naomi_jay: (absinthe)
I just found this article by Robert Winston about creative block (jncluding writers' block). Lots of interesting stuff there about musicians gassing themselves, but obviously I'm more interested in the writerly bit. I've been pretty open about the fact that I've suffered from depression, and how much I hate this idea that misery equals great creativity*, so I like that Winston notes so many of these composers and writers did not produce their best work during periods of depression. Rather, they struggled through the depression caused by lack of inspiration in order to create.**

I'm not sure how I feel about writers' block; whether it really exists, or whether it's a convenient excuse for not working. I definitely have days when I don't want to write, or can't think of anything to write, but if I make myself do it, I usually get in the swing eventually. I can't remember who said it, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that "you can edit anything except a blank page." In other words, even if you've got 10 pages of crap, that's still 10 pages, right?

On the other hand, I struggled horribly with the original sequel to SILVER KISS, BAD DOGS. Every time I opened the document up to work on it, I became more and more convinced it was utter tripe and would never be as good as SILVER KISS. In the end I was afraid to try to work on it. So I scrapped it, started BLOOD HUNT and found I was much happier. Was that writers' block, or just the wrong project at the wrong time? Or just rampant neuroticism on my part?

What do other people think? Writers, do you get writers' block? Non-writers, do you believe in it, or are we all just a bunch of wangsty emo kids who should shut up and get back to work?

*If I could imprint one message upon humanity's collective unconsciousness, it would be that depression and art are not the same thing. You do not have to be some tortured, maudlin, absinthe-swigger to produce works of beauty. Being creative does not automatically make you some darkity-dark Byronic figure, okay?

**Probably worth noting that one of the commentors on this article notes that his best work comes when he's unhappy.

naomi_jay: (ZP - srs riter)
*Hunter S Thompson

Okay, so after all that angst and hair-pulling, I have clawed my way to 5k on BLOOD HUNT. I definitely made the right decision to write this book instead of BAD DOGS, but today was one of those days where you have to fight for every word. I'm not a great believer in The Muse, or even Writer's Block, but whatever it is that lets you turn blank pages into a book, I struggled with it today.

Anyway. Never mind. The important thing is I'm catching up with myself, and I actually like what I'm writing, which makes all the difference.

 
5162 / 70000 words. 7% done!

And just to prove I'm writing, here's a snippet from tonight's efforts:

Snikt! )
naomi_jay: (halo girl)
 ... It's to know when I'm beaten. And as far as BAD DOGS goes, I'm beaten. I thought I'd figured out my problems with this book, but it turns out I haven't. Simply put, my heart is just not in it. So I'm scrapping it completely and moving onto the idea my heart is in. The plot I was originally saving for a potential fourth book in the Urban Wolf series will now be book two. BAD DOGS is dead, and BLOOD HUNT lives in it's place. Ta da!



 
1791 / 70000 words. 3% done!

I'm annoyed at how much time I've wasted, and I hope that I will be able to write BAD DOGS eventually, because there are elements to the plot I love. But right now I just can't do it. I don't know why and I don't want to waste more time examining the matter. Luckily for me, writing BLOOD HUNT now instead of later in the series won't affect any of the overarcing plots, and writing BAD DOGS later won't either. So Ayla and Shannon are going to Paris and I get to write about sewer monsters (OR ARE THEY???) instead of court cases, which frankly appeals to me a lot more right now.

On the plus side, I wrapped up all the loose ends with Demonised, and it's now out on submission. So that's at least one thing achieved this weekend. And my boss is back at work tomorrow so I can beg her for some time off asap before I go stark raving mad.
naomi_jay: (moon reflection)
Despite being distracted by the dubious charms of a certain book by a certain author who shall certainly remain nameless, and despite staying up until 5am this morning drinking cherry lambrini and watching Dating in the Dark engaging in intellectual pursuits, I have managed to add a few thousand more words to BAD DOGS. I still don't entirely feel in the swing of things yet. It's nice being back in Ayla's head, and it was easier than I thought it might be to get there, but because the first two chapters are quite slow, I can't help but worry about it. I'm confident the main plot will be awesomely creepy and cool once I get there, but if the lead-up isn't engaging enough... Well, yeah, we'll get there.

 
5016 / 70000 words. 7% done!

I'm going to do some more revision on Demonised later this evening, since I'm keen to get that submitted asap. And I suspect an early night may well be in order...
naomi_jay: (rapper with a baby)

With Demonised in the capable hands of one or two beta readers (one of whom has already warned me "not to hate him" when I read his comments), and BAD DOGS under way, it seems like a fitting time to see where I'm at.

Writing Life (in no particular order)

1. Finish Earthbound for Queer Light anthology - still waiting to hear back on this one.
2. Rewrite Wild for my Fearless Agent. First three chapters must be done by 23rd March. Shouldn't be a problem. All done and dusted, waiting to hear from my Fearless Agent as to whether we're set for submission or not.
3. Finish Demonised, an Ethan Banning novella, for submission to Damnation Books - My plan is write up a synopsis while I wait to hear back from my daring beta readers, then hopefully be ready to submit by the end of June.
4. Start on BAD DOGS, the sequel to SILVER KISS - The process has begun! As I'm taking part in [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney 's writing summer camp, I expect to make steady progress on this over June, July, and most of August.
5. Continue with Afterburn, the sequel to AFTERLIFE. - Yep, still on the list, except I'm changing the title back to Halflife because I decided to steal the original plot for another novel to be written in the future had a rethink on the storyline and came up with a much, much better idea for Yasmin's second adventure.
6. The Queer Gothic anthology is due for release soonish, so I should have edits for Moths forthcoming too. - Still waiting to hear about this one.

Real Life

1. Keep job-hunting! Must be in new job before the summer if possible - Um, fail?
2. Start house-hunting. Must be in new house before the summer. I will not spend another winter in this glorified cowshed - Hey, look at that! I achieved a Real Life goal!


naomi_jay: (ZP - working from home)
And we're off! BAD DOGS has officially begun, and I'm going to spend the rest of the summer tearing my hair out over it. I'm not ashamed to admit that Demonised became a form of procrastination for me, a way of not starting BAD DOGS. Because I'm terrified! SILVER KISS got such amazing reviews and positive reactions - what if it was a fluke? What if the sequel doesn't match up? I was just saying to [livejournal.com profile] sartorias that's a pretty normal reaction for me with a new project. My internal editor leaps in screaming "you're crap! Your writing is bad and you should feel bad!" I usually calm down by the time I've written a few chapters, and I'm sure BAD DOGS will be no different. But yes, I was scared to start writing this. I was scared I wouldn't be able to remember Ayla's voice, for one thing.

But hey, fear is not productive, right? So I've firmly pulled out my favourite writing mantra - get it written, then get it right, and will bravely do battle with the internal editor until she shuts up and goes away. Wish me luck!



1624 / 70000 words. 2% done!
naomi_jay: (mike)
... Ethan's done! Demonised is finished (the first draft, anyway) and in the hands of two trusty readers who will no doubt love and worship me for writing it (or tell me it sucks, more likely...) Huzzahs! Now I can stop worrying about it for a week or so and get cracking on BAD DOGS, which technically I should have started last month.

Anyway, behold my shiny gold word count meter!



37287 / 37287 words. 100% done!

Now to celebrate with voodoo!
naomi_jay: (typewriter)
So, moving on. I've signed up for [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney's writing summer camp. My goal is to have the first draft of BAD DOGS done by August, which I think is quite reasonable, since this is about the same time scale I took to write SILVER KISS last year. Admittedly I'll be starting a bit later because of Ethan and his damn chain-smoking, but I'm still confident. I'm not setting myself any daily word counts; I'm just going to chug along and see how I go. I learnt whilst re-writing Wild that I really cannot do hardcore daily writing anymore without the arm injury flaring up and putting me out of action for a day or so. Especially on top of the day job. So I'm avoiding guilt-tripping myself with word counts, and settling for "write something every day."

Work on BAD DOGS commences on Saturday after Dad and I have visited the local recyling centre (my life! So glamourous!). Tonight, Ethan's adventure comes to an end, no matter how late I have to stay up to finish it. I'm so nearly there, it kills me to have to be at work when I could be at home writing. Just like the rest of the time...
naomi_jay: (skull)
 Yes, we're all excited about the Tudor werewolf novel(s), and yes, I do already have a plot and a title, and have started re-reading about the Tudors in preparation. But t'is not time for that yet! There's still a certain Ethan novella to finish, and BAD DOGS to write. So Mistress Wolf must wait. Which is probably a good thing, given the amount of research I need to do.

Anyway. Obviously I didn't make my target of finishing Demonised before we moved house, and starting BAD DOGS in May, because we've moved and May is almost over. So, new plan! Finish Demonised over today and tomorrow (three day weekend, come on!), and start BAD DOGS in June instead. I think that works. Here's where Ethan's at currently:



25815 / 30000 words. 86% done!

I really think I can finish it over the next two days, if I can remember what was supposed to be happening ... So, off I go!
naomi_jay: (dark angel)
I went out for one quick drink after work with Kyle and his boss last night that turned into a five-hour drinking session down by the river. Now that's forward planning! 

In real news, today I must begin the arduous process of packing my books and breakable bits. Most of my books are already packed; I'm down to the last two bookcases. Breakable bits are breakable, and I'm a bit worried about my unnecessarily huge perfume collection. If anything broke or spilled in transit, I'd be devastated. And my possessions would never be the same again. So, lots of newspaper and bubble wrap is in order. I'm meeting [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  for cocktails this afternoon, so most of the packing will have to wait until after lunch. But I want to get it all done today if I can so I can spend tomorrow working on Demonised.

The plan is to finish Demonised before we move on Wednesday. In theory that should be easy because I now know how it ends. In practise... we'll see. There's still loads to do towards moving. We've finished the garden, but there's the inside cleaning to take care of. And next week at work will be hellish because we've got a conference on. It wouldn't be polite to say out loud how I feel about this conference and all the stress it's caused me, so... Just imagine. Yeah. There you go.

Anyway, at least I have a plan. And if I do succeed in finishing Demonised on schedule, I can then start BAD DOGS in a shiny new house! Yay! I've had the first chapter in my head for months, but I feel compelled to finish Ethan's adventure off before I start on Ayla and Shannon's next one.
naomi_jay: (viva los muertos)
In my bid to get Demonised finished up before I start BAD DOGS (or at least the first draft), I have set to work with wild abandon! It's been a good month or so since I last did any work on this novella, so I had to go back and re-read the whole thing to remind myself of what was going on, and it can be summarised thusly:

Ethan finds dead people.
Ethan hates demons.
Ethan rescues stray dogs.
Ethan spends too much money on home-shopping channels.
Ethan hearts Anna.
Ethan goes to a strip club.
Ethan needs an exorcism.

I'm pretty pleased with how he's doing. I'm not really sure how long this is going to be. I thought originally about 20k, but then Ethan had to go and adopt a dog, and now I'm thinking it'll probably be between 20 - 30k. So I'll probably be working on it alongside BAD DOGS.



16435 / 30000 words. 55% done!
naomi_jay: (butterfly on hand)
I'm stupidly smiley and happy this morning. Must be all the glorious sunshine! (And I'm still a little bit giddy from seeing the maned wolf on Saturday - must find a way to work a maned werewolf into a future novel).

Anyway, where are we at? Wild is back with my Fearless Agent, who's re-reading the changes and promises to get back to me soon and send it out on submission (barring any further changes *quakes*). So:

Writing Life (in no particular order)

1. Finish Earthbound for Queer Light anthology - waiting to hear back on this one.
2. Rewrite Wild for my Fearless Agent. First three chapters must be done by 23rd March. Shouldn't be a problem. Actually ended up rewriting the whole second half from scratch, then adding in a further 11k last week to accommodate a few suggestions and questions from my Fearless Agent. Am now sick to death of werewolves. (Nah, not really).
3. Finish Demonised, an Ethan Banning novella, for submission to Damnation Books - this is definitely the next project. Got 13k already down, and really want to finish this off before the end of April (which won't happen, but there is a bank holiday weekend coming up, so we can but try).
4. Start on BAD DOGS, the sequel to SILVER KISS - This is my May project, another reason to finish Demonised as soon as possible.
5. Continue with Afterburn, the sequel to AFTERLIFE. - Yep, still on the list, except I'm changing the title back to Halflife because I decided to steal the original plot for another novel to be written in the future had a rethink on the storyline and came up with a much, much better idea for Yasmin's second adventure.

The Queer Gothic anthology is due for release soonish, so I should have edits for Moths forthcoming too.

Real Life

1. Keep job-hunting! Must be in new job before the summer if possible - Got an interview on Wednesday (hmm, need to tell my boss, actually).
2. Start house-hunting. Must be in new house before the summer. I will not spend another winter in this glorified cowshed - We've got three places to look at this week, and fingers crossed one will be right, because I am just not paying the extra rent on the cowshed. [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  has already found herself new digs (sob!) which makes me sad for myself but happy for her, because she's going to be saving money and living with awesome people.
naomi_jay: (silver kiss)
 So says Cajun Book Lady, who reviewed it. Huzzahs! Ice cream for everyone, especially since it's a beautiful ice creamy day in Cambridge. 

"I read this all in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down."

Further huzzahs! I still find it so surreal that this is my book people are talking about, something I wrote. It just seems... bizarre. Anyway, I shall celebrate by heading into town to buy birthday presents for my brothers, and possibly treat myself to a smoothie from the market or something. Cambridge has suddenly turned all spring-like, which makes me very happy. Birds are singing, the sun is shining, everything smells like fresh-cut grass, and I haven't had any hayfever yet. Plus, we have no more workshops at work for a couple of months, which means I will be free from professors stopping me on the street asking me about the broadband connection in their houses (presumably).

I feel really energised today. I'm going to meet up with Pip and watch lots of Lost and drink lots of wine and plan lots of writing. For I shall return to writing on Monday. The plan is to finish the Ethan novella, Demonised, over the next couple of weeks and be ready to start writing BAD DOGS at the start of May. Based on the reviews for SILVER KISS so far, I feel I have a lot to live up to...
naomi_jay: (thrilling)
So. Yes. I finished the rewrite of Wild, again. This is getting to be a bad habit. It's now safely in my Fearless Agent's hands, leaving me time to recover from the whole process. I do mean recover - in the past five days I've written around 22k, culminating in a 7k marathon last night. So my arm is in absolutely agony this morning... what I can feel of it, anyway. I woke up in the middle of the night with both arms numb, which panicked me a little bit and made sleeping very uncomfortable. My left arm is fine this morning, except for the odd twinge in my index finger, but my right arm? My finger tips are numb and the rest just bloody hurts.

It was totally worth it though. I felt incredibly relieved and smug when I woke up this morning and remembered that I'd finished. I mean, I don't know if any of it is good or not, but I never do. But regardless, it's done. Yay! *all rise, commence rejoicing* And we can cross that task off the Accountability List.

Writing Life (in no particular order)

1. Finish Earthbound for Queer Light anthology
2. Rewrite Wild for my Fearless Agent. First three chapters must be done by 23rd March. Shouldn't be a problem. Obviously since I made this list, I've rewritten pretty much the entire novel. I don't think there's a single word remaining from the original draft except maybe "Lizzie" and "werewolves."
3. Finish Demonised, an Ethan Banning novella, for submission to Damnation Books.
4. Start on BAD DOGS, the sequel to SILVER KISS.
5. Continue with Afterburn, the sequel to AFTERLIFE.

So, according to my shiny list, Demonised is next, but I'm taking the rest of the week off writing wise to let my arm recover. In the mean time, here's an awesome review of AFTERLIFE for you to enjoy!

naomi_jay: (moon reflection)
 

So it's all over! The SILVER KISS blog tour has rolled to a stop right here, at my blog. Bet you didn't see that coming. 

It's been an amazing tour - I've had some lovely reviews and blogged at some brilliant places, spoken to some fabulous people. The Twitter party was great fun too - thanks to everyone who helped that go off with a bang, and shared their thoughts on everything from werebadgers to full moon criminal activity. On that note, I have winners! With the aid of a random number generator, I've selected one lucky winner of a limited edition paperback WOLF STRAP, and one winner of the grand gift hamper, which includes a copy of SILVER KISS, a copy of QUEER WOLF, and a tarot reading from me. So without further ado:

Winner of WOLF STRAP: @doombreed

Winner of the gift hamper: @ThomasRoche

Yay! Thank you both for taking part :)

I'd like to conclude by saying something eloquent and Oscar-esque, but I've eaten too much chicken and chorizo pasta and my brain has stopped. So I'll just say again, thanks everyone, and I'll see you on the BAD DOGS blog tour! 


naomi_jay: (crawling angel)
Phew! Earthbound has been finished to the best of my ability and send off to the anthology editor.

Earthbound word count

 
12575 / 12575 words. 100% done!

I'm happy with it, but still not sure it's quite right for the anthology. We'll see. That's one item to cross of my accountability list anyway.

Writing Life (in no particular order)

1. Finish Earthbound for Queer Light anthology
2. Rewrite Wild for my Fearless Agent. First three chapters must be done by 23rd March. Shouldn't be a problem.
3. Finish Demonised, an Ethan Banning novella, for submission to Damnation Books.
4. Start on BAD DOGS, the sequel to SILVER KISS.
5. Continue with Afterburn, the sequel to AFTERLIFE.

Real Life

1. Keep job-hunting! Must be in new job before the summer if possible.
2. Start house-hunting. Must be in new house before the summer. I will not spend another winter in this glorified cowshed.

Now, if I could just stop having ideas for more new projects, I can crack on with Wild again...
naomi_jay: (alice)
I decided this year I'd make a serious attempt at organizing myself. I'm a pantser, both in writing and life, and tend to wander aimlessly along hoping for the best. No more! Those days are over, that Nome is gone. 2010 Nome is a sleeker machine.* I've got a lot of work on writing-wise this year, and if I'm lucky there'll be lots more. So some kind of order is required. In that spirit, I'm taking a leaf from [livejournal.com profile] blackaire 's book and keeping track of writing life/real life projects. I like lists, and I like crossing things off lists, so in theory it should work. So, we begin!

Writing Life (in no particular order)

1.Finish Earthbound for Queer Light anthology (I'm well past the deadline, but I'm going to finish it and query anyway).
2. Rewrite Wild for my Fearless Agent. First three chapters must be done by 23rd March. Shouldn't be a problem.
3. Finish Demonised, an Ethan Banning novella, for submission to Damnation Books.
4. Start on BAD DOGS, the sequel to SILVER KISS.
5. Continue with Afterburn, the sequel to AFTERLIFE.

Real Life

1. Keep job-hunting! Must be in new job before the summer if possible.
2. Start house-hunting. Must be in new house before the summer. I will not spend another winter in this glorified cowshed.

And because it's been a while since I posted one, and I like seeing those word counts rise, here's a word meter for Earthbound:

 
8511 / 15000 words. 57% done!


*Not literally. I haven't become bionic or anything.
naomi_jay: (butterfly)
 So it's the weekend, which means no blog touring today or tomorrow. But that doesn't mean there aren't SILVER KISS-related going-ons, oh no! Thank to an email from somebody, I found this review by Sherwood Smith. Can I just say? Wow. This is my book we're talking about. How surreal is that? And not only is it a really lovely review, it's also very thoughtful and constructive, and has given me some things to thing about when I start on BAD DOGS. So I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Not just by Smith's review, but all the great attention and reaction SILVER KISS has received so far. It's probably not a secret that I struggle with confidence where certain things are concerned, writing amongst them. So all this - the good reviews, people saying they can't wait to read the book, etc - has just been amazing.

Also amazing was meeting my agent yesterday. We had a good chat about Wild and how to polish it up for submission. Dare I say we're nearly there? Yeah, there will be one more rewrite - making that five rewrites since 2007... - but I'm excited instead of frustrated now. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this novel, whereas during the last rewrite I knew I was off track, but couldn't tell why. 

So it's all good and all go, and I'm a happy, but tired* bunny. ^_^ 

*Tired because I went out drinking last night. But I want it to be known by all who may be concerned that I was tucked up in bed before midnight, and I'm pretty sure I hardly drank any actual vodka at all. 

Next?

Feb. 16th, 2010 02:26 pm
naomi_jay: (looks like lizzie)
Since Wild is with my Fearless Agent and SILVER KISS is almost ready to step out into the big bad world, my mind has inevitably turned to the next project. (It's taken me like, a week to get over Wild. When I finished the rewrite I swore I'd never write anything again and everything could just go to hell because dammit, my arm really hurt. Still does, but anyway).

Anyway. There are a couple of certs - namely the two sequels to SILVER KISS. I'm undecided what order to do them in. Both will take Ayla and Shannon out of town. Probably Bad Dogs will be next since the events follow on quite closely from SILVER KISS. That's set Oop North. The third book is set in France and is currently called Moonstruck, but I'm edging towards changing that to something along the lines of Stone Touch. All will become clear eventually, I promise.

I've also got the sequel to AFTERLIFE, called Afterburn despite the indigestion connotations. That's not contracted, but Damnation Books did express an interest in seeing it, and I definitely want to write it.

I've been working on and off on a novella called Earthbound for a QueeredFiction anthology. The deadline is already gone (it passed whilst I was feverishly writing about junkie werewolves and homeless ghouls), but I'm going to finish it up and inquire anyway.

There's that zombie-military thing too. I'm currently reading Zombie CSU for research. There's also a YA idea floating around, although I've never written YA before so I'm not sure about that one.

And always, always, there's the rewrite of Scarlett's first novel. Sigh. Always. One day I will do it, I will make it awesome and it will take over the world. And then you'll all see *shakes fist skyward*

And all of this is why I need to escape this damnable dayjob.


naomi_jay: (cubewich)

So I've got a couple of ideas in mind for my next writing project. I really want to go back to Night and Chaos, which started life last year as a novella, but now feels more like a novel. It's a dark urban fantasy - the darkest thing I've written, I think, and having re-read the 9k I wrote last year recently, I'm keen to dive back in.

And I'm halfway through a novella I'd quite like to submit to Harlequin's Nocturne Bites line once it's finished and polished up. I love short story writing, and I think it's a great exercise for any writer - if you learn to craft a short story properly, it will show in your novels. Your prose is tighter, and your pacing is better. You don't have time to arse around in short stories, so every word counts and you quickly learn to pick your words for maximum effect. You learn to eliminate the "telling, not showing" problem, and you get used to working to specific word counts and making best use of them. Seriously, I could go on about this subject all day if you let me. But anyway...

Really, the priority for me right now is SILVER KISS and it's sequels. I had a long chat with [community profile] chaostheorya couple of nights ago about the direction I want the sequels to go in, as well as the overarcing themes of the series (tentatively called Wolf City at this point). One of the themes that kept cropping up, both in Wolf Strap and SILVER KISS is the idea that fertility rates are low amongst werewolves. The obvious problem with this is that, say your wolves are only producing one child per couple, your population is halving with every generation, and you're on the fast-track to extinction. Not great.

I talked this problem over with both my writers' group and [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory, and brainstormed some scenarios that will tie in nicely to a plot strand of the second book (tentatively called Bad Dogs). It does mean I have to do some in-depth research on the causes of fertility problems, which I imagine will make my brain hurt. But I'm determined to do this idea justice, even if it requires learning science, and then trashing what I've learned and mixing it up with Eastern European werewolf folklore, a bit of stuff I'm just making the hell up, and maybe some cannibalism too.*

*I'm joking about the cannibalism.**

**Or am I?


PS... ).

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