Happy May Day!

May 1, 2015

My iris are blooming like gangbusters, which is great because my tulips didn’t do anything this year.  Bummer.  But the iris are great.  I tried to take a selfie of me sprawling amidst my sea of iris, but I mostly got a nice clear shot up my nose.  Not very good at this selfie thing so much.

I watched Iron Man 3 in preparation for seeing the new Avengers tonight.  I think it was the right choice, especially during the “House Party” scene when all the suits fill the skies over the oil rig.  Yeah, that looks like foreshadowing.  Also, I had forgotten the Joan Rivers cameo bit at the beginning, and that made me sad.

Work wise, after something like three weeks of feeling like I’ve been spinning my wheels, I’m back on track.  At least for now.  I’ve been working on this screenplay since December — I finished what I thought was a first draft, but it was only 50 pages long, which is not long enough for a feature-length film.  More like a TV episode.  The story needed a B plot, and my brain turned to mush and I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

I figured out how to do it this week.  And I’m really, really excited.

I need to write a big post about branching out, learning to write in different formats, and trying to figure out an entire new field from square one, which I haven’t had to do since I was figuring out the whole novel thing twenty years ago.  My brain is getting a workout.

But right now I need to write that B plot.

 

Lesson I’ve been reminded of this week:  Don’t compare myself to others.  Especially don’t compare my blooper reel to other people’s greatest hits.

I’m back to that thing where I’ve got a bunch of projects in progress and if I could just finish some of them, just get a couple of things out there, I would feel so much better.

But hey, I’ve got tickets to see Avengers: Age of Ultron on Friday.  So there’s that.  No idea what to expect with this one.  I’m sure it’ll be a fine ride.  It’s weird, the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels like it’s turning into this really high-end TV show that only has two episodes per year.  And you know what?  That’s okay.

People are passing around this link:  Shit People Say to Women Directors.  And it’s horrifying.  It’s one thing to know that sexism is pretty darned rampant.  It’s another to get individual stories and specific examples.  Imagine going to work every single day and hearing this stuff.  Imagine going to work at a job you’ve dreamed about doing for your entire life and hearing this stuff.  Imagine the courage and will it takes to keep going.  Yeah.

Heading into an election cycle with Hillary Clinton as a front runner after the kind of backlash to feminism we’ve been experiencing over the last couple of years — we’re all about to hear a lot more of this kind of shit.  Brace yourselves.

It’s almost May, isn’t it?  Geez.

Did I ever talk about the playlist for Paranormal Bromance?  I don’t think I did!  Like other shorter stories from Kitty World, this doesn’t have a playlist, but it does have a song that got stuck on repeat while I was writing it.  This one:

It’s funny, because I’m not a fan of Nirvana.  Never was.  They hit big when I was college and I should have been exactly in the demographic of their fan base.  The thing was, I wasn’t done with the New Wave yet, and the grunge movement was specifically a reaction to the 1980’s electronic pop music that I loved, and it annoyed the hell out of me.  The popularity of Nirvana annoyed the hell out of me.  There were a couple of years there where I couldn’t seem to get away from them.

But the characters in Paranormal Bromance?  They would have been fans.  And while hearing Nirvana turn up on classic rock stations over the last ten years has amused me to no end, it would really bother Sam — as he states in the story.  (For my part, hearing Duran Duran turn up on the local Oldies station — not the classic rock station, mind you, the actual oldies station, the same one that used to play Buddy Holly all the time — led to much wailing and gnashing of teeth.)

So, I listened to Nirvana voluntarily for the first time ever.  And I have to admit, I do like this song.  It belongs with the story.

 

It’s a very interesting time in my brain right at the moment.  Those two novella-things I finished revising last week?  Turns out finishing them cleared up a big chunk of real estate in my brain.  Those two projects have been living in my brain for years, and now that they’re done, I can clean under the creative sofas, so to speak, vacuum up the dust that accumulated around them, and see what the place looks like.

A bunch of new projects flooded into the space, which I’m excited about, because these are also ideas I’ve been thinking about for a real long time but haven’t been able to do anything about while those other things were parked in the prime real estate. (People keep asking if I’m sad about wrapping up the Kitty books — and I’m actually not, for this very reason.  I’m satisfied, and I’m looking forward to see what shows up when I’m not thinking about new Kitty books.)

Like, I started outlining one book, but then ended up outlining a whole other book — one that I’ve been thinking about but didn’t know when I was going to get to.  I also carefully opened the gates on a brand-new novel idea, one I hadn’t really thought about until the last couple of weeks but I finally got something of a eureka-moment about how to handle it that makes it much more viable.  (See how this works?  No room for eureka-moments until this week!  It’s so fun!)

This also means it’s time to run inventory on what I’m working on and prioritize projects.  And reading lists:  research for two different novels is going to mean reading about, variously, the Donner Party, the Miwok tribes of California, giant squids, and the War of 1812.  (I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide which of those research topic goes together.)  I’m also going to need to reread Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed, because I want to study the structure to help me out writing that brand-new novel idea.

I also figured out a short story I’ve been stuck on.

So yeah.  This part is kind of fun.  But if you talk to me in two weeks, I’ll probably be going crazy because I can’t seen to settle on one thing to work on.  Heh.

 

happy friday!

April 3, 2015

Colorado Springs peeps:  I’m the keynote speaker at the Pikes Peak Library District’s Mountain of Authors event tomorrow!

Some Good News: I finished revising two novellas this week.  They’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Some Bad News:  I’m not entirely sure yet what I’m going to do with them.  I think people will be excited about them.  But I’m a bit incapacitated by choices and not knowing exactly what to do right at the moment.  Trust me, when I decide, I’ll let you all know and you’ll be able to read these new things.

Another thing I did this week was go through some old pictures.  It made me sad, because these are from 15+ years ago.  I have happy pictures of couples who are no longer together.  People who were my best friends at one time but who I haven’t seen in a decade for whatever reason.  My relatives who have passed away.  I have a ton of pictures of my horse Rosie who’s been gone for 11 years now.  A lot of life recorded there.  A different life than the one I’m living now, which is a bit weird.

 

AnomalyCon!

March 27, 2015

It’s AnomalyCon this weekend!  I will be there in all my steampunk finery.  My programming is all Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.  Maybe I’ll see you there?

And the following week, on April 2 I’m co-hosting a screening of Highlander at the Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton, CO!  There may be some dressing up on my part.  Basically, given the closet of costumes I have, there’s no way I’m co-hosting a screening of Highlander and not wearing something awesome.

April 4, I’m taking part in the Mountain of Authors event with the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs.

Yeah, looks like things are about to start getting busy again…

 

strategies

March 20, 2015

I haven’t had solid deadlines for a couple of months, and I’ve been doing a lot of revisions, and my motivation has not been what it should be.  Revisions are hard — it feels like running in place sometimes.

So what do I do when I can’t seem to get anything done and yet feel like I have too many things on my list?  Because it turns out that’s one of the things I do when I don’t feel like I’m getting anything done:  I make to-do lists.  I have so many lists on my desk right now.

Here’s what worked for me yesterday.  I’m sharing in case it helps anyone else.

Work on one thing for half an hour then move on.

All the things I really need to get done feel like huge jobs.  Daunting, big jobs.  I’m doing a third draft on one novel, revising a zero draft of another novel, writing a speech for an event where I’m the keynote speaker — plus there’s all the new stuff I want to write.  This is too much to work on in one day!  So, I don’t have to actually finish the whole job.  Any of the whole jobs.  I can work on a little piece of each.  For a short burst.  Sprints, if you like.

I’ve always known about breaking big goals into smaller goals.  This is why writers are often so focused on word count — you can’t sit down and write a novel, that’s too big a job.  But you can sit down and write a thousand words.  This is the same thing, but breaking a big day into smaller chunks — I couldn’t revise the entire book, but I could work on it for half an hour.

You guys, I got so much done yesterday.  Added a polishing thousand words to the third draft.  Finished a chapter of the zero draft.  Added 500 words to the speech.  Started a brand new thing that I’m so excited about.

And I knitted in the evening guilt free.  I’m feeling good!  And the jobs all feel doable instead of daunting now.  So, let’s file away that strategy for the future.

 

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