Not much to report on this week– save that I’m finally getting back into the habit of writing every day. It’s lovely! Slow, of course, and my brain and my fingers feel so very rusty, but the creakiness is getting knocked loose and, if all keeps going well, it shouldn’t be long before I’m back to my old pace.
In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy even a few dozen words each day!
Tanner and Miranda Stories — Total Draft Wordcount: 5093 Weekly Wordcount: 438
Miranda doesn’t like horses. I don’t remember when I decided that– or, perhaps more accurately, when I discovered that. But my snarky, feisty, pugnacious little freelancer really doesn’t care for the big animals. Which I find amusing. Mostly because I personally never outgrew the horse-nut phase that most(?) girls seem to go through.
So, here’s a snippet of our fearless narrator being not quite so fearless. Because I think it’s funny.
Knickers was a sturdy gelding, colored chestnut and with a bald face— which I found out when I referred to him as “the brown one”. The other, Jitterbug, was a rangy pinto who looked calm enough, except that I swear I saw her giving me and Tanner a sly look as if she knew that one of us would be riding her. I expected her to start trouble before Tanner could even mount up. She didn’t, and honestly, that was worse. It meant she was going to wait until it would cause the most problems, and then she would do it. And she would think it was funny. And she’d probably bring Knickers in on it as well.
Whatever it was.
It crossed my mind that I might be being paranoid, but that was ridiculous. I just remembered the horses on Auntie Heather’s ranch a little too well.
Whatever the big animals’ intentions for us down the road, though, they didn’t act on any devious compulsions just then. Knickers stood perfectly still as I climbed into the saddle. Jitterbug pawed the ground once or twice as Tanner settled in, but that was all. In less than five minutes, we were on our way.
Tanner and Miranda Stories — Total Draft Wordcount: 4655 Weekly Wordcount: 211
I don’t usually write by hand. Probably by long practice, the words usually come easier when I’m typing, and my thought process seems a little more streamlined. Usually, at any rate. This week, though, was an exception to the rule– thanks in no small part to the fact that I had a lot of downtime at work, forgot my book, but did have paper and pen.
And I might have to try to do it more often. Because the stuff I scribbled down was rough and jumbled, but when I typed it up and cleaned it up a little, I’m actually pretty happy with it.
Tanner and Miranda Stories — Total Draft Wordcount: 4444 Weekly Wordcount: 729
So! While I don’t have my official day-to-day/week-to-week schedule yet, as I’m still doing training, what I do have is a whole bunch of free time desperately in need of structure. I also have the skeleton of the whole volume of Tanner and Miranda stories, which is just as desperately in need of actually being fleshed out and, you know, finished.
It’s a perfect match.
From here on out, with “out” being the completion of the project, is to give you guys weekly updates during these Friday blog posts. Some weeks I’ll probably end up musing about one thing or another and just tacking on my updated word count at the end. Some weeks I’ll probably have an excerpt or two– we’ll see! With any luck, I should be able to finally get back into the habit of daily writing that I wasn’t able to keep up this last year, and with that I should also be able to finally make progress on actually finishing this story!
Tanner and Miranda Stories — Total Draft Wordcount*: 3715
Can I just go on record saying that 24-hour shifts are weird? It’s like you enter a different world… a pocket universe of sorts inside the rest of your life. It’s more than a little disorienting, and to tell you the truth, the only reason I know what day it is has to do with the calendar on the wall and the handy little date that my phone displays. Go figure.
And, I’m afraid that’s all for this week, between the sleep deprivation (yes, I did get some sleep during the shift. Just not as much as usual, and that is, unfortunately, saying something) and everything else, my brain is pretty well fried. That being said, my available free time has just increased by several orders of magnitude, so look forward to seeing some more news on Tanner and Miranda’s continuing adventures soon!
I’ve spent my writing time this week trying to figure out how to harness Murphy’s Law for the next Tanner and Miranda story. It’s been so much fun, and and has mostly involved me writing lists for the plot with what should happen on one side and what actually happens on the other. I’ve also been cackling the entire time, which has drawn a few strange looks and worried glances, but oh well. At the risk of drawing even more worried glances, it’s been a rewarding process, and I’m excited to see the result of this embrace of absurdity.
If you will, take a moment to think about roller coasters. And more specifically, to think about what the mere fact of their existence says about us humans. We have built hundreds of these tangled behemoths of wood and steel, attached carts to them, and engineered ways of strapping ourselves to those carts for the sole purpose of making ourselves go really, really fast while doing crazy loops. All because it’s fun. And because some of us really like the hit of adrenaline we get when all of our senses are suddenly convinced that we are in mortal danger (but not really).
We humans are funny creatures.
In other news, I got to go to Magic Mountain last week. Apparently, I giggle when scared.
So, this week, I got a new job. Or rather, provided I get all the necessary paperwork and certifications renewed, I got a new job. This means several things, foremost in my mind being the fact that I’m going to spend the next few weeks in a chaotic flurry that may or may not involve braving the California DMV multiple times. (Oh, joy!) It also means that my carefully curated routines are about to get turned on their heads. (Oh, double joy!) But it also– sarcasm and low-key panic aside– also means that I’m going to, I hope, be doing something that is another step closer to the emergency medicine career that I’ve been moving towards for several years now. Moving slowly, granted, but moving nonetheless. And all panic and flailing against change aside, that’s pretty cool. Terrifying, but pretty darn cool.
Plus, if I’m really lucky and I get to do three twelve hour shifts (oh please oh please oh please oh please…), I’m going to have a whole bunch more time I can use for writing.
As evidenced by the Tanner and Miranda stories, I enjoy writing silly hijinks. It’s fun, both for me to write and (hopefully) for you to read. The thing is, I’m also a sucker for huge, epic stories with earth-shattering consequences, and Deep Important Themes. I find one of the two distinctly easier to write than the other, though there’s no doubt that both the best comedic and dramatic stories show an incredible amount of skill. (My own bias in favor of Deep Important Themes is a topic for another day, as is the existence of Dark Gritty Reboots.)
My occasional trouble is that I sometimes forget how to stick to a specific tone. One the one hand, that’s not always a bad thing. If the general mood of a story is a little somber, then a heart-warming scene in the middle of it becomes that much more powerful. Or if the general mood of a particular sequence is fairly light, then ending that sequence by making your characters suffer some sort of defeat can make it even more heartbreaking. Done well, it adds wonderful depth to the whole story and gives it all more meaning. Done poorly, of course, your readers will correctly call it out as a cheap trick or just sloppy writing. Hence my trouble when I accidentally switch tones in the middle of a story.
At the moment, my best safeguard against unwanted tone shifts is to just have multiple projects going at once. (It’s totally on purpose and not just a byproduct of having too many ideas and not enough focus. Shush, you.) I think, though, I need to get better at working in a variety of tones to the same story. In the long run, it’ll make me a better writer. Tanner and Miranda’s adventures and misadventures have the potential to be even funnier if either they or the world around them act as the straight man to the ridiculousness of the other. The big, epic, meaningful stories that I want to write will be more powerful with funny moments sprinkled in, because that’s how real life works, for one, and its how to make the aforementioned Deep Important Things a little more relatable.
For whatever reason, I’ve never really spent a lot of time “just” listening to music. I listen to it habitually when I’m doing something else, of course: working, writing, driving, drawing… I play it constantly in the background, and I’ve been derailed from one task or another countless times by watching this or that music video. But doing nothing but listening? Sadly, not so much.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself wandering Youtube and listening to some of my more recent favorite songs and just listening to them for the sake of listening to them. Eyes closed, moving to the beat, not doing anything else. It was a remarkably rewarding experience, and one I would whole-heartedly recommend.