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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Why I Write

I have been back to writing after taking a break after National Novel Writing Month. I’ve gotten out just a few more thousand words, but I’m going to be picking up that pace. Now the goal is to have the first draft done be the end of the year.

After that, some time off, no more than a week, and then the process of the first rewrite.

Why do I write, though? Why do I feel that I really need to sit at a computer and pound out thousands of words that it’s quite possible no one will read?

To be honest, there are times when I’m not sure.

But when I become quiet and introspective, like I am now, today, I think that I write as a means of coping with my depression. And, yes, I am working through a bout of depression.

Photo of Depression

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

I believe the greater part of why I write is it often feels that it is the one thing in my life that I have complete control over. And it’s just that easy. And complex. I work in a factory where I am trying to get promoted off the production floor, I have a family with three cat’s included, and for the most part, it all goes pretty well.

I just feel that there should be something thatI have complete control over. Is that wrong, maybe even egotistical?

During times when I have the companionship of depression, the feeling of needing to be in control takes on an added depth. Like I am missing something by not being in charge or I would feel better if there was something that I could control. This goes beyond the control inherent to the creation of characters, places, and events. I mean I am in control of the process. I decide when and how much I write, when I rewrite and edit, what mood I want to evoke and with what words, who sees my work and when.

Underwood typewriter

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

Yes, I understand when I turn my work over to beta readers and editors, that they have criticism and suggestions. There again I have the right of refusal. I don’t have to listen. Although it would be in my best interest to do so if I would ever want to become a published writer.

That is so much unlike how I perceive other aspects of my life. I have to do what I am told to at work. It is a very good idea to do my best to get along with my family and happily be engaged with family obligations. Things I have to do to be a good person.

So I am now off to write some more today. Here’s to a better tomorrow.

 

 

Day 29 NaNoWriMo 15

So today I did it.

I finished my 50K words, but not my novel. But that’s all to the good too because it keeps me writing beyond November 30th. Right?

So, admittedly I have been thinking about what comes next, meaning what comes after I finish the novel and move on to the first rewrite. And by THAT, I mean How am I going to attack this monster piece of the novel puzzle?

Since my problem leans toward underwriting rather than overwriting, the next step will be to work on the thin parts od the manuscript. That will mostly be in the form of reinforcing descriptions and rounding them out.

After that, I will be going through and looking for plot holes, character issues, etc…

So I guess what I am thinking now is that writing the book just might be the easy part and it just keeps getting harder from here.

At least now that I will be writing less than 1,700 words a day, I’ll be able to get back to my reading.

Words today: 1952

Words total: 50,083

 

 

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

 

 

Day 9 NaNoWriMo 15

This was a hard writing day for me. I couldn’t tell you exactly why but it just was. Maybe because I was in the process of changing gears in my head for the whole dialogue verses action paradigm. Oh well things like happen sometimes, I guess.

But I seem to have made the change and so far I am pretty happy with the results of the days writing, to be honest.

But even through the more difficult day I had here I my numbers (If you care about such things and I hope you do 🙂

Words for today:2063

Words total 17,303

Good night all, and keep writing!

This Is Difficult…

For me one of the most personally  difficult aspects of writing a novel about what I am passionate about, regardless of the genre, is what it can dig up that creates an emotional response in me.

So I am researching bits and pieces of labor history of the United States of fit in with my story when I came across this song by Woodie Gutherie. Touching, to say the least.

But I digress.

As you might have been able to guess, I love  this blog and I have come to know a few people followers, And thank you for doing so, Gentle Readers. I am trying my best to post at least a little something here every day along with working on my novel project. If only I didn’t have to deal with that forty to forty-eight hour time sink that is my job. Like who WANT’S to pay bills?

So here is today’s post and I promise I will do my best to post a little something that will usually be about my writing adventures. Usually, but not always.

 

 

 

 

On The Importance Of Notebooks…

…at least for me.

I come up with some pretty kickin’ ideas sometimes. Plot ideas/ twists, characters and their foibles, settings and the details thereof; all-in-all some pretty solid, workable ideas. Then I write them down- immediately, either in the pocket notebook I habitually carry with me or on any nearby piece of paper that I deem as “scrap.”

“Sorry, Mr. Supervisor, I didn’t realize that THOSE were my written instructions for this job. But you see, I had this idea for the book I’m writing and if i didn’t get it down on paper…

“,,,yes, I’ll print up another copy right away.”

For you see, I have a problem. It is called “ADOS”

Attention Deficit- Oooo Shiny!

It’s why I keep a little notebook with me at all times. In case you are wondering, I sometimes DO write out notes on job paperwork. Hey, it has a blank side!

From there it usually goes into my pocket notebook or my reporters’ notebook and into the project notebook. These are real gems with hard covers and spaced lines. they might be hard to come across but they are the best when compiling ideas for a novel. Or at least keeping them within ninety pages of one another. Yes, I do realize that this system is not very efficient due to the multiple times of rewriting the same notes/ ideas/  scribbles but it is a system (in a loose sense of the word).

Since when were creative types shackled by “systems’ anyway? *defiantly crosses arms- humph!*

So I want to ask the readers of this piece, “How do you hold on to and organize idea?” I can’t be the only person that has five or six notebooks and a folder stuffed with ideas for an ongoing project.

Seriously, am I the only one?