I read an eBook a few days ago called Writing Habit Mastery: How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block by S.J. Scott.
It was a quickie book. I finished it an about an hour. Nothing really earth shattering or new about the book, but it clicked for me. He stressed the importance of putting words on paper every day no matter what. He also pointed out that our inner critic and editor keeps us from committing our thoughts to writing. We get so caught up in correcting and rewording our thoughts that we get hung up in editing and don’t produce.
Scott also stresses the ability to touch type and says if you don’t know how then learn. There are plenty of inexpensive software programs out there for that purpose. Hunting and pecking around the keyboard gets in the way of a fast and free flow of thoughts. I can touch type and with practice I’m getting even better and have almost reached the singularity where I can type as fast as I think. The only reason I don’t now is because I let that little editor devil sitting on my shoulder interrupt my thought with stuff like, “you left a comma out back there, woman. No one is going to take you seriously if you don’t even know how to punctuate.” My goal this week is to learn how to ignore my demons and brain storm my way through my first draft. It may come out as, “tundra…squirrel…candy…murderer…UPS Truck.” So what? That what’s editing is for. I’m going to take S.J. Scott’s advice and leave the editing until after I finish my first draft.
Another thing Scott said was that Steven King writes 2,000 words every morning and then spends the rest of his day taking care of personal business, napping or whatever. Not sure if this is true or not but it sounds believable. So I said to myself, “hey, if Steven King can produce his copious amounts of books by doing a mere 2,000 words a morning then so can I!.” This statement probably does not make any sense to anyone other than me, but who cares? All I’m after here is what works for me.
I’ve managed the 2,000 words a morning for 4 days in a row now and I feel pretty damned good. 4 days does not a good habit make, but it’s a start. And it’s much more fun goofing off the rest of the day or taking care of 45 piddly errands when you have a sense of accomplishment under your belt.
And now the topic of editing. I don’t need to read a book about writing to know that EDITING IS IMPORTANT. Merrily skipping over this step is not OK. Mr. Husband and I have been snowed in for the past few days. I ended up using him as a sounding board because he was the only human I had access too. I could have called someone, but they wouldn’t see my arm movements or see me ripping my hair out.
As I work on my writing craft I begin to notice more exactly why a particular passage in a book annoys me instead of just a vague feeling of distaste. Yesterday I was reading a book The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle. My review is that the book is incredible. Possibly the biggest block buster of the century, while at the same time being the worst book I’ve ever read. They could use it as a basis for college classes as an example of how not to construct a sentence. The grammar is so butchered that there were places where I was literally screaming though my teeth. Hubman actually tore himself away from playing Star Wars on the computer to come see if I was OK. I ended up with a huge headache, but still couldn’t put the darn book down.
That being said 5,000+ readers on Amazon rated this book 5 stars so there has to be something to it. There were 120 1 star reviews and most of them were to do with poor grammar, sentence structure and totally unbelievable plot twists, including escaping a monastery in Tibet in a hot air balloon?!? But, then this proves that if readers love a story or author they will overlook a multitude of sins. I’ll keep that in mind when I put my toe in the water. If I had to rate the book I’d say 5 stars for plot and 1 star for sentences and paragraphs that were like nails on a chalkboard.
At one point early in the book I counted the word “had” 6 times in one paragraph. It was in every sentence. The word had was in 1 of the sentences 3 times. The following made up sentence is an example: Because he got drunk early in the day he had had to change his pants 2 times because he had forgotten to put on his underwear the first time. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be “he was so drunk he forgot to put on his underwear.” OK, maybe it’s just me. I’m no expert. But come on! Many of the common novel-writing programs, like Write it Now and Scrivener have a handy tool that analyses the number of times a particular word shows up in your manuscript. If your novel is 80,000 words and the word had shows up 15,000 times it might be a good idea to rethink sentence construction. Just a thought.
Love you all, and as always, thank you for tuning in to my rants.
Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Anonymous
I looked myself in the mirror this morning and thought “you know what you have to do…soooo…why aren’t you doing it?” I don’t just have a book in me. I have an actual book in writing, somewhere, spread across 3 computers and my Kindle, some assembly required.
What I “should do” is get off my ass and gather up my chapters, experiments, late night ravings, and side stories into a some semblance of a book and start editing the damn thing. No writer anywhere, regardless of their skill level, spits out a finished copy in one go. But, I have to be perfect you see. Rough draft, not in my nature. Which means of course that my nature needs some work. I’m going to have to push past this though because working on my nature will be yet another excuse to not work on my book.
Oh, but there are soooo many more important things to do, like playing World of Warcraft from morning till night 3 days in a row. Then embark on a mission to read every book Steven King has ever written, including re-reading his book called “On Writing.” Then I need to purge my file cabinet, get my nails done, and sort all the Tupperware in the garage.
After all this I need to surf the internet for 3 days looking for books on how to write a book. Of course I get side tracked into celebrity tell alls like what Angelina Jolie’s tattoos mean. Just for the record they are the geographical coordinates of the birth place of her children. Or the fact that nude photos from Kristen Stewart’s new movie got leaked. Oh yea, like that was an accident and furthermore, why do I care?
I tell you why I care, because I am a procrastinator extraordinaire. This is saying a lot coming from a woman who wrote a post last year called “Procrastination Should be Punishable by Death.” So why am I procrastinating? Because I’m scared that’s why! I’ll write a book, put it out there and it flops so hard it knocks the wind out of me. So what? I don’t understand why this is tripping me up so much. I’m starting to get pissed off at myself. It may even culminate in me bitch slapping myself. If that what it takes, well then I’m going to have a red face and finished book.
Recently I relearned a lesson that I’ve learned before and keep forgetting. Just because a book is in the New York Times bestseller list does not guarantee that I’m going to like it. It may be an excellent well written thrill ride with gut wrenching emotional twists and turns, but not my cup of tea.
The book I’m reading is billed as a continuation in a series about a Vampire Brotherhood with “the hottest collection of studs in romance.” Yea buddy, bring it ON!! The book has a glossary of terms at the beginning that I have to keep referring to, because there are a lot of unfamiliar terms flying around in this author’s world and I am delving into a book that is part of series.
I like the author’s style of writing a lot. It is razor whip sharp, edge of your seat, nail biting, can’t put it down action. And the sex, oh my God, everybody is screwing everybody. We’re talking needles behind the eyes, gotta have it NOW, thrashing around, breaking the furniture, leaving teeth marks on the headboard, climbing the walls, swinging from the rafters, non-stop action. So much of it is going on that it is probably frightening the farm animals in adjacent counties.
However about a quarter of the way through the book I figured something out. The book is sort of a Twilight Vampire World crashes into Broke Back Mountain. The two main lovers are male and the majority of the sex scenes are between 2 males. There is one scene where a vampire male is nailing a human woman in a Toyota, if that’s even possible, but he’s obviously just using her for a quick fix. There are occasional references to sex with females but it is only inferred rather than described and seems to be mainly for the purposes of procreation.
The two main lovers are male vampires who, for some reason that I haven’t figured out yet, can not “be together” openly. But, occasionally slam into each other in the biblical sense when they just can’t take being apart anymore. I assume that in this book they will figure out a way to be couple.
Although I’m enjoying the story telling in this book, it’s just not working as a romance novel for me, the main reason being that I’m heterosexual. I have no problem with anyone being with whatever gender floats their boat, however same gender love scenes do not arouse me. It’s more of a clinical interest like watching a documentary on the mating habits of the Sub-Saharan Gazelles. I’m happy for them and all but I have no interest in joining the party.
So anyway, lesson learned. When I want a good cuddle up on a cold day steamy romance book, I need to make sure it’s the brand of romance that is going to work for me.
So the Drag Co-efficiency could be reframed as how I got temporarily sick of hearing myself talk. What brought this on is that I took a commenter’s advice and decided to turn my blog into a book. And that, my friends, is what I have been doing the last few weeks.
Actually it took about 10 days. I started from the first post I ever made 3 years ago in December of 2010 and moved forward to the last post in December of 2013. I omitted a good bit of material that was stuff such as “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” or the follow-up on the thrill ride that is getting an endoscopy after puking into a trash can at the hospital ER for 6 hours while waiting to be seen by physician. Some things just don’t need to be rehashed. But, reading my entire blog in a week and a half sort of winded me. I felt like I had really run out of things to say, but fortunately this never lasts long.
So now I have this 175,000 word monstrosity that needs a little work. OK, it needs a lot of work. I need to go through and cull out about 75K words at least. Also I need to come up with a title. The Hubman suggested the title “Rantings and Ravings.” Thank you, Mr. Husband! Now I know what you REALLY think! ***mutter, mutter*** Anyway, he was kidding, or so I chose to believe. But I do need to come with something to call this collection of …of…of… “Essays Expressing My Opinion on Everything” or (EEEMOE) for short is what I’m calling it for now until I can come up with something catchy, but a bit shorter. Any ideas anyone? I’m open to suggestions.
Then there comes all the other projects after the creation of a “book.” Do I print it up and send it off to 85 publishers? Or should I self-publish? If so, what software should I use to turn my document into an E-book? Should I even do this myself or have a professional do it? So many questions. I am pretty tech savvy already with publishing software. I have converted draft chapters of the fiction book I’m working on to an E-document, sent it to my Kindle and it looked fine, formatting wise. I’ve purchased far worse on Amazon.
So what to do, what to do? Move forward is my decision. The answers will come while I’m weeding out the excess baggage from the first draft.
Toodles for now and have an absolutely lovely day!
Soooo…did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I sort of did and didn’t at the same time. What I did was decide not to make any resolutions. I’m going to take it one day or week or month at a time. I’ve made some decisions that could be viewed as surrenders when taken individually.
I’m not buying into the woe is me-ism of people who say “thank God we made it through last year; maybe this year will be better.” ***yawn*** My last year was pretty good overall. Sure there were less than stellar moments mixed in there. I got sick a few times and made a complete and total ass of myself on few occasions. But there were wonderful moments too. I’ve been having a blast with painting class.
I have a mother-in-law who takes finding the dark cloud in any silver lining to a whole new level. If she won 500 million dollars in the lottery she would bitch about paying the taxes on her winnings. If you gave her a brand new Cadillac, free and clear, she would complain that now she had to figure out how to operate the seat adjustments. Or worse, refuse to figure it out at all and call my husband every time she wanted to get in the car.
Surrender #1: I am never going to love my in-laws as a collective whole. It’s been an unnecessarily stressful endeavor to even try, and this has been dragging on for 10 damned years. OK, I admit it there are occasions when I out-and-out hate them. Sometimes just the thought of them makes me grind my teeth together. I’m going to stop beating myself up for having these feelings. Just acknowledge them and let them go, like the urge to install a laser cannon on the hood of my car to vaporize people who cut me off on the freeway.
My brother-in-law pulled the biggest gifting boner ever, and I mean EVER in the history of mankind. We got him a custom framed sports SIGNED jersey from a team member of his alma mater college. His reaction? He looked down his nose at it and said “I don’t think this thing will fit in my car. Days later he informed Hubman that it just wasn’t going to work in his house and refused to accept the present. I didn’t say anything when Hubman told me, but it festered all day and I finally told him, at the top of my lungs, that I thought it was beyond rude and that all jerky brother-in-law gets for Christmas next year is a subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club. I’m not kidding!!!
Surrender #2: Being bipolar I’m going to have mood swings. Taking enough medicine to prevent any swings at all is a chemical lobotomy. Not enough and I’m angry enough to take out the entire neighborhood. And furthermore, sometimes things happen that just flat-out piss me off, they would piss off anyone. (see above behavior by brother-in-law)
Surrender #3: My weight. No, I’m not going to give up trying and eat a chocolate cake every day for breakfast, but stressing out and beating myself up about it is not helping. I know what I need to do and I haven’t been doing it. I was talking to my sister the other day about it. The most dangerous thing about getting older is that you get really good at sitting on your ass for long periods at a time. That used to drive me crazy. My weight maintenance secret for the first 40 years of my life was that I was a fidgety person. I spent my time flitting around the room like a June Bug that flew in when the screen door got left open. Aging and medication has stopped that behavior so I have to consciously make an effort to shake my booty on a regular basis or turn into a mound of blubber.
Surrender #4: Some people, maybe even a lot of people, are going to laugh at my artistic endeavors. I’m just going to suck it up and go on anyway. I can’t control what other people think about me. Example: I had a wild and colorful dream recently. I woke up at 6:30 am and spent 4 hours painting it. When I showed it to Mr. Husband he burst out laughing and almost choked on his coffee. He tried to back pedal, but he didn’t succeed. I thought that I rose above the ridicule, but it just occurred to me this morning that I haven’t picked up a paintbrush for 2 weeks. Phooey on him I say! I’ll just cover up my paintings when I’m not working on them if he persists.
Well 4 surrenders is enough for now. I need some opinions to stick too. Why I don’t know, but there you have it.
PS: to fellow bloggers. Don’t forget to renew your web domain name, etc.