Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

March 23, 2012

What’s that law of thermodynamics about momentum?

Filed under: fitter/happier,friends,Games,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 11:18 pm

I’m pretty shaky when it comes to physics, but if I understand correctly it takes more effort to move something that’s come to a complete stop than it is to maintain or speed up something already kicking along.

That’s me and writing, right there. I just stopped doing it for the better part of a couple of weeks. The usual excuses are in place – first I had a flu that knocked me out for a few days, and then we had a houseguest staying for ten days. All of the above contrived to break me from my writing routine. For once I didn’t bother to fight it. I just surrendered to the inevitable and took the lazy way out. I went and played Mass Effect 1 and 2 instead.

(I don’t regret it either. ME1 – the only game in the series I’ve yet finished – is instructively epic science fiction. Basically it’s seasons 2 to 4 of Babylon 5, but told with economy and a few less clunky monologues).

Now we may against feel the absence of the diverting and amusing company of Winston from Japan, but my writing space is once again more or less my own. So I had better get back into it. No more lame excuses.

Having not touched the novel in a coupel of weeks, I am reluctant to pick it up again. I still don’t know what I am doing with it, or how I will drive it towards a conclusion. In my ignorance I am going to stick with my plan of just writing whatever gibberish pops into my head until I’ve more or less wrapped it up, before going back to the drawing board to develop a proper outline. By ‘proper’, I mean one that actually identifies what will happen in the climax of the book.

Interestingly, the writer’s group has already begun to help out. At a recent meeting, there was a discussion about log lines, which are 25-words-or-less summaries of who the protagonist is, what they want and what’s stopping them from achieving that. I worked out a pretty good log line for my current work-in-progress novel. I think it will help to keep my redraft focused on what matters to the story, and help me to indentify ideas that might not fit so well in this particular tale. We’ll see.

(No, I’m not going to share the log line I worked out, since it kind of spoils a key plot element. It’s a behind-the-scenes kind of tool).

So while the novel stays on the backburner until I get up early tomorrow morning, I’ve tried to regain some of that dissipated momentum with various exercises of lower intensity. Last night I drafted my next Lost review (coming soon, after it gets the edit that comes of the cold-light-of-day realisation that my character analysis was 100% off-base). Tonight I wrote maybe half of a short story told entirely in tweets – that is, 140 characters or less, including names and hashtags – which will probably prove to have been a dumb idea when I revisit it. Right now it’s amusing me. And after that, I have a metric truckload of reviews I want to write.

I just have to remember to keep tapping away at that main novel project. Otherwise sooner or later it will stop and never start again.


  1. Welcome back! (Not that I can talk) That log line thingy looks fun. Having a go:

    “A nameless victim of fate, I want these weasels off my face but don’t want to let go of these jelly doughnuts.”

    Why don’t you let go of this foolish modern conceit of the auteur and crowdsource ‘your’ novel? I suggest the adverb ‘pointily’ should go in at about the 1348th word.

    Comment by The Once and Future Dr Clam — March 24, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  2. I would read that novel. Well, I wouldn’t, but I would certainly retweet your promotional materials. Some of them, anyway. For a while.

    I am now tempted to get find out what the 1348th word is…

    …it’s “the”. A bit disappointing, really.

    Comment by lexifab — March 25, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  3. Pity about the ‘the’ 🙁

    Parenthetically, how geographically defined is the Sawl in its current incarnation? I always think of it as like around here – a version of Uralla moved out by itself to be further away from Armidale and Tamworth – but I know you said once you think of Calliope. I have meaning for a long time to do a sort of photoessay of could-be Burroughs-Gothic features of my neighbourhood (starting with the ones that actually incorporate ‘Salisbury’ as part of their name) and send it your way.

    Comment by The Once and Future Dr Clam — March 26, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  4. I actually need to take my time over answering this. I’ll chat in email.

    Comment by Lexifab — March 28, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

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