NaNoWriMo 2015: Day 8

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareI’m still chugging along, somehow managing to keep myself on par. This is probably one of my better writing experiences I’ve ever had. Today I squeezed out 3584 words, bringing my November total to 14226, or almost a thousand over par. No need to pat me on my back. I’ve already done so.

I don’t know if this novel will be worth a damn. The premise as imagined is a good one, or so I think, but I’m having trouble moving it along. I’m writing chapter 5, and I’m just getting to the part where the action begins. This is moving glacially slow, or so I fear. I want the story to start. I want some action. Nay, I demand it.

I’m setting up the trigger, and by the end of this chapter I’ll have my main character on the run, fearing for her life. At the same time, she’s going to have to deal with her feeling towards her ex, her feelings of betrayal and abandonment, and her own fears. She’s spent years going from one abusive relationship to another, until fearing for her life, she shut out all hope of a romantic attachment.

I hope I get it right soon. This is harder than I had expected, but I suppose it always is. Writing is less a sprint than a long distance run. You don’t always see where your going, and there are a ton of obstacles waiting to trip you up, but everyday it gets a little closer, and the story may take unexpected turns, but you have some notion of what the finish line will look like, and you direct your story accordingly.

Less than two weeks to go

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareThe launch of NaNoWriMo 2015 is less than two weeks away and I can’t wait for it to start. Thirty days of insanity, at least that’s what I experience, but it’s not something I plan on passing up. I enjoy the feverish pace with which I write, a pace I really should get into the practice of doing on a daily basis. There’s a joy to be found in giving yourself permission to just let go and create without allowing the inner editor – or the voice of doubt – hold you back.

I’m joining the Lubbock NaNoWriMo Region once again, since they seem to be the most active, but I’m trying to find a group in Amarillo as well. Since I work in Amarillo, that region would make sense and would be the most convenient for me. Their Facebook page only has 15 members and the forum on the NaNoWriMo website isn’t very active, but I’m trying to get something started. I guess we’ll see how that turns out.

Regardless, I’m ready to get started on this project. I have an idea, a working title, and a vague sense of what I want to say. It’s the story of two ex-lovers who are forced back into each other’s lives, one who is self-centered and clueless, and the other who still harbors a lot of resentment over how the break-up took place, even after more than twenty years.

I like the story, I’m excited to write it, and all I’m looking for is a group of writers who share my enthusiasm. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t get excited about much. I’m excited about this. I’m even considering planning out the story, at least loosely, so that I can have an idea of where I’m going.

Giving planning another go

20150720_210140I bought myself a composition notebook yesterday after I left my writer’s group. I didn’t hadn’t planned on it, but I needed to buy a few things at the store and I saw that they had begun to set Back to School. I decided to check it out and lo and behold, I saw a stack of them for fifty cents. I bought two.

So today at lunch, as I sat in my car, I pulled one of them out and began to loosely sketch out who my main characters are, what their role will be and their probable motivations. I’ve tried to plan and plot before, but it’s never worked for me. I’m going to try again. I probably won’t create a strict outline, I know that won’t work, but I think I general idea of major plot points will suffice.

I should get going. I have a reality to create, a journey to figure out, and frankly I need a snack. I’m thinking cake. Cake goes good with writing, at least that’s what I believe. If anyone wants to bring me a coffee, that would be awesome, too.

New ideas

I have a new idea. Yes, I have an old idea, in the form of a book that needs to be completed, but I have a new idea, one that I’m excited about. I’m going to have to force myself to complete Jasmine, something that’s I’ve been saying for years now, so I can move on to this new project. It’s about…

Well, I think I’d rather not say, at least not yet. There’s still a lot of details that are vague at the moment. All I have are two characters and an idea of what brings the unlikely pair together. I’m excited about it, which says a lot. I’ve lost interest in Jasmine. I love the story, I’m just a little burnt out on it.

Beta-Review Blues(?)

Yesterday I came home to see a message from one of my beta-readers and a PDF of her notes. I felt at once excited and wary by what the notes would contain. Would she like it? Hate it? Tell me to jump off a cliff? It’s like opening a present when you don’t know if the contents will be something awesome or maybe something that will kill you.

“Look! A present!” Opens box and it explodes.
~The end~

I’ll admit that I had a hard time reading it. I was nervous but my doubts were quickly dispelled. She started off being complimentary, stating my book “has a real chance at a main-stream publisher and main-stream audience,”  before going in and giving me her impressions and suggestions. Some I agreed with, others I didn’t, but at no time did she come across as either cruel or condescending. My friend gave me her opinions, the reasons for stating them, and I felt that she truly wants to help me write a great book.

One of the main problems with my present draft, and it’s one that another reader addressed, is that I take too long to get my story started. My hook doesn’t come until chapter six and it needs to be moved a closer to the beginning. There are a few story-lines that need to be reduced or eliminated. Then there’s some behavioral issues that need to be fixed, ones that as a man I never would have thought of but a woman would question immediately. I guess that means I don’t know women as well as I thought! To all my female readers, please don’t roll your eyes at me. Don’t think I didn’t see that.

I also have some opportunities to fix stilted dialogue. I already knew that, by the way. It’s one of my weaknesses in that I can say everything I want to say, as expressively as I want, using language as it ought to be used, and how I have trouble using it in real life. Sometimes it comes out skewed; technically correct but not quite right. I’ll have to do a read-through or a hundred to fix it.

There are a few more suggested corrections, but I don’t want to bog this down by listing everything in the review. Besides, I don’t want to give away the ending. You’ll have to buy the book to see! Every one of her points will be considered and I’m sure I’ll make most, if not all, of the changes she thinks my book needs. I trust her judgment.

And now to the blues part of my review….

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! Sorry for yelling, it’s just that I’m sorting out her suggestions, trying to work it out in my head, needing to find a way to implement the changes without destroying the integrity of the whole. I learned that a book is a lot like a tapestry and pulling at one thread can unravel the whole story if one is not careful.

What I’ll need to do is write an outline of what I have and then create an outline of what I want the finished product to be. I’ve never plotted, never outlined, never had an overarching plan of what I want from my story. I may have a general idea in mind, but I’ve been a pantser since I started. If I do this – and by if I mean I’m going to do it – it’ll be a new skill I’ll need to learn.

All that I need now is to decide on a time-frame to finish this. Tentatively, I’ll give myself the rest of the month to get this rewrite done, since I’ve never done this comprehensive a rewrite with suggestions in mind. It’s scary, which is to say exciting, and I can’t wait to start. I also can’t wait to finish it so that I can begin to look for someone to proofread the manuscript, then I can find a cover artist!

Now if only I could find a title!