for them the same why Rhian called them for Anie and the others. She heard him talking with whoever stood next to him, always just a little loud, as if he was helping her keep track of where he was. They nodded at each other when they walked by the other, or just met the other’s eye across the yard. Occasionally, they were close enough to trade a few words. He always smiled at her. She always reached out and squeezed his hand.
She looked for him in the afternoons, but he was never there. She meant, always, to ask him where he could find to disappear, but never did.
She just passed him, coming and going.
1. I’m not a Coffee-Shop writer. I’m a Lock Myself in my Room and Halt Work Immediately When Someone Else Enters Like I Have Been Caught Trying to Smuggle Contraband Beagles writer. Because most of the time when I’m writing, I’m also mouthing my own dialogue and making faces.
2. It took me twelve years to finally follow the first piece of writing advice I was ever given: write every day. No particular reason, I’m just slow. (Now, I want a cape and a mask and a costume so that I can run around to every writer I know and shout “WRITE EVERY DAY!” because, who wouldn’t listen to the Masked Crusader of Creative Consistency?)
3. I have been working on one novel since I was fourteen years old. I have taken breaks to work on other projects – I have even completed other projects – but I have not had a complete draft of that novel since I was fifteen. When acquaintances ask me how it’s going, I’ll say something like: “I’m on draft twenty-something at this point. It’s taking a long time, but I’m really happy with the changes.” What I mean is: “I have written almost thirty different beginnings because I can’t decide whether the story starts when my main character is five, or eighteen, or ten, or twelve, or twenty, or fifteen, or twenty-one, or one, or… [frustrated sloth noises].”
Answers served with a lot of time spent lugging books around
Kate Kearney searched: May we have an updated bookshelf tour?
Sure! And by that, I mean: absolutely not, because my room is a mess and my shelves have been overcrowded lately with things that aren’t books, but I will build you a Book Fort.
I learned today that I do not have enough books to build a complete fort. I found a new life goal.
And then, because a Book Fort is not the most advantageous way to show off a collection, I will give you a bookshelf tour without the bookshelf.
Come, I will take you to the couch (the true place a good book belongs), and begin with the fiction collection: Continue reading
Thunderheads battled their way past the mountains, rumbling with the promise of a drenching. Looking up at them, Lilah quietly packed another shovelful of sand into the sack leaning against her knees. For once it looked like a promise they could keep.
The mountains usually had a way of turning a cloud’s head. No matter where the cloud had intended to go, the mountains caught and it, sliding it south along the ridge rather than letting it cross. What rain reached the valley on the other side came down in a misting, or sang in the river beds that wove down from the peaks. The rivers kicked a little more than usual in their beds, and no one in the town much minded the mild weather.
But the mountains singularly ignored the darkest clouds, as if they weren’t pretty enough for them. And these were plenty dark.
Let’s talk about family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, perfect strangers and their very favorite question once they find out you’re a writer:
“So, what’s your book about?”
It should be my very favorite question, too. It’s sociable, friendly, simple, and gives me the chance to talk about something I love. It gives me the repeated opportunity to practice that precious “elevator pitch,” the quick, smart hook designed to get a professional person interested before the rules of polite society release them from their obligation to listen. But it also comes with a thin needle of panic.
How do I boil my pet three-hundred-page project down to a handful of sentences? Even if I borrow the first word from each page, I’m probably over the limit. And also in over my head when I try to arrange them into something that makes sense. So far I’ve got: “Jaera good. Toar the he. They were another you. I…” That’s not going to work.
Ask me about the character flaw that most often bites me, and I will tell you about my unshakeable and absolutely delusional belief that any problem can be solved by running straight at it and driving it into the ground. Or driving it into that convenient brick wall behind it, in the off chance that I can’t actually knock it off its feet. Or into orbit where it will explode for inexplicable but serendipitous reasons. I walk around with a complete misunderstanding of momentum, believing that if the problem is still standing, that I just need to angle my shoulder a little differently and hit a little harder.
Try, try, and try again. Always at full speed. Because the game isn’t worth playing unless you’re willing to play every card you hold.
And nine times out of ten, my stubbornness gets me through, or at least to the next place I had set my sights. The tenth time, it grinds me down one layer at a time until I’m laying flat out, trying to remember when my bones developed these disadvantageous lead cores, trying to remember when I became part of the problem. And why the problem is still there, because I sure feel as if I’ve already walloped myself in the face.
At 11:30 PM, I apparently have two options:
I can explain my state of mind in low and melodramatic tones, all long-sentenced and adjective-heavy in the dim light of my square, little room with midnight seeping in over the windowsill. I am so tired.
Or I can throw my hands in the air, grin at you, and consider what image I can plug into this post to show you just how much I don’t care about work right now. Because I am so tired.
And one of them involves a grin, so you can guess which one I’m leaning toward.
I care a little more than that, but honestly, that’s part of the reason I’m so tired, so let’s you, and I, and Judy Garland ignore that. Her level of apathy looks more likely to start a party, don’t you think?
The door to the next bedroom was clacking back and forth in its frame held in place by the latch, the way it sometimes did when someone walked past it on too heavy a stride. For a few moments, it held quiet, then clapped dully again, as if someone were pacing in front of it. Edi lay still in her bed, blinking up at the dark ceiling and tried not to believe that it was a ghost.
She didn’t believe in ghosts, but she knew every one else in the house was asleep and had been for hours. She knew the doors and windows were locked up tight, and couldn’t believe someone would break in to walk up and down her hall and mull something over. Folk had their own halls for that.