Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And back again

I am happy to announce that I am now Mrs. D. M. Beucler and the wedding went off with only one hitch, and that was the intended one. I decided to keep my maiden name. There are a variety of reasons why but professionally all the writing I have submitted so far is credited under this name. I would hate to lose that shadow of credibility. Besides, this means I don't have to stand in line at the social security office or change my signature or monograms.

As things are beginning to get back to normal around cricket house expect more writing updates. There might be actual content! Shocking. In the mean time I am applying butt to chair and hoping to get through this chapter soon. Over halfway through draft 1.

Friday, September 5, 2008

An update...

I have not forgotten this blog exists. Right now I in a state of "Can't sleep wedding will eat me!" This mostly contains panic attacks because the wedding dress isn't done yet (EEEP!) and odd dreams about missing the wedding due to scrubbing out the downstairs bathroom. Blogging will commence sometime after 9/20. Once I can sleep a full night with out getting up to check if I really did get enough wedding favors for everyone. In the mean time I did come up with a title for Massie's tale. That ought to count as major writing progress... or not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Writing through the weekend

I spent the weekend writing, which sounds quite virtuous until you realize that I should have spent the weekend unpacking boxes, cleaning up the chaos from the unpacking and getting the wedding stuff done. But I managed a thousand words a day, and 1700 yesterday. The word count is up and I can see the flaws but... I can also see a story.

As a motivating factor...background noise I can tune out helps and setting my screen saver to scream "GET BACK TO WRITING!!!!" in large red letters has also helped.

Tonight is my night for dance so I expect the word count will remain low but tomorrow 25K should be my next achievement. I can not wait.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Settling in

I moved into the house completely and I am trying to vary unpacking boxes with writing. There is some success thus far.

Today's odd writing tip is flashbacks. Flashbacks can be one of the most overused bits in writing. They can work, but they can also be a crutch. And I know why. They are easy to write. You aren't immediately in the scene and your hero of choice is retelling the choice bit of action. You know they made it out alive and the is more objectivity for the writer. They take you out of the "what happens next" head space and let you plot backwards.

For example our hero Mary has blown up a spaceship and by her reflecting back we can reason out how she did it and why with a lower pressure. It's already happened. Connecting the dots in reverse. When I get stuck with a piece of action that I can't figure out how to resolve I skip ahead and write a flashback. All of these flashbacks have ended up on the cutting room floor. Once I knew where the scene needed to go I wrote the ending and deleted the flashback.

Right now I am in middle of chapter 12 of a planned 23. Things are turning out a bit different then I planned and the outline is being modified on the fly to keep it on the track to the ending. Nothing major but things have come out in the writing that give a new spin to the ending. One of my favorite parts in writing is figuring out just how the story will end up going together.

If anyone is interested in the word counter I use it is located at Zokutou. Now back to boxes, wedding invitations, and word counts. The goal for today is to finish chapter 12.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Things are rather hectic in the house of Beucler. I am in the processes of finishing out my job in one city, moving to another, unpacking a house, and planning a wedding. If the blog entries are a little light at the moment and the word count is a little low, that is why.

Today's brief wandering is on the written word is an ode to the word processor. I use Word personally but I think these tricks should apply to most systems.

When I am writing at a good clip things will happen to trip me up. "What was the name of Suzy's third uncle? Which book did she read in chapter 7?" The analytical part of me wants to go check. This is death to the flow of words. By the time I check my fact and come back I've lost momentum and I have to work to get back to the scene. My solutions is to type in "xxname" or something to that effect and keep writing.

Say you are writing about Larry's journey into the woods of wonder and realize if I gave him a sword back in chapter 6 when he talks to Wizard Walter it will solve the plot problem with the giant rutabaga that's coming up. Don't stop! Type a note to yourself (I use red colored font) in the story and keep going. If you run out of words go back... but I try not to insert scenes while I am doing the first draft. In point of fact I try not to even read what I wrote before. This works for me because I outline the novel at the start and I write directly into the outline so I always know what needs to come next.

To avoid the temptation of either editing what I've already written (and thus not moving forward) I turn all of the parts I've already written into 1 pt font. Or I open a new window and write the chapter there then paste it back in the master copy. Editing for me is deadly in the first draft. I keep fixing things and making this line better and correcting that detail... and nothing moves forward.

For me it all seems to boil down to momentum.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Confessions from the writer

I write badly. I started writing stories when I was seven or eight and my early efforts were pretty awful, but that isn't what I mean. Today, right now, I write prose that alternates between simplistic drivel and florid prose, sometimes in the same sentence. Why do I create such abominations of the word? Well it's so I get something done.

I forget which writer this habit was attributed to, but the story goes he would type maybe a sentence a day and that would be a good days work. Now I have been known for some massive run ons in my day but that fault aside, say a sentence is usually 2- 20 words. Novels tend to be 50,000-150,000 words. That's like 13 years to write a novel. It's an extreme example, but when I started writing I had this image of the tortured writer agonizing over every word. Only the right word could hit the paper. I tried that technique, and I found that writing a story for me is like rolling a barrel. I need to build up momentum to keep it going otherwise the story and characters slip away and I start losing everything.

My solution is drafting. I think that it is fair to say very few rough drafts are publishing ready. In fact I would be surprised if any were. This is why we edit and rewrite, sometimes starting the whole thing again from scratch. It is a recent solution for me. I spent years, nearly ten of them in fact, trying to make everything come out perfectly start to finish. I wanted to read the novel I was writing as it happened, but I spent so much time editing what I had already written my forward progress was minimal.

Now I am a member of the terrible first draft club, may those drafts never see the light of day. I write faster (although I am still a slow writer in the grand scheme of things) and keep notes of what needs to be changed as I go. I skip things, write out of order, and decide in chapter 13 that Suzy has had a cat this whole time so I really should fix that once it's written. The end result is a mass of story that has a beginning and end and covers the main plot points. The characters are there but still rough in how they are coming out on the paper. To metaphor it is like making a sculpture. The first draft I make the frame for my story, dig up the clay, and pound the heck out of it. The rest of the drafts will make sure the frame is covered and making a pretty piece of art.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And so it begins.

Hello and welcome to the pit of insanity, commonly referred to as the brain of D. M. Beucler. Mind the draco-kittens in the corner they bite, but don’t worry in here they don’t shed. I hope your journey here wasn’t too taxing. The labyrinth outside can be a bit convoluted. Oh yes, leave your swords over here please. You can pick them up on your way out.

Well ladies and gentleman, this where it happens. Why the writing of course. It’s a little bit dinged up and starting to show some silver but here is the head where her ideas come from. Yes D. M. Beucler is female. Her head and the rest of her reside in Ohio surrounded by cats, costumes, and enough novels to build a fort. When she is not currently writing about superheroes, sorcerers, spaceships, and swords (sometimes all at once) she is a LARPer, a Wench, costumer and musician.

Her goal in creating this space was to occasionally write about the process of her writing, hopefully not always in the third person. Over here you can find the pile of notes and pages of Massie’s story. It’s about half way done on the rough draft and watch out for the dust and cobwebs. It will need a very good cleaning before it’s fit to view.

Over here is Lily’s tale which is very sparse and delicate right now. Most of D. M.’s attention is take up with Massie at the moment. Well that is the tour. If you stick around D. M should be back in the next few days to comment with a less colorful version of her writing techniques, tips and trials. She currently scales more to the trials. In the mean time D. M. recommends some of the following links on the subject of writing to educate and amuse. Please do drop by again.

SFFWA The Science fiction and fansty writers of America.

Writer Beware This is a must read for anyone who is thinking of getting published.

Miss Snark This blog is complete but the archives are a trove of information about the nuts and bolts of publishing.