It’s loud in here…

My wife is watching the Oscars on our main TV, across the room from where my computer is set up, and I’m having a little trouble concentrating.  Even so, I still hope to clear 122,000 words tonight. 

I am struggling a little with the stuff I am laying down at the moment– Kathy’s reached the farming village where she will hide out from her pursuers and share in the celebrations of a harvest festival, a central sequence that affects her atitudes toward the world of the Val.  But I’m not sure I have the characters and the situation right and I had to spend some time this afternoon writing out a few notes on the political structure of the Val Empire, which was feeling a little thin.  I’m telling myself that I’ll get it down first and fix it in the second draft.  But at the moment what’s winding up on page is about 52.2% of what’s in my head, which is even worse a percentage than usual.

In general, I think I am a little down about the quality of my writing.  There’s a lot of better writing out there and I wonder why anyone should bother with mine.  My imagination, which is no great shakes at the best of times, seems to be running especially low on gas lately.  Maybe it’s partly the thought that I am as old as I am and have taken so long to reach even a minimum level of competence. It seems I should have been here a long time ago.

Having said all that, I’m not likely to quit.  However poor they may be, I need to get these stories out.  I look back on my life and I realize that, one way or another, I have always been telling stories.  I am not really going to stop now. 

Well, Anne Hathaway won for Best Supporting Actress.  I can get back to work.

Later.

      

More temptations….

Princess of Shadows is now at 120,000 words. That’s after I was unable to write for a couple of days because of this, that, and certain other things– the problem with being a working writer (that is, a writer who has to work for a living at something other than writing) is that certain other things are continually coming up to steal away your writing time. That’s on top of my naturally undisciplined nature (Season Two of Game of Thrones is out on DVD….).

At the same time, I continue to fight off the temptation of other projects. Perhaps it’s an indication of how tired I am trying to get this novel out. I have actually started reading for the Civil War novella I mentioned in a previous post, but the latest severe temptation is an idea for a hard-boiled detective series in a fictional town that would be some kind of horrid three-way hybrid of Seattle, Gotham, and Prohibition Chicago. This thing has been stewing in my brain for a couple of years and for some reason its been particularly on my mind for the last week or so. Never mind that my only exposure to the detective genre has been watching Rockford Files as a kid and reading some John D. MacDonald. But I’ve come up with what I think is a fairly compelling central character, and the possibilities inherent in constructing a whole fictional city as the milieu for the stories intrigues me.

But if I let it distract me from Shadows, I am doomed. If nothing else, my daughter may murder me. She wants the next Divine Lotus novel now and can’t understand why her dim-bulb father can’t write faster.

Sigh– when I was young (a long, long time ago), one of the hardest things for me to do was to come up with story ideas that were not thinly disguised rip-offs of Star Trek or Lord of the Rings. Now that I am old, I have far too many ideas, more than I can probably cram into the remaining minutes I have left on this Earth. Youth, indeed, is wasted on the wrong people.

Later.

A quick note…

At 116,000 words tonight, and damn if in the middle of a scene a new character didn’t show up and start demanding attention.  A Redeemer leader (sorta like the Boxers in China of 1900), this guy has just arrived, but I know instinctively he’s going to show up again.  This has happened to me before, where the narrative suddenly produces surprises and forces changes on me.  It’s a very odd experience, but I try not to fight it.

Working on improving my blog, adding pages and features.  I was going to create a webpage via Gutensite, but it was too convoluted for my simple mind.  I’m going to stick with Wordpress for the time being, at least. 

Later.

Resisting temptation….

Princess of Shadows has reached 115,000.  I have managed, perhaps inadequately in this draft, to close out one major sequence that had puzzled me enormously; the remaining sequences feel fairly straight-forward, although my estimated final draft word count is probably now about 150,000 rather than 130,000.  I seem to be coming in at an average of about 500 words a day, which is less than I’ve wanted to do, but better than sitting and staring at a blank screen.

As I make progress on Shadows, though, I am fighting off the temptation of other projects. I was sitting in my office the other day, reminiscing about all the pulpy TV sci-fi I loved when I was a kid and wondering if I could possibly write a story that would combine all the elements of those sorts of shows and movies, and lo and behold a ’60’s B-movie trailer popped into my head–

DINOSAUR PLANET!

In deepest space, a lone astronaut crash-lands on a planet filled with primitive beasts—a savage world where death waits under every tree, and the very land itself is torn apart by primeval forces. But worse than any dinosaur or lava-flow is the dark alien menace that threatens to conquer all human life in the galaxy!

SEE him battle ferocious beasts from out of time!

WATCH as volcanic death spews across the land!

THRILL as he falls into the hands of the fierce Cave Women, who wage their own desperate battle for survival on DINOSAUR PLANET!

GASP in horror at terrible battles against the alien conquerors!

Don’t miss a single terrifying minute of DINOSAUR PLANET!

By the end of the day a full-blown plot had come together in my head. I’ve resisted writing it, though, because 1. it would take away time from Shadows, and 2. I’m pretty sure no one would buy it (not that I’m selling a lot of anything on Kindle the moment, anyway).

Then there’s the temptation to start writing a follow-up to my novella about the Battle of Shiloh, with the same characters, as we’re approaching the 150th anniversary of the siege of Vicksburg, which was the true turning point of the Civil War. I would really like to do this, but I really, really want to finish Shadows first, all the way through to final draft and publication. If I can finish the novel in three months, then I might have enough time to whip out the novella. Maybe.

Sigh. I supposed it’s better to have too many projects than to have nothing to write, but I hate the way they tend to get log-jammed in my head. Comes from being narrow-minded, perhaps….

Later.