"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Sick :(

Well, I just found out that the blood work I had done TWO MONTHS ago came back positive for mono.  Um, thank you doctor's office for your timely response.  I guess that explains why my normal symptoms have been exacerbated and why I haven't felt much like writing lately.  And why I've neglected my blog!  Tsk tsk.

I'm hoping to get back on track this week.  After my root canal.  Hey, when it rains, it pours, right?


The Perfect Story

It's sooooo good!  My main character is interesting and strong, with deep convictions that help move the story along.  I have a wonderful love interest for him.  She's gentle and caring as well as beautiful, although not in a traditional way, of course.  They are thrown together by their work, which they are both deeply committed to, although they see it differently.  I have great action, an incredible build to a heart-wrenching climax and a denouement sure to leave my readers in tears.  I have a theme that runs through the whole story that will keep my readers pondering for days after they've finished the story.  It's perfect!

And it's all in my head.  I haven't had the chance to write any flaws into the story yet.  I haven't stumbled over an important scene, a critical introduction, or a subtly placed symbol.  I have my three building blocks -- my three flash fiction pieces -- but everything else is beautifully, perfectly dancing in my head.

This is where writer's block comes in for me.  This is the moment when I am paralyzed by fear, because once I start writing, my perfect story won't be perfect anymore.  It will be flawed.

I need to remind myself that that is a good thing.  There is so much beauty in imperfection.  The imperfect is much more interesting than the perfect.  And if I were able to create a perfect story, where would I be found in such a thing?

No, I'm certain that I prefer a story with my own imperfect, flawed voice ringing through it.


The Ol' Switcheroo

I am abandoning my novel.  FOR NOW.  Not forever.

I have an opportunity to submit a short story for publication at the end of the year (tiny advance, tiny royalties).  I've decided I'd like to take my Ice stories, pull them together, and make them into one big short story (hm, oxymoron, yes?).  So, to do that, I'm abandoning my goals for my novel this month.

It's not failure, it's flexibility. 

When I come back to my novel, I've had some super great ideas that I need to weave into it before I continue.  The changes will make it a gazillion times better.  And yes, it does have a lot to do with knowing my main character better and making her a more likable, compelling person.

I've also been asked to write an article for Life Skills e-zine this month.  And I found out that another article of mine has been accepted for a religious publication, The Ensign.  I'll link to the articles when they become available.

See, all the good news is making it easier for me to squelch the old me ("must finish goals at all cost...").  And maybe next year, I'll be in a position to participate in NaNoWriMo for real.


Fess Up Friday

Time to see how I did for the week:

I added 5,752 words this week, just 248 shy of my goal.  Woohoo!
I have a total of 25,254 words written in my work in progress.

More importantly, I slogged through my major slump and learned something important about my novel.  Of course.  I always seem to struggle most right before I discover something significant.  I have a few ideas that I can work into my novel that will help me around some of the issues I've been having.  I'm a little closer to figuring out who my main character.  I'm not going to panic if I don't really know her yet; Leo Tolstoy took several revisions to come up with his Anna Karenina.

Um, did I just compare myself to Tolstoy?  Sorry about that.  *blush*

Overall, I'm pleased at the progress I've been able to make this week, especially in spite of dealing with the unexpected and unpleasant (a root canal).

Here's hoping I get into a nice rhythm this upcoming week!  It would be nice to surpass my goal for once.


Reasons Why You Should NaNo

Here are the reasons why you should participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):

1.  Because you want to.

Now, you may be a student who hates writing, and NaNo is the only thing that makes it fun.  Or perhaps you're a bored housewife who wants to try something new.  Maybe you'd like to experience a month-long experiment in creativity.  Perhaps you've always wanted to write a book but have been to afraid to try.  Or maybe you're already a writer and you'd like to train yourself to be more disciplines.  Maybe you'd like to raise your writing goals to a higher level, just to see if you can do it.  You may be a seasoned, published author, who would like to share your encouragement and enthusiasm with younger writers.  Who knows?  It doesn't matter.

Ignore the literati elitists who look down their noses at you because you're not a "real" writer.  Don't listen when they say you shouldn't be doing this, that writing is reserved for the serious author who does not dabble in such silly shenanigans.  Go ahead and NaNo.

But only if you want to.


When The Going Gets Rough, I Rant

I hate my novel.

There.  That's right.  I said it.  Out loud, even as I typed.

It's boring, flimsy, plodding.  My characters are cardboard.  I have no "voice."  My 15-year old main character sounds like a 45-year old housewife.  The setting is fuzzy and nondescript, the scenes are weak and predictable.  I hate my novel.

Now, don't panic.  I had the same problem with my first novel four months before I finished the first draft.  I was madly in love with it by the time I had finished.  I still am in love with it; when I'm feeling rebellious, I plan my rewrites on it when I'm supposed to be focusing on my current work in progress.

So, I'm not going to do anything rash like abandon this story.  But I do find it interesting that I hit a huge wall of resistance at this stage of the writing process. 

I think it has something to do with fear.  I am just getting used to hearing my voice speak out through my work.  It can be quite powerful, and it surprises me.  It scares me.  I'm supposed to be the good girl, sit down, shut up, don't make waves.  With each new scene I write, I am making waves -- sometimes ripples, sometimes a tsunami.

I'll keep writing.  There is something there, under the surface, that is screaming to get out.  I'm going to let it.  One ugly scene at a time.


The Art of the First Draft

Sorry, folks, no Fiction Friday for me this month.  I'm dedicating the time to my novel, via NaNoWriSlow (thanks to Literary Mouse for coining the phrase!).  I'm making wonderful progress, by the way.  I'm at 19,502 words, and it's only day 5.  I think I'm on track to finish my first draft by the end of the month.  A very skinny first draft, that is.

But that's OK.  The purpose of a first draft is to just get the story down.  A first draft, to me, is like a pencil sketch.  It's bare bones information, kind of dull and boring, I admit.  Reading through it is almost like listening to a kindergartner tell a story.

"And then, the princess, she's banished to another world, a world where they are mean to her because she's different from them.  But her sister is really nice.  And her mom isn't mean, even though she's not really her mom.  And then she meets a nice boy who pretends to be her friend, but then he's really a wolf in disguise..."

You get the gist.  It's crap, I know, I know it's crap.  But that's OK.  Because once I have the story in place, I can go back and erase the rough spots, add a lot of color, depth, light, and nuance.  I can weave in my theme, heighten the emotional impact of my key scenes.  I can build something great, but I have to have the foundation in place. 

The foundation is the story.  And NaNo helps me focus so I can spit the story out onto the page.


AndThey're Off!

Let's go, NaNo!  Good luck to everyone participating in National Novel Writing Month.

Quote for the week:    You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt