Writing Wednesday Update

Just starting a short story this week. It’s for an interesting anthology on archaeology stories with a woman of color as the lead character. I let the idea stew for quite sometime. Then some decisions happened.

  • The first thing I decided, was the MC would be old, elderly by our standards.
  • Then she became a Mumbai native.
  • Lastly, I tossed the story into the near future. Not so far ahead that it’s unrecognizable, but far enough that the archeology work has a few interesting twists in it.

Okay, I lied. One more “lastly” – the secondary character is an eccentric first generation general artificial intelligence in a world run by third generation specialized AIs.

Here’s how it all starts (first draft so pardon the obvious warts):

“You’re ninety-three, Naanii. If the AI wants to interview you, why can’t it shunt in like a normal one would.”

“You mean like a second generation AI would.” Rani Naidu peered at her grandson through the steam rising from her tea.

“Or third generation.”

“Turing is a bit old-fashioned,” she said, emphasizing the AI’s preferred gender affectation. Not that she didn’t agree he was a bit daft for it, but there was only so much flak she was willing to take from her highly modern, highly stuck up grandson. She tapped her temple with her free hand. “Besides, someone of his caliber is too much for this to handle.”

Niraj got up from the table, swiping away her breakfast plate before she was quite sure she’d finished. “I told you I’d pay for an upgrade. Your neural implant is three generations too old, just like your AI.”

Rani clanked her teacup back in its saucer. “Yes yes, we’re all too old. Makes us a perfect match, doesn’t it?”

Niraj through up his hands. “I give up. Naanii-Bai was the only one who could ever get through to you anyway.”

Rani picked her tea cup back up for a final sip, congratulating herself for not breaking it instead. It had been three years since her wife had passed, three years of broken teacups, broken plates, and the occasional broken houseplant.

A Little Late, but Setting Some Writing Goals

So I’m a week late on the goal setting for ROW80, but better late than never!

I read an article last week where a writer talked about his goal of writing every day. I’ve been thinking about that effort, and what it could result in (loads more writing). So I decided to give it a try.

My official goal – write every day.

I managed to do that today so day one – success! 🙂

I have a secondary goal to submit one short story in this round. So one main goal and one sub goal.

Wish me luck!

Staying Motivated over the Summer (or not)

Summer must be the hardest time to stay focused and motivated on the writing. Between the warm (sometimes too warm) days and nights, and the kids out of school, what’s a writer to do?

I’d love to say I have words of wisdom here, but really, my word count is just limping along this summer. We started the season needing to redo acres of fencing to prepare for adding goats and cows to the ol homestead. Then it was super hot and humid.

And now? Now, I’ve just developed a habit of writerly laziness. A habit, folks, I hope to end here and now. We’ve got cool nights, a veg garden that’s already gone to weed, and no other prep work. So no excuses!

I need to start by boosting the word count again, getting back to opening up that writer laptop and cranking out some scenes. So by my next post, I want to finish a scene. Not a lofty goal, but it all starts with baby steps… And so, these are my baby steps this week.

Does this Character Sound Gutsy or just Caustic?

I’m introducing the second major POV character to my #scifi story. This is where I shift to a different mindset entirely and I need the writing to reflect that. Below is a short snippet of that new character’s intro to the story. I’d love to hear what folks think about this person after this quick intro. Likeable? Annoying? Hard to tell yet?

Sachen Orbital Station, New China

http://blog.allisonreich.com/?p=1157(Image from Allison Reich’s blog – really captures the character, but most of all, very talented artist).

Rehabilitation wards sucked, no matter how well-financed they were, and the high-cast Nassien clinic on New China was no exception. Kay pulled herself out of the indoor lap pool and sat on the edge while the water dripped from her collar length blond hair. She still hadn’t gotten used to that.

Years of short-cropped hair genetically altered to a less-conspicuous black was a hard habit to give up. The worst was leaving her eyes their natural blue. Novans didn’t have blue eyes. They might alter them to any other color, but not blue. Terrans had blue eyes. If her lack of Novan pheromones didn’t make it obvious her natural blue eyes did. She was Terran, an unaltered Terran clone, gene line KDTU-02128, property of the Nassien Military Research Division to be precise.

Even that designation was losing significance under the ever-vigilant eye of one Ayaan Nassien-Nomani, Black March Lieutenant Colonel. Or was it Colonel now? Kay couldn’t remember. The gratuitous promotions had come fast and furious during the last days of the Chagos mission, even for her. If she looked at her room chart, it stated the ridiculous rank of Sergeant, as if a grunt like her was ever meant to get that high in the military food chain.

Jax would have had a good long laugh on that one.

If he wasn’t dead.

If she hadn’t shot him to save his traitorous ass from something even worse.

What to do When the Writing Won’t Happen

It’s been hot this week, like crazy mad hot. We reached 90 degrees IN the house, and you know, there’s only so much fans can do. At some point, it’s just moving around hot air. So this wasn’t a productive week for writing. I spent most of my non working hours devising ways to cool off. (for those who care, an industrial factory fan set on gale-force winds does help, especially if you keep your hair wet with cold water every 30 minutes.)

Anyway, given the temps, writing wasn’t happening this week. What was happening was time wastage online that ended up not entirely wasted. I read a quote (alas forgot the origin) that said something like writing a character is like baring her soul. You’ve exposed the good, the bad, and the ugly, the kind of truths we seldom recognize in ourselves.

Another online read talked about show vs tell, and using the camera as a mechanism to tell the difference in your writing. If you can’t see it, smell it, taste it, feel it, you might be slipping into telling vs showing.

And the final tidbit came from an Orphan Black panel at ComiCon. Tatiana M. (she who plays all clones) talked about using a playlist for each clone to help her get in character. I’ve heard other authors using playlists but I found this an interesting take since authors need to get “in character” much like actors do. I haven’t created a playlist for my characters yet, but if this heat spell continues, that’s the next too-hot-to-write activity I’ll jump into.

What do you do when the writing is impossible?

Staying in Character

I managed 1.4 out of the 1.5k word goal. Not great but not bad. This week I’m bumping it up to 2000 words.

Meanwhile, I have a new challenge. I tend to write with one main protagonist. So that’s only one head I’m inside when I write. With this new story, I’m delving into two main protagonists. They’re stories intertwine, but seldom on stage at the same time, so to speak. To keep it easy on myself, I’m separating their POV by chapter. Somewhat rigid, I know, it I think it’ll help keep me on track.

I start the second POV character this week, so we’ll see how it goes! The trick for me will be to keep each character unique and in character. The benefit of one person POV is once you get that voice down, you carry it through the book. Now i’ll need to switch mindsets and voice each chapter,.

Wish me luck!

Joining Round of Words in 80 Days #ROW80

I stumbled on this from Google+ and it looks like a good group to join for motivating more consistent writing habits. And let’s face it… I could use some more consistent writing habits!


So think of ROW80 as my inspirational Woodstock 🙂

Since it’s all about setting realistic and measurable goals – my goal for this round is to get up to 3000 words per week.  That’s the target end-goal, by October, to be consistently writing 3000 words per week.

This week, since I’ve written ZERO so far, I’ll be shooting for 1500 words. Will work my way up to the end goal.

Wish me luck!

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