Finding the Words

a blog devoted to the art, craft, and frustration of writing

Still truckin’ March 30, 2008

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 10:02 am

It’s been ages since I’ve posted, but I’m still writing. I tried to enter the <a href=””>Writers of the Future Contest</a> (I know, L. Ron Hubbard, but it’s a pretty famous contest), but I don’t think I’m going to get my submission in time. I still have issues with revising, something I desperately need to get over. Every time I think about rewriting I just hit a wall. I’ll do anything to avoid it, even write a whole ‘nother book!


Countdown to Nanowrimo! October 31, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 1:05 pm

Yes, it’s that time of year again. So flex those fingers, crack those knuckles, sit your butt down, and get ready to type type type!

For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo is a challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November. No, it doesn’t actually have to be a novel, from start to finish. Write 50,000 words of a coherent storyline–that should be enough. It’s exhillirating, frustrating, teeth-gnashingly fun! I’ve done it, and finished, twice now, in 2002 and 2006. And, of course, it’s at the Nanowrimo after party where I met Ryan.

So, up until this moment, I had no idea what my story was going to be. I’m not a natural outliner. Nevertheless, in previous years I’ve started with _something_–an image, an idea, a theme, a character. This time, I had nothing, until a few minutes ago, when a scene came to me. I feel much better now. Just a few more hours now to stew over image and come up with a plot…


No words October 25, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 12:17 pm

I just returned from a fantastic vacation. A honeymoon, actually. Three glorious weeks in France.

I can’t complain. The only thing is, now that I sit down to write, I find  I have no words. I’ve made several false starts, forced myself to get”black on white.” I rather feel like a car sputtering to start.

I read somewhere that it takes a week, at least, to pick up creative steam. I suppose I’ll just have to be patient, and keep at it, until things start picking up for me again. Still, it’s disconcerting. I think this is the longest time I’ve taken without writing for the last two years or so. Even while planning for my wedding, I was writing fiction up until the day before the event.  I’m hoping it will give me some perspective, to not have written for so long. One thing’s certain; I sure did miss writing.


All written out? October 1, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 8:33 pm

Today I feel a little emptied out, as if I’ve over extended myself. It’s odd, I didn’t really write more than usual, but I feel carved out. There are few words left rattling around inside, and little desire to write. Sometimes, like tonight, it just feels a little fruitless. My candle is just one more light among thousands, and always with the struggle to be fresher, specific, clear.


Ack! I’ve lost it! September 28, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 8:04 pm

Okay, got a new tentative outline for my rewrite. But as I’m starting to write it, I suddenly find I’ve lost it. You know, it. The magical it. The sense that tells you what works and doesn’t work in a story.

Used to be I could just listen, or think about my story, and I’d get excited as I’d feel the suspense building as scene after scene takes the reader toward some conclusion. Or I’d feel the symmetry of my parallel story lines. I’d know instinctively when to write in this person’s POV or the other person’s, when to speed up or light the fire, and when to let it cool. I can’t do that any more.

The thing is, I’m unhappy about it, but I’m not scared. I suppose it’s because in part I’ve lost “it” before; it will come back. But I’m also beginning to feel that when I lose my grip on these things it’s because I’m learning. I’ve shed the old ways of thinking and feeling, but I haven’t yet developed my new sense. At these times I feel the urge to read and fill the gaps with good stuff. So for now, I’ll begrudgingly put aside my story, but happily take up a book.


Ambiguity September 17, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 2:38 pm

I’m getting the message from folk that are kind enough to critique my stuff that they don’t like ambiguity. This is a problem–I do. Almost everything I write has some level of ambiguity. There are no good or bad guys. There’s no evil. This is a bigger problem in fantasy, especially, where for the most part people expect no grey (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars). While this tendency is changing (George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series) the expectation, and the want, is still there. People want to know whether something is good or bad, whether they should root for it or curse it.

I’ve always challenged the notion of evil and will continue to do so. Stories of black and white tend to bore me–yes, it’s nice to have such clear distinctions, but in reality, few, if any thing, will be evil or good. Sorry, but in my stories, something just _are_, and you’ll be on your own to figure out right from wrong.


I lost my voice! September 12, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 6:59 pm

I suppose this is the danger of working on multiple stories at once? I’d been working on draft in first person POV–what drew me to the story was the character’s voice, which I heard as if she were whispering in my ear. I put the draft on hold for a bit because I’d reached a roadblock. Now I’ve cleared the roadblock, plotted a course using an outline, but when I sit down to write, the voice is gone! Will she come back? I certainly hope so.

I blame this on the outline. I’ve started using outlines because several people recommended doing so, and because writing without one can be done, but it takes a terribly long time.  And there’s a lot of heartache and anguish involved. But with an outline, I just can’t feel my characters the same way. We’re not discovering their story together; I’ve already told them where to go.  A large part of the reason a particular plot works or not is because of how it’s written; when I outline, I’m not taking that into account.

I’m sure there’s a happy medium, somewhere, somehow. Its just a matter of finding it, maybe loosening my grip on the outline.