Friday, February 23, 2007

Points and Plots

As Instigator mentioned yesterday, dieting is very much on the consciousness of all the Playfriends, as though this week's subjects (candy, chocolate...) and titles hadn't tipped you off...heck even the "market" conversation made me think of grocery shopping. Sigh. What does this have to do with anything? Not much other than my recent obsession with food is flowing over into all the other areas of my life. I even wrote a scene yesterday where the characters were eating at a nice restaurant. Wonder how many points it is for oysters rockefeller and a chocolate souffle? More than my daily allotment, no doubt. :)

I'm even eating while I write this blog...reduced fat wheat thins. Yum.

I'm easily distracted lately. Fortunately, my writing challenge is going better that my diet (although the true test won't come until next Monday when I weigh in again.) I have been writing at least two pages every day and I've knocked out two chapters since I started. It isn't the 6 page a day goal I'd hoped for, but its certainly better than the zero pages I'd written in the weeks/months prior. I'm also in the middle, my worst place. I'm struggling to figure out what happens between A and C, and so far, I've had some good developments.

For one, I've signed up for an online class to help me along - Private Investigations for Writers. When I was writing about my character, a new PI, I realized I had no idea what she would do in certain situations. At first, the mechanics of her job were not critical to the plot, but I've made changes that bring her work front and center. I couldn't count on my hazy memories of Magnum PI or Simon & Simon to bail me out. Their methods are most certainly outdated anyway, if not completely unrealistic. I caught a class that had just started being taught by two actual PIs, one who also writes for HQ. I was very stoked they let me join late - the next class isn't until October and my book has to be finished, proofed, cleaned up and ready to pitch before July gets here. So far, so good.

Two, I've worked more on my villians. My current story has 4, all working separately, so its been difficult working out each one's motivations - are they evil or just sneaky, mean spirited or just trying to make a buck...although they're all bad in one way or another, only one of them can be the real bad guy and he can't be the one you think it is. I've had a few realizations while munching on rice cakes that are moving me in a positive direction.

That established, over the next couple days I have to figure out what is typically done during a seance. Yeah, I said seance. All I have are images of gypsies and levatating tables and ghosts who knock twice for yes and once for no. Probably as close to reality as Magnum is to PI work. This should prove interesting to research, at the very least. I'm sitting here wondering where I'd even start. Of course, I've got to put off the research to spend the weekend in Atlanta watching dirt bikes jump in the air and go around a track over and over and over...I'd take a book, but I'm sure some guy'd spill beer on it. I love my life.

So...on top of all this, the buying and selling of homes and the domestic strife of Anna Nicole and Britney are pulling my brain in about eight different directions right now. How do you focus on one thing when everything else is nagging at you to pay attention to it?

(160/250 pages = 46% complete!)


Playground Monitor said...

How do you focus on one thing when everything else is nagging at you to pay attention to it?

Simple. I don't.

I'm easily distracted. I think I wrote about 4 pages, but half of that was a re-write because I'd written myself into a corner the first time. I kept getting up to re-fill my teacup, to watch the birds outside (wasn't it gorgeous outside today?), to check if the mail carrier had come, to re-fill my teacup -- oh wait... I already did that.

I did my tarot cards yesterday and they said I had new possibilities in my life and I need strength and courage to achieve self-mastery, which I took to mean self-discipline, which means keeping my butt in the chair instead of everywhere else.

*sigh* Who said writing was easy?


Rhonda said...

**How do you focus on one thing when everything else is nagging at you to pay attention to it?**

Typically, I watch a movie. If my time is going to be that screwed up, then I figure I might as well enjoy it. :-)

Problem Child said...

When you discover the solution to wandering focus, please let me know. I seem to have the attention span of a goldfish these days.

Maven LJ said...

I have had to learn how to work in short snatches of time, when necessary. I would much rather have an entire day to devote to my writing when the ideas are flowing, but now and then it just won't happen. When the calendar has a lot of little notations on it for appointments or whatever, it's tough to find those free days.

I've actually just started a new book that way, when I only have the time to do four or five pages -- or maybe even two. It's not my most favorite way of working, but right now it's all I've got.

I tell myself the long days will come, and they will. Eventually.


Instigator said...

Normally I do a pretty good job at keeping all my balls in the air but just can't.

I know there are several things I've neglected this week but with a house overrun with plague I just didn't have much choice. Absolutely there were minutes I could have snatched here and there but they wouldn't have been good ones. Sometimes you just have to realize you can't do it all and pick the things that are most important, the things that can't wait.

Instigator - who thinks you're crazy because if you've noticed you're the only one working on the writing challenge this week :-) You've rocked some major pages!!

Kathy said...

I'm not good at this. You all know how hard it is for me to hold myself back from doing the 'other' stuff.

I agree with Instigator, SP. You seem to be doing a great job managing your time right now. It's all about consistency.

PM, I've been listening to the birds, pondering the sunshine, feeling the urge to go out and feel soil underneath my fingertips.

Rhonda, the Phantom has been calling.


Angel said...

I'm having a lot of trouble focusing this week because of family issues. My brain feels like it's in a fog.

But normally I am easily distracted and can only focus on the manuscript for a certain period of time. My problem is, I want to have a large block of time to write, when I can take breaks when I need to, not because someone needs a snack or is irritated at her brother or wants dinner. Grrr!!!

I'd love to get away for a few days to refocus on the work (and this is a great tool I've used in the past), but I have to save my getaway points for Scotland and Nationals. :)