Sometimes when I sit down to write a rough draft I find myself dragging my feet. The mind wonders, I sit pondering too long how I want to take control of a particular scene, and by the end of the day, I may have written only a couple of pages. I believe I just found an interesting way to help me push through those particularly trying attempts at writing.
This past May when I was touring the old prison/castle complex in Paris, I purchased an appropriate souvenir: an old style writing quill, the kind with a metallic nib that you dip into a bottle of ink. When I got home I bought a bottle of black India ink with the intention of scribbling out a few letters and poems with it, but the quill has largely remained untouched on my desktop. Until today. I was having one of those moments where I just couldn't force the scene onto the paper (yes, I write every rough draft longhand in a fat 5-subject, college-ruled notebook), and out of an attempt to avoid writing anything else, I dragged out the ink bottle, dipped, and started tracing the few sentences I had managed to write over the past hour. Well, once I dipped that quill, I was worried that the ink would dry or drip and be wasted, so I just kept writing. What I wrote was rushed and likely VERY nasty, but before I knew it, I had plunged through a page and half of stuff that likely would've taken me the rest of the day.
So my new method of conquering these fruitless hours of sitting and staring at the page will be to open my bottle of India ink and write, write, write before the ink can dry on the nib. It's all about slogging through the sections you're not so sure about to reach the sections you feel sure about, to just get the idea out already and not worry about the finer details until that first draft is complete.
Hurray! It's a day to celebrate when one's story becomes available to the public. No matter how many times this has happened, there's always something extra special in the knowledge that one's labor of love may now be enjoyed by others.
If you're interested, my story "The Wall" is now available from A Fly In Amber: here. Or you may click the link to the magazine's home page under "Publications and Activities" to the right. Leave a comment about the story on the zine's site or here in my blog. I look forward to hearing what you think. I won't even be upset if you tell me you didn't like it. No writer should suffer from the delusion that she can enchant every reader. However, I do hope you'll enjoy it in some capacity.
Nothing has been more rewarding for me recently than helping to save the LegendFire Writing Community from extinction. I just have to gush about it. I spent so many years accumulating information about writing, the writing industry, the personal side of the writing life, and now I finally get to give back. The best rewards come from giving. This is my proof.
If I neglect my own writing on any particular day, chances are I am spending too much time cruising the community's site, making sure everything is in order, whacking spammers with my Anti-Spammer Sword of Doom, and tucking in the kiddies for the night. I didn't know how I would handle the responsibility, but I've loved the process of becoming a mother hen. The first few days were rough, getting familiar with the way the site worked, how to balance that Sword of Doom in my inexperienced fists, refereeing some destructive, angry-at-life members who used words like steel knuckles, but today, all is quiet on the western front. Quiet, productive, growing. I thought we needed continual contests to keep everyone's interest involved, but in the last few weeks, that hasn't been the case. Activity has held its own, new members pour in one or two a day. Enthusiasm for learning and improving keeps the atmosphere positive. All is as it should be.
But that novel is waiting. I have to get to it sometime today.
Well, I've started a new novel. I haven't attempted a story of this length in several years now. After I finished my three book series, I was burned out and upset that I couldn't seem to get a foot in the door of the publishing industry. So I decided a different approach: short stories. I always had contempt for the short story. I didn't like reading them, I didn't understand the point of so brief an experience. My goal, therefore, was novels. Making a novel work taught me much about storytelling effectively, but I hadn't the first clue about how to write short. I admit, I had to buy books that could teach this novelist how to condense her ideas into less than 5 thousand words. I still have trouble fitting complex characters and their troubles into a space less than 8k, but once I got into the swing of short story writing, I had to be honest with myself and say that I had been obsessed to an insane degree to sit down and write three novels that were well into the epic word count.
I attempted a few other novels, but inevitably I lost interest, passion, stamina. So, now that I've begun a new one, I'm nervous. Do I have the staying power anymore? I look at GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire series (my absolute favorite) and think, "Dear God, that man is a lunatic! A wonderful, brilliant lunatic!" I'm afraid that when I turned 30 and grew up I lost that rare gift of lunacy. How do I recapture it?
Hello, everyone at Blogspot. I was hoping to lurk around a bit, but it seems I've taken the full dive instead and joined the crowd. Why not? In short, I'm a writer. If anyone, by some random happenstance, stops by to read this obscure post in the wide universe of the net, then God bless you!
In my ignorance, I have no idea what I'm really doing here, except to shamelessly advertise myself and my writing:
"Mists of Blackfen Bog" is a fantasy-ghost-adventure story, a novella actually, graciously published by Silver Blade. Serialized over the summer, the story has reached its conclusion and will soon be moved to the blog section of that lovely ezine.
"Fire Eater" will soon appear in Kaleidotrope, a tidy little print journal for fiction and poetry. I've had the joy of selling this story more than once. It is a fantasy as well, with a darker edge.
"The Wall" is a short fantasy that should appear in the November 2009 issue of A Fly in Amber.
I am also the administrator/moderator of the wonderful LegendFire Writing Community. If you write and seek feedback on your work, stop by and check us out. We try to keep things positive, friendly, and helpful for all our members.