Archive for July, 2007

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Change in plans

July 28, 2007

When I embarked on this great adventure, I thought my best time to write would be in the morning.  I’ve always seemed more alert during the morning hours, and I’ve usually done my best programming then, so I naturally thought that would be the best time to write.

If nothing else, this week has shown me that I was dead wrong.  I found that the evening hours have been the best time to write.  TheNovel is now a hair-past 12 pages in length, and 3/4 of that has been written after 7pm.  Apparently, writing requires different mental muscles than programming does.  It probably shouldn’t surprise me, but it does.

I also found that afternoons are just as bad for writing as they are for programming.  I’ve known for years that between 1pm and 4pm are the lowest mental points of my day, so I try to schedule afternoon meetings where I am the leader/facilitator, or the time when I run errands.  If I’m at work trying to program during that period, I usually don’t get a whole lot done, or at least not without a lot of getting up and walking around to wake myself up.  This past week I tried once to write during that block, and ended up falling asleep in my chair.  I woke up finding that I had hooked the SPACE bar with my thumb, and had now added thousands of spaces to TheNovel.  Uh, the protagonist fell asleep, Mr. Editor, and I was just describing what the silence sounded like; yeah, yeah, that’s it.

All of this bodes pretty well for writing after this week, though.  I tend to find more time for my hobbies after I get home from work, and the world has quieted down a bit.  It will probably be easier to contentrate on writing when I have my pillow waiting for me, than a stack of email and a couple of fires to weed through at work.

I’ve also started re-reading one of my favorite series – “The Sword of Truth” by Terry Goodkind.  The 11th and final book in the series is set to be released this year, so I’m going through them again to refresh my memory.  The first book was fantastically written, and to my knowledge it was his first work which makes it all the more incredible.

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To say, or not to say…

July 24, 2007

The page count is now up to 7.

I’m finding dialog to be harder than I thought it’d be.  I want my characters to have their own unique personalities, and a sizeable portion of that personality is revealed through how they say things.  I think I’m finding it hard to discover the personalities on the fly, and at the same time write dialog when them interacting.

Before I wrote page 1, I storyboarded the entire novel, so I could see the plot boiled down to its essential components, and to make sure I didn’t have any glaring holes.  Perhaps I need to take some time to do the same with the personalities, before I start writing dialog.

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New digs; 3 pages done; now what?

July 22, 2007

Here I am at WordPress!  I recently discontinued my original blog at Blogspot (http://allmarkmoment.blogspot.com/) because I decided to change the name.  Hopefully, my blog-name-fickleness will settle down, and I will be here for a while.

Today was the first full day of my week-long vacation-and-self-induced-writing-camp, but of course I couldn’t wait to get started, and so I cranked out the first 3 pages of TheNovel.  It was a bit of a challenge to just keep writing, and not also revise what I had just laid down on the virtual-paper.  Even if I think what I just wrote is crap, I want to get it down, and let it sit (ferment? rot?) for a while.  Then, when I come back to it days or weeks later, I can evaluate it with a fresher eye.

I also started thinking about what “daily success” would look like for me.  I have a family, a day job, and several other things I’m involved in.  Writing, at least for the next several months, will have to be fit in and around those commitments.  Me being me, I need to have something pushing me so that I don’t get lazy and let progress on TheNovel slide.  Since I don’t have a publisher yet clambering for a draft of the manuscript, I’ll have to settle for something self-imposed.  What I’ve been toying with is that I need to commit to writing some number of pages every day.  It’s OK if I get in a groove and write more, but I need to have some minimum in place.  As much as I don’t like to admit it, I do work better with some pressure.

So, the next question becomes – how many pages in a typical day do I think I can crank out?  I follow a handful of other authors’ blogs, and one in particular is Laurell K. Hamilton (http://blog.laurellkhamilton.org).  When she’s working on a new book or novela (which seems to be always), she frequently posts how many pages she was able to write in a given day, and it’s usually in the double digits.  I don’t think that’s realistic for me, at least not while I’m doing this as a hobby.  I think I’ll stick with something closer to 2-3 pages a day, and see how that goes.