the writing life


You’d think I’d have more time for writing these days: book #2 is merrily on its way (even getting some sales!). NaNo isn’t until next week.

So why only a few sentences?

Fucking marketing.

It seems to take up my whole day – social media, especially. By the time I get to the writing, I’m wiped out. Plus I guess I’m doing a bit of looking over my shoulder. Even though the kids are grown, the idea of them seeing their Parental Figure writing hot stuff gives me pause.

(another reason for the pen name)

How are you all doing?

 

I never knew publishing a book was so much work. Between that and the day job (yeah, it’s at home but it pays the bills) this blog has to be feeling neglected.

But I have had a few nights to get some writing in, which is always good.

I’m mulling over a title. How does Ghosts of the Past sound? It sums up the book pretty well but I’m worried it sounds like a paranormal. What do you think?

 

This sure applies to writing:

I read that last post again, and I still don’t like my story sentence, as it doesn’t quite capture what I’m going after. My MC is penniless because her life savings was stolen, for one thing.

But the story’s going pretty well. I tend to worldbuild on the fly, and since this location is an actual place (Los Angeles) I’m spending a lot of time poring over maps of the LA Basin, making sure as to where a road crosses the river, things like that.

Anyone out there writing? How’s that going? Seems awfully quiet here.

How’s everyone doing?

Since April, my sons have started high school band (they integrate the 8th graders in at the end of the year), my daughter has graduated high school, and the house is all in a flurry because she’s getting married next month.

It’s bittersweet to be losing a daughter (yet gaining a son, so to speak), but they seem to love each other, and she’s continuing with her education. So I’m pleased about it.

I’ve been working on the garden (which has really perked up this year), taking care of home and rabbits, driving kids places, and working on the Think Sideways class. I’m a bit behind, but learning A LOT.

Each class builds on the one before it, so it’s a bit difficult to explain, but the homework for this lesson is to split your planned story into scenes then write a one-sentence blurb for each scene. For example, the Council of Elrond in Lord of the Rings could be summed up this way:

The Council of Elrond meets, and after much controversy, appoints Frodo and eight others to go to Mount Doom and destroy the Ring.

As you can imagine, this homework is taking me a while to do. But it’s a great way to get a handle on the book before you write it. I had an idea of where I wanted the story to start then realized that I really needed to start the story a few scenes earlier. Also, doing this has shown me where I need to do research (anyone know how to sail?) and where the logic holes in my plot are. All this before I spend weeks writing this thing.

So I’m very happy about the class.

What have you been up to? Anything good going on the rest of us need to know about?

There has been a huge discussion over on LiveJournal about race and cultural appropriation, and one thing I’ve noticed is people saying, “Well, if I just wrote about [what they are], then it would be boring!”

Which made me laugh, because none of the things they put in the brackets sounded boring at all … unless they wrote mainstream, which puts me to sleep.

Seems to me that writing about what you know about, with a bit of tweaking to make it not exactly you, might be just what you need.

Take Tobias Buckell, for example. He grew up in the Caribbean. If he had said, “I can’t write about what I know, that would be boring!” then his whole damn freaking awesome series wouldn’t have come about.

Now I know what you’re thinking: the Caribbean is WAY cooler than, say, Hoboken or Seattle or Dallas. But no, it isn’t. Because if you honestly write what those places and people are like, someone from somewhere else is going to find that interesting.

And Tobias didn’t just write about Caribbean people. He wrote about Caribbean people in SPACE, with aliens and immortals and interstellar wars and blowing shit up.

If he had written it mainstream … well you see where I’m going here.

(apologies to mainstream writers … it’s just not my thing)

I say this as I prepare a story set in the Los Angeles basin. Just so happens it’s in the future. Most of the LA basin is underwater due to global warming, gangs run the place, and our heroine is wheedled into working for a guy obsessed with finding his way off Earth.

But it’s LA, I grew up around there, and I’ve driven that damn basin so many times I could practically do it blindfolded. That doesn’t mean someone might not be interested in what it might be like, a hundred or so years from now. Especially if it involves blowing things up. 🙂

So the adage to write what you know still seems right on.

I stopped by to make sure this blog hadn’t been spammed out, and in the stats it said someone searched for “having the courage to fail” and found their way here.

Interesting, because I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t my problem. I’m having trouble with the idea of success. Always have.

Why? Maybe it’s that standing up in front of people makes me want to puke, or having people make assumptions about me due to what I write (as if every novel is an autobiography or a political treatise) makes me cringe. I don’t want to be famous, and that’s what the rest of the writing world seems to be about. I just want to be paid and be left alone.

I need a damn good agent and a publisher who can sell my stories without me having to be around people.

First, I need to finish editing this book.

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