No Sleep Till Publication: Burning the Early A.M. Oil

I am slightly sleep-deprived today, having nodded off around 10 p.m. last night  only to wake up around 2 a.m.

What woke me up, might you ask? A book idea. More specifically, a furtherance of the plot in the novel I’m working on for Clarion Write-A-Thon. It grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, and I had to wake up and write it down. I felt like Pookie in the movie New Jack City:

 

Them plots be callin’ me, man…and I just gotta go to it! 😀

So I stayed up and wrote. And 2 a.m. turned into 5 a.m.  A bowl of soup and one disgruntled cat later (he thought that, since I was awake, it was time for his breakfast. Nope–too early!), I caught a few more hours of sleep before I awakened for the day.

Since then, I worked on another campaign for my upcoming novel, The Bastille Family Chronicles: Camille, and ran some errands for my mom. As my late grandmother used to say, no rest for the weary!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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Back in the Saddle! Camp NaNoWriMo–Day 17

Target goal: 50,000 words

Target daily goal: 1,615 words

Today’s word count:  1,477

Total words written:  5,717 words

 

WHEEEEE!! I have finally gotten The Camille Chronicles in the paddock, and am awaiting the upcoming pre-launch. Now, I have turned my attention back to Camp NaNoWriMo (as well as Clarion Write-A-Thon, but that will be a separate post).  I obviously need to focus on one major project at a time; my writing suffers, as you’ve seen, when I have it scattered hither and yon.

Today, while waiting for my mom in a doctor’s appointment, I actually got some writing done (Shoutout to the Samsung Galaxy Note!). I found that joy again, in the pure creation, and it was good. It was a nice respite from the business of self-publishing (you know: setting up distribution rights, EINs, royalty calculations, etc).

Anyway, I’m still delving deeper into the character of Lucien Bastille. I’ve figured out my betrayal moment and am working my way to that moment. His character’s backstory also requires a lot of research, as the time period and location lend to certain weather conditions, illnesses, and all that.

I’ve done 1,477 words so far, and I’m still writing. I may be up very late tonight because the book is flowing. Reunited…and it feels so good!

Thanks for stopping by.

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I’m so excited!

I got the final cover for my book today. WHEE!

 

Camille ebook cover

I am so excited! I have been nailing down the details for my pre-launch, and regular launch. I just added another spot for my fall book tour.  And I’m back to exercising regularly.

As you can see, a lot has been going on.

I’ve only done a few hundred words on my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and none on the Clarion project. Camp NaNoWriMo ends in two weeks; I highly doubt that I’ll make the 50K mark. I have a little more time with Clarion, and half as many words to achieve.

I plug away bit by bit, but I have not worked on them as I should have. Accountability has gone out the window.

Right now, I’m basking in the closeness of the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Won’t you join me? 😀

Thanks for stopping by.

Death and Dying: Building A Character Through The Ultimate Adversity

The words are coming in dribbles, for both Camp NaNoWriMo and Clarion Write-A-Thon. Maybe a spurt or two.

Perhaps I am affected by the agonizing wait for The Decision 2.0, if only to see who my beloved San Antonio Spurs will smack down in next year’s NBA Finals. 😀 And yes, I am rooting for the demise of the Miami Heat (although I love me some Pat Riley), because I’m petty when it comes to NBA hoops (although I will root for Shabazz Napier, whose style of play I enjoyed throughout his UConn career); plus, I’m very partial to four-year players).

ANYway…while working on the Camp NaNoWriMo project, I figured out the form of betrayal (mentioned in a previous post) that will catapult my character into the rather unlikeable person he becomes in subsequent books (albeit only mentioned in passing). Death has a way of doing that; not my character’s death, but the effect of death on his life.

What is it about death that completely bends and alters a character, much as it does a real-life person? Is it the finality of it all? The unknown (because everyone does not believe in any semblance of an afterlife)? Depending on the manner of death, it could be the suddenness, or even the lingering; each manner has its pros and cons. It could be the tallying  of life’s balance sheet and coming to the conclusion that you may just end up in the red. Or the realization that there is still so much to do, even if you’ve done a lot.  That effect is more pronounced in the taking of a life, be it accidental or intentional. No one ever recovers from that, unless you’re an assassin or psychopath, in which case it never mattered in the first place.

No one ever fully recovers from grief.

I’ve had death touch my life more than I preferred, so this may be yet another way of me working out some long-buried angst. Writing is much less expensive than psychotherapy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to researching diseases of the 1940s. I’m also reading City of Beads, the second installment of the Tubby Dubonnet novels, by author Tony Dunbar.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 4

Target goal: 50,000 words

Target daily goal: 1,615 words

Today’s word count:  1,700

Total words written:  3,422 words

 

I did get some work done on the Camp NaNoWriMo project (yay!): 1,700 words. This book is a bit more challenging than the Clarion Write-A-Thon project, interestingly enough, because I’m getting deeper into the psyches of characters that are being introduced to the public in more lighthearted novels. In addition, I’m delving into the always-complicated web of family dynamics.

Anyway, it’s good to be back at work on this, now that most of the urgency surrounding The Camille Chronicles is over,

Thanks for stopping by.

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Clarion Write-A-Thon Day 13

Target goal: 25,000 words

Target daily goal: 775 words

Today’s word count: 871

Total words written: 8,218 words

 

I’m baaaaaaack! Is it really Day 13 of the Clarion Write-A-Thon? I guess more time passed than I’d thought. :/

I managed to do 871 words today, which is not that great, but it’s something. At least I made over my daily goal.

My story is starting to amaze me in the direction it’s going. Stories always do, when you let them tell you where they want to go. One of the things I’m also finding surprising is the character arc of my main character. Taking her from a somewhat naive, privileged person to someone who is realizing that the world isn’t as she always thought it was, is very interesting. This is going to be an eye-opening ride, since I haven’t been that naive and trusting in a very long time.

Now, onto Camp NaNoWriMo!

Thanks for stopping by.

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Brain Strain, Best Intentions and “Five Minutes”

 

Yesterday was a testament to the foil of the best-laid plans.

I’d been feverishly at work on the finishing touches to The Camille Chronicles. My rationale: I was THISCLOSE to finishing, then I would be free to concentrate on my commitments to the Clarion Write-A-Thon and Camp NaNoWriMo.  The sooner I finished, the more time I’d have to work on those other two projects.

Yeah, right. Man plans, God [or whatever deity you prefer] laughs.

I worked on tightening up the story, collaborated with my graphic designer on final touches to the cover, and then back to the story.  Then my eyes started getting droopy around 10 p.m., and I was so tired. I’d gotten a decent amount of sleep the night before, but I couldn’t deny that my eyes were starting to burn like they did during final exam times in college. So I told myself that harmless phrase of self-delusion: “I’ll just close my eyes for five minutes.”

I woke up around 3:45 a.m. :/

In retrospect, I should have worked on The Camille Chronicles for a while, then forcibly stop myself and move to the other projects. This is what I’ve been doing for the past few days. But then, I would just continue to string along three unfinished projects instead of focusing to give the attention to finishing one, so I could move on to the others. It’s like the process of getting out of debt: you pay off one bill, then take that money that would normally be used to pay that bill and contribute it to another bill, and keep that cycle going until everything is paid off. In this case, the currency would be time instead of dollars. I didn’t do that for the past few days. I kept paying the minimum balance, if you will, and carried three balances instead of working to get all of them paid off.

This also made me wonder about brain strain. Writing is a very mental exercise, as is anything that requires more thinking than physical labor. I used to get a similar fatigue when I was a full-time editor, poring through manuscripts and advertisements line by line for typographical, grammatical, punctuation, and subject/verb agreement errors. If an athlete can overtax him or herself to the point of straining a muscle, then it stands to reason that I overtaxed my brain to the extent that it was strained. This reminds me of a line from one of my favorite books, Firestarter by Stephen King: “The brain is the muscle that can move the world.”

I will catch up on Clarion and Camp NaNoWriMo this weekend, and I will finish The Camille Chronicles by tomorrow. And I will rest my brain by taking a walk to the farmers’ market later on today. I just have to keep reminding myself that accountability and pushing oneself are one thing; pushing oneself beyond reason is quite another.

Thanks for stopping by.

Clarion Write-A-Thon Day 10

Target goal: 25,000 words

Target daily goal: 775 words

Today’s word count: 826

Total words written: 7,347 words

 

I found myself actually irritated that I had to work on my Clarion piece today.  As I mentioned in previous posts, today also started the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo. The book for that particular workshop required more research, as the first chapter is initially set in the 1940s. I am a research wonk so once I get started on a research project, I dig in and keep going until I give out of energy. I couldn’t do that this go round; I had to literally stop myself and switch to Clarion mode so that I could meet my word count for the day. Arrrrggghhh…

The Clarion piece is coming along. My main character is starting to realize just how big of a mess in which she’s landed herself,  and the effect it’s having on the people around her. She is also beginning to realize just how unfair life can be. This will provide a deep pond in which to fish for future plot lines, which is good. Hopefully, I won’t have a lot of writer’s block as a result.

The NaNoWriMo book is calling…or maybe I’ll watch Matrix Revolutions for the umpteenth time. Or play some more mahjong. Or have a snack. I’ll figure it out shortly.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Keep On Keeping On: On Pushing Through

(there are a lot of “on”s in that title, aren’t there? lol)

I write this as I begin Camp NaNoWriMo, which starts today, July 1. For the next 30 days, I will be working on a new book (contemporary fiction). This is in addition to working on a sci-fi/speculative fiction novel for the Clarion Write-A-Thon, which started June 22 and runs until August 2. I am also putting the final final edits on my upcoming book, The Camille Chronicles, which debuts next month.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I took on all these projects.

Still, doing all this writing is just further throwing my lot into a career as a writer. All too often in the past, I have treated my craft as a hobby or afterthought: I was a ______ who wrote on the side and will publish a book ______ (insert increasingly far date into the future). Now, I’m going all in: I am a writer. Period. And my first solo book comes out in August 2014.

With all this writing, I prioritize. The Camille Chronicles is coming out soon, so that is priority so that I can get the word out there. The Clarion book is second on that list, because I am being held accountable by virtue of entering the online workshop. Same goes for Camp NaNoWriMo. In the middle of all that is everyday life, which must be lived. That means that there are days when I a choice between a nap and writing, and that nap is like that ex-flame that comes back into your life: attractive, but not necessarily in your best interests.

(I’m talking about naps for the heck of them, not naps as an attempt to correct a sleep deficit or a health issue)

Last night was one of those nights. I was working on The Camille Chronicles when I realized that I hadn’t done any writing on the Clarion story (this was around 10:30 pm). I worked on it a bit and, according to my word counter, did 681 words. That’s great, but my target daily goal is 775 words, and I didn’t write at all on Friday (Day 6 of the Write-A-Thon). I was very tempted to just roll with those 681 words and call it a night, but I told myself that I only had to do another 100 words (yes, I rounded up) to meet and exceed my goal.

One hundred words. A few sentences, especially when you’re as wordy as I can be. 😀 A paragraph, at most.

Such a small thing but when you’re tired, and you have other stuff to do (stuff that may be more important in the short-term), it’s easy to take the path of least resistance.

Well, I pushed through. And ended up writing 991 words.

I was very proud of myself because I REALLY wanted a nap (that glass of wine with dinner didn’t help matters). And I REALLY wanted to get back to The Camille Chronicles, especially since I’d figured out a breakthrough in a plot problem I’ve been toying with. And I thought of people who may be monitoring my progress, unbeknownst to me, who may be getting a bit of encouragement from my brain droppings and progress. It would have been easy to say, “Hey, it’s late at night and I’ll just write more tomorrow. I actually did say that to myself. But tomorrow comes and something else happens, and I’m even further behind, and then I’d get discouraged and eventually quit. I don’t want that to happen.

For the first time, I finished National Novel Writing Month  in November 2013. I’d participated (more or less) for six years prior to then, and for each of those six years I failed to reach the 50,000 word goal (approximately 250 pages). I didn’t even get to 25,000 words. Why? Because I didn’t push through. I used excuses. I let other stuff get in the way. I copped out. I’d done this for the past fourteen years, so it was as comfortable as my favorite pair of jeans.

This past year, I made an effort to do what I should have been doing all along:  I wrote every day. I wrote more than my daily target goal. I made it a priority. I made time for it. To finally reach that winner’s circle was an awesome feeling. I felt like I’d not only accomplished a key goal, but that there may be hope for me with this writing thing after all.

NaNoWriMo 2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

And that book that I finally finished for National Novel Writing Month? It comes out in  August, and it’s called The Camille Chronicles.

See what happens when you push through?

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Anyway,

Clarion Write-A-Thon Day 9

Target goal: 25,000 words

Target daily goal: 775 words

Today’s word count: 994

Total words written: 6,521 words

Well, according to the Clarion Write-A-Thon word counter, I am now officially 1/4 of the way through my goal of 25,000 words. *Tiger Woods fist pump*

It was a struggle to write today. I had gotten some crucial information from a research source for my upcoming novel, The Camille Chronicles. This required rewriting certain parts of the book to incorporate these changes, which would lend a more authentic flavor. I’m all about accuracy and authenticity, so I didn’t mind, but I also lost track of time. I got to 681 word and wanted to quit for the day, because I had been working on the final draft of The Camille Chronicles for most of the day. But I pushed through, wrote another 310 words, and managed to squeak in today’s 994 words under the wire. *whew*

My main character in the Write-A-Thon project has now been thrust into a journey where she will undergo trials that will reveal her true self. I now have to figure out what those trials will be. There can be the basic issues of trust: of herself, of others. There may also be the issue of finding out where she truly fits in the grand scheme of things, if anywhere. This will result in a profound alteration of the character’s character; all that I need to figure out is how dark do I want her to go. Will I have her retain a core of her usual ebullience, or will I have her become totally hardened (like Arya Stark in The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin)? It’s kind of exciting, actually; we as writers tend to infuse our characters with aspects of ourselves. It will be interesting to see how much darkness resides in me, that I can give to the character.

I really need to figure out where I put my copy of  The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogel. It is an extremely helpful book and will come in handy as I figure out the rest of this book’s trajectory. I’ve had it since 2003 and it never gets old. I should probably get the latest edition but until then, Old Faithful will have to do.

I’m about to crash. .Thanks for stopping by.

 

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