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Monday, December 6, 2010

A Month of Mondays

Joining NAF has offered many opportunities. One of them is public accountability. More public than here, anyway.

It is one thing to say you are an author. It is another to actually write. It is yet another to get published. Each comes with a certain level of esteem. Each comes at a price.

The price for moving from saying author to being author is writing. You can't be it without doing it.
With this as the ugly reality before me (and that lovely yet terrifying NAF accountability chart as my lurking demon), I once again open my Past Ties file and begin.

Anne Lamott says to never start writing a book in December because December is a month of Mondays.

I have no idea what this means. Aren't all months months of Mondays? I don't get it. Maybe she's being poetical. I don't get poetry, either.

In defiance of her vague decree, I began writing Saturday. Of course, I wrote about 35 words, but I hadn't even looked at the file in close to a year, so I had to read it over first.

It's compost.

Anne Lamott would say it's supposed to be compost. That's what first drafts are (she uses a coarser word, but I keep it clean in the Turtle swamp, so I'll use compost). I'm holding her to it. I don't remember thinking this about Star of Justice or Elementals.

TT: Still considering title suggestions on Elementals, by the way. I need something about two sisters, light and dark, hot and cold, Jew and Gentile (just kidding). I've considered Treaty of the Lifespring but it's a bit too, I don't know, "choose your own adventure" for me. Or just The Treaty (too John Grisham). Or The Swap (too modern). Or Brideshead Revisited (wait, has that been done?). I don't know.

I'm also trying to relax and let this story come, something I didn't do with Elementals until the very end.

Here are my problems.

1) When I wrote and finished (or so I thought) this book 20 years ago, I never bothered to count words. 37K. That's it. Oi. I don't know what the heck I'm going to write about for another 40K words. Not a clue. Has me a little worried. When I add in my intention to scrap most of what I wrote previously, I'm a lot worried. Almost petit mal panic attack worried.

2) The original story was a romance with robots thrown in. I didn't mean for it to be a romance, but it is. I don't know what else I want it to be, but I want more out of this very beginning of the Star of Justice universe than a romance with robots in it.

TT: I find it ironic I seem to be writing backwards. Most people start small, with compost, and get better. I feel like I wrote my best book first, and everything coming after it gets worse. I hope my feelings are as wrong about this as they are about other things.

3) I am terrified of the "real life" aspects of this book. It is set in the near future (within 100 years). It has robots, nano robots, electronic gadgetry, terrorist cells - all kinds of stuff I frankly don't know anything about. This wouldn't concern me, except my audience will know about it, and they will laugh me out of the Comic Con for guessing wrong. Or being wrong. Or spelling nuclear wrong. (I know there is a difference, I just don't remember what it is, and it hasn't come up yet, so I haven't bothered to refresh my memory).

Those are my top 3 reasons for balking at beginning.

TT: Reason 4 is Paul's math. To achieve my goal of a completed first draft by end of March, I have to write 600 words a day. For me, that's 3 1/2 hours of writing (I'm a very slow fresh writer) per day.
Panic attack. Where's my paper bag?

Why am I writing this book? Simple.

Without LUCK-I, Star of Justice never happens. It must exist, therefore Past Ties must be written.

But...I have a plan. For writing, anyway.

I'm going to start. You can't finish if you don't start.

I'm not going to follow an outline or put any kind of rule on myself in any way (with Elementals, I originally tried to limit it to 2 viewpoints every 3 chapters no matter what. Boy, was that fun. Not!). If I end in March with 14 viewpoint characters, so be it. I'll have something to work with in April. Other than my tax preparer.

I'm not even going to set an end goal other than word count (like, the book is finished when "Z" happens). Nope. I wrote Star of Justice by the seat of my pants. Elementals got constipated when I tried to follow a plan. I'm going totally crazy with these 80K and see what happens.

Could be a very interesting ride.

PS. How weird is this? After writing this post, I went trolling through the Blogs I Follow and found this link at Writing in the Crosshairs. I'd never heard it before. It may become my inspirational song for Past Ties. Enjoy.

Walking In the Air.

According the poster for this video, the singer in this version is Declan Galbraith, whoever he is.


  1. Again, calm down, take a deep breath and just do it. You are very talented and creative so go for it.

    Love you

  2. Just do it. Hmm. Why didn't I think of that? hehe!


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