Today I re-upped for the Write-a-thon. Last year it propelled me into my novel project, and I’ve been very happy plugging away at that between my ten zillion other things to do.
SF /F is such a supportive field & one I’ve enjoyed being part of for many years. Clarion is one of those specific workshops that benefit the whole field- in that it improves and supports new writers in a meaningful way. It also encourages creativity in other writers who just want to run a writerly marathon of sorts. It’s a great thing.
If you want to support Clarion or just read a piece of the novel In progress, visit ClarionWest.org and click on the write-a-thon area. They want 360 writers to participate this year in this writerly sprint. They also are famous for incredible 6 week summer intensive workshops each year. The writers who do those say they’re career- makers.
For me, I need a solid reminder that the novel is important enough to finish! I used to write for tv and there was always a way I was reminded / nagged work at my script. Reminders could be the production schedule itself – an unforgiving item that ended in an inflexible air date and required input constantly like the machine a tv series is. It could be a hopeful Locations Manager wanting to know “even just the settings list, please”. Ultimately, it was a Showrunner emailing me on my month in Australia with rewrites for a next season script! So I need a push, I guess & Clarion is a mild reminder-type push.
I’m now at 37,500 words, which sounds like a lot to me. I know a decent novel is 80 thousand to 100 thousand words, so I have some distance to go. SF readers are familiar with the variegated doorstop novels of fantasy, But I will be happy if I can get to the end of one, for now. It’s always been a dream of mind to write an SF or fantasy novel and get it published.
The new IPad combined with the ‘waiting for dancer’ schedule is helping me to get writing done. My friend is reading the chapters as I do them, so I feel like I have an audience.
I’m also experimenting with the way I do it. I’m tired of writing tv series ideas and script outlines. So, I’m writing this with only a bare whisper of an outline, nothing like the massive detailed ‘beat sheets’ I used to have to do in tv. I know this might not work- or I might go down the wrong path with characters, causing a painful double back to rewrite the whole thing later- but the fun of it is partly in just seeing what the characters will do next!
In the new year, the writer must make some goals.
For me, the goals for my creative side are all about my novel. I’m 33,000 words in now. This novel started with the Clarion West workshop fund-raiser. I’ve been working on it via my IPad since.
I had a bad period when ancient IPad died – it just wouldn’t take a charge anymore. After consulting my Mac guru and the Apple store, realized it wasn’t fixable.
Christmas was very good to me. My dear friends gave me a new IPad mini. Now the novel is sailing along again! Thanks to those who believe in my talent!
So, I delivered chapter 4 to my first reader last week. My new goal is chapter 5 delivered this week. I do rough versions of between 500 and 1000 words per writing night. Since the child dances 5 days per week, I can get 1 or 2 good writing nights in each week. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it has delivered 33 thousand words so far – all done after I do my busy corporate day job.
This time of year is difficult for me. It’s dark out and cold.
Day job is less amusing than normal and sometimes grates on my nerves.
I miss Jessica’s late father a lot. We were both born in November. He was such a bright spark in the universe and burnt out way too soon.
So, what do I do?
See friends and share coffee or a meal. Email his brother, also a friend. Find, buy, and post his other children some presents, hoping they arrive in far off Australia and the UK before Easter.
And decorate like a crazy thing.
Yes, it sounds dumb and it probably is, but it works. I’ve always loved Christmas and it needs to start a lot earlier now.
So, here is our little Village of holiday cheer.
Where do we find inspiration? Being a prairie gal at heart, I see the land differently than outsiders. It holds so many mysteries and stories.
But I’ve never been one for realistic styles. Or genres. Yes, I wrote for some realistic & some docudrama shows, but I love SF & fantasy. Sometimes I think it was the small town library with its collection of Golden Age SF novels. I re- read several short Andre Norton novels lately. I still loved them but can now see their flaws- and I hate that because they still are shining beacons in my childhood imagination.
Bit by bit your imagination grows and I thank Andrea Norton, Clifford Simak, Asimov, Heinlein and others for creating an imagination of great breadth in my generation of writers.
I’m hoping, in my own talented child, that some of her experiences will help her creativity. In fact, she’s the collage artist for this blog.
We saw Drumheller – one hour south of my home county and she was impressed.
And here’s what a whole Tyrell museum full of dinosaurs can cause a 12 year old ‘director’ to stage after a few hours!
In the midst of a crazy-busy life, sometimes I do get some absolutely amazing experiences. As a tv writer there is no visible recognition- I mean no one pouring me coffee says “weren’t you that girl on that show?” But at VCON a couple of weeks ago, I had a terrific moment of recognition.
Child in her pirate gear and I were in the elevator at the hotel. She says to me: “Mum, that’s Cybersix!” I say: “Nah” without looking carefully. The girl, Rebecca, says : “Yes, I am Cybersix!”
I’m gob-smacked – she’s a gorgeous, perfect Cybersix! I tell her and her friends that I wrote an episode of the anime version. Not only do they know the cartoon but one of them loves my episode!
I’m high on this for at least a week – it’s gotten me through an 18 hour day on corporate job and still makes me smile. Cause even if I had a nonunion deal, which means no cash residuals ever, I did get a lovely emotional residual & on front of child, too!
Here’s a picture – btw no one is wearing heels!
There are writers who produce 12 books a year. The rest of us have developed various stratagem to avoid writer’s cramp.
This weekend I’m at VCon 38 in the quite decent, clean, good- natured, and very understanding Delta airport hotel in Richmond BC.
It can be argued that it’s a useful thing to come and sup with friends of like mind; all of whom know what a Bjoran ear cuff is, or who wrote SandKings, and why we weren’t surprised at the success of Game of Thrones.
I listened to some new authors read from their works. Due to this con, I now know who Mur Lafferty is and will be picking up her book – The Shambling Guide To New York – which sounds very amusing.
I supported other artists by buying handmade jewelry and- fabulous stone coasters with Buck Rogers space ships painted on them!
I have wish lists of art I can’t buy yet – love Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk’s metal sculptures – my fav is Benny!
Also child purchased excellent crocheted Koshi Stuffy by Cat.
Not every morning, but definitely by late evening, I write in a journal. It’s an old habit – Anne of Green Gables did not have a diary but Miss Emily of Emily Climbs did, so like a lot of girl writers, I owe a lot to PEI’s fav writer.
Many decades later, I’ve kept it up. Once I read Julia Cameron’s work, I realized it wasn’t just useful for basic sanity, but that it could help to focus my writing.
Now, it’s not always the gorgeous Westside coffee shop Butter, where the photo’s from, but this May be the ideal spot. The sky is visible as are busy people walking by. The interior’s amazing- sweet and flowery. Okay, it doesn’t suit a bad mood, but it can raise your spirits with the amazing baked goods.
What about the writing, you may ask?
Clarion West got me started on a new venture. The requirement to write something every day got me to revive a novel project. Now, so far I’m 18,000 words in which is pretty amazing considering my schedule. I’m a full time tech writer for a corporation. I’m a single mum, who does all of the ‘lessons ferrying’ by bus. My child does 7.75 hours per week of dance. So, I realized that the only time I have, is while ferrying or waiting at dance.
So, I’m using new tech to get me there. For example, this post is being written in WordPress on my iPhone while on the bus en route to Lyrical dance at Westside Dance.
For actual creative writing, I’ve worked out a system with my own blended Mac / Windows world of home computing.
Thank the gods of tech that we can move things from Mac to Windows easily now.
I’ve used the iPad for a while thanks to my friend Sui-Fai who donated his old one to me. Now, I’m finding that I can incorporate it into my creative writing work if I make a concerted effort to do so.
It’s not easy, frankly, but I’m learning how to type on the auto- keyboard. It’s not as flowing for me as typing – I type on a standard keyboard very fast and can type as I think of dialogue or description. Many more spelling errors, too. Plus punctuation just seems like a big effort – but I fix it later.
I use the Pages app on the iPad. It’s fine for initial creation, but I must move everything via email as doc files. Then I open or in Word and copy and paste the new stuff into my novel- writing app.
This is because, back on the HP pavilion is my new favorite app, which organizes by chapter and has a great interface for writing larger projects.
The eureka app is Scrivener, which is a good value for 40$ or so.
It gives me an HTML smart interface that can compile to a txt output. It can also save my chapters individually to Dropbox which is a great auto-archive.
The image is an Ammonite from the Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. Not quite as old as I am.