I read a lot of my books this week, starting with the first one published. Somebody had said once that she read her own books when she got stuck on a story (I’m not stuck), and I thought, “Well, why not?” It was a lot like looking through an old photo album, the writing equivalent of “Look how thin I was in 1993!” but the big takeaway was that the good ones were pretty good although not as good as I remembered, and the bad ones weren’t that bad at all. Also, I skim my sex scenes when I read, so obviously those weren’t working, at least for me now. Like any other memory journey, though, it ended up being an analysis of loss and gain. Continue reading
Terry Pratchett wanted his unpublished manuscript partials destroyed, so his daughter did it with a bulldozer.
Good for her.
There’s a reason writers don’t want their unpublished stuff published after death, and it’s the same reason they didn’t want it published during life: it’s bad. Even if it’s an early draft that could have turned into something good, it’s still bad. And no writer wants her or his last publication to be bad, or even mediocre, especially if he or she already knows it’s bad or mediocre. Destroying unpublished manuscripts is a good thing; just ask Harper Lee. Continue reading
Brooke asked: “How do you keep all your notes and changes and drafts organized? I’m guessing you don’t overwrite each draft entirely. I’m getting stuck in the weeds and confused by my not-clearly-marked files.” Organization. Ha. Here’s where I am right now with my Nita folder: Continue reading
Have I ever mentioned how important it is to have good writing friends?
I was working on the latest draft of Nita this morning (you all haven’t seen this one), thinking “This will never work,” and SEP e-mailed me about something, and I told her that I was worried because my heroine was drunk in the first scene, and she wrote back “Drunk heroines are fantastic! They get in all kinds of trouble that way. And you know how much I love heroines in trouble. . . . I swear to God I’m going to get on a plane and pull that frickin’ next book out of your head! Be afraid.”
So I sent her the first scene to show her I was writing and got this back:
Somebody once said that no books are ever finished, they’re just abandoned, and I have found that to be so true. I just get to the point where the book is dead in my brain, I’ve worked on it for too long, and even though I know it’s flawed, that I should keep trying to improve it, I just can’t any more. That’s when it goes to Jen, and she sends me a brilliant editing letter, and I fix everything she tells me is wrong, and it goes to copy edit, and I go through the copy edit–still doing rewrites on small things–and then it’s gone forever set in stone, or at least in paper and digital ink.
Then I found Laura Miller’s article in Slate about Karen Hall rewriting a book she’d published twenty years before. Continue reading
Note: This is a draft, the post was never finished and yet SOMEHOW I scheduled it to post. I’ll get the progress photo up shortly. ARGH.
One great thing about getting everything out of a space so you can paint the floor is that when you go to put things back in, you can get rid of a lot of stuff. It’s one part Marie Kondo’s “What gives me joy?” and one part Julie Morgenstern’s “What do I need?”
My big move this week was to clear the floor at the end of the office, the part in front of the couch and the back door, and begin painting there. Except for some reason, I didn’t check the can of Rustoleum White that I picked up. It didn’t go very far and when I finally put my glasses on, I saw that I’d found the only can of boat paint in the house. It looks just like the latex I’d bought except there a very small boat on the label. The good news is, that stuff’ll last. The bad news is, it’s oil based so I can’t put latex over it without a lot of prep. So I ordered four more cans of the stuff (not cheap) and it’s coming on Friday. It takes forever to dry, so I’ll be moving into the front of the house while the floors back here cure. And it has to be done this weekend before the temps get so low again that it’s not above 50 degrees on the back porch.
In other words, I made progress but . . .
Some of you may remember the hack that brought down the website and the blog. Mollie scoured both the site and the blog clean and put them back up in their temporary minimalist state. The thing is, we both like the minimalist state, so at least until I have another novel coming out and we decide if we want to do another redesign, we’re sticking with clean and simple.
Which does not mean we’re not still working on it. Continue reading
As I write this, it’s Wednesday, and I still haven’t started on the office, so it’s time. And thank god I decided to post every Thursday or I’d never get started on this. Continue reading
One of the things I found most interesting about the Stuart-Rich-Crusie fixes for Lucifer was how we all immediately went to our own story corners. That is, Krissie zeroed in on the all-powerful hero and how caring about the heroine would bring him to his knees, Lani went for the balance of power in relationships and in the world, and I said, “You know what this guy needs? Community.” We have known each other and read each other’s books for years, but this one off-the-cuff conversation told me more than anything else about how our individual story-minds work.
I think that’s important for writers, to know that there are things we are always going to gravitate to, things that are essential to the Ur story that underlies every narrative we write. Continue reading