Archive for December, 2005

2005 Year End Clearance

Saturday, December 31st, 2005
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 00:00:54 -0500
From: Jason Penney <...>
To: Jason Penney <...>
Subject: story idea

an epic battle/war is tearing apart the land. A small time thief sees his opportunity to make good, but becomes involved in helping a refugee family (maybe just some kids?)

I found this email earlier this week. I have a lot of these ‘story idea’ emails, but this one is the novel I’ve been working on since shortly after sending this to myself two years ago today. I’m slightly less than half way done my second draft, and while the story has changed with time, I can still see how I got from there to here.

I’ve been a writer most of my life. When I was younger I sort of just assumed that you learned to read, learned to write, and then wrote down the stories in your head, and that’s how books were made. Today, I’m still pretty sure that’s how it’s supposed to work, but three years ago I didn’t feel that way. That type of thinking was schooled out of me. I never stopped writing, but I really forgot about writing books.

Throughout high school I wrote poetry. Lots. Every emotion I felt hit the paper while it was still fresh. I probably wrote four or more hours a day. I have stacks of notebooks filled with the stuff (which are fading away because I can only write long hand in pencil). Inside these notebooks I can find a few first chapters or unfinished short stories. I never stopped wanting to write fiction, but I stopped believing I could (or maybe that I should). After high school the writing mostly stopped. A few ideas here and there, and the occasional poem, but mostly nothing.

Sometime in 2003 I decided to take this whole writing thing more seriously. I worked on short stories a few nights a week. Then, near the end of December in 2003 I found Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love AND Money by Holly Lisle. This free book on writing really got me going. It helped me organize my thoughts on being a writer, and commit myself to making it happen. I set out a series of goals and started working towards them.

Have I met them? Not exactly. I originally planned to write short stories for all of 2004, and try to have a draft of a novel done in 2008. Right at the end of 2003 Lazette Gifford posted on Forward Motion that she would be teaching a 2 Year Novel class. Moving from idea to completed novel over a two year period. I signed right up. So I missed my 2004 goals, but I’m ahead of things for my 2008 goal, so I figure I’ll call it progress and keep moving forward.

As 2005 winds to a close, I want to take this time to thank Holly and Zette. If it wasn’t for them I’d probably still be floundering around wondering how to get from A to B instead of making my way along the path. I also want to thank my wife, Denise, for being so supportive of my writing, even when she’s frustrated that I’d rather write than vacuum.

A bit of surgery, a bit of news

Friday, December 30th, 2005

This morning I took Chapters 8 and 9, reshuffled the scenes, dropped some stuff, added some new stuff, and came out with three chapters worth of material. I feel that they all read better for it.

Yesterday I bought a new notebook and began tossing ideas around for my next book. Currently the plan is for another fantasy novel, but something quite different than the still untitled book I’m editing now. I’ll keep you posted.

Chapter 8 done

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

I’m off from work this week, but it seems that it will be the busiest week of the year for me.  Everyone wants to see the kids (and who can blame them?), so we have a lot of visitors and visiting to do.  Today is a visiting day, so I Got up early and tackled Chapter 8 before we have to leave.

Merry Christmas 2005

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

In a few minutes I’ll wake my family and the craziness will begin. I can’t wait. I just wanted to take a moment and say, no matter what you believe, I hope you have a wonderful day today, and every day.

Chapter 7 done

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

This morning I verified that the time line worked for chapter 6 and 6a. It didn’t, but it was a simple fix. I revised Chapter 7 and did the same for that. When I finish chapter 8 I’ll move on the the third set of clipped pages, which is something as far a progress goes.

Finished 6 and 6a

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

I found the natural place to split chapter 6 and finished revising both halves. I’ve labeled it 6a for now, assuming I’ll end up renumbering later anyhow.

Not in my house!

Friday, December 9th, 2005

From USA Today (12/6/2005):

Guess who’s coming for honey? As part of a barrel-full of Winnie the Pooh anniversary events, Disney is working on a new animated series that will replace Christopher Robin with a 6-year-old girl.

What is going on here? What happened to ‘if it ain’t broke’? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised after Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, which sold off a big chunk of the wonder of the 100 Acre Wood. Of course, the real Christopher Robin would probably be happy to know he is being removed, but I doubt that had much to do with the decision to dump him. I’m happy to say that Rachel heard the stories from the books very early on. Sure I read them to her when she could barely understand them (and I still do). She even recognized some of the stories when she sees them in animated form.

A. A. Milne’s Pooh was not just for children, it was for everyone. Disney’s Pooh seems to be just for money.

More Progress

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

I’ve been doing some heavy shuffling of scenes to get them to fall into place. On the plus side, I think it’s made things more exciting. On the down side Chapter 6 now seems to be almost 9000 words long. It was already one of the longer chapters, and it now contains some of the sections I cut from earlier in the book. It’s not a huge deal. I just need to find the right place to split it.


Friday, December 2nd, 2005

I hoped to finish Chapter 6 this morning, but I went back over the first five chapters and plugged them into a calender to make sure all the times made sense. I had to make some adjustments, but now everything is falling into place where I had hoped.

Summer 782: Month 4 Calender