Thursday, September 22, 2005


It's been over a week since my last post. So different from when I was keeping progress of my draft. And...I haven't written much. I've taken some notes, thought *constantly* about writing, felt guilty for not writing, thought of great things in the middle of the night that I swore I'd remember the next day (some of which I actually did get down). And I'm in the 'thinking' stages of my next novel, which I will write for NaNoWriMo.

Mostly I'm sort of drifting aimlessly. It's been almost two weeks since I finished the first draft (the zero draft?) and it feels like it's been forever. That happens with a lot of things in life with me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

the need to write

I'm happy that writing feels necessary now. I went through a dark period - about two years - where I was convinced that it was no use. I don't know why; I just gave up (I know why; I just don't want to tell). I like to blame it on the fact that I was pursuing this 'creative writing' degree in academia, and so it became something *forced*. But now that I'm so close and yet so far away from that degree, I do regret not taking advantage of the end of it.

The first few classes were great. Then I get to "Advanced Creative Writing" and it's a repeat of the first one, with only slightly less people. I was already burnt out, and hated my full-time job at the time. I resented going to school, having to spend three hours every other night in classes I was starting to think were ridiculous and repetitive, wrangling with my perception (true or false) of the "high-mindedness" of people who lived in theory but didn't practice the damn thing. (really what I regret is not pursuing a more "physical" or "useful" degree, for all that money...)

I remember the instructor in my Advanced Creative Writing class saying something along the lines of, "There are some writers who will never make it even though they're talented, because they're too lazy; they're good, but they're lazy. Then there are some who will work and work at it, and get published because they really work at it. They just keep writing and getting better, and eventually they get published."

It was a dark time when I 'decided' I wasn't going to write then, that I was the lazy, decent one, that I was going to shun it and give it up as a false path. But here I seem to be again. It is a cliche, the author who "has" to write. I bought a very interesting book a few months ago called The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty, which discusses hypergraphia. It's worth a look. Incidentally it was the first book I bought in a long while that was about writing. Recently I also purchased Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, which was an equally worthwhile buy. Have to add The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman; another book that I have read lately that makes a lot of sense.

I'll say those periods of not wanting to write have often been filled with the feeling that I *should* write...that it was unnatural, wrong...but it doesn't really mean anything unless I *do* write. Or at least so it feels now.

Printed my manuscript

Yesterday I printed out my finished first draft (in econo-print mode, and it still used half of the brand new cartridge). I changed the font and spacing so that it wasn't so BIG (I wrote it in Courier 12 double spaced, so it was about 400-something pages and changed it to Arial or something, 11 pt, 1.5 space - as if that's interesting!) It ended up being 220 pages. I have wrapped the pages in two rubber bands, and as of now it's in the filing cabinet.

Today when I picked it up to move it into the filing cabinet, it had a weight I really hadn't appreciated yesterday. I was like, 'Whoa, dude, I wrote all that. I wrote all this?" So I had to leaf through the corner (I can't fully open a page because of the rubber bands) and of course had to read a snippet; it wasn't atrocious, so there is hope. I covered it with a folder so I wouldn't be so tempted; it's amazing how hard it is, with all these thoughts about improvements floating through my head (most of which I write down in a notebook). But I know I wouldn't fare well through those parts I've read 2, 3, 6 times during the draft.

I had planned on writing a few short stories in the wait between resting and editing this first novel, then starting the second for NaNoWriMo...but I find myself wanting to start another novel NOW. I haven't decided whether a good novelist has to be a good short story writer; most of my past stories have been over 5,000 words; and what I consider my best one has been whittled down to 7,500 - too long for most short story mags.

I'm more fully understanding the relationship a person has with his written words; I can feel myself distancing from them each day, where before I was in the mud of the actual thing. Suppose I'm still crusted with mud and need to get to a good shower before I can go back to it.

For some reason my husband is very interested in what I'm writing right now. I can't help but minimize the window every time I notice him reading; I'm so self-conscious (though I couldn't care less he'll maybe be reading this tomorrow, or a week from now...) It makes me think about the goal of the author, in many cases: to tell something without the recipient knowing they are there. The point of the author is that they are invisible; they have the great power of making themselves somehow not present at the ideal time that the story is digested - that is why it makes me so nervous; I'm sitting right there and I'm supposed to be invisible. You're only supposed to see my voice. (though I admit, as a writer, I frequently picture the authors of the books I read, maybe that's the great thing, that you know another human is behind this solitary activity)

Oh well, mostly just ramblings. I suppose I'm in a state of bliss from really finishing this thing, this "first" novel. There will never be another one, this is it. There might be lots of other "firsts," but not this specific one. And I'm slightly tipsy with cheap Vodka, although I wasn't at the beginning of this post...

One thing that I'm feeling right now about the draft: I need to infuse it with something. It needs something to bring it all together. I haven't figured out what that is yet, but if I do I might be able to save it from the somewhat empty draft it seems to me right now. I followed my goal when I set out, but it was a very simple I think I need to step it up on the rewrite.

It's going to be really hard for me to read through the whole thing without making tons of notes (even with short stories, I overwhelm myself with notes on 1st and 2nd rewrites) , but that is my goal - look for the MAJOR things. I'll just circle typos - what's the point if whole paragraphs or scenes are cut? I've planned on going into it ready to slash half of hopefully that will help and not hinder the process of the first read & rewrite...

Monday, September 12, 2005


I wrote the last few scenes and now the first draft of my first ever completed novel is finished! woo hoo!!! It feels good so far...better than what I thought I'd feel. I know it needs...well, tons of work. It may never be really good, but I can say I've learned a lot about what a book needs to be (because my draft doesn't have it, lol) I'm refusing to think about the revision process right now, I need to feel the joy of really having completed something I set out to do!

100,690 words total.

I'm going to put this ms away until October 1, where I'll look at the horror and decide whether I think I can take it on as a revision or not. Honestly, I think I'll need to work out a lot of things, and I've considered taking a different turn in parts of the might need a complete, and I mean complete, rewrite. But I'm not going to think about this now.

The plan now is to continue to work out the ideas/plotline for my second novel, which I'm planning on starting in November for NaNoWriMo. I'm also going to try to write a few short stories, one for a magazine called The First Line. I've been working on the idea for a while, and started the first draft last night when I was feeling guilty for going a whole day without writing (although there have been more of those lately).

Sometime during the next week or so I need to print this first draft out (I've so been looking forward to this!). It will be a test of my will to leave the pages alone for almost a month, but I think I can do it. Shit, I write over 100k words, I think I can leave them alone for a set amount of time! I can do anything! *wink*

Thursday, September 08, 2005

2,733 words today

If everything goes right, this is the next-to-last day that I will be writing the FIRST DRAFT. This means almost nothing at this point. It will be nice to take a break, to be done with the draft. But honestly, this is just the beginning.

I should not minimize the accomplishment that I'm about to make though. I'm about to finish my first full draft of a novel!! I'll hold off celebrating until it's actually complete...which should be tomorrow. Yippee!!

96,380 total

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

1,475 words today


93,647 total.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Keyhole at Longs Peak

232 words today

This is a picture my husband took when he was hiking Longs Peak last week.

Not much writing finished, but a little. And I've been working on lots of writing oriented stuff; cleaning up or rewriting short stories, studying publications for submission of said short stories.

92,172 total

Saturday, September 03, 2005

1,620 words today

Getting back on track. Something major happened today in the story. Someone died. I've been thinking a lot about my character, how in the grand scheme of things she's...well, kind of weak-willed and sloppily characterized. I don't know that I'll just be able to insert character here and there, pepper in what needs to be added and make it "right." You know, how good finished works are just "right" because they're well-done. The books I've been reading lately seem so tight compared to what I've got, they revolve around this central thing; whereas my WIP seems to just meander along...there is a central idea, but I'm still learning how to write around the central idea so that it's good. Hell, I might well be trashing this book (except that I promised people I would let them read it. Oh, why in the hell did I do that?) But I've got to finish it first, I suppose, before I can decide that.

91,940 total