Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hiatus

Thank you to everyone who has visited my fledgling blog and shared in the beginning phases of writing my new book. I have enjoyed sharing and conversing with all of you!

I'm finding that I do not have a whole lot to say lately as I wade through the mystery of my story. I don't want to bore you all to tears with the same posts about craft. However, I will post now and then, if I have something fresh and exciting to tell you ... like I made it halfway through the book, or discovered something neat, or sold a short story, or (gasp) sold the book (but that's a long way off as I still need to finish it!). So, if you are ever in a blog-hopping mood, come back and visit me. I may have an update or something interesting to share.

Until then, keep writing and I will talk you soon!

Hugs, C

Monday, April 24, 2006

Backdated Scenes

So I am discovering that I can write ahead, which is great when you're stuck in the now but can see some scene down the road. It keeps the writing hand moving, the creativity flowing, the story firing. Usually it will also give me enough time away and food for thought that, when I go back to my stuck spot, I'll either see it more clearly or just jump in and try something to bridge what's written. It's less intimidating to fill in a gap than it is to try to write into the unknown. Yesterday, my new writing caught up to something that I had written ahead a while back. Some of stayed. Most of it was rewritten. Because in those gaps of writing, new ideas cropped up, characters and delimmas had become more clear. And it didn't hurt me at all to rewrite. It was those landing pads up-ahead that had helped me to write the story this far and with more detail because I had an idea of what was coming.

I only write ahead, at this point, if I am stuck or I am seeing a scene ahead and need to get it down. Otherwise, I like some future inklings to simmer for a while on the back burner. I'll make notes, but I don't necessarily want every notion to be born early into prose. Some might be meant to, others not. Still, love those landing pads along the great wide journey. I guess everything has a time and a place. Do you ever write ahead to get unstuck? Or to get something out of your head? I bet some of you might even write your endings early in the game. It is so neat how stories get told. Is it ever perfectly chronological?

Hugs, C

Friday, April 21, 2006

What's Been Written

I am very excited. A wonderful lady at my work is reading my very first book. Not just my book, but Beth's and my book, CB Scott's first book, Scandalous Spirits. A RWA Golden Heart Finalist. A highly reviewed story. A story of our hearts.

I am also nervous. I find that when people want to read my older work, I get nervous. I think: I've learned even more since then. I might not have written it the exact same way. I become afraid that the writer-me-now will somehow not be conveyed by the writer-me-then.

This is ridiculous, of course. We tell our stories the best way we know how at the time that we write them. I also think that certain stories can only be told at certain times in our lives. We do not stay in one place very long, as we grow in our knowledge and experience and the world alters our views and feelings on a continuous basis. I think no matter how wonderfully and beautifully we might tell a story, when we look back on it from the future, there is always something we might have done differently. Because we are different. But that is how it is meant to be. We are capturing a moment, a feeling in time. We are plunging that stick into the ground and saying, this is where I am. To me, each story is fate and it is beautiful and all meant to be as it is.

Scandalous Spirits is fast, fresh, and fun, and reflects a true love for three ghosts who captured our hearts and imaginations in a special time in our lives. It also allowed us to capture the essence of a place that was almost out of existence then ... and now is out of existence. See, the story could have only happened then, when we wrote it, when it was burning in our hearts, in a special angle of sunlight and dream. Two writer girls trying to hold onto something that was slipping away ... and didn't want it to.

And, our fair reader is thoroughly enjoying the ride of this story. She can't wait to finish it and begin the sequel. She wants to know what happens. Her love of the story is reigniting my old flame. Reminding me what I loved about it and still do and always will because it is in my heart. It is me. It is Beth. Reminding me of the hard work that has already been accomplished and making me proud upon proud of what has been written.

Don't you love when you find new love for your old story?

Hugs, C

Monday, April 17, 2006

Glazed Look

I had the entire weekend to write. I sat at my computer for two days ... and stared. Stared. And stared some more. I forced myself to sit there for hours. I got through half a page. I could not focus or concentrate at all. My eyes did not even want to look anymore. To be honest, I felt like only going to sleep the whole time.

Yes, today is the last day of tax season. Was it just that my body knew it was the end of the season and decided to collapse then?

A great waste of two lengthy writing days, but I can't beat myself up. Or at least I'm trying not to. Because I still sat. Butt was in chair. As I read somewhere yesterday, ah yes, in The Writer magazine, if I could have written better I would have. And I would have. I tried.

I just have to get over what might have been. Two long, glorious, free days .... Stop!

Ever have the perfect time to write, then can't? Ugh.

Hugs, C

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Juggling Projects

I haven't quite got the juggling projects thing down. I want to work on my short stories, yet I am driven by the challenge of finishing my first solo book. I HAVE to finish this book. It is a very strong matter for me to do so. This project takes up most of my creative thought.

But , BUT, I have also worked hard over the past few years to understand the short story. I love the side trips that short stories take me on. They're like an unexpected rush and usually jolt my mind wide open. Yes, good creative food that would positively affect my bigger story. I do not want to leave the shorts behind or let those hard-learned chops grow rusty ... or rustier (is that a word?).

Of course, I am still learning my solo bookwriting process so this may be way I have not been able to turn my attentions to the shorts. Perhaps once I get a little farther into the book, I'll figure out where to cut in short story time.

I think I can do both. I WANT to do both. Guess I'll take my own advice and just keep paying attention to myself. I'm sure I'll feel it when the time is right to pursue new shorts.

How do you juggle projects? Any advice?

Hugs, C

Monday, April 10, 2006

Cut It Out


I love tight writing. I love to write tight. I try to write as tightly as I can.

Still, I sent my short story to my friend, Jen Elbaum, because the market to which I want to submit only takes up to 6000 words. I simply did not know what else to cut of this 6413-word story.

As suspected, the fresh eyes found some things. Almost 400 words worth by the time I applied her suggestions and did some reworking sparked by the new energy. Then, once I was jazzed up, I began to tighten even more and worked myself into a cutting frenzy, like the hair stylist who wants to chop, chop, chop! Yes, it's a bolder, bouncier narrative!

There was one suggested cut--yes, my most precious darling of the story--that I did struggle to cut. I knew deep down it was integral to my character, yet I was ready to cut it if necessary. But I waited. I cut it. No. Pasted it back in. Played with it. Played some more ... then, bam! I realized I simply hadn't used it in its strongest possible context. It had to be told from a different angle. By the time I rewrote the paragraph it was shorter and stronger. It plays the role it needs to and really packs a punch. My darling is now my absolute love. (I hope Jen agrees!)

Tomorrow, I will pick up where I left off, and I guarantee I can get that baby under 6000 words. I just needed a trusted writer's eye to make that first incision.

Once you become objective enough and start to see the opportunities, cutting can be fun. It can become downright addicting until that thing is widdled to utter smoothness. There is always the risk of over-cutting, so stay aware of the integrity of your story at the same time. That's why I'm not finishing the tightening tonight. But, again, the first cuts have been made. It won't hurt me now to wield that knife and start the cutting again tomorrow.

How do you feel about cutting? Sometimes pain, sometimes pleasure?

Hugs, C

Friday, April 07, 2006

Get Moving

Because I have some friends who like me and want to see me happy, they routinely ask me if I have sent out my short story, Gunman's Goodbye. You may recall in a previous post that I wrote about its rejection. Well, class is over and I have no excuse.

Tomorrow, I will print out a new copy, type up a cover letter, and get it in an envelope. OK, so not out the door, but I really don't want to find a metered parking spot in the rain and then stand on the always neverending line at our local post office. That's just me. So it will go from the dry convenience of my office on Monday.

But tomorrow, it will be addressed and sealed with a good-luck kiss ... maybe to Red Rock Review, which lovingly-nudgingly Jennifer Elbaum turned me on to for this story. OK, so the friends pretty much had to do everything but write the story.

Check back tomorrow and I'll let you know the update. Now that I've told you, I have to do it!

Do you sometimes tell others your plan to do something so that it will force you to get moving?

Hugs, C

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Distractions

OK, so who gets more writing done when their significant other is NOT home?

Guess where I land?

Weigh in. What are some methods you use to minimize distractions when others are home and you are trying to write your heart out?

Hugs, C

Monday, April 03, 2006

Little by Little

I have been in a 12-week accounting course. This past Saturday, it finished. I was in a 5-week Presidential history course (for research). It is finished tonight. The end of tax season is in sight. Two weeks from today, all regular income tax returns are due.

After months of preparation and brainstorming, I began my actual manuscript on January 31, 2006. Just as I was entering the busiest, most crammed time in recent memory.

But, somehow, I have 41 manuscript pages. Maybe not an incredible word count for two months of writing, but I did write. Every day. Even if only had 5 minutes. I could have waited to begin the manuscript when I knew I would have more time, but I didn't want to delay. I knew I had to start at that moment. I vowed to do whatever I could, at least move forward little by little. Even by a word.

So here I am on April 3, 2006, and I have 41 pages. Now that time is about to return to me, I am not starting from scratch. I don't have to face a blank page. No anxiety to suddenly perform after all this time. I have already written up to The First Threshold.

41 pages. It feels slow, yet considering the past two months, it also shows that I stuck with it. I met my goal of working through, no matter how little. Just staying in touch, just being there brought me through over the first 10% of the book.

The moral of this story? Even the tiniest bit of writing each day adds up. Just be in the habit of showing up, even if you only have five minutes. It will establish a routine, you'll automatically sit even when you are almost out the door. Before you know it, you will have the makings of a story.

Now, let's see what I can do with some more time. I'm looking forward to moving even deeper into the story now.

Hugs, C

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