The Howling Redo of Despair and Agony

It was an interesting night.

First off and totally unexpectedly, I got 287 words of actual draft. So HAH! Happy about that.

Second, I got out one of these neato little pre-ring-bound index card thingees I’ve had sitting in my office for the last few months after I found it at Office Depot—because I am a total office supplies ho, so I bought it even though I didn’t have a use for it at the time.

The thingee has about a hundred index cards in it, spiffy little plastic covers front and back, and dividers to separate it into three sections.

Dug out a Uni-Ball Vision Needle pen. (Look. This shit matters. When all that stands between your sanity and the Infinite Abyss of Screwed-Up Noveldom are office supplies, you want to have some nifty ones on hand. These are +7 Nifty, with a serious Anti-Abyss buff.)

Wrote my title on the front page: The Howling Redo of Despair and Agony: A.K.A. DTD, Section 2 — Fall.

Seriously. Those are the exact words on the cover card. Never let the Infinite Abyss think you take it seriously.

Drew my pen, aimed it at the notebook, and as quickly as I could keep the pen moving, ten very good scene sentences poured themselves onto the paper. Cardstock. Whatever.

So it was, in fact, a damn fine writing night. I’ll shoot for another ten scene sentences tomorrow night, and that will cover (PLUS three) my existing problem scenes. And, with my fingers in contact with the real—pen and paper, NOT pixels—my mind offered up a solution that will allow me to use a whole lot more of the words I’ve already written than I thought possible last night.

Sometimes, tapping the damn keys is no substitute for the physical act of writing. If this computer had a return bar I could slam from here to Newark every time I needed a carriage return, it might be different. That’s physical writing, too.

But anyway…

How are YOUR words coming along?

image_pdfDownload as PDFimage_printPrint Page

About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

43 comments… add one
  • Michelle Oct 2, 2009 @ 0:44

    Missed posting this…but I got 465.

  • Beverly Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:35

    Nothing. I am deturimined that I am going to get something down for October 1st.
    Odd way to go at it but my love is the colored parchment paper that I can find at Staples. That and the Waterman fountain pens. The journals that they have to offer are REALLY nice. Some of them anyway. Papermate Profile pens. Yeah, I can get into office supplies. I have a couple of the index ring binders. The thing that I got that couldn’t resist but don’t really need are the metal file card boxes. Oohhhh shiny…literally and figuratively.

  • Dena C. Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:34

    Well I put in some solid writing time tonight after work. 2450 words which puts me a little bit 10K on my new WIP. This new book is doing a good job of distracting me from the one I just finished, and I find I can let it sit for a while and wait for the revision.

  • Gabby Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:26

    Oy- can’t seem to focus tonight. I would rather be watching the evil box with the moving pictures on it. Ugh.

    So I have to come up with a story from my world’s past. A story that a performer could tell on stage that would keep people enthralled. I want it to be about a famous person from my world’s history, some sort of everyman whose ‘true’ story would inspire/brainwash other people to want to be just like that everyman, join the cause, and become a hero too.

    I’m throwing this out there–into the void–because it turns out that my Muse reads this blog too [small world]. And she always comes up with something special for me when she reads about it here. And I could really use the help today!

  • Don Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:08

    870 words things are going well windy and cold today.

  • May Oct 1, 2009 @ 17:04

    563 words, and I’m realizing this story has more to do with feminism and human justices than I had previously thought.

  • SCBrazil Oct 1, 2009 @ 12:58

    Miss Muse is in ecstasy.
    Hector gradually got his sight back after thirteen years but was being kidnapped and then interrogated as it happened. He escaped with the help of Anaje, a small aborigine girl and now that the danger is over, he just got off the escape boat and is walking along the beach towards his home. His mind is reeling; for the first time in years he connects colours to the scents of flowers, movement to the sounds of waves and an image to the warmth of the sun. Damn, he can even see the sun with his eyes closed.
    Despite all this, one thing is missing; to look upon his daughter’s face for the first time in his life.
    Little does he know – she won’t be there…

  • Mark Oct 1, 2009 @ 11:06

    I’m quite the opposite. I find it very difficult to write without my computer. Paper is cruel and unforgiving.

    Well, it was an eventful evening. A friend of mine began reading my first book, and had some notes. There were some points that really pulled the book apart, but I couldn’t help but grin when I finished. She’d identified so many problems I couldn’t see before and I FINALLY knew how to attack the next draft! It’s going to be hard, but at least I won’t be working in the dark.

    Problem is I was so jazzed, I found it impossible to concentrate on writing my current book. I have no intention of working on a new draft of the first book until my second book is finished, so I had to force myself to redirect my energy. Eventually I got 326 words. I want to finish this chapter by next fortnight, so I gotta pick up the pace.

    Tomorrow… swordfighting!

  • Minze Oct 1, 2009 @ 10:45

    606 words, but I had no time at all to read through my manuscript and my plot cards, so those 606 words were pretty bland and will probably end up on the scrap heap.

  • Michael Oct 1, 2009 @ 10:30

    My writing got interrupted this week by having to finish cleaning out our old trailer-house, since someone wants to buy it! And move it MONDAY!! (give or take)

    Being a confessed office-supplies ho myself, I fully understand and support your method of progressing. Being a D&D junkie, all the +’s and buffs you can add to your gear is to the good!

    I thought I had started a new story last week… until I started thinking about “neat twists” and realized I can tie about three different projects into a single massive(?) story in the final telling.

    And my fanclub likes them all… (is that bad? amateur writer and I already have a fanclub with members NOT related to me?? 😀 )

    “Never let the Infinite Abyss think you take it seriously.” Classic!

    • Holly Lisle Oct 3, 2009 @ 12:54

      I led a GURPS campaign through Arhel while I was writing in that universe and ran (tortured) some friends through the world.

      It was…interesting.

      One friend who had a rope, rope-throwing skills, and superb athletic abilities, insisted on walking through murky water instead of noticing the stalactites above and the stalagmites across the way. Insisted, against the warning of my raised eyebrow.

      (I think I even asked her, “Are you sure?” If your GM ever asks you “Are you sure,” klaxons, explosions, and the question, “Think, think, what have I MISSED?!” should be running through your head.

      Playing the campaign without feet until a companion figured out the heal spell proved to be a bit of a challenge for her.

      Nasty, hungry things LIVE in murky water.

      Another bought a flying carpet, asked for instruction on the magic word that started it—GM: “Do you do anything else before you pay for your carpet?” Him, thinking… “No.” GM raises eyebrow.—and flew off.

      So he’s up in the air and flying away from the marketplace. His friends on the ground below are watching.

      Him: “This is great. So, I turn and head back to the market.”

      GM: “Really? How?”

      Pause, while nervous expression crosses his face. Note the sudden silence among his companions on the ground below.

      Him: “I say ‘Turn?'”

      GM: “Nothing happens.”

      Him: “I say “Turn left?”

      GM: “Nothing happens.”

      Him: “I lean over to see if it’ll turn like a bicycle.”

      GM: “It’s still going straight.”

      Him: (Sighing.) “Okay, so I crawl out to the very edge of the carpet and lift one corner of it to catch the wind like a sail and force it to turn.”

      GM: “It’s a carpet, made of fabric, and at the very edge it does not support your weight. It buckles and you fall off. Dex roll to see if you manage to hang on to the edge.”

      He makes his dexterity roll.

      GM: “So now you’re hundreds of feet in the air, the carpet is still heading straight away from the market, and you are hanging backward from the front corner of it by your fingertips. Any thoughts here?”

      Him: “I should have got all the operating instructions before I took off?”

      He was also the one who, while leading the expedition, found a room full of treasure with a clearly marked “beware all ye who enter here” type curse over the door. He entered, (GM raises eyebrow) against advice of the rest of his party, while his friends (who were getting the hang of me) waited outside the doorway.

      There was a box. It had a button. The button said, “Don’t Push.”

      Against advice from his colleagues and the raised eyebrow of his GM , he pushed the button. There was a moment while the clicking of dice on the table top echoed in a silent room.

      Then, “poof!” He went from being the lean, handsome, square-jawed hero to being, ah… extravagantly furry. At which point, to the horror of everyone, including his footless buddy, he muttered “how much worse could it get?” and pushed the button a second time.

      The soft click of dice on the table once more, as the device randomizer rolled through its possible combinations.

      He became short and female. And STILL extravagantly furry.

      I LIKE being a GM.

      But I will note that my GMing style rewards the anxiously paranoid player over the “leap-then-look” one.

      Imagine all the bad things that might be behind that door. Make them bigger. Give them more teeth.

      Now ask yourself how they might be getting into position behind you while you and your companions are futzing around arguing (loudly) over whether it’s better to blow up the lock, shoot it with your arrow, or wait for the guy with the lockpick skills to see if he can get it (quietly).

      Players learned to whisper in my world.

      • Michael Oct 4, 2009 @ 10:02

        I am so glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee yet when I read that!! I think I played in “that” group once… or twice…

        I blame role-playing games for me becoming a writer. And I blame my becoming a writer for being routinely handed the DM/GM chair – apparently I keep things interesting?

        (“And remember – if something bites your head off – RUN!”)

  • Lisa R Oct 1, 2009 @ 10:29

    1200+ words, finally!!! The only good thing about not posting in the last four days is that it had nothing to do with writers block. It did have everything to do with exhaustion, company, and kid activities. I thought I was going to go insane!!! I do have drill weekend this weekend, but after this, I should be back to a good schedule.

    Yesterday I finished up chapter 13 and started chapter 14. Three of my characters had a good conversation which will help take the story in the next direction that I need it to travel. All in all a good time!

  • Khena Oct 1, 2009 @ 8:11

    341 words for me last night. Not as many as I wanted, but thinking back on what I wrote, I may just scrap them all. What happened doesn’t really make sense. I may move along a little farther and see what happens to see if I can use it though.

    I did spend a lot of time going through my notecards last night, reminding myself of where I was going. Wow. I have a lot left. A lot more than I thought. But I still like what I have, it’s just going to be a lot longer book than I thought it was. And I learned something: never, ever write out so many plot cards! But it is a great story, just longer than I wanted… =)

  • Debora Oct 1, 2009 @ 8:05

    250 words. Exactly.

  • Larkk Oct 1, 2009 @ 8:04

    I love it, another dire emergency solved with office supplies! It is fascinating reading about how you are solving your dilemma. And as for, “Never let the Infinite Abyss think you take it seriously.” I will paste that at the top of my notes, (if you don’t mind.)
    876 words of back story, answering questions and filling in the blanks about the MMC’s birthplace, family history, friends, school, abilities…I’ve been waiting to start writing this since May, so I’m excited to sink my teeth into it. No actual words on the novel though, not allowed until November 1.
    Some research, not too heavy. My FMC is a sculptor, so I watched a video about lost-wax casting of bronze sculpture- really cool.

  • HannaBelle Oct 1, 2009 @ 7:55

    I miss traveling. So many bizarre things can happen. More than happen in my living room, that’s for sure.

    Yesterday, my seat mate on the plane was a Tibetan monk, who softly chanted for half the flight. It could have been prayers, it could have been Tibetan hip hop. Whatever it was , it was soothing, so I did not ask him to stop.

    No words yesteday, just racking up experiences to use later.

  • Jessica Oct 1, 2009 @ 7:52

    No words, at least no new ones. Had enough time on my work break to type up the dream scene and then spent the rest of the night after work helping my mom put up fake laminate “stained glass” on several windows. What a pain! But it looks good.

    Holly, I can totally relate to the office supplies junkie! Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 extra fine and a fresh crisp spiral bound notebook for me! 🙂

  • June Oct 1, 2009 @ 7:50

    I wrote about 500 on the new Ciqueo scene Wednesday, and kept 127. Oh well. This is just how it goes sometimes.

  • Cat (from HtTS) Oct 1, 2009 @ 5:58

    1670 words on my translation (and a house burning with my MC’s father trying to commit suicide) and 662 words on my WIP (with my MC’s love dying from severe wounds incl. a knife in his chest. His only hope is the freshly hatched Phoenix). Tomorrow, I’ll write the last bit of Part II’s final scene and then I will start printing so I can read it during my holiday (not doing revision on it yet but making comments and looking for Muse Bombs and LUC)

    • Holly Lisle Oct 3, 2009 @ 12:32

      And a moment in which I stop to say, “I’m so glad I’m not one of your characters.”

      Nice work.

  • Greg Oct 1, 2009 @ 4:35

    D&D: 549 and another threat appearing.
    OFL: 1109, running over slightly in the excitement of finishing a short, punchy scene.
    RFW: 1048 and the end of a massacre in the city square.

  • The Pencil Neck Oct 1, 2009 @ 2:34

    684 words – Development.

    I have dodged a useless business trip to Minnesota. Yay me! My wife’s coming home from a Connecticut/Maryland trip tomorrow night. Yay! I’m performing a charity gig for a neighborhood theater group Friday and Saturday and we’re rehearsing later and later. Luckily, I just have to play a few songs. I can’t imagine the actors learning all their lines for their skits before Friday. I really can’t see how this thing is going to come together. And late business calls the past couple of nights horning in on my free time. Booo work.

    I fleshed out story lines for The Bodyguard, The Queen, The Usurper, and the Imperial Admiral. I didn’t write full on scene sentences at this point, I just wrote a rough outline of stuff and I’ve pretty much got the whole story roughed out. Except. I have no idea how The Princess is going to get out of her final dilemma and get to the ending I have planned. The Theme of the story is appearing to be Loyalty at tihs point so I guess it’s got to involve some lesson there. I just don’t know how it’s going to work. She’s looking pretty much sunk at this point.

    • Gabby Oct 1, 2009 @ 10:02

      Well that sounds very promising! If you don’t know how she’s getting out of it, the reader defiinitely won’t either. 🙂

    • Gabby Oct 1, 2009 @ 18:50

      BTW, congratulations on finishing your book! I always look forward to reading the latest installment and look forward to reading about your next project.

      Actually I wanted to ask you- was there a big showdown between the big bad and the vampire thief? Also how did the sheriff get away (or why did the bad guy let him go)? Is the bad guy still alive, performing sacrifices, and searching for the person who killed his family/is he continuing his grudge against the vampires? Or is it a cliffhanger for a possible sequel?

      Sorry if you already said it or if you don’t want to give away that part. I’m just kind of dying to know how the bad guy storyline was resolved.

      • The Pencil Neck Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:24

        🙂

        The Thief stole The Mage’s magical item, the Tear, and flew away in owl form. The Mage blasted at him with a lightning bolt but the Sheriff was able to throw himself (and his chair) into The Mage ruining his aim. The Mage bounced the Sheriff around a bit and stuck a piece of wood through his shoulder. The Mage took off after The Thief. The Thief, injured and tired, lands in the plaza in front of the Empress’ temple with the intention of returning the Tear to the Empress. But the Mage catches him and begins blasting the heck out of the Thief. The Thief clutches the Tear in his fist. The Mage calls down lightning and fries the heck out of the Thief, removing arms and legs. But the Thief keeps getting up and coming at him. His body keeps regrowing faster and faster. Finally, he takes The Mage and impales The Mage on the arm of a statue of the Empress outside her temple.

        With the Mage dead, the Mentor is freed from the spell keeping her hostage. Seeing the Sheriff on the verge of death, and knowing that the Sheriff is the Thief’s father, she offers him eternal life and he turns it down. She takes him to a healer. And he returns to his wife and begs for forgiveness because he now realizes that life is too short and too precious to screw around.

        Several days later, the Thief sneaks into the Empress’ temple and uses her statue to teleport to her side. He gives her a portrait of The Mentor in lieu of The Mentor’s head (which the Empress had asked for) but he lost the Tear he was supposed to return to her. The Empress tells him he did return the Tear. During the fight with The Mage, he had held it so tight in his fist that it entered his body and, with the magic The Mage had added to it, it had migrated to his heart giving him more power and strength.

        And so now The Empress considers The Thief… “hers”.

        • Gabby Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:29

          Awesome! thanks so much for your reply. I know you’ve heard this before but I can’t wait to read this book in print.

  • Treelight Oct 1, 2009 @ 2:01

    Within 328 new words, Jheyrien fended off some wolf-like creatures, raced up the cliffs … and then his mount stumbled over a gap in the ground that shouldn’t be there and neither of them saw because they were still blinded by the rising sun. End of chapter 43.

    Somehow I had the feeling that I wrote more words :/

  • Ieva Oct 1, 2009 @ 1:36

    1200+ words, quite unexpectedly. I also did some mindmapping and it seems that my ending will come together after all, give or take a few structural problems and “what to do with the bad guy” horror I can as well deal with later.

    And oh my it’s creepy and it’s tempting. I finally found what my villains can really tempt my heroine with: a chance to be like them.

  • Brian Cansler Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:57

    Second, I got out one of these neato little pre-ring-bound index card thingees I’ve had sitting in my office for the last few months after I found it at Office Depot—because I am a total office supplies ho, so I bought it even though I didn’t have a use for it at the time.

    • Brian Cansler Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:59

      Whoops! I meant to “quote” that and say that I do the exact same thing.

      I really need to get back into a regular schedule with my words. I got about 700 words in one of my scenes last week, but my school work is conflicting semi-necessarily with my writing. I miss writing…and I really need to get back on it. Soon.

  • Patricia Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:49

    I am happy! Very good to hear you’ve found a solution Holly, and it’s even better to hear how you did it. 😀 I am also happy because I got 1,909 words. *squee!* Ryan stumbles upon his old campsite and the bones of an old friend. The resulting emotional tumult was…highly interesting. It is such a strange and exhilarating experience when one’s character changes and evolves throughout a story. The scenes I wrote today are part of a turning point, and I just love it when I see Ryan’s thoughts so clearly. It was as if he was the one writing it and not me. 😀 I love it!

    • Khena Oct 1, 2009 @ 19:11

      Congrats on having such a great day =)

    • Holly Lisle Oct 3, 2009 @ 12:31

      Just wanted to add my congratulations. I love those moments when characters click.

      • Patricia Oct 3, 2009 @ 18:56

        Thank you 😀

  • Clare K. R. Miller Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:22

    Ahh… I know how you feel about office supplies!

    586 words for me tonight. I think I’m getting a little too sidetracked with this scene, in which Cricket meets the former slave, but it’s so interesting!

  • T.C. Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:10

    Haha well.

    Today once again not so good. I decided since I am at a good place I want to go back and edit and revise so no real words, just reading and trying to feel what needs changed.

    I wish you all happy writing! 🙂

  • Jim Mitchel Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:09

    I finished the first scene in chapter 11 today. The group crossed over the threshold into the magical wasteland.

    # of words: 404

  • Adam Oct 1, 2009 @ 0:00

    Glad that you were able to save more than you had expected, and i can understand the need to have something more tangible than a collection of files to work with.
    Thank you for the +7 anti abyss line… first time i laughed today.

    finished ch 15, but its all going to need redone, and right now i don’t care cause its finished and i can move on in the draft. inner demon has been going absolutely ape the past couple of days, and i’m not getting any of the good feelings i was when writing the past few weeks.

    this chapter got Tzal to the Devil, explained to the humans joining them why the mogliths don’t like them, and headed down into the pit. they met up there and thats where the next chapter will pick up. have to figure out which of the companions won’t make it back, and plot the battle with the necromancer and his minions. need this encounter to flip everything on its head, and i’m not sure how to go about that just yet, but the trickling of an idea is forming i think.

    • Adam Oct 1, 2009 @ 9:54

      1100 words. looks like i forgot that detail…

      • Holly Lisle Oct 3, 2009 @ 12:30

        😀 Glad you got words, too. And glad I made you laugh.

  • Charmaine Sep 30, 2009 @ 23:53

    1135 words on Dog Show Detective – have 5 chapters now – that’s the furthest I’ve ever reached in a book.

    Started with a note: Have your dog. He’s safe. For now.
    The missing dog, that became the found dog, now turns out to be the wrong dog. The valuable show dog is still missing. Things will get worse, a murder will be uncovered.

    All because of one dead old lady and her crazy will clause.

    Spending this afternoon back on The Pirate Girl in the aftermath of the attack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.