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...and (short story) draft! At 3700 words, the story that really needs a better title than just "Changeling" is complete!

First thought: Well, that only took me four years. This is the story I drafted at Odyssey in summer 2008, forgot about, and recently recalled--realizing that, as written, it was actually only a first scene. A bunch of drafting and outlining and tweaking and more drafting (and more tweaking, and more outlining...) later, it's a complete* draft.

Whoosh. That feels pretty good.


*Not going to say first, because I did write it before; but it's also not a finished story, even to the point where I'd show it to friends. I have to go back and change some more things in the beginning, making sure that the narrator's through-line of emotion and rationality is clear (and actually, er, makes sense). But Having An Ending is nothing to sneeze at, and that's what I have now, down in words and everything.
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Day-before-yesterday's question: Will a progress meter help me to write more?
Today's answer: Well, maybe.

I have had a grad party, and we have eaten oatmeal-raisin cookies and cake and berries.

Today I slept late and then finished reading Borderland, which [livejournal.com profile] vcmw thoughtfully gave me as a graduation present. (It was an interesting read--I read the Bordertown anthologies in, I think, reverse order, which is an odd perspective to have on something.)

The day was sunny for once, which reminded me of days last year at Odyssey when, restless and uninspired by my apartment, other people's apartments, the cafe or the library, I would trek with my laptop to the quad in the center of campus. In the center of the quad rise a few ribs of stone, and I would sit on the largest of these, the sun's glare making my laptop screen practically unreadable, using campus wifi and writing madly. I would pretend sometimes that nothing was real but the peninsula of rock I sat on, that it was all virtual reality, the perfect lawn, the collegiate brick buildings, the utter stillness interrupted only by a classmate or a priest.

So, in memorium of that time, and because I was restless and uninspired by my house, I took my bike and went to a coffee shop, where I ate lunch (including leftover raspberries from my grad party which I stuck in my bag along with my laptop), and then to a library, where I sat outside on the lawn, using their wifi and typing madly.

At some point I looked at my word count thingy and thought, "I can get to 30k today." So I did.

And then I went to a grad party and ate strawberries and potato chips, and then I biked home.

It looks like the evening will consist of working on forms for my college, and slushing. I think I have exhausted my Notanovel words for today, though if I have some sudden inspiration I might add a few more.

30045 / 80000
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I'm supposed to be writing my NaNoWriMo novel, but I'm not.

In fact, I'm three days behind on word count. I think this is the furthest behind I've been this early in the month, without flood, (homework) storm, or having to run lights for a show physically preventing me from writing.

Instead, I am attempting to rewrite a story from Odyssey. So far it's going better than the last time I tried to rewrite it; my theory is to be blatantly obvious with everything. After this, I think I'll have to test it out on some poor unsuspecting victims who'll tell me if I'm hammering the point home too fiercely or if it just makes sense for a chance.

--

In other news, it's flurried here twice already.

I'm glad the snow is coming. Summer was nice, fall is good too, but it's time for curling up in blankets with warm cider and watching the snowflakes now. To me, snow justifies the winter: the grey days, the lack of light, the cold air coming through the window right in front of my computer so that my feet feel like they might freeze up while I'm typing LJ entries instead of rewriting my story or doing homework or going to bed.

That's why I separated out colleges by "Does it snow there?" Anywhere I go, there'll be some change in the seasons. The least I can do is make sure that I'll have snow to keep me awake and dreaming.
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Breaking radio silence (because of Way Too Much To Do and Way Too Little To Talk About) to celebrate.

I entered the Writers of the Future contest this summer while at Odyssey, with a story written and, with the help of my classmates, revised there. It was the first time I'd entered.

And guess what? I got an honorable mention!

http://wotfblog.galaxypress.com/2008/09/final-honorable-mentions-for-3rd.html

Okay, so it's not finalist, and it's not semi-finalist, but there is time, there is time. For right now, I'm pretty pleased with my result.

Maybe this will give me the needed momentum to start revising, writing, and submitting stories. School provides a much-too-easy excuse to me--oh, I couldn't possibly do that, I've got homework! I've got extracurriculars, and college applications!

On the one hand, yes, those are still important. But I do want to keep writing.
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For those interested in how Odyssey really works, [livejournal.com profile] juliettecrane posted a nice summation of logistics.

But, of course, "friendship hates math, and so the sum of experience between ... people is not a sum,"* it's debating moral issues late at night, learning the things that aren't taught in class even at Odyssey, living and laughing and working with the same seventeen people for six weeks. It's inside jokes and other inside jokes and a whole set of references--to stories we wrote, to stories we read, to people and places and things.

It quickly becomes the new normal, because you can't imagine anything else.

This is why, on the trip back, I kept seeing things and thinking, "oh, she would love this" or "he would think this is hilarious" and then remember that I was in a car with my mother, driving over a thousand miles to get home.

The trip back was an epic all of its own. Details from that part of my summer are easier to give, because I don't have to wonder if this person or that would mind if I told this anecdote, this funny thing.

I went straight from Odyssey to Readercon, and had a lot of fun despite running on three hours of sleep. I look forward to going back sometime when I'm not exhausted and can come for all four days--a bunch of panels I wanted to see were on Friday, and I didn't get to the con until Saturday afternoon. I got to see old friends (hey, three months is a long time!) and meet new ones, including the many Odyssey alums who came up to me in the halls.

Then came a week of visiting colleges, and a week of driving back. . . looking at more colleges. I am all colleged out right now.

During the week of driving back, I managed to forget my purse at a rest area on the Ohio turnpike. Thankfully, someone found it and gave it to a state trooper, and they'll be sending it back to me.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of our many Adventures on the way back, but will do for now--others include the Cleveland hostel, which is in the middle of a state park, and my mother's navigational technique (driving down random streets in what she thinks is the correct direction, until I figure out where we are on the road atlas and tell her that what she thought was west really is south).

I arrived home on Friday night at about eleven-thirty. It's nice to know that my Waking Up Early skills still apply, but really, I didn't need to wake up at six-thirty the next morning. (I did crash for about an hour and a half in the afternoon yesterday, to my great surprise. Naps are for Other People, or occasionally me when I'm running a fever.)

Now I have to figure out how to put my life back together from what it was before, and what it was during Odyssey, and, incidentally, do all the work I'm supposed to have done before school starts.

No rest for the wicked.


*Beau Sia, "Howl"
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It's nice to know that I still have it.

--well: I guess I don't know, necessarily, whether the story's any good. But I wrote a story today, and it felt good, like stories should feel coming out of my brain. It needs work; oh, it definitely needs work.

But school squashes my creativity so much that sometimes I despair of ever getting it back, and I love the moment when I realize, No, I still do have that. It's just tucked away for the moment.

Tomorrow is my last day of school for the year. I've managed to fight my way through most of everything I had to do, which of course means that I discovered another fifty things I have to do.

I leave for Odyssey on Sunday--my plane leaves at, er, six a.m.

...that's a little early, even for me.
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This is my new laptop typing.

Or, er, me typing on my new laptop, rather...

It's for Odyssey, mostly, because the computer I've been using wouldn't be very happy about being picked up and carted half a continent away and then brought unceremoniously back again.

So here's me, on my new shiny macbook, posting because I never did give my mac mini a name and it's rather too late now and I feel bad about that. I intend to do better with this little lovely. So: laptop name suggestions, anyone? With reasoning, if it strikes your fancy.

It could be that I just am not the type that impulsively names things, but having ideas can't hurt, after all.

(I am not used to typing on this keyboard. I am making approximately way more typos than usual because of it. Argh--but I will get used to it soon I suppose.)

Four days 'til Odyssey.
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One revelation might be enough for tonight.

So here I am, peacefully writing my short story, which doesn't have a plot yet but you know, that's the way it goes sometimes--

And boom, it turns into a novel on me. Or at least a much longer short story, or one of those terrible categories in between, like a novella or novelette.

I'm not sure whether to be pleased or terrified or sad. On one hand, the sorts of deceptions that are going on in this story are really quite fascinating. On the other, it sort of feels like too much coincidence (but that's the way this story is, it shrieks...)--on the third hand, assuming I have three hands, do I have time to write a novelette?

I think the answer is, I guess I'd better. Or maybe, I guess I'd better type faster.

Suddenly, June doesn't seem so far away.
aamcnamara: (Default)
summaries of panels I attended; things I should have said at panels )

Of course, the weekend wasn't all just panels.

things that were not panels )

Today, I had to go back to school. Eight more days.
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Typo of the day (well, yesterday): "...and, as far as I could tell, didn't have any redeeming graves to make up for it."

Tomorrow or the next day we'll be sending off the housing payment for Odyssey, along with a story. Which story it is that goes in the packet is anyone's guess.

I've got story #1, which I think is good--although not as good as story #2. I have a story I wrote a while ago, and I have a story I wrote last night, and I don't have the time to edit either of them. I think that the story I wrote last night--let's call it story #3 for simplicity's sake, because it doesn't have a title--has potential to be better than story #1.

But I don't have time to edit it up, or even to rewrite it, really, because even if I wanted to stay up for another hour and a half I still have to edit this paper for English class tomorrow and do my math homework and study for the IB physics test that starts Tuesday.

So it'll probably end up being story #1 that I send, and I'm not happy about it. It's not that I think it's a terrible story, because I don't, but it isn't any story #2.

I still don't know if I'm going to wiscon. I know: it's next weekend, and I still don't know? I don't. I would almost be happier at this point to stay home, but I know that I would have a lot of fun if I went.

And it's late, and I need to decide which thing I'm going to try to get done tonight, because I probably only have time for one thing if I want to have any of my brain tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately, it probably won't be studying for my IB physics test, or doing my math homework, and even though I've all but decided to send story #1 in to Odyssey, anyway, it keeps distracting me from editing my paper.

(Which is a problem in and of itself: it's a fine paper, but there are pieces of information that don't fit into the flow of it. But they're important pieces of information, and I think they would make it better--if I can figure out where to put them.)
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Getting to school much too early. Finding a sentence trapped in the empty halls; walk it out, feel it beat. Hearing "Rhapsody in Blue" from the band room and still feeling uncertain whether it was a recording or live music.

Taking the AP Calculus test in the east gym. Filling out bubblesheets for five hours. Walking out of school like we own the place. The sheer beauty of spring. Debating rules of childhood games at the park. Taking over the playground. Playing freeze tag.

The way intent and determination can change a friend's face into that of a laughing hunter. Seeing a friend for the first time in months. Sitting on green grass.

Finding sand from the playground in your shoes later. In your socks. Between your toes.

--
It looks like Odyssey is on. Now I just need to survive the rest of the school year--AP physics test on monday, and another test the week after that. The good side is that many of my classes are winding down, which means More Time For Writing. (The bad side is that my English teacher has decided to make up for all the homework we don't have in other classes.)

Wiscon is the weekend after my last big test. I don't know yet whether it'll work out to go. Of course, I want to go, but I don't know if I can.

Related Odyssey things: a second story is due May 23rd. I'm struggling with it--I don't want to send "story #1" because it seems too thematically similar and I'm not sure if it's up to the level that my "story #2" was when I sent it with the application; certainly it doesn't have as strong of a voice. However, if I'm going to write a new story, I should have already done it, and I don't have anything.

I found a first line this morning while wandering around the empty school and waiting for my AP test to start. This afternoon I tried to do something with it, which didn't seem to work too well. It almost seems like a long premise for something, but I'm not sure what yet. I might just scrap everything I have except the first line and try again, because I have a couple of ideas of things I could do with it.

(Of course, writing is rewriting. Maybe I should just finish a rough draft already and do what needs to be done to it.)

My other recent idea seems like it won't be going anywhere for a little while. It needs a lot of time devoted to it, I think. The main problem is that (in my head, at least) the narrator is somewhere in the gray area between male and female, and said narrator doesn't have a strong enough voice in my head yet to write a rough draft in first person.

Under most circumstances, if I have an idea, I can rattle out some sort of rough draft. However, in these circumstances I've been having some problems--I hate writing first person without a clear voice, because every sentence ends up starting with "I" and I cringe every time; in third person, to use "it" seems impersonal and "they" too collective, while "he" and "she" are both inaccurate and the nongendered pronouns that have been offered to me sound awkward to my inner ear--so I'm thinking of letting it simmer for a while in the back of my head, and maybe doing some exercises to figure out voice a little more.
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To a certain extent, this journal has lost its point.

Originally, it was to chronicle my adventures in applying to the Clarion workshop in 2008. (Owing to their last-minute clarification of policy, of course, I didn't apply.) It then fell back on the other workshops I was applying to: Odyssey, Alpha, IYWS. All three have now replied, and all three accepted me.

With those deadlines gone, it feels like there's time to relax. There isn't, really. For one thing, it's the Season of the Standardized Tests. The ACT is over; so is the state math standards test, which may or may not count toward graduation--depending on whom you ask. The SAT, SAT IIs (the day before Odyssey starts!), AP and IB tests are all still yet to come.

And then Odyssey wants a second story from me, and a third on the first day of the workshop. Having heard some of the comments and compliments on Story #2, which I sent them, I am nervous that it will prove to be a brilliant fluke, and not representative of my greater work. I feel, in effect, nervous and uncertain. I don't think that they'll kick me out now--well, I hope that they don't--well, they probably won't.

But several people have commented on the voice in story #2 especially. I don't think that either story #1 or the potential story #3 that I'm currently sighing over (in the midst of homework! and tests!) has as distinct a voice as does the narrator in story #2. I don't even know where I found that voice.

--

I have realized lately that I have two houses and no home. I think that this happens a lot, with kids who have divorced parents with equal custody, but it was a shock in some ways to realize this. I'd thought for so long that my parents' divorce was an entirely positive thing that this negative aspect of it really was, well, a surprise to me.

And I'm not sure how to fix it, except maybe to write about it, which is sort of what story #3 will be, if it ever gets out of my brain.

--

Other things that have happened:
- My mother has agreed to take me to WisCon. (I will be sad when I go off on my own and I have to pay for all this stuff myself. From, uh, my writing. ... Or just not go to this sort of thing.) I'm excited, because going to Odyssey means not being able to go to Fourth Street.
- I've finished working on the school's musical and begun a sort of apprenticeship in lights in our student-run black box theatre. It's interesting. They do it, once, and then go off and leave me to it, assuming I've watched carefully enough to learn.
- We had our spring break, and I spent an exhausting week visiting colleges in NYC and western MA, bracketed by late-night flights. On the one back, the woman sitting next to us had a cat. Good job at preventing allergies, Airline That Shall Not Be Named. Good job.

August 2015

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