allisonholz: Here I am in my writing cave, aka my basement (Default)
First of all, sorry for the lapse in blog posts. I just had a baby, so it took a while to get back into a routine that allows "superfluous" writing like blogging. I'm still in grad school, so I've had to keep up with classwork and thesis submissions with a newborn, and the blog was one of the things I just couldn't handle. But my daughter is sleeping 4-5 hours a night and I've finished thesis submissions for this semester, so I should have more time now. Plus, NaNoWriMo starts on Wednesday next week, so I'll have plenty of fodder for blogging!

On to the subject of this post:

Writing can (and should) be a voyage of discovery. Like all journeys worth taking, writing requires sweat produced in hours of slogging through (metaphorical) mud, tears of frustration and joy, blood spilled in ripping out our hearts and pasting them to the page, and an open mind for those times when the course shifts unexpectedly.

I just had an unexpected shift in my novel. I won’t write about what it was because it’s a pretty big spoiler and I’m going to do my damnedest to get this novel into print within a year or so, but it’s one of those shifts that changes everything. I totally didn’t see it coming and it’s going to influence some major plot points in the third book of my trilogy. I’d been setting it up unconsciously the whole time I was writing the book, and I’m only going to have to make a few minor changes to make it work perfectly.

In the writing world, people generally identify as “plotters” or “pantsers” (plotters make outlines and write synopses, pantsers just take an idea and run with it), but I tend to fall somewhere in between. Maybe I’m a plotser? I work through my ideas with outlines and such, but once I start to write I let the story grow organically, even if it wants to go somewhere that I never imagined in the synopsis. I know when changes like that occur that I’ve succeeded. I’ve hooked into something living and breathing, something exciting. And if I’m excited, my readers will be, too. Can’t you tell when an author was bored or disinterested in their work? And isn’t it so much better to feel enthusiasm? Yeah, I think so, too.
allisonholz: Here I am in my writing cave, aka my basement (Default)
Today is the Fourth of July, which for Americans means Independence Day. Because of the blood shed by the American Revolutionaries starting in the 1770s (and all of our troops in the last 230 years), we have freedoms that many people around the world can’t even imagine. This isn't a utopia, and there are lots of problems, but just being able to speak out about the problems and fight to change them is a freedom not every country has.

One of the ways we celebrate this day is by being with our family and friends, enjoying good food and good company. We have fireworks at the fairgrounds in our town, and can see them from our front lawn. My son gets so excited because we let him stay up past his bedtime to sit out and watch.

This year, we’re working on a remodel at our house. Buying a home and then tinkering with it is part of the quintessential American Dream. When we moved into our house four years ago, our upstairs was just a big room. Now we’re putting in a master suite with a full bath. My father and my husband are doing the rough-in for the plumbing this weekend.

While they work, I’ve been doing revisions on my novel and prepping food for today’s cook-out. It’s a stereotypical division of labor among the genders, although under normal circumstances I’m pretty good with construction projects. I know how to handle power tools and saws from years making sets in the theatre. But I happen to be in the last trimester of pregnancy, which means I’m ungainly and off-balance, and I can’t afford to make a mistake and get injured. Beyond that, I also love to cook and I’ve embraced my girly-ness in the kitchen. Baking, cooking, and growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables to eat are some of my favorite ways to spend my non-writing, non-reading time.

Today’s menu:

- Burgers and hot dogs on the grill, made with 96% lean organic ground beef and hot dogs made without nitrates.
A variety of mayo-based salads, including macaroni, potato, and broccoli salad (we like the sweet Amish-style dressing at our house).
Pasta salad made with Italian seasoning, olive oil, cherry tomatoes from the garden, and fresh mozzarella.
Corn on the cob
Fresh veggies from the garden (cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots) served with dip
Homemade sweet tea and lemonade

If anyone is interested, I can post recipes for any or all of the above in the comments. Although we aren’t doing steak or BBQ chicken today, I also have a great recipe for a steak marinade and for homemade BBQ sauce. In almost every case, I have made up or heavily altered these recipes over the years. Once upon a time, I had delusions of writing a cooking blog (you can still read the few posts I managed at The DIY Kitchen), but I picked a bad time to start. I’d just started my MFA program, I had a toddler running around, I was working full time, and I didn’t have the time to cook the meals, take the pictures, and then write up a blog post about them that sounded interesting and wasn’t just a recipe with explanations. After I finish my MFA I may revisit the cooking blog idea, and possibly link it to this blog.

For now, I’m headed back into revision-land. I’ve set myself a goal of 5-7 pages a day every day in July, which should get me to the end of my thesis novel by August. My daughter is due in September, so the earlier the better. ^_^
allisonholz: Here I am in my writing cave, aka my basement (Default)
I am such a terrible blogger. But I'm determined to become more active here. I just need to come up with a plan for what I'm going to blog about. Writing and revising, of course. But also books in general and commercial/popular fiction in particular. Not that it's entirely relevant, but I'm also interested in other things like gardening and baking that might find favor with the internet masses. :)

And then I need to commit to blogging on a schedule. I'm going to try for MWF, with one day for a writing-themed blog, one day for a book review or general book-themed blog, and then one miscellaneous day.

Because this Monday is the Fourth of July, I will start with a miscellaneous blog about summer, cookouts, family, food, gardening, and maybe something about the remodel we're starting at my house over the three-day weekend.

See you all on Monday!
allisonholz: Here I am in my writing cave, aka my basement (Default)
Blogging appears to be something I can't stick with on a daily schedule. When I'm writing fiction, I can keep at it every day and there is an arc to the story that I am following. But writing about writing, I find a need some kind of topic to expound upon.

And lately I've been stressed and very tired. I'm in a big push to finish my current work in progress prior to the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October. I'm not going to the Con with the intent to sell the MS, but if I end up chatting with someone about my work and they're interested, I want to have the goods to produce.

I'm also working on a few pieces of shorter fiction, hoping I can get even a few minor sales under my belt to help supplement our income so my husband can quit his second job. So that doesn't leave much time for blogging. As a matter of fact, I am stealing this time away from a short story that I started working on this afternoon.

But I'm still here and alive, and I thought I'd better update so this blog doesn't become an empty space. I promise I'll have something more enlightening to talk about in a month or so, especially come November when NaNoWriMo starts. Hello, sequel to my current project!

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allisonholz: Here I am in my writing cave, aka my basement (Default)
Allison Holz

October 2011

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