masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
I have almost finished chapter 12. I'm starting chapter 13 this week, which, because of the reshuffling, is actually the chapter I've been referring to as "14" in all my weekly goal references. So technically, today I'm starting the chapter I wanted to finish by the end of this month. I don't want to use that as an excuse to get overly ambitious. In fact, it would be good to cut myself a break this week. I have at least one day when I will be go, go, going from before dawn to after dusk on non-writing things.

Besides, chapter 13 promises to be just as involved as chapter 12.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 12
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 13
This month's goal: Chapter 13

In other news:

(1) A bit of a shake-up at work-work as my supervisor of eight years and another team lead were "let go" a few weeks back. In my sup's case, I think it was a mutual decision. He seemed pretty miserable there the past few months. But he was basically fired for incompetence--"not having the skill set his job as it is now under the new CEO regime requires." Did I mention our old CEO sold his business back in July, and we've had a new Jefe for a while? A lot of the changes I've been trying to convince my ex-bosses of for years are part of the new bosses' business-as-usual. One can only hope that after putting up with eight years of chasing my tail the craziness will level off.

(2) I have been discretely noting my writing friends' Nano progress, and what is interesting is I've noticed my feelings on NaNoWriMo have come full circle. A decade (!) ago, I wrote a skeptical entry about the utility of writing 50,000 words in a month. Then a year later, I did Nano. I did it a few more times, and one year, I did Camp Nanowrimo in July. I always felt free to change the rules to fit the moment (a different word goal, writing fan fiction, writing more than one piece, writing a story I already started).

But now I'm right back to the opinion that me and word counts are unmixy things. Mostly because I'm a born over-writer, and my forward momentum on a story is usually in an inverse relationship to the number of words I write on it. I cringe at what the novel I am working on now would be like if my goal wasn't the concrete "finish chapter 13 by the end of the week" and instead was the nebulous, "write 500 words a day."

Anyway, your mileage may vary, yada, yada.

(3) I have recently started listening to audio books. On the plus side, lying quietly in the dark in the position of your choice having the story read to you? So much more comfortable than the contortions I normally have to do to read eBooks, or God forbid, paper books. On the minus side, audio book readers consider themselves performers and you get the story through their oral interpretation of it, rather than just a straight prose reading. That can be distracting. I am encouraged, though, as I whizzed through The Girl in the Spider's Web, the latest tome in the Millennium series in about three days.

That book, I'm happy to say, ended up reading like vintage Steig Larssen despite the fact that he's been dead for years and it was written by a successor. The only quibble I have is Spoilers )


Oct. 28th, 2015 06:31 am
masqthephlsphr: (word)
I am not going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year, ironically, because I am busy working on the first draft of my new novel. I have a rhythm down and it really isn't compatible with cranking out as many words as possible every day for 30 days. Plus, next month, I have a three-day work conference, a new writing class starting, and plans out of town for Turkey Day.

I've been doing my writing first thing in the morning. That is about the only time of day I have any energy, as work has been really busy for the past couple months (if you don't understand the reference "ICD-10", count yourself fortunate).

And I have other sources of social energy besides NaNo. The writing classes, including a course following Julia Cameron's Artist Way got me going on morning pages. And the Twitter hashtag #WriteChain has continued that by giving me a place to keep accountable for my daily writing goals.

My main excuse, though, has been physical pain. Unless a quip is short enough that I can peck it out with a finger or short enough for my voice-to-text not to get lost mid-sentence then crap out on me, I don't post it much. Hence my continued presence on Facebook.

I might try doing a November blogging thing if there are folks still around here in LJ/DW land. Roll call?

No No Nano

Oct. 18th, 2014 01:08 pm
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
I just updated my profile and novel on Nanowrimo, but I'm not doing Nano this year. Probably.

I know Nano outright encourages rule breakers nowadays: pick a goal less than 50,000 words, pick a non-word count goal, write fan fiction, work on a second draft, write multiple short stories, etc, etc, so, in past years, I have felt free to use the energy of that month to accomplish whatever needs doing, but this year it's a matter of not having the time.

See re: writing class kicking my butt. There will still be lots of writing.
masqthephlsphr: (glob)
Sunday, I hit a wall with my novel. I have been working on the action parts of the story for most of this month, and had 7-8 scene/chapters left to go and just could not figure out how to write them. Ends are tricky. In some ways, they ARE the novel, because they are what everything is building up to. Whatever your novel is ABOUT is encapsulated in the ending. Which is why a bad ending is worse than a bad middle, or a bad beginning.

The ending is also very important if one of the goals of this novel is to make it the first novel in a series. The ending sets up whatever comes next, and my interest in what comes next determines my interest in writing a series instead of a stand-alone novel.

I had an ending of my novel all figured out, but just could not get it written. And I think I realized Sunday that I don't like the ending. The planned ending was not a place I felt inclined to build future stories on. It was all politics of the story world and I think I really want to tell a story about one individual and her personal struggle with all that world-building as backdrop. Right now, the beginning and middle contain arcs supporting both of those endings/emphases--politics of the story-world and her personal struggle. It's a little chaotic, representing two competing visions for the novel simultaneously.

Next step: nail down how I want the ending to play out, then decide what stays and what goes in everything I've written.

This may or may not mean that NaNo 2013 is officially over. Not that I was keeping a word count or anything.
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
I am moving ahead, but much of the descriptive part of my chapters is on hold until I can make a "business trip" to San Francisco to get a "you are there" feel. That's set for mid-February. Too much else going on before then.

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masqthephlsphr: (alias will)
Good birthday weekend. Saturday, the Sculptor and I had our usual Saturday night dinner and teevee. We've been watching Alias, and had finally got to one of my favorite moments of Season 1, when Will finds out about Sydney's secret life. We also had a dry red wine from our Sonoita trip that has a distinctive taste of chocolate in it (Wilhelm Family Vineyards, Karyl's Creation, if you are curious).

I tried to spend most of Sunday relaxing since I am still not feeling one hundred percent, and stabbing at NaNo. I kept telling myself, "Take a break, it's your birthday," but NaNo is what it has always been--the poorly-timed writing marathon month that takes on a life of its own. It's no wonder I get flu-ey every November.

Sunday evening, D and I took my family to Top of The Rock, a Tempe restaurant built into the side of one of the Valley's many ant-hill rock "mountains". It has a fabulous view of the central Phoenix area outside the window and fancy (although simultaneously casual) food. I may regret the bit of over-indulgence later this week. ; )

There was an amazing full moon.

After dropping my mom back home (she is waiting for the DMV to process her doctor's sign-off on her vision and her license reinstated), I settled in for this week's OUAT, which was something of a game-changer. The show has me as "Hooked" as ever, which makes it frustrating that I am not bonding yet with OUAT: Wonderland, though I continue to watch it.
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
My mom has been grounded for a few weeks waiting for her eye doctor to sign off on her driver's license and the paperwork on that to go through, so I've had a few early mornings driving her to errands and appointments. Since mornings are my best writing time, that's taken a bite out of NaNo.

My writing strategy this week has been to do timed writings. Pick a chapter I need to work on, read what I've written on it so far, what I have planned for it, then give myself 15 minutes to do some non-stop writing on the chapter without reconsulting my notes. Timed writing forces you to write whatever comes to mind, and sometimes think outside the box.

That's actually helped me to reconceptualize my chapters a little, stretch them some.

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masqthephlsphr: (word)
Pluggin' and chuggin'

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masqthephlsphr: (dragonlord)
Day nine already and I've fallen officially behind. But that was by design. I realized I was just writing to get each chapter done, and the writing kinda sucked. All talking heads, nothing interesting going on. So I've stepped back to think about the scenes: what's happening to the characters, what emotions need to be conveyed, and think about how setting and action builds that. In short, how to make the scenes I'm writing more interesting before I start putting words down. Hopefully I will get back to writing this weekend.

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masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
Not falling behind in my planned writing schedule quite yet, but it could happen because I am aiming for quality, not just quantity. I am trying to stretch my writing and not just pound out whatever.

Also, feeling the November blechs this week. I don't know why every November I start feeling achy and worn out. I have blamed flu shots or busy work schedules in past years, but I had my flu shot in September and work has had an okay pace of late.

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masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
Action is a mixed bag. So many scenes amount to talking heads not doing a whole lot, and it's really hard to make that not… boring. And then, when you do have a real actiony action scene, it's a lot of work. I keep reminding myself a draft is a draft, even if it's the second draft. It doesn't have to be perfect. I reinvisioned a lot of this novel, which means I'm writing a lot of new material from scratch.

Get it out now, edit it later.

Second draft is  photo buttonphp-03_zps8c3abb5d.png done.

masqthephlsphr: (word)
So I worked out a crazy-@ssed percentage system to work with my writing plan. I figure by this system that I started my day with draft 2 about 34.65 percent done, and ended my day at 37.13.

Good thing NaNo is getting started with a weekend.

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Nano Plano

Oct. 31st, 2013 04:32 pm
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
So I'm doing NaNoWriMo without the word count. Instead of words, I'll be counting completion of scenes, but since I write in layers, it will be completion of different layers. The dialogue is done, and I left off earlier this month with action. I have about 25% of the action parts written. Then I work on description (mostly unfinished), and finally, introspection (ditto). It's weird, but it works for me at the draft stage.

So my NaNo counter will be a percentage finished, I just have to work out how the percentages are going to work. Action takes up substantially more of a scene than description and introspection, and they're all sort of intertwined, so as you write one you're writing a bunch of the other.
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
I've been on a bit of a roll the past few mornings. My writing, while not great in quantity, is markedly better in quality--just much more interesting word choices and turns of phrases. Tough to take a week's break and start up again in November, but I am about half way done the second draft, so another month should finish it up.

Guess I'm doing NaNo, but without the word count.
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
I dumped the word count today. Actually, I backed up my record of it, then erased it from the spreadsheet where I was keeping track. I have been slipping further and further behind in it (even though I'm over the 50K Nano expects in thirty days), but the slippage isn't from not working hard, it's just from having to stop and think and plan and struggle with ideas and words.

In other words, it wasn't serving me to obsess over it. It's kind of less fun, working without my reward system (wee! Word count, going up!), but also liberating because I don't feel this pressure to rush through things. The plan now is to finish out the thirty days, take a week's break, then start back in in November, still sans word count, so not technically Nano, but certainly taking advantage of the Nano spirit.

I will judge my progress by how many scenes I've completed, or partially completed. I'm in the thick of writing the action for each chapter now, so go me.
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
Enough of this roller-coaster month. It exhausted me.

30271 / 100000 words. 30% done!
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
Camp Nanowrimo is officially over for me, was yesterday when I reached 25,000+. But that hardly makes a novel, or, at least, not a novel by me. So new goal: 100,000 words by the end of August. I hope. A full second draft.

27600 / 100000 words. 28% done!

This is gonna be tricky, because though my word meter says 28%, I am not sure I will keep everything I wrote in April. It depends on if it fits as I add more words. I took out 300 today already. That, and, I have a two-week+ vacation planned for July.
masqthephlsphr: (ms)
But it has its moments.

From (user TinkerBellReturns), a few awesome moments featuring my OT3:

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Moar )

25502 / 25000 words. 102% done!

Will keep Nanoing until month's end. No plans to up the word goal again, though. I'm exhausted.
masqthephlsphr: (HP)
I Am A: Lawful Neutral GnomeDruid/Sorcerer (3rd/3rd Level)

Read more... )


24336 / 25000 words. 97% done!
masqthephlsphr: (ms)
I visited mom in ICU yesterday morning and found her alert and asking to get caught up on the events of past week, both personal, family, and at her church conference, which was held over the weekend. I'm pushing fifty, but was joyfully thinking, "It's my mommy!" She's been so out of it up to now and unable to talk when she wasn't.

I came back after work and she was gone. They'd moved her back up to progressive care again without informing me. But it didn't take long to track her down. Here's hoping she's off the ICU-progressive care yo-yo and on the high road to the rehab facility.

No PT or early-morning mom visits this AM. So I plugged a bit on Nano.

23501 / 25000 words. 94% done!


Apr. 24th, 2013 06:30 am
masqthephlsphr: (word)
Woke up at 4 am this morning. PT at 7:45. I told my boss yesterday I was going to be late for work because I needed to visit my mother. ICU is closed down for the shift change between 7 and 8:30 anyway, so I could only see her after PT.

The goal today was to just get as many words out as possible, no matter how junky. There were a few words I liked, it wasn't all junky.

22447 / 25000 words. 90% done!


Apr. 23rd, 2013 12:56 pm
masqthephlsphr: (HP)
Just when I bragged about having a new writing practice in my daily routine, life threw a wrench in it. First off, I figured out that visiting my mom in the hospital is more fruitful first thing in the morning, when she's relatively alert. Second, for the next three weeks, I will have six sessions of physical therapy, also first thing in the morning. I'm an early riser, but I don't know if I can squeeze Nano, my mom, and PT into those mornings when the latter two are on the docket.

Anyway, no writing today, so I pulled out a bit of writing from earlier in the month I'd been saving for a rainy day and plopped it into the count:

20872 / 25000 words. 83% done!


Apr. 22nd, 2013 07:48 am
masqthephlsphr: (hold)
Nanoing was difficult this weekend. So much on my mind, I was not feeling loose and flowing. "Writing outside the box" (of the first draft)? Was just not getting there. But that is part of the creative process, isn't it? Good days and not-so-good. OTOH, it was a distraction, so there were a lot of crap words.

One good thing that is coming out of Nano this round is I'm settling into a writing practice that is becoming part of my daily routine. I will probably continue to keep track of my word count, even though the number of words doesn't say a lot about how far along the draft actually is.

Also, upping the word count again.


18414 / 20000 words. 92% done!


19543 / 25000 words. 78% done!

And on

Apr. 20th, 2013 04:24 pm
masqthephlsphr: (lost6)
I did some writing today, between chair shopping (for work) and mom-visiting. She is in ICU now, on the bumpy road to recovery. Thanks for the good vibes and prayers, and keep 'em coming.

16321 / 20000 words. 82% done!


Apr. 19th, 2013 07:03 am
masqthephlsphr: (science magic)
Just when I was thinking of upping my word count goal again, life got in the way. My mom has been experiencing nausea and general weakness for weeks now. Every time she tried to do common everyday tasks, her heart rate would accelerate. Turns out there is a logical, if unpleasant, explanation for this. She has multiple bleeding ulcers from her arthritis meds.

Between visits to her in the hospital and an early-morning start to my own physical therapy sessions (for arthritis, natch) yesterday, I did not get a chance to write. I pretty much came-home-and-crashed Weds and Thurs.

So it was difficult easing back into it this morning, especially since I woke way too early. But once I did get into it, I had some good stuff come out of it.

14752 / 20000 words. 74% done!
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
Getting close to my new goal of 15,000 and the month is barely half over, so I raised the goal again. The real goal is just getting good words out for thirty days.


12632 / 15000 words. 84% done!


14028 / 20000 words. 70% done!
masqthephlsphr: (disinhibition)

11534 / 15000 words. 77% done!


Apr. 14th, 2013 08:02 pm
masqthephlsphr: (disinhibition)
Some flisters (and my GF) have commented about me "editing while I'm writing," which of course in common wisdom is supposed to be a bad idea that leads to writer's block and dysfunctional hovering over isolated bits of story instead of plunging onward. Which I think is true, during the first draft. You just want to belt it out and get in the "flow." But I'm working on the second draft, and most of the words I'm hovering over are words I wrote last year. The idea in the second draft, for me, is to move beyond the stiff, perfunctory language I wrote the first draft in. Find words that allow the reader to be in the story, not get thrown out of it by awkward grammar, or repetitive phrasing.

My main goal, though, is to find the soul of the story. What I'm "really trying to say." Knock away the bits until the story in my head emerges. So much of what I wrote in the first draft just didn't get there. Because I plunged on even when I was unhappy with what I'd written. To get that draft out on pixels.

If what I'm doing now is "editing," then that's what's on the plate.

I am continuing the first person technique. My writing is So Much Better. I'm writing like I know I can write.

11028 / 15000 words. 74% done!


Apr. 13th, 2013 04:38 pm
masqthephlsphr: (hold)
Yesterday's study in sentences was me struggling with the formal writing style that years in academia has stuck me with. It's dry and stiff and repetitive, and never reads as well as I'd like when I come back to it after a sufficient period of time.

I can't entirely blame academia, though. I've been struck by how my brother forms sentences in much the same way. But he's a college professor. I'm not writing scholarly papers or a philosophy website anymore.

So how do you shake loose the interference of Yourself and That Voice so you can write stuff that is friendly and engaging? Well, one technique I've learned is to rewrite--or just compose things to begin with--in the first person, even if I intend the eventual story to be in third person. Once the character is the one speaking and not me, the words become more natural, more individualistic, and way less stodgy. I think of things to write I otherwise never would have. Method Writing.

Worked wonders today.

The trick is then to put it back in third person again (eventually) and have those qualities remain.

8824 / 15000 words. 59% done!
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
Alie tucked in her chin and busied herself taking in the wall.

Alie tucked in her chin and turned her attention back to the wall.

Alie tucked in her chin and let her eyes roam the wall.

Alie tucked in her chin and forced her eyes to scan the wall.

Alie tucked in her chin and busied herself taking in the heavily tagged stone wall.

Alie tucked in her chin and turned her attention back to the heavily tagged stone wall.

Alie tucked in her chin and turned her gaze back to the heavily tagged stone wall.

I only counted one of these sentences towards my daily total since they ALL SUCK.

7537 / 15000 words. 50% done!

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