Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joys of Writing

     I consider any fears I had of continuing to write after having finished a large work to be banished.  I wrote 3k words yesterday, somehow, with school and a six hour shift at work.  I'm writing my dungeon crawl, or DC as I have it in my weekly writing planner, and because I haven't really looked at it for a couple of months (since June) I had to entirely work the third chapter to get it to fit in with the notes I have in my notebook.  I had to cut out a fight scene I really liked with my main character Perrad and one of the black creatures inhabiting the underground city, but hopefully I can find a place for it in a subsequent chapter.
     Speaking of a weekly writing planner, I can't recommend them enough if you write for your word count, or if that's how you measure your progress.  Every time I sit down to write I hope to get 2000 words on the page in however long it takes me to write them.  I know my exact word count every day since September 7th, but I have no idea how much time it took me to write.  I'm very easily distracted when I write, and if I had to account for every time I got up from my chair to pace around the house, or some up with some question that I had to google that simply couldn't afford to wait, I'd be spending more time clocking in and out than I would working.  I tallied up all of my words that I've written since Sept 7th, for no good reason other than I wanted to know, and I was amazed that I have written just over 40,000 words since I got the thing.  Doing the obvious division, that comes out to just over 1500 words/day.  Less than my desired total, but this is every day, even the ones I didn't write on, the time I've been sick, the days I was so tired from school or work that I barely managed to write a few hundred words.  This is an invaluable tool for me, because it's a great way to track my own progress.  I suggest, if you don't have anything that you're currently using to track word counts, that you get something, even if it's just an excel spreadsheet.  They'll do wonders, not just to keep track, but to motivate you to put something down for that day.
     One more thing and I'm out...  I'm awful at this social networking thing, I just am.  I have no idea where to go about talking to people or asking them to be my friend or what to tweet.  But I did start a twitter page, just search my name, Lee Shelly Allen, and a facebook (under my name too).  I'm not published yet, so I won't expect any great things like people googling my name, but I am out there if you care to see what I'm up to.  Here's a sneak preview for anybody reading - I'm probably writing.    

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Block Broken

     I've been sick, which is a possible reason for my unwillingness to write lately, but as of yesterday my novel block is over.  My novel is done, it's out of my mind for a month while I tackle other projects.  For example, my dungeon crawl!  You know, when a group of adventurers goes into a dungeon to retrieve an item of some special significance?  Mine has a little extra to it - a dash of survival horror.  I'm just about 15k words into it (it's a project I started a few months ago and tried to work on concurrently with my epic fantasy novel, didn't work out) but I'm on a good track, I remember what I was doing and where I was going with it.  Great feeling, to be writing again (I only took Monday off, but it felt like a long vacation).
     I did some free writing yesterday, a prompt in my writing class.  Write a dialogue between two characters while they're doing something else - moving furniture, weeding the yard, doing dishes, etc.  I wrote a snippet of a scene between two men while they were playing cards and I really like how it turned out, I'm going to bank the idea for a story (or something) in the future.  I feel like it's already been done, but so has everything else, right?  I haven't gotten a chance to work on my play yet, but I really feel like that's secondary...  It was my fiance's idea, and I liked it so much I hijacked it even though I've never written a play in my life and he was in theater in high school.  As long as I finish ten pages this week I'll be happy.  Maybe even tonight, if I finish my other writing for the day (at least 2k words).  Either way, I'll probably blog about it tomorrow.
     Speaking of which, blogs are pretty cool.  I've never had one, and this is great to talk about my writing like this to a place where no one sees it yet.  I'm no good at social networking, really I'm not, but I promised myself that when I finished my first book I would start a blog.  To what end, nobody knows.  If anyone is out there reading this, drop me a line!  I would love to hear from you.  Have a great day!   

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The art of getting things done

     Is something I have not yet perfected.  I finished my book on Sunday, and my gloriously lovely future mother-in-law printed it out for me, so I finally got to see my finished work.  It's pretty impressive.  It looks like a book, and I can hold it in my hands and flip through it and imperiously call it my manuscript.  It's a wonderful feeling, and one I long to recreate.  But ever since I typed 'the end' on page 449 of my novel, I haven't written anything else.  Besides these posts, but that's just because this isn't really an exercise in creativity.  I have a play I'm working on, The Zombie Apocalypse: A Play for Two People, and Mondays are my nights to get ten pages of work done.  Which I didn't do last night.  Today, I'm procrastinating instead of working either on my play or another WIP I haven't seen in months, since I started it in the middle of writing my other novel and found out the hard way I couldn't work on both at the same time.
     I'm pretty sure I just need to start writing again, to put the first word down on paper, and I'll be back in my groove.  I just don't know why I can't seem to do it.  I might try a writing exercise or two.  Anybody else out there have this problem?  Have you completed a work, only to be blocked when you go to work on something else?  

Monday, September 27, 2010

I just finished my novel yesterday...

     And boy, are my arms tired.  Well, that's a little extreme.  But after having spent the last ten months getting this idea on paper, I'm at kind of a loss as to what happens next.  I know I need to edit it, and I'm going to be taking a couple of weeks off of my manuscript so I can come back to it with my editing face on.  Then comes the distribution of copies of my beloved novel to friends and family and waiting for their input, then maybe another couple of drafts, and then off to (hopeful) publication.
     But what else am I doing between now and then?  I have a novel in the works that I started months ago, and I've spent more hours than I would like to admit looking at it and trying to figure out exactly where I was going with it.  Maybe if I just start writing I'll find out.  I really like the idea, but working on another project seems... too soon?  I'm halfway through a rough draft of a play, and I think that will be easy to keep working on because I've been keeping up with it, ten pages every Monday.  And maybe I just deserve a day off from novel writing.  Last week I had a word count of 13,979, which when coupled with a part time job and full time education sets a pace that feels to me like 'breakneck'.
     I know I have lots of other books in me.  This blog, eventually, hopefully, will become a sounding board for new ideas, maybe a place to post bits and pieces of things that I'm working on, most of which will be probably fantasy, horror, science fiction, or just plain speculative fiction.  Hopefully (I know, I'm using the word too much) next time you see me, I'll have broken this block on working on a new/old novel.  And I already know what I'm doing for NaNoWriMo!  Do you?