pbray: (crime)
1,000 words written today, an auspicious start for the new project. I've also started another round of [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 to help me keep it on track.
pbray: (crime)
Three weeks ago I turned in the manuscript for THE FINAL SACRIFICE, and since then I've been contemplating my next project. I haven't written a word in this time, but I've made notes, read research books, and picked the brains of knowledgeable folks. Gradually the project has taken shape in my mind, and earlier this week I felt I knew the characters well enough that I could begin to name them, a major milestone in my creative process.

Last night I shared this news with [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne and informed her that I could almost hear the central character. His voice is coming into focus, and within the next few days I expect to start writing.

She stared at me, then repeated "You hear them?"

Yes, I told her. I have to be able to hear the characters in my head. Right now, whenever my mind is idle, it's turning over dozens of different possibilities for the opening paragraphs. All of this takes place in my head, and it's only when I can hear those opening lines clearly that I'll sit down at the computer.

She continued to stare at me, then shrugged her shoulders. "Huh. I never know what I'm going to write until I write it."

Which just goes to show that there's more than one way to be a writer. [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne's process can be referred to either as organic, or as a fuzzy-headed, undisciplined mess, depending on my mood :-)

My process is different. I need to know my characters inside and out. If I can't figure out what the hero would have majored in in college, or whether or not he likes Starbucks coffee, then I'm not ready. Once the characters are in focus, the words will come.

Oddly enough when I hear the words, the voice I hear in my head is my own. It's a bit as if I'm reading aloud from a story I've already written--except, of course, that in my head there are no Errs, Umms, or mispronunciations.

I paused for a moment just now, and I can *almost* hear him--he's just around the corner, and if I wait a bit longer, he'll be here.

And then I'll begin to write.
pbray: (crime)
There's a stage when I start working on a new project that's just like falling in love. As with any infatuation, it's not enough that I'm transported with delight every time I think about my new love, I must share my amazing good fortune with all of my friends.

Just as the new man in my life requires endless rhapsodizing--His eyes! His smile! The way his biceps ripple when he patiently rearranges my furniture. And did I mention how he rescued a dozen kittens from a tree, while on his way to the orphanage where he volunteers three days a week?--the new project inspires a similar level of discourse. Last night at the Hard Lemonaders SF meeting, I tortured my fellow writers by describing the new project in depth, exclaiming over each feature that made this project the most perfect project ever. It's clear that we were destined for each other, and will live happily ever after, while other writers gnash their teeth in envy at our perfect happiness.

As good friends do, they whole-heartedly agreed on the magnficence of my new love. If they were (understandably) rolling their eyes, they did so out of my sight.

I've been here before (both romantically and creatively) so I know this stage won't last. But it's fun, and I plan to enjoy it as long as I can.
pbray: (Default)
For those who were wondering, I'll be taking:

INTRODUCTION TO CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION. Basic principles of criminal investigation are examined. These principles include: security, preservation and recording of crime scenes; crime scene search; collection, preservation and security of physical evidence; preliminary and secondary investigation processes; scientific aids to investigations such as DNA; crime causation and modus operandi; causes of death and death scene analysis; sources of information, including informants, interviews and interrogations; note taking and report writing; and case preparation.

Yes, I'm considering writing a mystery some day, why do you ask? *grin*
pbray: (Default)
The project that I am most definitely not working on and not thinking about will require massive research. At lunch today I contacted the enrollment office of a local community college to see if they'll let me audit a class for the fall semester.

But I'm not working on it. Honest.

P.S. The next step is the inevitable shopping spree, which will result in the UPS truck dropping off stacks of books. Hoping to hold off on this step till post bike trip.
pbray: (Default)
When in the course of authorial events, as you begin to glimpse the end of the project that you have labored on for so long, it is inevitable that your brain will tempt you away from the finish line by offering up a diversion.

"Look at me! I'm an idea for your next book! I'm new and sexy and oh so much more fun to be with than that boring old book you've been working on for months."

I ignore the idea.

The idea comes back. "Come now, what would it hurt? Just jot down a few thoughts. There'll be plenty of time to work on Old WiP later."

I've got five weeks left, and serious effort ahead of me to finish THE FINAL SACRIFICE. I can't afford this distraction.


Idea slinks off to corner, and continues to taunt me.

P.S. Yes, I gave in. I opened a Word document and wrote the one paragraph high concept of the idea. And a couple of sentences about the hero's backstory. But that's it till August, I swear.
pbray: (Default)

Well actually not, though hanging out in the bar is an important part of any con experience.

Programming can be entertaining, readings spark interest in books I might have otherwise missed, and trips through the dealers room are a favorite indulgence.

But the real reason I go to cons is to hang out with creative, interesting people who share my passions. There's always someone fun to talk to, and you never know where the conversation will lead.

As an example, Saturday I ran into Joe Berlant and chatted about WFC in 2007. One of their themes will be Native American folklore, with a special guest storyteller from the Abenaki tribe. We talked a bit about how many urban fantasies are tapping into traditions of the western and southwestern tribes, but couldn't bring to mind any recent title that tapped into folklore of the northeastern tribes.

Later, as I was chatting with [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia about possible future projects, I mentioned that I wanted to try my hand at an urban fantasy. We did a little brainstorming, and remembering my earlier conversation, I realized how I could tie the setting (a decaying industrial city in the northeast) with legends from the local tribes. Naturally I'd need to do significant research, but I now have the germ of a story idea.

When I got home I sketched out the concept and stuck it in the idea file. So far I've got setting, inciting incident, and a list of things I'd want to research. Going to let this percolate in the backbrain for a bit, to see if the characters come to me. When I start to hear their voices in my head, then I'll know it's time to take the next step.

August 2017



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