Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mixing it Up

No pet peeves today, as the book I'm currently judging hasn't really pissed me off yet. There is some unnecessary point of view switching, in my opinion, but that's a matter of personal taste. I write first-person, so my entire book is in a single point of view, and that tends to make me overly sensitive to switching in third-person books.

Since my usual writing methods, patterns and habits don't seem to apply to the current monstrosity, I've decided to try deliberately shaking things up and see what works. I've already learned that my time of day is different for this book. My work style is different. I'm working better in a different location. Normally, I'm more productive when sitting at my desk, like my brain then knows it's time to get down to business. On this book, I seem to do my best work when taking the laptop to the chaise in the loft/library. Normally, I need absolute silence to write. No music at all. Even instrumental music will sidetrack me, and I'll find myself staring into space, listening to the music. Well, last night I thought I'd give writing to music a try. I'm not sure it was an improvement, but it didn't seem to be a distraction. It's possible that it may have helped me focus. Oddly, the music that worked best was the soundtrack to the TV series Battlestar Galactica (the new version, not the 70s version). It's music written to be background music, so it isn't too distracting, and it has an odd, dreamy, abstract quality to it that seems to put me into a good writing trance. It's definitely not the typical dramatic score full of swoops and surges. I'll have to try it again tonight and see how it goes.

I'm more or less at the three-quarters point. Maybe. I usually aim for around 400 formatted manuscript pages, but end up with about 100,000 words by the computer word count. This book may go longer because my list of things that have to happen before the end is pretty long, and I'm not sure how many scenes earlier in the book can be cut or significantly trimmed (I can think of one I can trim part of, but I'm sure my agent will find lots more). I've been told to keep it under 800 pages, but that was sort of a joke (though I do have a copy of a book my editor edited that came from an 800-page manuscript, which was the source of the joke, so it's not entirely unreasonable). I'm going to aim for under 125,000 words. I topped 300 pages last night and am just under 75,000 words. My subconscious continues to throw curve balls at me. I may kill the Shakespearean play theme for the New Year's party and just go with a general masked ball. Last night I was trying to think of what costumes my characters would wear, and none of them fit the theme.

Amazon now has the cover up for Once Upon Stilettos. No other info yet, but the page is here if you're interested or want to pre-order, or something. Barnes & Noble still doesn't have it listed at all. I'd have to dig through my archives to see when the last book showed up there, but that would be an exercise in extreme procrastination. I'll probably do it tomorrow.

And now I have to venture outdoors to go to the post office to pay my quarterly income taxes (ugh). We're having a coldish snap, which means temperatures are in the high 40s instead of the 80s, but it's really, really windy, so the walk is going to be fun. If the wind gusts were in the right direction, I'd be tempted to take an umbrella and see if I could Mary Poppins over to the post office. Unfortunately, they seem to be a bit too unpredictable in nature. And my umbrella would probably just turn inside out instead of working as a sail.

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