Friday, June 25, 2010

Back At It!

There have been some medical issues regarding my husband (all is well; just exams and tests) that have prevented my working much on my novel, but I'm back at it today.

I did do some minor revision work earlier this week, on the two chapters I presented at my writing group on Sunday.  However, we did discuss some additions to those chapters that I will be finishing today.  Both of them are emotion-filled, as well as pivotal to taking the book in a new direction toward its end, so I have to be certain to get it right.

At this point, getting it right is important for every chapter.  I want to complete this revision confident that I can peddle it to agents.  I have 150 pages that fit that mold; now I have to do the rest.

As I said in an earlier post, emotional passages are the hardest to write.  You have to distance yourself from the material to make sure the technical aspects are done correctly, but you also have to immerse yourself in the emotions, then decide how to convey that to the reader without telling them what to feel as they read.

I've actually gone ahead in the book, and worked on some easier chapters; ones that occur after the directional turn in the story - because they were solid writing for the most part and didn't require as much editing.  But today, I'm determined to get these two important chapters completed.  Once I've done that, I think I will move much more quickly. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Knocked Off Track - Temporarily

I'm back at work this morning, but it's so easy to get sidetracked by life's interruptions.  For example, on Sunday, my husband and I both decided we needed our own personal day of rest, so we slept in, ate breakfast in bed while reading the Sunday Tribune, then walked and window-shopped at a nearby outdoor mall, drinking in the cool breezes, the summer blooms and the purchasing public.

Sometimes, these distractions can help your writing.  I'm always looking at strangers as possible characters for my next story.  Same with settings.  Overheard remarks are sometimes written down for future use as well.  But, it's also good just to get away from your latest computer page that is staring back at you.

And then came Monday.  I won't give you the details of what knocked my creative side amok, but suffice it to say, it was unexpected and put a wrench into our already complicated financial life.  In the last two years, we have experienced more than our fair share of problems in that respect; our whole family has.  Due to having creative vocations that are not rewarded during a blinding recession, such as the one we're still recovering from, fianancial stability has become an unknown entity.  In this stage of my life, that can be even more unnerving - as it was yesterday.

My saving grace, however, is that I am married to a man who always sees the rainbow after the rain.  His words of comfort and purpose yesterday were right on the mark, and emphasized why we are such perfect partners.  So, we have regrouped and, with unflappable resolve, we are back at our creative pursuits today. 

I know I wouldn't be so positive today were it not for the most special person in my life who takes on whatever challenge confronts him and seeks a solution.  In the process, he gives me strength and sets me back on a realistic, rather than a doomsday, path.  By day's end, I viewed the pinkish sunset from my study window and took it as an additional sign that we would weather this newest challenge together - we always have.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Pages

No, I didn't forget that I was supposed to do my blog yesterday, as promised, but I was on some much needed R & R with my family in Wisconsin for the day, so please forgive the delay.

I did get some more new pages written on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I edited the chapters I presented to my writing group on Sunday, and got those ready for an agent's eyes, I think.  Then I moved on to an extremely emotional chapter (can't be more specific because I don't want to give away my story before you get to read it in print).  I'm actually writing an entire new beginning to this chapter to make it stronger, and that takes time when you're dealing with emotional content.

As a writer, you have to view your words from the reader's point of view.  My job is to put them in the character's shoes.  That takes lots of staring at a blank screen while I find the right words inside me that do just that, forcing myself to think about what that character is going through, what the setting is like, etc.  It took me a couple of hours to write a page.  Then, I leave it for awhile, come back and re-read it, analyze, correct grammar, edit, change, etc.  That's why this process takes so long; it's never right the first time - very rarely anyway!

So, I'm still working on that same chapter.  I'm eager to get on to the next section of the book that is already written much as I think it will remain.  But, I know if I don't get the current chapers right, the rest won't matter because no one will continue reading.

I'll be back with the next blog in a day or so.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Novel Progress

The novel has taken over my life!  That statement explains why my house is bordering on a raid by the board of health, my friends have given up my ever being social again, and my husband only recognizes me from the back as I sit at a computer keyboard. 

I'm lucky, though, because my friends and family are incredibly understanding and supportive.  I just hope you followers of my blog feel the same.  I've decided the only way to keep this blog alive is to post at least every other day and let you know what my progress is, what frustrations I'm having; basically the details of just what I'm up to that gives me no time for any other writing.

At present, I've just had an excellent writer's group session on Sunday where I presented two chapters - two leading up to a dramatic moment in the book, and I'm currently editing those chapters based on their critiques.  The best thing about a writer's group, if it's a good one like mine, is that you come away with an honest evaluation, some great insight from creative conversation, and, best of all, a fired-up motivation to get back to your work right away.

So, I'm finishing that, and later today and tomorrow, I will be working on editing an emotional and pivotal chapter that requires lots of quiet hours.  I'll explain more what that means in the next blog, hopefully, in a couple of days.  Thanks for hanging in with me.