Filtering by Tag: fiction

Sunburn, Revisions and Chely Wright

I'm still plodding through my revisions. The progress has slowed some. I was averaging a chapter a day, handwritten revisions and typing in the changes. That lasted for three chapters. Now, I'm dealing with the mess that used to be Chapter 6 and is now Chapter 4. Chapter 6 is where I ripped a scene from to put in Chapter 1. Now, I'm left with a bunch of nonsensical crap to figure out. I'm about half done with it. And I don't want to keep going.

I think part of the reason why is because I look like this:


And feel like this:


Sunburns are not fun. I have been kicking myself ever since Saturday for forgetting my sun block. I have fair skin. I burn easily. I know this. WHAT was I thinking? It's impossible to concentrate when your skin is on fire, ya know?

It was a fun day, though, sunburn and all. I got to meet Chely Wright and she was an absolute doll. The sweetest celebrity I've had the pleasure to meet. She signed her book for me, told me I had a cool name and that she liked my shirt. She also signed a copy of her newest CD for Dana's mom, who ADORES Chely. It was a pretty awesome day.


(a picture from Chely's performance on Saturday)

Ever since then, I've been struggling to get my head back into my story. Chapter 4 is NOT pretty, people. In fact, it's downright homely. BUT! I'm going to finish whipping it into shape today. On to Chapter 5 tomorrow.

Only about ten more chapters to go...


Cue the Hallelujah Choir



So after nearly seven months of slaving over mediocre words and underdeveloped characters, hiding from scary scenes and pathetic prose...after months and months of telling myself I was no good, and I would never, ever finish this book, yesterday at about 1:27pm,

I

FINISHED

MY

FIRST

DRAFT

!!!!!!!

And this is how it felt:








And I found this picture in a google search for "freedom." I thought it was an interesting representation of the writing life. The chains represent the burning drive to write that we can't escape and the butterfly is the something beautiful that comes out of it.



I'm going to spend the rest of my day relaxing and reveling in the knowledge that all those torturous months paid off. Then, I'm going to do a quick run-through edit before I set it aside for a while. I have some continuity issues that Dana noticed when she read the first few chapters. Mari's best friend, for example, has four kids in one paragraph and three in the next. And then she's back to four three pages later. And Mari's relationship with her ex lasted somewhere between five and six years -- it seems to vary from page to page. Lots of work ahead of me. But I guess that's what happens when you write your first fifty thousand words in thirty days, huh?

I hope everyone has a marvelous Sunday -- I know I will!

So Close I Can Taste It

I have been a bad, bad blogger. I've thought about writing a new post, even started one or two, but everything I say just sounds like word vomit. Words for the sake of words. Boring, whiny, annoying. But I'm trying again!

I have to work today. Saturdays are the days Satan created, I'm telling you. I swear, the population of the general public drops about fifty points when Saturday arrives (side note: I said this to a co-worker last Saturday, and he said, "No, it's more than that -- it's more like THIRTY!" Point proven.) I'm not looking forward to work, but I have tomorrow off, so I'll be okay.

Oh, I should probably mention my progress on The Never-Ending Novel. I pushed past 100k last night. And...

I'm

Still

Not

DONE!

I knew this would happen! This thing refuses to end!

I just have to write a couple of scenes, though. Two or three leading up to The Birth and then The Birth. Which I'm still nervous about, but thanks to you lovely ladies, I'm not AS nervous as I was before. You guys rock, I ever tell you that?

I have every intention on finishing this thing up tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Also, E. Elle was sweet enough to give me an award last month (I know, I know -- last MONTH!). I'm passing it on today.

The rules:
1. Five recipients
2. Make up something about the people you give the award to. (Yep, this is the fun part!)
3. Link to the people who you give it to.
4. Link back to the original award post.





1. Erin at Apropos of Nothing, just quit her job as a glorified secretary to chase down her dream of becoming Jessica Simpson's Best Friend. CaCee, watch your back!
2. Jeanie at Genie of the Shell is hard at work on her fairy tale novel -- and her mission to prove that The Grimm Brothers were actually hired by a sexist, futuristic government to give women a bad name.
3. Write Chick at Spin Me Write Round actually thinks that Writer's Butt is a good thing!
4. Rebecca at Diary of a Virgin Novelist was driven insane by her current WiP and spent yesterday rolling around in the mud -- and attempted to drag us down with her! It's okay, Rebecca -- mud baths are supposed to be good for the skin!
5. Lauren at Embrace the Detour is a self-proclaimed loser and has, on more than one occasion, lost her mind. Her second home is a lovely padded room in LooneyBin Acres.

Thanks again, Elle! I hope I didn't offend any of the awesome ladies I passed the award on to!

Chapter 17, You Terrify Me

Okay, so I've been writing since 6:30 this morning. I'm training on new equipment for work today and I got here early -- this store doesn't have WiFi, so I figured I would have some prime writing time. I did find a public connection I must be picking up from the restaurant next door, but it keeps dropping and isn't strong enough to keep me good and distracted. So...I've been writing all morning.

I just passed the 97k mark. Mari is in her eighth month of pregnancy and things between her and Zander are getting more complicated by the word. My never-ending novel is about to reach its climax -- the birth of Mari's baby. I've never written anything like the birth of a child. I'd rather write steamy sex scenes all day long. But this isn't the kind of book I can fill cover to cover with sex (although that might be fun to write) so there is no getting out of this scene. I'm sure I'll manage alright. I've done lots and lots of reading and research. And I've got a couple friends who've had babies, so I can always pass it over to them for input. I'm just...nervous.

I'm psyching myself out. I know this scene means that I'm almost finished with my first draft, but I don't want to reach it. I'm afraid I'll keep writing filler to avoid the birth of this baby, which will only make revisions WAY harder! I only have two chapters left in my outline to write -- the next one is The One with the Birth. Maybe I could just write *insert baby being born here* and then continue on to the next chapter? But, no. That would be cowardly. If I'm going to forge my way through this first draft, I'm going to do it in its entirety. No skimping or skating here. I WILL write that birth scene, darn it!

Do you ever get nervous about a scene you have to write? Whether it's a birth scene, a sex scene or something else entirely? How do you get passed the nerves to write it? Do you just close your eyes and go, or do you meticulously plan out every syllable until you have such a strict guideline for the scene it's impossible to mess up?

My Dysfuctional Relationship

You know, I've had my share of dysfunctional relationships. Friendships that consisted of me doing all the calling and remembering birthdays and everything that a friendship involves. One-sided crushes. Hell, even my relationship with my parents is dysfunctional, putting me in the parent role most of the time. And every now and then, I wonder whether or not Dana and I are functioning at a normal rate. But none of those compares to the unhealthy, completely dysfunctional and at times unbearable relationship I have with writing.



Some days, I wake up and my fingers itch to scribble in my journal or tap dance across the keys of my laptop. And when the words are flowing...there is no feeling like it. The exhilaration, the adrenaline. It can only be compared to rush of sitting in a roller coaster going downhill at a hundred miles per hour.

Other days, well, they're a different story.

I've been having "other" days for quite some time. These are the days that writing feels like a burden . Even the thought of picking up a pen or opening my WiP fills me with dread.

Today is one of those days. It started off well enough. I got a little written yesterday and I was excited to add to it. But then, once I started to write, a scene popped up. Out of nowhere. It's not in my outline. I'm not even sure there's a need for it. But there it is. Right smack at the beginning of Chapter 13. GRR!

To top things off, it turns out I was writing about something that happens in Chapter 13 way back in Chapter 11. WHAT is going on?

When I get around to revising this, I'm going to need a pair of scissors and about thirty glue sticks. Cutting and pasting in the literal sense. It's abso-freaking-lutely insane.

Sometimes I think maybe I'd be better off without this particular brand of dysfunction.

But then again, maybe not.

And so I write.

To Change, or Not to Change...

I changed the layout of my blog. I felt I needed something more...spring-like. Let me know if anything is hard to read!

Anyway, the point of this post: I've been considering changing the point of view of my novel. Right now, it's in third person. I always write in third person. It's my comfort zone. It's what I do best.

But...I'm starting to think that this novel would work better in first person. I'd love any thoughts I could get on this subject. And, to maybe help generate some educated opinions, here's a tiny excerpt, written both ways:


Third:
“What do you mean, you're being inseminated?” Fern Alandale, Maribel's best friend since grade school, looked at her like she'd suddenly spouted a third eye right smack in the middle of her forehead.

“Just what I said. I'm being inseminated. I already called and made the appointment.” Mari tore off a piece of bread from the loaf in the center of the table and popped it into her mouth. It was the next day, and Mari was sitting across from Fern in their favorite restaurant, Daisy's Diner. Mari just told Fern about her break-up with Tom, and the idea that struck her late last night.

“But...why?” Fern's mossy eyes narrowed and she tucked a strand of short, dark hair behind her ear. Mari took in her friend's expression and smiled. Fern had never been able to hide any emotions racing through her. Her full, fair face revealed everything, whether she flushed of embarrassment or paled from fear. Or, like now, narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips in confusion. Fern was an open book. Which was one of the things Mari always loved about her.

Swallowing her bite, Maribel explained. “Remember the list?”

“The list? Oh, gosh, really? This is about the list?” Eyes widened, Fern showed her disbelief.

With a laugh, Mari continued. “No, I was just starting at the beginning. I pulled the list out last night and was reading it. And it occurred to me - I have lived too long by a plan. An arbitrary list of things to do with my life. And, sure, some of them worked out, but do I really want to spend forever planning and listing, when I could be spontaneous and do what I want when I want.” She took another bite and continued, mouth full. “And what I want is a baby.”





First
“What do you mean, you're being inseminated?” Fern Alandale, my best friend since grade school, looked at me like I'd suddenly spouted a third eye right smack in the middle of my forehead.

“Just what I said. I'm being inseminated. I already called and made the appointment.” I tore off a piece of bread from the loaf in the center of the table and popped it into my mouth. It was the next day, and I was sitting across from Fern in our favorite restaurant, Daisy's Diner. I had just finished telling Fern about my break-up with Tom, and the idea that struck me late last night.

“But...why?” Fern's mossy eyes narrowed and she tucked a strand of short, dark hair behind her ear. I took in my friend's expression and smiled. Fern had never been able to hide any emotions racing through her. Her full, fair face revealed everything, whether she flushed of embarrassment or paled from fear. Or, like now, narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips in confusion. Fern was an open book. Which was one of the things I had always loved about her.

Swallowing my bite, I explained. “Remember the list?”

“The list? Oh, gosh, really? This is about the list?” Eyes widened, Fern showed her disbelief.

With a laugh, I continued. “No, I was just starting at the beginning. I pulled the list out last night and was reading it. And it occurred to me - I have lived too long by a plan. An arbitrary list of things to do with my life. And, sure, some of them worked out, but do I really want to spend forever planning and listing, when I could be spontaneous and do what I want when I want.” I took another bite and continued, mouth full. “And what I want is a baby.”




Now, I'm aware it's not that great. This is straight out of my first draft, only the I's and she's changed. I'm really getting excited about editing this thing. Some of it is not as awful as I'd feared. I am worried, though, that if I decide to change my POV, I'll get overwhelmed with all the changes and run away screaming. Which is why I'm here, asking for the help of all you lovely ladies (and gentlemen?) out there who write and struggle with the same things.

Any opinions would be much appreciated!

It's a Love/Hate Thing

I should be sleeping. I've got work in the morning and I am NOT a morning person. Odds are, if I don't go to sleep soon, I'll be grumpy all day. But sleep won't come.

I'm writing. Or, at least, I'm trying to. As of right now, the ratio of words written to Youtube videos watched is extremely unbalanced. This is what I mean when I say I can't resist the distractions!

To be fair, I've been trying to write. I'm just getting frustrated. Every scene I write just goes on and on and on and....on. They never. Freaking. End. To be honest, it's driving me batty. I mean, I have an outline for God's sake. Is this some sick game my muse is playing on me? This should be relatively easy, just getting the basic skeleton of each scene written, as they appear on my outline, to be revised at a later date. Turns out, this is easier said than done.

I can't say I've had this problem much in my writing history. Usually, I write an outline and the scenes flow. Not really smoothly. It's a first draft, after all. (Speaking of which, Sarah over at Sarah with a Chance wrote an awesome entry about the pain and frustration and feelings of hatred that come along with the first draft process -- check it out!)I'm feeling more and more like I want to print the two hundred and something pages of this thing out and throw them through a wood (or maybe word?) chipper, just to seek revenge on the hell it's putting me through!

It seems like writing was so much easier when I was younger. That daydreaming sixteen-year-old who'd read hundreds of romance novels, then decided she could write one. That first novel was like an adrenaline rush, all the way through. There were no thoughts of how bad the writing was (which, I'm sure it was) or whether or not the plot made sense (I'm sure it didn't). Or if my characters would actually do or say the things I wanted them to. The second novel flowed just as easily. I spent many days in my college Lit class scribbling away in the notebook I'd designated for novel-writing. I had fallen madly in love. I had found my calling. I was a novelist. Up until this point, I'd harbored dreams of moving to Nashville to become a songwriter -- never mind that I can't a) sing or b) play an instrument. I was a dreamer, and that was enough.

But the moment I picked up that pen and decided to create two characters out of mid-air and let them find their happy-ever-after with each other, my heart was lost to the wonderful world of fiction. And I've been in love ever since. But, like in any relationship, there are bad times. The kicking, screaming, throwing things at the wall kind of fights that leave you pouting for days. Words go on strike. Your muse decides to take a vacation without telling you. You have the perfect idea for the next scene in your novel, but when you sit down to write it...nothing. You convince yourself you were insane to ever believe you could do this, but then the next day, you just know this is what you were meant to be: a writer. A novelist. An author. A published author. You just didn't realize when you fell so hard for this tricky craft of writing just how HARD it was going to be.

And that's where I'm at just now. This business of writing a book is SO. DAMN. HARD. Even as I think about giving up, retiring my pen for good, I know I could never do it. Writing owns my heart. That's all there is to it. So I must suffer. And push myself. And forge through these hard times. Because somewhere down the road, maybe a few feet or so, maybe a couple thousand miles, there's a light. One of those neon marquis signs, flashing bright pinks and oranges and yellows and blues against the black night sky. And it's saying: You Did It.

And damned if I don't want to get there.

Bad, Bad Writing

So I've been a writing machine the past couple days, as you can see from the above ticker. The number of words to go keeps getting smaller, and I'm getting psyched.

But here's the problem: I'm 99.9999999% sure my book will not be finished, even when I hit my word goal. Turns out, I'm writing a behemoth of a novel. I'm nearing 70k, as a whole, and my main character is still only 5 months pregnant. Revision should be...interesting. I'm going to need a hacksaw, a needle and some thread when I finish this thing. Major reconstructive surgery will be necessary.

I'm getting discouraged as I write, though. More and more sure that I suck as a writer. I mean, this first draft is the worst first draft I've ever written. The beginnings of my sentences keep throwing me off, yanking me out of the zone. I seem to have lost the ability to start a sentence with anything but my characters' names, -ing words (i.e, "Fumbling for words, she stared at him) or the, he or she. It's driving me insane. The clickety-clack of the keys seems to be chanting "You suck, you suck, you suck," as I type.

I'm forging on, though. Bad writing is better than no writing. Even if it's going to take twenty years to rewrite!