01 April 2007

Snow Days and Novels and Edits, Oh My

Wyoming. Gotta love it. One day warm and sunny, the next snow, complete with 50mph winds.
Tuesday Evening

Between the wet, heavy spring snow and the hefty winds, I now have a gutter dangling like pop art down the side of my house. I got off easy so far. Other people had shingles ripped off their roof, a friend had a pole barn flipped upside down. Now all we have to look forward to is three feet of snow melting at once. That should happen right about... now. Water is running down the street in torrents.
Friday Afternoon
Yeah, that quick. It started snowing Wednesday afternoon, by Thursday morning, our little corner of the world was closed. Roads, interstates, schools, city and state government (yeah!). Nothing could move. By Friday afternoon, I was out shoveling with the help of two unenthusiastic teenagers. Two and a half hours to clear a thirty foot driveway, twenty foot sidewalk to the garage, and get the teenager's car out.

Friday Afternoon

Since they called off work Friday also, because the roads were just getting opened, I spent my non shoveling time trying to finish off the novel I started during NaNoWriMo. I decided plowing my way through (must be the snow talking) was the only way. So I pulled out a piece of paper, did one sentence outlines for the chapter I was working on in the 'here's what happened, here's what happens next' vein. Wrote the chapter. Same for the next chapter. Then the next. I sat Idby the Writing Gnome on my table with a ruler to whack my hands if I strayed from just getting it done.

Idby came through. I wrote about 12,000 words in four days. It's still not done, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know how it will end, I know pretty much how I'm going to get there. I even know ignoring description and detail until later is not a crime against nature. The only thing I didn't know for a long time was who killed who in the end, and how. All of the sudden it was clear, and could be no other way. The big outlining I did up front helped, but these mini chapter outlines were wonderful roadmaps. It broke things down into bite sized chunks.

I also did the final edit on the chapbook, and tightened up a short story I want to submit. Edited six poems. Made soup and knitted half of a pair of socks. I didn't clean the house or paint the bathroom. These snow days were an unexpected bonus. Since I don't expect any more 'free' days anytime soon, I wanted to get MY work done. I think Idby reports back to the writing gods, and they wouldn't look too kindly on me placing housework over torturing my protagonist. And yes, there was an ulterior motive to getting the teenager's car shoveled out. They got to go to work and provide pizza to starving shovelers, and I got peace and quiet in order to plot mayhem and destruction.

Seemed like a fair trade.

4 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

I thought Idby was the Procrastination gnome? Did you brainwash him?

I love snow. Wish I'd get such a load here for a change - though not now, it's a bit too late and would kill the buds everywhere. Love those corgies. You should have left the shoveling to them. :)

Constance said...

Brainwashing is such a harsh term. 'Priority realignment' is so much nicer... Since I was procrastinating at something, (housework)Idby was glad to help. You got to know how to con these writing gnomes. :)

The corgis were more interested in crashing through snowpiles, knocking snow on the cleared sidewalk, and chasing snowballs than helping. Kinda like teenagers.

You'll also be happy to know I've been listening to Il Barbiere Di Siviglia while I write.

Gabriele C. said...

Opera makes for great writing background music.

Btw, did you read my post about L'assedio di Calais? After people first said they were interested in posts about opera, I was a bit disappointed to get no comment on that one. It mustn't be 'intelligent' but I'd be grateful for some acknowledgement for posts that took me some time to write (preparing the music downloads, translating Italian).

Constance said...

Hmm. I think I was a bit overwhelmed. You have to remember, my opera exposure is all the more popular stuff. After a month I'm just getting to listening to the second CD of Siviglia. It's taken me that long to get comfortable with the first part. But yes, I did read and pay attention, I do appreciate learning about opera. I'll try and be a more diligent commentator. and ask questions.