Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Workspace and Compound-Sentence-Aphobia

I feel an overwhelming need to get organized today, to polish and tidy everything in my path - no wonder my characters tend to have a compulsive urge to clean. 

I start a new writing class this week, a different one than before - this one is for people writing longer works and is focused on perfecting our craft (as if we weren't perfect already and as if there were such a thing). 

This past week has been rough - my babes and I have felt the stress of my big kids going back to school.  But this week we need to get over it and move forward - well, I do - he will do it in his own time because he's two. 

Since I wasn't able to be productive at home this week - and am very unhappy when I'm not productive - my husband suggested I could work at his office, office space we rent so he can telecommute.  I generally feel the space is for him and haven't attempted to work there until now because I assumed the space would be too messy for me to focus, but it was perfectly clean.  He took me there (with babes, always with babes) to show me how to get through the maze of hallways with multiple keypads. 

He reminded me that my name is on the door too and was amazingly generous about sharing his space.  He also had some great ideas for maintaining my privacy even if I decide to use my real name instead of a pen name.  I can use the mail drop at the office instead of our home address and can use a Google phone number that rings my cell phone without exposing my actual cell phone number. 

I found a chair that didn't aggravate my back (a miracle) and lost myself in edits for about twenty minutes until babes got restless. 

Lately, I have realized that although the first half of my manuscript is done - edited over and over again and as polished as I can polish it - I have one habit that is probably not ideal.  I start a lot of sentences with And or But.  I think this works in dialogue.  My character is a lot like me.  And I start a lot of my sentences with 'and' when I speak. 

I did this too many times in the non-dialogue portions of my novel.  Apparently I'm terrified of compound sentences.  Apparently two sentences joined by 'and' or 'but' is completely unnatural for me.  Funny I didn't recognize that before. 

Now that I have found this flaw in my writing, I wonder what other obvious things I'm missing.  I feel twinges of anxiety about going to my class, offset by excitement that the class may improve my writing exponentially.  Wouldn't that be cool?

So now I have a place to work on the weekends that's actually been sitting there waiting for me this whole time.  I have some editing to do on the first half of this novel, which isn't so difficult since it's a focused kind of editing where I know what I'm looking for - and just a little more work on the transition between the beginning and the end.  And another novel to finish. 

No excuses now. 


By the way, my heart goes out to anyone that's been through the hurricane or is about to be soaked from it.  We are very lucky to be in the middle, completely outside the path of it.  I heard last night that they downgraded the level, which is great, but it still sounds like an overwhelming amount of rain. 



  1. Sounds like you're forging ahead. I'm envious of your office space. I think what you mentioned is something a lot of us do until we notice it. I used to start a lot of sentences with 'but'.

  2. My critique partners pushed me to make simpler sentences and drop the ands and buts altogether. Still learning.
    We just got a little rain and wind, but were lucky Irene didn't come any further inland.

  3. Yep, I also love critique partners because they are able to show me what I can't see in my own writing. It's fantastic to have an office space too.

  4. Sounds like your husband is pretty supportive. That has to go a long ways. Enjoy your new space.

  5. @Mary - The space is great. It's just creepy to go there in the evenings when no one else is there.

    @Alex - It's hard to look at sentence structure after it's written, but it's good to be here. Glad you did well with the storm.

    @Lynda - I love my critique partner. She has helped me improve my writing over the last year so much.

    @Rusty - My husband is supportive, so much so that I have no excuse but to write, to just do it. We've only been married five years, so that helps. :)