bits and pieces

Latest Big Project is coming along well. I think I’m about finished with the “assembly” portion of the work. The big revelations, which were coming to me rapidly a few weeks ago, have more or less stopped. (In fact, the latest revelation I had for it would have upended the story completely, and while that would have given it more psychological depth, I think it would have weakened the intended punch. Sorry to be so vague.) Now I must do the hard work of sneaking the actual story into it. I’m not sure if I should step back and work on something else or if I should stick with it and do what I can. I suspect once I begin adding the story part of it, further revelations will come to me, so I don’t feel the need to rush it. Actually (a word my grandson Emmett uses more frequently — and accurately — than you might expect from a five-year-old), there is some research I can do to help flesh out the story part of the work, so maybe I can stay productive doing that.

Latest Big Project is currently at 26,000 words, and I don’t see myself adding more than maybe a thousand more words, which will make it a novella, and everyone knows you can’t get novellas published.

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I heard a writer on a podcast say that she’d had a piece rejected but then changed the typeface from Times New Roman to Garamond and got it accepted. This is not the first time I’ve heard of a possible bias against Times New Roman (though nearly all guidelines I’ve seen that express a preference ask for it).

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Maybe I should consider that since my year of no acceptances continues into June.

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I’m no good with writing challenges. My creative mechanism just doesn’t work in a way that would flourish under a challenge. My ideas need to brew in my head (sometimes for years) before I can successfully pull a story together (see revelation reference above), so if I had a targeted word count for each time I sat down to write, I think it would result in frustration rather than production. (I guess this is why NaNoWriMo never appealed to me. Also, that seems more like stunt writing than actual craft.) A friend is now participating in the 1000 Words of Summer Project with the goal of writing 1,000 words each day for two weeks. That’s an admirable volume of words produced by the end, even if the pace isn’t sustained the full time, but I couldn’t do it. Certainly I have written a thousand words and more in one sitting, but then days may go by before I write another word. And not leaving the screen until I hit a given target seems like a force fit, at least for me.

I think this is also why I don’t/can’t work from outlines. Latest Big Project has made several major shifts in direction from what I started with. (Obelus was the same.) Had I been guided by an outline, even a superficial one with the knowledge that it wasn’t a commitment, I wonder if I would have had the revelations that changed the course of the mighty river.

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Did I tell you that all four of my grown children came home for Mothers Day weekend? As a surprise to my wife? That involved clandestine flights from New York and Seattle as well as a drive from St. Louis. It’s always good to have them together again and always bad to fear this will be the last time (no reason to think that, but some of us are over thinkers, okay?).

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The apple above is a Honey Crisp. I used to eat one every single day for years until one day when I just couldn’t. Then I turned to bananas, and the same thing happened. Right now I’m between fruits.

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May was a lean month for me in terms of book reading.

Black Card by Chris L. Terry – I heard the author on a podcast and immediately checked out his latest novel from the library. This is the kind of cultural broadening I must do more of.

The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch – My second time reading this as I make my way chronologically through her novels again. She never disappoints.

Explore posts in the same categories: Rants and ruminations

2 Comments on “bits and pieces”


  1. What a wonderful mother’s day suprise.


  2. I’m much like you when it comes to never using an outline. I have ideas, but they don’t become anything until I sit down and do the work. (And then, they often change into other things in the process.)

    I think the reason I like the 1000 Words of Summer challenge is it’s a target during a time I tend to slack off a bit. I know I’d hate it if I held myself to the daily word count (some years I’ve met the word count; most years I’ve done it, I’ve not). But once the heat arrives in Texas, I tend to not write as much for four months.

    The challenge is more about not letting the heat win. (I’m in a second floor apartment on the corner of the building, so it faces the sun all day.) I may or may not hit the word count this year, but I plan to dive into a handful of story ideas until reaching a point with each that I have to pause and give them more thought.

    When I start something new, I tend to put down decent word counts. Once it’s more realized in my head, I’m fine with even a 100-word day if it’s the right 100 words.

    I will definitely report how this year’s challenge goes. I like to think I might hit 14K words in two weeks this year because I have many things I can jump to.

    If I end up with a handful of started stories to piddle with the rest of the year, I’ll consider it a success. (Worst case, I write a bunch of babbling blog entries. If this reply is any indication of wordiness, I definitely have it in me when it comes to throwing down thoughts 🙂


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