Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Great Gray Beast of February

I read. A lot. I always have. I suspect many of you do, too. If we're the sum of our experiences then mine is a life made up of words and phrases, only some of them mine. Of those that belong to others, I often don't remember where they came from, only that they fit the occasion and I can't stop them from rising when they do. Words flow, and sometimes I'm lucky enough to catch them. Sometimes not.

Take The Great Gray Beast of February. I think I've encountered this phrase before, no doubt as a child in some book I must have loved desperately or it wouldn't have stuck with me this long. But for now, The Beast is all about the stranglehold this especially hard winter has had on the South. The way it's driven me and all my equipment into the main house, out of my detached and thus poorly heated studio space, and the devastating effect this has had on my creativity. How the hum of everyday life has supplanted my bright wall-to-wall quilt hanging; my strange books, candles, and toys; the notes and maps about made up things laid out with the careful precision of a forensics lab. Until winter's deadly grip drove me inside, I didn't realize how important, how blessed, a space that was. Now that the Great Gray Beast of February is loosening its grip, as it always eventually does, I get to move back out. Claim my space again. Find a rhythm. What an odd creature of habit am I.

And this week, another ROW80 benchmark gone? Raw writing is going well- four times a week 1500 wc. I'm on track with current projects, but I've noticed something unplanned creeping in. Is anyone else getting sick of YA? My characters keep pulling me towards darker/deeper currents. As this is still "in progress," I'm inclined to see where it's headed. Editing is confined to clean-up and moving segments that obviously don't belong to places where they might fit better. Have confined the blogging to the requisite two per week, and have read in my genre but have yet to post a review. Here I foresee a conflict: I always reach a point in my ms when I have to ground myself from books until I finish. This can go on for months. It's just necessary as story reaches critical mass. My brain, starved of any other reading material, turns inward and creates its own. So soon, I'll have to adjust my reading/ reviewing goal. Perhaps not the reviewing. I have such a backlog of books to review that I could do one a week for months and still have some left over.

On the good but still kind of strange news front, I actually got fanmail this week. Weird. It was pretty cool, though. Renewed my resolve to buckle down and finish the sequel. I've also already almost matched my entire sales figures from January already, and it's not quite two weeks into February. Barnes and Noble is outselling Amazon 2 to 1, which is strange. I wish I could figure out the secret and apply it to both sites, but there seems to be some kind of wacky B&N gremlin thing going on. You either get it with B&N, or you don't, or at least, that's what I've been told. Good things abound for ROW80 folks this week- congrats to Kait Nolan on landing an agent! Hope everyone has a happy and productive week.


  1. Yay @ fanmail! That must have felt amazing. :D And well done for staying on track.

    It's not that I'm sick of YA but I'm finding my ya characters are growing up faster than I planned. It's hard to know when to rein them in or let them run free. Most of my ya stuff was intended for younger teens so I'm not sure what to do with that. :/

    I haven't been keeping up with my own reading goals. At all. I haven't read a thing this month so far. Yet the TBR pile is still growing. Maybe next month. :)

  2. like the sound of your space - i write on dining table (we never use it anyhow) and slowly the space is becoming mine books replacing table stuff - notes on cupboard doors etc - but yours sounds so good - am green!

    you seem to be doing well on writing stakes - i have same problem with reading when i am in grips of creativity so confine myself to research books - have a good week

  3. On being sick of YA... I like the YA fans, and I like the pace of YA fiction, but I often wonder how many more times I can describe someone's first kiss without it becoming stale. As for deeper and darker currents, I just dive right in. Darker the better. Not sure if that's good or not, though...