Thursday, March 17, 2005

This up and down life. Last week all was good - writing was happening, had had two acceptances and sorted out (hopefully) a tricky contract, teaching was up and running ... then what happens? My agent doesn't feel my new novel is working. I get a rejection from an editor who'd held something for 4 months that I was really hopeful about. My husband loses his job and is not coping with being at home.
It doesn't take much, does it? Suddenly you feel like being a writer is the most demoralising job in the world!
But then I received a weekly email writers' newsletter and there is an article about Dealing with Discouragement. It talks about feeling low and why you might want to give up if you can't cope with the *many* discouraging things that will inevitably come your way as a writer. And how we often encourage people to keep writing and keep trying to get published even though it makes them miserable...
And I suddenly think - Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Writing makes you feel ten times (make that a thousand times) better than anything else you do, published or not. And I also remind myself that I am doing OK, really OK, and it's silly to let a few bad moments get me down. And I pick myself up and get going again.
11,000+ words in 3 weeks is good. That's what I will focus on.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I have been working on the fantasy novel I was commissioned to write, using an outline that they approved first, and a plot diagram. About 10,000 words so far, and feeling OK about it.
I regularly read Jane Yolen's journal, and the latest post has some very interesting comments about revision, which she has been asked about several times on her most recent tour.
I thought this was interesting as we seem to have been talking a lot in my Novel 2 class lately about rewriting and fixing things, and whether outlines help. It also came up in short story 2 class last week. They wanted to know if it was worth outlining a short story, and what I did. I had to admit that mostly I don't outline short stories, but that I often don't write a story until I have thought it out in my head and know what will happen.
I think that I have changed my writing methods over the past 2 years, mainly because I have been forced to write outlines for a couple of things (and worked out what doesn't work in outlining for me), then I did that sample for the book packager from their outline, then I tried out the stuff in the Elizabeth George book.
It's all helped. I feel now that if I do an outline that satisfies me, create it as a plot diagram (as EG does, kind of) then the writing works so much better structurally (and hopefully in other ways) that the revision part of it works better too. Not so much of the huge mass of words with no idea how to fix it except start again.
And now I also feel that I don't have the time or the energy to spend months trying to work out how to fix something. If I do the preparation stuff right, I tend to get the rest of it working better.
Anyway, just a few thoughts on this quiet Monday!!