Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Arrival at The End

Swoon. Boots by Tim Alden.
Hey, how are you? It's been a while since we visited. My life's been busy. How about yours? You shouldn't feel too guilty about Christmas. Listen, I'm decidedly behind on my shopping. I'm not much of a shopper anyway. I've trained myself to want something, think about buying it, decide I don't like it after I've brought it home, then never go out and buy it in the first place. Easy on the credit cards and my bank account. Except, I can't talk myself out of those pair of custom leather boots. I'm still salivating for them. As for Christmas gifts, I lean toward books and handicrafts.

The house has gone to piss lately (I did put up the tree) because I gave myself a big end-of-year gift. I allowed myself the time to finish writing my second Musketeer novel, furthering my obsession with Athos. I just finished the story of how he originally meets Milady and falls in love with her, only to watch his world crumble. To be a novelist, you must have a few obsessions (or a bankroll that won't quit) to see a book to its end. Novels are tentacles and steam coming out of a hot pot. Hard to wrestle and contain. Tangents can be killers. Rogue characters can sabatoge a good story line. Endings must have a climax and an explanation. Loose ends need knots.

My ending flowed out of me. The last one did, too. I'd been imagining The End for a month or two, in my march toward it. I've been repeating, I'm almost finished. 50 more pages. Then after I'd written a few more chapters, I still said 50 more pages. Then I wrote a few more chapters, and I decided: keep going. So a week ago, I just let 'er rip. I wrote 30 pages in a week. On Sunday night at about 10:30, I typed the six letters as satisfying as I love you: THE END. Those phrases look wrong next to each other, but they do go together.

I do love my draft. If you don't love a draft, that's a sad state of affairs. I think you must be in love with your draft because otherwise you'd throw it away and think you should seek intense in-patient therapy. Face it, there's no rational reason to write a book, or write a song, or create a painting or throw a pot. Few people start out being creative for the money. It's an expression of who you are. It's not perfect, never will be.

My infatuation with my draft will last until the first round of readers gives me input. I'll sulk and mope about making changes. Then, I'll get over myself and make them. The novel turns out even better afterward, and I'll love it again. Then, I'll start another one, which I already have.

See more boots by Tim Alden, who in no way persuaded me to include him in this post. He's just a friend.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Snapshots: Better Than Shopping

'Tis the season. Am I shopping today? No way, but I am trying something new. Participating in a blog meme via Portland Bloggers.

This is a chance to share and be shared.

If you'd like to see more pictures from bloggers in Portland and beyond, visit West Metro Mommy's blog. This may be the most fun I'll have all season.

My Saturday Snapshots come from around the Portland metro area. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Myth of December

Cold weather is good for writing. It pulls your energy inside. A writer must hold in the heat during the winter, which is good for contemplation. I've experienced some of my most productive writing months in December, the season some writers claim is worthless. They must be of the mentality of a kindergarten teacher I knew long ago, who told me school was pointless in December because the kids were too hyped up about Christmas.

It's one day.

I think the longer hours of dark cause me to sit with myself and think more. Not that I think less in the spring, summer and fall. I simply have no excuse to go out much in the winter. Too cold. Whereas inside, I can write about summer (which I am, come to think of it) in my book. I'll have to fess up that I write sporadically. Every week, for sure, but not from 5a-9a every single day, or until I've written 1,000 words or 5 pages, or whatever the going quota might be per your favorite mentor. I'm shamelessly all over the place. I've tried to change my habits, but so far, no luck. I keep telling myself, 'When I make money at it, then I'll write like a professional.' But then someone reminds me of the chicken-and-egg scenario. To make writing into a living, I have to live like a professional writer right now.  

I do generally end the week with five good pages. This takes me about 4 hours of drafting and a few hours of editing and redrafting. Then I move on. I'm near the end, so close, to the second book in my Musketeer series. I'm actually enjoying writing the end because I know exactly where the story is headed and once I type the end, I live at least three days in utter euphoria.

What a great Christmas present to myself.

Then the revising starts. The real work begins. A draft is structure, a house with a skin on it, no windows or trim work or carpet. It's halfway. I don't mind. I squat in my unfinished work for a while, covering myself with the newspaper of my story. It makes a nice blanket this time of year.