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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

and there is no rest for the ones god blessed and he blessed you best of all

Progress notes for 3 June 2006:

Finish the draft, finish the draft, finish the draft. Writing is not a performance art. Fix it later. Finish the draft.


New Words:  2063
Total Words: (actual wordcount / manuscript) 55,779 / 63,750
Pages: 255
Deadline: August 1
Words per day to meet deadline: 614
Reason for stopping: End of scene, dead tired.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55,779 / 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
255 / 400

Stimulants:  blue lady tea
Exercise:  none
Mail: nomail
Mean Things: Cricket got a nasty surprise spring on her and Closs did too.
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jay Lake, The Trial of Flowers
The glamour!: I cleaned my pigsty living room and swept that and the kitchen floor. I now have a clean(er) and somewhat less-cluttered garret to come home to. (I am not a neat freak by any standard, but I find visual clutter very stress-inducing, and since I inhabit a two-room apartment and live most of my non-work life in one room of it, it gets cluttered and overwhelming quickly.)  Tomorrow, the laundry, and perhaps I shall take a crack at the bedroom, which badly needs help. My apartment is magical: it continues to get dirty even when I am not in it. I have dust gnomes.


Writing is not a performance art. Fix it later. Finish the draft.

...And "Don't get it right, get it written," and all those other inspirational messages. You chant at me, I'll chant at you. My deadline's closer than yours. Fifteen thousand words I've written this week; do that for another three, maybe four weeks, I'll be there. Yikes.

Does cleaning the house help, or is it just displacement? If it helps, I am in the perfect position: this place is like landfill, and the only clean thing in it is the cat. (And even that, of course, is a matter of perspective: who was it said "Cats aren't clean, they're just covered with catspit"?)
Cleaning the house makes me less stressed, at least. Which is somewhat important!
"Writing is not a performance art. Fix it later. Finish the draft."

Y'know, I know that's true, but I can't live by it. If something is wrong, I have to fix it before I can carry on, or I start obsessing and angsting about it. I usually cope with this by starting each day by editing what I wrote the day before, but I can't seem to let go and just extrude without re-reading.

It's one reason why I can't use speech recognition. Even with an error rate of 1%, that's one word-substitution mistake per paragraph, and I have to fix it immediately (word-substitutions being even more pernicious than typos, because you can't trust the spelling checker to identify most of them).
I can't use speech recognition because I am a writer, not a talker.

And I have to do seventeen drafts anyway, because I always have to go back and make things better when I know what the book is about.

Also, I underwrite my first drafts massively, and have to go back and add 10-15%.

You people who get it right on the first drafts are freaks. *g*
You people who get it right on the first drafts are freaks. *g*


(btw, Bear, I still owe you for the backrub. Remember to collect at some point...)
Hee. Maybe on the 15th, if I make it.

Yeah, I mean, when I say "finish the draft, fix it later," I'm not talking about sentence level stuff. I twiddle that as I go, and generally do two or three drafts of each scene as I produce it. Hell, the first one alone is about three drafts, because I write a sentence, jump ahead, write a later sentence, go back, revise the first sentence, put a sentence before it, stare at a bad verb, add a note to myself to go back and fix the flabby verb, add a sentence before that one, revise the second sentence, put a sentence after it, write three more sentences between the two sets of sentences, move the (now third) paragraph to before the (now first) paragraph, and so on.

Then the next day I go back and reread it and twiddle it some more.

This is an improvement over the old technique, which was to write any old thing that came into my head in the order that it did so. Which, since I am a very nonlinear thinker, tended to be a little digressive and jarring and loop around a lot, and was very hard to put into a sensible order.

So I've had to learn techniques to translate from Bear to linear-thinker.

Writing is hard.
What I do mean (hit post too soon) is that I know already there are plot structure problems and things I figured out late in the book that will need structural reinforcement early on, and since I am concentrating on getting the *plot* on the page right now, I will have to do another pas to get the characters and their development in there.
These two posts are worthy of a blog entry of their own. Interesting, fascinating, glad I'm not alone. I can't remember, do you plot/outline first?

{writing is not a performance art}


where did you go for sushi when you were living in Vegas? I was devoted to I LOVE SUSHI when I lived in Henderson, but we're living north now and I'm having trouble finding a new place. I know you've said before, but ... you know. TIA. {G}
Sushi Zen, on Lake Mead near Cimarron HS, same parking lot as the Wild Oats.

I don't really fetishize my process much: if I need to outline, I do, and if I don't, I don't. Every book is different.
I'm trying to figure out if I can learn to use speech recognition software somehow, for days when the hands or eyes hurt too much to type. Bizarrely, if I think of it as dictation, it works a little better. But how the heck would I punctuate? And one can't possibly *edit* with the stuff... still, for those days when I lie in bed too sick to bet up and stories churn nauseatingly in the backbrain, it might not be so bad as a note-taking very-rough-draft method. Vomit it out, clean it up later.

But I really suck at speech ordinarily.

First draft people are weird. The ones I find totally incomprehensible are the ones who hand-write whole drafts; I type almost fast enough to keep up with thoughts, but I could never hand-write at such speed, not and have it be legible later.
I aim to get it right on the "first draft" -- but the "edit yesterday's work before you start today's" policy means that there's no such thing as a traditional rough-hewn first draft in my world.

And while I know what I'm shooting for, I miss the target about half the time. (The first draft of GLASSHOUSE was 91K words -- final draft, with the amusing version number 2.5.1 stuck to it, ran to 132K, and 20K of draft 1.1 ended up dying on the cutting room floor. In contrast, THE JENNIFER MORGUE was so good that I shipped draft 1.1 -- the point denotes a polishing pass, not a full-blown rewrite -- and the wastage was less than 1K words.)
read down thread for my editing protocol, please. *g* I'm too lazy to retype.
Au contraire, I'm the one who's too lazy to retype. (Manuscripts, any way.) Nothing says "get it right first time" like the threat of effectively having to copy type (or translate from fluent gibberish into grammatical story-ish) five hundred pages :)
If I try to do that--get it right the first time--I don't write.
Well, that just shows to go that there's more than one do to way it, right?
Hee. Yes. And no end of ways to fuck yourself, too.
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<<Finish the draft, finish the draft, finish the draft.>>

We're cheerin' for you, Bear. Go, go, go, go, go, go, go!

Finish the draft, finish the draft, finish the draft oh, God, words that are so hard to live by....

How is Stallion Gate, btw? I love his Arkady books.
ran the maid off again, eh?... we have that problem too...that's the modern servant problem.. h'ain't none.
Kick the dust gnomes' collective ass, dude.
I know I'm blocking when I'd rather scrub or vacuum than write a certain scene. But telling myself I absolutely *had* to get up and clean the house today often meant I'd dodge the housework by writing.

These days even I don't expect myself to do housework, sadly. Fortunately I'm usually capable of ignoring the pigsty around me while I write, as long as it doesn't generate weird smells.

Home-office sorts really ought to be able to write off the maid bills as a work expense.

I think I'm stealing this for my wallpaper.

(what? I'm taking a lunch break, is all? Sheesh. Going, going...)
Cant Phantom Claude be tasked to keep dust gnomes in check?