Tag Archives: writing

On Not Writing a Book – What Else is There?

Sometimes blogging about not writing feels like the most subversive thing I can possibly do. I had my annual meltdown last week as I faced what I was and wasn’t going to be able to achieve this year, and my brain exploded messily all over the house. Only JUST metaphorically, I might add.

Now I am breathing calmly, having accepted that, you know, that novel I was working on is not going to be finished by the end of the school holidays, so I don’t have to kill myself in order to get it “done” before my next deadline window (for the second Livia Day novel) takes over.

Not when I have proofs to correct and much-closer-to-finished projects to edit, and submissions to make. And a house to clean up for Christmas and a tree to decorate and an insane number of end of year assemblies/concerts to attend.

Breathe, Tansy, breathe!

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Nano No (sigh)

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, which feels very strange indeed. I’ve delved into the passionate obsessive NaNo mindset with such glee in previous years, even when deadlines and other commitments have made it tricky for me.

There will be writing, have no fear of that. But as I discovered back when I was working on this particular novel-in-progress for the Clarion Write-a-thon, this particular project (yes, still the steampunk YA) is not one that benefits from being written fast. I could do something completely new for NaNo, of course, but that would mean giving up on the hope that I could finish my novel this year.

There are a bunch of other excuses of course, such as GENRECON! and one of my twice yearly “fortnights of gainful employment” at the university, but those things wouldn’t actually matter if I was in a writing-my-fingers-off frame of mind. And I’m not. This has been a year of stopping and starting, of career decisions, and of taking every weird and wonderful opportunity tossed my way, regardless of what my plans were before. Some of this will come to naught, and some may change my life. Eventually.

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Writing Comics, Comics Writing

I’ve been thinking a lot about comics lately. You might have noticed this!

The last two year or so have probably been the most solid and intense comics-reading period of my life, even including that year I discovered Platinum Grit and the Justice League at the same time. It’s hardly surprising that, having read so many, a writer’s fancy starts to turn to…

Yep, that’s right, I’m now writing the things. Or at least, I’m making a good go of it. Because that’s what I needed in my life, an entirely new writing format which requires a separate skills set, entirely different publishing rules, and basically starting from scratch as a writer.

Maybe that *is* what I needed, actually.

I am still working on novels, short stories and other stuff, and completely in love with prose narrative, but diverting into a few comic script projects has been terribly fun. And no, I can’t say anything about those writing projects just yet.

Sequential art, baby!

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Friday Links is Also Not Married To Matt Fraction

I have a new story out! “Please Look After This Angel” is the piece that was read in the marvellous theatrical performance at MONA the other week – now Island Magazine have put in online for you to read. Yes, you. It’s my first ever angel story (I THINK) which does not include clockwork. Keep an eye out for the others – I particularly enjoyed Michael Blake’s “Breathless” on the night, and thought that Melissa Howard’s “The Watchers” felt very Margo Lanaganesque – I will be interested to see how reading the stories on the page changes my opinions after experiencing them for the first time as a dramatic reading!

Also, my littlest daughter turned 3 yesterday which has come as a shock to all of us but did mean I could finally find an owner for the Astronaut Barbie I found on sale nearly a year ago. She also received a Cupcake Kitchen, a Wonder Woman board book, and an Alice in Wonderland costume. Love you, Jem!

But you’re not here for me talking about me, you’re here for linky links. Let us proceed!

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Motherhood: the Ultimate Writing Accessory?

The Frisky pointed to an article in the Telegraph by Amanda Craig about Maeve Binchy’s career, and the difference between women writers who are mothers and those who are not.

At first, coming in on a wave of The Frisky’s outrage, I thought it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. After all, it did acknowledge a whole bunch of pros and cons for juggling writing and motherhood, and seemed to be balanced. But the more I read, the less balanced it seemed. Because it’s not as it turns out an article about how women are screwed no matter what they do (though that is the ultimate message). It’s an article about how women writers who are also mothers are simultaneously a suffering underclass, and a tribe representing superiority.

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The Art of Not Writing

Having reached the end if not a complete blitz then at least a consistent 6 weeks of hitting writing targets, my current plan is to hone my skills of not-writing.

It’s easy as a writer to get caught up in metrics – word count means progress, books only get written if you regularly put your bum in your seat and type, etc. etc. Those things are true. But it’s also important to recognise when you’re drained and need to refill the well – and particularly when you’re pushing too hard at a book.

For me, it becomes obvious when the writing is hard. Writing is not always easy for me, and writing every day is certainly not easy, with my intense time pressures. But while I am proud of a lot of the work I did over the last six weeks, both on my novel-in-progress and other projects, I can’t deny the fact that I never kicked into that stride, the beautiful momentum that usually fires up after a consistent month or so of writing.

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Clarion Write-A-Thon – the fourth 5000 – Intermediate MacGuffin Hunting

So, I set myself a challenge within a challenge this week: I not only had to write 5000 words, but they all had to be on the Steampunk Victoriana Fairies and Robots novel. Every single one of them.

When I’m tracking wordcount, it’s usually about making sure I make some kind of measurable progress, and I usually discount any other writing when I’m working on a novel. That’s why I so rarely get short stories written! By the time the weekend comes around, I’m done.

So this year my plan, since it’s the first year in a while with no specific deadlines, was to write a bunch of words (my crazy goal was 200K) and to count everything I wrote, as long as it was fiction. It’s been pretty great because I have been able to keep up work momentum by jumping from project to project – it’s a lot easier to write 1000 words each of 5 different projects than 5000 words on the same thing. Sort of. Mostly. Except I haven’t been doing that, I’ve been doing 300-500 words on 10-15 different projects. Per week.

Scattered, me?

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Voices and Angels – my night at MONA

Last night we got to attend “Angel Story,” one of the events as part of the current Festival of Voices, at MONA. I feel like a bad Tasmanian for this being my first time inside the swish high art museum since its revamp (I was hardly out of the place when it was a classics museum) several years ago – and was beginning to feel like we were the only people in the world who hadn’t been there!

We got as far as the grounds last summer, for my godson’s 4th birthday, but with a horde of tired and sticky children, didn’t quite feel adventurous enough to go inside.

So there I was last night, glammed up, walking around this bizarre structure, all glass and sandstone edifices, surrounded by a whole bunch of art patrons, and I didn’t manage to take a single photo. Sorry!

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Clarion Write-a-thon – the third 5000 – RESEARCH IS KEY APPARENTLY WHO KNEW

I keep lurching between thinking that I shouldn’t be writing at all right now, or that maybe I should have given myself a more hardcore writing challenge. My big word for the week was ‘research’. The book that I’m writing right now, which may or may not be called Flavia Wednesday, and I first got the spark of the idea for it around January this year.

Normally I have so many novel projects backed up that it takes at least 2-4 years from the initial spark to actually getting to write the dratted thing, and I loved the idea of writing something while it was still “fresh.” But of course, freshness isn’t everything, and those 2-4 years often allow for a lot of quiet background thinking, character association, and casual research. Which I haven’t done.

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Viewed Through a Gothic Victorian Lens

Tamara of Uncharted Pages interviewed me recently, which was great fun because she’s an enthusiastic reader of the books, and had some detailed questions to ask me. I had an opportunity to delve a bit more into my own processes as far as worldbuilding and behind the scenes systems are concerned – and by the time I was halfway through the interview I was having serious trauma flashbacks about the spreadsheet drama involved in trying to track the backstories, emotional baggage and sexual histories of a dozen or more complicated central characters.

“Seriously. Even spreadsheets can’t fix everything. I had a few fixed points such as certain ages of characters when particular events happened, and everything else orbited wildly around it. Sometimes I felt like I was juggling hamsters! Strange, sex-obsessed hamsters who liked to set fire to things.”

I miss my Creature Court. But I don’t miss the spreadsheets.