Friday, December 26, 2014

Change Is Good. Right?

Solstice sunrise. We've left the dark behind. While news programs overflow with top 10 of 2014 lists, I'm counting something else entirely. The minute and a half (on average) per day of sunlight we're gaining at this latitude. At the equinox, that gain will increase, but for now, watching the light grow in tiny increments plays well with some of the changes I made to writing this year.
Marcella's list of how 2014 changed writing:
1. Changed genres - I'd been writing science fiction. In 2014, I wrote and sold two urban fantasies. This entailed going from leaner, more action oriented scifi to a denser, and, I hope, richer narrative voice. The UF meant more internal conflict. Not that external was lacking. It just leant itself to a little more angst. Then, near the end of this year, I changed genres yet again. It's possible that there's a secret joke amongst my crit partners and me - that we're going to rename me. 'Genre Assassin'. Has a terrible ring to it, doesn't it? Other authors assure me that it just feels like I'm single-handedly killing genres, but that I'm going to have to stand in line for that 'Genre Assassin' title because any number of writers got there long before me. I'm not sure I'm comforted. However. If there's a genre you'd like to see murdered in cold blood, hit me up. I'm payable in small, unmarked bills. Or tea. Nah. Not going to name the new genre yet. Don't want it dying of fright before I have a chance to maybe get a story sold.
2. Wrote faster - While on deadline, I wrote 2k per day on a very steady basis. However, my daily average for the year drops like a rock once I delivered Nightmare Ink and Bound by Ink. Trusting that the story would take care of itself, writing 2k per day for 5 days a week turned out to be remarkably sustainable. However. It does require prep work. Which leads to:
3. Classes - Mary Buckham teaches a plotting workshop over two intense days. I'd taken this class once before, but there's so much. There's a clear gap between seeing the material once and mastering the material. I had hoped I'd achieve mastery. What I achieved was a trilogy plotted over those two days. Mastery? Noooo. Maybe that only comes after I finish the final book in the trilogy?
I leave you with bright wishes for the holidays, however and whichever you celebrate. In my case, watching the light rise against the dark is the celebration. It's also the secret sauce in any creative endeavor: every tiny gain counts. When you can make tracks, do it. Write all the words. Pour the brain cells out on to the page. But when that's not possible, it's not the number of words that count. It's the consistency. Just like a tiny minute and a half per day gain adds up to summer days that are sixteen hours long in Seattle, a consistent, tiny effort at words every day will add up to a luxuriously long story. It's the basis for a practice like Jeffe's that allows a writer to begin playing challenge games with daily word counts. It gets you in shape for word count marathons. Not easy. But oh so rewarding.

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