Sunday, June 8, 2014

The long and the short of it ...

Yesterday was Saturday (makes sense if you know that today is Sunday) ... it was a Writer's Plot day. They are my favorite Saturdays.
We take over the end of the Rotary room at the Upper Hutt Library and talk writing, and sometimes actually write, but mostly we talk, laugh, and have fun.
Gotta say I was super impressed with yesterdays paragraphs. Who knew that two emotions in one paragraph would be so very entertaining?
If you're curious - the emotions were disgust and love. :)
I'm thinking the paragraph thing might be a regular feature?? (Not just with emotions though.)

Writing is a solitary occupation - so getting together with a group of writers and just being is a recharging experience.
Gotta say I'm really looking forward to our next WP ... at the beach. Writer's Plot roadie.

Let's talk about writing for a minute?

What a lot of you already know is that killerbyte was NOT my first book. I wrote 3 books before killerbyte - before I found my voice. Not many people have ever read them and that is not going to change any time soon. I'd say never, but you know, never say never. :)
I'm a big believer in cutting your writing teeth on at least one novel length work before writing The One. I also think writer's should write short stories and submit them to ezines, magazines, anthologies BEFORE they send their precious novel out into the hard hard world of submission and rejection.
Why?
For starters you have something to put on your query letter in the section for previous published works - writing credit, it's all the awesome. :)
Secondly, you know you're marketable.
Also, it gives you a chance to work with different editors.
What else? (Apart from experience and learning how to handle rejection?)
Short story writing requires a different skill set than novel writing.
Writing shorts makes your brain think differently.
You know you only have X number of words to tell the story - therefore, there is no waffle room (which is great if you're a wordy bugger and need to knock that on the head).
It's faster (instant gratification).
Do I have to go on?
I didn't think so.

When it comes to organizing story ideas and keeping track of important bits and pieces (like characters names) I use notebooks, OneNote, the comment function in Word, sticky-notes (not yellow or blue - you'll get that if you've read killerbyte or terrorbyte), random pieces of paper, often a large whiteboard, and a truly messy folder system on my computers. (Yes plural.)
We were talking yesterday about project folders for novels. Each one of my novels has it's own digital folder. By the time I'm done with it - as in, it's finished, submitted, contract signed (hopefully), edits are completed, cover designed, and it's finally launched - the folder is quite large. It's full of dated copies of the manuscript from various stages of the process, images, notes, poems, media releases, potential cover designs I was sent to look at, the contract, sometimes emails related to the book and even messenger conversations, and research notes.
I keep all that stuff. ALL OF IT. Even photos of the murder board.
Eventually I do move the completed folders to storage devices. (Yes plural, and various clouds.)
I also keep all the notebooks I've used during the process. (I have an enormous plastic box containing all my notebooks from the beginning of time ... and photos of things pertaining to various work, and maps too!)
Not everything in the notebooks makes it to the novel I'm working on at the time - and sometimes I know I've written something that'll use later - that's especially true of poems that crop up during various novels. They're not always about the book I think they're about. :) So I keep them. Safe.

Leon suggested photographing my notebook pages and storing them digitally - which appeals to my paranoia. :)

FYI:
When I'm writing 90% of the work is held in my head. I don't outline. I trust my gut and follow my instincts when it comes to the story. I think I always have.
Not joking.
I use notebooks to write scenes long hand and to keep track of victims names and write chapter summaries (once the chapter is finished) - and stuff like that, but mostly it's all in my head.
That is why I get pissed off, feel like shooting people  annoyed if I'm interrupted while I am working.
That is why I have a 'no phone call' policy. Nothing pisses me off more than someone ringing me and expecting me to be able to hold a conversation when I am in the middle of a scene!
You all know I'm a visual person - I see the scenes unfold in front of me like a movie. So if someone rings me, it becomes another voice within the scene. And that can be pretty fucking confusing.
Chances are I'm not going to hear you like you think I should.
I'm not apologizing because that's how I work.
Some people work with spreadsheets and numbers, I work with ideas and scenes. There is usually nothing for me to refer back to when I'm interrupted. I have to reorganize my thoughts and find my way back to the space I was in - depending on the complexity of the phone call or interruption that can truly fuck my day.

You may now resume you're regular Sunday activities.

It's 4 days until the databyte launch.
OMG.
















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