Currently listening to: Frozen Angels by Zoe Keating

Turned in my second submission this afternoon for my novel writing class. A total of 22 pages. Four chapters. A little short of the goal of 25, but close enough. The first 10 pages were a revision of what I submitted the first time. So, we’ll see if they read any better. I think I smoothed out the transitions which were the major complaint. And I think I’ve worked out the structure for the first part of the novel. Those chapters will open in the present, then flashback for the bulk of the chapter, & then come back to the present at the end of the chapter. Hopefully it’s not too confusing and works. I really hope it works. I really really really hope it works because I’ve grown attached to this structure. I don’t know if I could go back to a totally linear timeline. This structure lets me do so much more setting up of one of the key relationships.

As for the other 12-pages, all new stuff. Well, not entirely new. The plot movement is basically the same as the 1st draft, but there were a few unexpected twists this time around. I’ll have to see if it works out as I go forward.

So, now I wait for comments. And then it’s onto submission #3 in 3 weeks. I need to hit 50-pages for that one. I definitely can’t leave that to the last minute.

Off to twiddle my thumbs. Actually, I need to work on an assignment for the grant writing class I’m taking. A completely different kind of writing, & a tad less fun. But, a good skill to have.

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Today is my half-birthday. This used to be incredibly important when I was younger. Really, when does the half birthday lose it’s significance? I kind of like the idea. It’s kind of a mid-way evaluation point. A sort of review point to see if you are on track with another year of your life. Awfully useful.

Actually, the reason I tend to remember mine & take note of it is because my brother’s birthday is the day after.

Anyways, I’ve decided that I’m taking note of this opportunity to look back on the last 6 months & take stock. Pretty much, they sucked. Well, not all of it. The summer was fine. Just the last 10 weeks of it sucked for obvious reasons. I will acknowledge one good thing to come out of the last 6 months: I finished the 1st draft of my novel. That’s definitely an accomplishment. And, I’ve actually moved ahead with the 2nd draft, even if it hasn’t been given the attention it deserves or requires.

But, alas, I resolve to put the last half of the year behind me. Ok, not really behind me. There are plenty of reminders that will never let me do that. But I choose to move forward & to get working on the goals I’d set for myself in this my 33rd year of life. Namely, my freaking novel!!!

So, I have 6 months from today; 6 months until my 34th birthday, to get it done. And I mean done. No more drafts. No more edits. Done. Finished. Either submitted or ready to be submitted to editors & agents.

I really need something else, something good, to remember this year for.

Image: Crimsonically Yours via flickr

Currently listening to: Just for Now by Imogen Heap

Six weeks ago today…

There’s this underlying suckiness to Saturdays even if the day isn’t completely horrid. I know eventually that will change, but for now, that’s just the way it is. I just choose to accept it & get through it.

So, first day of NaNoWriMo and draft #2. Met with my writing group this morning. Only eked out 649 words. Two of which were: “Chapter 1.” Every little word counts! A little unsure about where it’s going, but I’m keeping with it. I think once I get through Chapter 1 I’ll feel more confident. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. In reading draft #1, & given recent events, I’ve found that I want to change one central premise of the story. I always knew it didn’t ring true before, & now even less so. So, chapter 1 is about working that in. I know it ties in well with the rest of the story, it’s laying it out for the first time. It requires totally changing up what was my 1st chapter in draft #1. I know draft #2 is not going to look much like draft #1, if for nothing else than the fact that I’m going with 1st person POV. But whole chapters, scenes, ideas are going to get tossed & new ones worked in. That’s what a rewrite is. As much as possible, I’m trying to avoid looking at draft #1. I want to start clean in away. Draft #1 was about working out the plot & characters. This one is about the writing & finessing. I need something decent by end of the year for conferences!

So, have to do a little work this afternoon, & am going to dinner & a movie with a friend this evening. The plan is to come home & write later tonight. I want to stay on track with my word count. If anything, I’d like to be ahead of 50K by the end of the month. I don’t know how realistic that is. Life has a way of getting in the way. But still, it’s nice to have goals these days.

Oh, doing one more thing today: buying flowers or a plant. It’s become my Saturday thing. A way to maybe make the day less sucky. Something for the house–to brighten or liven the place up. I just need the day to be about something besides my memories.

Image: DarthShrine via flickr

Currently listening to: Secret Meeting by The National

Work. Lunch with friends. Entertained a baby. Ran some errands. Got whined at by one of my dogs (he’s very vocal). Went & got my WIP draft printed–all 228 pages. I think the plan is to work on draft #2. The road has forked & this is the direction I need to take. The more I think about it the more I realize I have put in so much time–over a year–into this story already. I can’t imagine chucking it & starting over from scratch while keeping my promise to submit to conferences at the end of the year. So, NaNoWriMo will be all about draft #2. Not exactly keeping true to the intention of NaNo, but I will have 50,000 words of something, even if it’s something old, & not something new.

I guess today was benign, as most of my days are these days. Neither worthy of saying good, nor horrible enough to warrant being called bad. Throughout the day, I found myself thinking how unreal her death seems. I still feel like she’s just out-of-town; she’ll be back. I know that’s not reality, but I honestly can’t convince myself. My mind has a mind of it’s own.

This is just surreal.

Image: Whatknot via flickr

I guess it’s good that I’m only counting in weeks & not days, hours, or minutes. Although, that is likely due to the fact that I can’t keep track of one day or the next. Weeks are more manageable units of time, larger. Still, I have trouble even fathoming that five of them have now passed.

I still find myself wanting to tell her things. I tell her in my head. It’s not the same.

Today was ok, good I guess. I spent the morning at my writing group. As a result I’m thinking of going on to draft #2 of the WIP. I was looking at it today & I realized I’ve done so much & put in so much time & effort to get from beginning to end of one draft. I feel like I should carry through & finish it. But still, I have moments–like now–where I think I should move on to something else. I have a vague idea, but all this new idea has amounted to is a bunch of random lines floating around in my head & a blank page. At this point, the easier of the two is to go on to draft #2 of the WIP. At least I know that story. So, I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet…just a week until NaNoWriMo starts. I’m thinking I’ll dive into draft #2 with the understanding that the story could change; or that once I’m working on it, whatever this new thing floating around in my head is might finally materialize on paper.

We’ll see. Today I actually felt ok with the idea of picking up the WIP & working on draft #2. I guess that idea of living deliberately kicked in a little today. I really do want to be ready for the writer’s conference in February, & I know I have a good story in what I was working on. I don’t want to get off track. And while I know so much has happened that it’s understandable for me to get off track & take a new one, I no longer like the idea of giving up something that I’ve literally spent years working on. The difference a few days, a few weeks can make. So, as I said, we’ll see. I’m just going to let what happens happen. But first, I need to finish reading draft #1. Although, once I do that, I might be more than willing to chuck it for something new. Kidding.

Let’s see, spent the rest of the afternoon spending some quality time with the dogs outside to make up for my absence yesterday, & went to lunch & for a little shopping with my brother’s girlfriend’s sister (that sounds way more complicated than it is). We’ve never really hung out before, but it was nice. So, I guess, a new friend.

Now, I’m watching Casino Royale for the six-millionth time on cable. It’s on whenever there seems to be nothing else on, which is good since I actually really like the movie. I so prefer Daniel Craig as James Bond. I am looking forward to the new movie in just a few short weeks. Yeah…although I read earlier today that it’s getting mixed reviews. Nonetheless, I will see it.

So, all in all, not a bad day. A good day even. I wish that was easier to say.

I still hate this.

Mood: Frustrated with my procrastination

Currently listing to: Wisconsin by Bon Iver

I’m expecting a book order from Amazon today. Just 3 books this time around, as I’ve realized I have quite a book backlog on my nightstand.

  • The Bell by Iris Murdoch (one on my summer reading list)
  • Best Friends by Martha Moody (a gift from a friend)
  • Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos (I keep starting this book, but can’t get past chapter 2. I should just give up, but I hate to leave books I buy unread.)
  • The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte (another one that I keep starting & can’t get through. It must have been a bad book buying day when I bought this, because I bought Love Walked In the same day.)
  • Archetypes for Writers by Jennifer Van Bergen (one of those craft books. Looks interesting. Just haven’t been in the headspace to read it.)
  • The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley (just bought last week. Will get to it.)
  • The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf (this is one that I just open up & read a story here and there when I have time.)

…and soon to arrive:

  • Straight Up & Dirty: A Memoir by Stephanie Klein (read about this book here & it sounded like a fun read. Also, I like Klein’s blog & keep meaning to read one of her books.)
  • The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg (I read her book Open House a while ago & liked it. I’ve been meaning to read something else from her. Noticed this is written in 1st person, so that made it appealing given my current needs–read below.)
  • Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design by Danielle La Porte & Carrie McCarthy (this book is part of my quest to figure myself out. Never hurts to be more self-aware.)

…and currently reading:

  • The End of the Story by Lydia Davis (half-way through & really liking this. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking to read.)

I’ve just been a slower reader than usual the last couple of months; but a apparently a very prolific book buyer. I don’t know what’s going on. Probably just a phase. Will say I’m really liking the book I’m currently reading. I think part of my reading funk has been because I can’t seem to find exactly what I want. Because my plan is to work on draft #2 in 1st person, I really want to immerse myself in 1st person. But I’m having the hardest time finding books that I want to read. Yes, there are plenty of good books out there written in 1st, but I guess I’m just looking for a certain voice. I keep walking into every bookstore I come across, pulling books off the shelves, & reading the first page. More often than not, it’s not what I’m looking for. But I guess I’m realizing that what I’m looking for is what I’m trying to write. My head wants to hear a certain voice that letting in any others, any that aren’t quite right, is just difficult.

I know what this all means. I need to write my own book.

On that front, the reading of draft #1 is taking longer than I expected. Not because I hate it or anything, I just keep saying I’ll get to it, & I don’t. This is starting to frustrate me. Yes, my procrastination & I might soon come to blows. I want to get started on draft #2, sooner rather than later. So, to get that going, I need to finish reading this & figuring out what I can take from it & what I need to do to make it better the next time around.

So, instead of saying “I plan to…”, I’m going to say: I AM WILL FINISH READING DRAFT #1 BY THE END OF THIS WEEK.

And: I AM WILL WORK ON AN ARTICLE IDEA THAT’S BEEN FLOATING AROUND IN MY HEAD THE LAST COUPLE DAYS.

Mood: Craving…a nap

Currently listening to: The evening news

This afternoon I had some time to kill so I wandered into Borders bookstore. I was browsing the fiction shelves. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to go about it alphabetically. Even if I’m looking for a specific book, if I have the time, I still start at “A” and make my way through to “Z.” You never know what you might find.

So, today I found myself stopping to see where a book written by me would be shelved. I have to say, I like the company such a book would be keeping. To my left, Eudora Welty and to my right, Edith Wharton. Not bad. All the more motivation to write something good.

Still reading draft #1. Slow going. Not necessarily because it sucks, but because this has been a long week. Still hoping to get through it by the end of the weekend. Reading it is definitely motivating me to want to start on draft #2. I want to try again. I want to start over & see if I can address some of the ticks I’m noticing in my writing. We’ll see.

Image: gadl via flickr