Monday Thoughts

Posted by on Nov 17, 2008 in Writing | 6 comments

Today, a hodge-podge because I’m distracted by various thoughts, some pertaining to writing and some not. I share my distractions with you, lucky readers.

lunashiner11. Latest with the dog.

Check it out. She gave herself a shiner last Thursday. Running about the apartment in her most fetching and playful manner and — BAM — with a yelp, she clocked her empty eye socket against a chair leg. The swelling hasn’t gone down yet, so I’m worried. I’ve never had a shiner. How long does it take for swelling to retreat?

2. Dennis Lehane, novelist. Good news for us non-outliners.

Caught an online interview with Lehane, and I like what he had to say about his process. To start writing, he has to have a strong macro-sense of the story, which consists, he said, of only a couple of must-include plot points. Other than that, he feels his way through his stories. And his stories are complex, wouldn’t you say? This is kind of amazing. He said he may write a little list, jot a few notes, about what he’d like to happen, and even then, apparently, his end product probably won’t match the list. I like this. I like this alot. And you?

3. Goal-setting (maybe this should have been number one).

I need deadlines, yep. I got to thinking about this because over the weekend a guy I’m crushing on mentioned the term “self-starters” in conjunction with us writers. It’s so true! I’d never thought about it this way, and I stood up a little taller when he said this. I’m a self-starter(!). And, let’s be honest, those of us currently without publishing contracts need to be, don’t we?

The truth is, I used to be a better self-starter. I didn’t need to light a flame under my tookis with self-imposed deadlines. These days, I work better when I make contracts with myself. Sometimes the constant self-vigilance is exhausting, but what else to do? I’m still a self-starter!

4. PUBWEST Conference: On pretending I’m someone I’m not and fantasizing about the future.

presenterOver the weekend I attended the Publishers Association of the West’s annual conference. My goal was to get the inside scoop on Internet marketing and publicity. I managed to absorb some knowledge and meet a couple of interesting potential contacts.

Mainly, though, I found myself relishing my “Presenter” status. This was a great joke. Someone in the back office had attached a “Presenter” ribbon to my name tag. I caught people flicking glances at my chest (not lasciviously) and then smiling at me. Not that this doesn’t occur in general, but I’m telling you, it was a different kind of vibe coming my way. Like I was Someone. Most strange, really, but fun. I like to think it was a dress rehearsal for the real thing!

The name tag makes a great cat toy.

6 Comments

  1. Whoa. That is a shiner. Our dog gets really worked up when he sees a squirrel. He’ll walk in one direction with his head turned in another to keep an eye on the squirrel. Then BAM, into a tree. No shiners yet…

    I met Lehane once. He’s kind of hot. Seriously, he said that he once wrote a draft, got nearly 300 pages done, when his characters turned around and told him they didn’t know where they were going. He had to start all over again. Which made me wonder: why do we choose to write? Why do we choose to do something so hard?

  2. I like the idea of being a self starter too even though my ability to follow through on my own self-imposed deadlines often wavers.

    I’ve been joking with my best friend that what I really need is a threat. He’s promising that if I don’t get my draft done by the end of the month he gets to come to my house and take something he likes. If I could convince myself that he’d actually do it, it might work. I think he’s got his eye on the Cuisinart.

  3. Hi mari, I noticed that Lehane was kind of hot too (on the video). Sometimes I wonder why we do this, too — it’s hard (whine whine)!

    tracer — a threat! That’s a good one. It’s crazy the games we have to play with ourselves to get the writing done…sigh…

  4. I’m late for work!!!!! But I caught a glimpse of your pup’s picture and had to slow down and read and oh, she’ll be fine but what a picture – does she know you took it? did you have permission? that’s just one huggable-looking little dog – I’ll bet she’s racing around again, having completely forgotten about the chair leg!
    And major CONGRATS on your short story being published. Yes, to writing without lots of clutter and just writing it! Aha – it DOES work!

  5. Thanks, oh! Luna the dog is normal as can be, though of course I worry because the swelling hasn’t gone down. She’s a trooper, the way she puts up with me holding her head to check the eye out.

    (I didn’t really have permission for the photo. This is why she turned her head away from me — little did she know that this is what I needed!)

  6. Dennis Lehane’s method sounds interesting… You know I’m going to write an outline for the next novel, but if it’s anything like what I did the last time I don’t look at it after it’s written I and change the story quite a lot. I think, for me, it’s the writing down of the ideas in order that gets me to the place where I need to be. The first stuff I throw down on a page is never right so I guess it takes me a while, and much work, to get to what’s good. What’s your non-outlining plan? I love to hear other writers’ plans.

    And what’s your next self-imposed deadline? 😉

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