When I Should Walk Along, or Over the Edge

I want to let you in on something, Y’all.

I’ve has a kind of a downer week where I work. But I don’t blame my job, or the managers there, or my coworkers; I blame myself. When I’ve told my coworkers that I want to be a writer and that I’m writing a novel, I’ve let their negativity make the decision for me that I am not a writer.

One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made.

I’ve never been one to have much faith in myself, even when my English professor, Alayne Peterson assured me that I have talent and she liked my writing.

I always had my doubts: “Is she just being nice to me/ feeling sorry for me?”

But tonight, as I was plodding along in my writing through researching the Great Chicago Fire for a plot point, I realized that even though this is the most tedious work of a fiction writer, that I am loving what I am doing.

Christ, I hate looking at the surface of aluminum extrusions for surface imperfections, setting up a saw to run the same length of part for gods know how many cycles. Cut the metal, stack on a skid, repeat ad nauseam.

But after (my real?) work today: I was reading about the Great Chicago Fire, it impacts on the citizenry, And trying to fit in how the protagonist of my story finds his first steps into the chaos of his future. I was trying to incorporate concepts like Maxwell Street, South Branch Chicago River,  Monroe & Dearborn to make a realistic storyline.

My point is writing is hard, like really hard! I am glad that I am doing it. Damn glad, in fact. To do a good job at it I need to be on my best game, but I need to have my writing friends with me, because dammit, I’m with them!


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.




Am I Too Far Gone?

Right now I keep paging through the manuscript for my current novel, “Requiem”. I am having a problem with what to correct and what to pass over because this is just a first draft.

So at this point, I am asking myself: “If I am asking myself these questions, am I honestly into my first revision?

I know that this may sound like silly semantic questions, but there is a purpose here. It has to do with achieving goals and how I define them. I set the goal for myself that I will have the first draft of this novel done by the first of the year.

But what is bothering me is that I still have holes in the story that I need to fill, but I keep getting pulled into what I see as glaring problems; mostly with mechanics.

I have it in mind that I should work from the biggest problems. i.e. plot holes, faults in character arcs and the like, but I keep getting sucked into the minutiae of misspellings bad punctuation etc.

Is this just a problem for me? Good Lord! Is it possible that I am whacked, even by fiction writer standards?


How does anyone else decide where the first draft ends and the rewrite begins?

Maybe I’m taking the whole dilemma too seriously.

Perhaps it isn’t even a dilemma?

Or perhaps my little red choo-choo has gone chugging around the bend. O-o

In any case, a happy week to all.

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) 25/26 NaNoWriMo 15

So, yesterday, I didn’t do to well at the writing thing. I pecked out about 800 words and that was about all, for the writing thing.

But thanks again to some awesome advice from AetherHouse, yesterday I took the time to go step by step through the combat scene. something that she calls blocking the scene.

Maybe she should be a director?

Anywho… I scratched out a bunch of notes yesterday, wanting to create a scene that made an impact both in the writing and in the images the writing created.

So that brings me to today…

Wow, what a productive and very rewarding day. I managed to get the whole scene blocked yesterday and  today I wrote out about half of the climax scene and will finish that scene tomorrow.

So without giving away too much, this scene involves some aerial combat between two steam powered airships. This scene would be exceptionally difficult to write off the top of my head, especially in three dimensions . Like I was trying to do. But by blocking it through notes the process became hella easier.

So to wrap this up because I am a little tired.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American NaNo friends and have a happy and safe weekend all.

Words today: 3286

Words total: 45,107


Day 24 NaNoWriMo 15

Holy jumping party cats, what a difference a day makes!

I finally passed forty thousand words today!!

And the realization that I was getting bogged down by one scene.

So with that realization, I decided to skip the offending scene for the time being and jump right into the scene that will set up the climax.

In all actuality, it wasn’t that far of a jump.

But for myself, it was a huge breakthrough. tonight after fighting to get through the scene that transitions from the second act the third act was just what I needed. I fought this scene for what I realize now was far too long. once I made the jump to the third act, I found that I had written over fifteen hundred words in a little more than an hour.

And most importantly I like what I wrote. And that is the important part,

So the climax is going to be aerial combat between two steam-powered airships. And an ethically ambiguous decision by the protagonist’s captain that he has to react to.

Don’t judge me, this is steampunk at its finest!

Don’t we all love those times when things just seem to fall together in our writing.

I am really in the home stretch now.

Words today: 1533

Words total: 41,111



Day 22 NaNoWriMo 15

Does anyone else have problems transitioning into the third act?

The reasonI ask this is because I really am two-thirds of the way through my narrative and I seem to be having some trouble moving from my protagonist identifying his problem and taking the initiative of resolving it,

What am I supposed to do as a pantser, who is trying to come up with the evolution of my protagonist to the conclusion on the second act and moving into the third act?

Oh well, after all I fly my the seat of my pants.

Imsure it will all work out by the end of NaNoWriMo..