Michaeline: Lois McMaster Bujold Answers Three (Okay, Four) Questions about the Writing Process

penrics-mission-cover-2016-11-book-three-bujold

Today, we’ve got a short interview with Lois McMaster Bujold about the writing process. Just in time for National Novel Writing Month’s first weekend! Lois writes the thrilling tales of the Vorkosigan family, the Wide Green World, and the World of the Five Gods. This week, the third story about Penric in the W5G came out: Penric’s Mission was published on November 2, 2016. (Announcement on her Goodreads blog, here.) Lois is a master of speculative fiction, and her liberal use of romance in these genres makes her worlds rich and real. Grab a cyber beverage from the Eight Ladies Writing fridge, and pull up a seat!

MD: So, National Novel Writing Month is basically about creating a first draft of at least 50,000 words. What’s your favorite thing about writing the first draft?

LMB: Finishing it. (-:

Starting it runs a close second, true. Then, probably, those moments when a sticky knot gets suddenly undone by some neat idea or inspiration that I didn’t have — often couldn’t have had — earlier. Continue reading

Michaeline: We aren’t here forever, so for goodness’ sake, set some deadlines

cherry tree on left, old pine on right, frames a cemetery with a snowy mountain in the background

“Every year, the cherry blooms, the flowers scatter.” — Matsuo Basho
Some deadlines cannot be extended. (photo by Michaeline Duskova, May 2, 2015: a cemetery in Shimizu) 年々や桜を肥やす花の塵

As you can see from my photo, today is the peak of cherry blossom season in my area. Cherries, in Japanese culture, are a symbol of intransience of life – they bloom, only to fall after a short time of beauty. What a glorious, yet gloomy thought. Here today, gone tomorrow . . . .

While glumly contemplating the impermanence of it all, it suddenly reminded me of one of my favorite devices for increasing tension in a story: a time lock. I’m a natural-born procrastinator (and maybe most of us are), and my first drafts show it. My characters fluff around the book, looking for a plot, and reasons. But if I can get a time lock into place, suddenly, my characters don’t have time to goof off while drinking tea and eating cake under the cherry blossoms. They’ve got to get up and do something. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Procrastination Level: Expert

Writing progressIf procrastination was an Olympic sport, I’d be the reigning gold medalist.  Seriously, without a set deadline to aim for, I’m likely to find a thousand and one things to do other than what I should be working on.

As I mentioned in my last post my classmates and I recently finished the first acts of our current novels.  We’d been working on them in earnest for the past eight weeks, although in my case, I had more words in my head than on the page.  Continue reading