Category: Writing


Procrastinators, unite

A+ to this blog, wherein the writer details bits of her life that happen while she’s *not* doing what she’s supposed to be doing. The task-to-be-procrastinated-upon is the turning of her dissertation into a book. While part of me would like to snap a whip at her so that she can get it done (so that I can therefore in turn buy, submit for her autograph, and then read it), part of me is thrilled with the happy at the concept of seeing how someone else goes upon her own version of procrastination.

So, once more, in case you procrastinated on reading it the first time, here’s a link that you should click.

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Hello.

Just thought I’d throw out there that there has been very little writing here because there has, in fact, been actual *writing* being done. The rest of the time I’ve been at work. So I haven’t forgotten about anyone who stops by, I’ve just been productive.

Also, should she stop by: my alpha reader is an awesome critiquer ❤

With the admission that everything written last night about not having the right soundtrack for noveling being a fetid pile of excuse, I have finally gotten past the song “Kiss with a Fist” and bought myself the Florence + the Machine album that pretty much everyone else of my music taste bought themselves, oh, say, 18 months ago.

TONIGHT THERE WILL BE WRITING. OH YES. THERE WILL BE WRITING.

Also from-scratch fetuccine alfredo with chicken and spinach.

Moods

So I’ve been in this* mood lately where I’d really like to write, like, a lot, but I cannot get myself into the proper headspace to get back into the novel. I’m trying to work through why this is, and I think I’ve come to some sort of dodgy conclusion.

The main issue (well, not right now – right now, the main issue is a headache)(and by main issue, I mean main issue besides the usual writerly issues of fear of failure or low self-esteem or what have you) is that I never managed to soundtrack the novel properly back in November. Or maybe, to be proper, the novel hasn’t managed to create a soundtrack for itself yet. A project I’ve got hanging out on the back burner right now managed to soundtrack itself about 500 words in. However, current project, in its over 55K word glory, remains soundtrackless.

I’ve never had this problem before.

The weird thing is that I can hear echoes of characters in all sorts of music I listen to – there’s a bunch of stuff in the National’s High Violet that really works for two of the main characters – but for some reason, I haven’t found anything that I can sit and listen to that tells me “this is what you listen to while you’re writing novel-y stuff.”

I’m torn between telling myself to force it, either by creating a playlist that isn’t really quite what I’m going for or by writing in silence, or telling myself to pick one quiet, easily ignorable song that gets the mood right for a particular scene and just leaving it on repeat until I get through a section. I think for the moment, I’ll be trying the latter.

When I wake up and my headache has fucked on off, I mean. I’ll be trying it then.

I hope everyone’s writing pursuits are going smashingly right now!

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*the asterix marks the exact moment that I realized I’d started not just the sentence, but the whole blog post with the word “so.” I’ve realized lately that “so” is a major writing tick of mine, and one that I need to reduce my usage of. Rather than edit it out, I’m leaving y’all with this little bit of how quickly I type v. how quickly I realize what the words are that I’m typing.

I was writing this blog post a few nights ago. Everything was going along fine: I had a lot I wanted to say, a clear idea of how to organize it, a list of links to fit in, pictures that would help illustrate what I was saying. Blog posts rarely go quite *that* well, so I was buzzing along and feeling great.

Except for one problem.

Given my boss sees that blog, and that I use that blog on my resume as one of the examples of my writing, I need it to be at least semi-professional. The upshot to this is that I have a no-swearing rule for that blog (which I don’t worry about here).

The problem came when I was trying to describe Christopher Elbow’s chocolates. The *only* word that adequately describes my feelings toward those beautiful, beautiful creations is “fuckawesome.” Because that’s what those chocolates are: fuckawesome.

Fuckawesome, however, flagrantly violates my no-swearing rule. Therefore, despite how perfect a word choice it would have been for every other reason, I had to go with significantly less colorful language.

The thing with fuckawesome is that it’s a word I picked up from the internet. I don’t know that it’s a pair of words I would have combined together on my own. I love it, however, because I feel like the adding of the “fuck” to the “awesome” somehow elevates “awesome” to a level beyond its normal connotation – i.e., a word to describe something that is generally pretty good.*

So I’m left wondering what word I would have used to describe the said fuckawesome chocolates had fuckawesome not been so primed in my brain. It no doubt would have been better than whatever hyperbolic nonsense I did end up writing.

I think I need a thesaurus, y’all.

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*Given what the word used to connote, i.e., that feeling of something being overwhelmingly amazing, awe-inspiring, etc., I think “awesome” is an excellent example of words to look at when studying how meanings change over the years. It’s had a pretty sad downgrade.

That said, it should also be pointed out that the main purpose of “fuck” most of the time is to intensify whatever is being said. It doesn’t have a meaning beyond that in most cases anymore.

Quick brainstorming

I’ve been beer blogging now for almost exactly 6 months. I have 80+ reviews at last count. I’ve also got a wine blog going, but I need to be better about updating at least once a week. 

And I want to review liqueurs and cocktails and whatever else I have when I have them and they’re really good.

And I want the blog to be more professional than it is, because I’d like to make sure it’s a way I can be taken seriously for my writing and for my beer knowledge.

Upshot: I’m thinking that what I need to do is combine the beer and wine blogs into one blog (heavily categorized), register my own domain name (sans wordpress.com in the address), and go from there. Doing this, I’d need to figure out how to move my old content over to the new blog – either via some sort of fun fancypants way to transfer content or just via simple copypasta. (i.e., if anyone knows how to transfer contect in a quick/easy fancypants way, lemme know!)

So I think I have a domain name, and I think I could get a small print of business cards with my name, the domain name, my twitter feed (which needs setting up and which could share the domain name), contact info and that sort of stuff. That way, I could be a bit more “frealz writer/blogger” than I am right now, which would, you know, be nice.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

WRITE, dammit

Like, seriously. I need to write. I have no valid reason not to. No invalid reason not to. No excuse, even. Not excuses, excuse. Like there isn’t one.

That is all. Continue on with your regular doings. I shall return to my word document and my hand-wringing and head-against-wall-banging and my hopes that 17 hours of “research” on tvtropes will at some point pay off in my coming up with an ending for my flipping novel.

I hope you’re having a lovely day/evening/night/snowpocalypse.

Vocabulary

I was reading a novel last night (as per non-writing night usual). Great story, terrible writing. TERRIBLE. Like the kind of writing that kept interrupting the flow of my immersion in the story because I kept stopping to think “ACK END SENTENCE AND STOP USING CONJUNCTIONS SERIOUSLY.” It’s one of those things where I kind of wonder what happened in the editing process, because a lot of it was just editing choices that made me bonkers.

But then a word happened. Twitterpated. The character announced she was twitterpated.

Twitterpated is a fucking fantastic word. I love it and feel it is sadly underused. I also feel like it described the character well in that moment. It’s just that there was no way in this world or any other (even the one the character was in) that this particular character would EVER have used the word twitterpated. So in reading the word I was yanked out of the story, wondering how on earth an otherwise not-overly-bright-seeming character would have seized upon that particular word.

The thing is that the character never would have. The author, on the other hand, was likely either saving up the word to use at some point, or perhaps had hit the thesaurus in search of something new and shiny (the latter of which I suspect to be probable, given the number of other times the same sort of sense crept up on me while I was reading).

The moral? As an author, if you’re writing along and feeling like you’re overusing a word, then yes, hit a thesaurus. HOWEVER, make sure that you keep in mind the voice of the manuscript/character/etc in mind so that you don’t seize upon a word that doesn’t ultimately work with the rest of the script. And please, please make sure that you know precisely what the word means – choosing the wrong word really does hose a reader’s ability to stay involved.

Three other thoughts on writing:
– All the advice about using adverbs sparingly? DEAD ON.
– Ditto exclamation points. One per page is too damn many. One per chapter, maybe. MAYBE. They tend not to go well.
– Ditto dialogue tags. “He said” or “she said” are all you need 90% of the time. Seriously.

Endings and such

I don’t know if it’s aftereffects of the blarg or numbing effects of too many hours of chippercheery Christmas music or dulling effects from too many hours saying the same things over and over and over, but I keep thinking of things I should write or desperately want to write only to sit down at my computer hours later and think “fuck it. I’m tired. Imma read instead.” So I do.

My brain, meanwhile, goes wheeling off in weird directions at the worst times. Question: when is a good time to come up with a fun backstory idea for one of the worlds in the novel? Answer: not while in the middle of cutting dividers to stick between wine bottles so that they don’t clink. And not when in the car driving (though this is inevitable, I think), nor when some customer is regaling me for twenty minutes about why education is important (though that was a fun character study), nor when I’m in the shower (again, probably inevitable), nor when I’m attempting to fall asleep (*definitely* inevitable). I’d be fine with all of this if I could just remember it when I got the computer so that I could scribble notes down. I have three files open at all times: the main novel file, a file of notes on the world/characters, and a file of plot notes – theoretically, all I have to do is click to the write file and start babbling. So if I could just get the timing better, I feel like things would be working out a little more than they are.

I have figured out that I have a problem with endings. Like, I’m not really sure how to get them to function correctly. It’s basically like this (I should stop using the word like!): I’m all ready and raring to send the characters off on Final Rollicking Adventure, but I got to thinking about it. What, exactly, is the point of Main Character finding out the information she finds out at the journey’s end? And I’ve thought through it and thought through it and thought through it, and I’m not sure. Like, I’m not sure exactly why what she’ll find out is a big deal to anyone but her – it would certainly change her, but it wouldn’t drive a plot so much.

The result of my angsting over endings is that I’ve decided to complicate a whole bunch of stuff to see what happens. Like MC is the subject of a prophecy at the moment, which makes her Object of Interest to the Powers That Be. But prophecies and Chosen Ones only work if done right (seriously, I just mistyped that as “write” – I NEED SLEEP) and I don’t think I figured out enough backstory on that before plunging into NaNo. I’ve been thinking through it and thinking through it and I know I’ve had all kinds of glimmers of ideas but no idea if I’ve gotten to the right one yet. And I’ve let things be way too easy for MC – she’s generally been able to find people when needed, had no problem getting around to find info, whatever, which is unacceptable. It’s not that I think she needs an unmanageable level of hell to deal with, just that I’ve let her deal with some situations far too easily.

And I think that writing in First Person Present Tense really works beautifully for one major scene. The rest of the time, anything that’s happening could just as easily happen in past, so I need to flip tenses on the rewrite.

To sum up: I need to figure out a bunch of stuff so that I can finish the draft so that I can tear it apart and rewrite the vast majority of it. However, I refuse to rewrite (edit, dare I call it?) until I’ve finished a draft all the way through. I think I need to have a completed draft so that I can remind myself, when in the middle of rewriting and all that, that I really can get through it.

Beer and writing and stuff

So yesterday, by the time I left work, I had a winter sampler pack from Sam Adams to review for work for the monthly beer special and 6 bottles of cider from a rep from the cidery (if I am not, in fact, making up that word, which I may very well be) given to me for free to review on el beer blog. Meaning that I actually *am* now writing for beer – like they provide, I drink, I write. And I’m loving this. I’m also sort of reeling because I never really thought that I’d actually be getting freebie beer to review, like, you know, ever.

But somewhere in the past month I started writing the beer reviews for the monthly beer specials at work. And then they gave me a weekly spot on the store website to review more beer. And now freebie cider because I was talking to a rep because none of the managerial-type people were around and somehow Founder’s Canadian Breakfast Stout came up (a beer that I desperately want but have yet to get ahold of) and then my blog came up and then somehow I ended up with a bunch of cider that I am working my way through in hopes of reviewing by, say, early next week.

So the upshot of posting all of this is that I’m sort of figuring out that I’m actually building a bit of a portfolio of my writing. And it’s writing about a subject that I’m pretty much over the moon about. So this is all good and lovely. Really.

So why sit here and post about it? Other than being excited, I mean.

The answer is basically that academics had dropped my self-esteem down to a sub-microscopic level, and I’m pretty much shocked to find that something I’m doing is going well. But it is, you know, going well.

THE POINT – to those of you in academics who desperately want the fuck out but don’t know what the hell to do with yourselves, I say unto thee: THERE IS LIFE OUTSIDE THE IVORY TOWER. And that life can be fuckawesome. It’s scary at first, but it will work itself out and things will get better. So for anyone who reads this who finds themselves in that horrid limbo place, a million hugs from me to you. It’s hard, and it’s hard to find the strength to believe in yourself or your talent, but you’ll get through it. And if you’re like me, you may someday find yourself in the surprising position of learning that someone actually *wants* to read your writing.

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