“Times of great failure or times of great success, the problem is the same (how do you keep going?) and the solution is the same: You write the next thing.”
Neil Gaiman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Eleven Thousand Words For The Trunk Novel
Tue 2007-01-16 22:28:46 (single post)

Did very little today but write, for a change. Only it wasn't the short story I'm meant to be working on. It was the "trunk novel," the one that will probably never see another reader's eyes. It doesn't even have a working title or a slot in my manuscript database. What it is, is a bedtime story I've been telling myself at night and embroidering on for at least fifteen years. When I get to where I'm feeling like a total impostor, like writing is totally beyond me, like all the recent workshop experiences taught me is that I'm talentless and lazy, like I can't finish a new story and the older ones suck too much to burden yet another editor's slush pile with, I work on this one. Because it reminds me that writing is fun.

I'm convinced it's the only way to successfully beat writer's block: make writing fun again. Write something that doesn't matter to anyone but you, or practice the bits you find easiest whether that's dialogue or description or journaling or gawdawful purple prose. There's a reason you decided to do this words-on-paper thing. Go rediscover it.

Addendum: On writing from the place where writing is what you love. Via retterson, via beth-bernobich.

And maybe the trunk novel might see print someday if I manage to excise the Mary Sue factor. It's already loads better than it was in my head, when the main character was explicitly me and the leading man was whoever I had a crush on at the time. They're now both actual characters, which is nice, and makes me blush less when I reread it. But she's still a gosh-darned Mary Sue, so you're not reading it yet. So there.

Tomorrow there will be work on the short story. But after the boat gets a hole, you gotta bail the boat and patch it before you can point it in the right direction again. Today was for bailing. Tomorrow's for getting back on track.

More Radio Silence, With Explanation
Fri 2007-01-05 20:50:23 (single post)

So from Dec 22 to Jan 2, I was on vacation; John and I were visiting the New Orleans-area family for the holidays. Which sort of explains that. And since our return I have been sick as the proverbial dog. Now, you'd think that lying in bed all day would present a perfect opportunity for writing, but there's still that being sick thing. Stronger, more determined wordsmiths than I have no doubt prevailed against such circumstances. I, personally, can't even seem to think straight at the moment. Sorry.

I think I'm at last on the upswing today, though. More later if I manage it.

By the way, thanks to the magic of BitTorrent, John and I are all caught up with our friends across the pond in watching all Doctor Who related things. Chez LeBoeuf-Little is no longer a spoiler-free zone. Yay!

Ending the Radio Silence
Fri 2006-12-15 22:49:09 (single post)
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We apologize for the inconvenience, but there was no Actual Writing to report on all week. Today Actual Writing has occurred and so our Actual Writing Coverage can continue. Thank you for your patience.

The first draft of the story is not done, but the shape is a lot clearer, especially now that the main character has decided that everything that happens is in fact her fault. She might be right, too, but I couldn't say. I wasn't there. I'll have to defer to her judgment on this.

Also. Long walks home from downtown Boulder, knitting needles busily in hand, are very good for brainstorming. You should try it. And then you'll be as sore about the shins and knees and elbows as I am, too. And it'll be good for you.

Yes, I biked that sucker home.
Scenes from a short story.
On Using yWriter for Short Fiction. Also, Yule Logs On Bikes.
Fri 2006-12-08 16:31:54 (single post)
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Today I could have easily been overtaken even by a very out-of-shape Muse. I found me a Yule Log lying alongside the Boulder Creek Path, and I strapped it to my bike (cf. illo). The rest of my ride home was slow, careful, containing as few sharp turns as possible, and punctuated by cheers and thumbs-up from random passers-by. As far as bicycling machismo goes, I have nothing to prove.

Also, yWriter. Can it be used for short fiction as well as for novels? Why, yes it can. But why would you? Possibly because you have some scenes in your head just waiting to be written down, but you're not sure what order they go in or what other scenes to use as glue in between. Watch out for that NaNoWriMo mindset, though. You know the one. That's where you just have your characters totally babble because you've got a word quota to meet, dammit! Well, you don't. You just need to end up with a draft of a short story, is all.

I do not yet have a draft of a short story. But I've got almost all my scenes in place. I hope to get it to Full First Draft tomorrow, maybe even upload it to my fellow VPXmen. I want this guy out the door early.

New Fiction While-U-Wait
Wed 2006-12-06 22:10:29 (single post)
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I really really meant to come home from work today and get 2,000 words closer to THE END of The Bookwyrm's Hoard. Only I got tackled by a new story on my way home. While I was biking. I didn't know the Muse could run that fast.

The logical progression went something like this: I was reading Making Light, like I do. Specifically this thread about odd new so-called security measures at the US/Canada border. The bit about gunboats on the Great Lakes turned this-a-way. Which made me think about these time-sensitive submission guidelines.

Oh, go on. Follow the links. Let them open in new windows/tabs. It won't kill you.

Anyway, what do I know from pirates? Or the Great Lakes? But, y'know, I do know a fair bit about life on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. And while real-life piracy is a subject opaque to me, there are some famous specimens of the fantasy realms to be explored.

And by the time I got home I had a rough idea of the beginning and the end, along with which harmless bits of my childhood should be wedged in at which strategic points in the plot. Such as the building and subsequent demise of the neighborhood fishing pier, the question of where the cars on the Causeway go after they cross the horizon, and the miracle of actually catching an edible fish off the back of the Bonnabel Pumping Station.

Several hours later, I've got the edges slotted into place. Next: a handful of identical-looking blue sky pieces and identical-looking green-tree pieces that need to be placed experimentally side by side by side.

More tomorrow, no doubt. The nice thing about this particular subject is, it has a deadline. This time I mean to hit it.

Another One Bites The Dust, Redux
Tue 2006-12-05 10:10:00 (single post)
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I have got to think up new titles for blog posts that simply say "X will not be published in Y." Most of them start with "Another." In any case, Aberrant Dreams will not be publishing "Heroes To Believe In." I know this 'cause I got another rejection slip. Writers get those. I must be a writer or something. Onward!

Whoo-hoo!
NaNoDoneNow
Thu 2006-11-30 22:32:04 (single post)
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Not, however, the novel. I took my own advice and jumped forward to the Gala Bookstore Grand Opening scene, and didn't even get through that before crossing the mythical 50K line. I did have another one of those plotting breakthroughs, though. I realized I should conflate Charles Welton (father of vanished Sam, fomenter of anti-Bookwyrm sentiment) and the beat cop (also fomenter of anti-Bookwyrm sentiment and an extra rock to throw at Gwen whilst she is up her tree) because 1) they served too similar functions, and 2) that would make things even harder for Gwen. Bad enough when the police officer she should be able to rely on for protection thinks she's guilty, if only by association, of unspeakable things; worse when said police officer has been directly affected by said unspeakable things.

So what's up in December, eh? Well. Wouldn't you like to know. I think I shall continue working on this novel, 2K a day where possible, but I'll make a more concerted effort to also allot time for short story rewrites. You'll notice, for instance, that I haven't blogged about finishing the rewrite on either "Turning the Earth" nor "Seeds of Our Future." There's a reason for that. Maybe I could have done it if I wasn't also one of the Boulder NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaisons. Maybe I could have done it if I hadn't spent so many Tuesdays and Thursdays sleeping past noon, dammit.

I may begin upping my articles/essays output, as I won't have any immediate paying projects in December. Between Constant-Content (who seem themselves supportive even if I have to get medieval on one of their customers) and a new venture my current non-fiction editor is possibly undertaking, there will be opportunities for such. Also, it's really about time I wrote something to send to a Blessed Bee publication again. It's been far too long since "Faith Based Charity, Pagan Style."

And speaking of RichLifeMedia, blogging at Splendid Gardening will be on hiatus in December. I'll continue blogging here, of course, and also at Denver Metblogs.

Sounds a lot like a New Year's Resolution post, doesn't it? Well, when NaNoWriMo ends, it's like a brand new year dawns on December 1. Try it sometime! You'll see.

On Constant-Content Sales
Wed 2006-11-29 09:03:48 (single post)
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Hullo. Update: Another article of mine at Constant-Content has sold. It's called Awaken to Dreams: Begin to Remember." It's part of a series, which fact I hope will tempt those who purchase one-time rights to it to become repeat customers. As usual, my friendly blog readers, should you see it somewhere on teh interweebs, check that my name is attached to it like it oughtter be, 'k? In this case, what was sold was "usage rights," which means my by-line stays, they don't make edits, they only get to publish it once and in one place only, and I get to license it to others.

Aha! Found it. Guess who bought it? AvivaDirectory, that's who. And again, no by-line! I'm going to remind them again, but that they did it a second time after being told not to? That's really disrespectful.

"Ten Surprising Facts About Ten U.S. Dollars" has finally surfaced, but oh the shame of it! The person who purchased exclusive rights to it is trying to pass it off as their own work! My by-line is missing. I have notified them of the requirement they seem to have overlooked, but they have seen fit to ignore me. It's over here. It has a comment section. You know what to do.

Correction! AvivaDirectory HAVE added my by-line to the piece! They are in compliance with Constant-Content's policies... BARELY. They tacked my name on right at the end, which was why I overlooked it. Silly me, I was looking at the place where authors' by-lines usually go. You know, under and immediately following the title? I have requested that they move it, but they are not obliged to, at least not by the letter of the licensing policy. So I rescind my previous "sic 'em" command. Play nice y'all.

(Still haven't located the purchaser of "Untying the Knot," while we're on the subject. Google turns up nothing. Oh well.)

Obligatory Fruitcake Post
Tue 2006-11-28 19:42:51 (single post)
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Every year, around this time, some version of this conversation occurs:

Me: "Oh my Gods! It's November!"
John: "Well, yeah. Hence all this NaNoWriMo stuff."
Me: "No, but, it's November! And I haven't started fruitcake yet!"
John: "Oh. Must you?"

Yes, I must. Preparations have begun. A couple pounds of dried stuff (currants, dates, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango) are at this moment reconstituting themselves in brandy. In other bowls, measured and chopped quantities of candied things (papaya, ginger) and nuts (walnuts, almonds) lie in wait. Tomorrow, all these things will go into the oven with just enough cake batter to hold them together. Then, the cake will sit and sit and sit and furthermore get drunk.

John and I plan to spend Christmas and New Year's in New Orleans with my family. The fruitcake will come with us. My family likes fruitcake (I usually mail Mom and Dad a slice) which is why John thinks we're all fruitcakes.

In other news, for all intents and purposes, I'm at 46K. 2K each tomorrow and Thursday, and I shall have a sparkling purple WINNER! bar. But I don't think I'll have THE END. There is loads of character drama betwixt now and then. Not to mention 6 days worth of plot.

Sorry To Disappoint You
Sat 2006-11-25 09:40:10 (single post)
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Generally it's a good idea to sic your dreams on a plot conundrum. However, I'm afraid that Charles Welton will not be piloting a miniature giant robot in an attempt to assassinate Gwen during her reading/signing/wine-and-cheese reception at the bookstore's Grand Opening.

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