Tags: write-a-thon



Well, the Claion West Write-a-thon is over and I didn't quite make my goal. I got one short story revised, and am within a week of finishing my novel. Actually less than a week. So if the write-a-thon had been 7 weeks long I would have done better. So if you wanted to sponsor me, please do so even though I'm a short story short. It's for a good cause. And this the week to get your tax-deductible donation in. Go to the Clarion West website at http://clarionwest.org/events/writeathon/DLynnSmith and click on Pay Pal. Even $5 helps. Of, if you don't want to support a loser :(, chose another writer and sponsor them.

I blame it on shingles -- it's really hard to work while you are in pain and on mega pain medication. As a matter of fact my last submission to plotbusters, my critique group, was, shall we say, interesting. My group said that yes, they could tell it had been written under the influence. The story is still working fortunately, but there were a lot of typos, missing words and convoluted sentences. I consider that a victory. At least I got words down on the page.

I know there are a lot of people who don't like workshopping, or who think that being in a workshop turns out a kind of homogeneous type of writing. I so disagree. I really value my group. Not only do I get good notes as they point out things that I just hadn't seen myself, but they are a great support and encouragement to keep me going.

The puppy has also been a distraction, but I can't really blame anything on him. He's too cute. He likes to sleep in my lap and occasionally reach up and type something with his nose. We're negotiating getting him his own computer. If he can learn to write, and double my productivity, I'll get him any kind of screensaver he wants.

Tomorrow Bob Angell arrives (YAY) and Wednesday we drive up to Denvention (YAY). Bob, Greer Woodward (another CW2004 littermate) and I are part of the Rising Stars Reception. I'm not sure when it is. I'm so scattered. But if your around, stop by. We may be reading and could use the company.

I'm in the 8th week of my two Effective Essay Writing classes that I'm teaching for University of Phoenix. I've enjoyed it, but find that the closer to the end of the 9 week class we get, the more time it takes. Some of the students are really good writers. Some, well, grading their papers take a lot more work. Still, it's absolutely wonderful to be teaching on-line in my pjs rather than having to dress for regular class hours. Mad Max appreciates it as well. We're also working on him grading the papers so I can take on more classes.

Novel and Puppy

I'm so, so, so close to finishing my novel. I'm so excited about it. I think I have three chapters left -- and one of those is partly written since I wrote it as a short story.

The puppy's name is Mad Max The Wild Thing. Did I tell you that already? He's fun; he's tiring. I find that I have to adapt my writing time to his nap time. It's like having a toddler -- from what I understand.

Fish, Writing and all that jazz

First, the fish. As some of you already know, when Paul and I moved into our rented house, we were shocked to discover there were 41 goldfish in the small, backyard pond. They'd survived being abandoned for 2 months (the property manager had no idea). We cleaned the pond, fed them, then let the pond freeze over for winter under the assurance that the fish would be fine. They were.

But, there were way too many fish for the pond and Paul started making fertilizer comments. So thanks to several friends of mine in Albuquerque, I found good homes for 34 of them. Paul wanted to only keep the 4 big ones but I insisted we keep a few more because I liked their color -- 2 olive green, one orange with olive markings that made it look like Groucho. And one just decided he wasn't going so he got to stay because he was so spunky.

So, what happens? The two olive fish have turned orange. One has turned completely. The other still has just a little olive on its back. Groucho is turning white. His whole face is white right now. I'm crazed.

The writing is going well. I'm having so much fun finishing up my novel. I do, however, find myself a little reluctant to do so and I find that very curious. Is it because I am having such a good time? Am I afraid I have to move on to the next phase, i.e. sending it out? Am I afraid I'll have to start a new one from scratch? I don't really know what it is. Once I sit down and work, it's great fun. Everything seems to be coming together quite nicely. So why am I reluctant to finish. Curious. I've never felt this before.

I have also rewritten one of the stories that was part of my write-a-thon goals. It was actually one of my Clarion West stories so it's been waiting a long time. I'm taking a break from it for a day or two so I can go back and do the polish.

So I'm meeting my CW goals.

Tomorrow, Paul and I are becoming parents! Yep, Paul went out and got us a Jack Russel Terrior puppy. He comes to live with us tomorrow. He's 13 weeks old. I'm so excited. So you'll probably be hearing puppy stories ad nausium after today.

Writing update & More

This week I turned in 3 more chapters of my novel to Plotbusters, my novel writing group. It will be very interesting to see what they have to say since a) it's raw first draft -- hasn't even been read over and 2) was written under the influence of pain killers. Whoo hoo. Could make for an interesting read.

This takes me up to the point where Vicki meets her father (remember they guy who called me an idiot!). I'm thinking I have about 5 more chapters to finish, but you never know with characters like mine that are so strong-willed. And, of course, I'm still on pain killers. So, we'll see.

In holding with the Clarion tradition, I also read and commented on a friends screenplay and another friends novel. Both were excellent, so it was easy to get my reading done this week.

Some producers here in New Mexico contacted me with a television show idea so I also ended up writing a 2-page, single-spaced pitch this week. That was actually a lot of fun, since this is the kind of show I've never worked on. Heck, I never THOUGHT I'd work on. But now, as my life changes, I'd really like to do. More on that when/if anything happens.

So I'm still suffering with pain, had signed up a month or so ago to speak at the local Science Fiction Club about my movie and my writing. Paul took me last night and played techie so that we could show my rough rough rough cut on a big screen.

This group of people were really great and I had a wonderful time. They responded well to my movie and several people knew CGI people to whom they are willing to introduce me. Whoo hoo.

But the best part is that at least half the people there were Dark Shadows fans. So after I did my presentation and asked for questoins, we spent a lot of time talking about what it was like working for Dan Curtis, the actors (Lara Parker narrates my film), and the future (Johnny Depp would like to play Barnabas Collins). I had so much fun.

Also, my friends and fellow plotbusters Sally Gwylan and Pati Nagle with her husband Chris came to support me. It was so great to have people I actually knew in the audience.

My only regret is that I totally faded and was feeling quite ill by the end of the evening and was unable to accompany them out for coffee afterward. Ah well, Bubonicon is only 6 weeks away so I'll get a second chance to see/meet all those people again.

So, a good week even though I'm still dealing with pain, fatigue and some nausea.

This week I don't have any reading to do -- so I'm planning on forging ahead on the novel. I also discovered I don't seem to have the short story I want to rewrite on my computer. I know it's backed up somewhere, but I remember something Pat Murphy told us during my Clarion West -- She talked about the days before computers (which I remember well) and how when you were revising a story, you had to type the entire draft again. When doing that, you didn't feel like typing in stuff that doesn't really add anything to the story. So this week I also plan on typing in the story to prepare it for rewriting. Of course, what writer can resist rewriting while typing in a draft?

Happy New Moon

Thanks, everybody, for your well wishes. I'm having good days, and bad days when I just hurt, hurt, hurt! Yuck.

BUT, I'm back to my writing. Though with the pain and pain medication I find I'm writing fewer words than usual.

So if your interested in sponsoring me for the write-a-thon, here's the link:


Click on D. Lynn Smith. My goals are there. I'm behind a week because of the whole hospital thing. But I'm back on track -- I think.

Anyway, click on paypal to make a donation. It's tax deductable.



Hospital Stay

Sorry I've been so absent from my blog. Last week I ended up in the hospital with a mysterious pain (appendicitis? kidney stone? ovarian cyst?) But it ended up being a painful viral infection. Good news is no cutting or chemo. Bad news is it hurts like a sob.

So I'm behind on my writing goals for the write-a-thon. But I'm home now and started writing yesterday. I polished a story that wasn't part of my goal (but what what I could handle doing) and sent it out. So I'm feeling pretty good about that.

While in the hospital on an IV drip and no food, I couldn't read or write. Not surprising. But what is surprising is that I suddenly came up with a complete restructuring of a screenplay I wrote a year ago and have set aside. I haven't been thinking about it or anything. And suddenly I wake up understanding the mistake I made and how I want to completely restructure the thing.

So I ask you, when is a writer NOT working? Ever?

Write-a-thon and When do you write

Yes, I, too, am doing the Clarion Write-a-thon this year. Kate blackmailed me into sending in a picture. I'll post the website address when I get it.

My goal this years is to finish my novel, The Dead of Winters. I'm currently at 61,000 words. I'm hoping to hit at least 80,000.

I also plan on revising 2 short stories and submitting them. I think it's always a good plan during a write-a-thon to actually get work ready to send out. Otherwise, without that goal, it may languish for another 6 months!

So I'm looking for sponsors. I'll keep you up to date here and on the Clarion West Forums. Last year I didn't do much blogging because of school. But now that I'm an official MFA, I have more time. Except that I'm teaching two classes in Effective Essay Writing for the University of Phoenix online. And I still have two clients for whom I need to write and submit. But I promise to blog this year.

Okay, now with that out of the way, it's time for Debbie's philosophical thoughts on writing.

As most of you know, I've been struggling with setting writing goals. Should it be daily, weekly. Should I be writing 3000 words a day or a week? What? So I settled on a New Moon goal and that is working pretty well for me.

Now I want to attack thoughts about having a disciplined time you sit down an write. I see the reasoning behind that and pretty much adhere to it. But not always.

When I lived in Santa Fe I used to walk in this pretty little area where I could see squirrels, rabbits, prarie dogs, birds, even a coyote once in a while. And the flowers were so beautiful in Spring and Fall. I tried to walk early morning because that's when all the critters were out. If I waited too long, it'd just be me and the juniper and pinion.

But now I live in Albuquerque and the nearest walk is Kinny Dam. I've walked there several times in the early morning. I've been disappointed because it's not that pretty, there's trash and plastic bags and no animals except for birds. Not even lizards.

But yesterday I had a slow start, and went for my walk after 10:00. As I descended into the now dry dammed area, I was taken back by the beauty. All the bushes had little white, lavender and purple flowers on them. Now I know I saw these flowers before. Were there more of them? Or was I looking at it through different eyes? (I love these kind of questions)

So I contined to walk, pondering why things seemed so different. When I startled two huge jackrabbits. Then there was a third. A fourth. And latter in the walk, a fifth.

There were lizards scuttling into the underbrush as I passed and humming birds flitting among the flowers. It was like a different place. All because I walked a little later than usual.

My assumption that Albuquerque would be like Santa Fe was wrong -- even thought it's the terrain looks similar and the animals are the same kind. But there is a 1000 foot difference in elevation.

What, you may be asking, does this have to do with writing? I started thinking, as I continued my walk and discovering even more bushes with white, trumpet flowers, that maybe sitting down at the same time everyday to write was limiting. I wonder if we're missing something by not varying when we write -- at least sometimes -- just to bust any wrong assumptions we may be harboring. I wonder if a certian character may not be a morning person and has more to say in the afternoon or evening. I wonder if a writer would look at his work with different eyes, and see beauty where yesterday there was only trash.

Personally, I spend a lot of time letting things stew in the primordial ooze of my mind. I write in the mornings and early afternoons. But when I'm chewing on a problem, I sit down anytime and just freeflow write about the plot or from the POV of a certain character. It works for me. I suddenly startle the jackrabbits of an idea. I see the beauty of what I've accidently laid down in earlier chapters.

I wonder what other writers think about this? Do you write at one time of the day? Would you experiment with other times?