Sunday, October 14, 2012

How I Wrote 35K in Two Weeks, or, Playing Catch Up (With Bunnies)

If the bunny is my writing, and the turtle is my homework...
Maybe "Tortoise and the Hare" wasn't such a good metaphor to pick for this post.

So I've been playing a bit of catch-up, lately, with classes and mid-semester finals coming up, so while the blog has been quiet, I've been a very busy girl. And the best part is that I've been very busy writing. You may be thinking, "Oh right, those short stories you mentioned? Those are coming along? Good for you." And yes, those are coming along well, thanks. But it gets even better.

As in, rubbing-my-hands-together-with-glee better.

Let me backtrack.

August 4th:

I send out my first query letter for MIRRORPASS, which means I am done, utterly and completely, with edits and polishing and everything else. It's also the first time in two-almost-three years that I'm without a WIP. (You can hear the cries of unwritten story ideas at this point, hoping they'll finally get their turn.)

Unfortunately for my other story ideas, I decide that I need a break. Two-three months sounds about right. Four to six maximum. During the interim, I will work on writing short stories, will NOT listen to the wails of dismay coming from my story ideas folder, and will focus on school.


Getting into the hang of the short story thing. Impressed how well my break is going, despite the lack of news on the submissions front. Feel like I could go on like this forever.

End of August:

Submission news starts trickling in. Experience an erratic pendulum of blissful self-confidence in my novel's brilliance, to plunging certainty of my novel's absolute sucktitude. Worry about what I should write next, and how do I avoid the sucktitude this time around???

Bake a slew of cookies. Eat them all. Feel a bit better.

Early September:

Completely in love with short stories, and find I'm writing extra ones, daydreaming them up fast as I can. Starting to daydream before bed as well. Starting to have story-like dreams that I think about all day and modify. Starting to look longingly at calendar and trying to pretend I'm not doing so.

End of first week of September:

Find short stories growing longer, and longer, and longer. Get anxious about what I'll write next, when I write again. Will it be Shutterbug? Eternity Shift? Unamed Time Travel novel? Firebird story? OR HOW ABOUT THAT EXOSKELETON ONE I COULD WRITE THAT RIGHT, RIGHT?

Beginning of second week of September: 

Do some serious praying. Tell God I don't know how to decide which novel to jump into next, that I'm feeling stuck with all these old story ideas. Tell Him I definitely do not want the next novel to drag on for two-almost-three years. A bit shyly, ask Him to give me passion for whatever novel will come next, to direct it and make it clear to me, and that the passion would be my sign.

Middle of second week of September:

Write best short story thus far. On a high, write next best short story thus far. Out of short stories and impatient to write more, take story-dream idea and stay up until 3am pounding out 5,000 wonderful, useless, feverish words.

End of second week of September: 

Look at calender and experience delightful shock that Second Month of Two-Month-WIP-Abstinence is almost over.

Stare slyly at laptop out of corner of the eyes.

Decide it won't hurt to toy with one of story ideas. They've been taking turns screaming, and right now, Shutterbug is the one calling my name.

Unfortunately, I've tried writing the beginning of Shutterbug so many times, and had them all not work out, that I'm not sure which way to approach it. Spend a few days fiddling and futzing and muttering under my breath. Feel haunted by the sensation that I need the beginning, I want to start at the beginning, only, hadn't I tried that like ten times now? Hadn't I failed each time to find the true beginning? If not in all those ten places, then where was it?

Writing urge becoming almost impossible to resist. Drawn to my laptop with ever-increasing gravity, a shrinking orbit that brings me, near desperate now, ever closer.

Feel like the beginning involves sadness. And beauty. And loneliness. The beginning should feel like poetry recited on a rainy night, in the city...the beginning should start with story, with the story sweeping these two characters together...

September 11 at 12 noon:

New word doc. Titled Shutterbug Meets (Invisible) Girl. Blank page. Begin with these words:

"We could have met so many different ways."

Begin with a distant, lonely, invisible girl who overhears the telling of a bedtime story, and is drawn to it like moth to the flame. Begin with a little boy who loves ninjas and new best friends.

Begin there. With new best friends.

Begin at the beginning.

* * *

And this is where I start sounding like I'm bragging, because oh, you guys, it doesn't end there. I wrote about 10k in one week. I wrote another 10k the next week. Then, the very next day, I wrote another 10k. Add that up with some slosh words, and Shutterbug's current wordcount is 35,000 words. Which, considering that I'm shooting for a nice 80-85k means I'm already over halfway through.

And I did all that in two weeks.

Guys, I've had my good days before, but never writing streaks like this. Never in my life have I known exactly which scene I'll write next, and the scene after that, and after that, stretching on for the entirety of the novel, except for maybe one or two fuzzy spots near the middle. Shutterbug is a completely new experience for me in so many ways--written in first person, present tense; dual narrators; the romance; knowing my plot so far ahead--everything.

Now, I did notice that after that whirlwind two week period of writing, I was ready to stop and breathe. (Which was good, since I was super behind on homework.) And I've been playing catch-up on the homework front all of October. Haven't added a single word to my 35k. And it has been completely fine, which is almost as amazing to me as the fact that I wrote that much that quickly, while in college, while MIRRORPASS took an entire year to draft, and another year and a half to edit.

So. Summary. Yes, I've been a bad blogger. Catching you all up now. Have lots of posts written that need proofreading before I grant them eternity on the interwebs. Meanwhile, now that you're caught up, I plan on posting a formal introduction to Shutterbug tomorrow, complete with the official working blurb and soundtrack tidbits and Pinterest stuff. Too, finals are this week, which means next week is break, and you can bet your socks Shutterbug will take precedence once again. I just need to get there.

Phew. Now that I spent who-knows-how-many-words blathering on about my WIP (I have a WIP again!), tell me about you guys. What are you currently working on? How goes it? Anyone gearing up for Nanowrimo? My head's been full of Shutterbug, and in all honestly, I'd forgotten about Nano until a friend mentioned it.

I am so not participating in Nano this year.

Truly and always,
-Creative A

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