Monday, August 30, 2010

Writing annoyances and lessons

I've been spending a lot of time writing lately. I created a Twitter account, and there's a great group of writers over there. Thanks largely to their encouragement, I've made it through some huge scenes in His Good Opinion.

Tonight I hit a road block. I wanted to finish More Than Memory so I could really focus all my attention on Jane Austen and Darcy. I spent the entire day working on an epilogue... which I just realized I don't need. I've wrapped up all the main points of the story, the characters are together and happy, there is no point to an epilogue. In fact, it would really be quite superfluous.

There's a phrase writers use: Kill your darlings. It's something we have to do during editing--go through and get rid of all the extra bits in the story, even if they happen to be those pieces we loved writing. What makes me so angry right now is that I didn't want to write the epilogue! I wish I could have at least gotten the enjoyment out of it.

My frustration level is high. I could easily say this day was a complete waste of time, but there is a hidden lesson to be learned. I doubted the worth of an epilogue before I started. I've been struggling for four months to find the right way to frame it that will both make sense and add to the story. I should have trusted my instincts. If I had trusted my instincts, I would not be sitting here at 11:13 with no writing to show for the day.

Next time I find myself wondering, "Why am I writing this again?" I will listen to that little voice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Turning over a new leaf

I think I'll spare us all the "I'm so sorry" song and dance. I've been a horrible blogger. I'll be better in the future. Here's my motivation.

Though you wouldn't know it to look at The List, my writing has really progressed in the last three months. I've taken solid steps toward creating a professional life, and I'm very excited by the progress I've made. (Big news? I'll be attending a Jane Austen conference in October, which will be my first attempt at professional networking.)

However, as you can see from the list, creating a writing blog is one of my goals. If I want to be a successful blogger, I must post on a regular basis. That doesn't necessarily mean daily, but it does mean more regular than once every three months. I won't start that blog until I've proven to myself that I can do that.

Things accomplished since last post:

19. Go to the dentist
63. Pay off my credit card
75. Read The Hobbit again
79. Get an iPhone
82. Backup my computer--flash drive or external hard drive
95. Get my passport 
The last was actually done in March (give or take), but I never got around to discussing that section in May. That, along with the iPhone, were the big ones. 
I hadn't planned to get the iPhone yet, but I was driven to it by a combination of writing and England. First, I realized that if I'm going to move overseas, I really ought to stop buying books. The idea was to use the Kindle reader on the phone to buy books. This... hasn't quite worked as planned, as the screen is really too small to comfortably read a full book. If e-book readers drop in price for the holidays, I will probably buy one.
Second, I wanted the ability to do the first read through of my stories on a portable device. I thought about an iPad, but I really can't afford one. I have the same problem here as I do with the Kindle app, but I think I can make it work. I've got Google docs on my phone, so when I'm ready to read a first draft for overall story flow, I'll upload the story to google and read it on my phone. It'll save paper, and I'll be able to make notes to myself as I go. 
Even though it hasn't worked out quite as planned, I'm glad I bought it. I've gotten so much use out of it in the past month, I can't imagine how I went so long without it. I don't think I would have survived this last weekend without it... the ability to read my email and tweet was really the only means of decompressing I had in a very difficult couple of days.
I think is long enough. Before a week passes, I'll come back and explain the things I've changed to "in progress"; there are some interesting stories there as well.