Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Words for Free

Toying with this idea of giving away my book for free. It sounds completely stupid, but if it attracts readers, why not? I do this blog for free. I clean the damn bathroom for free. Why not post my book for free? That Cory Doc(what'shisname) is giving his writing away for free and advocating others to do the same. Yeah, I know, he's already making money at it, so he's allowed.

The whole publishing business is a depressing hole anyway. All I read about it makes me want to crawl in bed. I don't like feeling helpless. If I take complete control, I'll just post my work on my own *free* website (via weebly.com) and let the wind and viral media do what it does.

Or not. Okay, now back to the spit and polish.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Magic Fabric or Gob-o-Something

Magic fabric. Had to spell those words for my daughter today. They go together in a hand-in-glove way.

My magic fabric, my draft, is my mending project now. Self-editing is sometimes painful. If you read this, you must know I don't edit it -- much. But the book, the book will get a thrashing. After a while, all my sentences started sounding like gobbledigook this afternoon.

My tendency is to write too much expository (the journalist in me) vs. narrative (show don't tell). I'm likely to delete hundreds of paragraphs. I've got three folders named Dead Passages already.

One highlight today, the National Book Awards. Inspiring, for the process that can blur vision and cause brain seepage.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finished! Not Quite

The draft is finished. At 12:20 p.m. EST yesterday, I wrote THE END.

I've been pushing all month, in part for NaNoWriMo, but also because I wanted to finish my novel, started 400+ days ago. I felt a little giddy near the end. (I kept proclaiming from the back bedroom where I dug in, "I'm almost done!") The last chapter, all of three pages, was an absolute joy. I danced some, sang some and had a party with friends.

Something I've thought about through this first novel is: if a person can think it, it can somehow be written. Transferring the sublties of human interaction is a huge part of the writing process. The story and plot are the wild part; getting it right in words is the hard work.

Today, I take a brief break. I woke up thinking about stories I want to write next. The fun starts, again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Postcard from Home

It happened. Reality bumped in. Between job, kids, husband, bills, daylight savings, I didn't write yesterday, Day 10. The literary-abandon month dropped like a spent bottlerocket.

I moped some last night. I wanted to write, but the other voices in my life (not including my dog) said give it a break. I expected this to happen, but I'm not quitting. Re-saddling, today, very soon.

My month at the keyboard has been outstanding. I've written 42 pages and almost 10K words. Did I? I can hardly believe it. Better yet, I like most of it. Here's a short section that made me happy:

In the short windows of solitude, she daydreamed. The visions involved flight. Flight made possible with wings. She stood in a summer field, her body covered by loose, opaque gauze, the sky a blanket of invitation, and from a whirlwind, enormous wings unfolded from her shoulder blades. At times, the wings were brown and barred, on other occasions, red and speckled with yellow. Most often, the wings, spanning beyond her fingertips, were white.

In quick, repeated bursts, the intensity flattening the grasses, she lifted into the air between treetops and clouds. She soared steady, buoyed by the winds without fear of predators. From above, the world displayed its order and chaos. Fields and roads bordered by trees etched comforting patterns while thick forests and jutting coastline reminded her nature meant unpredictability. The contradiction of the view, of the order and disorder, lingered within her after the vision died, when she flew into the sun and burned to ash.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Look, Ma, Still Writing

Look what I've gone and done. It's like wrapping a rubberband around my head and looking on while the blood vessels snap. I looked in "the book." The advice book for writers that I think of as Don't-Look-in-Me-Unless-You-Want-to-Crush-Your-Creativity DeathRead.

The author even says as much in her opening pages. Just look: "Attempting to revise while still writing, like exercising while eating, may shut down the body's flow of creative juices and produce verbal constipation." Great, I'll look in the stool later.

Every time I look in this book, I realize the mistakes I've been making. It takes me a good 3-4 days to look past my imperfections, realize they're fixable and get going again. But I can't afford that when I'm trying to finish. I need to look forward, not back at this point.

My latest waywardness came in looking for advice on dialogue. Advice: Careful not to catch gesture-itis. Look, I'm new at this, open to my flaw-filled ways, but it got me clicking on the Find function to look for words I overuse. Guess which one I looked up?

The book is Don't Sabotage Your Submission: Save Your Manuscript from Turning Up D.O.A. by Chris Roerden, ISBN 978-1-933523-31-6.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I'm In This For

Writing a book is like making a quilt. I can back it up because I have, indeed, pieced a quilt. Not a very pretty one, and it was just one, but I pieced together a present for a cousin, and she still keeps it close.

I have another quilt in scraps crammed into a plastic, zippered bag on a dusty nook in my laundry room. I started the second about 10 years ago. I hate that it sits, occasionally mocking me. If I had a NaQuiMo, maybe it would be complete.

This trendy NaNoWriMo sucked me in, and shamelessly, I took bait. But skeptically. Today, Day 3, I see the value. I wanted to use this month to finish the draft manuscript of a book I started writing a year ago, and by gosh, I think it's gonna happen. Because I want to put in my 1600+ words every day and see that little blue bar on the NaNo graph slowly reach the goal line.

I'm stitching it together because there's a support group, a quilting bee of writers. Is it a little goofy? Sure. Am I on my way to fame and fortune? Hardly. Will I spend another year in revisions? You betcha. But I want the privilege of saying I wrote a book, published it, then wrote another. And another, and a few more after that.