My WIP at the moment is me as a writer.
Towards the end of last year, before I uprooted and moved again to the other side of the world (disturbing the rhythm somewhat!), I set myself a goal of writing for 10 minutes a day or 250 words, if I could, just to get myself writing. I kept a tally here on my blog (but I think it needs re-publishing). Here are the results.
I won’t bore you all or clutter up the web out there with my updates on how many words I’ve written – but I need some kind of chalk board tally that I can refer to to see what kind of progress I’m making, and as general motivating arse kicker for myself, seeing as how this is a diary of an author in progress and all.
I’ll just write the date, the word count, genre, form, and the working title name, and possibly something short afterwards about my progress and how I felt. Sometimes I’ll only edit, and outline that, similarly to above. Sometimes I’ll be sending out submissions, and while I do have a piece of paper on my wall next to my desk, it shows a little more of my progress and profile as a working author at a glance if I compile it all here. So I’ll add that. When I get published it will be much more of a “WOOOHOOOO!” moment, so I’ll probably give that a post of its own. I guess the rejections can probably belong on the tally page too.
As an aside, I’m Australian, and we date by day/month/year.
So, here goes.
356 words (1443 so far), erotic fiction/literature, short story, “Cotton Shifts”. First draft. (Morning)
I gave myself the ‘write first’ imperative today. So, in my pj’s, with the gentle reminder to do “just do 10 minutes, or 250 words” I started on a piece again that revisited me earlier in the week. I originally wrote the first bit in NZ, in 2010. I was researching possible markets for this earlier in the week, and there’s some interesting options. The story sits somewhere in the realms of Anais Nin and Thea Astley (although she is not erotic), with a mind to the more erotic aspects of George Bastailles “The Story of The Eye”, namely his observance of small details, and how the eroticism of them draw you into the tale before you realise too late where the tale is headed. My story is somehow also inspired by some reading on early theories of “hysteria” treatments. Happy so far and have a mind of where to go next, experimenting with point of view, namely the limited omniscient, and seeing if I can move between the two main characters (protag and antag) and still show one other character. Could be too much for a short story, but we’ll see. If I make it a little longer than my usual efforts (between 500 and 3000 words) I might be able to pull it off. I’m aiming for about 7000, but 10 000 could also work.
161 words (1604); erotic fiction/literature, short story, “Cotton Shifts”. First draft. (Afternoon)
We have guests and I snuck in 10 minutes while my beanballs for the surprise birthday party tonight gel up a little harder in the fridge before I fry them. Happy with getting into the second characters head, in the second scene, and with the pivotal points in the relationship between the two that this can point out.
478 words; character practice. (Mid to late morning)
I had no mojo for any of my stories today but I also want to build my knowledge of my craft, so I started a folder of practice exercises, focusing on description. I wrote a short scene prompted by a delivery man that I saw out of the window. It is a scene in that something changes within it, but the focus of it was firmly on the character moving through it, even though the action of the scene involved someone else. No dialogue, and I practiced ‘showing’ rather than telling. I’m happy to note that when I sit down to write, words come to me. It is not difficult to put words down on the page, or to write clearly. The ‘just write for 10 minutes approach or 250 words’ is easy to achieve and I almost always overshoot the mark. So rather than shooting for the stars and reaching the moon, I’m shooting for the moon and reaching the stars. I always feel happy and energised after I write.
Edit: Re-structured a poem (Once upon a freight train distant) that was not working as a loosely rhyming ballad (is there such a thing?) into a much more solid, rhythmic prose poem. I think now I might submit it somewhere. I also found a market purely aimed at prose poetry, a form that I’ve dabbled in without meaning too. I have a bunch of stuff still in my personal things back home that I can’t wait to plunder too. I am just going to send things out. The odds of getting published increase the more I submit. And I can only get better at this. I’m kind of amazed at the style, subject and form range in my limited amount of works. I think I’ve got a great mind for this writing thing. (Afternoon)
Complete story; flash fiction 100 words, plot exercise. Adventure/Humour (Morning)
Again, started nice and early. I watched Brandon Sanderson’s plot lecture yesterday and have set myself some plotting exercises to get a feel for how each works. Worked for 15 minutes and wrote a 100 word story using the yes/but, no/and plot structure. I’m happy because I completed the exercise in the time given, although I did start off with the 3 act, 50 words brief, until I realised I’d gone somewhere else. That’s ok for now while I’m learning how it feels to write them. Later when I think I have a handle on it I will be stricter with sticking to my brief. It’s a little bit primary school, but a necessary exercise, I think, and gives me something to do, a task to complete, when my story oomph is missing or I’m not sure yet where to progress. And, it’s only 10am and I still have the whole day to write more, if I can, or if not, I have still achieved today’s minimum writing goal. Yay. The way to maintain discipline is to let it lapse occasionally. This mantra fits nicely with another that I’ve used before. The way to achieve many things is to do one thing, at once. The first one is my own personal made up one. The second was someone famous, but I can’t remember who. They’re long dead, anyway.
Wrote blog post, approx 750 words. (Afternoon)
Decided to add this, although it’s obvious, and not technically fiction.
Edited and posted. (Midday)
Character study, based on me. Daughter-in-law. 378 words. Literary. (Morning)
Kind of a psychological cleansing at the same time. It’s description based on character rather than characteristics, it shows a slice of life piece of the character’s brain, through what she does. Interesting to put yourself into a character and see yourself from the viewpoint of a reader, rather than the self. I can be kinder to me from the outside. When I sat with the intention to write, I had no inspiration and was blocked by what was going on inside me, so I decided to use what I had. It’s actually not a bad piece of writing. I’m happy with how words are coming out of me. It’s before 10am and I’ve achieved my word count goal and more for the day, which is better than not writing at all, even if it’s not writing a story. Still writing!
Character practice: Old Man. 111 words, 10 mins. Literary. (Early afternoon)
Not much today but a beautiful description inspired by an old man in the local supermarket this morning. Working on creating characteristics through description of the body stance. It’s been a busy weekend with a trip to Munich and buying a car in Australia so I’m happy I at least got something down. I have to remember that this is what artists do – a study of a face here, a hand sketch here, a charcoal gesture drawing or a rough sketch of a scene through an archway – practicing craft and ways of seeing at the same time, building skills for bigger works. Ideas are percolating too.
Character practice. Street Sweeper. 309 words. 10 mins. First person. Literary realism. (Morning)
Inspired by the street sweeper outside the bakery this morning while waiting to start modelling. I think I write better in the morning, or at least I’m more productive. Note to self. I also set out a specific writing task for myself this morning, to do a character study before my modelling session with Sylvia.
Blog post. 257 words. Evening.
Edited and posted.
Scene. Possible short story, first draft. 461 words. 3rd person. Sci-fi. Morning.
At the moment I’m just training myself into the practice of writing itself – of actually doing it. I don’t seem to be able to follow any structure yet or work consistently on any one piece. Nor do I seem to be able to push myself to write more, yet. I’m just working on the goal of 250 words or 10 minutes. My WIP at the moment is me as a writer. Is that lame? I don’t know. But it’s what’s going on at the moment. I did however, follow mycommandments. Before going to sleep last night I had a brief flash of inspiration and wrote two words down to trigger my writing this morning. I nearly stopped at 230 words but decided to push on and some good came out of it. I had originally 2 scenes but squashed it into one as it made more sense that way.
Blog post draft. 422 words. Afternoon.
Received an email saying who won the contest I entered in Glimmertrain. It wasn’t me and I wasn’t shortlisted either. I guess that’s a rejection, of sorts. The same story, “The Butcher Boy”, is entered in the Stringybark Flash Fiction award, and I’ve asked for feedback to be sent. That might be incredibly useful. I believe in my story though, I’ve read it many times and edited it probably as many, and I think it’s good. Maybe the feedback will tell me how I can make it great.
Story start, 401 words, first person, fiction. ”The Last Heron”. Morning.
I am starting to think that I have a problem with plotting, carrying through and finishing stories. I have a multitude of starts but seem unable to return and continue. Or rather, to continue and finish. But. I think what the real thing I lack is planning. I sat down this morning and had no idea what I was going to write (I broke commandment #3). I remembered an image from yesterday that appeared in my mind when a heron flew by in the sky outside my window. I think I have a direction but everything I write at the moment feels so unextraordinary. The writing itself is ok – active language, good description, scene setting, characterisation and so on, but I can’t seem to get a story going.
Blog post, (on this topic) draft, 597 words. Evening.