Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My 'not so' March Madness

Usually, as most of you know, I leap into things like the March Madness challenge, but not this time. I've barely done 3,000 words in two days. That's because, rather than starting a new book again, I'm working on A Plague of Rats. Like I said in the last post, some books just move slower than others. The book is going very well, though. I'm quite happy with what I've gotten so far.

I was also slowed down by Vision today, which included editing, contract creation, emails, answering emails, and making PayPal payments. There was also a couple problems at FM that needed handled and took a bit of work.

I keep thinking I want to reclaim my weekends for 'me' stuff and not work... but somehow I always end up doing more work than I intended. At least I'm getting something done, though, even if it isn't writing. (grin)

Russ will be home from New York tomorrow. It's hard to believe the six days are very nearly past all ready. I didn't get nearly enough done around the house, partly because of a neck and shoulder problem... but I did get a few things picked up, and the place looks all right.

I've been working on some art stuff, too, which has been enjoyable and relaxing for the most part. Silly stuff, but it's a nice change, still. I've noticed that while I'm working on a picture, for instance, my mind starts wandering over the story and I sometimes come up with little bits and pieces that I want to use.

Okay, so maybe I'm just having a writing-lag in general, because it's taken me two days to write this much. No, I think it's three. Russ is back home from New York, we're settled back into our usual odd routine, and I'm just puttering along on the story. Had a wonderful bit of a plot bunny over lunch with Russ... but I'm still only writing about 1000 words a day. But I like them!

So, I'm not complaining at all. I'm just bemused about going from a steady 3k a day to 1k a day, and still enjoying it as much. It's taking me as much time to write the 1k as it did the 3k, too.

March is nearly over. It's been an odd month, with the trip to Kansas early on, then Russ in New York for a week. Now, if something in all of this would turn up a job for Russ, we'd both be happier for it!

Anyway, here I go, off to do more writing, more 3D art work, and generally just have some fun.

I hope the rest of you do the same. It can all be work -- even when it's fun work.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I am going to take a few days of low word counts before I leap into Forward Motion's March Madness next weekend. I'm thinking of it as Spring Break for Zette. I have a ton of things I want to get done around the house, and getting away from the computer for whole hours at a time will be good for me.


So March appears to be my downfall point for the 3k a day plan. I don't mind. I've already gotten some important work done and feel a great deal less pressure over what I need to get done. There are still a few things out there, but it's looking better.

I reached the end of the final Dark Staff book... but it wasn't as long as I wanted, so I went back and started adding in more right away. It's already grown by over 4k, so I'm doing well.

I have switched over to A Plague of Rats for my main novel for a few days. It's going well enough, though I felt a little lost today and decided to back up from it for a bit. I'm about to throw my main character into even more insanity. He only thought he had trouble before this -- but I'm having a little trouble dropping him into the new spot. I figured a day to think about it wasn't a bad idea.

And there's another really good reason to slow down, and one that I don't mention often enough.

Some stories are slower developing than others. A Plague of Rats is one of those that's taking a little longer to feel out the scenes and move through the pieces. Not all stories rush out of my head at a rate faster than I can type. This, combined with only adding bits and pieces to the Dark Staff novel, means that I'm bound to go slower. And that's good. I'm sure I could find something else to add in that would take up the slack of an extra 1000 to 1500 words, but there's no reason to. Despite how it looks, I'm not interested in the word count numbers. They're only goals and they give me something easy to focus on, especially when I first sit down to write. 100 words at a shot, and I'll get closer and closer. I like the feel of what I'm getting. It's a good first draft and introduction to the characters, which I need before I can really get into a story. They may often be alive in my head, but that doesn't mean I can translate that vision to the story right away.

I've written over 180,000 words so far this year, and while I'm slowing down a bit, I'll probably compensate for that if I really throw myself into March Madness. Or not, if I decide to extend my 'Spring Break' until the end of the month. A lot of it depends on the next few days. Russ left for New York this morning (and paying work, yay!, even if it is only a couple day's worth), and my plan is to work on the house for a while -- specifically the bedroom. It is in dire need of being torn apart and put back together again, and it will take me a day or two to do it. It's nearly impossible to do something like that when there are two of us here, though, because I do a lot of the work during the night when Russ has this idea that he should be sleeping or something.

Okay, I admit it -- I'm also in the mood to do art work and play with photos, and writing 3k a day along with the other work that has to be done, as pretty nearly cut me off from a lot of that stuff. I figure a few days of artistic frustration will get it out of my system.

It sounds like it will be an interesting week.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fiction Price Cut at HollyShop!


Holly has decided to drop the price of fiction books at her store, and that means Ruins and Muse are now avaiable at the lower $3.99 price. Here is a link to My Books. You can also read large sections of the two books -- Ruins and Muse -- over at my site:

My Web Site

Look down the list under free stuff. People have enjoyed both books, so here's your chance to give one or both a try.


The picture today is called Learning to Fly. I think it's one of the best one's I've done so far! I used several different programs to create it, and I think I'm getting the feel for them.

And now on to other things!

Writing is still going pretty well, only slowed down by the fact that I have a cold and Russ has a cold, and we're both pretty miserable. I'm sure it will pass soon. We have a bit of spring here -- it was up in the 70's (f) yesterday. It's colder again and going to snow tonight, but it won't last.

I am very nearly done with the two Dark Staff books. I should have had the one edited by now, but I keep getting sidetracked a bit. The trip to Kansas, even though it was only three days, really did throw me off. And no, there isn't word on the job nor will there be for some time. If it works out, we'd either be in Hutchinson, or more likely, in Dodge City. That's quite a change from our northeast Nebraska home!

Ah, but writing. See -- I keep getting distracted.

On my birthday I started the new book, A Plague of Rats. I'm holding it to 500 words a day until I get the other novel done. It's been interesting, because I really don't have a feel for it very well yet, mostly because I'm holding myself back. It's very odd. But as soon as I get the other things done.... Well, one completely done and off to the copyeditor, and the other one finished to sit for a couple weeks before I do a final edit and then it will go off to the copyeditor as well. And then I will be done!

Does it seem as though I'm not getting much done? Word count for the year is already at 180,770. If I get the main novel done, I'll feel a bit more like I've accomplished something. That's just me. It's silly. I know I'm doing the writing, and it's going well. I'll be happy with it.

Forward Motion's March Madness is coming up. I have two outlines to choose from if I want to do an entire novel. Or I could work on A Plague of Rats. It would probably be silly to sit it aside again already and go for something else... but I might anyway -- because I enjoy the rush of a week-long writing marathon. I think Russ is going to be gone to New York for at least part of that week, too. So I might as well have something fun to do!

Right now though, I'm getting that spring-fever get out and take pictures feeling. Which is really good for me to have because I don't get out often enough. It's too cold today, but as soon as that temp starts picking back up again, I'll be packing the camera off on little walks. They'll do me good. Unfortunately, it looks like the next week or so is going to be cold again.
I guess I'll have to settle for writing and digital art for a while longer!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Getting back to work

There are now three days on my Excel sheet that show less than 3k a day for the writing totals. They came during the trip to Kansas, but even so I did write more than 1k a day, so I'm not upset. And I got away from home and saw fun stuff, visited with some old friends and had a great time. Except for being horribly ill most of one day, it was a great trip.

Getting back has been a slightly different problem. I woke up today more than fired up to get back to real work... but the mind hasn't quite made the full transition back to work mode. I have written over 1500 words so far, and I even caught a couple problems as I worked, so I know I'm not completely without hope... but it has seemed kind of haphazard so far.

Part of my problem may related to having started a new novel yesterday on my birthday, and A Plague of Rats might be drawing my attention away from the last 15k or so of Hope in Hell. Looking at that, though, I realize that at 3k a day I could have Hope done in five days. Even if I drop it down to 2500 and do about 500 a day on the new novel, it will still be done soon.

That makes me feel much better. It also inspires me to get back to work on it, of course. The sooner I'm done with Hope in Hell, the sooner I can turn my full attention to A Plague of Rats, which is shaping up to be an interesting bit of work. Russ and I discussed a great deal about it on the trip back from Kansas last night, and I'm looking forward to putting my main character through hell.

We're such horrible people, aren't we? (grin)

But in this case, the character (no, he does not have a name yet), is going to bring a good amount of the trouble down on himself by starting out the book as a somewhat pretentious guy who should have kept his mouth shut rather than getting into a shouting match with someone who had the power to make his life hell on a good many different levels. He is, as is pointed out to him, going to learn a thing or two about humility.

It's going to be fun!

I also have to remind myself that even I don't 'live' entirely on writing. Sure, that's what most of my life revolves around, and it should... but just on the creative side (we won't talk about house work and such), photography and digital art plainly take some of that creative energy as well. The photography also gets me out of the house and away from the computer -- also a good thing, of course. Unfortunately, my collection is in such absolute chaos and I'm still trying various ways to get it organized. I'm starting to think a portable hard drive, with nothing but pictures on it, might be a good start. It would give me plenty of room to sort things. I just don't think it would be enough to do them all.

Best not to think about that right now.

While I've written bits and pieces of this little note, I've also gone back and worked on the stories, and tried to get the lighting right on a Daz picture. Each time I changed the lighting, I had to let the picture render, which takes a while. So while it went through that work, I wrote a little more.

I now have only 481 words left to make my 3k for the day. I've done a little over 500 on Plague and about 1500 on Hope. Excellent! It's only about 6 pm, and I should have this writing done before I make dinner.

Well, except that Russ and I went out for a while and now it's ten and I still haven't done the last 470 words. I am worn out, too! I need to get those last few hundred words done -- especially since this doesn't count, being a blog post. And I need to get the 2YN class material ready to post.

I spent some time talking to Russ about the new novel, too, which always helped again. I'm still out there with so many things yet to define. I know that part of the magic system is based around rune stones that represent different aspects of the world, and there could be thousands of such symbols for a master of the art. Knowing each rune, what it represents, and how to use that aspect is a difficult art to learn, even for those few who have the affinity for magic.

Okay. Time to go get some real work done. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 02, 2007

Moving into March

March is always an odd month for me, but it seems to be working at being even stranger than usual this year. We started with a two day storm, and blizzard conditions into tomorrow. We were supposed to be heading to Kansas where Russ has a job interview, but lucky for us the people there agreed to wait until next week. We couldn't have gotten out of our driveway, let alone out of Nebraska.

So we will be going down midweek next week, and driving back on my birthday -- which is fine by me. I love trips, and this is the only excuse we've had for one in a long time. I'm looking forward to it.

Are we going to move to Kansas? It depends on a number of things, including if the job would pay enough to make it worthwhile for us to go. Russ thinks it's something he'd like to do. I think it would be an interesting area to live in. (Hey, I’m in Nebraska. Yes, even Kansas looks interesting from here.)

The idea of moving everything, including the six cats -- not such a great idea. Though Russ did point out that the bulk of what we have to move is really the easy stuff -- books. They may be heavy, but they're easy to pack.

I've lived in this house longer than I've lived anywhere in my life. My parents moved every few months when I as growing up, until the day my father decided to move on without the rest of us. For a very long time, it felt unnatural to stay in one place for more than a year. Now, after more than twenty years here, I'm not really so sure I'm ready to move on to a new adventure.

But part of me wants to go, start over, change things... maybe be a new person.

Now, on to the usual topic -- writing!

I am still managing to write the 3k a day. I've had a couple days where it gave me trouble because I was ill, but since then, I'm back to normal and enjoying it again. I'm about 28k into the last Dark Staff book. I fear it is still coming in too short, but it's much better than the previous version. I'll be able to work with this one, rather than starting from scratch again. I only have a few pages left to edit in the previous book, and I need to get that done and off to the copyeditor.

One of the odd parts about being prolific as a writer, at least for me, is that it spills over into other things. Obviously, I'm an avid photographer. I took over 10,000 pictures with my Sony DSCH1 the first year I had it, and I think another 7000 since January. This is with hardly leaving the house, which is really kind of frightening when I think about it. When I last went to the zoo, I told Russ that I hadn't taken nearly as many pictures as usual. He thought that meant maybe 60 or 70. I'd taken 137 -- but that was less than half of what I would normally take. I was only there about three hours. (grin)

I have written 182,000 words so far this year. They've been an easy set of words since much of it is rewrite of older material. That's rewrite, not edit. When I rewrite, I do exactly that -- start from scratch and retype everything, with the older material as a guide. It's sometimes easier than writing something new, and sometimes not. But either way, it's a lot of typing. In a few days, I'll be starting a new novel, though. And I may throw yet another short one in there for March Madness at FM this year. I have an outline I've had on file for a couple years now, and it may be time to write the first draft.

I do have Vision done. I have a little work to do for DTF. But I'm not going to do much of anything but write, take pictures and play with art programs until after my birthday. It's my present to me -- to just do some fun stuff for a few days.

There is one problem looming in the near future, though -- and that's the trip and my word count. I would like to keep getting the 3k a day, but I think I'm going to have to just make sure I average that by the end of the month instead, so that I can have two or three days away from the house without worrying about it. Oh, I'll still write each day, but not the full 3k. I'll have most of that done before I go, that way I won't feel stressed about it when I get back.

Should I feel stressed about it at all? Of course not. It's not like I have to write the 3k. But I enjoy looking at the nice line of numbers on my spreadsheet, and I work well with goals. Sticking to those goals is very important to me and especially when I'm doing well. I know that I'm basically a lazy person, and if I have an excuse to stop doing something, I'll let it drift off until I can't get caught up, and then I get annoyed. It's just the way I am. I know it, and I compensate for it when I can. Probably, I overcompensate, but it hardly matters since it's just me.

That's the part I think many people don't quite understand. You can't do this kind of thing if you really don’t want to, and you absolutely can't do it for someone else. The only thing that really drives me is having stories I want to tell.

So I will be writing a bit more than 3k a day for the next few days. It's a challenge.

Sometimes those challenges are important just to make me sit up and take notice. Sometimes things just get too easy, and it's time to turn the fire up for a little while. That's what I plan to do for the next few days. It should be fun! Posted by Picasa