Monday, January 7, 2013

Word of the Day.

As someone who masquerades as a writer, I think it's important to have a decent vocabulary. Not because your work needs to be a freaking SAT study guide, but because using the right word is crucial. And sometimes the right word, the most concise word, isn't something that's used when you're pumping gas or buying groceries. (Here's the part where I let it be known I am completely and perfectly content with simple prose. In fact, I usually prefer it. I hate it when writers try and prove how smart they are.)

But lately I've felt like my vocab is somewhat lacking, so as a mini resolution I'm trying to learn a new word every day this year (even though I doubt ANY that I've learned thus far will end up in my writing). Basically what I do is open the dictionary on my Kindle, close my eyes and flip through the pages 'til I feel like stopping, then I point to a word. So far it's been going well, but today's word came from an article written by Lee Child on how to create suspense in novels. And I giggled because I never realized there was a word for that. (Because I'm secretly 12, okay?) From the fountain of information that is Merriam-Webster:

Meretricious
Mer·e·tri·cious

1: of or relating to a prostitute : having the nature of prostitution <meretricious relationships>
2a: tawdrily and falsely attractive <the paradise they found was a piece of     
     meretricious trash — Carolyn See>
  b: superficially significant : pretentious <scholarly names to provide fig-leaves
     of respectability for meretricious but stylish books — Times Literary
     Supplement>
 
mer·e·tri·cious·ly adverb
mer·e·tri·cious·ness noun

So, yeah. The things you learn.

Currently Listening to If You Want It That Much by Austin Allsup.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Procrastinating? No, Not Us.

Hi there, pardna'.

Firstly. If any of your New Year's resolutions involve writing more and/or procrastinating less, I'd suggest you clicky exit on this post really really fast-like.

Oh. Still here?

*Flattered*

Behold, I give thee http://title2come.tumblr.com/ .

Read it and weep procrastinate enjoy, lovelies. Read and enjoy. And if you can't find at least one .gif that applies to you, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. (Edit: Actually, you're probably the only one doing it right--bless your little pointy head.)

As for me, well I won't tell you how far back in the archives I went today, but I will say I'm in serious edit mode on FML Forget-Me-Nots  and have to get back to work to now.

All the best, folks.

Currently Listening to Little Things by One Direction. Don't judge, dammit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Courage.

Courage in writing comes in many forms. It's in taking that tiny idea and putting the words to paper. It's in finishing that draft, editing that draft. Sending it out to beta readers, critique groups, and then swallowing your pride to edit some more. In querying, no matter how many rejections you rack up, no matter how discouraged you might get, it's sending out one more.
 
Those are all courageous things, it's true. But there's another kind of courage in writing, and that's writing with reckless abandon. It's telling the story how it's meant to be told, not how society thinks it should be told. It's laying your soul bare on every page for everyone to see, to feel. To experience. To tell a story in all its truth and beauty and horror, to hold nothing back even when it feels like you should. When others say you should. Sometimes it's telling that story no one thinks they want to hear, but in fact so desperately need.
 
That is courage in writing, and I only hope one day  to be so brave.
 
"I wanted you to see what real courage is,
instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.
It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.
You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
 --Atticus Finch 
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Monday, December 10, 2012

Writing, in 12 Words

 
 
 Ever tried.
 
 
Ever failed.
 
 
No matter.
 
 
Try again.
 
 
Fail again.
 
 
Fail better.
 
--Samuel Beckett's Worstward Ho

Friday, December 7, 2012

Perspective//New Problems Are Good Problems

It's amazing how time and distance can grant perspective, especially when you're trying to revise a manuscript that's Just Not Working.

I'm the kind of person who struggles to accept anything that's Just Not Working. Call it hardheadedness, a stubborn streak several miles wide, whatever, but I'm a grit-my-teeth-til-it-gets-done sorta person. And for the most part, it's worked well for me.

But not lately. Not in my writing. I've been trying to get a choke-hold on some perspective for months now.

But the thing about perspective is you can't tackle it, pin it, make it tap. It yields to no one, no matter how ugly a face you make at it or what names you call its momma.

Lately the feelings of impatience and behindness (today a word) have been suffocating. Why can't I finish this manuscript? Why does this thing still stink to high heaven? Why can't I query yet? Why why why why followed by a thousand general internal boo-hoos and lamentations. My cousin's a psychologist, and after a very general Hi-how-are-you?-oh-I'm-frustrated conversation, she encouraged me to write down exactly what I thought my problem was in hopes it would spark a solution. It didn't take me long to come up with the following:

My problem is me and my manuscript that refuses to go all Handyman Dan and fix itself already.

Stubborn as I may be, actually writing and reading those words made me realized what was necessary. I needed perspective, and the only way to get that was through some time and distance. Both of which I hate. There's nothing worse than idle hands when you're trying to be productive. But then I finally realized something. Trying to fix my manuscript without knowing what, exactly the problem was (or which new direction to take) was about as productive as repeatedly running into the same wall. So I gave in. Stuck the story, which in a fit of temper frustration got renamed THAT DAMN BOOK, in the proverbial drawer and didn't even open the file for two months. Did my best to forget about the thing and anything associated with it. Piddled around and wrote something else for NaNo that hasn't really gone anywhere but that's okay.

A few days ago, I reopened THAT DAMN BOOK. Read a little, made a some notes. Realized where I went wrong, developed a couple potential solutions and decided to just start over from a clean slate. I'm about 10k in now and I can already see the improvement. I'll run into new problems I'm sure, but I can guarantee I won't have the same issues as I did with the first version. And that's learning for me: not screwing up the same way twice.

All it took was a lot of patience, a bit of time and some damned old perspective.

#

How's everybody else doing? How'd NaNo go? Hope it's all bueno :)


Currently listening to The Perishers//My Heart

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life. Writing. NaNo.

*Shrugs off Worst Blogger Ever Mantle*

*Dusts off blog*

*Breathes deep*

OMG IT'S NANO TIME, GUYS!

:) This, as you can probably tell, makes me very, very happy. I love NaNo. I've been doing it both officially and unofficially for a couple years now and even though I've never actually won, I adore it all the same.

I never really set out to win. Mostly I just try and get words for new ideas from my head to the paper and let the chips--or the word count--fall where they may. As I generally write more intently in the winter months (and let's be real here, Texas doesn't really HAVE winter months), November's the perfect time for me to reestablish my Butt In Chair routine.

NaNoWriMo: Just what the doctor ordered.

This year I'm less prepared than normal (which is no small feat, let me tell you). I have absolutely no friggin' clue what my project is going to be. (Can you tell I'm a pantser to the core?) I've got a new idea for a YA contemporary that sure is tempting, but I've also thought about going back to an older story and restarting it from a clean slate. What to do, what to do. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. (And yeah, I'm that person at the restaurant who can't ever decide what she wants until the waitstaff is eyeballing her over the order paper, foot tapping impatiently. It's a disease.)

That said, I'll probably pop by every couple of days to give an update, even if it's only for my own accountability: I'm going to shoot for 30k in 30 days.

Anybody else participating in NaNo? Got a project in mind? Got opinions about what my project should be?

Best of luck to all!

Currently listening to: Ballada by Gusstavo Lima