Trollbooth Blog #7

 

Designed by Margie Markevicius @ margiesmark.com
Designed by Margie Markevicius
@ margiesmark.com

If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.

Well, better late than never.  Sometimes the choice is between writing and writing about writing, and my policy there has always been work first, other schtuff second.

Anyway, now I move onward…by looking back.  Hmm…

I guess I’m in a snarky mood.

I’ve begun to see light at the end of the Trollbooth tunnel.  I’ve got about 140 pages typed, and as far as I can remember the manuscript didn’t go over 200.  I’m hoping this weekend  I can regain my off-day focus and maximize my time and production (translation: I need to stop sleeping in, even when life throws me curveballs).  Ideally, I’d like to finish the draft by Memorial Day.

In terms of my writing, I’ve noticed that I need to slow down and take more time getting as much translated from my imagination to the page, in my first drafts.  As I’ve watched Trollbooth develop, I’m seeing disconnects between my mental images and written accounts of place and character.  It’s going to mean more work for me in the third draft.  I’m starting to wonder if this rush tendency has to do with my less-than-consistent writing habits over the last year.  If so, correcting the problem will become a paramount goal for me; I’m actually making the work harder and less fun by doing it this way.  It’s fixable, sure, but it’s gonna be an unnecessary pain in the ass, like accidentally breaking the replacement for a part that’s broken.  In short, I can do better through discipline and consistency.

On the positive side, I’m pleased with the plot.  It feels a little too quick, but that’s because I was rushing through it for the reasons outlined above.  A little fill-out for place and people will downshift the narrative just enough so the reader can catch her breath.

Trollbooth Blog #6

 

Designed by Margie Markevicius @ margiesmark.com
Designed by Margie Markevicius
@ margiesmark.com

If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.

I hit the century mark this morning!  That’s right, 100 pages and counting, all typed up and in desperate need of shaping.  That’s all right, for now, since that kind of rewriting comes in the third draft, not the second.  Plus, it’s an accomplishment in itself; I managed to not fight myself and just transcribe, which is in line with my writing process.

More good news: I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  I can look ahead in my journal and see the end less than a hundred pages away.  The story itself is settling into its final shape now, too.  I always have a depressing time looking at the beginnings of my own novels because the ideas inevitably change as I figure out what works and doesn’t.  It’s like knowing you have to clean a whole house, eventually, but the room you start in is the one with the biggest, nastiest mess.  Trollbooth is becoming more coherent and consistent as I go on, so I’m taking the pluses where I can get them and trying to be happy about it.

I also fought a sense of needing to catch up this week.  Having endured illness, I feel like I’m behind on where I want to be.  That makes me want to type faster, but everybody whole does any serious typing knows there’s only so high a rate of speed you can type at before you just start stroking the wrong keys more often than not.  I don’t mind a heavy spellcheck at the end of every session (I walk the speed line every day), but I can’t stand sitting here at my desk going, What the fuck does jsyenaka mean?

I’ve also made a setup change on my desk.  Up until the middle of last week, I’ve had my journal propped to the left of my two monitors.  Naturally, that led to me keeping my head turned left – a lot.  My neck started getting sore.  It also felt like I was looking at the screen too much, just to relieve the muscle strain.  That led to distraction by typo, or me rereading what I just typed, which takes me out of the transcription game.  I solved the problem by moving my journal and stand in front of the left monitor and sliding the document over to the right monitor.  This way, what I’m working on is right in front of me, and I can still glance at the draft on the screen to make sure I didn’t do something stupid like write two pages in italics.

Overall, I feel good about the novel.  It’s gonna be short, but it’s got life in it.  Weird without being gross, which is yet another line I walk.  Luckily, that’s the kind of thing I enjoy.

Trollbooth Blog #4

Designed by Margie Markevicius @ margiesmark.com
Designed by Margie Markevicius
@ margiesmark.com

If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.

Let’s call this one the vacation edition.  As I talked about last week, I decided to take a week off coincidental to my vacation and work on other projects.

I tell you, I tried. Up until Thursday, I either wrote little or worked on a story that blossomed into a full-fledged clusterfuck. I took a concept I still like (even if I can’t make it work as a story) and transmogrified it into something strange and different.  Given that the story was about a mutating poodle, at least there’s irony in that.

 

Thursday afternoon I was journaling about how it sucked that I had all this time and couldn’t get a fucking thing out.  As usual, talking to myself was cathartic (I really do recommend it), and it hit me that the answer wasn’t getting away from the storyline I’ve grown to love.  No, taking off on a tangent was the worst thing I could’ve done to feel good and refreshed.  I didn’t want out of my EFSF universe.  I wanted to create in it again!  And so, rather than turn left or veer right, I slipped sideways and kept going the same way on a different track.

I spent the rest of my creative vacation time working on an Enchanted Forest State Forest story I began last year, but ultimately put aside to focus on the Trollbooth revisions.  I’d written the opening pages months ago; last week I was able to complete the next story movement.  It’s still not finished, but that’s okay since I really had no expectations beyond good writing.  I’ll get back to it in a month or so.

Now that I’m back, I’m working on Trollbooth again.  I feel good about Monday’s production; hopefully I can carry that momentum into the rest of the week.  It’s going to be creatively boring, as I’ll be transposing again as I outlined in my writing process, but that’s okay.  I had a week off.  Now I can push.