Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson


Leave a comment

Distraction Techniques

Writing contests. Love them or hate them, they’re about as nerve-racking as a thing can be. They’re right up there on par with being called for jury duty or watching the minutes tick away on a delayed flight with a tight connection. So what am I doing to distract myself during the final countdown for Pitch Wars?

  • Mind games. As always, I’m trying to psych myself into accepting that I won’t get in. The odds are not remotely in my favor. Almost 2000 entrants vying for the attention of 100-something mentors? Those odds aren’t great. They’re incrementally better than having a query letter pulled out of a slush pile, but they’re still daunting odds. But really, what’s the worst thing that can happen? My manuscript isn’t selected. Maybe I get some feedback on it, maybe I don’t. That only means I’m sitting in the same position I’m in right now: no better, no worse. I remember how I felt last year when I didn’t make the cut. Disappointed, sure, but I was still so happy for those who did. I know how to do disappointment, and I do it well. Wallow for ten minutes, then get on with things. Humans are a fairly resilient race.
  • Reading. Yesterday I devoured Balaraba Ramat Yakubu’s Sin is a Puppy That Follows You Home, which I want to review on Goodreads when I gather my thoughts sufficiently. I’m not sure which book I’ll start today. Maybe I’ll finish reading Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (I’m more than halfway done). With the Olympics over, the TV is on less in our house and that means I have more space to concentrate on reading.
  • Binge-watching. I started watching Stranger Things on Netflix. I’ve heard the buzz about it, but am relatively unspoiled for how it will play out. Three episodes down, five to go. That ought to last another night or so.
  • Cooking. I’ve pulled out all the recipes I want to try and have been stockpiling ingredients. I have one recipe for vegan (avocado & cashew) peppermint cacao-chip ice cream sandwiched between raw chocolate “cookies” from the My New Roots cookbook. All I have to do is remember to soak the cashews first, but I have the rest of the ingredients. This ought to be fun! I also have a recipe for vegetarian peanut soup (most is made with chicken stock) that looks delicious.
  • Playing. For me, it’s endless Solo Play matches of Words with Friends. Okay, I am a word nerd, I admit it. It’s great to have something that provides a moment’s focus, now and always.

There are plenty of other things I should be doing, but my delicate flower of a psyche can only take so much at once. I’m trying not to stalk the Pitch Wars hashtag, because it feels too much like gift-rattling. Or like being drawn toward an explosion or train wreck and not knowing how to look away.

If I don’t get selected (notice I didn’t say when, I’m still an optimist at heart), I plan on setting up a community for people seeking beta readers on imzy, which I find I’m liking more than I expected. By the way, if you’re interested in imzy and need an invite code, I have several. Just let me know.

Long story short: no matter what happens, life goes on. Friendships and relationships forged won’t simply disappear based on the outcome of a contest. I’ll still be dreaming about my characters and plotting new and ever more devious ways to put them through the wringer so they can come out stronger on the other side.

How about you, fellow writers? How are you holding up?


2 Comments

I’m no more patient than I used to be

…but I do have more experience waiting.

If you’re following along, you know it’s Pitch Wars time. You probably also know this is my favorite contest of all because as I mentioned in my last post, it’s nice. Being nice and behaving politely is a cornerstone of the contest, and I appreciate the hell out of that.

On August 3 — the one day I was home between two very different trips — I entered my manuscript in the contest. Decisions won’t be announced until August 25, so by my calendar I still have another two weeks to go before I find out if I’ll be working with a mentor. So what am I doing in the meantime? I thought you’d never ask.

Here’s where I talk about maintaining my sleek calm plush-velvet demeanor (also about why I love Pitch Wars, beyond “nice”). Continue reading


Leave a comment

It’s Pitch Wars Time Again

…and I wrote a bio last year that I still like, so here it is.

Honestly, this is my favorite Twitter-based writing opportunity, and if you can, you should support its efforts. I am. Not just for the extra submission slots, although that’s a sweet perk. It’s just so danged nice. Positive. Helpful. Friendly.

Meanwhile, I'm being reliable with the ladies.

Meanwhile, I’m hanging out & being reliable with the ladies. I’m the one on the right.


2 Comments

So I did finish that manuscript

…for those of you keeping track, I didn’t realize I never posted about it! Bad writer, no biscuit. I ended up with a 62.5k book to which I’m going to add a few more scenes based on first reader feedback. Overall, I’m so pleased. It’s not easy to take a book you’ve written and love to pieces and cut it in half, size-wise.

Cheering myself on.

I might enter this one in PitchWars again and see what happens. I did last year, and as my favorite mentor who rejected the book last year said so poignantly, what have I got to lose by entering again? Nothing. I’m getting burned out on Twitter contests, but this one is probably my favorite.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

No pain, no gain, and all those other aphorisms.


7 Comments

Summer Solstice

Happy first day of summer, everyone. It’s a hot day here in the Bay area. I snapped this on my phone as I was passing through my yard on my way for an iced coffee. It looks like I’m not the only one who needed to keep hydrated today.

flash the snail

I like this photo because it makes my garden look like an exotic jungle. The snail went from the lip of the fountain to the side, and now 2 hours later it’s back on top, letting the water cascade over its shell.


5 Comments

Also, my hair is a mess

First, a personal aside: growing out one’s hair is always fraught with peril. I keep thinking why not just cut it super short again? Then I won’t have to worry. But I don’t.

I figured I’d update the progress on my beloved manuscript. I’ve been cruising along since May 19, when I went out, guns blazing, determined to write at least 2000 words a day* until I got to 60,000 words. That would bring me to a finish on 6/17. Not bad for a month’s work!

Today my word count is 52,671. I’d like to pretend I’ll finish ahead of schedule, but I’m a little off the mark in terms of where I should be with my (now a little fluid) outline. I confess, 60k seems a bit skimpy for a complete manuscript and I knew I’d have to give myself leeway. It’s easier to edit out a scene than to come up short and have to try to fight for words in the revision stage, so I’m okay with this.

The biggest news is that I’m having so much fun working on this story. I’ve mentioned this is my 4th rewrite and they’ve all been good. At this point it’s almost like writing fanfiction about my own work, which is illegal amounts of fun.

So here’s the bottom line: surprisingly, I’m not as afraid of revision as I used to think. This is me, cheering myself on with my little Go Writer flag.

*In case you can’t tell, I am hugely motivated by word count goals.


Leave a comment

Writers: We Make Shit Up, and We Lie

Some days I feel like the world’s worst blogger. That’s because I don’t keep a schedule for updating (oh no, breaking one of the strongly-suggested Rules for Blogging Success™) and don’t post just to fill up space. I have enough self-imposed deadlines and goals. Why give myself another?

In the meantime, I’m happy to say I have been writing. You know how people say they have The Manuscript From Hell? Well, I have The Manuscript of Joy. This is my 4th major rewrite–don’t laugh at me, they’ve all been so worthwhile–and every time I work on it, this story makes me impossibly happy. In 15 days I’ve created more than 40,000 words using an outline calling for 55-60k. Go Gwynne! All the intense writing is $%($*&#-ing with my wrists, but I’m soldiering on. That’s what I do when I go to sleep thinking about tomorrow’s writing, and wake up determined to capture my sleepy thoughts.

I still do my best writing in the morning. This is a good thing to know, love, and appreciate about myself. I also have a reinvigorated dedication to my YA novel, thanks to my lovely critique partners, so I plan on entering it in #sffpit in a few weeks. I know, I know, I said no more twitter pitch contests. I lied. That’s what writers do. We make shit up, and we lie.

Would you have it any other way?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,227 other followers