New (Untitled) Piece…and What I’m Working On…

There’s a new piece up on my (Untitled) page that’s really personal…it’s about my relationship with my dad from way back. Thankfully, we’re beyond that stage now, but it was a good piece and I wanted to air it out somewhere.

Lately, I’ve been going through my various journals and highlighting things I want to use and ideas I want to play with for my two non-fiction works, Some College and the Marriage Kit book. It seems I’ve written short excerpts and stream of consciousness thoughts for both works everywhere; now that I have the command center set up, I’m putting it all together. I’m also slowly but surely working my way through the Camp NaNoWriMo manuscript, and living life experiences that will go well with the NaNoWriMo 2010 manuscript. All in all, it’s been a pretty productive month for being creative.

I’ve been going through some of my floppy disks, the ones that I used with my Brother Word processor. That’s been an experience. I found some things from when I turned 15 and on that I may share on this or another blog. I still have plenty of disks to go through from my computer disk days in middle and high school, but so far I’m estatic about all the pieces I’m rediscovering, some of which have some real merit. Now to get my hands on the other notebooks I wasn’t able to bring, and to have my entire body of work here to mull over and continue.

Nothing much else never in 2blu2btruLand. How are your writing lives going?

2blu2btru

A Time for Honesty

I’m not going to “win” Camp NaNoWriMo. I am not all broken up about it, either. The point, for me, was to jump start my writing again, to commit to spending more time writing each day. It was more an exercise of butt-in-chair than actually going for the word counts. I also wanted to commit to a first draft, of spending more time writing than I did dismantling what I’d written before. I wanted to develop a routine that allowed me to reread and alter for consistency, but still keep moving the WIP forward, not getting bogged down in trying to produce a perfect draft instead of a first draft.

I have been finding the act of a NaNoWriMo style of writing to be a bit too restrictive for me. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to give in to the impulses that arise whenever I’ve taken up the challenge. I keep wanting to switch my focus to other stories. I have these elaborate ideas for them, but I try to force myself to only work on the current project (although I do write the concept or a line or two down so I can come back to it). All of my word count must go to this project. The more I try to do that, the less healthy I think that is for me. My creative process isn’t exactly linear, and trying to write a story in a linear fashion hasn’t worked for me since my days of writing FO (another problem I have with my approach to NaNoWriMo months).

Here’s what I know to be true about myself as a writer: sometimes I have to follow the red herrings and see where they’re going, if only to know if the red herring is taking me off course with this story, but leading me to another; working on other projects can clear my head enough that a solution to a blockage with another story can get through; I’m always going to be a quality over quantity writer; it’s no use trying not to self-edit along the way, if for nothing else but consistency’s sake; my goals work better for me when they are less about word count or time spent writing, and more about committing to writing a certain scene or introducing certain characters, and; it’s OK that the way I work may not jibe with what the writing advice people say in some ways, as long as I am writing things of which I can be proud.

For the next six days, I will continue to concentrate on the Camp NaNoWriMo WIP. I will work to get all of the written material typed up and validated, as well as work on progressing to a certain point in the work before the end of camp. I will also begin prepping my next project for the official NaNoWriMo in November. I think that if nothing else, NaNoWriMo is a good way for me to start thinking intensively about projects and to have an official start day and begin setting time aside to at least get as much of the concept on paper as I already have in my head. The next NaNoWriMo project will be the one of the other choices from my Need Help in a Hurry post. Between August and November, aside from prepping for November, I’m going to be focused on whatever project is calling to me. I’ll write on it every day until I’ve gotten as much as possible worked out  and can’t get any more words to come out, then switch to the next project that gets hot. I would love to say that I’m going to see one project to a completed first draft before moving on, but that may or may not happen.

Also, I want to get Candy Apples published…and soon. If any other short stories get finished, I’ll work on getting them published as well. I think it’s time to move forward with my writing career in a way that will eventually allow me to write fulltime. I think that once I can fully focus on my writing, my output will be a lot higher (yet still of a great quality) and I will be that much closer to my dream of publishing domination. I can’t wait to be able to share these characters and stories that I love with readers the world over and have them love and care about them as well. That’s really where my motivation lies.

I just wanted to be honest about all of that. This is who I am as a writer and what I want to accomplish the next few months. What are you guys working on? What do you plan to accomplish the rest of this year? What type of writer are you? I can’t wait to hear your responses! 🙂

A Gift & A Curse

As I’m nearly the end of the first week of this Camp NaNoWriMo challenge, I’m finding the going very difficult. It’s not the writing, though. Well, it is the writing, but not in the usual way. I haven’t run out of ideas (yet), and in fact, by moving the beginning of the story to the day before the main character’s father dies in a little Prologue has really opened up the possibilities (and allowed the writing to flow). The truth is, there’s something different this time, something that wasn’t there during my first few attempts that can either really propel this book forward or drive it straight into the ground.

I’ve actually lost my stepfather.

Before, I wasn’t able to capture anything of grief, because I hadn’t really lost anyone close to me before, certainly not anyone who helped raised me. I didn’t really know what that felt like. I was bereft of all the little details of losing someone. Now, I’m not. On the one hand, that aids me in feeling the feelings and writing about them. On the other hand, I have to feel the feelings.

I can’t simply go back and look up all of what I was feeling at that time. There was a sort of radio silence at that time. I didn’t write much of anything, related to that time or otherwise. I tried to right about it, but not much came out. I tried to cry about it, but that didn’t really happen either, not right away. So, in order to relate how grief feels, I actually have to grieve. Which is affecting me in the most curious ways (I think I meant affect, but it could be effect; those always give me trouble).

Some of the things I never thought about are sneaking into the story and hitting me in the face. I reach in my head for something to say, and pull out a little snippet of memory I’d long forgotten. I won’t share what I’ve used so far (I saw a blog book tour where the author revealed all of these “secrets” about the book, and it seemed neat enough for me to want to try later…and I’m notoriously protective of my work until it’s “done”), but it’s the tiny details that are getting me.

One thing I will share. The main character is at the funeral (and subsequently the repast), looking at all of these people who have come out. Some of the people are business associates of her father’s, some are youth he mentored, and some are from a nursing home where he volunteered. Instead of being happy to see all of these people whose lives have been touched by her father, she feels angry. They’ve stolen precious moments she could have had with her father that are lost forever. She’s felt next to nothing up to this point, and when she finally feels something, it’s this anger. I did not feel this way at my stepfather’s funeral, no. But I did feel angry at another time during the visiting of relatives, and as the visiting tapered off. That feeling was so hard to process for me, so I didn’t. Now here I am trying to write about it.

It all makes me wonder how valuable first hand experience of something really is to telling the story. Did someone close to me have to die in order for me to do this story justice? Is how close the subject is hindering me more than it’s helping me? What do you all think?

Random Thoughts Friday

  • NaNoWriMo is having an official summertime NaNoWriMo called Camp NaNoWriMo. Is anyone thinking of doing this? I personally would have liked a bit more notice, so I could begin thinking of what I would have wanted to do, but I just may try it. It might necessitate becoming friends with my local library for a few hours a day, but who knows what it could yield?
  • I have some exciting posts I’m working on…well, exciting to me. One is the Ten Commandments of Editing (feels a little sacreligious to call it “the Ten Commandments”, but there are ten of them, and I enjoy excuses to use “thee” and “thou”). Another is how editing a book can improve your relationship. I have a massive amount of link love to distribute as well.
  • I found some fiction that I wrote when I was a senior in high school on a fiction website. Some of it is really good and I really want to continue it. One piece in particular sounds like the beginning of a pretty good Harlequin. I was actually sitting there going, “what happens next?” I don’t remember, although I know that there are at least three more chapters written stored away in Michigan. It makes me even more excited to go home.
  • I thought I had more to talk about, but I actually have more things to write, as in writing that may one day be published. That’s a good thing. I’ll try to post what I can this weekend from the promised posts and pieces for the Untitled page. Thanks for reading!

How are you spending your weekend? Any exciting news to share?