Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Writing Life

Every February, the Guppies group from Sisters In Crime issues their "Chocolate Challenge."  The idea, February being a mostly dull month, is to write as many words as possible in the month of February, and the winner gets chocolate from the other participants.  Hence the name.  It's sort of like NaNoWriMo with treats.   The challengers also eat chocolate to speed them on their path.

I signed up hoping to get a leg up on the final chapters of In Flight, my fem jep novel.  And indeed I started well and wrote two scenes, one from the drug lord's point of view and another from the main character's.

Then, an idea that had been percolating in my head for years, actually an idea for a novel, came bubbling to the surface and I am writing it as a short story for submission to an anthology.  Probably won't get in, but I can submit it elsewhere.  So I'm 6500 words into the story, endlessly reedited while I write, and have made a winter weekend trip to Cape Cod, and a trip to the New England Boat Show.

I never know anything cold enough to write it off the top of my head.  If I wrote a story about scrubbing floors, I would be in the supermarket cleaning products aisle reading labels.  Maybe this super-picky attention to detail comes from my days as a computer programmer where you sure-as-hell better pay picky attention to detail. 

Anyway, this has been what they used to call a high-forceps birth, not easy in other words, and I've been laboring mightily.  6,000 words in a novel is nothing.  6,000 words in a short story are everything.   

Back to the salt mines.  Of course it is fun.  And gratifying.  I'm not expecting any chocolate for 10,000 words this month.  On the other hand, they may be 10,000 good words or 10,000 words I wouldn't have produced.

Long live chocolate.  The chocolate pound cake was soooo good.    Not too sweet.  The lemon squares are good, too. 

Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.


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