Plotting and planning

Welcome to another week in the life of, well, me… Yup! I’m sitting here doing what I do weekly, blogging while I think about what I need to get done.

This is a long list.

I’ve spent the last few weeks distracted and consumed by many other things, thus sucking up my writing time. Before the turn of the calendar, I had a plan. I had time mapped out. And I stuck to it.

There there is the secret of writing, my friends. Make a plan, and stick to it. Make time to plot your book, outline your book, write your first draft, and then make the most time for the edits you’ll be doing.

Because you’ll be doing freaking edits. I bring this up a lot. I’ll keep bringing it up a ton. Why? Because no book is written in one sitting. Maybe on a rare occasion–but for the most part it’s a succession of repetitive writing and editing.

This the week I get back to this routine I worked out months ago.

Also last week, but in my writing world, I mad two major (massive) changes to my WiP–this will create a time delay. But they changes are important. They elevate my idea, raising it to a level that it deserves to be in.

My hope is that this spot–this Monday post–will transform into my actually showing you portions of said WiP within the next month or so. Feedback is welcome. Feed back is–always–welcome. 🙂

So, to all you writers out there who stumbled upon this post–lets get to work. The world needs some words to read. And not just mine. You’re too.

Happy writing!! xxoo-A

Musing about life

My writing life is slow going this year. Yes, it’s only two weeks into the new year, but I feel behind on all things word driven.

Finding inspiration has been limited. Isn’t it interesting that when I had NO time to write, my brain laid out story after story. Now time is abundant and my brain as quiet as an empty church.

I like having things plotted out–and I’m not only talking about my stories. I’m talking about my life. Yes, it sounds tedious and not very spontaneous, but a good mapped out plan will help you get to where you want to go.

Without all the mess that can get in your way.

 

Cheers to a new week of words and writing! May it be kind to you and to me.

xxoo-A

A few thoughts on 2017

I was doing really well at writing three days a week. Then it was twice… and now here I am scrambling for one post. Yes, it’s the holiday season. A little it of too many errands, topped with winter break, added to a part-time job, with holiday cheer sprinkled on top–and I’m pooped.

I haven’t written since early last week. This is very hard for me. With each passing day I grow scared that I won’t go back to it. Part of me knows I will. I really want to finish the book I’m currently working on, but I’m also laying down my 2017 writing goals.

For many years my New Year’s Eve Resolution was to NOT have a New Year’s Eve Resolution. I’ve been very successful at keeping that promise… So, I won’t say these plans are a resolution of any sort. I’ll be honest, I’m with Bono when he sings, “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day,” because, realistically, not much does. But the last two years I’ve laid out general plans for things I’ve wanted to accomplish, and I’ve been mildly successful.

Why not keep going?

spongebob writing p editing revision

I want to work on short stories this year. I’ve been reading a ton of them, and will head off to read more in a moment–so it’s made me want to fold them into my portfolio. It’s part nerve racking, and exhilarating. Now, I have a new written art form to deconstruct. Something to learn about! I’m a fan of new things.

So that is what I hope to accomplish in 2017. Short story writing and publication. (On top of finding an agent for my current novel on submission or the next one…)

This hasn’t been a easy road by any means, but I still believe it’s the right one for me.

Happy Holidays, my virtual friends. I hope you are able to celebrate the season in a way that brings happiness to your world. I hope to write more posts before the end of 2016, but in case I can’t find the time–A Happy New Year to you.

xxoo-A

 

The Laugh

happy vintage illustration batman excited

There is a man in my building, I’ll call him Mike. That is not his name, but it will do for this story. He is a short man, round in size. Actually, he’s shaped more like an egg than a basketball–but that’s not what sets him apart from the rest of those living in my urban paradise.

His hair is black, naturally straight as a spade–but he perms it. It’s his ‘thing.’ Once again–not that defining factor (even thought it probably should be.)

What sets Mike apart from the rest of my block is his laugh. He has the laugh of a 1970’s villain’s sidekick. You know the character. He’s the guy who accidentally takes a rake to the chest because he wasn’t paying attention and stepped on the handle as he ran away from the hero of the story. When I hear the piercing sound of his punctuated howl, I nearly always pause for Luther to say, “Warriors, come out to play-i-ay!” even though I’m not in the subway and no where close to New York City.

Testing 1, 2, 3 the warriors can you dig it movie 1970s

Once, a long time ago when I first moved into my apartment, Mike wanted to be my friend. He would joke with me, and I would smile and look interested–rarely did I know what he was talking about. He’s about eleven shy of a dozen… I would like to make it clear, this wasn’t some sort of hiccup due to language barrier, Mike is just an odd man. Plus, my poker face stinks.

Now, Mike doesn’t acknowledge me at all. Not even a nod or a simple hello. It was after this courtyard dismissal I became privy to the laugh (that is normally mixed with techno and tighty whities.) He’s in a class all his own, and with our non-existent relationship–I have no way to record this chuckle. None that are legal anyway.

Alas, dear friends. What am I do do? As a writer I NEED to record it! I need to post the track on here!! I need to add it to my current WIP, or at least something I write in my life.

All of Mike needs to be in a book. All five-foot-five-inches of him, with his ovoid shaped frame, and even he jet black spiral perm. I see him perched on the edge of his antique folding tattered lawn chair, seated behind his Audi (it’s a mystery how he upgraded from a white battered gremlin to this luxury hatchback–but that’s a whole other post), with the car’s stereo speaker blaring, as he listens to his earbuds.

Mike is a character that belongs in a book–and not cackling under my bedroom window for many reasons. Most of which would keep me sane. The only reason I don’t slam my music and turn on my own music is that laugh you may never hear…

[This is how I find characters for my stories. Some fit in perfect, others I dissect and keep the part I’ve grown to love (or loath). Mike is a very real person. Almost too real. My theory as to why he’s in my life is it keeps me from being to serious all the time. Life is too short not to find a hyena laugh hilarious.]

 

Are you there, God? Oh, wait…

…I forgot. I haven’t done the whole ‘god’ thing in circa twenty years. So maybe I should say ‘universe’ or something less religion specific.

I sit here, as my dinner slowly burns on the range, with my fingers hovering over this neon blue keyboard attempting to articulate the myriad of thoughts devouring my brain. I am consumed with to many it’s become hard to sift through them all–searching for the right train of thought.

Frustrating building, I’m now calling to the heavens for guidance.

My writing inspiration seems to be an situation of ‘all or nothing.’ Either I have so many ideas I’m lost (like right now,) or it’s a blank desert–endless miles of dust mote dunes suffocating my brain. If only I could find a trigger… Oh, wait!! (again!) I entered a contest. I did! I entered #PitchWars, and now I have a list longer than the Mississippi to choose from.

Here is my question for you, my lovely readers. How do you choose your projects? What is your process? Normally, mine is I wait until an idea keeps me up at night–but I have a bit quandary, for I have a WIP that needs tending, another MS plotting on a promise–and then there’s the one that’s keeping me up.

Do you see what the problem is? What should I do?!

So, now you are god (this could go poorly quickly, but lets do it any way.) All of the help you provide (aka–advice) is greatly appreciated!

Now–if you’re also entered Pitch Wars, I wish you luck! And to everyone else. Happy Writing!!

xx-

-A

 

 

Write Right

To my right is an old warped cork board covered in index cards with places and characters written on them. They belong to a story I began last summer with my son, but abandoned once he was in school.

It’s hard to plot out a story you’re writing with a child who isn’t home…

But there they are – staring at me with weird made up words on them, penned out in a variety of obnoxious colors like neon green and magenta.

My computer and this cork board are in my bedroom, so each night as I sit in bed, I stare at them. About a week ago it occurred to me I should take them down, seal them in an envelope and save them for next summer when my son and I can pick up where we left off. (We have a rather extraordinary world, but not much premise or story as of yet.) But then as I looked them over – our sea monster, flying men, dragons, etc., – I decided to let them stay.

This decision brought up other questions: How long is too long to write a story? How many stories should I be working on at once? When is it the “official” time to throw in the towel?

Staring at his board had become my late night meditation. At first I would think about this world we created, and now I think of answers to those questions.

When I ventured out on this writing path (many moons ago) it was all very linear. You wrote a story, you had people read the story, you adjusted the story, you sent it to agents who either ignored you completely or sent robo response rejection letters. But now (many moons later) the answers to those questions have changed dramatically and I know the path is more chaotic than ever.

#Q1 – How long is too long to write a story? A1 – There is no time line. When you set a time line is when you mess up the story. You begin to rush, you miss details, your characters are thinner than the paper you want your story published on.

#Q2 – How many stories should I be working on at once? Q2 – I used to think the only way to write was to write one story at a time. Now, I can’t speak for you, but on a good day I have 5+ stories in my head rattling around like marbles in a jar. Currently I’m working on a new novel I’m calling “Triangle”, I’m also reworking an old novel in a new format that I feel will work better for its multi-character storyline, I have another novel waiting in my writing queue ready for a good edit (because my last edit was impetuous and damaging), and then there is the one on the wall and another one that keeps invading my dreams. Oh, and then there is the novella that I want to self publish – so make that 6+. (…then there are the others made up of only characters or vague premise that aren’t worth mentioning yet…)

Once upon a time, working on one thing suited for me, but only because I convinced myself that was how “real authors” wrote. Now I write in a way that keeps me wanting to write.

#Q3 – When is it the “official” time to throw in the towel? A3 – Back then, I used to get tired so I would give up on manuscripts – these days its more like we “take a break” from each other. I’ll have Beta Readers email me and ask about old titles, “What happened to that book? I loved that one!” And I’ll tell them I’m working on something new. They fret I’ve given up, but in truth I have not. If you believe in your story, your characters, your world – you will never officially throw in the towel. Because when you love something so much, giving up on it isn’t an option.

These are the things I remind myself on the days I do want to give up. Lately, I have more of those than I’d like to admit, but at the same time this is the most consistent my writing has ever been. I write DAILY. I edit DAILY. I challenge myself DAILY. And I permit myself to take a step back when I know I need one, because some days the words flow, and others its like trying to pulled tar out of the bottom of a nail polish jar. But I do it anyway.

Why?

Because even though it feels like I’m not going anywhere, I know as long as I try I’m making better strides than giving up.