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Posts Tagged ‘rewrite’

After much avoidance and guilt for not understanding why I was avoiding, I have realized that I do not want to do anything further with the first draft of my first novel. Why? Because it does not resonate with the story that I hear in my head or feel in my body. Not because the story isn’t interesting or the dialogue isn’t sharp enough, but rather it doesn’t sound or feel like what I really want to say. I was attempting to fictionalize a memoir and it just didn’t come out right; like a cake that doesn’t completely rise in the oven. You take it out, look and at and think to yourself, “Well crap. It’s not supposed to turn out like that.” I have absolutely no desire at this time to attempt a rewrite so this novel is going to be tucked away until some time in the future when I want to dust it off and form it into something I feel better about.

My plan is to write an entirely different story which is what I am going to do. I am taking everything I learned along the way and incorporating all that into the next novel. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep refining my craft until I have a finished product that sounds and reads exactly the way I imagined it would.

And that is my new plan. Wish me luck!

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I subscribe to Rachelle Gardner’s blog and today the blog about Hemingway that arrived in my mailbox truly lifted my spirits. As I read the list of the six things writers can learn from Hemingway I let out my breath. I do all of them except number 3 which is still a challenge for me. I loved reading that Hemingway explored all types of writing and didn’t just pigeon-hole himself into one category which for some unknown reason I have felt I need to do.

I put my novel aside for a few weeks without really understanding why. I do now. I go through periods of various lengths where I need to put aside what I’m working on and do something else. When I do come back to it (which I always do) my perspective and creativity have been refreshed. I don’t have a deadline except for the one in my head which is seriously stressing me out, so I’m going to let it go. I will finish my rewrite when I finish. It’s that simple.

Two of my most used skills are organizing and structuring which serve me very well in the work I do for others. However, when I apply them to my creative process they take over and suck the enjoyment right out of it until I don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore. Moderation is the key here which I haven’t found yet in this particular area.

I also feel that I have censored what I am writing as I am thinking about who would be reading it and what they will think of it. I will know this for sure once I have completed my read through but I’m fairly certain this is why I have had the niggling in the back of my mind that my writing wasn’t 100% authentic. Worrying too much about what other people will think and not putting down what I really want to say and how I want to say it.

I recently had the opportunity to write something I have never written before and I balked at the opportunity. I wrote it, but in the back of mind was the disclaimer “This isn’t the type of writing I do.” Now, after reading Rachelle’s blog, my thinking is “Yeah, I haven’t ever done this before. So let’s go for it.”

Oh and by the way, I plan on revisiting Hemingway’s work as I have a suspicion that it will be read with fresh eyes and a different perspective.

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I’ll tell you what that thing under my arm is, it’s my novel. I have been carrying the box around for two weeks everywhere I go but have yet had the time to open the box and get to reading. I strongly feel that I should get points for at least keeping it with me. My work schedule has spastically amped up and when the day is through I just want to chill. At this moment the box is on my desk under my purse, ready to go when I am.

I had the weekend to read but what did I do instead? Let’s see, went to lunch with I., then dinner and a movie with H., then rented movies, finished reading “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert and took two naps. Yep, that’s what I did. All the while the box silently sat on the table, waiting. If it had eyes they would have been seriously disapproving and reproachful. There’s always this week..

Tonight, well after going out to dinner I had to watch Dancing With The Stars and see how my girl Kendra did. Ralph and Kirstie gave her a serious run for the money and I’m once again hooked. I’ll be watching each lame ass elimination show along with the dancing shows cause I just can’t help myself.

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Just a quick update. I printed out my novel today and left Kinko’s with 375 pages neatly stacked in a brown box. I couldn’t stop smiling as I held the freshly printed still warm pages in my hands. This is a first for me. A big one. Tomorrow is read, read, read, day. Got my red pen loaded and ready to go!

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I went to Kinko’s to print out my novel. I inserted the USB device into the printer and waited.. Nothing. Nothing as in nothing showing up on the computer screen to print. Where’s my novel? Turns out the anti-virus program on the USB prevents it from even showing up on another computer. So crap! No hard copy.

I will go back again on Thursday after I have downloaded it to a new USB that doesn’t have any anti-virus protection on it. There are too many pages for me to print it out on my printer and unfortunately it is cheaper to pay for a copy at Kinko’s than it is to buy a new ink cartridge for my printer (which I would probably have to do once finished).

There is a new secret project in the works. It is in fact another book. This one is only for me and it is documenting step by step a personal challenge that I am working on. By keeping this project for my “eyes only”, I am able to write with complete freedom anything and everything that is occurring which is key to understanding the entire process. Once again I have a timeline and the daily writing will help me stay on target.

Writing the new book has also revived my enthusiasm for completing my first book. Thursday is the day when I will feel the full weight of all those pages in my hands. Friday I will begin reading and making all my notes for revisions. Exciting!

I am still coughing but my energy level is finally getting back to normal. I am seriously considering a flu shot next year. Today’s photo is of Salzburg, Austria. Even my freezing nose, hands and feet couldn’t detract from the beauty of this city.

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“Don’t worry. We aren’t contagious.” I swear, do not ever believe anyone who tells you that. I believed my sister and hung out with her and her kids who were coughing up a storm all around me for most of the weekend before last. My reward came when I awoke on Monday morning with the mother of all colds or the flu, take your pick. I have been incredibly sick. The kind of sick that when you look in the mirror and see your eyes at half-mast you wonder if it’s time to go to the doctor or the emergency room.

Fortunately, I haven’t had to do either. This flu is taking its sweet time passing through. I am feeling better this week, as compared to last, yet still on the mend. My voice became unrecognizable, my throat painful and useless and my thinking fuzzy. All I could manage to do was watch movies, try to sleep and basically zone out to zombie land for several days. You have some pretty trippy dreams when a fever is involved. I have personally spoken with my deceased father, grandmother and Kevin Costner over the last few nights while attending banquets with hundreds of people I don’t know. Kevin Costner told me the secret to getting the life I want is to go to butt.com. Hmm…. I googled it just for kicks and you can guess what options popped up. Disappointing. While awake, (I think) I have watched the following mini-series, The Pillars of the Earth, Mistral’s Daughter and The Tudors as well as several other movies, none of which I can remember.

Reading was not an option and writing next to impossible. I couldn’t get out from under my blanket to get to the computer to sit upright long enough to turn it on. The plan is to print out my novel which clearly isn’t going to happen until next week when I will once again have a multitude of topics to go on about.

As you can see my photo upload option is once again working! WordPress was kind enough to check it out and figured out it was my browser so I am using a different one and Et Voila! These two photographs are from the Eden Project in Cornwall. Amazing place.

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This week just in the nick of time my writer’s critique group convened. We gathered around the table in the room of many windows bordered by books, books and more books. Quan Yin sits peacefully in the corner silently blessing our endeavors. The energy in this room is so specifically intentioned that once you cross the threshold the only thoughts swirling in your consciousness are about writing. The moment I sit down I feel relaxed and the creative part of me that is never very far from the surface fully emerges. I can breathe here.

During a break I observed the three women of varying voices and careers sitting across from me. I decided to take a chance and ask them for their help. I told them that I didn’t feel my novel is in my authentic voice and that I hadn’t found my niche. I asked them how they found theirs. I explained that although I liked what I had written, it didn’t completely vibrate with the depth of what I wanted to say. I waited for their responses and was gratefully surprised. Each woman was fully engaged in listening to and answering my question. No one blew me off or brushed my query aside as silly or irrelevant. They heard me and this is why I come here to be with all of them. This group is teaching me how to fully listen.

What I took away with me that day as I crunched across the gravel and warm colored stepping-stones back to my car was that in order to identify my unique voice I needed to read my writing to the group (this was something that still was uncomfortable for me).The more I read, the more I would be able to distinguish what was on key and what was discordant. That is how I would recognize my voice.

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Happy New Year everyone! The opening hours of 2011 bring a stronger push for me to get my rewriting completed, proofread, rewritten again and then finished. My intention for this year is to finish the final draft and find the agent who is the right fit for me to shop my novel around. So Be It!

While I was on hiatus I wrote an email to woman who is the founder of a woman’s group that I follow. She liked my writing style and suggested that I be a guest blogger on her site. I was so excited to be asked that of course I said yes. I sent in my first blog and ideas for the next three blogs along with my photograph. Much to my great disappointment the whole kit and caboodle was sent back. Apparently the writing content and style was not what she was looking for. After much thought I resubmitted another article with three more related ideas and again it was sent back. Her comment that the writing was more suited for a travel magazine caught my attention.

I had previously queried a travel magazine, which covers an area of England that I have extensively traveled in, as to whether they would be interested in my experiences. The reply was yes, however it would have to be in their issue later in the year. I sort of put it on the back burner until I received the rejection email with the comment about the writing style. I queried the magazine again for their writer’s guidelines and will be submitting the article shortly. Let’s see how this one turns out.

Rejection, no matter how big a person you try to be, hurts like hell. I am not the only person who finds it ironic that some of the most sensitive people (writers) are in a field where some of the harshest rejection goes with the territory. You certainly cannot avoid rejection at some point, however, it’s what you do once you receive it that really counts and shows what you’re made of.

On the flip side of rejection is praise and I would like to give a big CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew Toynbee who finished the first draft of his novel on December 31. Check out his blog at andrewtoynbee.wordpress.com .

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I have decided to take an official break from thinking, worrying, editing, writing, re-writing and breathing my novel. I am going to take a much deserved hiatus until Jan 3, 2011 which is when my next posting will be.

What am I going to do with all this time? I am going to read, read, read, among other things. I have several wonderful books that are impatiently waiting to be discovered. If I officially give myself permission to take a break then I won’t feel guilty about doing so.

I am going to quietly appreciate all that has transpired this year and the ways in which I have grown and prospered. I am going to relish the Holidays and spend my free time in ways that enrich my soul without judgement or guilt because I am not doing something more “obviously” productive. I am going to simply let this year gracefully wind down with love and gratitude.

I wish anyone who is reading this blog continued blessings over the Holidays and a most Joyous and Prosperous New Year. Thank you for being a part of my journey and for your encouraging comments. I will see you all in my birthday month of 2011.

Peace.

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Thanksgiving has passed and all the hustle bustle that accompanies it. My blog commences with my morning musing. Lying in the warmth of my bed going over my plans for the day quite suddenly the solution to an issue with my storyline simply crystallized. In my novel, the story completely revolves around the main character. All the other characters are supporting players. I do not switch from one character perspective to another as some stories do. Even though it is told in third person the story is always written from the one person’s experience. The problem I was encountering is how to give life to the various players without having to go back and re-write EVERYTHING so that I have chapters from different character’s perspectives, which I didn’t want to do, as that would completely change the story.

I realized that I could do this with some simple well-placed additions. The main character could be observing two other characters deep in conversation and wonder what the topic of discussion is. I could then switch to the two who were talking and write their actual conversation. That way we hear from other people while still being connected to the main theme of the story. Eureka! Two examples easily formed in my mind and I wrote them down before they faded into the mist of inspiration never acted upon. Oftentimes storylines come to me and I don’t write them down as I expect I will remember them, only to find them faded and half-formed when I sit to write.

For my process, I find that the breaks that I take from writing invariably have a purpose and solutions, ideas and clarity are the result. I am not a sit down and write every day type of writer. I know “experts” advocate the daily schedule but that just doesn’t work for me, so I am making peace with what does. I procrastinate. It’s a fact. But as I said before, these procrastinations result in creation for me. Marlon Brando, one of the acting giants of our time, used to write his lines down on the palms of his hands. Not a standard procedure to be sure, yet it worked for him and look at the performances this man cranked out. You gotta find what works for you and make the most of it.

Today’s scene is of Salzburg, Austria. A bustling, extremely clean city with quaint architecture and lovely shops. I snapped this particular photo as I wondered why all those military men were gathered at the bus stop.

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