Category: Musical Interlude

Draft Complete, and Other Housekeeping

I have a working draft of The Unseeing in my file folder. It’s been sent off to a few readers now to see how the greater populace takes it. I did two rounds of revisions before I shared it out, and cut about 7,000 words from the original draft. I think it’s in decent shape, but I also thought my third draft of The Unraveling was in decent shape and ended up doing a major overhaul in the fifth and sixth.

One thing I really wish I could find is a real crit group of other writers I could trade feedback for. I’m sure in my city of more than a million people there must be a few, but I have no idea how to find one. Then there’s the fact that I’d be coming into the group with two completed novels for critiquing. And the fact that I’d prefer a slow, torturous death to sitting in front of strangers and reading my rough work aloud. Is there an online-only crit group out there somewhere?

Seriously, is there?

While I’m waiting for the feedback from my beta readers to trickle in, it’s back to the grind of querying for me. I got some helpful notes with one rejection that I want to apply, so that’s my focus for the next couple weeks. Then I plan on spending a good amount of time outlining the next book. My tentative plan is to start writing it for NaNo 2013 in November, but I’ll need a solid outline if I’m going to hit 50K without losing my mind like I did the last time I attempted it. My outlines are no small feat – the last one was 6,000 words of point-form notes.

It’s nice to have the next couple months planned out, although the workload seems like it’s a bit light without major editing or new content to write. Might be a good time to start developing some of the other story ideas I have kicking around in my head… this song keeps coming up on iTunes and sparking scenes and ideas. I’m listening, universe…

Statistics FTW

Now that I’ve started my next novel I’ve been logging a bit more information about my writing than I did the last time. Whereas before I only kept track of word count by chapter (and only to see how much I was cutting during editing) now I have a spreadsheet made up where I’m recording all kinds of useful information on my daily writing habits. Word count, time of day, location, which scene I was working on, it’s all getting documented. And I’m starting to notice some patterns.

While I try to write whenever I have a bit of time, I’m far, far more productive in the evening than I am in the morning. Literally twice as much. And trying to write in the afternoon, when my kids are home, is pretty much pointless. I also get a lot done – A LOT – if I go and sit in a coffee shop alone for awhile. (I did this last night and wrote more than 2,500 words in about two hours, which while not impressive for some, is a lot better than my average, especially when there are people to watch and eavesdrop on). That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up writing in the mornings or when I also have to entertain the littles, but I am going to go easier on myself from now on when I feel like I should have gotten more done.

I also notice that my chapters (all three of them so far) are shorter in this book than they were with the last. They averaged just about 5,000 words in The Unravelling, but in the Unseeing they’re just over 3,000. I’ll have to write a little further before I can see how this affects the pacing, but so far, I like it.

And, some early numbers are in:

Not too shabby for seven (non-consecutive) days of work! I wish I’d kept track of all this info before so I could see if I’m keeping pace with last time. I would guess I’m going faster. Having an outline is helping to keep me organized a lot.

If you’re at all interested, this is what I was listening to at the cafe last night while I was writing:

Poor Callie and Matthieu. Most of the time I think she’d be the one singing it to him, but then I’ll listen to it again and change my mind.

I’ve got six sentences scheduled to post tomorrow. Enjoy and happy weekend!

Let’s Be Honest Here

I just ctl+A+deleted a big long whiny post about how I feel like I’m sabotaging myself and not living up to my potential blah blah blah.

Reservation for the Pity Party, table of one, come this way, please.

Then I read this comic by the Oatmeal.

And right after that, this post by the Bloggess.

And together, they showed me two things:

  1. I’m probably more awesome than I feel right now.
  2. It’s okay to not be brave, sometimes.

And also, maybe, that when life has you down, the universe will offer you a sign so you can pick yourself up again. So thanks, universe. Message received, loud and clear.

This is what’s going on repeat tonight:

Time to get back to work.

Oh Dear

Callie’s in a pretty tough spot right now. Things are looking dire. Will anyone come to her rescue?

This is what I was listening to this afternoon when I dumped the kids in Ikea Smaland and then wrote in the cafeteria for an hour:

I think if I buckle down and find some time every day I’m as little as one week away from finishing…

For Your Listening Pleasure…

I saw Bloc Party play tonight, and it reminded me that one of their songs is in my inspiration for writing playlist.

Usually the songs I post are for Callie, but this one’s all for Dane.

Fantastic show.

Back At It

I went camping for four days over the long weekend and missed being able to write the whole time, but now that I’m home again, showered and alone in my little corner, my mind feels slow and my fingers feel stupid. Neither of them seem to be able to accomplish anything tonight, nor are they motivated to try. Too much campfire smoke in my eyes? Too much cider in my belly? Too much fresh air in my lungs? Hard to say, really. I’m going to do what I always do when I have fits like this and stare at my doc file for a bit until it shames me into writing something. After that, things should get better.

In other, smaller news, I pasted a big chunk of my story into I Write Like and came up with this:

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I happen to like Margaret Atwood and her books quite a lot, particularly Oryx and Crake, so I consider that to be quite a compliment. The fact that she’s an awesome Canadian author is just the icing on the cake.

All right, that’s enough procrastination for tonight, I think. At the very least, I have some outline stuff to write down.

(did I just use the o-word? Yes, yes I did. It’s this new thing I’m trying called stop forgetting everything)

I’ll leave you with the song that I have a hard time believing wasn’t written with Callie in mind – I can’t stop listening to it, because it feels so right.

Have a peek at the lyrics if the weirdness of the video is throwing you off.

Man, this post is as disjointed and scattered as my head right now.

Chapter Breaks

Something that I’m not so great at is where to end one chapter and start a new one. I like to cut them off at a point where there’s a little bit of suspense, to create a bit of incentive to turn the page – the best books for me are the ones that I can’t just stop reading and put down when I reach the end of the chapter, as I so often promise to do when it’s very late at night, because that chapter ending totally leaves me hanging and wondering what the hell is going to happen. So then I just read one more page… and the next thing I know it’s 4 a.m. and I’ve just read an entire book in a day.

But I’m off track now.

A lot of times I have a preconceived notion of where a chapter should end before I’ve actually written it. I don’t know if that’s a good idea when it comes to plotting or not, but that’s the direction my thoughts usually go when I’m thinking about structure (which is seldom). But then I’ll check my word count and realize my one chapter is actually about 12,000 words, which is just way too long any way you look at it. A 40 page chapter is just not reasonable in my mind. So then I have to split it into two smaller ones. My orginal ‘chapter 3’ was actually close to 24,000 words. True story. It ended up splitting into four. But then it’s kind of cool, because it’s way better to be able to say “I’ve finished six chapters so far” instead of a fairly measly three, and you feel like you’ve accomplished so much more. Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to getting to be able to write “Chapter 10” because, hey, double-digits, that’s kind of a neat milestone, right? And then when I checked my word count for chapter 9 I saw it was around 11,000 words, because once again I had this idea stuck in my head of where it had to end. Oops. I bisected it rather successfully, I think, and got to write both “Chapter 10” and “Chapter 11” tonight. See? I didn’t even know I was that far along.

I wonder if it would be better to just write the whole thing without worrying about where the chapters end, and add that all in afterwards, when it’s done?

And now for a musical interlude. The overly large section of the book formerly known as Chapter 9 was brought to you by the following songs, which have given me some inspiration and/or insight into a few of my characters’ motivations and emotions. One’s newer, and one’s an oldie but a goodie:

Thanks, iPod. Once again you have served me well.

Chapter 11 is going to be SO MUCH FUN to write.


I put this song on repeat in iTunes tonight and worked my way through the part I’ve been dreading to write all week. Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were tears. But it wasn’t as hard and there weren’t as many tears as I expected.

Tomorrow I move on and while I can’t really say the story’s going to get any happier, this is as bad as it gets for the next little while.