Showing posts from 2008


I hate it. I'm going along in my novel, writing one, two even three chapters a day. A nice, satisfying pace. The story is unfolding before me like a well paved road. Then -- bwam! -- no more road. It may be sudden, like hitting a rock, or gradual, as the pavement just peters out. Either way, the path ahead is no longer clear. I stop writing. I sit there, staring at my keyboard, at my notes, at my reflection in the mirror while I brush my teeth, wondering what to do. Have I hit a dead-end, a cliff to oblivion, leaving me no choice but to turn my story around, go back to the last fork in the road, take another route entirely? Do I have to re-write a chapter, a whole section, the entire book thus far? Or should I just keep plowing ahead, in the hope that though a bit of snow and gravel obscures the road, if I can just muscle past the landslide, the road will pick up and keep me going to the end? I wrote all of Part I and most of Part II in my new book, before the road petered out. Now


I've been feeling rather depressed lately. No doubt the cold and dark play a big part. I wish I could spent this half of the year in Australia.

Section One Finished

I completed Section One of current WiP. It's about 18,500 words, which is right on target.

A Diet for a Novel

I've been editing my NaNo "novel", which mostly consists of trimming and tightening. I put novel in scare quotes because it's really on the first section of the novel. A lot of cellulite is landing on the cutting room floor. (If only it were as easy to shed pounds as to shed excess novel weight!) My hard- won 50,000 words is now down to about 16,500. (This is because for NaNo, when I re-wrote a chapter over with different scenes, I just included all of the versions in my word count, but now I am discarding the lame early mis-starts.) There are also a few scenes that need filling out. (In my NaNo original, I just wrote "Insert some sort of cool kung-fu fight here.") I expect the whole section to be about 18,000 words when finished. This is good, because it's just the first 1/5 of the book. If each section is about 18,000 words, the final book will be about 90,000 words. I hope that's not too long for YA novel, if indeed this book *is* a YA novel.


An Anonymous commenter offered a suggestion on the fraternities issue. Why not look at the names of animal groups? Pack, flock, herd.... What a terrific idea! I wanted a word that suggested strength and dignity -- who would willingly call themselves a flock, implying they were all a bunch of sheep? Pack is too werewolfy, so that was out, but something predator-related. I decided to try out "pride": they view themselves as warriors, "lions" of the human world. Thanks, Anonymous.

NaNoWriMo Winner

Cheating paid off. I hacked out a rough draft just over 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. Of course, it's awful, and only the first part of the story, but I'm pretty happy. This is actually the first time I've won NaNo, though not the first time I've written 50,000 words in two weeks. Both of my romance books were written in about two weeks. Now that I have the draft, I can see a lot room for improvement. I'm not sure it even begins in the right place.


I posed my "two many brothers" question (ha ha) on the Writing Workshop chat list and received some feedback. Of those who piped up, the general consensus seemed to be that, yeah, two pairs of half-brothers IS one pair too many and I should drop the more minor pair of characters, or steal their plot arc and use if for the hero. Good advice, although it won't work in this case. Anyway, I brainstormed some more and came up with new ideas. My character is back to being an only child. But, he is a member of a fraternity. Is there a word for fraternity which includes both boys and girls? The Thesaurus just gives me: "Brotherhood" (obviously no improvement) and "affiliation, camaraderie, club, confederation, congress, federation, fellowship, frat, guild, house, kinship, order, sisterhood, society, sorority." I don't want to use "secret society" because I use that in Dindi a thousand times. I want a word with more meat to it than "camarader


November is never a good novel writing month for me, and having a baby hasn't made things any easier. Nonetheless, this year, as in other years, I am driven by an absurd desire to enter NaNoWriMo . Needless to say, when one enters ten days before the end of the month, and can't even commit those ten days to full writing, the chances of winning (writing 50,000 words of a new novel) is drastically reduced. This year I decided to cheat. Instead of a new novel, I resolved to take the time to do a rewrite of an old one. Now, when I say re-write, I mean every single word is changed, almost every single scene is changed and just about the entire plot is changed. So in essence, it IS a new novel. One might then ask, in what sense, ISN'T it a new novel? Actually, there are two critical areas where I don't need to start from scratch -- the characters and the worldbuilding. I spent years of my youth lovingly crafting the layered histories of this world. My characters have spent

Body Shifting

My father is visiting this weekend. The female personalities are at the fore again, and they are pursuing their long-held dream of gender reassignment. It hurts the feelings of the ladies that I can't whole-heartedly endorse their goal. For people who don't know, or don't believe, in DID, it's easy for them to congratulate my dad on pursuing this. My husband, for instance, thought it seemed fine, and didn't really understand why I objected. Sorry. As cool and PC as it would be to have a transgender GP ("Genetic Parent"), I have my doubts about the wisdom or fairness of someone with DID getting permanent gender reassignment surgery. The fairness issue really bothers me, in particular. If multiple personalities aren't in any real sense "different" personalities, then all that is at issue is self-delusion. But if a multiple really does create the equivalent of unique sentient selves, who happen to share a single body, then, for one or a handful

Natural Vs. Medicated Birth

Yesterday, on Nov. 7, 2008, I delivered my second son. My first birth was completely "natural", by which I mean drug free. This post has nothing to do with writing, except to admit that one of the reasons -- perhaps a more unusual reason for wanting a natural birth -- was because, as a writer, I wanted to know how most women, throughout history, would have experienced childbirth. How else could I write about it? This time I wanted to experience how women in the future would experience childbirth -- perhaps point-to-point transport from womb to incubator? Alas, I couldn't find a hospital offering such services. In any event, this time I agreed to be induced. (Last time I went a week past my due date, to my doctor's annoyance, waiting for labor to begin on its own). Induction is usually done by administering Pitocin, a drug that simulates the body's natural trigger for labor. I'd researched Pitocin and other birth medications during my first pregnancy. One of th

Multiple Minds

What prompted me to resume entries in my blog was actually a personal matter. My father has Dissociative Identity Disorder (formally known as Multiple Personality Syndrome). I've known for some time, but only recently did he "come out" to me, prompting us to have a lot of really refreshing heart-to-heart conversations about it. One of the interesting things about DID/MPS is that so many people, including many therapists -- and for that matter, many people with DID themselves -- disbelieve in it. I find their disbelief curious. It's not that the evidence for DID is any more scanty than evidence for other personality disorders, so why is it so hard to grasp? I think people have two different kinds of problems believing it. Or maybe, two different kinds of people have trouble believing it. On the one hand, there are those whose sense of self is so solid and singular that they really just can't imagine, literally cannot imagine or picture to themselves what it would

Blog Notes

I've always been a bit at a loss what to do with this blog. It's not a personal journal, so I don't want to delve into my personal life. It's not a political blog, so I definitely don't want to go there. It's supposed to be about writing, but usually if I'm writing, I'd rather be writing than writing about writing. As a result, though, I don't blog much about anything, and the blog has been neglected. So, in attempt to revive the blog, I'll take a new approach. I will get a little more personal, at the risk of wasting your time with my boring life. Mostly, I'll talk more about the things that intrigue me -- history, psychology, physics -- the stuff which sparks my stories. I still don't promise to write all that regularly, but at least when I have a little something to say, I can (hopefully) feel freer to discuss it here than I did before. That's the whole point of a blog, right?