Friday, November 16, 2007

Playing indoors

It's too chilly to write on Sally's porch any more, so we've moved our parallel writing indoors for the winter. And speaking of such. . . I'm going to experiment with doing that with a group. There's a house in town that's dedicated to the alphabet arts, and it's big enough for a bunch of writers to be there, all tapping away on our laptops at the same time. I'm hoping to get such a group started for the benefit of writers who could use a nudge or who have a hard time finding a time and/or place to write. And, of course, for my benefit, since I love to work in the company of other writers.

What's up with your weekend?


Nancy P said...

It was nice, meeting lurkers today (Friday). Or is that yesterday already?

Night, all. Somebody turn the coffee on in the morning, okay?

Kimberly Frost said...

Morning, Nancy!

I'm having hazelnut decaf right now in hopes of crashing back into sleep a little later this morning. I'm going to be doing errands and other junk today (Blek), but hope to get to the creative stuff later.

Working a shift tomorrow... so no writing again until maybe Monday.

Speaking of parallel play, yesterday I went to an excellent place called the Empire Cafe with a new friend. She's a young adult author. It was nice to have company for a writing day. said...

... writing in the company of others.

Kimberly, Nancy. How do you do this?

Do you let each other know what you're writing? Do you be very quiet the whole time? Are you allowed to cuss? said...

Help, please!

I would like to write a short story about a cat of a different color. A blue cat, a green cat, a bright red cat.

Other than dumping a can of paint from a ladder, is there any way a cat could be a different color?

Do cats eat mushrooms?

FARfetched said...

I have the same question as Ghost, at least the first question — how does parallel writing work?

As for the cat question… does the cat itself have to be a strange color, or is it just the person perceiving the different color? If it helps, we had a kitten who looked like she survived an earthquake in a Sherwin-Williams — truly a cat of many colors.

FARfetched said...

Oh, and I'll mostly be transcribing the scrawls I wrote during lunch yesterday & Wednesday. After I go see if I can fix a car whose power steering belt broke on The Boy yesterday.

Margaret said...

Although I've never belonged to a writers group per se, I do occasionally participate in group writing such as you're proposing, Nancy. NC has a lovely old house down in Southern Pines that writers may go to for up to 2 weeks a year. You have to bring your own linens and food, but there are 6 separate rooms and beautiful grounds for strolling and thinking. The 6 of us meet for breakfast, then go off to work alone till lunch. Lunch is brief and we report on our progress and may do a tiny bit of brainstorming if someone needs it, then back to our caves till around 5 or 6. Supper in or at a nearby eatery. Afterwards, it's back to the common room for a serious reporting of whether or not we met the day's goals. Another brainstorming session for those whose plots aren't behaving. We set our goals for the next day (and these are written down and pinned on the wall.) Only then can we kick back and play Balderdash or discuss whether or not the house has a ghost! I don't think I could have finished my last book without that commitment to the day's goals. We're going back in January and I'm hoping to get a jump start on the 2009 book. I'll be anxious to hear how your group works out.

Nancy P said...

Morning, kimberly, ghost, and far.

Parallel writing:

The two (or more) of you agree on undisturbed segments of time, like an hour. During that time, no talking, though periodic involuntary cussing is permissible. It may even be unavoidable.

That's it. It ain't complicated. Write. Don't talk. Try not to do other annoying things like crunch food, slurp your coffee, pop gum, or hum the Theme from the Bridge Over the River Kwai.. If you want a second session, or a third, you can decide how long the break is in between. Some people don't want to talk during the breaks. Sally and I are not those people.

Aferward, we don't read or critique, etc. Arrive. Write. Depart. Unless you're lucky enough to be at Sally's, in which case you may get to stay for supper. :)

Nancy P said...

I just saw a note over on Family Man's blog that says he and FMom are down with a bad bug of some kind, which is why he hasn't been around this week.

Sending visions of chicken soup.

Nancy P said...

That sounds absolutely heavenly, Margaret, provided of course that all parties are congenial house-mates. It must feel sooo good to *have written* on those days.

Writer's Retreat Workshop--which a few of us have attended--provides that kind of atmosphere, with the added pleasure (for me) of other people doing all the cooking. Kind of like being at your house, Margaret. :)

Jerri said...

Good morning.

Not dead yet, folks.

Got the ms. sent off just before midnight last night, which means I met the letter, if not the spirit, of the deadline.

Today I'm going to clean my house. I haven't been doing anything that is absolutely necessary and this place looks like the aftermath of complete craziness. Which it is.

Rick Bylina said...

Margaret...Please, link me to the place in Southern Pines (about an hour away).

Kim...Brian would love the Hazelnut, but I'm not sure of the wisdom of decaf at 5:41 a.m.!!!

NANOites do write-ins all the time. I've done a few and have had amazingly high word count. The secret is having something specific to write about.

GHOST...Maybe the cat's shape, color, and demeanor changes depending upon the glasses that the person viewing the cat puts on. Or, you could do like the horse in "The Wizard of Oz" (the horse of a different color) which changed colors in every scene it was in. Or, perhaps the cat changes color depending upon the type of food it eats. Or, like Octopus, the cat changes colors depending upon the mood of the cat. Or, the cat changes colors depending upon the mood of the person who is in the room. Or, perhaps the cat is a reverse puss-in-boots. Black paws and tip of nose, but white everywhere else. Or, perhaps the cat is green and is the property of the little boy in the movie "The Boy with Green Hair". Or, perhaps the cat can change it's coloration like a jumbotron at a football game and everyone wants to advertise on the side of it like those farmers did with the way they spraypainted their cows.

Whatever you do, it'll be the cat's meow with the millions of cat lovers.


I have to cut the grass for hopefully the last time until February, put up some chicken wire, sweep off the acrons and leaves from the deck and front porch, duck from any Robert Parker fans based on my review of "Blue Screen", quack up my dinner guests tonight as I learn the secrets of Thai food and pretend to enjoy it (I prefer Chinese.). Maybe I'll take in the Leonid Meteor Shower before I retire this evening.

Nancy P said...

Congrats, Jerri! Meeting a deadline. Sigh. I remember what that's like.

Happy cleaning.

Nancy P said...

Rick, what's the largest group of writers you've ever written with? Not their size, the group's size. Where do the NANOites meet? How often? Any rules? Or is that unnecessary?

Rick Bylina said...

Nancy...The largest group in ever wrote in was ten; most were 3-6. We've met mostly at coffee houses (duh!) or bookstores (independent and brand name). During NANO, I could probably go to one just about any night somehwere in the Raleigh area. No real rules that I know of, but the general tendency is some blabbing, drinking, eating, (some sizing up potential date possibilities for some), then someone says, "Let's write for fifteen minutes." Silence siezes the writers. The stench of poorly worded sentences, bad grammar, and misspelled words fill the air as writers fling words on page or computer at a furious rate. Sometime after 15 minutes, sweat is wiped from brows. Some continue on like a baseball player on a streak not changing his jockstrap believing that the magic will dissipate just has all his friends seemed to have done. Five, ten, or fifteen minutes later, the magic starts all over again. And on it goes, usually for about two hours. I've written as much as 3,000 words and as little as 300 words.

I'm usually the elder statesperson (54) when I attend. I've only been exceed once by a spry septugenarian who needed human contact more than words. Most of the participants are in their twenties, pretending to be in their twenties (dead give-away, coffee chokes most teenagers), or still holding on to their twenties.

It's a nice escape and a reminder that we are not alone in our efforts.

Hope that answers your questions.


Nancy P said...

It does, Rick, and I thank you.

Fifteen minutes, man, that's not a lot. But maybe I need to start out my group with something shorter, like that, for the sake of beginners. Maybe compromise at 30 minutes so the experienced ones don't go crazy. Hmm. I'm really glad you told me this.

Rick Bylina said...

Remember...My experience may not be the same as elsewhere. People tend to mimic what is around them and this manner of doing it could be reflective of the people who've been doing it for five or six years in this area and it just stuck.

NANO is explosive writing, and so the local write-ins reflect that explosiveness in short writing bursts.

It's sunny and the leaves and grass are saying, "Me, me, me." (you didn't know I lived in a magical place).

Auf weidersehn, rick
The only rule: writers write. Everything else is a guideline.

Nancy P said...

Go to your leaves!

And thanks. That helps.

Conda said...

Excellent idea, Nancy--sitting with other writers and working! And I'd add another difficulty--a common one for me: Us who are a bit ADD sometimes do a lot better when we're in a group situation (i.e. I have to sit there and write, fewer distractions).

I'm going back to a bit of lurking. I have a personal trainer certification exam coming up in 10 days--study time!

Kimberly Frost said...

Yesterday was my first outing with Tera, the other author, so we talked more than I normally would for a combined writing session, but it was great nonetheless. Most of the discussion was about writing topics. We had breakfast and coffee and chatted.

Later we worked for a couple of hours. She spotted some of my brightly colored pages and asked about what they were. We got into a discussion of plotting for non-plotters.

Even later, I needed a male Greek name at one point and because Tera's first novel is set in Greece, she was easily able to come up with one that I liked.

Overall, it was fun and productive. I've been at other sessions with my friend Bonnie that are the same. We write for an hour or two, then get up and take a walk together to chat, come back and write some more, go to lunch, come back and write more. We've had hugely productive marathon writing retreats that way.

The most important thing is to not allow the chatting to run on. In all my parallel play days, conversations are allowed, but respecting the objective of both writers is essential.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Conda and Kimberly. Busy (and wise) writers around here!

boran2 said...

Hi all. It is a very busy weekend for us. All our errand today because we will be traveling to Lond Island for my nephew's birtday party tomorrow.

FARfetched said...

What? No Sunday BBoard yet? ;-)

I was kind of surprised to find I'd written over 1500 words during two lunch hours this week. Sometimes, these ideas just get hold of you & the pen starts moving. What's amazing is my hand didn't cramp up!

Beth said...

Boy, where have I been? I completely missed this post. I have an offer to write a column (that might be syndicated), so I was working on that yesterday. Plus doing family stuff with my sister and her in-laws. More running around today, then I head home tomorrow. Then leave again Wed for Chez Fetched!

I never have written with anyone else, but I'd like to try it. Margaret, that house sounds wonderful. And WRW is indeed great for concentrated writing time, either alone or with like-minded, supportive others. I LOVE your idea, Nancy!

Congrats, Jerri!!

Good luck, Conda!

Travel safely, boran.

And how was the Thai food, Rick? That and Japanese are my favorite. Neither of which I've found in Englewood yet. :-)

Happy Sunday, everyone!