Tuesday, February 27, 2018

More Interview Questions

Another imagination of a future interview... I find them oddly helpful and inspiring when I'm lacking the energy to continue.

Are you going to write another book?

Not if it's the same. I'm like Why, one experience, fully enjoyed, is enough.

Where did you get the inspiration for your characters?

I put pieces of myself into all of them. 

In real life, my hope is to get from first draft to being accepted by a publisher this year.

First draft done by June.

Peer reviewed over the summer.

Sending out manuscript from September to December.

Question I want to ask reviewers:

Is there anything that you wish had happened but didn't?

Like, I wish that in the Hunger Games series, the winners who were forced to go back into the Hunger Games arena had banded together and refused to fight each other, having learned and matured from their experiences. Then the conflict in the movie would have come from the government trying to eliminate them in the clock while they worked together to survive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

That Thing You Can't Not Do

Your purpose lies somewhere that way.

I've been reading all these devotionals about finding your purpose and how to tell what it is and God's gifts and that there is a greater story, etc. Ultimately, they just left me more insecure and feeling worse about myself. I don't know what my purpose is. My just turned 5 year old daughter, for the last few months, has been asking me over and over, "Who are you?" which is an oddly timely question since I have never talked with her about my existential angst. She asked me again as I write this. Ha!

What is that Thing that you can't not do? The answer for me is writing. It's almost like I haven't lived it until I write about it. My dad's recent cancer diagnosis. My search for a home. These things drive me back again and again to words. Words to describe, to wrestle with, to make me feel at home again in my life.

I was worried if I moved or changed anything in my life that I would stop writing, as if I was locked into my current life until I finish my book, that if I moved, at all, I might never write again, never get back to it, never pick up the threads.

But that's not true. The words build up inside me until I have to let them out, scribbling on paper or my phone or email or a napkin or my hand, whatever surface I can find that works with a pen. I feel most alive when I write. So now I trust that I will write anywhere, anytime, move or no move That book is getting done, Lord willing, come what may.

Friday, December 22, 2017

My Book's Skeleton and the Imaginary Interview

What was your writing process like?

My writing process was very chaotic and out of order.* Words or images would come to me at random, so I'd write them down and then build scenes around them. It felt a bit like having pieces from several puzzles on the table but not knowing how or which ones fit together.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

This story started with a phrase that popped into my brain as I came out of the shower one day in Ecuador: "I was born with grey eyes." I unpacked all the isolation and rejection that Tea feels and her quest to accept herself from that one phrase.

How long did it take?

I wrote countless drafts over my three years of Nanowrimo (2015 to 2017), although I started collecting ideas for a novel in a notebook in 2007. I can pretty much say that only a few great-grandchildren of those ideas ever made it into the final book, thankfully! The second half came together quickly and has pretty much stayed the same through all my drafts, but it was only in 2017 that I was able to write a coherent first half, mostly thanks to another inspirational phrase that popped into my brain, "You have been chosen." That solved how Tea ends up at Riderhill despite her eyes and why they don't quite know what to do with her. They can't send her away but they don't let her in either, so she ends up in the middle, still searching to belong.

* Like now, I'm writing the answer to an imagined interview question about the published - and hopefully wildly successful - book when I've just finished the skeleton and it still needs fattening up.


Ah, back to my current life. :)

I felt hope in my spirit that I would have a working draft by this December, consisting of the final list of scenes that made the cut. The good news is that today I finished sorting everything into 5 sections with 6 chapters each. I was tired of writing thousands of words over the years that were not contributing to the story as a whole. I would write and delete and write and delete. It was a desire of my heart to finally just work out which scenes would actually be in my novel and focus on developing those. It was hard for me to know what to include because in a creative sense, anything was possible. What made one choice better than another? Even in real life I struggle to choose, and writing was no different, but it is finally done.

I expected more of a sense of accomplishment, which is probably why I writing on my blog, looking for my lost sense of success. Yay! I made it this far! I have decided which bones to keep and which do not belong to my novel's skeleton - 29,545 words - and now I just need to flesh them out. Bibisco has been a great tool that God put into my hands through a Google search for "free writing software."

A month or so before this year's Nanowrimo, I asked God if we could make a deal. I would keep showing up to write if He would help me with everything else. I have kept up my end poorly, but He has been more than faithful to help me see this through.

I am going to celebrate by cutting my hair in time for our family Christmas Eve party. My mother-in-law wants me to dye it too, but I am fond of my white and brown stripey hair. We'll see.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day 9

This post almost didn't happen. Today was a "no good, horrible, extra cranky, I-want-to-move-to-Australia," kind of morning. And that pretty much sums up my feelings about my manuscript (book? screenplay? I just want to write my story).

I am no stranger to feeling like giving up, so I went to my Nanowrimo inbox and the top item was a pep talk. Perfect. Then this quote made me laugh and a glimmer of hope has been restored.

"...move faster into the future. The world is full of people who say it can’t be done. If everyone listened to them, we’d still live in caves—and there would be no such thing as books."
- Dean Koontz

There is no one actively criticizing my book-writing efforts except myself. My inner critic is far rougher on me than any real critic will probably ever be. It says, "You can't do this. It's no good. You're no good. You'll never finish. Even if you do finish you'll never get published. You can't write. Ha ha ha ha ha."

How do I respond to my inner critic? This is me pushing the delete button. Delete. Delete. Delete. Deep breath.

"Wherever you are, keep moving forward." This was the title of the second message in my Nanowrimo inbox. And also a theme in my devotions lately. And something Tea has to deal with.

When I started prepping for Nanowrimo this year, I promised God that I would show up every day. That's it. I did it. Today I showed up. And I have each of these 9 days (except not Sunday), despite only having a few hundred new words. Just looking at my word count yesterday almost made me want to give up.

But I am still here. And I'll be back tomorrow too. So there.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Day 7

I found these suggestions from "Spec Scripts 101" by Ray Morton encouraging.

That's it for today.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Day 3

I know where I want to end up but have trouble getting started. As in writing, so in life. I am afraid of rewriting the beginning so much that it loses all appeal. My ending has not changed in substance since the very first draft, but I have started my book what feels like a hundred ways. This time, as I rework it and rework it, I see it coming to life. Detail by detail, I think, "Yes, this is how the story should go."

I hope my readers feel the same.

I feel better this Nanowrimo, flexing my writing muscles, such as they are, and feeling more confident and encouraged by knowing that a novel is a lot of work. The first Nanowrimo I was trying to clilmb Everest without any gear or training. This year, I am more seasoned. I am no longer as naive about what it takes, but I have not given up. Everest, here I come!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 2

"I am not able, and I do not want, completely to abandon the world-view that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself."
- George Orwell, Why I Write

I must confess that I checked this book out because I confused my Georges and thought that this was the one who was a woman writing under a man's name. Turns out, that is George Eliot and this is the George who wrote 1984. In my defense, there is also a George Sand who was a woman too. So it seems that George is a popular first name for many authors, male and female. But since I checked out the book, I read the essay of interest anyway. I do not understand the politics that were riveting in his day, but I still found a gem or two for my quote collection about writing.

"All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some (instinct) whom one can neither resist nor understand."
- George Orwell, Why I Write

Ah yes. This describes my experience so far with noveling. But still, one of my smallest joys in life is a true-in-my-life, well-written paragraph.

P.S. I also rose at 5 am today, despite staying up until 10 am last night trying to catch up. Yesterday ended with 531. This is why I am now snoozy at 4:26 pm.