Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 225

Getting back on the wagon has proven to be harder than I thought. It's especially difficult when I had different things pulling me or distracting me. I know, I know. No excuses, and I am not making any.  It's all my fault.

It's just that writing is such a lonely profession that not only do I have to do it on my own, I also have to rely on myself to get things done. There are no bosses, no colleagues to push me. There are no deadlines. There are no penalties. It's all just between me and me, and I am the least strict person in the world. "You want to slack off today? Go ahead..."

But. Obviously it has worked before. Before my vacation knocked me out off the wagon, I was doing pretty well. I got over 40,000 words in and finished writing Part One. I'm about 10000 words into Part Two now. And Part Three is about 3/5 done. I guess I am just impatient. I want the first draft done NOW, but at the same time, I am a slacker.

Like I said, I have no excuses. No one to blame and no one to thank either. It's all me.  So, the question is: do I want this bad enough? Do I have what it takes to finish this book?

On the other hand, I've had some really awesome dreams lately. In one, I had a complete short story played out: beginning, middle and end, plus themes and characters. That da awesome!  Last night, I had another dream with some very interesting plot and characters. I literally  woke up mid-dream because I didn't want to lose it. I remember dreaming about "I've got to get up and write it down!" and then I was becoming foggy and in my dreams, I traced back everything to remember all the scenes in my dreams. It's one of the most bizarre things.  And I did eventually will myself from sleep to get up and write the notes of my dream down.

Below is my sleep cycle last night (I used the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app on the iPhone to record my sleep cycles -- neat little thing). It's surprisingly quite accurate:

Between hour one and 4, I was pretty much in deep, restful sleep. But then you see a spike at around hour 4.  That's about 4 a.m. and that was exactly when I had the vivid dream and woke up.  I remember looking at the clock after I got up, and it was about 4:15 a.m. I was up for about an hour, then I slowly got back to sleep and had a couple more dreams after that (which I don't remember).  Fascinating.

500 words, 43000 words total
140 days and 138000 words to go

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tips on Show vs. Tell

You want a tip on how to practice doing "show, not tell"? Here's one I've always given:

Go watch a movie. Better yet, pause the DVD at your favorite scene and replay it. Now, start writing the scene: from describing the setting, location, background, etc. to the characters to the dialogue and action.

Do not summarize. Do not "tell" us things like "she's hungry." Do not interpret the scene for us. Focus only on what you can report on: facts, action, things that you can actually observe: "She rummaged through the garbage, then took out a half-eaten apple and chomped on it, then swallowed the core, too." Describe things in terms of the five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

Do it in details -- don't skip, take your time -- until you can completely recapture that scene in literary form and the readers can experience the same thing without ever watching that scene themselves.


The next best thing is read some screenplays. Not for prose, but for the way they write scenes after scenes of "show, not tell" and yet still convey the emotions, thoughts, etc. of the character clearly.

The Green Mile is a good one to start, so is The Talented Mr. Ripley. But really, just pick up any award-winning screenplay and study.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 220

Wow! Day 220. My 500-words-a-day challenge is more than half-over already. Only 145 days left.

Sad to say, I haven't really made a lot of progress since day 149.

The good news is that I think my slump is over. I am writing again. Hopefully, I'm done with the mid-book blues (I'm still struggling with what Part 2 is about, and try to make it engaging). It's time to move on.

I can't wait to start writing on the "other" novel!

500 words, 42500 words total
145 days and 138500 words to go

Friday, March 5, 2010

Random Stuff

Question you should never ask a kid: "How many hamsters can you fit in your mouth?"

Something you should not mention in your query: "I am a sex offender and I used to stalk my editor."

If playing the lottery is a poor-man's retirement plan, I'd be working until the day I die.

It's been a while

Yeah, I don't know what happened. I guess I was too busy doing something else (or nothing), but I haven't updated this blog for, what, like a month now?

And what happened to my 500-word-a-day challenge, you ask. Sadly, the answer: I've fallen off the wagon.

The good news is, I'm picking myself up again. My beta sent me an email last week asking me WhereTF my stuff was. I guess it was exactly the kick in the pants that I needed. Yesterday, I added about 600 words to the WIP. I'm still stalling a bit, since I'm not sure exactly how the next plot element should unfold. I have like six or seven scenarios playing out in my head. I just need to pick up and write it.

But I'm "this" much closer to getting PART 2 done, and PART 3 could practically write itself. LOL. So, I am hoping I can have the first draft done by the start of the summer. I hope!