Weekly writing check-in: we have a tree problem

We have a tree problem. And yes, before anyone asks, we’ve called the power company. Also, the tree isn’t actually resting on the power lines … yet. With the wind we’ve been having, it could happen.

In writing rather than tree news, I spent this week tagging all my longhand notes with post-its with labels like backstory, episode 2, episode 3, and so on. Now I’m compiling it (and expanding on it) in a document. Once I have all that completed, I’ll start the framework for episode 2. In fact, I just had a brainstorm on episode 2 this morning, and I’m so glad I was waffling on starting on it.

Sometimes, procrastination is productive and creative.

For this coming week, I hope to get all the notes together and complete a framework for episode 2. I’m calling it a framework rather than an outline because it is more like an idea of the story than a lockstep list of everything that happens.

I will report back on trees and writing next week.

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Weekly writing check-in: quickly, quickly today

So this week, I somehow finished up episode 1–well, the draft anyway.

But yes, all the way to the end. I’m pleased, a little tired, and peering into episodes 2 and 3.

One down, two to go.

I have some thoughts about my pandemic year, but I think I’ll save those for a separate post.

For now, I’m going to go stretch my legs and commence with the plotting.

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Weekly writing check-in: in like a lamb

March is unusually mellow so far this year. We may even hit 60 degrees later today or tomorrow. I suspect we’ll get the usual mid-month basketball tournament snowfall, but for now, I’m not complaining. The sun is out, the snow is melting, and it’s nice to walk outside and not have my face hurt.

This week, I continued my longhand brainstorming and note-taking–I have pages upon pages of notes, but I think I also have the worldbuilding and structure for not only episode 1 but the rest of this season as well.

Fingers crossed.

Not a lot of actual writing, but I hope to start that this week.

I also did the taxes, so there’s that, too—all in all, a fairly productive week.

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Weekly writing check-in: before you start that prequel

There’s a terrific article over on Tor.com this week: Is There Such a Thing as a Necessary Prequel?

The comments are worth a read too. Yes, I know. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t read the comments. The ones at Tor.com are thoughtful and insightful.

This is a timely thing for writers to think about. So often, the advice gets tossed around to “write a prequel” as a loss leader or a reader magnet for a newsletter. But … should you?

I tend to fall into the “no” camp. Honestly, if those events in the prequel were important and compelling, I would’ve started the story there. Likewise, I have similar feelings about sequels. This may surprise you since I’m working on Coffee and Ghosts Season Four.

However, I’ve been thinking about it for nearly three years now. Not just: is there a plot and new things to explore in the C&G world? But also: can the characters still change and grow?

I’m hoping the answer is yes to both those questions. Even though the series is meant to be fun and light, it’s not necessarily a light undertaking.

And speaking of which, after the last two weeks on a writing tear, I’ve slowed down. I’m pondering some worldbuilding questions that not only affect this episode but the rest of season four.

So this week was spent pondering questions with lots of longhand notes.

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Weekly writing check-in: off on a writing tear

I spent the weekend on a “Jo March” writing tear.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the hat.

I do have many draft words.

I didn’t log onto the internet (except for a quick check of my mail and to sync my file).

I thought about booting up my desktop and writing my update on Sunday.

Clearly, that didn’t happen.

But I can see the end of this new draft, and that’s a good thing.

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Blog interview: The Beauty of Storytelling

I had the chance to do an interview with Hawthorne Orchard, a student-led nonprofit made up of students from various local high schools.

They asked some great questions, a couple of which I really had to think about.

You can read the interview here.

While you’re there, click around to see all the other things they’ve been up to.

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Weekly writing check-in: spills and chills

So way back in the day, I had a weekly paper route.

Those of you of a certain age may remember the weekly shopper newspaper. It was a small publication of mostly ads held together by a few human interest stories.

For three or so years, every Tuesday, I would diligently deliver these little papers in the neighborhood next to mine.

Fun fact: this neighborhood was the neighborhood from the Betsy-Tacy books.

The neighborhood contained several hills (and still does, to my knowledge). One hill, in particular, was particularly brutal. Each winter, like clockwork, my feet would slip out from under me, and I would smash my tailbone against the ice-slicked asphalt.

Even after I’d relinquished the route, I made it a practice to slip on the ice or the steps at least once a year. It wasn’t winter until I took a tumble and bruised my tailbone.

Well, last Sunday, I renewed that tradition. I’m fine, but I went down hard on some ice in our driveway.

After that, I was in no mood for the internet, never mind booting up my computer.

And yes, my tailbone still aches.

But I am making good progress on Coffee & Ghosts. So there’s that. I mean, it’s currently -9 right now. It’s not like we’re going to pull on our boots and take a hike.

I’d probably just slip on the ice anyway …

 

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Weekly writing check-in: I’m going to the moon

Okay, maybe I’m not going to the moon, but my stories are. I was lucky enough to secure a place on the manifest for Writers on the Moon.

Essentially it’s a lunar time capsule project conceived by author Susan Kaye Quinn. You can read more about how it’s going to work here. In short, my writing will be going to the moon and staying there–until some future humans (or aliens) come across it. At which point, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to read about Coffee and Ghosts.

This week, in addition to working on those margins in my life where I can write, I finished strong with Storystorm. I ended up with 51 ideas! I’m pleased with that. It was fun, and I enjoyed reading the blog posts each day.

I also made some excellent progress with Coffee and Ghosts, which is good since they’re going to the moon. (Well, not season four. The aliens will simply have to land on earth to read that.)

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Weekly writing check-in: writing and routines

I had a lovely long weekend last week—lots of reading, lots of pondering, lots of relaxing.

This week, I’m up to 31 ideas for Storystorm. So, technically, I’ve completed the challenge, but I’ll keep going. One week left!

I’ve been thinking lately about writing and routines.

Before March 2020, I had a routine that was working fairly well for me. When I was in the office, I would write over my lunch hour, usually in one of our tiny conference rooms (called ponder havens—yes, I work for a tech company).

I’ve now switched to working remotely. I no longer go into the office, I tend to work through my lunch break, and while I no longer have the commute, I haven’t considered how to use that extra time.

Plus, I learned something significant this past weekend. Audiobooks are one of the ways I fill the creative well. I did most of my listening during that commute. I don’t just miss audiobooks; I need them. They help me create.

So, I’m looking at small, incremental changes I can make to my day to get more listening and more creating done. At this point, my days are fairly routine, so now’s the time to find those new margins where I can write.

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Weekly writing check-in: weekend respite

I’m taking this three-day weekend as a respite: lots of reading, some historical podcasts, and maybe a movie or series or documentary or two.

I am keeping up with Storystorm. I’m up to 23 ideas for the month. That gives me a cushion for days where I don’t jot down an idea. Although, I’ve been finding that simply being aware that hey, I’m collecting ideas, brings more of them. Funny how that works.

Also, I’m making revision progress on Coffee and Ghosts. Slow, but progress.

And that’s it because I am committed to some rest this weekend.

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