Nano Prep October 23: Blogs and Journals

It can be very helpful to create a blog or journal to help you through the process. You can write it in longhand in a blank book, or keep it on your computer. In her wonderful book WRITE AWAY!, Elizabeth George shares entries from journals she keeps for each book she writes. My preferred blog host is Word Press. They are easy to use, have terrific customer service, a variety of customizable templates, and they’re free.

The only rule about journal entries is to date each one. That way, you can refer back and keep the entry within context. There will be many ups and downs on this road, and it’s helpful to look back as you’re moving forward; see where you’ve been to help you get where you’re going.

It’s a great way to play with characters and ideas. It’s a wonderful way to explore tangents that might not make it into the book, but help you flesh out your characters and situations. If you keep your journal in a notebook, you can tote it around with you and make entries whenever you’ve got a free moment, then take it back to your desk and integrate the material into your WIP.

You might want to write before you start your work, as a warm-up. Or you might want to write after you’ve completed your day’s work. In either case, daily entries will help you in the process, and will help you once you’ve finished.

Don’t publish excerpts from a WIP online. First of all, you only want your best, most polished work out there. Second, many places consider material online “published”, and thereby, you’ve used up your First Rights. If you want/need feedback, find trusted readers and swap manuscripts. Don’t send a raw manuscript out into the public cold.

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Just another quick checkin, because the writing is going very well and I want to keep as much momentum going as possible. I’m eating, sleeping, dreaming this WIP. It’s put the steampunk behind a bit, but, fortunately, I’ve got time and space before that deadline, and can roll with this piece, since it’s on fire. I had to work out the logic of the piece within the WIP, but now that that’s figured out, the characters are chattering, several unexpected ones have come forward to demand attention, and they’re all surprising me in the best possible way. So I’m running with it. I’ve used up two entire ink pens in two days.

I need to accept that fact that most first drafts still work better for me in longhand.

Yesterday was good. I drove up county, picked up my friend. We visited a disappointing store, but had lunch at a great little restaurant, and caught up on life, the universe, and everything. It was good to see each other again.

Came home, took a nap, did some more writing. Didn’t watch much TV — I want to like HUMAN TARGET (I have a weakness for a good action show, my guilty pleasure) but, in both episodes that aired so far, I’ve gotten ahead of the story far too early, and spotted the villain in the character’s first shot. It’s a little heavy-handed for me. I keep watching because I like Jackie Earle Haley’s work in it. He’s taken what could easily be a two-dimensional cardboard cutout character, and given him detail and elegance. The costume designer also served him very well — the elegantly, expensive casual costume choices perfectly ironed, the matte shine on the boots, etc., support the character. But the writing and the direction is off for me, especially the pace of the direction. There’s a heaviness and too many pauses in the dialogue scenes (except for Haley’s work — he stays true to his own character’s rhythms). They don’t need that much weight to counter the action.

The final proofs for the anthology essay arrived — I’ll try to turn them around today, so it’s not hanging over me this weekend. They’re due Tuesday, but I’d rather get them finished earlier rather than later.

Although pulling myself out of my own WIP to proof an essay on someone else’s work will be difficult. I’m in the headspace of only being passionate about my own work at the moment.

But a deadline is a deadline, so I better get over it.

The weekend’s work is cut out for me — I’ve got the work that needs to get done on site in Philly, I”m taking the WIP, the steampunk, and the notes for the new play. I’ve got to get started on that. It’ll be interesting to see if I can switch between contemporary realism to steampunk to comic noir mystery over the course of the weekend.

Or maybe my head will just explode and the cat will lick my brains off the floor.

Going to CT this afternoon to take care of the laundry, throw the last few things in my suitcase. The backpack will be easier to take than the big writing bag, so I have to pack the backpack this evening with the computer, the iPod, the writing files, the book for the bus, and I have to throw the travel yoga mat into the suitcase. I’ve got my bus ticket, and I’ll pick up my train ticket this morning. I’ve got to travel into the city during rush hour, which means I’ll have to stand in the vestibule with my luggage for the nearly-hour long train ride in. Ick. But then I sit on the bus for a few hours, so it all works out.

The books from Strand arrived: FRANCIS BACON: THE TEMPER OF A MAN (about Shakespeare’s contemporary, not the painter), and SHAKESPEARE AND CO.: CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, THOMAS DEKKER, BEN JONSON, THOMAS MIDDLETON, JOHN FLETCHER, AND OTHER PLAYERS IN HIS STORY. Yes, I’m back to feeding my Shakespeare obsession, even though I doubt I’ll actually get to write that book this year.

The Deanna Rabyourn books have not yet arrived; I was hoping to read them on the trip. Oh, well. Time to pull some others from the TBR pile.

Got to get some housework done before I head out to do laundry. I’m sure my head will remain filled with the WIP. What’s that expresson? “Chop wood, carry water.” It’s amazing how the mundane tasks feed the creative juices.

Back to the page.

Devon