The Girl Who Couldn’t Commit

That would be me. It seems that lately I have a hard time settling down to work on one thing. I’ve started too many things and they all demand to be finished. Whenever I think I know what I truly want to work on, I casually glance at something while looking for a scribbled note or character sketch, and before I know it I’ve been sucked in to something different. I’ve started too many good things to focus on just one.

I suppose this should be a good problem to have. If I had a bit more focus lately, it would be. I’m guaranteed several good books, after all. It’s just deciding which good book to write NOW that’s giving me the blues.

I already know what your advice will be. “Write what you’re most passionate about right now.” Well, at the moment, I’m most passionate about researching the Marriage Kit book. I’m loving conducting the interviews and trying to figure out what to read to flesh this out. I’m even loving exploring my own feelings about the interviews and articles and bits of advice. What I’m not loving? Transcribing the interviews! I’m so far behind on actually typing up (and posting) all of the interviews that I’ve conducted, I don’t know when I’ll catch up again.

But then, I had a breakthrough on the Some College memoir. I was right; going home made all the difference (mostly because I came across a few more of my journals that fleshed out more of what I was thinking leading up to and during the first few months of that time. I definitely want to include parts of those entries in the memoir. I’ve also broken down the structure into three parts, quite a few chapters. I know where I’m going with it. Now I just have to write it.

I actually have quite a few chick lit/ harlequin type books floating out there. At one point I was all about the love. There’s the class reunion WIP you all are familiar with (my NaNoWriMo novel from last year), there’s one I found a chapter of on (which I can link if you want me to) and three additional chapters at home,  there’s the one I spoke about yesterday, and at least one other with a really big “this isn’t what it looks like,” moment.

Also while I was home, I found the beginning (but not the whole written portion) of a story about a mystery writer that I started on the large lined paper with the big blank space at the top that they give you when you’re just learning to write (don’t worry; it’s evolved since then, lol) which shows promise, as well as a YA novel about a teen girl who is kidnapped by her best friend’s killer (and ex-boyfriend), who has connections to the mob. I was about fifteen–no, seventeen?– (short at first, then long) chapters in. I lost the first 12 (they were stolen), but had recreated three or more of them (I started this in eighth grade!).

These are just the ones with the most upfront potential that I’ve found. I also found two more YA type of fiction pieces that are pretty lengthy. The only thing is, I haven’t written YA type of works since I used to read YA books…when I was a YA. Still, these books have something…

Of course, of course, there are the WIPs you all are familiar with: the jazz story, the southern gothic novel, Candy Apples and the other short stories in that collection. Everything with the potential to be epic and the pull to get me to reread it and want to write more of it. What to do, what to do? Some of these stories have been with me for years and refuse to leave me alone.  

Aside from these dilemmas, I’m also supposed to be working on a dissertation (editing, not writing). Oh, boy.


I promise that my next entries will be more than just me lamenting my good fortune. I am thinking of adding a couple of tabs, one where I help you keep track of the eighty million WIPs I have going on, and one where I make some concrete goals for the rest of the year. Maybe if I commit to it on paper? I’m thinking some NaNoWriMo-esque months are called for here.

Speaking of discoveries, I finally got a cassette player! I can play it through my little boombox, so that’s nice. I’m working towards being able to convert cassettes to digital (read: saving up to buy the software). I’m so excited about this, as I have one of my stepdad’s original recordings that I want to add to my collection. As my stepdad passed away in 2009, you can imagine how dear of a project this is to me. There are a few other things I’d like to convert as well, but this is the most important.

Now, time to brag: tell me about some of your recent successes. It can be anything. Also, tell me your plans for writing world/publishing world domination!


Three Sides to Every Story

My trip back home was fruitful. I found many old journals, stories, and story ideas. I found dictionaries, thesauruses, and grammar books, along with books on writing, complete with exercises. I don’t know what I expected to find, but I found far more.

There’s one story idea that I’ve had for a long time that I wanted to unearth and work on, possibly for this summertime incarnation of NaNoWriMo that is coming up (Camp NaNoWriMo). Through the years, I’ve scribbled this idea out as both a story and a play, never getting very far with it, just writing down the basic premise. I’ve come back to the idea any number of times, and promptly put it down when something else came along. As a result, I am now looking at three similar yet different plot points.

The story centers around a young woman who has a)just lost her father b)just lost her mother, or c)lost her father three years ago. In either scenario, both parents are now dead. She is a)a very wealthy heiress or b)drowning in debt. She’s either very meek and inoffensive or very rude. Obviously, I’ve come to this story with very different things in mind each time.

It’s kind of like what happened with the Southern Gothic novel. It started, in it’s earliest conception, being about the murder of a despised public figure. That idea somehow morphed into a ghostwriter helping a prejudiced woman write her memoirs. Explaining that huge leap is really simple: a minor character became the focal point instead of the original story, then the original storyline was cut away from this telling.

It’s interesting to look back at the evolution of a story, to see what ideas I scrapped that may be stories of their own. At the moment, I’m not sure which storyline I want to pick up in this possible Camp NaNoWriMo story, but the loss of a parent is so searing that it can be used again, taken in a completely different direction. But it does beg the question, which would you rather have: too many possibilities or only one alternative? When are you the most creative–when you have to choose between several options or when you have to make one work?

For me, I like options. I will take one, follow it along until it hits a dead end or I get bored with it, and choose another one. Sometimes, though, one option becomes the only option, the more I get to know the characters. If you ever get stuck, as I do, instead of killing the story, it may be time to go back a bit and take a left where before you took a right. I’m not sure if I’ll finally be able to focus long enough to make a great story out of this idea, but here’s to trying, right?

Wish me luck.