Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ruts and Renovations

What? Another week has gone by already? I really don’t want to admit it but I’ve been kind of stuck in a rut. It could be a good rut or a bad rut depending on the way you want to look at it.

From a Nano point of view (POV), it’s a bad rut if you’re going by word count because I haven’t really advanced. I’m working at it every day but going over the same scenes. If this was a Nano project I started from scratch on Nov 1st I wouldn’t be allowed to edit and perfect but this is a work in progress and editing is the name of the game.

From a perfectionist’s POV, I’m really doing some great stuff. I was zipping along editing, revising and adding new stuff in. Then one day when I sat down to write, I realized I should change something from the day before. It was something that would really enhance the story so I went back, revised and then jumped forward again. The next day I sat down and the same thing happened but not for the day before, I needed to go back to the day before the day before. And then believe it or not, the same thing happened on the third day. And the ideas kept coming. Of course, I could have just let it be…but what kind of a writer would that make me if I ignored the good ideas?
I finally finished after 5 days. Yes, you read that right – I continued working on that one scene for 5 days. And by the time I finished, I’d added over 1300 words to the scene. When I sat back to think about it, the original version had lacked progression. It’s Day 8 on the trail for Emma and the outlaws but except for a few words, they didn’t DO anything except ride.

In the new version, the big scene is broken into 2 smaller ones. The first scene has a very tender moment between Emma and Dan, the hero. And in the 2nd scene, Dan is…hmmm…I can’t tell you what happens to Dan… let’s just say there’s an incident with a gun and leave it at that.

The sensory details I added have come from a better understanding of the Wyoming landscape now that I’ve travelled there and can realistically imagine myself being there in Emma’s shoes.

Those 5 days, however, have really made it difficult to reach my NaNo goal of completing the revisions before the end of Nov.

Something else that's interfering with my writing schedule is the contractors in my house. If you've been following my personal blog at all, you'll know I had a 20 square foot hole in the wall between my living room and bathroom. We've been using 2 shower curtains as a temporary wall and although it blocks out most of the visuals, it does nothing for the sound. And believe me, when you're sitting in the living room, you can hear EVERYTHING. We've been waiting for the contrcactors to come and fix it but they've been lagging their feet. I've had friends and relatives tell me to start bugging them. I said, 'NO'. I told them I needed Nov for NaNo and that I'd start phoning the last week on Nov so they'll come the first couple weeks in Dec.

Well, it's started. Which means I can't be out in my cave writing because I'm babysitting the contractors. So far, we have a new soaking tub installed, the new drywall is up, and the wallpaper is has been taken down on the one livingroom wall where they cut into it. Also, the icky borders in the bathroom are down. Today (Thurs) they come back to do all the muddying/plastering followed by painting the adjoining wall, painting the bathroom and putting up the tub surround. Then the next contractors come out to replace the vinyl in the bathroom and the livingroom carpet. I don't like their timing but I'm so glad the wall is back.

So, any renovations going on at your place? Any planned? And how long has it been since you changed the paint and wallpaper?


Helena said...

Congratulations on both fronts, Anita. I wouldn't call your scene revisions a bad rut, I'd call it gaining traction. The whole point of revision is to make it better, and I can tell you're feeling great about what you've done. As for the end of Nov. deadline ... well, I've talked about how deadlines and setting goals motivate me, but I don't get in a twist if I don't quite make it, provided I have made significant progress.

I am now in the 36K word count range with five days to go, and I'm still hopeful of getting to 50K, but if I don't, I will have many more words toward this new novel than I would have otherwise. My biggest thrill of the month was yesterday when I wrote 5,049 words. First time I've reached that peak ... EVER.

As for renos, I have to admit I admire your patience waiting all this time to get the repairs done. So I'd say a little adjustment to your revision goal is probably worth it. Don't worry how it looks on the scoreboard. You are the one that gets to tally the real score.

No renos at my house, tho I can think of some I'd like to do. I've lived here 8 years without changing anything, but it's not a priority. Today, however, the satellite installers arrived to switch out my old dish for a new one that was supposed to pull in some channels I should have been getting but wasn't. So I had to 'supervise' that operation, and unless it's still loading, I can only get one of the two channels. Grrr! I can see where this is going. Next they'll tell me I need an updated receiver! But this is only a short minor delay. Must get on with the writing ...

So, tally ho, good luck in the final stretch!!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Helena, you're doing wonderful! Five thousand words in one day is an awesome feat. I've only reached that once by itself and then a 2nd time when I had an 8,000 word day. Both days happened during BIAWeekend at eHarl over the Labour Day weekend 2008. And now when I think about it, that's when I finished Emma's story. So now I'm beginning to see why it needed so much work. I've revised in the meantime but not an indepth critique like I'm looking at it now with everything I've learned about the craft since.

Sorry about your satelite service but look at it this way... you're not tempted to watch TV.

And I love it when you sign off saying you have to get back to writing. Sounds so right, you know?

Have a great day.

connie said...

Hi Anita,
I haven't written a word in days and my conscience is at a level Ted Bundy's should have been.
(That reminds me of something one of the reporters at the paper wrote "...and capital punishment is frowned on in schools these days..."
Renovations: one year, it snowed in October. I knew because the snow was coming in through the huge hole in the lr where the fire place should have been. Recently had the bathroom redone with a standup shower about 4 1/2 feet long (want a bath? visit Anita. She has a new soaking tub...)(standup shower? as opposed to lie down one? actually it has a seat in the corner). Too bad the seat is in now and not when our teenage boys got up okay for school, but then had a nice long nap in the shower!
Do people use shower curtains for anything other than renos? When the bathroom was being redone, I wanted to put up wet sheets to keep the plaster dust in the bathroom. "Oh no", they scoffed. This wallboard doesn't do that".
In a pig's eye! If anyone has a use for two barrels of plaster dust, too bad. It has been poured through a hole in the wall of the contractor's house.
Anyway, hope I haven't added to your nightmares...
Last time I painted or wallpapered? I don't know. When were they invented?
p.s. Being in a rut is known as having a terrible crisis elsewhere and you had to choose between it and writing. Chasing contractors with an ax is a very believable essential crisis.

Karyn Good said...

Keep chugging along, Anita. You'll get there and even if you don't you're still way ahead of where you were the beginning of November. At this point its quality versus quantity.

We had a lovely new front door installed this fall that went without a hitch but was minor in the grand scheme of renovations. The leaky pool we had to contend with this summer - not so much fun. And in that instance it was the wait and some of the workmanship that raised eyebrows.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
When you edit and revise, it's usually not about increasing word count but making the work better. So don't get too bummed out. You might feel like you're not making progress but you are.

About the renovations: we are currently redoing our downstairs bathroom. Four weeks before Christmas is not the ideal time to be starting a renovation (sounds like yours will be mostly done by then), especially since our oldest daughter will be home and her bathroom and her room have been turned upside down. My husband decided to do the work himself after we got an estimate from a contractor that was pretty steep. Frankly, I'm a little worried. Every day there's a little more mess down there, and he tells me not to rush him. We could be talking about this renovation at this time next year!


Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Connie, that's pretty good. I've been talking to hubby about all the plaster dust but he said they're using a 'new' dustless mud. Yeah, 'In a pig's eye!' Ha!

Actually we don't know yet because the mudder is here now. I waited 2 hrs for him, and when he got here, he said he's going to be here all day. Of course, the first thing he did was disconnect and move the toilet! Thank goodness Nelson set up a temporary one in our new rec centre using the same kind we used to have back on the farm when I was a little girl.

My choice for the bathroom was a stand up shower which would've taken up the space of the tub but hubby didn't like it. It wasn't too practical in our house because we only have the one bathroom and never lock the door in case the little guy has to go. So we had to keep the dark shower curtain instead of the nice glass enclosure that I wanted. Then too, you never know when you want a nice long soak so I gave in and voila our new tub is 7" higher than the old one.

I'll get back to my writing as soon as the mudder leaves. Hope you'll get back to your writing soon, too.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Karyn, you got a new front door? I thought your old one was lovely.

I just realized as I read your comment that I don't think I even checked your post yesterday. I want to know how you're doing so I'll see you over there in a bit.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Jana, if your husband is anything like mine, he'll spend a major portion of the time in the planning and destruction phase. Then once he has everything clear in his mind and the materials in his hands, things should move along fairly quickly.

As for our renovations, I know the walls and new bathroom fixtures will be ready but I'm not too confident about the floors. It doesn't matter about the living room carpet but the bathroom floor is down to the aspenite/presswood and plaster streaks. So yes, I sure hope it's fixed by Christmas.

Thanks for the insight, Jana.

Janet said...

I'm enjoying renovation free months - we've renovated every house we've lived in, then sold it immediately, never getting a chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I'm sure that once we have a house here, we'll be on the renovation wagon again. Yes, we do it all ourselves - The Husband is very talented.

Just keep working at it, Anita. All the work and diligence will pay off with a story that will rock.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Um Janet, don't you know you're supposed to renovate when you buy, enjoy it, then sell?

But we always did the same - because it was always easier to sell with a 'new' look. This is the first house we plan on staying in and that's why I finally get my dark red wall in the living room.

The mudder just left and the fan is blowing to dry the mud so they can paint tomorrow. I asked him about the dust and he just gave me this look and then he said not to worry and they'd take care of it. Ugh.

But at least the kids are home tomorrow so hopefully I'll be able to get out here and write. I'm in my cave now and it'll be a late night tonight.

I appreciate the pep talk, Janet. Thank you.