>Progress and ruminations

>I’ve been working steadily on Hacker Dragon. I’m up to 21,667 words as of this very moment. I feel like that’s a truly respectable total, since this time last week, I only had about 13,000 or so. I’m finding it’s hard to get back into Drakan’s head; I’m not sure what the magic mix was when I first wrote her. She’s there, I can *feel* her, but I haven’t quite reconnected with her.

I’m pleased with the work. She’s mellowed, some. I think it’s me that’s mellowed, truthfully. I think I was in a very turbulent time in my life then. It’s no less turbulent now, but I’m coping better. I’m not in the grips of post-partum depression, though its lingering effects still hang in my mind like the unwanted cobwebs in my bedroom. I know they’re there, I know I need to get the broom, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it.
Such is the nature of depression, I suppose.
But I’m enjoying what I’m writing. It’s not Great Literature or anything, and I’m not sure I will pursue traditional publication with this piece; it’s leaning towards romance, although it may pull away into a respectable sci-fi piece by the time I’m done. If it does stay romantic, I may try Ellora’s Cave, or maybe just plain self-publishing via ebook.
I have NOT given up traditional publishing for my other works; I just don’t know if the world is ready for this one. 🙂 I won’t know until I’m finished, of course. I’ve got roughly a month before the CreateSpace deadline, and I think I’d like to print this one with it.
I don’t know. This is a very experimental book, for me. It’s outside of my comfort zone, it’s different, and I don’t think it has mainstream appeal, but I think it may very well find a very loyal audience in a certain niche.
Who knows, though, after I get the original version out, it may end up very different after it goes through editing.
I love writing. I love the mystery of it, the discovery. I’m a very visceral writer, I take a dream and I give it reality, and I enjoy learning where it leads. I’ve never been much of a planner.
And that, my friends, is my scattered brain dump for the day.

>Picking up an old WIP

>Mom cancelled on us, so I’ve got the whole day to myself. I’ve made two positive steps towards being actually productive.

1) Last night, I read over the piece I’m planning to continue. It doesn’t suck, and although I think I need to back up and take the story in a different direction than it did from the last plot twist, I think I’ve got a good base, and some damn good characters to work with.
2) Just now, I opened Scrivener. I will follow this action by stopping to tweet about the action I just took, then make a blog post about it.
Hey, it’s forward motion, right?

I think after that, I will move all of the text from the word doc I’ve got this saved on into Scrivener.

I’ve been trying to think of a new title, though. This piece is about a genetically enhanced computer geek who takes over a corporate network (think Shadowrun, but without most of the magical stuff.) just before another hostile organization takes over. This is literal hostility, including guns. She lets them take over, makes an arrangement with the leader of that organization, and is now playing cat-and-mouse with him. Romance ensues.

Quick bit of worldbuilding: Post apocalyptic thing, now humanity has a dual animal nature. Some are naturally more strong than others. Corporations rule the world (nah, I wasn’t influenced by anything cyberpunk. I PROMISE.) Most people are regular animals of various sorts, some are myths. MC is a dragon, leader of organization is tiger (smilodon fatalis, to be exact.) It comes off less cheesy than it sounds, I promise.

Anyway, It’s a sci-fantasy thing, heavier on the sci than the fantasy.

Current working title REALLY sucks: Hacker Dragon. Not the kind of thing I’d be proud to show off in public. So I have to figure out something different. I’d like this to be my CreateSpace submission, so I need a non-shitty title.

Now to figure one OUT. Any suggestions?

But I think I’ll start working on my scrivener file first, so that I’m making more progress towards actually writing, rather than procrastinating with minutiae.

>Unemployment means more writing time, right?

>So I got laid off from my sweet, awesome job. This sucks for the finances, but you know something? This means LOTS of writing time. I’ve been carrying my little red notebook around, scribbling, and I’ve written probably around 20k in the past couple of weeks. I’m rather happy with that. At the very least, I write for an hour or two before bed. Today, I’ve spent most of the day with the notebook in my lap, writing a paragraph here and there between distractions (It’s very hard to write with a toddler and a preschooler around.)

I’ve really begun honing my writing process. I do better without the distractions of computers and the internet when I’m getting my initial ideas down; so a little leather-bound notebook is the way to go for me. It just… feels right. It’s how I learned to write, it’s how I’ve always done it. The only thing that sucks is it makes my arthritis act up. To the universe: I know it seemed like a funny idea to give arthritis to a teenager, but that was WAY uncool. If it hurts this much now that I’m in my thirties, it’s gonna suck when I’m all old and stuff.
My mother showed me a book one of her customers had handed her. It made me hurt for the author; it was clearly self published, too. A no-name publishing house, based locally. What makes me sad about these things is they sell themselves short; I scanned through the book, and her writing wasn’t that bad. It could have stood a little professional editing, but overall, it seemed readable. She suffered from the terminal “said” disease (you know, the inability to use the word “said” in dialogue.) and there were some rambling bits. I was impressed with the quality.
It’s never a good sign, though, when the author is giving away the books in convenience stores.
What bothered me more than anything wasn’t the fact that this author published her own book, it’s that she created her own “publishing company” that advertises its services to other authors, and that she didn’t bother to get a professional to design her website. She didn’t even get a separate URL for her publishing company… it’s just her own name. “authorname.com”, you know.
Here’s something I’ll tell anyone: If you’re not a professional web designer? Don’t do it yourself, and don’t hire a friend who doesn’t do it for a living. As with any business, using a professional makes all of the difference. As a web designer myself, I can promise… no you can’t do it on your own. It’s not something just anyone can do, and do well. There are elements of design that will show your lack of expertise. Do yourself a favor, and pay someone else. The investment will be worth it!
That reminds me… I REALLY need to start working on mine! After all, I’m officially a degreed web designer now… as of June!
Anyway, now that I’ve rambled on enough, I’ll wrap it up, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Heck… I think I’ll break out the camera and take some pictures of my notebook for you.

>A little short on my daily goal

Yesterday, I bell a bit short of my goal.  I’m at 6,026, and I was planning on being at 6,670 last night.  That adds a bit more to what I need to have done, but that I can do.  I managed to insert a gratuitous sex scene, but I think it’s actually going to advance the plot a little; add some conflict early on (and not the kind you think, either).

Just to share a little, here’s a short snippet of what I’ve written so far (in all its unedited glory). One of my MCs is an albino; however, I’m trying to make her representation realistic; albinos have serious vision problems, as a result of the lack of pigment in their eyes, and glasses don’t help, either. So she’s actually mostly blind. And magic hasn’t automatically fixed it, either; her spells help, but are imperfect.

Anyway:

   Sara stretched and reached for the ceiling, trying to work the kinks out of her neck and back.  She had been sitting for hours, poring over one of her beloved texts, nose to book, the only way she found it possible to read.  The spectacles that should have been on her face were lying by the book.  They gave her headaches, and they didn’t really help her much, anyway, but her instructors insisted she have them.  They were mostly just fashion accessories at this point.

“Still moldering away in this library?” Larath said,patting her on the shoulder and flopping noisily into the chair. The librarian glared as he scraped chair against floor and knocked three of her books onto the floor.

“Larath, you need to be more careful!” she admonished, stooping to gather up the books.

“Sorry, sis, I’m just not good with this stuff.”  He thumbed through one of the tomes, sniffing and setting it down with a shake of his head.  “Give  me the sawdust in the salle over the musty dusty in here any day.”

She shook her head.  “You’re lucky you have me around, you know, otherwise you’d be a complete ignoramus. How did you even manage to pass your classes?”

Larath grinned at her.  “Easy.You helped me.”

She rolled her eyes.  “I shouldn’t have.  Maybe you would have learned something other than how to swing a sword.  Speaking of which, aren’t you supposed to be practicing for your final practicum?”

He shook his head. “I was supposed to, but instructor Elias managed  to sprain his ankle, so the session was cancelled. I’ve got the rest of the day off!”  he stretched and leaned back in his chair.  He pinwheeled his arms wildly as the chair overbalanced and nearly toppled over, dumping him into the floor. He seized the table and steadied himself.

Sara shook her head again. “You’re hopeless. Get out of here before you tear the place down, or get me kicked out of here. I’ve got to finish this.”

“Nuh uh. I’m here to make sure you eat, young lady. A little bird told me yiou’ve been here *all* day, and haven’t stopped once for anything to eat. If you fall over from starvation, you’ll never have the energy to finish your exams. Or stay up to study for them.”

She sighed. “But I just have a few more pages–”

He grabbed her arm, closed the book, and pulled her up to her feet. “No way. You’re coming with me, now, while lunch is still hot, so you don’t end up with a bowl of stewed leftovers.”

Sara grabbed her cloak and slung it over her shoulders. She murmured a few arcane syllables, twisted her fingers, and pulled the hood of the cloak over her head. “Alright, alright, I’m going.”  She let him guide her through the tables, thankful that this time, at least, she wouldn’t end up with another bruised thigh when some thoughtless ass forgot to push his chair under the table.

“Sara! Sara!” someone called.  She looked back to see the librarian’s indistinct shape, glowing, waving something high in the air.  “Wait!”  The librarian caught up to her, and the glow faded to see the blurry human form.  She blinked to try and clear her vision, but the spell had malfunctioned somehow, and the blur remained.

I need to work on that.  Still not handling the far to near transition well, Sara thought to herself.

“Sara, dear, you forgot your spectacles,” the librarian said, shoving the metal framed lenses into Sara’s hand.  Sara smiled, swallowing the retort, and crammed the spectacles  onto her face. The librarian smiled, and bowed, then scurried off to her desk.

“I thought those didn’t help?” Larath said as they walked out of the library.

“They don’t. No one seems to believe me when I tell them that, though, so they keep insisting I wear them. They give me a headache, but if I don’t wear them, the headache I get from the constant nagging to put them on is worse. So I close my eyes, or just grin and bear it.”

“That is so cool. I wish I could see with my eyes closed,” he commented, holding open a door for her.

“I wish I could see more with them open.”

>Writing every day

I can hear your groan a mile away. This is not new advice, right?  Yeah, every writer blog you’ve ever seen tells you that.  It’s good advice, but you’ve already heard it.

Well, I’m not going to tell you to.  Because you already know. What I will tell you is how this advice has started to transform my life!

Seriously, I’ve been suffering from insomnia for the last year or so. A lot of it is because of my lingering post partum depression (PPD, to the uninitiated.)  Some of it eating habits (Why yes, I’d love a coke at 10:00 PM!). But the primary cause is staying up too late on the computer. There was a study done recently linking computer screen time to insomnia.  My husband told me about it, and it makes sense;  the light emanating from the computer screen interrupts your natural biorhythms.  So I figured… why not. Let’s cut out the electronic lap-teat and see what happens.

I don’t have any good books around right now, so I pulled out my blank journal, the one I’ve been half-ass carrying around with me all the time with intentions of writing.

I wrote 20 pages in two days.

That was four weeks ago. I’ve only missed three nights, and that was due to unavoidable medical issues.  I’ve gone from 24 pages to 92 (as of last night.) I’m sleeping better, my back hurts less,and I’m a lot less grumpy. More importantly, the only time I’ve seen 3 AM has been when the insomnia left me tossing and turning in bed AFTER I wrote.

It feels good. I’ve actually loved sitting in bed, with my husband, him reading a book, me listening to my MP3 player and scribbling like I did when I was a poor teenager with no computer.

Best of all? No email to distract me from my latest WIP.

Now that, my friends, is good news indeed.

>Write Every Day

>You hear this advice a lot. And up until now, I didn’t think I was following it; after all, I went through a six month drought of zero fiction.

The thing is, I have been writing! I write every single day, sometimes thousands of words, just not on what I would consider fiction in any way. I write journal entries in my livejournal, posts on forums, emails in my duties as NaNoWriMo forums moderator… every day, my hands are on the keyboard, tippy-tapping away. I log many, many hours a week at the keyboard, writing.

So I’m already in the habit. Now I just have to turn a fraction of that energy to actually writing creatively!

>Getting into the habit

>I’m trying to make myself write every night; no set amount of words, or even a forced bit of prose… just editing, writing, or maybe just opening the file, adding a few tabs, correcting a few typos, that sort of thing. Anything to get in the habit of opening my work and doing it. The novelty of loading LSB on my thumb drive is interesting, which is keeping me at it.

Wrote a few lines, edited a few things, and finished reading the first 30k or so. ready to move forward… once I remember where I was going with it.