Oops! It’s Thrusday, and I haven’t blogged!
All I can say is that I’ve been on a wonderful, awe-inspiring writing spree the past few days. I wrote 8300 words yesterday—good words, not stuff I’m going to cut or totally rewrite—and an hour after waking up this morning, I had another 600 to added.
This despite the fact that my laptop is down—yes, AGAIN!
So, yeah, I’m bragging a bit, but before you go hide in a corner (like one writer friend suggested she would do last night), let me share what got me here:
I’ve been working on Neeta Lyffe off and on since January. For the past 6 weeks, it’s been mostly off because of the move. In June, I gave myself permission to forget about writing obligations and just concentrate on the house. As a result of that and some major help from Rob, the kids and especially my parents who drove up to help, it is done. That took a major stress off my mind—and stress does stall creativity. (when we let it, but that’s another blog) I wrote when I had a chance and felt the need, but didn’t start my schedule. By the time I was done with the house, I was hungry for my routine. So, kill off stresses when you can.
However, just because I wasn’t putting a lot of words on paper, didn’t mean I wasn’t writing the book. The characters and scenes were still going on in my mind. Some people call this pre-writing. So daydream your stories when you can’t write.
My laptop dying probably helped. I didn't have as much incentive to be trolling the internet (which is hard on the netbook's tiny screen) or reading all my e-mailed newsletters (even harder on webmail and a tiny screen.) So cut distrations!
One thing I do have on the netbook is Yahoo IM. When I got stuck, I'd IM a writer friend (usually Rebecca Butcher, but also Ann Lewis and Susan Kirkland) and bounce ideas off them. Sometimes explaining helped gel a concept. So, talk through ideas with a friend or writer friend.
Two days before my writing spree, I had a day that was mostly spent staring at the same image on Google Earth for hours. (a concrete slab near West Burbank between I-5 and South Front Street in Burbank, CA. Twisting it, figuring out angles. Getting directions to the nearest hospitals and studios. Trying to figure out what it’d originally been used for. Drawing out the logistics of a zombie invasion spilling out of the imaginary factory I placed there. I am not a visualizer in the literal sense, so this was painful work for me, and wow—did it pay off in the end! So, do the research. Don’t be afraid to take time to think.
However, there came a point where I had to stop staring at the picture, get over my insecurities and self-doubt and just write. I chanted my mantra (“Sh**y First Draft”) until I had the nerve to start typing. Once I got into it, things flew! So, get over the self-doubt and just write!
Finally, I let the characters dictate the story. I had intended on a pretty grand battle, lots of strategy and good tactics, but these are a bunch of TV show contestants learning to be exterminators. Like reality TV contestants, they each wanted their moment. So that’s what I wrote—everybody got a scene, everybody did something cool. Then they surprised me: Katie finds courage, LaCenta meets a hot guy, Spud decides to propose. Neeta steals a HumVee and saves the very lawyer who sued her. As I wove these together, following their leads, I remembered a line Motzart said in the movie Amadeus about seven voices singing individually is music. They made music. So, don’t be afraid to let the characters take control.
Okay, enough for today. I want to get back. Everyone’s going to a big victory reception some political candidate is throwing for them Then I have to announce the winner of Zombie Death Extreme. Who will get the million?
Think you’ll have to buy the book to find out.
(BTW, yes, the house is a bit messy, but I did make a good breakfast for the kids, did 2 loads of laundry and cleaned the kids' bathroom. I also discussed some conference issues with Ann. You can do it and more!)