Fast Draft Day 12

5:37 — Ringler’s Annex, in the basement 32 minutes

6:15 — Max 23 minutes

Ringler’s Annex — very unlike me.  Not that being here (here being the refurbished basement of a tiny corner bar; glossy finished wood behind walls of windows above, but exposed concrete walls down here, pillars holding the floor overhead, celtic knotwork and whimsical elves painted in subdued gray on the walls, floor, ceiling, and mosaic of broken tile from more respectable construction moving in organic curves over some of the corners and pilasters) is unlike me, but to be here, alone, on a work night, when I could (and my training screams should) be home with my darlin’ — that’s unlike me.

But here I am, thanks entirely to my darlin’, who suggested that I was sot in my ways and could use a break.  ”Stop,” she said.  ”Replenish the spirit while keeping that increasing liver at bay.  Stay the flood of beer that is covering the countryside, and save us all.  And you might write a bit while you’re about it, and do it in a more pleasant place than you’ve been doing.”

So here I lurk, away from the upwardly mobile crowd sitting on their downward dropping backsides upward of me.  It may say something about my character that, with all of PDX to sit and drink and write in, I chose a cave.  This basement is lit with a dozen 25 watt bulbs in age-yellowed fixtures, with table candles to augment.  But for the barkeep, I’m alone, and in the back, around the corner and under the staircase.  My hat is pulled low over my forehead to keep me from idly watching the empty room, and there’s a beer at my elbow for pensively sipping while I consider what happens next in my novel.

Which takes me to it.  Go, you lot, back to your terrain haunts, and leave the shadows to me.

Oh — and Shannon, you are an excellent mate and I love you.


Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Fast Draft Day 10

7:32 — Cooper’s Coffee 19 minutes

5:46 — Max 30 minutes

I was astonished to have a seat on the Max, but apparently they’re commonplace if one takes a train half an hour later than I’d normally.  I wouldn’t know this, but at the Max station, on a public street in the heart of downtown and next to the door to Borders, a man had forced a woman into a corner between two buildings and was bellowing profanity into her face, slamming his body into hers to bounce her off the wall, and waving his balled fists in her face and over her head.  She was screaming and crying and trying to get away.

The commuters split themselves into groups; those who looked away, those who watched with interest, and those who went up the block so as to have space between themselves and the spectacle.  The man was about my size, and I considered directly intervening, but decided it would be a bad idea.  The woman was being terrorized but not hurt, and I would lose any fight with the man unless I ditched coat, hat, and bag before engaging.  Instead, I called 911, stepped in close and announced to the man “911″, and stepped back (thinking he’d have to step toward me to hit me, and that would let the woman free).

He must have understood me; he started berating her because now people were calling the cops.  

After a time he decided to let her loose.  The tone of the thing seemed not to be domestic, but business, somehow.  He was pushing a bicycle when he left, so I can’t see him as her pimp.  Drug supplier?  Or customer?  No way to tell, now.

I don’t feel particularly noble.  I was supposed to set my jaw, lose my computer and a tooth or so, and let her get away in the fracas.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a good choice, but I still feel lessened somewhat for not having sacrificed and pummelled.

Ah, manhood, how are you so very different from vanity?

In my defense, I believe that if he had done something more than bellow I would have risked life, limb, and Jarvis.  I feel that the woman and I are both pleased that he wasn’t moved to go that far, each for our own reasons.  The police never did show up, although a car with lights and sirens blaring did show up a block away, where they tarried and asked onlookers for information.  I could see them, just not get their attention from where I was.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Fast Draft Day 9 — Murder, most foul

9:03 — Home 30 minutes

Very tired the last couple days.  Tomorrow, I will rise and type and break and type and lunch and type and so on.  I need to feel like I’m still doing this.  I don’t want to taper off.

It’s even possible that my poor sleep has been because I haven’t been typing more.  That’s frightening.

Tonight I had to do the thing every writer dreads.  I’d slipped several hundred words of really lovely dialog out — it sparkled, it danced, it toyed with the reader’s expectations while delivering more than was promised.  It was subtle and witty and had flair and flare both.  And it took the scene in entirely the wrong direction.  It would, in fact, have led to sensible behavior that just doesn’t work in an adventure or romance based story.  Since mine is both, this was a problem.  I ranted to Shannon, since doing that frequently produces what I will call wisdom from my mouth.

“The problem is that, from the beginning of that block of text, the scene goes awry.  It’s great dialog, though.  I hate to lose it.  But it’s in the way, and the only way to get the scene back to where it just has to go is to start both characters in the scene’s starting position, and if I’m just going to recurse the scene I should cut the words and –”  I clapped hands over mouth.


“No.  Noo no no no no.”  My words were probably muffled through my clasping hands, but the meaning carried on my wild rolling eyes.

“You’re not going to tell me, are you?  You’re just going to stand there hiding your chin and doing the potty dance, scaring the cats ….”

“I have to murder my darlings.”

“Maybe you can save them for later.”

“No, they have to go.  They were so young and vital….”

“Well, do it quickly, and it won’t be so bad.”

“If you had to kill me, would you mind less if you did it quickly, or would you still feel badly afterward?”

“Depends on why I’m killing you.”

“Let’s say it was the cat, instead.”  Then I went and murdered my darlings.  They didn’t look accusingly, just held expressions of love and respect for me, accepting the wisdom of my choice on their behalf.  

I can still see their faces when I close my eyes, all those innocent words….

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Fast Draft Week 1

I was grumpy last night.  Well, this morning, technically, but I was still on the stretch of consciousness that started Sunday morning, so I call it the same day. 


I was irritated because I can count, and even when pushing along Fast Draft guidelines, I only racked up 6 hours (well, 359 minutes) of writing in (on the average) 22 minute bursts, and only 12,500 words.  Demoralizing.  No huge chunks of time spent.  No half-the-novel-done.

Just now, in tallying how many hours I’d actually done, I reflexively did what I said I wouldn’t, and looked at production rates.

This last week I wrote 2,089 words per hour for six hours.

Okay, I’m still somewhat bristly over the “only six hours” bit, and would like to see that quadrupled or at least … doubled, if we’re being realistic … but the 2k per hour is making me feel fairly perky.  It isn’t a “I can write soooo fast” thing.  It’s a realization that, at that rate, even if I only manage ten hours a week, that’s a novel draft in a month.  The rate at which I seem happy writing is permitting me more options than I recognized.

I can probably continue at this pace.  I don’t feel burned out.  In fact, I am enjoying the writing much more since I’ve been doing it more frequently.  Perhaps I should explore the concept of writing in many short bursts instead of looking for hours that I can devote to the process.

It’s a thought, anyway. 

Okay, break’s over.  Back on my head.

EDIT  On the other hand, if I am comfortable, am happy with the progress, and enjoy the process at however-often-I-can a week, whether that is 6 hours or 60, perhaps I should stick to that instead of aiming for a strict this-many-hours-a-week … which is really, probably, this-many-arbitrary-and-ego-based-hours-a-week.  


Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Fast Draft Day 7

12:58 PM — Home 15 minutes

12:30 PM — Home 15 minutes

1:05 AM — Home 15  minutes, trying to calm down after getting the downstairs neighbor to turn the &@#$ music down


Week 1 word count:  43,600

I’ve added about 12,500 words in a week.  Not what it should be, but considering the time I haven’t had to devote to this, I’m pleased enough, I guess.  I suspect that, if it weren’t 1:30 I’d be a little more upbeat about the whole business.  *grumps*

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Fast Draft Day 6

Very full day.  There were opportunities to write, but I chose to do other things instead.  I’m not sorry; it was a good choice.

However, I’m not sleeping, so I rose and set the timer.

10:05 — Home @ table  20 minutes

10:35 — Home @ table 20 minutes (that I’m about to go do, then go to bed)

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

The Draft

Lisa has decided that she’s moving too slowly for her tastes, and so has decided to run herself through a Fast Draft. Essentially what that means is that she turns out 20 pages a day as quickly as she can, no dithering, no revising, no stopping, no whining. In two weeks, she’ll have a workable first draft that can then be revised.

She wanted company, I think, and felt it would do me some good. I’ve never been terribly clever, so.

Ideally, one counts pages or words (250 per page is about right), and then one can determine if one is on quota. This one has determined that Quota is the name of a demon in the fourth ring of hell, the one for correcting those who sell themselves short because there was a quantifiable datum that showed them to be less than perfect — and then torture their loved ones with whining for 25 years.

Quota, thus do I cast you out.

I have a job, a wife, a life, and some moderate need of sleep. If I set myself to 20 pages a day, I will fail, and, failing, will begin the process of self-castigation, publicly mourning the waste I have made of my gifts and my days. I will reflect loudly that no one should love me, for I am an underachiever and ne’er-do-well, and that children should be kept from me lest I soil their lives with my poor influence and bad character. While I am castigating, I will neglect to keep writing, thus proving my allegations.


So, yeah, casting out the demon Quota. *casts* Good upper body workout, throwing quotas out the door.

My goal is just the same as Fast Draft, without the number attached. I will work as hard and as often as I can, in any spare minutes. I will treat this as a two-week sprint; I don’t need to do it forever, I just have to do this to the finish line. At that point I will have so much manuscript complete that whatever is left will be the work of another few days, and then I can edit.

I suspect a whole new hell will be opened then, but that hell is for tomorrow.

With this as preamble, the next post will be the norm for the next 14 days.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry