They did it again! The Girls just had me put Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins on a playlist. What is it with the 80s thing? Next thing you know, I’ll be putting leg warmers and asymmetrical haircuts in my historical romances…. Sheesh.
Woot for International Writing Week!!! I feel like I finally hit my stride today, so like so many things, my writing required a period of warm-up, I guess. But now I feel like I have a secret key to get going, and I am going to abuse that bad boy until…forever, I guess. How are you all doing–writing, editing, blogging, creating? Love it!
So just as a side note so I’m not the only who just throws in a fake holiday and runs off, I’m actually going to talk about a little bit more today–not much, but yanno. Stuff.
Reading currently? After discovering his awesomeness IRL (Thanks, Kristine!), I am now reading Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind, which, like any good fantasy, is going to last me a full month!!! That sucker is huge, but the boy has chops, I’ll give him that. Google him and check out anything where his name comes up, especially on YouTube. Boy be wicked funny.
Before that was The Postman by David Brin, who is crazy smart. (This was what the Kevin Costner movie was based on.) Then finally read The Hunger Games (which, if you liked the movie, I say go for it. Pretty damn good representation.) and then a historical fiction first-in-a-trilogy titled The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans and I’ve enjoyed them all. Before that I got caught up on my Anita Blakes in preparation for Afflicition coming out this summer. And if you ever need a role model for swinging wide, Laurell K. is it!
Okay, off to do other stuff and maybe write some more. It’s a great day here in Cayne-land!!!
Well. I think that blog title is pretty self-explanatory, don’t you?
Time to get writing.
Okay, I’ve now got to call it a holiday. If a random day, declared to be International Writing Day, gets my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard, it’s official. Fold it up, Umbrella Day (Feb. 10th), put the lens cap on Camera Day (June 29th) and to the trash, Moldy Cheese Day (October 9th)–there’s a new holiday in town!
International Writing Day: March 18th
And, because I can never leave well enough alone (first person who makes a peep is going to find that September 2nd’s National Beheading Day came early this year), I am declaring today International Writing Day Continues!!! Keep writing, keep editing, keep writing that poetry! Let’s grow to the point Hallmark has to make us our own series of cards.
I don’t know about any of you this winter (almost spring), but I’ve been having trouble finding my writing groove. Editing, small sections here and there, some good plotting, but nothing like the grooves I’ve been in before. And where do grooves start?
Ah, there’s the rub.
Grooves start with words on the page, marching forward with more words, and yes, you guessed it, MORE WORDS!!! You keep that up and you’ve got yourself a pattern, a habit, a groove. But you’ve got to start getting words on the page and keep going. No. Matter. What. Keep going.
So here’s what I’m declaring. Today is International Writing Day. Write. Get some words on the page. Could be one sentence, could be a paragraph, could be however much you want it to be–a haiku if you’d like. But this is the start. This is the day I make my groove work for me, not the other way around.
Hiya. Well, here I am in week #2 with blog post #2. I tell ya, I am a-rockin’ and a-rollin’!
So the topic of today’s blog post is not what I ate for breakfast, but rather about editing. You see, over the holidays I needed to re-read/polish one of my manuscripts, one that I thought was already pretty dang sparkly, even though it had been quite a while since I last touched it.
What is it they say? Writers never finish a book, they just decide to stop editing it?
Yeah, it was something like that. I found some small things (i.e. easy fixes)–and these were primarily choices, not typos or such, and I found a few places where more description was needed, and one or two spots where I needed to weave something back through the story. All of those items were easy-peasy compared to my final pass-through.
Find function, meeting the dreaded words of Just, Had, and That.
These are my Crutch Words (don’t get me started on looked and smiled–that’s another pain in the, er, I mean topic) and, as you’d guess by my pet name of Crutch Words, it means I lean on them.
But, thank the writing gods for the Find function, I am able to highlight them and decide what to do with their overused asses. I read through the sentence and hear if the word is necessary, tricky, or needs to be axed. Necessary is easy–leave it alone and zip to the next one. Needs to be axed is pretty self-explanatory, too. The tricky ones are…well, tricky. Sometimes I take it out to see how it looks/reads, sometimes I’ll try and use another word(s) instead, but many times I’ll leave it alone. My theory is if it’s not falling naturally into being taken out or changed, I leave it alone. I’d rather be a little bit wordy than force a change that doesn’t fit.
So here are my stats on my Crutch words (for a 100K word book):
- Just was the baby with 399 appearances, whittled down to 279
- Had came in second with 632 appearances, slimmed down to 520
- That, my biggest crutch of all, came in at a whopping 1063 appearances, shaved down to 913.
Think about it. Those three words made up almost 2% of my book, the word that alone accounts for ~1% of my total words. I don’t know about you, but this was my reaction:
Side thought–one of these days I should put one of my books into a wordle and see what pops up. It’d either be very interesting or make me want to slash my wrists, possibly both.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Some other stuff, but those projects are posts for another time. All I know so far is that the first 11 days of this shiny new year have been interesting, fascinating, and chock full of optimism. That little gif above? Yeah, that’s how 2013 is going to be. Mind-blowingly fabulous.
Have a great weekend. I think I’m playing to the majority here when I say stay warm and dry.
Okay, apropos of absolutely nothing, Electric Barbarella by Duran Duran is playing on my internet station. That is awesome.
So, Happy 2013, everybody!!! How is everybody doing with the new year? I’m adjusting quite well, though I have a theory about that–since 2012 passed so damn quickly, I don’t think I ever acclimated to it, so the new year (in my head) was about due. So that’s my secret–24 month years.
I did have a nice moment on New Year’s Eve–I was entering edits on a story I adore, and remembered that on New Year’s Day of 2012, I finished my first novella. That meant I was writing/working on my writing on the first day of the year and the last. (And yes, so many more in between.) That meant a lot to me. I feel like 2013 is going to be the year of writing, a very important year. It’s going to be a great year; a hard year, but one so worthwhile. I’m going to try and blog more (yeah, I know–you’ve heard that before, haven’t you?), and be not necessarily more active on Facebook and Twitter, but more consistent. But, as always, the writing comes first.
Happy New Year to us all!
Holy crap. I just realized today is the 16 year anniversary of when I started writing. Rather than be embarassed or ashamed at how long the journey to publication is taking me, I wear each and every one of those years with pride. I could not be where I am now–and let me tell you, I freaking adore where I am right now–without each and every one of those 5,840 days.
And let me tell you one other thing–these next 16 years? I’m going to tear the mother fuckers up.
Happy 4th of July!!! Hope everybody gets the day off to celebrate and your fireworks, BBQs, events and family hootenannies are very happy and safe!! And for those of you reading from a place other than the United States, may I be the first to wish you Happy Wednesday. Always a good day because it tips the scale from the beginning of the week to the end. Salut!
I thank you all for sticking with me during the most recent silence. As you know, Bob (writer’s joke…), when I last posted, it was a quickfire little beauty telling you I was on a writing streak, and was respecting that gift. Just to show you how much, in that week/7 day period, I wrote 20,000 words. Seriously, exactly 20,000. As I told the hubs that Sunday night, had it been 19,999 words, the computer would have come back on just so I could type “The” or “She” or “Next” and clock it in at exactly 20K. The writing continued, exceeding my 2K daily goal and I wrapped up Book #8 (the Irish book) last Friday.
Hmm. Guess that’s another reason for fireworks. (Yes, it’s all about me.)
So, I’ve since been piddling on a novella that is my version of writing sorbet, i.e. a cleanser, and doing a whole lotta diddly-squat. I wrote some 60K words during a very challenging May and June and let me tell you, some diddly-squatting is called for. I know myself though, and need to get going back into some serious writing or editing, lest I lose the flow I so painfully shaped.
Hmm. I think a reward system is called for…
So what have I been piddling on? (On the re-read, this makes me sound like an untrained puppy. Oh well…) Watching The Tudors again, though I have yet to acquire Season 4, and in a bit of overkill, reading The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. Watched Bull Durham and Princess Bride this past weekend, and I tip my hat to two movies 25+ years old that still hold up. I’ve also read Heiress Without a Cause by Sara Ramsey and Love My Way by Karen Booth and was absolutely delighted by both–absolute keepers and auto-buys for the rest of their books. And yeah, we went to see The Avengers for a second time. Joss. *sigh* That man is crazy good.
Okay, I think that’s about it. I hope you are all doing well and July has started off well and, for those affected, hope you haven’t been baked, broiled, or roasted out of your home.
Happy 4th of July!
First, though, a proper greeting. Hello. How are you? I’m doing well, thanks. Better than well, in fact. I don’t know if it’s the pharmaceuticals rushing through my body or a delightful, thoughtful, and painful evening yesterday (yes, all three, though not necessarily at once), but I am feeling op-ta-freaking-mistic! I had more layers to an upcoming book start to pile on, a very unexpected conversation about bullet wounds leading to my thriller rearing its bloody head (in more ways than one…), and overall I am just Happy Pam the Writer today. Do the Happy Dance with me, won’t you?
So, moving on to the linky-linkies! (Sorry. No graceful way to transition. Deal.)
- Marjorie Liu talks about Writer’s Block. I found this by a retweet and thought it was fascinating! There seems to be some minor kerfuffles about this dreaded disease (I have Writer’s Block vs. You don’t hear about plumbers getting Plumber’s Block) and thought Marjorie had an instesting take on it. Makes me wonder if Writer’s Block shouldn’t be renamed Square Peg in Round Hole Syndrome or It’s Not Shiny. Lots to be pondered here.
- And speaking of It’s Not Shiny, check out Chuck Wendig’s 25 Things You Should Know About Story Structure. (Yeah, #1 relates *directly* to that whole Writer’s Block thing…) and in my humble opinion, this post really gets you in a great place for plotting, characterization, themes, and yeah–structure. (Chuck is also the genius who brought you 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (Right Fucking Now). I strongly suggest you bookmark this man’s blog or follow him on Twitter. Streams of wisdom fall from his mouth like coffee after a visit to the dentist.
- Jason Arnopp’s Your Script is Not a Lottery Ticket is a fabulous article. Replace “script” with “manuscript” and “judges” with “agents/editors” and, wow, you’ve got it. (It reminds me of a Steven Axelrod seminar from Nationals a few years ago.) I think if you can get in the mindset of writing the best, most awesome, most polished, most from-your-bleeding-guts-0f-emotion story you can, it doesn’t matter what your competition is or who’s on the other end, you will strike a chord.
So, go forth and be awesome in your writing. Embrace it, tickle it, whisper sweet words to it. Throw it to the ground and make it your bitch if that’s what your writing demands, but just don’t do it half-heartedly.
Woo–got a little carried away from the power of those links! Now, if y’all will excuse me, I’ve got a manuscript that needs a touch of lovin’…
See you next week.