Friday ‘Fess Up + Four = Friday Five #6

(What is this? A combination of two Friday memes: the literate kitten’s invitation to ‘fess up to our crimes and misdemeanors against our writing efforts and a “friday five,” in which we list five random things about our week…)

1. ‘Fessing up: I’ve got my 25 pages. Character arcs are circling around from the beginning of the novel, which is great. It’s happening naturally, with no undue pressure from me. Also, this morning, I choked myself up! This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel excited and foolish at the same time. My stoic character is falling in love! (Though he doesn’t realize it in so many words, and I’m not going to delve into it deeply because it wasn’t the purpose of scene, but its subtext.)

2. Case in point for writing what we’d like to read: On July 8th, Joelle commented: Write what you want to read. Her comment spurred a memory:

Awhile back Deanna Raybourn toured with her debut novel. She’d spent years writing romances of the Harlequin variety that, one after another, went unsold. Her agent finally told her to take a break, read for a year. At the end of that year, Raybourn realized that she most enjoyed reading historicals, more mysterious than romantic. Low and behold, she wrote in that vein, and the novel sold! (And now there’s movie talk, too.)

3. This morning I received an email from a writer friend here in Portland. She’s a literary novelist who’s trucking along on the same bumpy road toward publication as I am. She’s read my stuff, so her support is a true feel-good balm. Here’s an excerpt; she’s the best.

As for your writing, you know you can write, you know your stuff is worth publishing. I think this phase is just another jump through fire to see if you’re sincere, if you have the grit to be a writer, and deserve being published as much as your writing does. So there.

4. Why do I keep buying nonfiction? This week I bought The Island of Lost Maps, A True Story of Cartographic Crime. Here’s approximately what went through my head: Cool, maps; man, I’ve loved maps since I was a girl trying to memorize the world capitols; how nerdy was I?; and very cool, a mystery too; maybe there’s fodder here; maybe I can write a novel that somehow includes maps; maybe antique maps; maybe rare, antique maps; maybe I ought to buy this book.

Hope I read it soon. That’s the plan anyhow.

5. Photo of the week: Vancouver, B.C. Just another sunset shot, this one with a tragically declining horizon line. Seems like I have to snap a sunset at each new destination. What is it about a beautiful sunset? I never tire of them; my reaction must be primordial: I’ve survived another day and can now retreat to the safety of my cave.

Friday ‘Fess Up + Four = Friday Five #5

(What is this? A combination of two Friday memes: the literate kitten’s invitation to ‘fess up to our crimes and misdemeanors against our writing efforts and a “friday five,” in which we list five random things about our week…)

1. ‘Fessing up: Considering the bad news about my manuscript (previous post), I did all right this week. Wrote 26 pages, and here’s the thing: I’m galvanized. I’m eager to finish this puppy, maybe even this weekend. There’s plenty going on in this head of mine, and I’m eager to set the first draft aside for a cooling-off period and work on other projects in the meanwhile. Nothing like bummer news to clear my head.

2. Fourth of July already? A writing buddy and I got together, she to give me reader feedback. We made plans to meet again in about two weeks (per usual) and she said, July 17th. Talk about dizzy and disoriented; I couldn’t get my head around the date: July 17th? Yes, she said, today is July 1st. July 1st? How did I not realize that I was two weeks behind the rest of the world? How does that happen?

3. Starbucks confession: I’m an anti-Starbucks kind of girl. Only a desperation move on behalf of the writing would get me to linger in that place. This week, oddly hot weather forced me out of my apartment. I rejected my favorite locally owned spot because I could tell I was on the verge of not writing at all — too much comfort would have sunk me into a sweaty, lethargic blob. So, off I drove to the nearest Starbucks because the place irks me so much I knew I’d lay down the pages pronto, the sooner to beat a vaguely shamefaced retreat. Perverse, right? But it worked.

4. Firefly, not the bug, the television show: Anyone out there seen “Firefly,” the Joss-Whedon-of-Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-fame creation? I borrowed the DVDs from a friend, and I’m digging it. It’s about wild-west cowboy marauders with hearts of gold — in space. It’s rather brilliant, but maybe you’ve got to be eccentric to like it. Unfortunately, it got pulled after only 14 episodes; the good news is that the movie “Serendity” ties up the dangling plotlines.

5. Photo of the week: Quick snapshot lest someone took me for a stalker. This dog-training obstacle course and pasture, corral, stable (not visible) exists a mere block from my place. In seven years, I’d never noticed this backyard Eden in the midst of urban suburbia — and how many thousands of times had I driven past? I finally noticed the pastoral scene because I’m now a dogwalker. There’s a lesson here, something about slowing down, sniffing flowers, petting horses…

Friday ‘Fess Up + Four = Friday Five #2

(What is this? A combination of two Friday memes: the literate kitten’s invitation to ‘fess up to our crimes and misdemeanors against our writing efforts and a “friday five,” in which we list five random things about our week…)


1. ‘Fessing up: I had an excellent writing day, and now I deserve to play in the long-awaited warmth and sunshine.

Yesterday I wrote six pages; today also. But yesterday was only a good writing day relative to today’s excellent writing day. What makes the difference? Flow. Just flow. Today the words fell out relatively easily (it’s only a little after noon!), whereas yesteday I spent a semi-tortured day at my desk. I didn’t complete my pages until 3:30 p.m. 

Today was fun for the writing because I have a character, Malcolm, who is such a wad. I love writing his scenes. I managed 21 new pages this week.

2. Follow-up on yesterday’s mood: An excellent writing day always helps, doesn’t it? Plus, getting out of the house with friends last night. Plus, the kind comments I received. Plus, a new day. I can still hear the low-grade muttering as I write this — no doubting that — but the sun is also shining.

Besides laying down sentences, I’m still wondering what else I can do to help myself, something concrete that will give me a sense that I’m moving forward…

3. About forgetfulness: This week I was in a pretty good fictional space, and as a result I kept forgetting to buy a new stick of deoderant. No, I’m not stinky; what I am, is a woman hand-rubbing deoderant crumbs against her skin. Never fails, I realize I’ve reached the end of my deoderant when the last bit falls out of the tube and breaks into pieces on the counter. Usually, I’m quicker to buy a new stick, however.

4. Something that maddened me: Overheard at a cafe, a women mourning the fact that her parents, who worked long and hard to retire early, were forced back to work (in their early 60s!) because they could no longer afford their health insurance premiums. ‘Nuff said.

5. Photo of the week: I suppose I am doing something concrete besides the writing itself. That’s my bulletin board and that’s my repository for all self-promotion, publicity, and marketing ideas I come across. Ready for when the time comes (there she is, my inner cheerleader)!

Speaking of self-promotion, DeAnna Cameron’s latest how-did-you-find-your-audience interview mentioned something especially interesting. Dora Levy Mossanen, the interviewee, started connecting with booksellers and freelance publicity folks before her first novel sold. My inquiring mind wants to know: How do you approach booksellers under those circumstances? I’m thinking she might have some natural networking skills…