It’s been weighing on me that I’ve fallen silent here. Most of the stuff I have to say about writing, I’ve been saying at the Moody Muses on Wednesdays. And I haven’t really had much to say otherwise. Life is life, deeply interesting to me but unlikely to be as interesting to anyone else.
Assuming I sell the mess in progress, I will put excerpts up, either here or somewhere else. Why? Because I think they help sell books. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve bought because I read an excerpt, loved the writing and had to have the book. I own 1,300 books, some of which I haven’t read; I have 18 books checked out of the library. I’m nowhere near a shortage of reading material.
Yet I keep buying new books, because I see a review, or I hear buzz. I want to know more, so I hunt for the author’s website, and I hope there’ll be an excerpt there, one that’ll tell me this is a book I want to read, this is a book I’ll love reading. I make a note of it in the book I keep in my purse, and I plan to head for the bookstore.
I could do all that if I went to the bookstore and found the book and opened it, sure. But I rarely go to the bookstore just to browse any more. I go with a mission, with something in mind. Half the time, I’m there as a detour between Point A and Point B, and I don’t have time to wander. So I don’t browse, and I don’t go looking for that book that sounded good in that review I read last week.
In the interests of candor, sometimes an excerpt will make me decide a book isn’t for me, after all. I don’t think that matters, in the end. The author isn’t losing a sale she would have otherwise had. If the excerpt doesn’t work for me, the same text, read in a bookstore, isn’t going to work for me either. However I make the decision, it’s the same decision: I’m not buying the book.
Given all that, given that I’m writing for readers like me, you can be sure I will be putting up an excerpt as soon as there’s a good reason for it.
Holy moly, I didn’t realize until tonight that it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Gah! The main reason for my disappearing act is that I’ve been deep, deep, deep in my story world — I’m not sure how many words I’ve written because I’m not tracking it any more, but I know it’s been a lot. The ms. is 209 pages and nearly 64k words long. Most of what I’ve written in the last month is going to need overhauling, but I’m learning I’m okay with that. I’m starting to think I might be the kind of writer who needs to figure out her story by writing it. Who knew?
I’ve also been baking — the madness continues. I’ve made brownies and pancakes from scratch, (in the usually-make-it-from-mix category), and I’ve made lemon-cornmeal cookies and cornbread (in the revisiting-old-favorites category), and I’ve made orange-cranberry scones in (the baking-something-for-the-first-time category). So far, nothing’s been bad, and I’ve had friends willing and able to help me eat everything.
Of course I’ve been reading, too. Asking if I read is like asking if I breathe. I’ll try to post my thoughts on what I’ve read this weekend.
A while ago, I decided to stop tracking my word count. The negative number in the total column, which showed up every time I made a major cut, just depressed me. A couple of times, it made me reluctant to do what I knew I needed to do, and that’s a problem. So I stopped.
I spent the last week or so writing a couple of scenes. The second one got harder and harder to write as time went on, and I realized my problem was that the scene was boring. I went back to the preceding scene, to figure out what to follow it with, and realized that it didn’t work either, though in this case the problem was with story logistics.
So today I have to cut both scenes, and then I have to figure out what happens instead. 4k words, gone just like that.
Where is time going? Why are the days flying past so quickly? It seems impossible and ridiculous that two and a half weeks should have passed since the last time I posted. And it’s not like I have anything to say–I just felt the need to say whatever. So I’m just going to write a bunch of bits.
Last night my sister and I watched the 2nd and 3rd episodes of Caprica. So far, so good. As far as I can tell, a lot of stuff is being set into motion, and I’m starting to be very curious to see how it all plays out. And not even interested to see how it plays out in a way that leads to the world of Battlestar Galactica–just interested to see how it plays out on its own terms. That being said, there is something connecting both series that I’m curious about. In BSG, Joseph Adama, Bill’s father, is known as a great jurist. (Or at least that’s my recollection.) In Caprica, he’s Joe Adama and he’s a corrupt mob lawyer. I want to know how one man becomes the other. I hope I’ll see it.
Whatever happens, the ads for this week’s episode make me want to see it now. My sister and I talked about watching two episodes every other week; I’m not sure I can wait that long.
After finishing Deborah Crombie’s Necessary As Blood a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely compelled to start the series at the beginning again. I flew through the first seven books–A Share in Death; All Shall Be Well; Leave the Grave Green; Mourn Not Your Dead; Dreaming of the Bones; Kissed a Sad Goodbye; and A Finer End–but now I’m slowing down. I think it’s partly because I remember the more recent books more clearly than the older ones; I’m having a “Oh, yeah, this one…” reaction.
I’ve also been writing: scribbling the first draft of the mess-in-progress, and averaging over 500 words a day, which is a smoking pace for me; and writing posts for The Moody Muses.
I’m unlikely to watch the Super Bowl tonight–it’s not how I want to spend that time–but I hope the New Orleans Saints win. They’re underdogs and that city has been through enough. It’s not even that I don’t want the Colts to lose. It’s really all about the Saints.
I finished Deborah Crombie’s Necessary As Blood on the bus today–it was a fabulous read, that kept me up too late for a couple of nights–and as I was finishing it, I realized one of the things I like about the series, in addition to the ones I’d discovered originally: I like the relationships between the characters. Not just Gemma and Duncan, and their children, but the ones they have with their coworkers and friends, and the relationships those people have with each other. I also read the books to see how those relationships develop, to see what happens next.
Realizing that tonight made me realize that I love the same thing in my two guilty-pleasure TV shows, NCIS and Bones, and it’s one of the many things I loved about Battlestar Galactica. I’m not sure this has any meaning for my writing, but I suspect it does. I know that I’m interested in the connections my characters have with each other. There’s a line in U2′s great song, One: “We get to carry each other.” I think that’s true; I think we carry each other through our friendships. Maybe that’s something I need to hold in mind as I keep scribbling away.
I read fiction for entertainment, relaxation, and enjoyment. If I want to work, I read the history, literary essays, biography, science, and legal books that grace my shelves.
I’ve never been able to put into words why I prefer genre fiction when reading fiction, why, if I’ll read dense histories, I won’t read dense fiction. The above explains it brilliantly.
I am a happy woman.
I didn’t realize until just now how long it’s been since I had something to say here. Yeesh. The interesting times in my personal life have become duller–thank goodness!–but I’m still scribbling quite a lot. I’ve written well over 5000 words since January 6, which is crazy-mad productive for me.
I think a change to my process is behind this new productivity. Continue reading »
I haven’t been around (except the occasional tweet) because of:
- Scribbling: not a lot of words generated, but they’re being generated steadily;
- Being at the Moody Muses. I post every Wednesday. Come visit all of us;
- Interesting times in my personal life. Nothing I particularly want to talk about and it’s not a catastrophe or anything, but it is a time and energy drain, so less time and energy to talk.
Good books in the last week or so: A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book (I still haven’t figured out what I think of it); and Anna Katherine’s Salt and Silver, where any number of tricky technical issues — world-building, knowing where the story really begins, tone, etc. — were all beautifully handled.
I’m not sure what I’m reading right now. That personal issue makes me prone to grazing. Ah, well…