It’s great having friends who are into the same hobby, isn’t it? Especially when they’re awesome at it. I’m lucky enough to have an awesome critique group, the IndyScribes, and I’m delighted to get to be part of IndyScribe Stephanie Cain‘s cover reveal party for her newest novel, The Weather War!
I’ve been stuck with a blank mind on BOTH of my works in progress for about the last three months.
And NOW I’m at the point where it’s almost intimidating to go back: what if everything I’ve done is terrible? Or, if it’s good, what if I’ve totally lost the ability to write like that?? Or what if it’s terrible AND I’ve lost the ability to do it?!?!?
Obviously this is brain-weasels running amok but it’s still giving me a hard time.
So, I tried some “not-writing,” per Turbo Monkey’s Sarah McGuire (and added her book Valiant to my TBR pile while I was at it). That… didn’t get me unstuck. I’ve had great success with that approach in the past (especially during college, where my roommates would all watch me playing Snood and ask tentatively how the essay was going) but unfortunately my mental landscape just looked like
So I decided to try the 13-step outline suggested by Chuck Wendig at his blog. But that also gave me Tumbleweed Brain (aka “Blank Paper Panic,” an issue that was freezing me in my boots.
Then I tripped over Tess Hilmo’s “Best Plot Help Ever,” a little paper foldable that sounded cute and fun and sort of like those MASH things or a ‘flapdoodle’ (srs education term for a folded-up/cut paper study aid) and I decided I would try one of those for each WIP and see if any gears started turning.
And turn they did — more on that tomorrow!
Hey, remember how I was going to blog twice a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays??
Today is Wednesday.
On the plus side, I spent about four hours yesterday working on writing (lesson plans, work emails, and then–eventually!!–working on the RSWIP with my cowriter in a super-sweet new-to-me coffee shop. So good overall! And I do intend to continue with Tues/Sat as my preferred blog schedule… even though this week I was lying in bed ready to sleep Tuesday night before my eyes flew open in a panic as I remembered I’d forgotten to update the blog.
Aaaanywho, despite having pulled a Maxwell Smart on my first regular blog update of the year (whoooops), I did still get a good deal of writing done, and I’m excited about it–tonight I’m back at it and have just cut over 1200 words from the draft I’m revising.
AND I’m also strangely nervous about this, but I’m going to be submitting pages from the RSWIP to my crit group. Why is this weird? Who knows. Why is this somehow scarier than giving them pages from the YA-SFF-WIP? Maybe because this is Romantic Suspense and nobody in IndyScribes “writes romance” (although most people’s stuff has romantic subplots from time to time) and I feel weirdly embarrassed and dorky about liking Romance, despite the fact that it sells super well, and is super popular, and since when do I care about people thinking I’m a weirdo?!?!
I was nervous the first time I sent them pages from the YASFFWIP, too, so probably it’s just that overall nervousness of “okay I’ve been working on this with my whole heart and soul for literally years now but tell me what you REALLY think of it” and I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Well, after my flurry of November activity/NaNoWriMo, I sure did taper off on blogging, didn’t I?
And since today’s New Year’s Day, it’s a perfect time to resolve to blog more in 2017!
Spent two hours making “garbage soup” (made of whatever leftovers are around) and writing a paltry 531 words.
Well, tomorrow’s another day…
I did have fun listening to my “inspirational” Pandora station, although it doesn’t seem to be very inspiring atm.
The worst part is that this brings me to five pages over two months for the project I’ve been working on with my crit group, IndyScribes.
Wrote another 1,184 words on the Romantic Suspense WIP that I’m writing with my friend Chel. (She wrote about 3,300 so like… dang.)
Spent a long time googling ways to describe faces. IndyScribes buddy Laura recently found out she has some face blindness; based on how long it took me to describe Our Hero, I’m not convinced I don’t have face illiteracy. Like: WHAT EVEN ARE NOSES. 🙁
And one of the major benefits of co-writing with someone with a different skillset is that I can feel free to type in phrases like…
The bar itself was polished, dark wood, and the atmosphere was REAL CLASSY OR WHATEVER PLEASE FIX THIS.
She gets her revenge when I get dialog with comment boxes over it that say things like “This is supposed to be witty flirting. It is terrible. Make it sound cool.” (I do my best.)
And maybe I should’ve put more terrible words in there – I mean, after all, it’s NaNoWriMo – part of my goal is to just keep writing, just keep writing, not to get stuck in an endless rabbit-hole of Google image searches of various types of noses.
And sure, I could’ve just slapped in some filler. I’ve already got Our Heroine responding to him in a way that should tell the reader he’s a looker, and I know that if I get too specific I run the risk of it being like the scene in Pretty in Pink where Andrew McCarthy shows up and I know I’m supposed to think he’s teh hawtness but at the same time I’m actually just like, Uh… him?
But you can definitely go too far the other way. One of my big stumbling blocks tonight was something a little silly, but: I’ve realized that I have a real knee-jerk reaction against anything being described as “perfect.” (This is possibly Twilight-related, as I seem to recall quite a few instances of Edward’s features/face being described as “perfect,” and/or him having ” a perfect nose” etc.)
To the point where I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to describe this very nattily-dressed man’s tie without saying it was “perfect”… I mean, I know a lot of words! My vocabulary is seriously extensive! But… I mean…
It’s a tie.
I only care about it inasmuch as it characterizes Our Hero as someone who dresses very carefully. I don’t even have a color in mind (leaving that up to Chel–the suit is navy, so… not black? IDEK YOU GUYS).
Anyway, I gave up at “the knot on his tie perfectly symmetrical,” but I suspect editing (and/or Chel) will find a way to improve that.
At least, I hope that’s the case…
And I need to figure out how Our Hero thinks about his own hair in the mirror – currently the line (in deep 3rd from his POV) reads,
Running a hand over his perfectly placed hair, he waited to see if Rahul would actually manage to verbalize whatever he was thinking.
So if anybody out there can tell me what a(n admittedly vain) dude in his 30s would think about his own hair in that scenario…
Maybe I’ll ask my husbro.
PS–brief shoutout to myself for breaking 10,000 words for NaNo2016!! By rambling about noses to get this blog post up over 352 words… BUT STILL.
My big problem with NaNo is time. I was talking to my mother about it today, and her reaction to the existance of NaNoWriMo was “In November? Don’t they know how much other stuff is going on in November?”
But so far blogging daily has been fun and exciting, and so far so good in terms of meeting my goal.
So maybe I just need to be looking for things with shorter turnaround times. Like flash fiction contests or the 8-Hour Book Challenge! Continue reading two solutions to (one of) my problem(s)