An Update of Oddities and Sundries

Something new: I made a Facebook Page! Please head on over and like it if you feel so inclined. I’ve added a link to it in my sidebar as well.

Writing’s petered off the last few days after a strong start to the month. I’m blaming both the shockingly lovely weather and the fact that typing is mildly painful. A few days ago I sliced my finger. I also learned a useful fact: I really don’t like the sight of my own blood. I was fine for a few minutes, and then promptly collapsed into a chair. It was with a strange sense of detachment that I cataloged how all of my symptoms were cliches–rushing in ears? Check. Cold sweat? Check. Head swimming? Check. Shaky limbs? Check. Vision blacked out? Check. The cut is healing fine and it wasn’t that bad, but it made me grateful that I’ve been lucky enough  not to be severely hurt in my life. Also, I guess there goes my career as a surgeon or detective. Drat.

In writing news I’m just past the halfway point of the first draft in my WIP, and it feels pretty good. I wrote the first draft of Pantomime agonisingly slowly (15 months for 73k), and worried that I’d be slow with the second as well. I’m not as prolific as some people I know, but I’m steadily chipping away and mostly having fun. Here’s hoping I don’t jinx myself.

It looks like the sun has disappeared again in Scotland, so I expect I’ll get back into the pattern of my usual Vitamin D-deficient indoor life.

Writer’s Block

Yesterday I told a friend some tricks I use to try and bash my way through writer’s block. I thought I’d post them on here. It’s common sense, but I hope it helps kickstart someone’s creativity. I’m also posting it as a way to remind myself as I enter a tricky area of my WIP over the next few days. A lot of the time these work, but I’m also very good at ignoring them sometimes and mewling pathetically in the corner instead.

1. Switch mediums. If the blank screen is frightening, I switch to pen and paper. It’s easier to trick myself that it doesn’t count–that it’s okay if the scribbles are ugly because they’re just scribbles. It has the added bonus of not having the distraction of the internet.

2. Skip the damn scene. I’m a chronological writer, but I’m learning that sometimes there are points in the first draft where you don’t know the best way for things to come together yet. Sometimes I skip a scene for a few days and it’s easier to come back to it after the distance and spending time with the characters in the future.

3. Skip fiddly details. My first drafts have a fair amount of notes in square brackets. Sometimes it’s notes of things to research, but I don’t want to break the flow to do so. Or I’ll write notes about the actual writing, such as [hot damn, purple prose much?], as a humourous reminder that that paragraph really sucks and will need rewriting later on.

4. Write around the scene. If I’m really stuck, I’ll start writing behind the scene–why is this scene important to the book? What does each character want and need? What obstacles do they face? Is there a tidbit of research or a different setting that might bring it to life?

5. Step away, come back. Sometimes you need the distance–a day or two away from the manuscript, turning things about in your mind, living life, relaxing, and coming back to it fresh.

I anticipate reading this entry a lot over the next few days. Heh.