Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Could Be Writing Or I Could Be Writing About Writing

Writing about writing is less work. I'll go with that (at least until after lunch).

I'm not opposed to work. In fact I totally support it for other people (pretty much my same attitude about marriage). Actually, once I start working (on writing, cleaning closets, most anything), I kind of enjoy it. Or at least I don't loathe it. It's the starting that's the tough part. Especially before lunch, which I'll be preparing for myself in a mere 18 minutes (a wholesome and nutritious salad, thank you for asking).

I just created the following scale. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 not feeling like work at all and 10 involving the sacrifice of vast amounts of remaining brain cells, here's how the moon books stand:

Life As We Knew It: 1. Okay, maybe 2 because I did have to figure some stuff out.

The Dead And The Gone: 5, maybe 6. 5 and a halfish. I'd pretty much figured all the stuff out, but it did take some brain cells to make the chronology work. And I don't know Spanish. Okay, more in the 6-7 range.

This World We Live In: Definitely a 9. I'm the only person who gives myself credit for the amount of brain cells sacrificed for the sake of a novel. Working on the assumption that there would be some people who came to TW from d&g and some more from LAWKI, I had to keep various things in LAWKI/d&g unmentioned in TW in case any of those people then went back to read the unread book.

I feel so emphatic about all this, I think I'll bold the numbers. That'll show you. And having done so, I kind of like that "halfish" which looks like half fish if you don't know any better.

Ooh, what book have I left out? What Moon title remains unranked?

Yes, it's The Shade Of The Moon (which won't get italicized until it's finished). The Unnicknamed One is easily a 9.75. Not because it's that hard (it really isn't, and it's an awful lot of fun to play with), but because of that ridiculous September 1 deadline. I really really really want the submitted manuscript to be really really really acceptable, because there won't be very much time for substantial rewrites, and even though my editor/publisher has a basic idea (based on a 12 page outline, as well as the brilliant 2 sentence synopsis) of what the book is going to be about, that doesn't mean they're going to like the actual version unless the actual version is really really really good.

My guess is they want LAWKI 2, and that's not what they're going to get, so I'd better do a tiptop job with Shade 1 And Only, so they won't feel let down.

Stress and pressure. Or as I like to think of it, stressure. Although, actually I don't like to think of it at all.

My intent is to know the book so well before I write it that I won't get stuck anywhere in the middle/end, because it'll all be neatly ironed out before I get there. That's pretty much how I usually work anyway, but not with a ridiculous September 1 deadline.

For example, a couple of days ago I figured out what big big thing was going to provoke the big big change in the action. Fine. This is what I should be figuring out. Only that particular big big thing had consequences, or more to the point, presequences all its own that had to be dealt with. If I were going to write X, did that mean I had to change T and U, none of which I've written except in my mind where I happen to be very fond of them. How could I keep T and U so I can get to X (which now that I think of it, is more in the vicinity of V or W). And T and U only make sense if R and S do, and somewhere things have to be set in vicinity of E-H.

Writing's hard. And it's even harder to write about writing if you try to avoid spoilering.

But hey. Why complain when it's time to make lunch. After some nice healthy nutritious salad, I'm sure work will feel like 9.99 on the fun scale!


Jordan Gehrung said...

You crack me up, but I better keep my laughs to a minimum given how dizzy I feel upon following those lettered variables. Okay--TRYING to follow. (Algebra is NOT my subject, a fact substantiated by my senior-year math teacher who told me to "stop wasting the oxygen in [his] room.") I suspect the author who constructs the plot sometimes feels equally (of not substantially more) dizzy putting it all together. So who am I to talk?! Keep chugging along, and know that we're pulling for you to get through this with relative ease. Cheers!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Jordan Gehrung-

Well, I had just begun chugging when I got a phone call, and that distracted me. So instead of going back to work, let me explain all over again!

I am currently at about C of the book, and aiming to end at Z (give or take). Not that I'm all that sure about what Z is especially since I reversed the order of X and Y a couple of days ago.

Where was I? Right, getting to Z. Only for X and Y to happen, I need something big to happen in the vicinity of V. Then W is the transition to X, which is now actually Y and vice versa.

Only the new V I came up with made me doubt whether I could use the S/T/U stuff I already had in mind.

You see? No need for senior year math at all!

Jordan Gehrung said...

Astoundingly, I think I followed that. And I'm sure Z will blow my mind. Well, A-Y undoubtedly will also, but I'm very curious to see how it all comes to a Z.

But I fear my comment nudged you toward writing about writing again, and I wish not to distract you, especially when the fourth moon book is at stake! So carry on, Ms. Moon, carry on.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you for your good wishes Jordan Gehrung, but I must confess I got absolutely no work done today, and my guess is I won't tomorrow either!

Anonymous said...

upon getting back from my trip to france and checking my facebook icame straight to the blog. i do hate being behind on all the news. huzzah for book four!

Wanda Vaughn said...

You could always go to the Russian alphabet -- it has 33 letter and more room to change around your story. :)

Happy Writing, Dear Author!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello to Jon and to Wanda Vaughn-

Huzzah for book four also, and no thank you for the Russian alphabet.

I have enough trouble with the English one!

Viktoria with a K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

No matter what you'll do a good job and I'll stil buy it

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Youryoungestbiggestfan!

Begins With M said...

(First time commenting. I'm a little excited. ^^)

I picked up Life As We Knew It about a week ago on a whim and haven't looked back! I think my family and roommate are getting tired of hearing about Jon but I do worry about him. :P I am just so so happy you are writing about writing the next moon book. (I probably should have spaced out my reading of the last three considering I KNEW it would be a bit but I couldn't help myself) I can't wait! And I know it'll be wonderful! (Even with the mean deadline)

In the meantime I get to giggle about confusing plot letters and I think it'll help me hold out until they all start making sense.

<3 ~ Amanda Leigh

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and welcome Begins With M (aka Amanda Leigh)-

Don't worry about Jon. He's fine (pardon me for spoilering). So are Matt and Miranda and Mom and Lisa and Alex and Gabriel. In fact, in at least one of my versions of UVXY and Z, they're fine at the very end of the book and nobody worth noting dies.

Of course that's subject to change without notice (well, I'll notice)!

Begins With M said...

Oh good! I think I'll hope for those versions then.

Though interesting deaths do make for interesting stories...

<3 ~ Amanda Leigh

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Begins With M-

Keep in mind things are kind of fluid around X,Y, and Z (and actually most of the alphabet before then).

As of the moment there are no deaths, but the uncertainty is growing daily!