Sunday, March 30, 2008

256th Level of Ms. PacMan

The 256th level of Ms. PacMan is unplayable. The screen splits in half and error code comes up. This is so disappointing considering I've been up for the past week trying to master it. Now, where did all my writing time go?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Project Juggling: Cool Skill or Excuse in Disguise?

Both Norma and Laura commented recently that they are working on several things at once, and Laura specifically pointed out the value of finishing one's work.

I recently read an article on the value of having multiple projects going at any given time.  (My apologies - I can't remember where I was when I read it, so cannot give credit where credit is due).  The author suggested that by having many things at once, one always had something to work on.  If one project was stalled, go write on something else for awhile. 

Now, for those of us with writing ADD, this is a little bit of a scary proposal.  I'd never finish anything!!!  Here's what I noticed, though, and it gave me hope:

Never does the author count research, web surfing, or other "writerly" activities as writing.  No matter what, the idea is to get words on the page.  Whether you write a sentence or two on a nebulous something-or-other that's wandering about in your head or you write a chapter of your novel-in-progress, you are writing.  Always.

I like this.  I've said on my own blog that writing begets more writing, and I really do believe this.  But there's only so much one can do if the current project is not moving.  Sometimes you need to do something else in order to free up the subconscious to work on the problem.  If your something else is, say, playing marbles, you haven't done any writing and your habit suffers.  If the something else is a short story, a poem, even freewriting, you're still writing.  You're still working the writing muscle.

The author of the article suggests that this technique actually makes you more productive.  I can certainly see that possibility.  Anyone finding this works for them?  Do you finish things?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Check In

Hey, folks. It was great to read Norma's post about her search for a certain themeyness in her short story. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of what she was working on and how the process was going. Would anyone else care to check in? (And Norma, would you care to tell us more?) No need to give us all the juicy details, since this is a public space, but it would be fun to hear the basics of your latest projects. I'll leave my update in the comments of this post and you do the same, okay?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WisCon Writer's Workshop

Just a reminder that that the deadline to submit for the WisCon Writer's Workshop is April 12th. As always the Pros are amazing:
  • Barth Anderson (novels)
  • Richard Chwedyk (shorts)
  • Leah Cutter (novels)
  • Susan Marie Groppi (shorts)
  • Vylar Kaftan (shorts)
  • Kelly Link (shorts)
  • Delia Sherman (novels)
  • Jennifer Pelland (shorts)
  • Margaret Ronald (novels)
  • Sarah Prineas (novels, particularly YA)
  • Theodora Goss (shorts)
  • FJ Bergmann (poetry)
Here's a link to the website for more details.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quotes for the Day

"Planning to write is not writing. Outlining...researching...talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing."

--E.L. Doctorow

"There is no perfect time to write. There is only now."

--Barbara Kingsolver

Monday, March 10, 2008

Writers Digest

The April 2008 issue of Writer's Digest Magazine is their first issue entirely devoted to genre fiction. I can't say I agree with everything this issue has to say-- one article refers to Neil Gaiman as a writer of "traditional hard science fiction" (!!)-- but it has an intersting "family tree" diagram showing all the subgenres that have branched off from each genre. I'd love to hear what you think of the issue if you pick it up.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It lacked a certain themey-ness

Last night while sharing chai with some writerly-type-friends, I went on and on about the short story I'm working on. They liked the rough outline for the story, but I lost them as I described the main characters. I'll admit it, these characters are an annoying and pathetic lot and only one or two of them grow and change. Worst of all, I didn't have a good reason for what I was doing. I could articulate what happened, what the characters did, but I still wasn't clued into their motivations. The conversation moved on, thank goodness, and though I pretended to be interested in what was said next, I was actually trying to figure out the what was wrong with my story and how I presented it.

Here's what I came up with -- it wasn't just a character problem, it was a theme problem. I wasn't paying enough attention to the story. If I had, I would have been able to articulate both character motivation and story theme. They were right there. The theme was expressed through the actions and development of the characters and vice versa. Doh!

My story is about how sense of self and self-worth should come from within. Each of my main characters feels good about herself because she feels superior to the other. They stay together because neither can imagine herself without the other to cast back her negative reflection. One of the characters will grow and change, the other won't.

I don't know, does that make them sound more interesting?