"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all."
-Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Changing Rhythms

Well, I did okay on Story-A-Day for awhile - by the 12th I'd got six stories done and a couple more started - but then I burned out. That's still more short stories than I've written in the past decade, though. :) Despite feeling creatively exhausted by the end, I think it was worth it.

I had two realisations about my writing, though. The first was that I'm trying to balance three full-time things - work, writing and the farm - and I really only have time for two. This was depressing. Then I realised that wasn't exactly correct. The farm work is seasonal (and right now is the busiest time of year) and so my writing needs to be, too. In April and May, and then again in October and November, I need to focus on the homestead and let my writing kind of take a back seat. The rest of the year the property and stock only need basic maintenance and I can spend more time on my writing. I think I can be happy with that kind of seasonal flux.

I'm going to Baycon this weekend with M--------. I'm really looking forward to the mini-vacation, and to some of the fascinating panels they have, many of which are specifically about creating fantasy and science fiction.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bootstrapping My Writing, or Trying To

I'm taking a break from my projects, for now, and doing two new things to help get myself writing again.

The first is taking a new idea and experimenting with planning a book the organised way - from detailed character sheets to charting out my plot completely to determining my themes to blocking my scenes with all pertinent information - all before I start writing. For now, I'm calling the project "Isaiah" after one main character. I tend to be a largely organic writer, so I want to try this kind of process and see what I can learn from it. I'm also planning on blogging the process as I do it, so that I have a record of it later.

The second is a challenge on Forward Motion, a writing community started by Holly Lisle and maintained by Lazette Gifford. It's called "Story-a-Day" and, as the name implies, involves writing one short story every day for the month of May. You have to use the prompt generators given in the challenge, and every story has to be complete and over 500 words. I don't know if I'll manage to do it, but I think I'll have fun trying. If you want, you can read my stories as I post them here. You have to log in to the Forward Motion site to see them; this is because of rights protection. If you don't want to join Forward Motion but still want to read the horrid stories as I produce them this month, let me know and I can email them.

I did write a story last night, in my evening writers' group, and I've posted it as my first story. It's not great - it's really a partial scene from a longer work surrounded by summary, and it's written awkwardly because I was under a time limit - but I think the idea has some merit. I may actually end up using it as a seed for a longer work one day.