Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the Meantime ...

You can find me over at: www.tenminuteuniverse.blogspot.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

The End

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, I wrote the words, "The End." This was a draft that I had started in January and vowed to complete by the end of this year. I did it! Last winter, I had finished work on a rougher draft of the story and then sat down and forced myself to write an outline to streamline the plot and characters. This is the draft that smoothed my ideas into a real, flowing story. Now it is on to writing the story and series synopses and a final, polished draft. Then I will send them out into the world. I am thrilled!

I will update this blog again at the next milestone. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Year?

Really? Maybe?

I just scrolled through some old posts, and I cringe that I see I had started work on this book in 2006. 2006! Crazy. Just crazy. I actually knew this, but to see it in writing ...

But I really, really think it might be done this year. If you follow the hero's journey, my hero has seized the sword and is beginning the road back. We are building toward the story climax, people.

This story has really been honed down to its essential elements. That was really the trick. I had this huge, wide, deep story that I had to discover, and it simply took time. Interestingly, almost all of my original characters are still in the story. There were certain basic impulses and inspirations that have not changed a wit after all of this time. They just had to be mined and cut and polished.

I'm very tired right now. I will post more soon. Thanks for reading!

C

Friday, February 25, 2011

Finished?

Not yet but almost. This year. This year.

I am very proud of how it is turning out. It has been a long and mysterious and exhilarating journey.

I hope that someday soon readers will get to meet the characters with whom I have spent such lavish and devoted time.

May your manuscripts shine with your love and attention.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Worth the Wait

So I wrote in June that I was going to stick with the draft, keep moving forward, keep blazing those trails towards the end. No, I'm not done. However, I have now written the heart of the story that I had imagined from the beginning. All of those flashes of scenes and events were finally written. I had not realized how late in the story they would come. But writing them began to make sense of a lot of things that I had set up in the beginning, not knowing exactly where they would lead, only trusting that they would lead ... somewhere. Perhaps to those snapshots of moments I had seen. I had always hoped that, by the time I got to those visions in the story, I would know what to do next.

I got to the place where I needed to write the visions into the story, but I still felt that I did not know what was coming next. I still felt that I did not have the handle on my story that I should. This became my crisis of faith in whether I should go back to the beginning and try to figure it out from there or keep pushing forward into the unknown. Still. The unknown.

In my last post, you would have read that I had decided to stick with it. Keep on the miner's lantern and keep chipping ahead. Over the past two months since, I have written the original visions, and, boy, did they deliver ... the expected and the unexpected.

It is another reminder that just on the other side of when things get the most difficult is the reward for sticking with it, working it out. There is, of course, a time to go back in a story. I think, however, that it is important to sit still long enough to listen to your instincts. If you are not sure what to do, ask yourself, "Am I going back to the beginning for the best of the story or because I am afraid to keep moving forward?"

In this case, if I had gone back, I would not have discovered all that had just revealed itself to me by working hard through this challenge. I would still be wondering what would be the best angles to push toward. I'd still be in the same boat of only being able to see so far ahead and not knowing anymore than before. I have heard before that when you are stuck you are also about to make a breakthrough. I tried to hold onto this as I pushed forward.

I also learned something else, about me as a writer. Facing down this part of the book also meant facing down the reality of whether or not this book had a leg to stand on. I was about to see if all of the work over the years would really lead to someting. I was frightened at this point that I still did not know so many important things so late in my story. Or what felt late to me anyway. I wanted the security of having figured it all out already, seeing the whole story clearly. Yet, there I was on the threshhold of writing the visions that I had seen from the beginning, and I was ready to back away. It was the most exciting and potent moment, and I was about to run. In hindsight, I see that had I feared that the visions that I had followed all this time would turn out to be no good, that the story was a bust.

Going back to the beginning, in this case, would have only created more fear as I still would not have climbed that mountain, tested the worth of what I had been following for so long. I would have created only more fear and frustration and no doubt ennui with my own work. It probably would have been that much harder the second time I reached this same place in the story.

Well, like I said, I wrote it, I pushed forward, and it was worth it. I faced down my fear that what I have been working on for years might be crap. Standing on the peak now, I can see so much more than I could before and I know how to rewrite the beginning when I go back too. It is a very exciting prospect to work on it with a clear eye on the ending. I look forward to it. It is motivation. It is what I have hoped for all along. Now, the beginning no longer represents to me a place to hide. But a place to return with full energy.

Something big happened here by not going back to the beginning and instead continuing my slow chipping away in the dark. I busted through, not only the story but also my fear of facing my own ability.

So the next time you are tempted to go back and start from the beginning--before you have written the end--just ask yourself if it is really in the best interest of the story (it might be) ... or just a place to take cover.

Hugs, C

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This is What

In answer to my own question in my previous post, I have decided to keep moving forward from where I left off. I believe that not finishing the draft and starting the revisions from the beginning, because it has been restarted so many times as I learned both my process and toward what I was moving to write, would leave me deflated. The patient, steady flame of its life force would be dimmed, perhaps snuffed. The vigor of finishing a draft, no matter how rough and with how many jagged shards, offers a sense of accomplishment, closure, and possibilities. Even if shadowed, I could at least make out the faint arc, make sure that it is what I think it is, and know on what exactly to focus and weave from the beginning ... with surety. I imagine that will only strengthen the narrative and my own resolve.

There will also only be more questions and discoveries as I push toward the end. New and unexpected things--the best of things--that would need weaving in ... again. So why not keep exploring, assume the changes of what came before, hold them in my mind and in notes, and get down the main thrust of the story?

Sounds so simple, yet I needed to take a few days to come to this conclusion. This was something that I had resolved to do from the very beginning of this project: write through to the end. But like a girl in the woods with no signposts and armed only with instinct and craft, I gauged every detour off the main path to the end, afraid that if I moved off the path to the end, I'd get myself stuck in darkness or thicket or succumb to internal monsters always seeking to do me in. But sometimes, when I did return from the detours and thicket-laden circles and turnarounds-- and I always did, I made sure of it--I found the main path clearer, more bountiful. In this case, the path would only grow over from lack of use and all of the hidden surprises will have already been plucked from the beginning path. Without reaching the end, there will be nothing new at the beginning. At least, not enough to make it worth the stop in journey. So on the main path I stay.

Here is a great link that I received from a friend about just this thing. I so wanted to use artist/writer, Laini Taylor's metaphors when explaining my thoughts about it. You should just visit her site anyway for the creative surge. http://notforrobots.blogspot.com/2007/08/first-exploratory-drafts.html

How about you? Do you feel there are proper times to go back to the beginning and times not to? How do you know one time from the other?

Hugs, C

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now What?

Out of myopia and into interesting choices to make. I had to go off page for two weeks and write a bunch of backstory that tells me even more what, why, and how. One can ask oneself how one did not have this information up front. I should have known this when I started then I would not have hit this wall. Problem is, I never would have reached this wall in the first place if I hadn't have kept writing. I would not have known that I needed this information. I could not have known. So, deep breath and patience and soft talking as though I am fidgeting bird being lured by my self, I gave myself the space to write what was needed in order to finish the last third/quarter of the story.

Ha ha, but now here I am with backstory in hand and uncertainty about which direction to go. The backstory has given me a glimpse at the purpose of the story. I did not know this with all that I have written. It changes many things, though not all. Part of me believes that I need to go back to the beginning to rewrite now so that I better write the end, the other part believes that I need to go back to where I left off and find out more information before going back. I think I'm either 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the story. The thing is: I imagine the ending either way will be different, and how much more writing that will not end up on the page am I willing to do? Well, I am willing to do whatever it takes to tell the best story, so that really is not the question. The question is how to make the best use of my efforts to get to the best place for the story?

Yesterday, I tried to dig in where I left off and I did not really feel it. I guess that part of me that knows so much will change is not eager to dwell in this part right now. So I will try to write the new opening that is necessary, which I can see pretty clearly. Perhaps that is my answer.

The backstory also taught me more about my characters and further deepened their roles, so perhaps I need to stick with that. After all, it is kind of hard to tie up a story if some of the strings are no longer attached.

What about you? Do you experience a point in a story where you are unsure whether to push forward or go back? When is right and when is it counterproductive, in your opinion?

Hugs, C

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