When It All Goes Sideways

As I was making what I thought was some fairly impressive progress on my novel “Requiem for a Laborer,” moving right along with finding research for the opening of the story, I hit a small snag.

Well more of a major disaster, really.

I lost the file where I had an annotated map of the setting for the opening, as well some character notes and plot points. You know that feeling you get when you’re already late and you are about to step out the door for an important appointment just to realize, at that point, you have no idea where your keys are? That is a pretty good summation of how I felt. Just when I was going to start the rumbling engine that is to be my story, somehow I had lost the keys.

NowI know what a lot of you are thinking, “Why didn’t you back up the thing, to begin with?” I have a perfectly reasonable answer for that: “I have no idea what the fuck I was thinking.”

“I have no idea what the fuck I was thinking.”

We all make bone-headed play like that, don’t we?

So after the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and finally coming to acceptance, I thought that what I would need was a little time away from the site of the now key-less story. So that Is what I did. I worked on the house some and the yard a little. I read a good bit, too.

What I am learning, as a writer is to take these inopportune happening and see how I can turn them to my advantage. In this case, I reread my first draft and I am trying a different angle to open Requiem. Although I liked the changes that I had made, I felt that I was still telling more than showing. This had been the demise of many of what might great novel

This had been the demise of many of what might great a great novel. If the writer doesn’t grab the readers’ interest early on, it’s pretty much, “Ya know? I could be doing many more fun things than reading this. Sitting in a dentist’s chair come to mind.”

So for me, this has been a learning experience, Not only will I be saving more often, but also taking the chance during something negative to build something positive.

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Full Disclosure

Yeah, I have a degree in journalism. In getting that degree I was taught that if there is any possible conflict of interest the writer must make a full disclosure statement. But now for the part that might seem weird to most, but maybe not my writer friends.

Full disclosure: I’m scared. And to be honest, as a writer, I’m not even sure of what. Rejection? Success?

I think it’s something unrelated, or maybe in between. All I know is this: For the last several months I’ve read through portions of my manuscript for Requiem for a Laborer. I’ve been able to make a few basic edits, correcting horrible sentenses, improper word choice, that sort of thing. But when it comes to making “flesh and bone” changes, I’ve been paralyzed.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way at all thinking that my work is beyond reproach. In fact, I think that like many writers (and musicians- I fancy myself a vocalist too. Blues, if you must know.) our own worst critics.

Every time I sit down to edit, I find myself thinking: Who would want to read this? Who would want to read a novel about a group of wannabe freedom fighters on a steam powered airship? Sure the aerial battle plays out super cool in my head but…      and the thoughts trail off…

At this point, I find myself thinking what right do I have to write a steampunk novel? Cheri Preist has it down with her Clockwork Century series but is there anything of real value that I can add to the genre? I feel like I have a different approach but  maybe it isn’t different enough?

And it is at this point that things get even more sticky for me. In college, (I graduated four years ago as a non-traditional student)  I was given very positive feedback from my professors, English professor Alayne Peterson,  about my writing. My thought? Oh, they’re just being kind. I’m really not that good.

Then again, maybe this is self-destructive thought. If I produce a story that a few people find entertaining I think that I have done my job. Maybe I could it evolve it into a series. Time and ability will tell.

So what brought me out of my writing funk? Well…

I was watching a #Joe_ Bonamassa Mountain Time video, awesome guitar work awesome musician. Beyond that, I don’t think I could really tell you.

I can tell you this, however, I am trying my damnedest to start moving forward with my writing.

Peace.

 

 

Took a Spill at Work Today

Not a great day at my job that supports my writing habit.

I took a spill in one of our robot cells and the results were… unkind.

Bruised elbow, two bruised ribs, and a nasty looking divot and scrape on a leg. But for the most part, I seem fully functional.

OK, maybe not the elbow. I was a difficult time washing my hair in the shower after work.

Oh, well. I could have been much worse. It was my non-dominant hand and my legs are working just fine.

I guess the point of this exercise is, we should be grateful for the health we have (both physical and mental). 🙂

I am back at working on my first draft at Requiem, but it might be fewer words than I wanted to accomplish tonight. I have to be back at work at 5 am. *sigh*

Who knows? Maybe this can be fodder for a future writing idea.

And then tomorrow’s another day.

 

Day 28 NaNoWriMo 15

Sorry for the late post, I was putting off my writing yesterday writing until later in the day, when I remembered, far too late that I was doing to help with Clydesdales in a holiday parade.

Oops.

Anyway so long story short, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday. I think I made up for that today. I got in a good amount of writing. I am up to the point of a critical decision by a secondary character that will affect the protagonist of my novel

Before this, I didn’t see how much psychology went into writing.

But I am learning and loving the process.

All things considered, I think I can safely say that I will finish up NaNoWriMo tomorrow.

I hope all of my fellow writers are done, or nearly so.

words today: 3024

Words total: 48,131

Day 23 NaNoWriMo 15.

This week has been really hard for writing. Not because of coming up to the end of NaNo but because of where I am in my novel.

At this point, I am willing to bet that the transition from the second act to the third act in a novel it the hardest part of the writing process. At least that what seems to have developed for me.

Setting up the fall of the protagonist seems to be much more difficult than the climax.

Oh well, we will see what tomorrow brings. But until them wishing all of my fellow NaNo-ers best of luck heading into the stretch.

Words today: 779

Words total: 39,578

Day 21 NaNoWriMo 15

I only got out a thousand words today but…

I think I’ve found a way to close a major plot hole! Yea, me!

I introduced a character early in the novel.Then I set him aside.

OK, I forgot about him

At the same time I realized that I forgot about this character, I came to the realization that I would need a character to turn against the protagonist. Who better than the forgotten character who has a personal connection with the protagonist?

So the point is, as a pantser, there are times when things just seem to work out.

Words today: 1090

words total: 37,124

Day (s) 17/18 NaNoWriMo 15

Because someone may have asked- Did I miss Tom’s post yesterday?

Ok, maaaaaybe one person did. Maybe

I am still alive and I am still here. NaNoWriMo has killed me (yet).

So today is the last day of my reading and writing vacation that started 3 PM on the 6th of November. Twelve days and the only thing planned was reading and writing.

Best   Days   Ever.

One of the most interesting aspects of the last two days plus of this break from reality has been the November Witch that has settled in on the Great Lakes area. This is the same kind of storm that  brought about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The wind, rain thunder, lightening. What could be better?

But seriously, hurricane winds bring people together. Am I right?

If nothing else the storm has given me ideas for a plot point or subplot to introduce to my novel. That’s certainly worth something.

But just as importantly, I think I have plotted out. at least a little, the climax of my novel. So many notes into the notebook go.

I’d like to hear from my fellow NaNos how your manuscript is progressing.

For now I am off to do some reading.

Words today: 1697

Words total: 33,416