Monday, May 21, 2012

Days 606 to 625 - Six Sentence Sunday

Without the internet, there would be so many things I never knew about. Nanowrimo, how Dan Harmon got booted from Community, how much better I'm Sexy and I Know It is when accompanied by a He-Man video clip - and now, thanks to Earful of Cider, Six Sentence Sunday!

My contribution - a six sentence segment from my space opera adventure short story.

Dirk tried to look hurt.
"That's unfair, Cauvec, but I understand it's been a stressful day."
He reached into his shirt with his left hand, his right hand still up in plain sight, and retrieved the crumpled papers, tossing them casually to the nearest goon. The commander looked them over briefly, nodded, and tucked them into his belt. 
"You're an idiot, Dirk," said Cauvec mildly, motioning to his underlings. "It's the one thing I love about your species." 

Link me to your six sentences in the comments below, I'd love to read them!


Word count - 487 (yes, yes, I know)
Editing - 15 minutes


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Days 584 to 605 - Lead on Edison!

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas Edison


When I started this blog, my original goal was quite simple. I was going to write 1 million words in a year. Then I was going to spend a year editing, and then I was going to send out all the awesome work I had produced and within 5 years I was going to be making a living from my writing. 


Ha! Oh, I amuse myself. 


Life never works out exactly the way you had planned, and often that's for the best. Even changing my goal to 1 million words in two years wasn't the right move. Because I was writing books that I wanted to send out to agents and publishers, and feeling a little put out when I told myself to put off editing them until I had reached an arbitrary number.

And so, a new plan!

The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand - without growing weary.

The heart of my problem - writing constantly diluted the focus I was able to apply to any given project. So part of my new plan of action involves working on only two projects at a time (which may not seem like TRUE focus, but for me it is commendable restraint ^_^). At any given point I will be working on one writing project and one editing project. This means that...

We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.

... when opportunities come knocking I'll have something to throw at them as I yell at them to get off my lawn. At present I see everywhere opportunities to submit my work, but none of it is ready yet. That's disheartening, and making myself feel bad is no way to run an evil scheme to take over the world through novels. 

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.

So here is my next idea - I will give myself the full 5 year time goal. I will track words written and time spent editing, as well as (knock wood) pieces published. That gives me a more rounded structure, and one which actually lets me start sending out stuff so I can start getting in those hundreds of rejection letters I'm planning on using to wallpaper the lounge room.

What is your writing plan?

Word count - 1,678


(And just one last one - I didn't realise how interesting Thomas Edison was until I started this blog post! “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Days 578 to 583 - What it takes to make me cry

I appreciate authors who can make me feel. I think it's a wonderful thing when I find myself falling in love with people who have never existed, or hating someone who entirely consists of words on a page. But, seriously, WHY do so many authors at the moment feel it is their duty to make me sob?

The King of Making Me Miserable at the moment is George RR Martin. I started reading the books because they were, without exception, the best written fantasy I have ever seen. His characters are strong, vibrant... and constantly dying. It is really not a spoiler to say that most of what happens is a series of terrible misfortunes creating wave after wave of unrelenting misery. I started watching the series recently with my husband, who hasn't read the books, and he's had to tell me off for giving unintentional spoilers just by sighing sadly at certain lines. I want to keep reading the books but there's only so much sad I can bear before I start getting desperate for some light, uncomplicated romance that doesn't kick the character's favourite dog (or dire wolf) when they're down.

"There's nothing that says all endings have to be happy ones!"
I know. And I don't expect every book to wrap everything up with a neat little bow. Some things (Hunger Games, I'm looking at you) are too broken for a chirpy "and they lived happily ever after" to be satisfying. But as Malcolm said in Jurassic Park, sometimes people get so caught up in IF they can do something they don't stop to think about whether they should. Yes, you can totally ruin the life of absolutely every sympathetic character in your book. You can make me cry. But do you have to? Is it integral to the plot? Do you have a reason, or are you just showing off how well you can prod my tear ducts?

When I was younger I went and saw the movie AI. It was a dark envisioning of the Pinocchio story staring Haley Joel Osment. I started crying about 5 minutes in and didn't stop until after I left the cinema, but I hated that film with a passion. Because it had made me cry on purpose, just to show it could. It pressed any emotional button it could get it's fingers on just to evoke a response. The whole thing felt cold, clinical. "Let's measure exactly how many tears we can jerk out the audience."

I don't mind if you make me cry. I WANT you to make me cry, and laugh, and love, and despise, and sometimes even despair.
But only as long as you're doing it for the right reasons.
You'd better have a damn good reason, Martin.

Word count - 1,147

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Days 573 to 577 - Hunger Games Blues

I saw the Hunger Games last week and loved the movie so much I immediately bought all three books, which I then loved so much I read them over the course of the weekend.

The first book was very much like the film, and I am really confused as to how they are going to go from the immediate action of the reaping and the Hunger Games to the more political-based intrigue premise of the second book's opening.

And I don't want to put in too many spoilers, but the climax of the third book made me cry for about 30 minutes.

I've read a lot of comments about Katniss, questioning whether she's a strong feminist hero but I think at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Personally I feel she is a strong character. Would I want me daughters to be like her? God no. Given a choice I want my children to be psychologically healthy, thank you very much. But if I have daughters I definitely want them to have the strength of will to face the impossible odd and heart-rending tragedies she does without breaking down. Katniss' charm isn't the way she personifies an entire generation of women, it's the sheer marvel of her tenacity and will to live, no matter how bad life gets.

But now there are no more books left. It's something I will just have to cope with.

My coping will probably involve less animal cruelty than Katniss would use.

Word count - 1,655

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Days 340 - 572 AWOL no longer

You know how sometimes you'll be all like "I should totally do the washing up" but then something comes up and you decide it can wait till tomorrow, because it's just one day and what can it really hurt after all and then before you know it cockroaches have taken over your entire living space and are charging you rent? 

No, just me?

Well, guess what, you sneaky little roaches, I'm back in the metaphorical kitchen now with my washing up gloves on! And no, you can't claim anti-pesticide medication as a tax write-off. 

Word count - 1, 585

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Days 320 to 339 - A Plague on Both my Houses

I'm sick. My son is sick. My husband is sick.

The cat is the only one enjoying herself, because we all have too little energy to push her off our laps now. So while my men sniffle with their colds, and I clutch my three-week old migraine, she purrs away in contentment and kneads my knee with her uber-sharp claws, ignoring my weak protestations.

But honestly - what kind of headache goes on for three weeks?!? I've never had a migraine before. This one started with a bang. I got a massive head pain, then when I went to tell my husband all that came out was a random string of noise. That was one of the most bizarre moments of my life. It looked a lot like this:



Like me, she didn't have a stroke. But presumably, like me, poor Serene Branson had to have a CT scan and (*shudder*) a lumbar puncture just to be on the safe side. I'm not good with needles. My toddler, who has a tantrum when there's an ad break on TV, took his shots better than I managed to give a sample of spinal fluid. Then I spent two weeks lying in a dark room listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter books to me and wishing my head would stop feeling like someone had stabbed my frontal lobe with an ice-pick.

But I'm almost better now! Last night I finally managed to get some writing done, and I'm looking good to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne this weekend.

So - what has everyone else been doing for the past month?

Word Count - 611

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Days 285 to 319 - And we're back on air!

Oh wow, this last month or so has just been so incredibly hectic!

First there was the RWA 50K in 30 Days, which went really well - so well, in fact, that it exceeded all my estimates for how much time and energy it would take ^_^ At the end of the day, our writers racked up nearly 2 million words during that time, and I couldn't be more proud of everyone. I didn't reach my goal for the month, but I did hit about 30,000 which I probably would not have done otherwise.

Then for the beginning of July I was at the RWA 5 Day Intensive Manuscript Development Workshop. I got so much out of it, and I feel so damn lucky to have been chosen. Stay tuned for a proper write up!

It's nice to be back home and blogging again - I look forward to catching up on everything I missed over the middle of the year!

Word count - 21,760 (but that's over the past 30-odd days)