Thursday, March 20, 2008

Novel Update

Not much to tell. I'm quite a few scenes into the novel now and every scene has fallen into place pretty much as planned. I seem to be developing an interesting process. I'll write a scene over the course of two, or at most three days. Then I'll spend a day or two resting and thinking about the next scene. I have to push myself to go ahead and start writing again, being always certain I'm not ready. But I usually am ready. The scene turns out fine, or even better than I expected. I haven't really taken any wrong turns.

My Hero and I are getting along swimmingly. I like him a lot. He's even more endearing to me than I expected him to be.

I've had only one real surprise: My villain made an unexpected appearance early in the story. I'm glad he did; it helped the plot along and makes the story more interesting. I've been reading about plot development, and one key rule is to let the villain drive much of the "second act", to borrow a term from screenplays and drama. I can see why. The villain's activities provide a huge opportunity for dropping herrings and threads of mystery.

Anyway, it's bed time, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's work, and what could be a better sign than that?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's Going On

I live. And write. That's pretty much it.

'Course, I'm also eating, sleeping, and doing all the other stuff that makes writing possible. Once in a while, I do get out for some fun, too. This afternoon, my partner and I rolled down our sea kayaks and spent some time on the water, first time this year. It was a sunny day, lots of birds, not many people out. Got to see a golden eagle for the first time. He/she was being chased by two angry balds. Nice. (Nice for us, I mean. He kree-shreed about it a lot, whatever that means.)

But I spent the first half of today writing, and it turned out to be one of my best days in a week, that after having written fifteen straight manuscript pages over three days last weekend.

So, yeah, it's going alright. Maybe at this rate, I'll have a novel in draft by summer. It'll be my second, but this one's going to be way better than the first.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's Saturday. It's Snowing. Bliss.

I'm in heaven. It's Saturday. It's snowing like crazy. I just finished eating a stack of one of my specialty breakfasts, home-made chocolate-chunk waffles, and sipping down a delicious latte while my partner and I talked about our happy lives. Now I'm sitting at my desk with a window to a white forest while I flush out a fun, new novel. Bliss.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time to Write

I had an interesting exchange with a friend of mine.

She's a mother of a four-year-old, and I know what that means. Hers is more than just a "real" job; it's a lifestyle. It's a full-time physical, mental, and emotional commitment to a long, demanding, no-way-out project. I have incredible respect for a mother who stays in control of her life despite the frantic pace presented by her job, and my friend does that fairly well.

So the other day my friend made a tiny, insignificant request on my time, and I was more than happy to help her out. However, it was the way she asked that left me scratching my head. She said, "I know how busy you are, but could you possibly do [x] for me?"

Well, I'm not busy. I'm a writer. Not only that, I'm an unpublished writer. [SNIP] That leaves me with tons of time, more than almost anyone I know.

Why, then, would my friend say, "I know how busy you are...", when she knows how much time I actually have?

Because she's sweet. In truth, she has absolutely no idea what I do with my time.

I'm sure she wonders about it, though. I would. "Why can't he talk on the phone? Why does it take him so long to answer my emails? Why can't he host a party once in a while? After all, he sees me doing much more than that, and all while herding a four-year-old!"

Sorry, dear. I wish I could tell you the answer.


(Edited: In fact, I tried to offer an answer here, but I failed remarkably. It seems my answer sent the opposite of its intended message, which is always an impressive accomplishment for a writer. Best I not address this topic, methinks.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Novel Update

Enough talk about vacation. It's time to get back to work.

So I spent a few days trying to figure out how to get my mind back in the groove, which is to say, how to get my novel going again. I tried toying with my notes for a while, but the words still wouldn't come, so I finally decided to go back and read it through from the beginning. I was hooked. If this were a real book, I would have stayed up late reading it. What a relief.

Tomorrow I'm going to try something I haven't done for a while. I'm writing a dramatic scene in which two characters are at extreme odds. In fact, the first wishes to torture the second, and the second wishes to kill the first. They know this about each other, but owing to some unique circumstances, they have to pretend to be civil. So I have a unique challenge: to make the characters say and do one thing, but mean and intend something entirely different. One of my better short stories employs this technique, but not to such an extreme degree. Should be fun.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arts Cruise News

Well, I'm back from the Arts Cruise. My partner and I had a great time.

I'm blown away by how well Quent and Linda planned the Arts portion. Grand pianos, recitals, plays, drawing demonstrations, information packets for our rooms, transportation, sound systems, and on and on.... And to think this was their first attempt at a conference! Wow! Congratulations to both of you!

As for the vacation aspect, we knew going into the trip that the cruise ship and the kind of crowd it would draw were not going to be our scene -- and we couldn't have been more right about that! -- but we also knew that almost nothing could prevent the two of us from having a great time on our own, and I'm sure we would have, except that we rarely had to be alone. So many interesting and passionate people attended that we found ourselves with another, unexpected problem: too little time to visit with everyone we wanted to meet. Even now I'm thinking of people I only just barely met and wishing that I could buy them a drink and hang out for a while. Sigh...

The presenters were all great. Given the challenges they faced -- you'd understand what I mean if you had gone -- they all did an exceptional job. Everyone kind of rolled with it, so to speak. Even in the rare cases where I didn't favor a particular musical performance or score or agree with something that was said, it was a constant pleasure to just be among so many similarly-impassioned romanticists. Speaking of that, the impromptu dancing in Nefertiti's Nipple (or whatever the place was called) was fabulous to watch! Thanks to all of you!

So much joy, so little time. :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nim's Island

I just discovered the trailer for the movie based on Wendy Orr's book, Nim's Island. Haven't read the book, but the movie looks fun.

I'm adding Wendy Orr's Journal to my bookmarks, though I doubt I'll read her books. I have about a 20-year head-start on her readers.