Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Reporting In on Stuff in General

Friday, November 14th, 2008

The Next Historical is picking up steam, which is awesomeness in the nick of time. I’m liking my hero a lot. League play for my son’s soccer team is over (they won league!) which means I have my weekends free again. Less sitting in the car to write. I need them. Now it’s just practices and the occasional scrimmage until the big tournament in January.

Scandal is officially on sale February 3, 2009. And I’ve seem some preliminary indications of good opinions. ARCs arrived Thursday and I’ve started reading through to make sure there’s nothing terribly amiss with the copy. Wow. I was surprised by how strong the story seemed. Lord Ruin has a special place in my heart for being the book where I learned how important it is for me to write from a state of instinct. I am, I’ve come to realize, almost frighteningly analytical. (Stop laughing!!) But I cannot analyze myself into the kind of emotion a story requires. Lord Ruin was the book where I learned to let go.

Interestingly enough, there have been other times in my life when I have been under enormous pressure — the kind where there was not time to analyze. I could only let go. The first time involved geometry. I needed under some rather dire circumstances to calculate an angle so as to end up with a precisely drawn triangle of a certain shape. And I stared at this bit poster board (this was for a court hearing the next day — if I failed I’d probably be fired) and for a moment thought Carolyn, you got a D in geometry in High School. (The only grade I ever got below a B) How in heck are you going to get this triangle correctly drawn? I took a breath and had to let go of my fear and doubt and I swear that I suddenly knew EXACTLY how the formula worked. I got to work and holy heck if it didn’t come out exactly and precisely the way Pythagoras said it did.

The second time also involved a court hearing, with the added bonus that the messenger was waiting for the exhibits which the copy service had just brought to the office incorrectly bound. Miss your filing and you notify the company’s malpractice carrier, and of course we were right at the edge of maybe not enough time for the messenger to get to the courthouse. I looked at the copy guy and said, that’s not how I asked for them to be bound. (All the exhibits had to be bound in one HUGE insanely thick stack, and they had divided them up according to the height of the two-hope top prongs.) And he says I didn’t know how! Well heck, me neither because that was his job. A legal copy service is supposed to know all the tricks. So with my job and the company’s future flashing before my eyes, I let go of the panic, looked at the exhibits and the little fasteners and just knew how to fix it. And did. In the nick of time.

The same thing happened with Lord Ruin I was sitting there knowing that the book currently had spots that were just dry and boring, and I was feeling kind of panicky about that. So I just let go. I just started writing, without caring about what was coming next. I fixed what I was looking at right then.

Oh, long digression there. I need to get cracking! Off to work.


Arghh!! Or is it Sigh?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I’ve got a bad case of Writer’s Itch. Otherwise known as Inspiration. I think. Sometimes Inspiration feels more like a dump truck full of work.

Right. So dinner’s all done. Speed Brick is asleep behind me on the chair (thus I am forced to sit on the edge of the seat with my back very very straight — do not fail to compliment my wonderful posture should you see me!) I get back to my room at last and fire up Parallels and the incomparable Word Perfect. I make a new chapter and type this: Please, this is worse than first draft, OK? When this is done, chances are NONE of these words will remain.

Alexandrine woke up with her face flat on the mattress. Not even a pillow. The room was dark, and beside her the place where Xia’s body should have been was still warm. Something was wrong. What exactly that was, she didn’t know, but the air felt wrong. The center of her bones jangled with a sense of being off-kilter.
Without moving, she opened her eyes. It turned out she was facing the side of the room with the door, which meant she could make out Xia standing in front of the closed door with his head cocked.

All ready for the kidnapper! I should be so lucky. Instead this stupid little voice says Hey, what if Alexandrine knows all along that she’s a witch and she’s got some information about how things used to be in the long ago past and is willing to try the old ways with Xia?

Carolyn stares into space while she lets this major temblor of an idea ripple through the book as it exists in her head…

I’m leaving out all kinds of stuff about the story here. Suffice it to say that this would be a total rewrite of just about everything so far. But it would be good I think. It solves some nagging little things that have been bugging me about Alexandrine and her fate yet leaves me with many questions and issues to fill in later. Not impossible. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it because it makes Alexandrine WAY more interesting…

I know exactly what Jack London meant when he said that you have to go after Inspiration with a club. Whack. Inspiration is a lot of work and sometimes I just want to club it.

And yet, I am glad for the visit.


Still alive

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

62,157 as of tonight for Magellan’s Witch. Yesterday I was happily typing away at something not exactly writing related (except the typing part) thinking I had the whole evening uninterrupted, when suddenly I remembered I was supposed to go to my son’s soccer parent meeting at 7:00 and it was 6:42. Uh-oh. So I made two copies of his birth certificate and dashed out of the house and found the meeting place at about 6:59. Totally cool. And then — imagine this from the board member reps blah blah yadda blah soccer blah blah de blah de blah de blah money blah Only way more boring even than that. At one point I actually got out my notebook and started writing because it was either that or poke myself with a stick or something. There was a weirdly cool painting on the wall that looked like a cross between a white Zorro and a skinny Sioux Indian, where the guy had these cool stripe things on his face, so I decided my new character (who turned out to have a twin sister) has cool stripes on his face. Inspiration is inspiration folks.

When I got home (at last — the interesting part from the coach and trainer lasted about 5 minutes) I went back and gave the new guy stripes and then tonight when I was finishing up that scene and getting going on the stuff that comes after, the stripes turned out to be something neato. Everyone did stuff exactly the opposite of what I notebooked this morning at the gym.

What else? I have Friday off. Yay! Because I had to work most of the weekend and stay late Monday – which explains why I was lollygagging Monday and forgot about the meeting until the nick of time.

But now I’m going to bed and maybe have time to finish Tess Garritson’s Vanish.


Some inspiration

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. Colette, writer (1873-1954)

We shall succeed only so far as we continue that most distasteful of all activity, the intolerable labor of thought. Learned Hand, jurist (1872-1961)

[I]f you torture words enough, they confess to anything. Anu Garg

The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change. Richard Bach, writer (1936- )

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Leonard Cohen, musician (1934- )

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual. Arthur Koestler, novelist and journalist (1905-1983)

If writers were good businessmen, they’d have too much sense to be writers. Irwin S. Cobb, author and journalist (1876-1944)