Filtering by Tag: novel

How YOU Doin, 2015?

Okay, okay. So it's been over four months since my last post. I am KILLING this blogging thing. KILLING. IT.

In all reality, I've spent the better part of my time since late-October...WRITING.

I completed NaNoWriMo with just over 53k words, then continued to work on my novel for the next couple months. I typed the words The End in mid-January, then attended a fantastic writing workshop with Donald Maass, which spurred ALL THE EPIPHANIES. I rewrote the last half of my book, then turned it in to my fabulous writing group. From the moment I turned it in to the morning of the meeting, I felt like I was going to throw up or die or both.

I couldn't have asked for a better meeting, though. I got great feedback, and a relatively short revision list for my book baby.

You guys, I am so, so proud of this book. After spending the better part of 8 years writing and rewriting my last book, I wasn't sure going into NaNoWriMo if I could write something new. But I wrote the hell out of this new book, and you know what? It's so much better than the other one. I have really found my voice as a writer, and I've learned and grown so much. This new book...it's me. The last book, I spent years and years trying to figure out WHO I was, what I wanted the book to be, what I could and couldn't say...and so on.

Once I hit my stride, the words wouldn't stop coming. I laughed, I cried, I had an absolute blast writing that book.

And now...well, now I'm going back to the first one.

I know, I know. Sounds silly, right? Why go back to the book I'd spent year after torturous year writing after discovering a new confidence with a new book?

Well, the thing is, I believe in the characters in the first book. I love them. I love the story. I want to give them the book they deserve. And I believe I can do that now. Now that I've figured out how I work, how to be free with my words and not allow self-doubt to censor me, I really believe I can make this book what it was meant to be.

Outlining has proven to be a bitch, though.

The thing I'm struggling with is this: there is a lot to be loved in the original draft. And there are ideas a-plenty to improve it. So, I'm trying to find the balance between the old and new. And let me tell you...it's not easy.

But I've got a self-imposed deadline. I want to have this new version completed by the first week of May. That gives me...two months?

Shit. I'd better get cracking.



PS: How ADORABLE is my new header? My wonderfully amazing best friend and writing lobster, Christina made it for me. She rocks, eh?

NaNoWriMo 2010 Recap

I'm slowly emerging from my post-NaNoWriMo coma. What an intense thirty days!



I'm not gonna lie and say it was pretty -- it wasn't. In fact, for the majority of November, it was downright U-G-L-Y. I fell behind about a week in and stayed that way for the rest of the month. When November 29th rolled around, I was more than 10k behind.

So, how did I manage to finish at all?

I'm one stubborn chick. I refused to watch that clock roll over to 12am on the 30th with my word count less than 50k. In fact, at one point I'd been trying to write in bed but my eyes kept drifting closed. So I got up and took my laptop into the bathroom, where I sat on the cold linoleum floor for an hour. I wrote over a thousand words that way.

On the 30th, I spent three hours sitting in the lobby at work, typing furiously. I managed to get to 46k before starting work. I got out at 7 but didn't get home till well after 8. Then, I planted myself to the couch with my computer. I wrote for three and a half hours straight until I hit 50k. And then I wrote a little more before validating. I finished with half an hour to spare.

And ya know? I actually can't wait to get back to this book. I'd forgotten just how much I love these characters and this story is just a blast to write. I changed the POV from its original 3rd person to 1st person and the change completely refreshed my entire novel. Not to mention I'd started from scratch, with only barebones ideas of the scenes I needed to write. So many new things! I had a blast this November.

Here are a few things I learned:

*My MMC has VERY strong feelings about The Rolling Stones. Especially when Tierney throws insults at them.

*Tierney's "one who got away" can be kinda mean. I totally did NOT see that coming.

*When your characters are really and truly well-developed, they are completely out of your writerly control.


*Mt. Dew works wonders for those brain-dead moments when you'd much rather be sleeping.

*Things like spaghetti, chili and pizza are perfect November foods because the leftovers last for days.

*It IS entirely possible to get buried under laundry and dishes and all-around clutter if you don't clean on a regular basis. Poor Dana has had to put up with quite a mess!


How about you guys? Anyone else learn anything from their NaNoWriMo experiences?

The Fall Scramble



I'm sitting in my living room, country music videos on the TV, Dana snoring next to me. My eyes fall on the calender and it hits me. Tomorrow is October 1st.

Tomorrow.

October.

Really?

Where the heck did September go? Or August for that matter? Is it just me, or has this year just flown by? November is just around the corner. And you know what November means, don't you?

No?

Well, let me fill you in. November means NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month. Last year was my first go and it's what got me back into writing after a year-long drought. I'd be a fool not to partake in the craziness this year!

But here's the thing. I'm not even finished with the novel I wrote last November!

I do think that a month-long vacation from this project could be helpful, though. It makes sense. In my head, anyway. Spend October revising my current WiP -- at least through Chapter 5 -- and come up with a working outline for my NaNo project. Then write like crazy in November. When I get back to Mari in December, I'll have fresh eyes and I'll be so relieved to see something that makes a tiny bit of sense, as opposed to the word vomit that will be my NaNo project. Meanwhile, NaNo will sit and stew. When I finally finish Mari's story, I'll have forgotten everything about NaNo and I'll be an editing machine.

Makes sense, right?

Right?

Eh, we writers are all crazy, anyway. Or at least that's what I hear. And after rereading what I just wrote, I'm inclined to agree.

Anyway. My NaNo project. I'm kinda scrambling for an idea. I know it's kinda "against the rules" but I'm considering taking an old project into November with me. I've been working on it for at least 5 years now and I'm dying -- DYING -- to get it finished. It's a disaster, so I'll be writing it from scratch, anyway. Plus, I know these characters really well. And I miss them. There's nothing wrong with that, right?

So. Anyone else taking part in November Madness? If so, do you already have your novel in mind? And what do you think of my idea of working with an old project?

Well, October is a mere fifteen minutes away. I better get to work!

Beautiful Mess

My head aches, my eyes burn and my brain wants to take a vacation. My writing hand rebels against picking up a pen to scribble notes across my manuscript. I'm sure that's for the best. As it is, I can barely make out the words I wrote two days ago. Chapter Three is full of edits I have yet to input in the computer, mostly because just looking at these pages gives me a migraine:



I've got three different colors of highlighters throughout my manuscript. I've got post-its galore stuck all over. It's reaching the point where I don't even know what I mean with all these notes and arrows and highlighted sections. It's enough to make a girl go gray. Oh, wait. I've already got grays.

But, in spite of all this stress and madness, I have rediscovered a love for dollar stores. I found all this:


at a dollar store. They're extra-big post-its that I can fit lots of words on. So long, cramped, illegible writing! I'm sure I've mentioned my love of office supplies before. Post-its are like my crack. I love them. Almost as much as I love a new pen (got one of those, too by the way). These things help to make my revision process a lot easier.

I'm getting excited about this round of revisions. Even though I'm so stressed most of the time I can't see straight, I'm making progress. I've been tearing down and rebuilding the first four chapters for the last two weeks and I'm finally getting somewhere. And I'm thrilled. It's a crazy love-hate relationship, this writing gig. But I'm still madly in love. And I'm taking advantage of every single second of it.

In Love

So here's the scene. A crowded dining room at a not-so-local McDonald's, my table littered with loose-leaf pages of my third draft, my laptop sitting on a stack of papers and a half full cup of sweet tea to my left. Outside, the sun is shining so bright I have to squint anytime I look out the window. There's a highway right in front of the restaurant. It's one of those food/gas combos and people have been non-stop bustling in and out ever since I arrived over an hour ago. Dana and her mom dropped me here and left for a work-related picnic and I have been (kinda) hard at work ever since. I keep drifting off into a daydream involving me, that sunshine and the beach. I want it so bad I can almost feel the sand between my toes. Alas, here I sit.

I shouldn't really be complaining. I have been flooded with ideas and questions and suggestions for the first couple chapters of my novel, thanks to a couple lovely ladies who volunteered to beta read for me, as well as Dana. I have been elbow-deep in reworking the first scene in Chapter One and the last scene in Chapter Two. My pages are covered in blue and purple ink pen and my notebook is filled with chicken scratch ideas. This is the part of revision that I love. The exhilarating, creative, scribbling all over anything resembling paper, revision. The part where your mind is racing a million miles a second with ideas and dialogue and changes to make. I'm sure once I get to anything past Chapter Five, I'll hate the entire process again, but as of right now, I am in love.

In fact, I'm gonna get back to my new love right now and try to banish visions of sandy beaches and blue waters out of my head. Wish me luck!




Flawed

Okay, has anyone else ever found that the revision process seems never-ending? You think you're done but then you pick your manuscript up a week, two weeks, a month later and find all these flaws. These glaringly obvious flaws. So you take your pen and go to town, feeling like you've made miles of progress. Excited, you type all your changes into the computer and then read it again. More flaws.

More glaringly, blindingly, hideous flaws.

How do we keep missing them?

This is where I'm at. I've made progress. I'll happily give myself that. But each time I start from the beginning, I find something else I need to change. In my third round of revisions, I switched chapters 2 and 3 around. Of all the rearranging I did with my first rewrite, how did I miss that it works better this way? It's no wonder I found another gray hair this morning.

I do feel like I'm getting closer to done, though. I'm excited to find some beta readers and get some honest to goodness opinions from fellow writers. My mom, fiancee and best friend have read the early (scary, awful, crappy) drafts and Dana had some really helpful input. Mom, of course, loved it. And my best friend is almost finished and says she's got a printed copy marked up with suggestions. I've learned that the way people read things is completely different. I've got super-critical Dana, my mom who loves everything and my best friend who isn't afraid to tell me what's not working, but is still super proud of me for having written a book. I'm hoping once I get it in the hands of another writer (or two, or three...), I'll find yet another reader's perspective. I want this thing as polished as possible before I send it out into the world.

So, if anyone's interested in beta reading for me, I'm writing a contemporary romance/women's fiction novel about a 30-year-old pregnant woman. I'm hoping to be *done* by the end of the summer.

I should get back to work. I'll leave you with this song. It seems rather fitting for the whole revision process. Plus, I just adore this girl.

Flawed





My Writing Vacation

I am a horrible, horrible blogger.

To be honest, I've been a horrible, horrible writer too.

You remember when I said I was taking a break from my current WiP to work on an old one? Well, it somehow morphed into a plain ole break. I haven't picked up a pen or opened a word document in about a week. For the first few days, I enjoyed the living heck outta it. But now...I kind of miss it. The adrenaline, the frustration, the whole damn process.

I got a confirmation email last Wednesday for my Createspace copy. It's not gonna be perfect. In fact, it's gonna be a downright disaster. No title page, chapters starting on the right AND left sides, the cover not exactly what I had in mind. Oh, not to mention the same scene in Chapters 12 AND 14. BUT! It's mine. A real live copy of something I slaved over for months. So, even if it isn't perfect, I'm just super-excited to hold it in my hands, ya know?

I have been addicted to Sara Bareilles' new song lately.


It's catchy and fun and I sing it all day at work. Much better than having Adam Lambert stuck in my head, let me tell you.

I've been doing some driving lately. A friend of mine took it upon herself to teach me and so once a week, she picks me up and lets me drive around town. Last week, it was just the back country roads while I got comfortable behind the wheel. Yesterday, I drove the busier streets. And I didn't run over any pedestrians or back-end someone or have a panic attack! Next time, we'll probably try the busiest street -- which just so happens to be the street I work on. It's my biggest driving fear. Well, that and the highway. But gradually, I'm conquering these fears. Couldn't be prouder of myself. Isn't it silly that driving has scared me so much?

I finally got to go to the beach yesterday. I love to swim. LOVE to swim. But I rarely get to do it. We've been in the middle of a heat wave 'round here, but I've been stuck at work all day. Wouldn't it figure that my day off is when the heat breaks? It was still plenty warm enough to swim, though I'm sure I would have appreciated it more when the weather was nearing a hundred degrees. Still felt amazing to dive into that cool water. If I could, I'd swim every single day of my life. I think I was a fish in another life.



I have to get ready for work (I hate Saturdays!), but I'll leave you guys with a couple links I thought were super helpful. Well, they would have been if I was actually WRITING right now. Ah well, soon.

201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity
10 Writing Tips That Can Help Almost Anyone, courtesy of Janet Fitch

I'm hoping to get back to something resembling a blogging routine soon. Wanderlust Wednesdays, book reviews, progress updates. I've got my fingers crossed! In the meantime, Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thanks, NaNoWriMo!

I've been basking in the glow of a completed revision for the last couple days. I know I'm not finished. There are still some things that need to be fixed. But I feel like a thousand pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And it feels GREAT!


(Okay, so this isn't me. But Audrey's smile is exactly how I feel, plus she's just so cute!)

I ordered my free proof copy from Createspace. The cover isn't exactly what I wanted and I rushed the blurb on the back and the About the Author section, but it'll still be pretty darn cool to hold that book in my hands.

I've decided to get back to work on a previous WiP and let this one simmer for a while. At least a couple weeks. If I read that book one more time, I think I'll explode. Either that or I'll do something drastic and delete the files. And that would be bad. Really bad.

One of the good things about this project is that it taught me a lot about my writing process. I always thought I was the type to write a chapter, revise it and go on to the next chapter. Turns out, I work much better just writing straight through and THEN revising. It's one hell of a task, turning off that inner editor. But totally worth it. Before, I would get so caught up in perfecting each scene in each chapter that I'd only make it about five chapters in before I gave up (now that I think about it, this may be why I have a few gray hairs...)

I really think I have NaNoWriMo to thank for this lesson. If I hadn't decided to take part in the craziness, who knows how long I would have struggled to finish a project? I'm excited to get back to work on my old WiP using my new process. I think it'll do wonders. So, thank you, NaNo!



I've been thinking a lot about the world of self-publishing. Do any of you do it? If so, how do you like it? Is it better to go the conventional route and query agents and all that jazz? Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

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...


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?

Rambling and a Shout-Out

So it's half past midnight right now and I can barely keep my eyes open. It was a long day at work. A busy one. One filled with superior, grumpy people who thought it was perfectly okay to talk to me like I was an idiot. I love those days, let me tell ya.

Anyway, I've been working on my novel, despite my exhaustion. Last night, I made it to the weekly meeting of NaNo folks and I finally gave first person a go. I haven't quite decided how I feel about it. It's different, refreshing. For now. But I find myself reverting back to third person. Either that or I'll start writing in first person, present tense when the rest of the novel is in past tense. Mari, my main character, is developing a stronger voice with the POV change. That, I definitely like. Who knows if I'll keep it in first, but for now, it's given my novel just the right amount of energy after weeks of loathing and laziness. I don't think I've completely gotten over the "I hate my novel" phase just yet. Hate has turned into strong dislike. And I think it's got a lot to do with the fact that I've been trying to finish it since November. I just want to type "The End" and shove it into a drawer somewhere for a couple months, forget all about it while I lose myself in something new. I actually can't wait for that moment, which is why I keep pushing on. I NEED to get this thing finished!

I finished reading Water for Elephants last night. I loved it. I'll write my review soon. Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer are up next with Don't Look Down. I felt I needed something a little lighter after the book I was just immersed in.

I was reading some of the blogs I follow and came across this
. If I had known about it in time, I would have loved to participate! Although I'm pretty sure my first page is shoddy and clumsy compared to some of the ones I read. I want to give a shout out to Julie at Silver Lining for her spectacular first page. This page is part of a novel that placed in the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and I, for one, can't wait to read it!

Alright, I should probably get some sleep. I've got another long day ahead of me tomorrow. Fingers crossed, I'll have some time and energy to write when I get home!


Diving In

Decisions, decisions!

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on my latest dilemma. I'm still torn, though. On one hand, I want to try changing my POV. But it's a big, scary change. And, sadly, I've never written anything in first person before. But I want to try it.

On the other hand, I talked to a couple other people about this, and they are strongly opposed to the change. I mean, STRONGLY. The words "hated it" and "it's awful" were tossed around. Which is kind of discouraging, when the whole idea behind changing it is to make it better. Dana said it was awkward and didn't flow, and that third person fits my writing style better. That I've worked hard and come a long way, why try to change that now?

Blah!

Anyway, I totally intend on giving it a go. I'm going to dive into writing in first person right now and see where it takes me.

In other news, I've been trying to write each morning again. I used to do it pretty regularly a while ago, but I fell off the wagon. I've found it to be very helpful and therapeutic, as well as good exercise (for the mind, anyway). I'm finally using the gorgeous journal I got for Christmas, which makes me all kinds of happy.

I suppose that's all for now. I've got to get up early (yuck) for work (double yuck).

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!

Split Personalities

Three things occurred to me when I woke up this morning. The first being that it's Saturday, the second that I have the day off and the third that it's sun-shiny gorgeous outside. This should automatically imply that I'll be doing something involving soaking up the rays. I might go bike shopping, since I've wanted a bike for a while now and I have a little extra cash with which to purchase one. Other than that, I have no plans. Zip, zilch, zero.

Which means I should either be writing or reading. I started Water For Elephants two weeks ago and just made it to the third chapter. Not for any other reason that I haven't found the time. I've been trying to write as much as possible. It's almost certain that I won't make my 30k goal by the end of the month. That is, after all, about 15k in three days. I've taken the pressure off myself though. I've been getting about a thousand words written pretty regularly each day, almost two thousand on Thursday. I'm trucking along. My story is making progress, though not as quickly as I'd like. But I'll reach the end...eventually.

I've got split personalities when it comes to editing this massive piece of word vomit. Part of me is like a child on Christmas morning -- jumping up and down with excitement to get my hands on that red (yes, I actually edit in red) pen. The other part of me is dragging her feet, afraid of the mess that I'm going to find. It's going to take forever to fix the plot holes and weak characters and awkward dialogue and flat writing that is this novel. And I've never done a full, all the way through, edit. I'm usually the kind of person who writes a couple chapters, then goes back and rewrites what doesn't work. The downfall to this method is that I get so caught up in making these chapters bright and shiny that I don't write any further. I did this with two other novels I started -- one of which is three years in progress. With this one, I want to finish it, to get to the end, then go back and make it pretty. And it's going to take a lot to make this one pretty.

I'm scared.

Anyway, it's now early afternoon and I'm still in my PJs, so I'm gonna get my day started. Hope everyone has a super Saturday!

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!

Internet = Evil

It is too early. Or at least by my standards. I work nights, usually, and today I'm working a day shift. My eyelids are still heavy and begging to be relieved of their duties, and my head is still fuzzy. Sadly, I can't go back to bed. And so I'm here.

The other day, I had a few spare hours in which to write. I found myself procrastinating. Looking for anything to do that was NOT writing. I cleaned the bathroom, loaded the dishwasher, vacuumed, and reorganized my book case. Finally, out of things to do, I sat down at the desk I was so proud of putting together this past winter, opened my word document and...got on the internet.

The internet is evil It distracts me from my writerly duties and sucks me into its wonderful world of both useless and useful information. I cyber-stalk celebrities on Twitter, see what my friends are up to on Facebook and Myspace (yes, I have both...I can't part with Myspace!) and read an endless supply of blogs. And then I sign into Yahoo messenger and chat with various friends as they sign in and out, getting on with their lives much quicker than I do.

But the other day, all this procrastination worked in my favor. One of the friends I chat with is also a writer. She was lamenting on her lack of writing, and so I suggested we write, uninterrupted, for 10 minutes. No internet-browsing, no chatting, nothing. Just writing. The first time, I ended up with 350 words. Excited by this, we did another two rounds. I got 900 words in 30 minutes. I was thrilled. Later that night, I wrote another 200. I'm sure it's mostly crap, but it's words!!

I'm still nowhere near the 30k I want to write this month, but it's a start. Also, at the top of my page, I installed a handy-dandy, shiny and cute word-count thingamajig, as suggested by Erin Thanks to the awesome advice you guys gave me on my last entry, I have been much more motivated and excited to write. All of you rock my socks. Thanks again!

Alright. I've got 22 minutes before I start work. Maybe I can squeeze in a few hundred words.

Dear Novel, I Hate You.

Aright, so I finished my outline about three days ago. After a couple days of reworking the dates (which is very important with a pregnant main character) I thought I was ready to get back to work on the novel. My poor novel hasn't been touched in months. When I opened that document, I had no idea where I was even at. I had to scroll up and read the entire last chapter just to get my head back into the story. And then, believing I was prepared to write, I put my fingers on my keyboard and...nothing. I don't know what's going on in my brain, but it's not too keen on creativity right now. As I stared at my screen, it occurred to me:

I.

Hate.

My.

Novel.


Okay, not really. Somewhere deep, deep...deep inside, I'm sure I still love my novel. I love the characters, the story, the basic idea. But I've stressed so much about finishing this thing ever since November ended that, well, my enthusiasm for the project has died a tragic death.

I believe we should start a support group for people going through this very same thing. The "I Hate My Novel Support Group." I am sure I'm not the only one that goes through this. I'm also sure that non-writers don't get it. I was talking to Dana about it last night, and she said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

So is the life of a writer.

The voices you hear in your head that you're afraid to mention for fear of others questioning your sanity. The proclamations of hatred for something you slave over for months, even years, only to have people ask you why you bother, if you hate it so much. The lack of understanding for the frenzied and, well, crazy manner with which you attack your computer screen or notebook when the muse has deigned to show up. The deep, dark fits of depression when the writing isn't going just as planned, the extreme, almost manic happiness when the words flow like wine. This is why it is important to have writer friends, whether they're in real life or strictly online. Without them, you feel outcasted and crazy. And, let's face it, we writers are crazy enough on our own, without the opinions of outsiders condemning us as such.

Anyway, I've gone off track. My novel. I hate it. Whenever I think of working on it, I get angry and frustrated and literally want to run away. This is no good, considering I want to finish it by April 1st. So, here's my question to all you writers out there: How do you get through this stage of noveling? Prefferably without tossing the entire thing out the window?