November 30, 2014
At the end of the NaNoWriMo initiative.
I reached 14,038 words in November. This was an achievement for me and is more than usual. I did some short story work and some on my novel. A ‘win’ there is 50,000 words. That’s hard to do, even for professional writers like me. Plus, I’m doing a corporate day job, living my life, raising the child, cooking, cleaning, et cetera. I can’t just lock myself up like people with supportive spouses can.
Also, to be fair, I got sidetracked by some television work I was doing (more on that in another post), which took a couple of weekends from me.
I highly recommend the wonderful pep talk by SF author Brandon Sanderson. I really love his analogy about the scuba diver. If you love to write, keep writing. I think he’s onto something there. I’m not as happy when I’m not writing. Life keeps intruding 🙂 but it’s all material, too.
Robert Sawyer announced he was going to do the National novel writing month sprint earlier today. I looked it up and decided that it sounded like a great idea. Robert is a very good SF writer and some of his work has been made into great TV as well. Check out his site at http://www.sfwriter.com (yes, he has that URL.)
So, today I signed up at http://nanowrimo.org
They suggest you try to write a 50,000 novel in the month of November. It’s a great deal of writing for a busy single mum with a corporate job, but it’s also a good challenge for me. November’s usually a hard month for me, so it could be good to be very busy.
I will try to use the initiative to finish my novel. I’m at 57889 words now. I need to get to the end. I don’t know how many words it’ll take to get to the end, but that’s what I’m aiming for.
Stettler Museum Typewriting machine from the Stettler Independent
J and I attended VCON last weekend in Surrey, BC. She wore the costumes and had fun with friends in the video and paper gaming rooms. I sewed her an Aurora dress. I love to sew but don’t do it much. It’s creative.
I was on several panels and moderated one. It was great fun! I used to love hosting on radio and apparently still have the skills!
I met a couple of fans of Cybersix – sadly the other tv series I’ve written for don’t have fans 👎 but what can you do?
The discussions about critiquing, inspiration, and writing advice were really interesting. I love SF gatherings mostly for the friends. It was also the national awards so we saw lots of Canadian greats like William Gibson, Spider Robinson and Rob Sawyer there to receive awards.
I got to catch up with my old friends including Dr. Robert Runte who is now editing books for FiveRivers publishing.
It’s that time of year again! VCON the local annual science fiction and fantasy convention is coming. I usually attend and meet old friends. Also, act as costume assistant for Jessica. She constructs some great costumes – the cyborg tree for example!
This year I’m a panelist again! It’s fun to be on panels and interact with other authors. It’s a great way to meet new writers and editors. VCON is fairly small so I doubt that there will be agents there, but I’ve met book agents at cons. Some small publishers such as Five Rivers and Edges SF will be in attendance, too. They offer ‘pitches’ session for novels. As a prose writer, you can learn a lot at a good convention. This one is also the Canadian national awards host for this year: Canvention 34. This is a very prestigious set of awards, called the Auroras- given for outstanding performance in several arenas of SF/F art. It includes writing, art and media. (Full Disclosure: I have 2.)
If any of y0u would like to join us, see: Information on VCON.
I’m doing 3 panels: Everyone’s a Critic, Finding Inspiration and Best Writing Advice Ever.
I’m also pleased to announce I’m moderator on a panel with the top writer guest there: David Weber. He’s a well known and respected military SF writer. Maybe best known for his Honor Harrington series, he has an interesting new Safehold series out. I read Off Armageddon Reef recently. See information about David Weber.
At 56000 words of novel. A week off really helped. I multi-task like a crazy thing most of the time. It takes it’s toll.
Some nights I wake up thinking- did I send that last email before signing off day-job computer? One of my rules is no going back on till the next scheduled work period. I learned to do this after getting up and emailing producers (Lynne Booth and Larry Raskin) at 3 am. Larry kindly convinced me that nothing in our documentary show was that urgent.
So, now I separate my ‘work lives’ as much as I can. The home computer has my novel on it. There is no tech writing on my IPad, etc.
I really got a lot of words done on my novel during my week off– about 6 thousand! But, alas, today it’s back to the corporate job, dance lesson ferrying and, soon, child in new school.
No wonder people dream of a solely creative writing career. I can’t do it – unless my ship comes in, I sell big time, or my teaching gig goes full-time (unlikely ) ! But then again, I often create new stuff under pressure!
I’m keeping track of my progress on a page here.
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!
Photo collage by Jessica