Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Octave again

A week past the 3-Day Contest. A complete story went in, though definitely one of my shorter entries. As always, there were aspects I could have expanded on, but the writing was competent enough. I finished at a quarter past eleven on the Monday, enough time to read over quickly and discover 2 typos.
The cats decided that 9:30pm on Monday was the perfect time to have a series of altercations over territorial boundaries, and I could have done without that.

What I didn't find this year was the strangeness that drifts in when I'm writing with insufficient sleep or sufficient focus. On the other hand, I may be saying that because I'm too close to the story still, and it's true that I don't always notice strangeness at the time, because it's coming from the story and not from me.
Maybe when I read it over in a week or so I will find strangeness. Also, I used a real setting, as I did in Doorways (in fact, the same setting I used for Doorways) and that sets certain boundaries on what goes on within.

The squat challenge has been of mixed success. Most days I manage 5 to 6 minutes of squatting, and a couple of days I have done the full 10 minutes. The difficulty is to fit in things I can do while squatting. Waiting in line-ups is obviously the best opportunity, and the day I did library tours was an easy 10 separate minutes between tours. Petting the cats is another; Khandi will usually remain in place for 2 minutes at a time, but Priss prefers to be in the lap and where is my lap? It is not convenient for cats in this position.
Yesterday she tried to sit in my lap while I was doing seated leg raises, sitting on the edge of the chair with my legs extended at an angle, raising and lowering them. She was pretty determined, even though I couldn't pet her, since I was gripping the sides of the chair.
I suppose I should take a lesson in determination from my cat.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Last day, all or nothing

Last sentence written last night:
The rift in the earth closed to a long welt like a turned furrow.

First sentence written this morning:
Elsa was restless all the morning, waiting for the stones to arrive.

I have sort of complicated my day by signing up for the 30-day Squat Challenge, to squat for a total of 10 minutes a day for every day of this month. It should be do-able, since I don't have much trouble holding a squat, and it may remind me to get up and move around regularly. My longest writing stint yesterday left me with stiff hips even though I have an ergonomic saddle chair that keeps me shifting position.

So we'll see how it goes. Sometime around lunch I plan to write the ending, and see if I can bring the events of the story to it. That's what broke the short story - I had a terrific revelation scene in mind, and I could not bring the story up to that point. With more room to manoeuvre, maybe it will work.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

slow dive, surfacing

First line written yesterday:
"I'm back, and nothing is the same."
Last line written yesterday:
"Maybe I should tell her about the trolls."

First line written today:
"The gas station has swollen hugely."

So far I have held to the no-deletion-except-for-errors rule. Today I want to add in speed, and throwing the wrong word in if I cannot bring up the right word right away. This is particularly difficult because my usual comfort is that I can fix a poor wording in editing. But I have never had time to edit a 3-Day ms. and I know I won't have time this go-round either.

Lacking a plot and characters, I've brought out versions of both from a short story that wouldn't come together earlier this year. I suppose it might be a poor omen to re-use aspects of a failure, but one reason the story wouldn't hold was that I couldn't bring it to a resolution in 5k, and had to keep cutting out bits that would have given it more resonance. So it may fill out a novella more successfully.
First person and present tense for the present-day storyline, and 3d-person past tense for the past storyline. It's surprisingly difficult to move to present tense after working in past, especially keeping track of which clauses and sentences should be in past tense while the narrative is in present. "The road was paved (at some time in the past)" and "The road is paved (and I am just seeing that now)"  have different connotations.

The cats have been relatively non-obstructionist so far. Khandi paces around on my desk and sticks her face in mine, or curls up and purrs in her basket. Priss demands to be on my lap when I go downstairs for food, or lurks on the stair landing to protect the house from evil other cats. There has only been one noisy cat-altercation, but it came when I was writing with concentration and had not noticed it building, so the effects lingered more than they might have.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Jumping in again

Obstacles to writing: cats.
We have two cats now. They are both cute and purring, but also both senior females used to being the only cat in the house.  The newer cat, Khandi, has been settled in my writing room, because we needed to keep her in a room with a door that closed for the first few weeks. Now she has been with us almost a year, but still regards that room as her bastion and refuge, not to be entered by any other cats. Established cat, Priss, still regards the whole house as hers, and my writing room as her place to snuggle with me and interfere with composition.
Now they both interfere with composition by hissing and batting at each other at random intervals. It somewhat interferes with getting into the zone of steady writing.

I skipped the 3-Day Novel Contest last year, because the online submission through Geist (who are handling it now) was a pain and a half, and because Melissa's personal touch (the daily email of encouragement, etc.) was gone. Same admission fee, and you had to print out your own certificate of survival at the end. Pfah.
But it's really a contest between me and the screen, isn't it? The way writing always is - sit down and put your fingers on the keyboard. Just more compressed, instead of continual. So I'm giving it another shot, although I have no plot or characters or setting.
I did have an idea, rather Neil Gaiman-ish, of slipping between a fantastical world and everyday world, echoing each other, with fairy-tale tropes (I mean the original fairy-tales, with ogres and bones, not sparkles and cute animals). Whether that's going to develop into an actual story I do not know as yet.
Okay, time to grab another cup of tea and get down to writing. And since this is the 3-Day, I will not allow myself to backtrack or delete text, except for correcting obvious typos.
Oh lord, that is going to be hard.
See you all later!