not so odds & ends

Great post on how different writers write – routine or lack of it, setting deadlines, using page count vs. word count. I use word count, setting a rough goal (for the next novel, it will likely be in the 90,000 range) and then daily and weekly targets. It helps.

What do Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O’Connor have in common? Read all of The Brutality of Grace:

Throughout much of her life, Flannery O’Connor struggled against what she perceived as dangerous and excessive sentimentality among her readers, defending her stories against accusations of violence, brutality, and “gothic grotesqueness.” For her, violence was an essential part of her message, for “to expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.” Responding to her critics, O’Connor made an important point: “Our age not only does not have a very sharp eye for the almost imperceptible intrusions of grace, it no longer has much feeling for the nature of the violences which precede and follow them.”

Yuvi Zalkow discusses using the computer as a creative tool for writing. I’m fine with MS Word, but if you want something simpler along with other suggestions, check out what he has to say.

30-Word Story Contest: SmokeLong Quarterly if you’re feeling overwhelmed, confine yourself to a 30 word story and enter

The rules:

•Thirty words exactly—no less, no more.
•You MUST have a title for your story, though the title does not count toward the word count.
•You can submit up to three stories, but please submit each story SEPARATELY.
•No entry fee.
•Submissions open from November 1 to November 30.

Enjoy your writing.

work habits

Last week I finished revisions on my latest novel and sent it off to a reader I trust. Note: always have a couple of people who will tell you the truth look at something before you send it out. Agents and publishing houses don’t have the time and money to edit you the way they used to. (Remake of Shane for the literary set – Come back, Max Perkins, Max, come back!) It’s also a good idea to hire an editor as well. However, not my point. My point is about the writing life and work habits. Writers who are prolific, successful or both, put in long hours with their story. They write because they cannot not write. So what did I do after finishing? Let a couple of the people closest to me know, posted it on social media and started researching the next novel. I can’t say much about the next novel, but I am going to give myself some time for background reading because at the moment, it looks like a much bigger book than I’ve written before.

My preferred schedule is to go to the gym or for a hike in the hills, work till lunch, errands, then more writing, then if I’m on a roll, more writing in the evening. When I was wrestling with the revisions, it took a lot of staring into space while I struggled to solve the problems of replacing and moving scenes. One of the instructors at Antioch pointed out the value of writing immediately after sleep and sometimes I try to do that, just to see if more creative solutions come first thing out of dream time. I’m not sure it makes a difference for me. Basically, all you can do is what works.