A Year in the Life: Week 20

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

“Whew,” I said in the writing chat room, “finished my galleys.”

“Oh good,” Mikaela said, “does that mean you’ll have time to write your MW post?”

Chastened, I come to write it.:)

Know what I’ve been doing? NOT WRITING. A lot of NOT WRITING. I’ve learned how to do a book layout in InDesign. I’ve been staring a bit miserably at the writing I need to do. I’ve gone to one of the local SF conventions. A week ago I finished all the book layout stuff and said, “Yay! Now maybe I can get back to ACTUAL WRITING.”

And the galleys for MOUNTAIN ECHOES, the 8th Walker Papers novel, landed in my inbox. Seriously, like, while I was writing a blog post saying “Maybe I can get back to the writing now,” before I got to the end of it, the galleys arrived. #NotFair, to coin a Twitter phrase.

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A Year in the Life: Week 19

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

I think we’re up to about week 19 of A Year in the Life. Close enough, anyway!

Actually, the past month has been quite a disappointment in writing terms. I’ve finished a short story and done some more book proposals, or at least the first stages of them–synopses.

The first synopsis is for the Big New Project I discussed several weeks ago. At the moment I’ve got about 2000 words written on what is very much a high-level, first pass version of the synopsis. Normally I would think that was actually enough, but the size and depth of this particular project suggests to me that I’m probably going to need to triple the length of the synopsis. And also write a separate world building file, which I assure you I have never done before. I anticipate the actual proposal–the rough draft chapters of the book–to come in at a couple [...]

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An Exercise in Voice: Results

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

First off, I want to thank everybody who participated in my Voice Exercise post two weeks ago. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to go read it, and to read the stories everyone submitted.

I was actually quite nervous about trying this in a blog format, because it would’ve been so easy for people to cheat. Normally I do it in classes, where it’s pretty much impossible to cheat. But it’s clear to me that people followed the rules that I established, so now I’m going to drive the point home:

No one can ever write the story you will write. Do not ever tell yourself that there’s no point in trying to tell a story because it’s been done before. It may have been, but you have not done it, and that means there’s still something unique you can bring to it.

I gave you guys six [...]

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An Exercise in Voice

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

I’m on writing retreat this week, so I’m going to riff off David’s post in which people worry they’ll tell the same story somebody else has told, and give you a writing exercise. Normally I do this in writing seminars where nobody can read each other’s work until it’s finished done, so I’m going to establish one rule and I ask that you actually follow it.

Here’s the rule: first, before you go any further in reading this entry, right-click on “leave a comment/# of comments” and open it in a new tab or window. This is really important for this exercise. The entire point here is that you should absolutely *not* read what other people have written until you’ve done yours. Please, please follow this rule.

Edited to add: Crap. Apparently MW doesn’t open a fresh window with no visible comments unless you’re actually the first commenter. All right, [...]

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A Year in the Life: Week 16

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

The past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a whole lot of something I don’t usually do: group brainstorming sessions.

I have a new project–and I cannot, of course, go into detail, because it’s so tentative still that there’s no detail to go *into*–but I have a project that’s gotten some editorial interest. It would be a Large Project, large enough that I did a pre-proposal for my editor before even thinking about doing a proposal.

What’s a pre-proposal, you ask? Well, in this case it’s 8 pages of very general plot, world, and character sketches: enough to say “Is this perhaps the kind of thing you’re looking for?” This project would be so big that I needed a sense of whether I was even in the right ballpark, whether it was something that *seemed* like it was on the right track, before I could even consider writing a *real* [...]

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A Year in the Life: Week 15

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

Goodness, we’re a little more than halfway through A Year In The Life. Where does the time go?

Well, in the past two weeks, it’s gone to 1. jetlag, 2. a Bruce Springsteen concert (yes, this is relevant to the post), and 3. agonizing revisions. We’ll start with that last…

Writing: I’m working on a novel for my nephew. It’s the second one, after the first was a GREAT hit. This kind of puts the pressure on, and I’ve been working on this all month. Well, you know. In between vacationing and jet lag and The Boss, but anyway.

The thing is that, as discussed in my *last* YitL post, something felt Wrong about it. Two weeks ago I’d struck out about a thousand words and thought I was happier with it, but when I came back to it I was still unhappy with the pacing. The first book’s pacing [...]

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A Year in the Life: Week 14

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy

This week on the Year of the Life of a Writer: short stories! novels! vacation! …one of those things is not like the other, eh?

Writing: Finished a not-so-short-stort for AFTERMATH, the final Old Races collection, which means that collection is done in good time for its August 1 release date. Yay!

Then I had these grandiose plans of writing AN ENTIRE NOVEL (a short one, but a novel) during vacation. Ahahaha. Still, I got 10K written on it. But it was bothering me: it felt too slow, even though I kept looking at it and it was mostly following the structure I wanted. After a while I figured out I’d gotten too far off track in adding some character history/development for someone who didn’t really need it. So I struck that out (saved it for later, though, in case I get a chance to use it) and revised, which [...]

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