Cleanliness Is Next to Literary Godliness

daffodilI spent the most amazing weekend writing. I met with my private writers’ group, The Wonderchicks, allegedly to revise my novel Rex Appeal. (Yes, it’s still languishing from inattention. Hush up.) Instead I got distracted–again!–by an idea I had in the shower.

I don’t know why all my best ideas happen when I’m taking a shower, but that’s the way it goes. When some people need to solve a problem, they go for a walk. For me, my brain works best wet. I need to keep something in the shower that will let me write on the walls. But I digress…

So I had been thinking about a forthcoming blog post shared by one of the young writers at the library-sponsored writers group I lead, Write On, Right Now. She had been mentioning a character that was a Chimpanzee (1/4 monkey on her mother’s side). The character was receiving gifts from her gorilla intended, and in my water-logged state, my mind turned to what those might be. I thought he might give her flowers, but, being a monkey, she would not enjoy them quite the way I would.

I ruminated on that while I washed the conditioner out of hair and suddenly it became a poem in my head. Like Athena arriving fully formed from the head of Zeus, there it was. That Paul Mitchell makes some truly fine hair products. I’m going to have to thank him in my acknowledgements.

My writer friends will tell you. I don’t generally write poems, but this one just bubbled to the surface. It was an unstoppable force.

So instead of working on Rex for the first time in weeks and weeks, I “wasted” the day writing a poem. It turned out to be a rather startling and amazing piece. It surprised. Knocked me right on my ass. I’m like a kid that has conquered riding a bicycle, or built his first tree house, or kissed a girl. It was exhilarating and exhausting.

I’ll share it, perhaps once I polish it. Or maybe not. I have to see what that would do to the publishability of the work.

But the amazing writerly weekend didn’t stop there. After creating this magnum opus, and attending the Alliance rally to end DOMA downtown, I woke up the next morning and got to work on Rex. I revised four chapters or so before succumbing to brain drain. Good work, but now I’m exhausted.

I plan to work every day at least a little. Today, I have some revisions to do on my poem, ( I took a shower again this morning.) then back to Rex.

If I write 500 words per day, I can finish another 40,000 words in 80 days. And I’ll be soooo very clean.

Wish me luck.

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Scrivener Saves Lives!

It saved mine.

I was having lots of trouble managing my manuscript for Rex Appeal. It is my first major piece of writing and I was writing chapters, moving them around, swapping paragraphs, cursing a blue streak and losing my mind. I was feeling demoralized and incompetent because everything was so unmanageable.

Then I found Scrivener. It was everything I needed to easily manage a novel length work. And they give you a free trial for thirty days. And that’s thirty days of actual writing, not thirty days in a row. Here’s a link to an article from Write to Done about the wonders of Scrivener.

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Victory and PANIC!

I spent the day at Java Mill and Grill, drinking coffee and working on Rex Appeal. For the most part things went well. Joel and Damon took good care of my caffeine needs. I had a terrific Turkey Club that I had been craving for two weeks.

But my writing was just blah. For most of the day I bored myself nigh unto death. I was at the point of giving up for the day–literally moments from shutting down Ol’ Bess–when things started to happen. Suddenly the Muse took over and I actually had a good scene. Female Protagonist Amanda has used her noggin in a way I had not expected or planned.

And things happened.

So I’m quitting for the day. I’m planning to have some good things to work with tomorrow at the NaNoWriMo Write-In at Headquarters Library. (Note to self: get treats for the writers.)

But then Panic at the Disco! I checked my word count and I had lost more than 1500 words. OMG. Heart palpitations. I had just saved over my latest version with todays stuff. The stuff with that new good scene. How could I have LESS than I had before?

I recounted. I compiled it from Scrivener to Word. Sometimes that changes the count a bit. Never by 1500 WORDS! But it can change a bit. I crossed my fingers.

Oh no. That didn’t help. I look it over. All the important stuff is there. Every chapter as it should be. So WTF?

Finally it occurs to me that Scrivener is magic and keeps stuff in case you should lose 1500 words and panic and nearly go wailing through the coffee shop rending your garments and gnashing your teeth. Its smart that way.

What’s this? This right here?

Sigh of relief. I see in the trash where I had excised a couple of whole chapters and some other weird and likely-to-be-unused bits. There all sitting there in the Trash files, giggling at me and pointing. Well, that’s rude.

OK, sure. They had to go. But did they have to drop my count by that much? And did they have to mock me so?

Damn them all to Hell.

Rex, sic ’em.

 

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High Concept Defined Once and For All

As promised last night at the Write On, Right Now meeting, here is the link to the info I read recently defining “High Concept”. I thought it was helpful, since before this, I had sort of a pornographic understanding of “high concept”: i.e. “You know it when you see it.”

So here is the link to the article, from the Writers Store newsletter:

High Concept Defined Once and For All.

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Tomorrow Begins NeedToWriteMo’

Other people call it NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during the month of November.

That just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been writing on the same novel, Rex Appeal, for the past two NaNoWriMos. And I’m continuing with it again this year. And again I’m expecting I will not “win” by completing 50,000 words in November.

What I am planning instead is the 2nd annual NeedToWriteMo’. The goal is to write every day. Every single day. Fingers on keyboard. Butt in chair.

With luck and persistence I hope to have Rex Appeal done by Christmas.

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Southern Writers Symposium Emerging Writers Contest

My library received written announcements of the Methodist University Southern Writer’s Symposium annual writing contest. Below is the information from the Facebook page. The Symposium itself is March 2, 2013 at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC.

 
2013 Emerging Writers Contest
by The Southern Writers Symposium on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 1:04pm ·

Entries are now being accepted for the 2013 Southern Writers Symposium Emerging Writers Contest. This year categories will feature fiction and poetry.

 The first-place writer in each category will be invited to read from his or her winning work at the conference and receive a cash award of $300. Second place writers will receive $200. All winners will be invited to attend the Symposium. The contest is open to writers who meet at least two of the following criteria: 

  • currently live in the South;
  • are natives of the South;
  • write about the South.

Additionally, writers must have not yet published a full-length volume in the genre that they are entering. For example, writers are still eligible for the emerging fiction writers contest if published in volume form in nonfiction or poetry. 

 Submission Guidelines

 Deadline: January 7, 2013

Fee (non-refundable): $15/per entry payable to Southern Writers Symposium

Manuscripts of fiction considered: up to 5,000 words, typed and double-spaced

Poetry considered: a single poem, or up to five to be counted as a group, typed. 

  • Entry must not have been previously published in any form. Entry must not have previously won recognition in any other contest. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable.

For entries submitted via snail mail, a cover sheet with the author’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, title, and genre of work submitted as well as a brief bio and statement that the author meets the eligibility guidelines should be included. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript. For entries via http://southernwriters.submittable.com/submit, directions on the site should be followed.

 Submit online: http://southernwriters.submittable.com/submit

 Submit by snail mail:

Southern Writers Symposium, Emerging Writers Contest, Department of English and Writing, Methodist University, 5400 Ramsey St., Fayetteville NC 28311.

 Winners will be announced on the Southern Writers Symposium Web site (methodist.edu/sws/index.htm) by February 1, so an SASE is unnecessary. Entries will not be critiqued or returned; paper entries will be recycled. 

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New Writers Conference in NC: Save the Date Flier

Download it here: PWCflyer

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