The Same Thing Twice

I started writing another missing scene for my revision, yesterday. It was… well, pretty damn similar to the scene I wrote the day before. Not identical, but very, very close. Close enough that I wound up stopping to write a blog post about Deja Vu, voice, and the difference between parallels and repetitions.

So, I guess we’ll find out just how much of this I understand, and how much I can make myself understand.

My characters are psychic–or something like that. There are details–and in both scenes, the psychic bond is being broken. One scene is a death, and in the second, a character has voluntarily given up that connection. Her sacrifice will be permanent.

The lead up to the bond being broken is okay. It’s different; the circumstances are different. But then… well, as I’m writing the break, itself, I happen to have the distinct feeling that I’m writing something basically identical to the last one I wrote.

Feeling? No. I know. It’s the same.

I’m trying to figure out what’s broken that makes the two scenes so similar. They really shouldn’t be the same thing twice, but somehow… well, they are. And until I figure out how they should be different, I can’t fix it.

I think I’ll work on something else, today.

How to Survive, Break Out of Jail, and Join the Revolution

Today, my novel’s primary antagonist is breaking out of jail. She’s moving from being one of the many people who work for her particular government–very high up, actually–to being disillusioned by her recent experiences, and generally willing to fight for what she believes in.

Yep. I said “antagonist.”

She’s done fairly well for herself, considering she was more or less just the faithful maid when I started.

I don’t actually have themes, but if I did, this one would probably be about figuring out what you really believe, and then being true to yourself. I think everyone in it is re-evaluating their oldest beliefs and basic assumptions.

Maybe the theme would be something along the lines of beliefs changing with time and experience. I don’t know. Ask an English teacher. **adds another explosion**

This particular character could be the main character of her own book, and sometimes, I think maybe she should be. If I wind up doing a series, she probably will be.

The Morning Writing Hour

I woke up at a quarter to three this morning, with the cat staring me in the face, and clearly wondering why I’m not awake and working on my novel. The cat cares.

Well… the cat is a creature of habit. He expects the same thing to happen every single day. If I had the sense to feed him as soon as I get up, I think he’d be pouncing even more enthusiastically, which would probably be good for the novel. Chances are, it would be good for me, too. Less sleeping in, less destruction of my routine.

Later on, when it is summer, I’ll be able to get up and actually go somewhere. Out on the porch, in the fresh air, to write. There might even be daylight by the end of my time.

Right now, though, it is cold. It is dark, and the electric lights are doing nothing to convince me that it is morning. I don’t have a problem getting up an hour early before I go to work, but damn, it’s hard to get up on my days off. My mind refuses to accept that sleeping until seven is sleeping in, and so I do. At which point, the rest of the world has started, and there isn’t any time left to just sit and write.

I’m battling distraction. Do I need to know that the guy who beheaded another guy on a Canadian bus has been released from lock-up? No. Or that Twitter recommends eating spiced pears after sex? Not even slightly. Hate the texture of pears.

I need to wake up and get some work done. I need to feel like I am getting work done, and right now… well, I probably am, but I don’t. Tracking revision progress has always been tough for me.

Maybe I need old-school notebooks, with ink and no eraser.

How I Use Scheduled Posts

So, this post from Lois Elsden has me thinking about how and why I schedule blog posts.

I do schedule posts, especially if I know I won’t be available on a particular day. For instance, I can tell you right now that I’ll be gone on my mother’s birthday. I don’t know what I’ll be doing to celebrate, but whatever it is, it’s a priority for me. So, I’ll put in a post ahead of time.

I also schedule posts in advance for blog-hops and events where there’s a topic, or a short story to be covered. I have A-to-Z coming up in April, and I’m already looking at filling in some of that time. (Last year, I did a lot of ad-libbing to cover the space.)

The other way I use scheduling–and I’m not completely predictable about this–is that I schedule posts to go live about an hour before I get off work. That way, the post is out there, and I can respond to the first round of comments as soon as I get home. (Hypothetically, not an actual skill I have. Not always, anyway.)

Well, it beats the crap out of getting home, writing like crazy, and letting the post hit right before supper or bed, or whatever other thing’s going to keep me away from the wi-fi.

Ideally, I’d like the blog post to be a part of the writing day, and far enough ahead that I have some wiggle room, if the fiction writing runs over, or if something unexpected shows up.

I’d like a stockpile of “schedule-able” posts for those last minute surprises, and I’d like to be a day or two ahead, in general. No “oh, shit, what am I writing about now” posts. I’m getting there.

I’m still feeling out the kind of posts that work well as scheduled, vs. the kind of posts that need to be absolutely fresh. For instance, nobody really cares if that short-story is from last week or last year. And that reupholstery project? I’m sure it’ll be in fashion for years to come. But, if I’m writing about a current event, it kinda helps if the event is still current.

It’s not hard to tell the scheduled posts. They’re on the hour. The rest of them are on Karen time. (two thirty seven, anyone?)

So, what about you? How do you use post scheduling on your blog? Any tips? Horrible warnings? Let me know.

And In NaNo Novel News…

My main character has just eloped. With a fairly brilliant physicist. Who knows less about his own family history than she does. (His dead, non-English speaking grandmother told her all about it.) I don’t have the faintest idea what that has to do with anything. At any rate, they’re married, Vegas-style, and he’s in their hotel room on their wedding night, offering her an annulment.

They are not getting an annulment.

What I have right now is a series of fragments. I don’t understand exactly how they go together, and the only thing keeping me from quitting is ONE mysterious character who’s dug in his heels.

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Maybe it didn’t have enough time to gel before I started in on it. Maybe I’m intimidated by the whole topic. Who knows?

Anyway, I have to track down more fragments, and get in some more words.

Wish me luck.

Epiphanies in Fiction Writing

I took a step back, yesterday. Something somewhere between serenely seeking objectivity about my novel and abject despair.

Today, I have solutions. Or, at least progress.

I figured out who the dead kid in my novel is. I actually didn’t know that question was bothering me, until the answer showed up today. So, that’s one more cornerstone than I had yesterday, and a novel title in the bargain. I like knowing what my book is called.

I also came to the conclusion that my main character’s love interest comes from a family who emigrated much more recently than I had previously thought. That changes more than you’d think, and ties him in with the history behind the novel. Which he wasn’t, before. He was just sorta… floating there.

Well, in my defense, he was floating there being really good looking.

Okay. I admit that’s probably not exactly a story function.

He was a place holder, and now, he’s a real character. With history and a family, and secrets. **Pop** All because I backtracked a little.

Other than that, I am currently observing National Fun With Medical Tech Month. The best way to make a device completely foolproof? Be sure the device automatically scrambles itself, so the fool won’t have anything left to do.

U is for Unexpected Surprises

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I was shopping in the rock-bottom bargain bin at a used bookstore, and I bought a few books on the “What are you risking?” plan. Five, maybe ten bucks worth, and ten bucks on used books can go a long way.  I wasn’t expecting anything in particular. It was a grab bag, maybe a little influenced by the theme of the week, but that’s the truth. At that price, you get your money’s worth, if you like any one of the books.

It wasn’t until I got home that I found that one of the books was signed. In pencil, way in the back, where the bookseller hadn’t noticed it. Maybe if he had, he wouldn’t have sold it to me at “What are you risking?” prices. signature.jpg

And who would have looked for a signature in the back pages of a book?

You’d have to know the writer pretty well to get his pen-name out of this real-life name signature. John Wallace Pritchard wrote as Ian Wallace.

And he didn’t happen to write this book. It’s a copy of Quantum Mechanics and Experience by David Z Albert.

There’s something about the thing that resonates with me. Something about that interaction… it speaks to me. The idea of some nameless fan–he didn’t even write his own name in the book, when he owned it–rushing over to an author he recognized, and getting an autograph.  Here, sign my… uhm… well… my book. My menu. My boarding pass. Whatever. Sign my anything. My random non-fiction thingy that you did not write, and might not have read, because it’s here.