Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lost It

Right now I'm having a "what the heck?!" moment.

I got an earful from the CWC crew last go 'round because of a section in my submission that was missing. I had a new chapter, with a new character, and at a little more than half of the page, I ended with {more here} and that was the whole chapter. Boy howdy, did they give me the what for.

The thing is, I had gone back to that chapter and written the rest of it later on. That's why I didn't think of it when I was printing, because I'd written it. At first, I thought it was a simple oversight where I'd printed the wrong version of the file. It was an "oops" to be sure, but I had it. Or, so I thought.

I've been looking for the file on my laptop and all I can find is the file with the missing chunk. Now I'm baffled, because I don't know where I saved that file. The only thing I can think is that it's on my PC, which would be weird, but it's possible. Luckily, I do have a hard copy of the missing part (another reason why I know I wrote it and why I know I wasn't just imagining that I had). So, the good news is that even though I can't find the file, I haven't lost the words. The main mystery is where on earth did they go?

Note to self: figure out a better way of keeping track of what file's on which computer and which copy is the most recent.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CWC's Writing Prompts

Last night, our CWC meeting was devoted to a bit of literary goofing off. It was a blast. Our homework for the month was for each person to bring in two writing prompts/exercises. For each prompt, the designated person read or explained the prompt, then we wrote for approximately five minutes. When Mary told us our time was up, we took turns reading what we'd written. After each person read, we spent a few minutes talking about what they'd come up with. Since we knew we were winging it, the comments weren't really focused on critique, but there were a lot along the lines of, "Ooh, that's a great opener for a story."

At the end, given all these, "I so want to read the rest of that," comments, Jenny gave us homework. For next month, along with the regular submissions, each of us is going to submit a short story/poem grown out of one of the prompt responses from last night. I'm looking forward to it. The especially cool part is going to be seeing the finished draft of a work that I was there for the birth of. It's a neat thing, to be involved in someone else's process like that, and to see the pieces come together.

Without further ado, I give you the prompts:

1. I went first. I'd been thinking of Frank O'Hara's poem, "Why I Am Not a Painter" and how the absence of things is a theme of it. So, for my prompt, I read the poem and then told everyone to write a scene without using any visual description.

2. Jenny told us to think of a bumper sticker we've seen. Then, thinking of that bumper sticker, we had to write something about the person who'd drive the car that bumper sticker was attached to.

3. Mary opened her iTunes on her laptop and played us a recording of Amy Beeder's poem, "Yellow Dress." It was really interesting to see how everyone responded to a different idea, image, or phrase in the poem.

4. Deb's prompt made us think of two antagonists, either from our own work or someone else's, and then write a conversation between them where they complain about their protagonist.

5. Shane told us we had to write a descriptive narrative without using adjectives or adverbs. We had to rely on choosing just the right nouns and verbs to convey ideas without using modifiers. Boy, talk about tough.

We got a very cool collection of prompts to try out and we all had a ball. Being forced to wing it created some fun and unexpected results. The nice part about responding to prompts is that it's very low stakes. It's a good way to get your inner editor out of the way - it's timed so you don't have time to muck about with thinking too hard about what you're writing, and you've only got a few minutes to come up with something. It doesn't have to be gold, it just has to relate to the prompt. It's liberating.

If you're curious, I'm posting one of my responses. This one is what I came up with for Mary's prompt. The part of the poem I responded to was the idea of looking at a prone body, and, if you know me at all, what follows shouldn't surprise you much. Fair warning, there's some gore, so if you're squeamish, proceed with caution.

June pulled the collection wagon to the side of the road, tugging on the horse's reins to slow it and stop. Here was another one to add to the pile in the back of the wagon. It was especially ripe, too, all oozy and reeking. Once upon a time, it looked like it had been a teenage boy. Now it just laid there and twitched a little when she got close, its jaw opening and shutting in a feeble mimicry of biting.

“There, there,” June said softly, pulling out her machete. The two crusty holes where it used to have eyes turned toward the sound of her voice. The thing flailed weakly, little more than sloppy skin outlining a stick skeleton. A tear in its flesh along its rib cage tore open a little wider with the movement, gaping like a second mouth trying to bite her. June leaned over and swung the machete. The mouth stopped biting as the head rolled off a few feet and its body went limp. June tossed the body into her wagon. One more for the compost heap.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Live From the April CWC Meeting

Hey all, I'm posting this during a lull in our CWC meeting. Since Deb's turning in her epic manuscript, we decided to give her two months to give us halves, which left us with a meeting without material to critique. So, we decided to do writing prompts. It's fun.

So far we've had a prompt built on bumper stickers, a poem, and describing a scene without visual description. I'll put up a full list tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Too-Much-Twizzlers Dilemma

Good news, the Twizzlers worked. I've gotten a whole lot done this week, and I even managed to end up with some leftover bribe. It begs the question, what to do with the extra? Given the givens, it seems like this weekend might be a good time to start making head-way on that 4 hour goal.

Since I'm heading into the section of Oracle where I'm going to be going from blind rewrite into digging out my old draft, that means that at least part of that 4 hours this month will be less about writing from scratch and more about revising/re-writing. I am still absolutely counting it.

I'm a little curious about diving back into the old draft since I've spent so much time away from it. Should be interesting, to say the least.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shameless Bribery

Right now I've got a lot on my to do list and, to help me through it, I'm bribing myself. I try not to use bribery too often, 'cause the last thing I want is to become dependent on it to get work done. However, right now I need whatever help I can get. Enter the Twizzlers. Mmm... They're great writing bribery because they're easy to eat without making a mess. These says, I hardly ever have them except when I'm bribing myself, so in my head, Twizzlers have become forever tied to writing.

Do you ever bribe yourself when you need to get motivated? What do you bribe yourself with?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Recommendations

Since I gained some reading momentum last month, I'm hoping I can keep it up at least a little. To that end, I'm going to ask you all for some help. I'm looking to find some new authors and I'm hoping you might have some books to point me to.

These days I'm looking for books that have some humor to them, whether that's the overall tone of the book or an undercurrent. Snark, slap stick, whatever, I'm in a mood to bring on the giggles. Genre-wise, I'm pretty open. I'm not really interested in Romance and I tend not to read a whole lot of Sci-Fi because it's a genre that I think translates better on film. That said, I'm open to any other genres.

So, can you give me a couple of titles to look up? Thanks in advance.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Writing Hours

Last month was reading based. This month is going to be writing based. I'm aiming for four hours of working on Oracle. I know four hours doesn't seem like much, but it's a starting place. I really want to get my next CWC submission prepared in advance, and that's the first step in getting there.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wow, 4.5 Books Is A Lot

On the 31st, I considered finding a YA or comic book to get me through. Ultimately, though, it felt too much like cheating so I called it and finished the month with 3.5 books. That makes me one book short of my goal. Bummer.

I will add a bit of a "however" to that, though. March was a weird month involving strep throat that knocked me out of commission for a week. I initially thought being sick would be a great time to do some reading, but it turned out that it's hard to concentrate on a book when all I wanted to do was sleep pretty much all the time. Ugh.

Still, I read more than I would have otherwise, so I call that a win, even if it's not a complete one.