The writing vacation

I just stopped writing for the day. At least on the novel, I did. I may return to my short story later on. I’ve been off since last Saturday, using my vacation time to write. During that time, I worked on the novel and wrote some short stories.

I also updated this blog every day, and that’s unusual for me. I usually take Tuesdays and Thursdays off when it comes to blogging.

I wasn’t a complete shut in. I managed to go out with Old What’s Her Face* a couple of times. We even bought a new lawnmower. (She had to take selfies with it to send to family members.) I went fishing with my son and his family. Tomorrow everyone is coming over for Easter dinner.

II managed to watch the last three innings of a Diamonbacks/White Socks spring training game. It was a big win for Arizona, but if that’s an indication of their pitching staff it’s going to be a long year.

I always feel inadequate about my efforts. Maybe if I’d forced things it would be different. I wanted to finish my novel, but fell far short. The rough tally looks like I added about 9000 new words in the whole time I was off.

Those of you who get your thousand words per day can say “neener neener” at this time. I feel bad about it. I am the guy who put down ten thousand word in one day. This was writing The Cock of the South. I had a much tighter outline, but the genre also helped. Fantasy requires plenty of research, but The Playground is in a real world setting. I’ve spent plenty of time on Google maps, even going so far as looking up the menus of restaurants in the right areas.

The Playground starts in a fake city similar to St. Louis. That part flowed well, because I made up the locations as I needed them. Then it moved to actual New Orleans, and that required more research. Thank God they’ll be moving back soon.

I suppose I could do more of this research up front and add it to my outline. It really doesn’t work that way for me though. My outlines are more like mile markers, and I like it that way. If I need to get from one to two, how I do it is still by the seat of my pants. Once it’s right, I’ll aim toward marker number three.

Still, I figured out the minutia of how whole thing is going to go down and moved the characters into position. I returned to my victim, and spent a considerable amount of time detailing her new problems. Today my heroine and anti-hero are within two blocks of each other. The maguffin is there too. Shit’s about to hit the fan.

I’m at a point where I need time to think. My mind dwells on the order of all the little things I want to happen, and I will figure it out. There are distractions too. These come from my own mind, and sometimes I need to make notes for future stories. It’s that open mind part of the game, that allows other things inside too.

I kind of want it all to go down during a hurricane. Why give my characters a few problems to deal with when they could have ten? I won’t, because the time of year is wrong, but it would be cool.

All in all, it wasn’t a great writing vacation from a volume standpoint. The stuff I got down was pretty good though. I’m only focusing on the novel here, there were many more words if I look at it that way.

I’m half way through my critique work, and will finish that sometime today. I’ll be ready for the group come Thursday. Tomorrow may offer some time too. Maybe I’ll consult with Lorelei** about my next steps.

* Not my wife’s given name.

* Lorelei is my Muse.

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “The writing vacation

  1. I dont know… sounds pretty damn productive to me! Wish I could be half as focussed. I spent the day listening to Carys cry, administering her enema, then waiting for the ‘fall out’… I guess you could say that was productive lol! I know, TMI, sorry! Happy smiley girl again now though, and so is she… of course the wine helps… me, not her, she’s too young. And this evening the sun came out, first time in 7 days… yaaay! 😊

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  2. I’m dying at 10k words a day! On a very good day, I get 4k out!

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  3. It sounds productive to me. Never got into the daily word count, so I can’t say ‘neener neener’. Do you find that the word count helps you focus and be productive?

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    • I don’t find it helpful at all. Readers like to hear such metrics. I need to look at the whole picture and assess it that way. New words isn’t the only thing I did.

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      • I go with chapters since that feels heavier to me, but that’s only for my own mindset. Good point on looking at the whole picture. Tend to forget about that.

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      • The whole chapter idea makes some sense to me. There is a complete goal in there that is within reason. It satisfies my checklist mentality. I never get to do it that way, but it makes sense.

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      • I probably have an advantage because I’m the stay at home parent. Once the kid is off to school and my errands are done, I can dive into writing. Though I still end up pulling late nights for some reason. A downside to this is that it leaves me open to more distractions like the phone, emergencies, etc.

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      • I don’t see that as an advantage. Keeping the house in order and dealing with children is work. It usually isn’t limited to business hours either. I’ll get my project finished eventually, and your projects will move ahead too. The only pressure I have is the pressure I create.

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      • Weekends tend to be a disaster too. I say as I hear loud voices and banging toys downstairs. No matter how much I hit the volume button on the Universal remote, the noise level doesn’t die down. I feel like they should remain this thing.

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      • It ends in a few years. Then you’ll wish they would talk to you.

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      • If only the loudest thing around here was the kid. πŸ™‚

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  4. Sounds productive to me: quality vs quantity – – details vs fluff – – inspiration and work flow comes in waves just go with it.

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  5. The creative mind needs space to brearhe sometimes too. My goal was to try and send my manuscript to an agent this year. The pressure is stiffling me (that sounds very dramatic I know) so I think I’m going to self publish again and wait for a year when I don’t have a four month old and other things distracting me, to maybe try agents. In short, as with all things in life, quality not quantity, that is all πŸ™‚

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  6. “Why give my characters a few problems to deal with when they could have ten?”—Ha, spoken like a true author who understands the need for conflict and drama. We readers like that stuff. πŸ™‚

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  7. I think we all feel like we could have accomplished more, most days. Don’t sweat it too much. There’s always tomorrow.

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  8. Hurricane season might be wrong, but what about a tornado? Those creep up from time to time. Even if you stop writing to research, that’s still “writing”… at least it’s making progress on your book. I do the same as you — research it as the need arises. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

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