Let’s Write the Seanan McGuire Way!

Be warned. I am seriously jumped up. I don’t know if it’s better nutrition, or just overall happiness. Tonight is a kind of weeee!!! night.

In addition to Oliver Toddle and his pleasant reception today, I’ve gotten some good news that I can’t tell you about because right now it is nothing real.

Coy is not a fair way to play with Tamago readers, but after a certain point in my author journey, I’ve decided not to thrill you with every almost that comes my way. The first few photos of baby walking were cute, but you don’t want to sit through a whole album of the same picture. we all know how this works, because we’ve all been close to some almosts.

This is a pretty damned cool almost, though. I would especially like to thank Maggie Stiefvater for this almost. Even if nothing happens.

***

As bouncy as I am tonight, I am having trouble working on the troll novel. Last night I was doing angsty Quartz stuff, and, well, happy is definitely the wrong mood to write that in, and I don’t want to let this one go.

I’m going to try a new experiment in the interest of writing by the pound (all praise to Saint Julia, goddess of writing by the pound). Sometimes my brain needs to stop writing to do a little sorting, brainstorming, or problem solving. What I often do is lie fallow while this happens.

Then there’s Seanan McGuire. Seanan works nonstop, like a golem. A sparkling, 10-carat, diamond golem. And what she does is that when she runs into a corner, she works on another thing. Let me show you a link to Seanan’s most recent works in progress list.

*blinks*

Continue reading “Let’s Write the Seanan McGuire Way!”

Thankful for Writing Time

My plan today was to begin updating some of my research pictures and getting organized. However, it seems that the little laptop can’t load them off of Bryon’s big computer, and I wonder if it’s because he’s converted his operating system and I haven’t yet. It could also be that I’ve forgotten the steps of how to get the MacAir to talk to computer central.

It begins to look Thanksgiving is going to be a glorious tract of free writing time. Our family to-do is Sunday, which means from Tuesday afternoon until Saturday night, Bryon and I can do what we want. There’s not much food prep, as the oven is broken, and the repairs, while begun, seem to be moving along on the poky side. We’ll be catering our dinner from the local grocery store.

Speaking of writing, I guess I’d best get down to it.

Catherine

Maps and Legends

Oh…before I forget

Michael Jasper is a fine writer. He wrote The Wannoshay Cycle, which is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It was science fiction, and I don’t do science fiction, and it was still a great book. :p

That said, here’s a link to Michael’s new project. He and artist partner Niki Smith are finalists in this month’s Zuda competition. If they win, they will get an ongoing contract with DC comics.

Check them out, as well as the other entries. If you like Maps and Legends, take the time to give them your click.

Catherine

In Maps & Legends

Link to Sanity Check; Patience Redux

This is from Jon Gibb’s weekly round up of interesting writing articles from around the web, and I thought I would broaden it’s audience, because it’s pretty damned sane. Thank you, Jon and you especially, T.J. McIntyre!

And if you’re not reading Jon’s journal yet, you should be. He does one of these every week, as well as writes insightful blog entries.

***

I was anti-twitter for some time, but I joined recently because a bunch of the Fighting XIII’ers were on there, and I didn’t want to miss out on a lot of their writing fun. It also gives me a chance to keep up with some folks of my general acquaintance, which is very nice. I am a reformed twit, then.

This morning I was struck by a twit from Nnedi Okarafor . I had the good fortune to hear Nnedi read at Fantasy Matters in 2006, and was immediately struck by her work, which I happily went out, bought, and devoured.

It’s folkloric science fiction from Africa. You should devour it too. One of life’s great injustices is that she didn’t have a book last year, but she will have two out next year, so I guess I’ll be mollified.

Anyway, here’s Nnedi’s tweet:
got one more chance to look over the ending of Who Fears Death one last time…then it’s the final final. i think it’s done.

You know, we finish novels, and we have this urge to send things out and publish. We work on our writing, we strengthen our abilities, and we send things out. Every working writer I read does the same thing–revises, recasts, reworks, resends, and gets rejected.

I am coming to believe that the process is more organic than I thought. If you go through these steps, eventually, the writing career cannot help but grow. All the worrying and hand wringing we do changes nothing. We should just buckle down, go to work, and wait for the manuscript to be done. We’ll know when it is, if we trust our instincts.

It’s the same with the rest. A career isn’t a big break. It’s persistent craft, hard work, and nurturing. Intellectually, we say we know there’s no overnight success. We always hope, but you know, maybe nurturing my writing, turning the soil, letting it grow as it was intended, maybe that’s good enough.

Before this totally lapses into a religious tract, I’ll stop. 🙂

Catherine

Agent Kerfluffle Round Up

I don’t have an agent yet, so I can’t say nothing personally. (Recent Detritus the Troll reading accounts for double negative!)

However, here are some links. It goes without saying, I want an agent. I wouldn’t sell my house by myself either.

1. The Original Article Saying Why You Don’t Need an Agent.

2. Seanan McGuire begs to differ .

3. Stacia Kane also disagrees.

4. Tobias Buckell illustrates with stats from 2005.

5. Miriam Goderich, agent says so too.

6. Jeaniene Frost weighs the issue.

7. Steve Bucheit details his theory of logic fail.

I haven’t seen any solid versions of why you don’t need an agent. Speaking strictly from the stance of argument, at this point, why you need an agent seems to be more substantiated.

Catherine

Outlining and Not Outlining

Let’s unpack this morning’s drive by post a little bit, shall we? I’m also inspired to talk about outlining as Jim Hines talks about his writing and outlining process.

Outlining

In the beginning, I did not outline. I wrote, and figured muses would take me where I wanted to go. Well, I was 14 or something. For some projects this worked, and for others…I’m sure you can guess.

My current process is to sketch an outline, start writing, have things go astray, regroup and re-outline, and continue this process. In this fashion, I can write a book in give or take a year. What I often miss is the texture of a book that folks who explore more get, and I’m trying to find ways to work on that.

What really made me rethink the value of outlining was when I wrote Hulk Hercules. I had three months. Granted, it was a middle grade, but still that could be a challenge. However, I was required to structure the book around the 12 labors of Hercules, which made it a self-outlining book. The only thing I had to do was work the kids into that basic plot, and decorate with some wrestling on the edges. It was done, and it was not a bad book at all. I became convinced that outlining was a good thing.

Of course, I don’t usually get the luxury of having a classical mythological structure to glom onto. When I am a grown up writer, and I do my magical retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, again, provided structure will help yet again.

However, what I’m finding is that if I actually prepare a bit more, it takes less time to do the preparation while I’m writing. Does this mean more or less time overall? Well, that’s part of the experiment.

Continue reading “Outlining and Not Outlining”

Drive by Writing Stuff

Today some drive-by writing observations.

1. It’s easier to do interpersonal stuff in a book when you base some of it on your friend’s interactions in role-playing games. It’s harder, making all this stuff up on your own.

2. That said, I really owe Laura Mixon for her feeding the beast lecture at VP. I got some great angst out of my trolls last night as I did background work.

3. Are you, as an emergent novelist, looking for ways to cut down on the amount of crap you write in the first place (yes, it is okay to write crap, but maybe you’re under a book deadline or something, and need to be more focused from the get go?) Ilona Andrews writes a great entry on outlining, and I’m really taking it to heart, because yeah, I’m about at this point. I want to produce better work, faster.

Connie Lane’s Precious Review

Among my cool friends who are into cinema Connie Lane regularly reviews and educates about film.

I’m linking to her commentary about Precious.

Of course I’m going to go see this film. Of course I’m going to identify with the heroine. I’m going to cry a lot. I will be unable to write about it.

I don’t have to, because thankfully Connie has, masterfully.

Catherine

Fatal Flaw: Impatience

As a writer, I have several strengths and weaknesses. I’d love to hear about yours, but I’m about to come clean about one of mine.

You might not know this about me, but I’m not very patient.

Certainly, I’ve talked about the difficulty of waiting to hear back from publishers, agents, and editors. Rest assured, I’m not going to do that again. I’m going to talk about another kind of impatience, the kind of relationship I have with my writing.

Another writer inspired me to write this post. He suggested that he sent a manuscript out before it was truly ready, and he regretted that. Rest assured, he’s not alone. That’s exactly the kind of thing I would do, if I weren’t very careful.

I like getting things done. I LOVE crossing things off a list. I’ve discovered writers need a high tolerance for ambiguity. Well, I”m working on that, because if I don’t develop this skill, I’m going to undercut my career by sending out manuscripts before their time.

Right now, I’m racing toward trying to get a story done by the end of the year. I WANT that story to be done for several reasons. An agent who thinks well of me is waiting to see the first 75-100 pages. I want to move on to another project. I want to work on Substance of Shadows and the Klarion books after Viable Paradise. I even want to do a little sewing. I have every reason to be in a hurry, at least I think so.

Except…

Continue reading “Fatal Flaw: Impatience”