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suspensewriter

Getting Started- The Ritual Thing

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Dogs and writers have habits.  

 

All of our dogs, before they lay down anywhere, have to circle back and forth like they're flattening grass before they lay down.  My reminds them there is no grass in their beds, but she's only human, so what does she know.

 

I'm kind of the same way, though.  Before I sit down to write, I have to get "in the mood."  Then I sit down, stare at the screen.  Something's not right.  That, is decide, why I can't write.  My desk is to messy.  I don't have a cup of coffee.  The screen is at the wrong angle.  My story is no good.  The TV in the other room is too loud.  I decide to soldier on.

 

I have a long list of printed out ideas that Phy, Lynn and the rest of you have instructed me in.  None of them explains how someone was able to sneak into our house in the middle of the night, successfully navigating past our five screaming hyena-like guard dogs, hack my password and make my characters boring.  They were interesting the night before, I'm sure of it.  In fact, they fairly sparkled with wit and verve. 

 

And whoever the midnight intruder was, they've tampered with my plot.  It was ready to be made into a movie.  The studios- that has to be it.  Somehow they heard about my new novel and just had to sneak in and steal it.  Then they turned it into a bromidic story that could easily be read to infants to send them into a gentle sleep. 

 

Talk about insidious.

 

This was war.

 

But I had to straighten my desk before I could fight back.

 

Coffee wasn't a good choice, so I made tea.

 

I tried the Hemingway method of standing up and writing, but the tall table wobbled.

 

Then it occurred to me to reach out to the rest of you and see which of your writerly habits you used to get going when you settle down to write.  So how about it?  Ignoring the published writer techniques, what are your physical habits you use to settle down and write.  When I'm really serious and want to kick myself in gear, I stroke my beard stare at the manuscript, and say, "Lord, give me the words," and then I start writing. 

 

Your habits are probably more interesting.

 

 

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Unfortunately, now that I have discovered this site, first I have to check to see who has started a new thread, who has responded to other threads, and respond to some of them. I can waste a full hour doing that before I make my hot chocolate, grab a few crackers, smear peanut butter on them, chew them up, and then sit down to write.

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I do the bulk of my writing during NaNoWriMo, where I keep a close eye on daily word count. During those days, I write every day except Sunday and write until I hit my expected word count. I'm a pretty linear writer, starting at the beginning and adding new ideas as they go along. Scrivener is especially helpful as whenever I find a new character, I add them to my Character page. I'm also rigorous about updating my daily word count on my NaNo profile so I can see where I am on the sprint to 50k.

After finishing my first draft, I write from passion. Scrivener makes it really easy to add stuff as a scene and drag-and-drop. I find myself most creative in the shower or when doing physical labor (mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, anything that makes me work and seems to free up my mind to wander). In the aftermath of NaNo, I kick different ideas around and write as I assemble enough stuff to write down. This is writing for fun rather than writing for a paycheck.

When I'm on the hook for a blog post or a book preface or something like that, I gather my ideas and then sit down and pound it out. I wrote every week (and frequently every day) for seven years when I was editor for Ray Gun Revival magazine. When I need to write, I just get it done. If I don't like how it's working out, I'll write anyway and go back and clean it up later.

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My habits? Nobody can follow mine. It's too discombobulating!. :confused:

 

First, you have to have to have fibromyalgia and not be able to sit at a desk. Next, you have to position your couch so it's perpendicular to the TV. Then, you have to have a laptop, smaller is better. Next, you have to have a stack of pillows to lean against. Then, you stretch out and use a lapdesk for your computer to keep it cool. Oh, and be sure you have a blankey for when your feet get cold, even though you're wearing socks.  Then, you turn on the easy listening channel on TV. And then? You wait for your fibro brain to connect with your fingers. And away you go! Hopefully! :rolleyes::D

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22 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Hey, what ever happened to Ray Gun Revival?  It sounds fun.

 

We did six years on our own publishing free issues via .PDF (which are now housed at Scribd). The stories from the final year were sponsored by Every Day Fiction online. Like any endeavor, we ran into economic realities due to declining readership and a niche genre and closed down at the end of our seventh year.

My friend Bryan Thomas Schmidt put together a Space Opera anthology called Raygun Chronicles featuring some of the Best Of stories from RGR's run as well as original stories from Seanan McGuire, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Milo James Fowler, and David Farland. I wrote a Foreword for it which wrapped up with this paragraph: 
 

Quote

"In 2002, they took the sky from us. In 2006, we decided to do something about. As I write this, the year is 2013. As I look at all the big name authors writing Space Opera, all the directors making Space Opera movies, and all the up-and-coming authors trying their hand with the genre, this much is clear - we can take back the sky. Who is ‘we’? The answer is me. The answer is you. And the time is now."


We worked really hard on RGR, and then, when it was clear our run was up, we let it go. We said at the time that RGR was going into hiatus, but the truth is  none of us have had any desire to revisit it since then. It was an important part of our lives, but that chapter is closed, and I'm happy to move on to other things. This is the year I'll publish my novel and that's good enough for me. RGR is dead. Long live Space Opera!

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I spend my time carrying around a writer's notebook. I make it a habit to write down my thoughts in it. From time to time I will go through planning phases - first a "Save the cat" sheet, then  a 21 point sheet, then a 60 point sheet. Once that's done I plug it into SCrivener and begin writing.

I do have a ritual in my writing - it's called breathing through my mouth. It gets loud and annoying after a while.

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