Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Wall

I have previously blogged about The Swamp, my own personal name for writer's block. Now I'd like to talk about The Wall. The Wall is completely different from The Swamp. You might think it would be a good thing to have a Wall around your Swamp - to keep the neighbors from falling in, etc.

But The Wall is not good. Not Good At All. And yet, apparently no novel would be complete without it.

I've been working on my current manuscript, the Post-Apocalyptic YA story, since April. I hit The Wall about ten days ago, coincidentally around the 100 page mark. That would be the 50% or less mark. I usually slam right into that wall around the 2/3rd's mark. (That would be 67%. Although The Wall makes me feel fractious, I did not intend this blog post to be a lesson on fractions.) (Hey, is there any pie left?)

I have yet to meet a wall-free novelist. If you haven't guessed already, The Wall is that sharp and sudden decompression, that violent impact with an invisible barrier, that abrupt and total loss of confidence in what you're writing. Or your writing, in general. Quite possibly, in yourself!

Writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a long time, and during that long time, at least once, you're going to hit the wall. Everything will be going swimmingly and then suddenly, without warning, you realize your beloved tale is TERRIBLE. It's AWFUL. It's HORSE PUCKEY!!!

Worse, it CANNOT BE SALVAGED because you SUCK.

I wonder how many first-time novelists have quit forever when that horrible wall rose up and menaced them?

Experienced writers know that The Wall is simply part of the process. Perhaps even a necessary (?) part of the process. Hopefully, it does not result in the complete loss of your self-esteem as a writer and a human. It can even be put to good use. Take it as an opportunity to objectively think about your story. Any major gaps in the plot? Bogging down a bit in chapter two? Got the balance right between narrative and dialogue? Is the first page as kickass as possible? Have you thrown in the pack of wild dogs yet? Does the world really need another post-apocalyptic YA book?

Well, duh, of course it does! :-)

Like The Swamp, The Wall can be overcome with perseverance. Don't give up, Aspiring Writer. It's just another one of those mind-*&^%$#@!ing tricks our brains like to play on us. I've been warned about another one - the one where you're more than halfway through the book and suddenly your cerebral cortex comes up with an Awesome, Totally Amazing Idea For ANOTHER Book. In general, I agree that this is just a distraction that you need to ignore while you finish the book you're working on. In general, I agree with that. In specific, however, I have another name for that idea-your-brain-comes-up-with-for-a-second-book-while-you're-struggling-to-write-the-first-one. And that name is SHADOW POINT.

So, in writing, as in life, it's good to know the pitfalls, know the tricks, persevere and sometimes break the rules anyhow.


Then, have some pie.

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"It's a hotel at best. You're here as a guest. You oughta make yourself at home while you're waiting for the rest."

Jackson Browne

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020
05-25-11: 10560
06-01-11: 12107
06-07-11: 15082
06-15-11: 18120
06-22-11: 20762
06-29-11: 22677
07-06-11: 26073
07-13-11: 26748
07-20-11: uh...
07-27-11: 29196


I hit 100 pages this last week. But also hit The Wall. Not to be confused with The Swamp. Argh. More on that later...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"I wish I could have a garage sale."

A. R. Briant

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"The more clearly one sees this world, the more one is obliged to pretend it does not exist."

James Salter

Friday, July 15, 2011

100 pages!

Who knew the post-apocalypse could go this smoothly?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020
05-25-11: 10560
06-01-11: 12107
06-07-11: 15082
06-15-11: 18120
06-22-11: 20762
06-29-11: 22677
07-06-11: 26073
07-13-11: 26748

My brain decided to think about the (first?) trailer for ROMEO FAILS this week more than PAYA. Still, progress was made. Pack o' wild dogs, anyone? :-) And the trailer's coming along, too... I love making book trailers - so much fun! In a previous
post, I compared writing a book to going for a swim. (a long, LONG swim!) To extend that metaphor, creating the book trailer - for me - is then like getting an ice cream cone after that long day at the beach or pool! Pure delicious fun!

Ummmmm... ice cream..................

I should probably get out more.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"It amuses me that I invented someone who has gone on to support me."

Sue Grafton

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020
05-25-11: 10560
06-01-11: 12107
06-07-11: 15082
06-15-11: 18120
06-22-11: 20762
06-29-11: 22677
07-06-11: 26073

Up and over the 25,000 mark - woo hoo! You may think I'm writing fast. You may think I'm writing slow. Either way, you can see I'm writing consistently. I'm on track to finish this novel in 9 months or less, so I'm stoked. If I could write a novel every 9 months, I'd be way stoked! (I mean a GOOD novel, of course.) We'll see...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't Back Down - DO BACK UP!

Hola, Aspiring Writers & Dear Readers. It recently occurred to me that while I've blogged about several different aspects of novel writing, I have failed to mention A REALLY, REALLY


R E A L L Y
important subject!

That would be backing up what you've written. I don't mean with the strength of your convictions (also good), but "backing up" as in Make Sure You've Got A Second Copy Of Your Masterpiece!!!

Let's say you've just written 1,000 (or twelve) fabulous words. You are en fuego, AW! Yet you will be a sodden sobbing heap o' ash if those words suddenly disappear into The Great Beyond. We've all had documents, revisions, blog posts (*^%$#@!) vanish into that not so sweet hereafter. Losing a blog post is bad enough, but losing a scene or a chapter - heck, even a paragraph! - I've carefully crafted, sweated over and painstakingly eased into existence is the pits.

So make sure you back it up!

If you write on a computer like I do, you've got lots of options:



  • save it to a thumb drive (my current practice)


  • burn it to a CD


  • e-mail it to yourself


  • print a hard copy
The point is, if your computer goes belly up (as they are wont to do), you haven't lost The Preciousssss.

If you write on paper, then (a) really?, (b) copy machine or (c) today's word of the day is AMANUENSIS. (and you thought it was "wont"!)

And when should you back up your document? Every time you've written something new. Every Single Time. Even if it's only a sentence. Just make it a habit - it only takes a few seconds, right? And the risk of losing your epic tome is too dreadful to imagine - so back it up! Always Back It Up.

Also... don't forget to hydrate.

Sunday, July 3, 2011