August 24th, 2011

a-links

[links] Link salad knows that you’re in love with him

Man pretends to be 911 to telemarketer — Hahaha. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

From Country Bumpkin to City Dweller: Urban Wildlife

Why species matter

The New Big DataToday’s big data is forcing researchers to find new techniques for knowledge discovery and data mining.

Experiments Show Gravity Is Not An Emergent Phenomenon

Changing Face of an Icy Dwarf — Water volcanoes and red methane ice.

Fantasy author Jane Yolen under attack by Tea Party — The reality-impaired are at it again. (Via a mailing list I’m on.)

Study: Tea Party Members Cultural Dispositions ‘Authoritarianism, Fear Of Change, Libertarianism And Nativism’ — Also, this just in: sun rises in east. Are those really the criteria by which we want to manage our national discourse and governance?

?otD: Will you teach me how to dance real slow?


8/24/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (2,800 words on Sunspin)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 230.4 (yikes!)
Currently reading: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

writing-stained_glass_book

[process] Bulling through the bullshit

I’m at a point in drafting Calamity of So Long A Life (volume one of Sunspin) where the wordage I’m putting down feels rather like tedious natter. This is of course a normal phenomenon experienced by a great number of writers, often referred to as “the muddle in the middle”, though in my case this time it’s more like “the muddle at the 85% finished mark”.

One thing I’ve heard countless times in workshops, at retreats, and from aspiring writers in other settings is along the lines of, “I was writing this novel, but it just wasn’t working for me, then I had a better idea.” This is often accompanied by the statement that the writer has started six or seven (or whatever) novels, and finished none of them.

My response to that is that if you’d stuck with any of the ideas, you’ve already written enough word count to finish one, and possibly more than one. Consider this following concept carefully:

Finishing a novel is a necessary condition to selling that novel.

In other words, one of the most important writerly skills is learning to ignore that voice that sits in the back of your mental classroom, over by the glue pots, and drawls booooooring at you whilst you are pecking away at The Further Adventures of Spreadsheet Lad and the Balanced Books. It’s almost inevitable that at some point your magnum opus will feel boring to you. Heck, it might even be boring. But you don’t know. Not in the middle of writing it. How could you? You’re too close to the manuscript, and to the psychological processes of writing.

And if it turns out later that a portion of the manuscript is boring, then fix it on revision.

But don’t quit in the the middle because the novel isn’t working for you. Unfinished books don’t even have a chance to get read. And your inner voice is largely full of it in this context. Bull through the bullshit, finish the book, let it steep, and listen to your first readers.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.