Friday, March 12, 2010

Could We Please Hold Off On Daylight Savings?

I really don't have the time for it just now. The very thought of losing that hour makes me feel even more frantic and overwhelmed.

My recollection of how I used to write books is I'd sit down and write and a few weeks later (as few as possible; I've never been that in love with working), I'd get up and the book would be finished. I used to have a wonderful writing schedule of Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday because my local movie theater had afternoon showings on Wednesdays (don't ask me why I didn't work in the mornings; this was decades ago and I've forgotten my excuse). Then, for many years, I did my volunteer work on Wednesdays, so I stuck with the same two days on, one day off, two days on schedule. And the books got written.

Yes, it was a good life, and yes I did appreciate it, and I never claimed to work very hard. I found plenty of other things to whine about, but overwork was rarely in the mix.

I have gotten some writing done in the past couple of days. But I start later in the day than I think I'm going to, and that's what's throwing me off. If I could simply get into a rhythm, I'd feel better about things and more in control. The whole point of writing fiction is having control. Unlike the real world, nothing happens in one of my books unless I want it to happen.

I have a good sense of where Blood Wounds is going, but I don't have any sense of how long it's going to take to get there. I don't just mean how long is it going to take me to finish the first draft (I have no sense of that at all). I mean, how many pages will it take for me to get from Point A to Point B. And that's unusual for me.

Yesterday I began work on a scene that is intended mostly as a setup. My heroine goes to a house where she doesn't want to go to look for things she has no interest in. While there, she meets a character who'll be important in the rest of the book. And to some extent the going and the searching will be reflected in more important stuff later on in the story.

So the scene, up until meeting the other person, should take two, maybe three pages. But I started writing it and it's going on and on and on. There's description. There're flashbacks. There's emotional response. There's ten pages and she still hasn't met the important character.

I'm not saying this isn't good. All I'm saying is it's time consuming.

On the other hand, my mother isn't taking much of my time these days. Mostly I've been buying her marshmallows. My mother loves marshmallows, and it's very hard to find kosher ones around here, except before Passover. So I've bought her a dozen bags, and now when she asks for a bag of marshmallows in July or October, I'll still have some to bring her.

My mother thinks this is wonderful, but did express concern that Scooter might find them. My mother is a very practical person, especially when it comes to sweets. I assured her they were well protected from Scooter, shoved into a cabinet he has no interest in. Although my guess is by the time she gets the last of the bags (which should be right before I replace them next Passover), that cabinet is going to be so sweet smelling, I'll need insulin just to open the door.

Meanwhile, when I haven't been working or buying marshmallows, I've been taking important tests on the internet. I took this one which lets you know if you have more of a male brain or a female brain. I always thought I had more of a male brain, but it turns out I'm a hermaphrodite.

Part of the test is to fold your hands and see which thumb is on top. Not only was my left thumb on top, I was stunned to learn you could have your right thumb on top. Apparently this means I'm right brain dominant. Or maybe it means I have no brain at all.

I'd try to find one on eBay, but I really should be working!


Linda Jacobs said...

Love this procrastinating post!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hallo (rhymes with marshmallow) Linda Jacobs-

Well, I am back at work and the important character has shown up, so that's something.

You know the Yankee Stadim scene in The Dead And The Gone? What I've been working on is kind of like that, only much smaller in scale.

There's a reason why the book is called Blood Wounds and not Happy Times At Happy House. And the scene leading up to the important character showing up turned out to be hard to write because it was so upsetting.

Or maybe I just don't want to work!

Elaine Marie Alphin said...

Ouch - for some silly reason, I was thinking we were getting an extra hour this weekend, not losing one. Rats. And mice.

I think that means I should have been working all afternoon instead of treating myself to seeing Shutter Island after my doctor's appointment...

I've got to confess that I'm not so certain I'd be as eager to read Happy Times at Happy House (even written by you!) as Blood Wounds.... So keep working, even when it's upsetting.

I'm glad the important character showed up.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Elaine Marie Alphin-

This is how I know we lose an hour.

Years and years ago, my brother and I co-hosted a party at his apartment in Brooklyn Heights. It was a Sunday brunch, and we didn't realize it was daylight savings time weekend, so we lost an hour of prep time.

The guests all arrived when the inviation told them to, and we were completely unprepared. Even more than normal, and we are both capable of great amounts of dawdling.

Since they keep changing daylight savings time weekend, I've simply given up ever socializing in the spring. Why take chances!

Think said...

Well, I got home today to find my mom sitting on the couch completely engrossed in THIS WORLD WE LOVE IN. It had just come in the mail! First freaked out, doing all the jumping up and down, etc. But then I started to ask "Why do you get to read it first?" She would reply "Because I bought it." I would fire back "Without me you would have not read the series, as I was the one who intro-ed you to them." She won but she just finished it and now it's my turn!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Think and thank you-

I hope you and your mother both liked This World We Live In.

Say hi to your mom for me!

Jon said...

I took the test to see what sex your brain is and I got it is mostly female. I don't know what that means for me but whatever. My left thum was on top too.

Lulu said...

Thanks so much for that BBC link. I took the test and I received the same result as you. I am proud to say though that I got 12/12 for the 3D shapes. This test gave me a good reason to postpone writing my late paper.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Happy Daylight Savings Day to Jon and Lulu-

Why is it always grey and rainy on Daylight Savings Day? It's like snow on the first day of spring.

On the test where you were supposed to remember which objects had been moved, I didn't get all that many right, but I didn't get any wrong.

Since I'm a firm believer that I work fast and sloppy, that was kind of surprising.

And my left thumb remains on top!