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Archive for July, 2010

Traveling

I despise flying. It’s safe to say if I never had to fly, I’d be a happy little Vegemite. However, flying is part of the deal when you’re involved with someone from another country. Of course, I don’t choose someone from Canada. No. No. No. That would be too easy. I pick Australia! Icky long flying.

I leave OZ Tuesday for seven weeks at home. I’m trying to travel lite but it’s not easy when I want to bring all the printed copies of my writing, plus all the handwritten notes. It feels weird leaving them behind. What if I suddenly have a breakthrough on one of those stories and need those particular papers? I have versions on my computer so it’s not like I’ll be without, but those versions in my file box will be in OZ while I’m in the US.

Silly. I know.  I believe positive things will happen with leaving these versions here. If I can’t reference them, maybe I can write forward in the stories with fresh ideas and eyes.

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Flogging a dead story.

When do you realize you’re flogging a dead horse? When is it clear that it’s time to move on? I’m learning all sorts of things about myself as a writer while I’m experimenting with this novel. I’m happy that I completed a first draft of sorts. It’s complete, but it barely resembles a story. On to rewriting! This is where I’m stuck. What’s the point of the story? What’s the plot? What happens to these characters? I don’t know. I create interesting characters but not interesting stories to put them in. I’m at a loss with this novel. I thought it would be YA, but I’ve changed my mind realizing that although I love reading YA, I’m not good at writing it.

In fact I feel like I suck at novel writing. I don’t know how to carry a story all the way through. I feel like a hack sometimes. I beat myself up because I write short stories and somewhere in my head I got this idea that I HAD to write a novel. A novel would mean I’m a real writer. It’s stupid.

I feel like if I walk away from this novel, I’m only proving to myself that I can’t write a novel. I’m letting myself down. I have no idea what the basic plot is of this story. I’m stuck and feeling like a crappy writer.

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Novel Writing

First draft of the Unnamed YA Novel is complete at 39,832 words. I set out to have a first draft of 50,000 words because it seemed like a good number to get to. However, I found I was done with this draft before reaching that number. I’m happy with where I ended up. I look forward to getting into the nitty-gritty and figuring out more about this story and the characters in the next draft. I know what some of my issues are and this is the time to sort them out.

I had to remind myself that I’m not in a rush to complete this novel. I highly doubt anyone will see the finished product and that’s okay. It’s not about rushing to share it with anyone else. This project is about learning how I write. It’s about taking an idea and seeing it through from beginning to end with all the changes along the way. This story may take me a year to complete or it may take two. The point is that I’ll complete it.

I got it in my head that since I was writing this story I wouldn’t be writing any other story until I was finished. Well, that’s stupid. I can write multiple stories at the same time. Or maybe I can’t. I’ll see.

I’m thrilled to be done with the first draft to this unnamed story which now has a working title. I look forward to getting back to it in August.

In the meantime, I have some brainstorming to do on another story brewing.

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WIP- Update

Unnamed YA Novel is currently at 31,576 words. I’m finding out a few things about myself and writing. I don’t actually like novel writing. I don’t have the desire to have my characters do multiple things. I like my short stories where we meet the characters and one or two things are dealt with and then we leave them. Novels are a bit different. You can’t only have your character complaining about this or that. There needs to be depth and meaning and action. Something needs to happen. I find very little is happening in this WIP.

However, this is the first draft. This is where I get all my thoughts out. This is where I lay down the bare bones of the story. When I’m finished. I will move on to revisions. This is where I will make sense of the messy first draft. Here I will determine if this makes sense or of that does. Or if I need to cut entire characters/scenes/ideas from the piece and start fresh. During revisions, not during the first draft.

I have 18,424 words to write to get to my goal. That seems so achievable. I’d like to finish this by July 30th. I know I can write 2,000 words each day. I’ve done it before.

I’m taking an internet break until I’m finished.

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Conversations with my Characters

Grim: <sniffing the air> What is that smell?

Me: Chicken flavored water.

Grim: Are you drinking that?

Me: No. The idea was for it to be like one of those cups of soups. It’s terribly cold in here. It’s 2:30 a.m. and I don’t want to drink coffee.

Grim: So you made chicken flavored water?

Me: Yep. I didn’t have any cup of soups so I used the seasoning from Ramen. But I don’t like the chicken flavor so it wasn’t the best idea.

Grim: Just drink the coffee, Petal.

Cole: Psst.

Me: Yeah?

Grim: Who are you?

Cole: I think maybe… you?

Grim: Yeah. Buddy, I don’t think so. Name’s not Cole. <turning his attention back to me> Good try, D.

Cole: I just wanna know about my story. Have you thought about writing it?

Me: I have.

Cole: So? You’re writing it?

Me: Eventually.

Grim: Now, hang on buddy! I was here first.

Cole: Yeah, but you had your moment. It’s my turn.

Grim: Excuse me? I’m Death. You don’t sweep me under the rug.

Cole: I’m not threatened by your whole “I’m death. Ooh.. be scared of me” thing.

Grim: She loves me better than you.

Cole: That’s your comeback. Pathetic. No wonder she stopped writing about you.

Me: May I cut in for a moment?

Grim & Cole: Yeah.

Me: Cole, Grim is not pathetic. And I haven’t stopped writing about him. I’ve just put the story on hold while I try some other things. And Grim, Cole is not a threat. You don’t have to kill him. He’s already dead.

Cole: What?

Grim: Take that buddy! You’ve had like four words in your existence and she’s already given you the ax!

Me: No, I haven’t.

Grim: But, you just said he was dead.

Me: Yep. He is.

Cole: So? I have a story?

Me: Yep.

Cole: Fantastic! <smirking at Grim>

Grim: Yeah, fantastic.

Me: Grim–

Grim: Yeah?

Me: You’re still my favorite.

Grim: You’re mine too, Petal.

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The Crazies

The Crazies make me do silly things like drink coffee at midnight so I stay up all night writing. They also give me headaches. They’re kooky, insane characters who argue with me on a daily basis, but we still love one another. We need each other.

I’m sitting pretty at a tick over 22,500 words so far in my WIP. My goal is to get to 50,000. It’s like the magic number– a good goal and my approach is basically a gigantic synopsis. What I find interesting in this approach is that I’m writing bits and pieces all over the place. It’ll be interesting when I’m done and read it. I hope I’ll remember what I was writing about when that happens.

I’m currently suffering from The Crazies. I’m heading home in two weeks to see my family. Last night The Crazies thought it would be ideal for me to finish this first, rough draft before I get on that plane for the US. Huh? Before? If I wrote every single day that means I would need to throw up 1,965 words daily. Doesn’t seem that daunting, but this includes writing while I’m traveling close to four hours to the airport. I’m not sure I can type and drive at the same time. I’m certain that’s frowned upon and dangerous. If I wrote for 12 straight days, I would need about 2300 words a day. Again, extremely doable if not extremely exhausting.

I told The Crazies that this is a learning experience and it’s okay if it takes me a few months to write this draft. The Crazies disagree. The Crazies think I can do this and more importantly, NEED to do this. The Crazies say that this is the first, sandpaper rough draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be written and I can’t do that if I’m asleep.

Huh.

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Shane: Hey, doll, are you writing that review for ID? <standing in the corner, leaning on the wall, hands in pockets… making brooding look like an art form>

Me: Uh… What are you doing here? I don’t write you. <shaking my head>

Shane: I know.

Me: Okay… but I don’t write you. You can’t be in my head talking to me.

Shane: Sure I can. <smiles> (what? huh? smiling?? This doesn’t seem right…)

Me: Isn’t that like… I don’t know.. against the rules? <ignoring the way his stare burns me like he’s questioning me from the inside out>

Shane: Probably, but I doubt she’ll mind.

Me: She might.

Shane: She won’t. Please, doll, we’re helping her out. She’ll thank us.

Me: I suppose. So…?

Shane:  Thanks for the support, doll. I hope I don’t disappoint you. <winks>

Me: ……

Grim: What was he doing here? <appearing from out of no where and scaring the crap out of me>

Me: Is he on the list?

Grim: I can’t tell you that.

Me: Why not?

Grim: It would ruin the story.  Bex keeps me busy, I don’t want to ruin the world she’s created by telling you her secrets.

Me: But you’re my character… you do what I want.

Grim: Yeah, but I’m also Death. I go where there’s death. It’s my job. <chuckling at himself>

Me: But–

Grim: I don’t like Shane hanging around here.

Me: Why? Is he, you know, the killer? I don’t want him to be the killer. I think I’m the only one who likes him.

Grim: Yeah. I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. Why do you like him?

Me: I just do.

Grim: Well… he better not make this visiting thing a habit.

Me: Silly boy.

I sort of live in my own little bubble of the world and hadn’t heard of web-fiction until I met Bex Spencer. She’s writing a murder mystery serial called, Independence Day. You can catch up on the first eighteen chapters at her website.

From the website:

Nothing much ever happened in Haven Park, Wyoming. Closely knit, deeply religious and with a population of just over 500, it appeared to be a small town just like any other. Then, on the night of July 4, 1966, everything changed forever. Gripped with the horrifying realization there was a killer in their midst, Haven Park reels from one murder after another, at the diabolical hands of one of their own.

I admit I’m a bit of a crazy pants fan of this story. I pester Bex to make sure chapters get published on time. Independence Day is an incredible story. What amazes me is that she writes, revises, edits all on her own. Bex takes her time with each chapter to make sure every word she writes moves the story along. Every piece of detail is important. There aren’t any filler moments in this story.

What I love about Independence Day is that every character has a motive to be the serial killer. Every. Single. Character. And every character can wind up a victim. Every. Single. Character. I know as a reader I attach myself to characters especially when you have a lot of characters I absolutely don’t want the characters I like to get killed or be the killer, but that’s what’s great about this– they can be! I think it’s daring for an author to do this.

Besides great characters, this is an amazing story line. At this point I don’t know whodunit or who else may fall victim, but I love guessing and I’m sure I’ll change my mind a hundred times before the big reveal.

I recommend checking out Independence Day if for no other reason than to meet Shane Marcette. I’m certain you’ll be hooked straight away.

😉


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