Sunday, February 25, 2007

When writing is like pulling teeth...

...all you can do is hope for the best, stockpile chocolate, and promise yourself an episode of fluff afterward.

Last night, before Ladette to Lady (an interesting British TV show involving the scum of female society and a 50's-style finishing school), I was at 27,500 words. That's 50 single-spaced 12-point pages. Not too shabby.

The only problem here is that I'd been sitting there for two days, wanting to get to 30k (slightly over a third of the way through, I think) but unable to sit down and write my way there.

Finally, after Ladette to Lady (and then Numb3rs, my geeky crime show of choice), I found some inspiration and sat down with the view of hitting 30k. (I tend to hit my writing stride around 11:30. It was 11:15 at this point.) The writing was coming, but I was fading. At 12:01 this morning, I stopped writing at 29,400 words with the idea of getting up early before church to top it off to 30k. (I must be crazy.) After turning off the computer, going to bed, getting back up, turning the computer back on, and saving the newest version of the novel to my jump drive in a slightly compulsive sudden need to back up, I got to sleep pretty easily.

I did not get up very easily. I only just managed to get dressed and fire up the computer, and peck out a hundred words or so before it was time to leave. In my defense, I wrote myself to a point where I really needed to figure out what was going on - an acquaintance of my MC's family burst into their suites demanding an explanation for why both their sons had run off the night, and I had no idea how Lady Freaked-Out knew to connect it to my MC's family - but it was still pretty lackluster. Total wordcount at this point: 29,500.

After church, we came home and ate lunch, and I sat at the computer with my laser focus set on 30k. I was going to get those last 500 words if it killed me, and I had four Hershey's Nuggets to help me along. I also promised myself that once I saw those wonderful digits, I could go upstairs and watch an episode of my fluff of choice, Ouran High School Host Club. (It's an adorable show. Extremely silly...most of the time.)

I figured out where I was going and wrote for about 20 minutes. I rounded off a section nicely, finished off my chocolate, and pressed the 'Recount' button.


That's not a nice feeling.

Some people might say it's close enough, but I was raised on NaNoWriMo wordcount constraints. (Well, not raised, but...) 49,994 and 50,000 aren't the same thing, so neither are 29.992 and 30k.

Eventually I found where the next section started and wrote the first paragraph, and I've set myself up for a nice night of writing tonight. (First line of the section: "The best thing that could be said about that evening's private audience with the monarchs was that it was short." This'll be fun.) But that last paragraph this afternoon was like pulling teeth. Sometimes I really do resent the little wordcounter, but it's how I learned to think of progress, so I'll take it.

And as a postscript: My novel abruptly took a turn for the "coming of age" brand of story, but I don't mind that too horribly. Makes it easier to place.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Anons Get On My Nerves

Well, I was responding to a comment a few minutes ago (hi, Patrick) and I suddenly realized that, and I quote,

This blog does not allow anonymous comments.

And I kinda went, "Huh. Don't remember setting that."

But did I change it? Nope.

Know why? Because anonymous commentors tend to get on my nerves.

I mean, granted, not all anons are bad. Many on other blogs have had nice and/or useful things to say. But all too often, people use that nice bit of anonymity to bash, flame, troll, and otherwise pointlessly insult people without even wondering if they should because hey, they're anonymous.

Am I cutting down on the comments I'm likely to recieve? Yeah, probably. I'm really okay with that.

And to anyone who's reading this and has commented anonymously, that's really okay. Unless you're a nasty anon, like some of the ones I've seen at Pub Rants. Then it's not.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Anatomy of a Bookcase

I'm a packrat. I will cheerfully admit that I'm a packrat. (My mother will cheerfully admit that I'm a packrat.) This is particuarly defined when it comes to books. As of last count (and yes, I do keep count), I own 111 books. Add in the manga, that number jumps to 131.

Of those 131 books, how many authors do I own at least one book by? 56.

How many do I own two or more books by? 18.

Three or more? 12.

More than one series? 2.

One series and stand-alones? 2. (Different 2. Above was Garth Nix and Tamora Pierce; here it's Eoin Colfer and Cornelia Funke.)

Of those 131 books, how many are part of a series? 74. (This is including all of the manga (which is comprised of two series: 5 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa, and 15 of Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, all of which were worth the $10 per volume). This is not including books which I bought the first of the series and stopped, or just haven't gotten around to the next ones yet. Books fitting that description: 15.)

Average length of a series that I own? 3.375 books (This is NOT including the manga, because throwing a 5 and a 15 in there would have really messed up the averages.)

Trilogies I own the first two books of and am waiting for the third? 2 (Huh. Thought it was more than that.)

And now, for a genre/subject breakdown, leaving out the manga (I guess Fruits Basket counts as contemporary fantasy, and Fullmetal Alchemist is definitely historical science fantasy. How's that for an overly specific categorical tag?):

Nonfiction: A resounding and amazing 6.
Fiction: 105.

Fiction is further subdivided into:

Historical fiction: 9.
>>(Historical fiction, England, circa Henry VIII: 6.)
Contemporary fiction: 3.
Science fantasy: 13.
Other fantasy: 80.

I've heard it said that you can tell a lot about a woman by looking in her purse.

Well, you can tell a lot about me by looking at my bookcase.

You know what? I think this would make a neat meme. (And I'm a nosy soul.) Just for grins, give us a general breakdown of your bookshelf, by number of authors, genre, series, anything you want. (That and I've always been interested in the rate of information spread.)

I tag Carrie.

(Feel free to ignore me.)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Reflections

My two new favorite verses:

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalms 34:18

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." - Deuteronomy 31:8

I've read many, many stories of an author "beating the odds," as it were - rising up from a broken home, maybe, or a wildly unsupportive one, to become famous. Sometimes, like today, I feel like I have to represent for the writers with parents who are also writers and who understand what they're talking about when they mentioned the mother of all plotbunnies at the dinner table. I have to represent for people with happy home lives and supportive communities.

Because people like that - blessed people like me - still have our share of crud to deal with. I've been having a rough time handling a lot of the stress in my life right now, and for the first time in a long time I felt really at peace with my world as it is...okay, I've lost my train of thought. Ouch. matter what happens to me this week, next week, next month...I am blessed.

The song says to count your blessings. What're yours?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Advice for the Ages

Just a short one today. I'm coming off a migraine and thus am not likely to be altogether coherent. Besides, I have to wait for the hot-water-heater to recharge.

But I was speaking with my mother earlier (my mother and I have a very good relationship) about how a link to my blog turned up on another person's blog (which I'm flattered by, really). My mother's a writer, too, and a good one. She's working on rewriting her most recent novel. (As you know, I'm working on writing my most recent novel.) I was a little bit gleeful about the whole thing and I made a bit of a joke about the beginnings of a fruitful writerly network. She said that I would have to keep up my blog now, because it might start getting traffic other than my mother. I challenged that she never left comments, and she just said she was a lurker.

My witty response: "Lurkers don't sell books."


"People who don't finish books don't sell books."


Monday, February 5, 2007

Writing and...well, DDR.

Apart from being a Mento addict, I'm also an unrepentant DDR addict. (For those unfamiliar, DDR is Dance Dance Revolution, the newish game for most game consoles which plays songs and flashes arrows on the screen, and there's a dance pad you have to step on as the arrows flash up. There's a learning curve to it, but it's a lot of fun...and extremely addicting.) When a completely unathletic person such as myself will play something physically active for over an hour, you know there's a problem.

That's the best workout I've had in days, though.

Apart from that, I did manage three pages of writing today, which isn't nearly as much as it sounds like because A. I've regressed and handwrote them and B. they were one side only. Still, it's progress. I'm officially past both the quarter-point of my projected wordcount (I have 20k) and of the story. I love it when that happens.

Now I have thank-you notes to write and Heroes to gear up for. Mmm. Heroes.

By the way, this lovely lady has a very good post on things that make her put books down and how to avoid them. You should read it.