This isn’t working, folks. Not the book, but blogging the process. I keep thinking about what I’m going to say here rather than there. I’ve barely begun and already it’s tanking my concentration.
The story is a bit more complicated, and it’s a new genre for me. So for now, I think I need to go dark on blogging about it. That does NOT mean I won’t pop in here to let you know how it’s going, or if I wrestle a writing-related bear and want to discuss it. Or if anything else happens.
It’s been a few days now since the big move. I feel much better than before. The brain fog was real, and the extra pressure of word counts did not help at all. I didn’t just move; I upheaved my entire life.
I don’t know if doing this will be very very good, or very very bad, but it had to be done. Trying something new is scary.
I know it’s from a commercial moving site, but this post describes exactly how I feel right now. Everything hurts. Everything. And I didn’t do the actual moving work.
Worst of all, I will have to do this all over again when I find a job and a place. I just can’t even think that far ahead right now. Selling the house put so much extra stress on me that I suspect it made things worse. Or maybe it’s because I’m not a kid anymore.
My mom and I went out to run errands today, and she was trying to show me where stuff was. Nothing she said made any sense. It’s doubtful I’ll be able to remember it without googling a map.
Anyway, I’ve been slowly getting back into the story mindset I had before the move, when I wrote the outline. There is no way I will make the NaNoWriMo 50K goal, but I might be able to finish the book by January.
First, let me say that the move went pretty smoothly. Dad engaged a couple of Mennonite dudes and they showed up at 7:00 am this morning with a trailer, loaded all my stuff, drove for three hours, and then dropped it off in two different places. Thanks, guys. Thanks, Dad.
Photo by Elizabeth West
Second, I am totally dead. In order to be ready, I had to get up at stupid o’clock after not sleeping very well. It’s going to be a really long day for the Mennonite dudes; they probably aren’t even home yet and they started earlier than I did.
Third, there will be no NaNoWriMo’ing today; I am so tired I can barely type.
Fourth, I was not selected for Pitch Wars, so I guess that’s it for Tunerville currently. I have feelings about that; I spent so long with it, but I’m too tired to unpack them right now. At least now I can concentrate on the new book.
For the time being, I’m literally the nerd in her mother’s basement until I find a job in the nearby bigger city or somewhere else. Thankfully, I’m in my own comfy bed.
I’m not going to miss Old City, but I will miss people, and I guess I’ll miss my house. It was kind of annoying, but it was home for quite a while. I cried a little about leaving it. But someone new will live there now, and he’ll probably fix it up. It needs someone to love it and improve it. I needed a new start, and a bigger job market.
So I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with a word count.
Spent all day packing and cleaning. Am too tired to breathe. Every part of my body hurts. My hair hurts.
Tomorrow, very early, I move. I’m not doing most of the work, so hopefully by the time I drive 200 miles, unpack some stuff, and rest a little, I’ll be able to crank out some pages. I’ve got a long drive to think about it.
This is my last night in this house. Though I won’t miss this city, I think I’ll miss the house a little. It was super annoying a lot of the time, but it was home for quite a while.
If I could have made a life here, I might have stayed, but there was just no way. Obviously, I don’t belong here. Well, if I get everything I ever wanted, I’m not going to complain!
I’m behind already. Well, the same thing happened last year and I hit the target, although I did start with 15,000 words already written.
Today, I signed the closing paperwork on my house, a rather emotional event. Then I came home and did some packing. I only have two days before I move — most of it’s already done. All I have to do is:
pack my dishes and the things I’m actively using
put all the rubbish in the bin for one last pickup
take some stuff nobody wants to the thrift store
drink a gallon of milk (it won’t survive a three-hour drive)
and do some large loads of laundry.
I’m also leaving a bunch of stuff for the buyer. He’s getting all the appliances, some furniture, and a few things I don’t need anymore or can easily replace later (cleaning stuff, snow shovel, etc.). None of it’s junk; it’s all stuff he can use.
The Catalyst is a working title. I don’t know if it will be the actual title. But! I did finish my outline last night, so I sort of know where this story is going, although I have no idea what will happen.
I’ll post a word count, etc. every day during NaNoWriMo.
Posts may be short, especially during the first week, since I’m moving and
hopefully at least temping while I continue the job hunt in a bigger market.
It bugs me that I didn’t make more progress on editing Book 2 this year. I got distracted by the conlang and life things. I decided to proceed as if nothing will happen with Pitch Wars and Tunerville. While I will be disappointed I’m not selected, writing New Book will undoubtedly take my mind off it for a bit.
The advice “Write what you want to read” has produced some really amazing works. I mostly read genre fiction. I’ve been struggling to land on a type in which to specialize. When I decided to get serious about my writing, I originally intended to do whatever I wanted, regardless of genre. No restrictive branding slots for me!
Of course, publishing and marketing don’t work that way. Bookstores have categories, and if you do well in one, you tend to get locked into it. Only huge success a la Stephen King allows you to break out and write whatever and still make money, and even then, you’ll have readers who eschew any non-conforming works.
For the record, I’m a die-hard SK fan who really liked Joyland.
While I enjoy literary fiction, I’m not sure it’s best for me as a writer. Secret Book, despite its ignominious end as a trunk novel, taught me how to elevate my writing. It contains some of the best prose I’ve ever produced, even if the premise was cringingly awful. My grad school writing professor, a Mark Twain scholar, told me that no time spent writing is wasted, and she is right.
Neither is time spent reading. Even as an unpublished writer, I get questions from non-writers about craft, and the two things I emphasize most are writing (butt-in-seat!) and reading. Although there really are no new stories, there are as many ways to write them as there are writers, and reading will fill your inspirational well. If you read widely, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re a screenwriter, you must watch movies (and read
scripts). It does not matter what kind. Despite what certain directors have
said recently, there is value in all cinema.
Speaking of that, I just want to disavow people of the notion that comic books, horror films, and comic book films can’t be recognized as fine art.
Some of the most beloved classics are fantasy. Peter Pan, The Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland . . . I’m sure you can think of some. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus is arguably science fiction but I had it twice in college.
When Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Return of the King won 11 Oscars in 2004, including Best Picture, I cried. It was the penultimate film from a book that has set a nearly unsurpassed standard for the high fantasy genre, a film with elves and orcs and hobbits and dwarves and all manner of beasties, with a villain who is nothing more than an immense, ever-open eye. I cried because it was like the opening of the Black Gate in real life, behind which the books and movies we loved were dismissed and imprisoned.
And it’s given us movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Story arcs with iconic and beloved characters like Captain America and Iron
Man, whose actors can play them with depth and nuance because the writers want
us to see them that way and there’s room now to do it.
No longer are comic books a joke; now they’re winning Oscars for costume design and music (Black Panther, in 2019), and even acting. Heath Ledger’s posthumous award for playing the Joker might have seemed a nod toward the tragic cutoff of a promising career, but it absolutely was not. Anyone who saw The Dark Knight knew they were watching a darkly brilliant performance, and it didn’t matter that he played a comic book character.
To be fair, Martin
Scorsese has a point in that Marvel’s dominated the movie house to the
point where indie-style pictures can’t get greenlit easily or at all.
Publishers have behaved similarly in blowing off new and midlist
authors for fiction with mass-market appeal, because publishing is a business,
Looking at my past works, I see speculative elements in every one of them (with the exception of Rose’s Hostage, another trunk novel). Very well then. Tunerville and Book 2 are urban fantasy, with ghosts and portals but set in the real world. It leads to you didn’t think I was actually going to tell you what happens, did you?
Now I shall try my hand at a full-on fantasy.
It may be a complete failure, but as my professor said, it
won’t be a complete waste of time. Since these genres have become commercially
viable, that gives me hope. Writers who enjoy fantastic fiction have a shot. But
we still need to be true to ourselves, even while hoping it hits that sweet
spot leading to publication and even moderate success.
We want to write it, and we want you to be able to read it.
That’s a worthy reason to keep doing this. To everyone participating in
NaNoWriMo, good luck!
Yes, I’m taking a stab at it. This year, it’s going to be a bit harder, as I have a LOT going on.
What’s Going On?
Hallelujah, I’m finally getting out of the town I’ve been
stuck in for-fricking-ever. I’ve been job hunting forever, and there is no
growth here. Plus, I’ve priced myself out of the small market. So what I need
is a bigger market.
My crappy house has sold, and I’ll be able to move anywhere, though it will probably have to be within Nearby BiggerCity for now. I don’t really want to be there, either. However, the universe has been throwing favorable signs at me, and I’ve thrown a bucket of wishes at it, so we’ll see.
Since I won’t make enough profit to move somewhere cool and then get a job, I will be the literal
nerd in her mother’s basement. It’s just temporary, however, until I find
something. If I find work out of state, Oliver and I can just tootle away. I
can come back for my stored stuff later.
Photo: Elizabeth West
Closing is November 7 and I have to move 200 miles and two locations away before then, so this is going to take some organization.
Since I’ve no clue where I’m going to end up or what I’ll need, the new homeowner, a younger person starting out whose grandparents are buying the house for him (aww), is purchasing some of my furniture. I’ve sold a lot of the rest on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Only a few things are going with me; the rest will be in storage.
Yes, I’ll have to move twice, unless something happens between now and then. The next two weeks will be key. It’s a little difficult to pack while you’re still actually using the things you need to pack.
This may not even happen, but if I’m chosen as a mentee, I
will be revising one book at the same time I’m writing another. Gah!
There’s a new idea floating around in my head, though I might actually write Book 3 just to get it out and done. If nothing comes of Pitch Wars, then I can take my time with the conlang and revision of Books 2 and 3. It’s possible to publish earlier works later after you’ve broken through (please, universe, let me break through).
Several tasks remain before I’m ready to dive into this year’s project.
Book 3 is already outlined in my head and has plenty of notes. New Idea is currently nothing but a blurb I wrote while practicing query letters. Regardless of which I choose, I should at least hit the high points to keep myself on track.
Music to write by
Last year’s Writing Music playlist will suffice. If I make a new one, I’ll share. I still have loads of albums to pick from.
I don’t mean a schedule, but the way I prepare and how I get
into each session. Since I’m trying to cultivate a better writing habit, I’ve
spent some time thinking about what works best for me.
Sitting in one place at basically the same time
of day (usually evening, especially if I’m working)
Reading a little where I left off (this only
works if I’m writing from start to finish, which, as you know, I don’t always
I want to talk about that last one. Sometimes, when you sit down to write, it’s hard to get started. Long ago, when I was stuck once, I did an email workshop called Daily Writes, created by Shery Arrieta Russ. I discovered that it helped to free-write for a few minutes about what I intended to accomplish that day. After finishing the workshop, I kept the habit as a way to unblock myself when I couldn’t seem to get started. All the blah-de-blah can be deleted later and doesn’t affect my word count.
I don’t expect to get all the way through Book 3 (or whatever) in November, but last year, I finished Book 2 the following month. Since I’ll be in a new city with no money (until I find a job) and no life, I reckon I’ll have lots of time.