valis2: Stone lion face (Mapfic)
So I was listening to the first episode of [livejournal.com profile] slashcast again. It's been so long that I had kind of forgotten the episode (it's here if you're interested), so it was like listening to it new again. I'm most interested in the interviews of writers, and the interviewee for this ep was [livejournal.com profile] amanuensis1. (I was hoping there'd be a transcript I could link to, but I don't see one on the transcript community, sorry.)

Anyway, it was a fascinating interview, as it was bound to be with Amanuensis involved. She's a really great writer and a really cool person. I met her at a con or two and, though we only exchanged a few sentences, she was warm and welcoming.

She said some really thought-provoking things in the interview. Things that I could identify with and things that I've long thought about, and there were other things, too, that fascinated me, so you all get to hear about it, lol.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Mapfic)
stolen from [livejournal.com profile] elle_blessing

1. How often do you write and how do you feel about your output?

When I have the time and Ducks In A Row, the writing comes out fairly consistently at about 1000 to 2000 words a day. When I am drinking fire I can write 1000 words per hour, but those times are few and far between. I am mostly okay with my output but I wish I had more time to spare for it and that my ducks lined up more often. Still, I don't like to make writing goals; that sort of thing always backfires with me. I get ahead of myself rather spectacularly every single time (counting my poor chickens before they're hatched is a failing of mine) and then I get disappointed. Especially because I so rarely do what is wanted of me. Even when I'm the one who wants myself to do it.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Mapfic)
So while I was in Wisconsin I was reading a collection of essays called Writers on Writing. There were a lot of well-known and respected names, and a lot of advice, and a lot of interesting approaches to writing about writing, as one would expect.

But there was one essay that really stood out for me, personally.

You see, I have this theory about writing, that it is as individual as writers are. We love to write about writing, but there's only one thing I've learned about writing, which is that everyone does it differently, and thus a lot of this advice is of the Your Mileage May Vary school.

There are a few pieces of advice that I have seen fairly consistently. One, for example, is the Consistent Output advice. The main component is either to a) be at your writing desk at a consistent time each day, and/or b) write a certain number of words (I have seen more than a few mentions of 1000) per day. The thing is, IMO, this all depends on the kind of person you are and the kind of writer you are. Even on the kind of mood you're in.

For example, the very thought of just sitting and writing 1000 words of...well, nonsense, stuff without a plan--makes me break out in hives. My brain thinks, what a waste. I can't imagine that writing 1000 words of total crap each day would help in any way. However, like I said before, writers are such individual creatures that I am certain there are many who would benefit from this or at least enjoy it immensely. I'm not one of them.

"For Authors, Fragile Ideas Need Loving Every Day," by Walter Mosley was the first writing advice essay that really seemed to speak directly to me. More rambling about the writing process underneath. )
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] catsintheattic has been writing an intriguing series of entries on writing, and it's really made me think harder about my own writing process. One of the things that I've been really mulling over is what I call "plot and chores."

First of all, the terminology is my own rather poor word choice, and I'm certain that it's called something more accurate somewhere else, and it's probably explained better, too, but what I'm trying to do here is explain my own version of plotting in my own words. And keep in mind that this will not be a huge epiphany for anyone who regularly writes--it's more of an attempt to figure out how I write.

When I'm writing a long fic, I generally follow a pattern. I think about the fic quite a bit, daydream about it for days, sometimes months, and then I sit down and start writing down every plot point I can remember. I keep that up for a couple days, and then I type all of the plot points/scenes into a Word document and rearrange them until I have them in chronological order. I add a starting location and a date (and time, if necessary) to each section. I also add a few details that I don't want to forget, sometimes even a bit of dialogue. This is the plot. The outline looks like this:

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valis2: Stone lion face (Mapfic)
Craziness abounds at the Valis Domicile. I got home after work, listed all my new eBay auctions, listed a whole set of stuff in my eBay store, picked out next week's eBay auctions, listed a couple items on Etsy, packed a bunch of shipments, paid some bills. I'm boggling at this weird burst of activity.

The Giant Scary Riptide Fic is still dominating half of my brain, lurking back there, staring at me. "Good grief, Valis," it says in a nasty hissing drawl. "You've written 38k already. What's another 38k? Go on, read me again. Read me and dare to like me."

Um. I actually do. Like it, that is. I hope I can find time to continue it. The size is daunting, though. I'm a little exhausted just thinking of it. I should just envision writing the next scene and not angst over writing another 38k.

And I do NOT need to look for Chris Larabee Magnificent 7 h/c fics. No. I do not. grah.
valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary


The sink contained the dirty dishes from this morning, and the rack held the dishes I'd washed before going to the cove yesterday. I began to hang the clean coffee cups on the rack as Mike came in and closed and bolted the door. He turned towards me as if to say something, but then seemed to reconsider. Instead he switched off the foyer light and walked into his kitchen.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary

And finally, the last installment. Thank goodness. Only one entry left, which will detail what was supposed to happen if I had written it all.

I underestimated how many sections this would take, unfortunately. That's why I've been totally spamming you; I'm walking out the door in just a couple hours and I wanted to get it all out before I left.


The sink contained the dirty dishes from this morning, and the rack held the dishes I'd washed before going to the cove yesterday. I began to hang the clean coffee cups on the rack as Mike came in and closed and bolted the door. He turned towards me as if to say something, but then seemed to reconsider. Instead he switched off the foyer light and walked into his kitchen.

I like this dance between them. I like that they can't say what they want to say. She's convinced he doesn't care for her at all, and she's determined to go forward with her blinders firmly attached. He's really uncertain about how to approach her about any of this.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary


The rest of the morning went fairly well, as we managed to get two more keepers, an excellent catch for so late in the season. Mr. Jensen decided to cut it short at ten thirty, as Sean was starting to get worn out. I could see the beginnings of a sunburn on his young face. I packed it it and headed for home, trying to sort out my mental list of things to do with a charterless afternoon.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary


The rest of the morning went fairly well, as we managed to get two more keepers, an excellent catch for so late in the season. Mr. Jensen decided to cut it short at ten thirty, as Sean was starting to get worn out. I could see the beginnings of a sunburn on his young face. I packed it it and headed for home, trying to sort out my mental list of things to do with a charterless afternoon.

This section has just a little bit of fishing, and then goes back into the romance stuff. This section actually was my favorite section of the whole thing when I first wrote it, so I'm eager to see what my reactions are now.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary


I thought for a moment on what fishing technique to use, and decided upon planerboards, two flat pieces of wood standing on their sides with metal spacers running through them. I pulled them out of the small cabin and hopped into the bow with Sean. I'd brought the planerboard mast with me as well and I screwed it into place at the very tip of the bow.

"What's that?" he asked, examining it closely.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary


I thought for a moment on what fishing technique to use, and decided upon planerboards, two flat pieces of wood standing on their sides with metal spacers running through them. I pulled them out of the small cabin and hopped into the bow with Sean. I'd brought the planerboard mast with me as well and I screwed it into place at the very tip of the bow.

"What's that?" he asked, examining it closely.


Again, this is a fishing-intense chapter.

A picture of one set of triple planer boards; a diagram of how they work.

I have a small quibble about the use of "what" with "what fishing technique;" should probably be "which."

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary


Back to Sarah's POV:

By the time I finished showering and dressing Mike had fallen asleep on the couch. The morning was cold and clear, and I hummed a bit as I readied Wave Dancer for my early charter. There was no sign of Mike--not suprising, given that he was up so late--so I ate breakfast alone.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary




Back to Sarah's POV:

By the time I finished showering and dressing Mike had fallen asleep on the couch. The morning was cold and clear, and I hummed a bit as I readied Wave Dancer for my early charter. There was no sign of Mike--not suprising, given that he was up so late--so I ate breakfast alone.

What is it about sleeping on couches? Don't they have beds?

This section is pretty much all about fishing.

Let me just say right up front that this is all Lake Erie-style fishing, and is completely wrong for Lake Michigan, and I apologize to any fishermen reading this.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary




****Mike****

I was still amused by Lucinda's newest tactic, but it would be a cold day in hell before I'd have anything to do with that busybody. Much less live with her; even thinking of it made my skin crawl. She was a public nuisance, and I was still amazed that anyone spoke to her, considering the grief she'd caused over the years. Lucy had one son--Davy, once a friend of mine--and when he'd married, she went into gossip overdrive. The nice, amiable girl he'd chosen was simply "not good enough" for her Davy, and she went around and told everyone as much until Davy and his wife simply moved away and stopped speaking to her. She finally apologized but they never returned. I hated to see him go.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary




Still in Mike's POV.

I was still amused by Lucinda's newest tactic, but it would be a cold day in hell before I'd have anything to do with that busybody. Much less live with her; even thinking of it made my skin crawl. She was a public nuisance, and I was still amazed that anyone spoke to her, considering the grief she'd caused over the years. Lucy had one son--Davy, once a friend of mine--and when he'd married, she went into gossip overdrive. The nice, amiable girl he'd chosen was simply "not good enough" for her Davy, and she went around and told everyone as much until Davy and his wife simply moved away and stopped speaking to her. She finally apologized but they never returned. I hated to see him go.

Okay, this whole section is pretty much one giant expositional block. Just one huge chunk of He Did This and She Did That (When She Wasn't On A Vodka Bender, That Is).

And wow, how awful do you have to be to chase your own son out of town?

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary




Alert: Abrupt shift in view to Mike's viewpoint!

****Mike****

When I came back to her side of the house to ask her what she wanted to eat she'd already fallen asleep on the sofa, and I couldn't bring myself to wake her. I covered her with a blanket and went back to my kitchen to eat the leftovers I'd bought from Lenore; chicken mashed potatoes, sweet corn. Lenore was the best cook around, and it was a pretty good meal.

For some reason I wasn't tired, so I heated up a cup of coffee and sat down at my kitchen table. I couldn't help but think that she was the most stubborn person I'd ever met. The people I'd met at college and, later, at the marketing company were so different from everyone in Moray. Especially her. Even as kids she'd dig her feet in and that would be it. I remembered how odd it had been to be with her at first; I mean, she was Corny's younger sister, and it was weird to spend time with her. I was always tense that the other kids at school would find out, a fear that turned out to be well-grounded. Then we stopped talking and it was like a whole world closed itself off to me.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary




Alert: Abrupt shift in POV! Man the torpedoes! We are now entering Mike's viewpoint! Which (I must admit) I like a little better than Sarah's.

****Mike****

When I came back to her side of the house to ask her what she wanted to eat she'd already fallen asleep on the sofa, and I couldn't bring myself to wake her. I covered her with a blanket and went back to my kitchen to eat the leftovers I'd bought from Lenore; chicken mashed potatoes, sweet corn. Lenore was the best cook around, and it was a pretty good meal.

For some reason I wasn't tired, so I heated up a cup of coffee and sat down at my kitchen table. I couldn't help but think that she was the most stubborn person I'd ever met. The people I'd met at college and, later, at the marketing company were so different from everyone in Moray. Especially her. Even as kids she'd dig her feet in and that would be it. I remembered how odd it had been to be with her at first; I mean, she was Corny's younger sister, and it was weird to spend time with her. I was always tense that the other kids at school would find out, a fear that turned out to be well-grounded. Then we stopped talking and it was like a whole world closed itself off to me.


This is where having a NAME for the heroine would be quite handy. Because for a minute I thought he was talking about the cook, Lenore. And I wrote it.

So I have to address the lunacy of having a first person story with rotating viewpoints. BAD IDEA, YO. Good if you're an incredible author, but just...not good if you're anyone else. It confused the hell out of every reader who actually tried plowing through this fic.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary




I couldn't sleep, and Mike shrugged off all of my attempts at making conversation, so I had to be content with mentally mapping out the rest of my week and the numerous things I had to take care of before I could be satisfied that we could face winter. Soon enough we were approaching the outskirts of Detroit. The traffic became heavier, and Mike became more aggressive, passing cars with abandon and making a mockery of the speed limit. He seemed oblivious to the glares he received from his fellow drivers. I became worried as I covertly watch the speedometer approach ninety.

I think at the time that the speed limit might have still been 55. Not certain, though. Because right now--it's 70, so this wouldn't be that big a deal, lol.

And "making a mockery" LOLOLOL. MOCKITY MOCK, SPEED LIMIT.

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read with the commentary




Upon entering the house with a bag of groceries I heard the phone ringing. I picked it up in my den.

"May I please speak to Michael Joseph St. James?" asked the caller. I put him on hold and went to find Mike, which wasn't difficult, as he was slamming cupboards in his kitchen.

"There's someone on the phone for you," I said.

He turned to me, puzzled. "Who?"

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valis2: Stone lion face (Wavedancer)
Intro/Index of all parts | Read without the commentary




Upon entering the house with a bag of groceries I heard the phone ringing. I picked it up in my den.

"May I please speak to Michael Joseph St. James?" asked the caller. I put him on hold and went to find Mike, which wasn't difficult, as he was slamming cupboards in his kitchen.

"There's someone on the phone for you," I said.

He turned to me, puzzled. "Who?"


I AM NOT YOUR ANSWERING SERVICE RAR! Oh, I guess she doesn't say that. I'm surprised.

And Mike's name is very near Stuish, don't you think? Though it could be standard for romance novels. Not certain, I haven't read one in so long.

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