25 January 2005 by Published in: writing 1 comment

As I mentioned earlier, for the past couple of weeks or so I’ve been trying out a new weblogging tool in order to try and keep myself out of the bad, bad habit of composing blog entries in browser windows, where they aren’t usually saved (unless I save them to draft, which I rarely ever do, because saving something to draft is like assigning it to the Gulag) and thus too often lost. The software I’ve been using is called ecto, and I’m almost ready to plunk down cash for it (it costs 18 dollars which seems reasonable and yet I’m always reluctant to pay for software) though I’m still trying it out and making sure I want to use this all the time. It has a lot of features that I really like (like autosaving) but it doesn’t do some things that I wish it would. It doesn’t support extended entries on my platform, for example, which makes it not terribly useful for entries which I put behind the Read More tag. On the other hand, I only do that with dream entries, so that’s not so bad (forgot another dream just this morning, in fact). I haven’t found an effective way of including images either, although it purports to do that, and maybe I just haven’t properly figured out how to. It has an iTunes reporting button, however, which is really slick, and nicer than the AudioScrobbler plugin I have for Nucleus. I can actually include my ratings, with the iTunes reporter. On the other hand, I love the CurrentMedia reporter which I’ve been using to let you know what I’m reading, and that’s Nucleus only (though I don’t see why it has to be. ecto could be doing something like that). On the other hand, I don’t enter something for that plugin with every entry, so like the dream entries thing, I can probably tolerate switching to the Nucleus front end for that. Another ecto bonus is that it’s very good and painless about pinging a ton of places which is more than can be said for the Nucleus plugins I’ve tried to use for that.

I haven’t done a writing summary in a while, have I? People have been asking me how it’s been going, so I suppose that means it’s time for an update. Well, first I wasn’t doing the summaries – which I had imagined myself doing weekly – because I was stuck and not doing well and not wanting to face the dearth of words, and then I didn’t do one because I was busy doing the actual writing. Ha. However, I can check back on my notes and summarize here, catching you all up to where I am. Just so you know, no writing went on while Sophia was out of school for Christmas. So she started back to school on January 3rd.

  • Monday, January 3 – 1,216 words
  • Tuesday, January 4 – 1,918 words
  • Wednesday, January 5 – 164 words
  • Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 – no words
  • Monday, January 10 – 418 words
  • Tuesday, January 11 – 1634 words
  • Wednesday, January 12 – 247 words
  • Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 – no writing but much painful fiddling with troff. Sadly, more of this needed
  • Saturday 15 – Tuesday 18 – no writing done, Monday was MLK holiday and Sophia was home
  • Wednesday, January 19 – 1098 words
  • Thursday, January 20 – 1469 words
  • Friday 21 – Sunday 23 – no words
  • Monday, January 24 – 1704 words
  • Tuesday, January 25 – 1257 words

Phew. I really need to do this more often. It looks like, so far, I’m falling short of the desired 5,000 words a week. Of course, it’s only three weeks into the year, so I’m not going to say it’s not possible for me to do 5,000 words a week. I didn’t even really think that 5,000 was very many, though. I have to admit to some disappointment in that regard.

The novel stands today just shy of 25,000 words. It is tentatively named “Yonder Wicket Gate, Yonder Shining Light”. I know, I know, probably too long and probably too obvious, but it’s working for me for right now. I have to call it something. I like the sound (and sense) of wicket gate, and of course I feel like anything science fiction ought to have shining light. I have come to a point where I’m not sure whether the story will truly be novel length. If it’s not, I have no idea what I will do with it. I only have a handful of specific scenes lettered out in my mind, but I feel as though I’ve set up quite a lot that requires resolution and that those scenes I have in my mind don’t do anything to resolve what I’ve set up and in fact add more to what has already been set (so there must be others that do the resolving, but where are they?). I think this is a part where I just need to trust the story to go on for as long as it will and end where it will and keep at it, but it’s kind of distracting to have this uncertainty so close. I’m tempted to go back and start trying to enumerate and make chapters and sections out of what I have already written. This is a temptation I’m resisting as it can only interfere with the forward momentum I’m currently enjoying. I have a sense that the completed part is possibly a third of the piece, but I don’t feel like I have another two-thirds worth of stuff to add, so I don’t know where the sense that I’m a third of the way through is coming from.

I’ve started some grappling, grasping efforts at finding a writing group. I need someone to talk nuts and bolts with. Writing is, necessarily, a solitary activity, but there comes a point at which things are written but not ready and – absent an editor – I need some trusted confidantes to show me were the weak places are. (Huh. I just remembered a little bit of last night’s elusive dream. There was a house, with a false wooden flooring upstairs in a bedroom or possibly the attic, and silver dishes hidden underneath, left behind by the prior owners. See who needs extended entries? I can just interrupt myself and core dump any little stray thought right here in the main entry!) In December, I picked a writing group at random and showed up. It just so happened that on that day they had a guest speaker, and so things were not at all what I expected. It was worth going to, but not what I was looking for, if you know what I mean. I went back this month, and the more normal read a bit from your piece, offer critiques, discuss writing questions format was present. I was encouraged by that, but the people with the most incisive and useful comments were not regulars, but visitors from another writing group. That writing group, I thought to myself, is where I want to be. It’s tonight and I’m nervous about it, for some reason. I haven’t decided what to take for review, though I have at least two pieces that I sense need serious help (both Loyal Companion and Egghead Kingdom). I know some of the places that need to be fixed in Loyal Companion, but I haven’t done them yet, so I don’t want to take that and get only feedback about stuff I already know is problematic, but on the other hand Egghead Kindgom is such an odd little piece that I don’t know what people will make of it. And I don’t mean odd in any kind of avant-garde way. It’s fairly pedestrian as that goes. It’s just kind of odd in scope and function. Just a little thing I spun out because it’d been on my mind, probably the most promising candidate for something I can never sell and so ought to go up on the webpage. So, I shall probably be going down there tonight, to Writers Under the Arch, and giving it a try. Perhaps I will bring a few pages of the novel. Who knows? At the point where I was stuck in the writing, about a week ago, I let Kurt read what I had so far and tried to describe to him what the problem was, and why I couldn’t proceed. I was talking about plot and pacing and structure in a way I rarely do. In fact, things had come out of my mouth that I had not realized I was thinking. It made me happy to know that on some level I was thinking about these things, but it was also strange, hearing myself give analysis of my own work that I didn’t know I had done. I was especially trying to explain the story’s need for a sort of pause before the next sequence of events. I thought, but did not say, the word caesura. It made me realize that I need writing geeks to sound ideas off of, people who will help me polish what I’m digging up and setting out. Kurt is a fairly good sounding board, because he’s so widely read and so attentive, but I would prefer him to be in the position of encourager, and let someone else help me wrench around details of plot and character and construction. I want him to be the first enjoyer of the works, not the first analyzer.

I had a chance to read Egghead Kingdom yesterday for the first time since I wrote it. It seemed like a new thing, so it looks like eight weeks is enough resting time for a story before I can come at it with fresh eyes. This is a very useful piece of information to have, now I know just how long to shelve something before attempting another draft.

Gah, I have about eight more writing-related things I wanted to say, but there’s just too much in this entry already. I need to give you and me a break already.


Tue 01st Feb 2005 at 7:21 pm

go, Ani, go!!!!

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress