If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Look for our new bloggers this month. Debra Sennefelder will blog on 1/15, and Debra Goldstein debuts on 1/22. Please welcome our double Debs to WWK.

Don't miss our January author interviews: 1/10-Lawrence H. Levy, 1/17-Kaye George, 1/24-Janet Bolin, 1/31-Kathy Aarons. And E. B. Davis will interview Shari Randall on Monday 1/29 about the publication of her first novel, Curses, Boiled Again. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our January Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 1/6-Becky Clark, Pat Hale, Leslie Karst, Edith Maxwell, Shawn McGuire, C. Perkins, and Sue Star, and 1/13-Polly Iyer. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 1/20, and Kait Carson on 1/27.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Monday, January 9, 2012

The Holiday Writing Void

The holidays were great fun—in real life. But writing during this time was nearly impossible. Writing didn’t happen—disruptions happened making me appreciate those writers who seek solitude in an isolated cabin nestled in the woods. Imagine the visions I had of the interior of that cabin—its confines, its fire in the hearth, its population—one.

I still have a kid in college, so while Thanksgiving is only one day, her break for the holiday took a week away from my writing. No, I don’t wait on her in servitude, but I also wanted to spend time with her since I only get to see her on breaks. That week started the holiday writing void.

Because we don’t live nearby our hometown, we traveled two weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas to celebrate with friends and family. Normally, I don’t write as much on the weekends because my husband is home and I’m a lone-writer, but due to our traveling, I spent writing-time during the week doing catch-up work that the weekends normally accommodated. Then, there are those special tasks that the holidays spur that further encroached on my time, the inevitable gift-shopping, baking and decorating. All are fun (except for the shopping), but forced me away from my work.

Am I whining?

I remember writing the last time on my WIP in the second week of December. Too long without a word on the page. Those in paying jobs or other professions must keep working. Those of us not yet paid take-up the slack and stage the holidays for others. By New Year’s Day, the void seemed vast.

Yesterday, I read the last scene I wrote in my manuscript, three weeks ago, as if I were looking through a telescope. Time has distanced me from my words, and I now realize that the last chapter has to be destroyed even though it’s fun and chewy—an experiment that introduces a new POV, verboten on page 250, even if writing the scene gave me a new appreciation of my villain.

The rest of this week while cleaning away the Christmas debris, taking down exterior lights and packing away the holiday for another year, I attempt crossing that void, getting back into my character’s POV and, if I’m lucky, actually putting a word on the page that I can keep.

My characters lost mid action.
How do you avoid the void? What method do you use to get back to your manuscript after a month’s hiatus?



Ricky Bush said...

Distractions, distractions, distractions. I just give in to the holidays and roll with it. I was forced into getting pre-press galley proofs copy editing the week before Christmas. The nice thing though was that my wife jumped in a gave me a hand.

Donnell said...

Oh, EB, my kindred spirit . The holidays are hard for writers! I had company out the wazoo, and my husband was off work and sooooo happy. But I, on deadline, felt a bit stressed. The good news is on January 1, I took the tree down and organized, and last week sat down, and like you, took stock of what I was doing. The result, I think I'm on the right track to this manuscript.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to put our muses on the shelf and say "Stay," I'll be back for you on XX and get into the holidays like everyone else.

It was so great to see my family, my kids and more, but sometimes I feel like I live two lives! Great post.

E. B. Davis said...

You had real incentive, Ricky. If I were at the stage of production where you were this Christmas, I would have told my family to form a line after getting the pre-press galley proofs ready! Congratulations, even if it did interfere with Christmas. A lot of work, but what a great present. Good luck with it.

E. B. Davis said...

I don't put much stock in astrological signs, but I have to admit that I'm a total Gemini. Split between my lives, split between the physical and cerebral, split by my priorities. Right now, I want to work on my script, but I also want to get a billion car chores finished. It never ends, Donnell. I also thought up a short story plot that I want to work on, but I know I have to finish this first draft. Aghhh...

Pauline Alldred said...

I find I can't fight the holidays but I still think about the stories I'm working on. In family groups I hope no one notices when my mind drifts away from the conversation. As soon as I can, I find a piece of paper and scribble down the idea that just came to me.

Looking throught a telescope makes me see the work still to do but it also shows me where changes are needed.

Warren Bull said...

Writing and having friends and family are in constant conflict. During the holidays, friends and family win. At least it's a chance to see something that may end up later in a story.

E. B. Davis said...

Yeah, Warren--war, mayhem, violence, suicide and sibling rivalry, all fodder for fiction (LOL).

I wish that I had your separate reality, Pauline. I never had time to think about my stories over the holidays, except as objects that I couldn't impact.

There is a time and place for everything. It's just that getting back into the POV is so hard.

But then, my daughter doesn't go back to school until next week. I'm also judging the Derringer's this year so--my time still isn't my own.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Normally, I'm in your situation of putting off everything writing-related when my kids come to town for the holidays, E.B. This year, though, I was frantically trying to finish the draft of my next book so I could revise it in January and send to my agent before the end of the month. I worked right up to midnight on Dec. 22 when my youngest arrived from college (at 4 pm!) to finish. Nothing was done for the holidays.

I crammed gift buying and wrapping and food preparation for holiday dinners and get-togethers into the next two days while spending time with youngest to do it all. And I just let everything else go that I would usually do.

That small end of the telescope vision of your work can help you see more easily what needs to change. I always reread and revise the last chapter or so to get me back into the rhythm of the work.

Even if it played hobb with your writing, I hope you all had wonderful holiday experiences with family and friends!

My Captcha is "momess." Feels like an editorial comment on my house right now.

E. B. Davis said...

Everything was crammed into two days! You had it worse than I did. But, of course, you also have a book contract!

Thanks for the sentiments. When you stay home and write, sometimes "loved" ones don't think that of what we do as work. If only they knew!

Gloria Alden said...

I live with perpetual guilt; when I'm not writing, guilt over not writing. When I'm totally immersed in writing, then guilt over neglecting family, friends and my patient, or not so patient dog. Guilt over all the jobs neglected when I am writing. And most of all, guilt when I answer the phone with a frustrated voice, and it's my youngest from the other side of the country, who calls numerous times a day because she needs a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. She's alone, out of work because of a disability, and in pain after several operations and a nerve block that haven't worked so far. Guilt because she feels guilty calling me so often when she knows I want to be writing.

So sometimes, I guess, we have to put things into perspective. Yes, I get frustrated over all the interruptions that keep me from writing when I so want to be left alone, but then I realize I am lucky to have family and friends, who care about me or consider me a safe and sympathetic ear willing to listen to their concerns. It could always be worse.