A Change is as Good as a Rest
November 4, 2019
I am a writer. That's how I earn my living. The fact that I love doing it is a bonus. Long after I cease to be published, I shall still be writing. But every now and again, I need a break.
Not to do nothing. I waste a lot of time, but I am always doing something, even if it's just playing computer games. I have a lot of interests, but in the past few years, the two that take up the bulk of my time are writing and making art. And art usually gets short-changed, because I have a contractual commitment for a book.
Well, at the moment, I am between writing projects -- sort of. I had a book come out in August (Girls Like Me -- Orca Book Publishers), and I have a new book coming out in October of 2020, (The Druid and the Dragon -- Crwth Press), but revisions don't begin on that until February, so I almost have some free time. I say 'almost', because I've begun work on a sequel to the D&D novel, but there's no deadline yet.
It's the perfect time to stretch my artistic muscles. I have a new medium -- graphite powder, that I need to learn how to use, and I want to work on loosening up my watercolour work, so off I go.
I gave myself about a week, and this is what I came up with. And now that I have that out of my system for a while, it's back to writing.
How Can I Know What I Think
Until I See What I Say?
July 29, 2019
I believe it was E.M. Forster who came up with that little nugget, and as far as I'm concerned, he hit the nail on the head. At least he did for me when it comes to writing.
A publisher recently asked me to submit an outline and the opening chapters for a novel I'm writing. Normally I do an outline before I begin the actual writing of the story, but this time I was working straight from plot points I had arranged in an arbitrary order. I had a handle on the general premise of the story, but some of the details were a bit hazy. I think that's why I'd skipped the outline. But suddenly I had no choice, so away I went.
The first 12 chapters were easy to outline, because I'd already written them. It was the next 11 that were going to be a challenge. But as always seems to happen, once I got writing, the ideas walked out of the fog in my brain and showed themselves. "So that's what this story is about!", I found myself saying over and over. Bits and pieces I'd written into the story for no other reason than to bring life to a scene, suddenly showed themselves to be integral to the rest of the story. (I so love it when that happens!) In two days I had an outline, and I felt so much more confident about what I was writing as a result.
But it gets better. I have worked many times with the publisher who asked for the outline, which is an advantage in as much as I don't have to submit as detailed an outline as might be asked of an unknown writer. For me that means I provide the main events of each chapter but no detail. Each outlined chapter is approximately 3-4 sentences. The publisher is fine with that. The details happen when I write the story, and the truth is I don't really know what they are until I'm tapping at the keyboard. It is the details that make a story memorable, but even as I sit down to work, I don't know what they are. For instance, I am currently working on Chapter 13. The outline says:
On the way back to camp, Bradan shares a vision he has had to see if Maeve can make sense of it (an exercise in her training). When she offers her interpretation, he says it was a good try, but incorrect and proceeds to tell her that it actually means the chiefs and kings of the land are gathering and Bradan's presence is required there. Maeve expresses her amazement at how such a vision could mean that. Bradan explains what each image symbolizes, and then when Maeve's awe has reached new heights, he confesses that he actually received word from the King's messenger on the previous day while Maeve was picking mushrooms. He says he'll be leaving the following morning and Maeve is to accompany him.
I'm 2/3 of the way through the writing of the chapter, and I haven't touched on anything in the outline. Instead, I've been laying groundwork for what will happen near the end of the story, as well as working on character arc. I had no idea this was going to happen until it did, but I as I look upon what I've written so far in the chapter, I can see that it was necessary. The other information in the outline is also necessary, but I've changed the weight of it in the actual writing.
This is one of the reasons I love writing so much. Gut instinct inevitably takes over, meaning the end result is always a surprise, regardless of the outline.
Am I having fun yet? You betcha!
July 17, 2019
I guess you noticed I have a new website. I usually upgrade every 3 - 5 years, but this time it's only been a year. Part of the reason is because I wasn't all that happy with how I'd put together my last site. I had wanted to keep it simple, and I'd wanted to include a page for genealogy, both of which I did, but in cutting out some other pages, I discovered that I simply didn't have a natural place to put some things that needed to be included, which meant I've been 'making do', and I hate that. I have also become somewhat disenchanted with my website-building company. I just don't seem to be getting the same service that I used to.
All of which led me to start searching for something new -- and this is it! I'm really happy with the new site-builder. There are more templates than I can fathom, and I have access to so many bells and whistles, that my mind is boggled. The company I'm now with is highly rated (I did my research) and is priced competitively. Best of all, it has made it easy for me to build a good website. I am a definite luddite, so when I'm impressed, you know the process has to be simple.
I shall continue to tweak things, but so far I'm really pleased. Take a look around and let me know what you think.