Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 4 minutes
Posted in:

Writing Journal: Everything Happening at Once

Greetings, internet peeps.

Last night, Seattle overflowed with santas. Old and young, female and male, bearded and blue-haired; santas in bars, on street corners, and santas shopping. I saw two santas riding scooters. Child santas in strollers. Grinch santas in furry green pants. Tipsy santas, giggling down the sidewalk. Shopping santas, standing in the long lines at Beechers Cheese. Santas taking selfies beneath the neon Pike Place Market sign.

It was SantaCon!

T-minus five days until we get boosted. Omicron may yet be a mild variant, and if that holds steady, I’ll be back to licking flagpoles (okay, drinking coffee at a coffee shop) after the new year starts.

Two crows have landed above our window, and they keep flying out between our building and the next, swooping and chasing one another. I believe the autumn corvid conclaves have come to an end. The Belltown crows are back in the hood.

Ha! They just flew straight down past our window like fighter jets. Those birds be crazy!

Can Writing be Agile?

I’m down a new bunny trail, reading about the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, a statement of values developed by software engineers in the early aughts. That brought me to a talk, Agile is Dead, Long Live Agility, which I thought was fabulous. And that got me thinking about how “Agility” could be applied to writing fiction.

Hmm…. thoughts are swirling! It occurs to me that certain things that occur in editing (like ear-reading to catch errors and smooth out rhythm) might be integrated into my process earlier.

Layers of Attention

Lately, I’ve been keenly aware of how writing involves multiple layers of attention.

The Words (Actual Text)

The Story (As Imagined by the Writer)

The Reader’s Emotional Experience (While Reading)

Consider any short scene.

It’s said that beginning writers focus on words, and intermediate writers focus on story. But there’s also that third level of awareness, where you imagine the reader and write the story in such a way to provoke certain reactions.

Ala: I want my reader to feel curious here. or Yeah, let’s jab in the knife and give it a little twirl. Delicious.

For a long time, I counted on the assumption that my emotions would automatically translate to the reader. But I believe it helps to be a bit more explicit than that. You can almost choreograph the feelings.

Here, BE CURIOUS

Here, BE AFRAID

Here, LAUGH

Behind the keyboard, I aim to get your brain squirting the proper neurotransmitters at the right moments.

It’s a strange way to think about writing, but it’s true.

The Joy of Being Busy

It’s been a good, productive week. Hostile Takeover is coming along and I’m about three quarters done with the first draft. Jessica’s story makes my heart hurt, but in the best way possible.

Today I’m digging into my (substantial) edit of A View to Die For which is the first Butterfly Island Mystery. Soon, I’ll set up my files and notes for book two, which I believe will be called Death at Dagger Cove.

Oh, and I’m having a lot of fun writing Nathan’s Folly, which will be the bonus novella for my Butterfly Island series. Murder at a creepy gothic mansion? Yes please!

Financially, my writing year is ending with a whimper instead of a roar. That’s about what I expected though. I did decently well with my cruise cozies, but I’ve spent a good chunk of the summer and fall on projects that won’t result in income right away:

I’m trying to build some breathing room in my release schedule, so I’m stacking new books like cordwood, wrapping up what needs to be wrapped up, and investing in good stuff for the future.

Speaking of which…

Into the edits I go!