Archive for December, 2006

Never post when short of sleep

December 30, 2006

Yesterday’s post was supposed to be a reflection of the past year. Instead I ended up rehashing 2005. Luckily, I split it into two posts and actually reread the second and decided not to post it. Or not without edits.

In case anyone who drops by this blog and reels in horror, I post to clarify thoughts in my mind or try to put what is going on in my life/writing in perspective. And I meander. Not aimlessly but I cover twenty miles to get to my destination that turns out to have been around the corner. But until I follow the twisty path through my mind, I don’t realize what that destination was.

Sort of like writing. Or the way I write. I know where I’m starting and where I want to end up. And I know my traveling companions, or think I do. On the journey we become better acquainted, change and hopefully grow. And the amazing thing I’ve learned is that the trip is what is important not the destination. The journey is fun, demanding, agonizing, enthralling and once it’s done I’m eager to map out the next.

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How did I come to write a book?

December 30, 2006

New Year’s Eve has never been a big holiday in our family. Back when I was a teenager, my folks used to have a party: extended family and the old friends who are like a part of your family.When I think about those parties, I remember only laughter and love. Good memories. Then my parents got older as did their friends and family and no one wanted to be on the road on New Year’s Eve.

Most years my husband and I have stayed home. We get all kinds of snack and finger foods. For years we set them out on the low table where the rest of the year the kids played with their Brio trains. The kids looked forward to our special family party. Just the five of us. It’s our tradition. Mommy usually falls asleep before midnight because seeing the New Year in really isn’t a priority. As far as I’m concerned every morning is the start of a new year where you can start again fresh. Hey I came of age in the seventies. Every day is the start of the rest of your life. It’s a cliche now but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Sure on New Year’s Eve I reflected on what happened over the past year and what I wanted for the next. I used to make resolutions but I’m no better at keeping them than anyone else so I gave that up. I don’t remember any specific thoughts I had last New Year’s Eve. I know I was thankful to be well because I’d been ill most of the fall. And I was looking forward to finishing my first book. Because 2005 was the year I started writing.

I hadn’t resolved on Dec. 31st of 2004 that I would write the novel I’d always wanted to write. I’d put away the desire to write years before because I wasn’t disciplined enough, talented enough, motivated enough. But whenever I finished reading a story I enjoyed, there was this wish deep in my heart. A wish that I could write a book that would move someone to laugh or that would help them escape for a little while the stresses of everyday life. But I wouldn’t. I was fifty years old and you don’t start writing at fifty.

Dec. 31st 2004 I hoped to make a career of selling jewelry at home shows. I was determined that I was going to succeed at that. It was the last in a line of part-time careers I’d thrown myself into. Jobs I could do and still be home with the kids when they needed me. I’d thrown myself into them. Consultant dietitian for doctor’s offices, day cares, restaurant supply companies. Home organizer for the organizationally empaired. That was another career start. Antique dealer. That was an expensive one.

2005 was the year I decided to let my registration as a dietitian lapse. I had a bunch of continuing education credits I needed to earn before May because as usual I’d waited until the last minute. But I didn’t want to be a dietitian any more. I didn’t want to do it. This was a hard decision because I’d spent years studying and working in the field before my kids were born and sporadically after. And I’d been good at it. But that part of my life was done. Even if the jewelry didn’t pan out, I didn’t want to go back. And when I didn’t earn my credits and pay my money, I felt guilty but it was the right decision. And each day that passed made me more sure.

The jewelry thing wasn’t taking off like I’d hoped but September-December were the big sales months and I had built up a small list of hostesses and I planned to beat the bushes for more.

When the kids started back to school, I was reading and rereading Suzanne Brockmann’s old books. I love her books and her characters. I suffer from insomnia and making up stories until I fell asleep had been something I’d done since I was a kid. I used to make up long ongoing stories but the ability to do that disappeared somewhere between child two and child three so I’d do like many avid readers do and think about what happened after the book I’d just been reading ended. Or make up a story for one of the secondary characters.

Suz Brockmann wasn’t the only one I was reading. I was devouring all Lynn Kincaid’s historical/paranormal/timetravel books because they’re fun. And others. Lots of others. Mostly romances for some reason. For years, I’d read mostly mysteries and thrillers along with some romance and science fiction except for some favorite authors like Nora Roberts and Suz Brockmann. But 2005 was the year I dove back into romance, finding new (to me) authors like Linda Howard, Sharon Sala, Julie Garwood and many others.

But I did enjoy the SEALs. It was the team concept and the close ties that spoke to me. Pushing your self to the limit and beyond. Not giving up. Not only enduring but succeeding. And one night I thought what if there was a girl. The daughter of a SEAL brought up in the tight community of her dad’s team. A girl who understood sacrifice and never giving up. The children of people in exciting professions often want to do the same thing. At least when they are small. But women can not be SEALs. I couldn’t get this girl out of my head. And I couldn’t get her story out of my head.

Most stories I’d made up over the years as I waited for sleep had disappeared once I knew what was going to happen. I lost interest when I knew the end. But this girl, and she was a girl, a teenager when the story began. She wouldn’t leave. And neither would the guys she met when she was running for her life.

I didn’t want to go to sleep. I wanted to keep thinking about the story. Who were the guys? Why was she running? Where was her father and what had happened to his team? And what would happen if she ran into this guy, a guy who’d helped her when she was a teenager years later. But he didn’t know who she was and she couldn’t tell him. Why?

I had another way to get rid of the stories in my mind. Try to write them down. Pick up a pen, sit down at the typewriter or now a computer and write Chapter One. It always worked. I’d never gotten to Chapter Two. Most of the time I didn’t reach the end of page one. So one day after the kids got on the bus I sat down and typed Chapter One.

Thursday

December 22, 2006

I am a
Canna

What Flower
Are You?

This is the flower I’m supposed to be. I like what it means but I have none in my garden. Interesting.

Well the cats, dogs, two sons and I are at the river. Hopefully my DH and other son will come down tomorrow and we’ll get a couple of days together. Wrestling season means practices even during Christmas break. And girlfriend home from college means who wants to be with family.

On the positive side, my Christmas shopping is done and wrapped. But DH likes to do the shopping for the kids. And I let him. I’ll help him wrap though.

I haven’t been writing. I am using Christmas prep as an excuse but the truth is that I’m afraid to go back to rewriting. After all if I don’t rewrite it, it can’t get rejected. Can’t get accepted either.

I’ve done the shopping, most of the wrapping, put together a gingerbread house and tree with my youngest (Premade kit but this is the first year we’ve actually made the kit I bought), mailed Christmas cards, finalized cabinets, plumbing, electric fixtures, floors, paint. Started loan process. Decorated(sparingly) the rented place. The only things I have left to do are clean and decorate this house, make cookies, pumpkin pie, wrap a couple of things. Procrastinating writing has done wonders for helping me get everything else done.

Tomorrow, I plan to start rewriting again. Goal five hours writing a day except for Christmas. No cruising the ‘net, email, reading until I do that.

I am so damn scared of failing.

Back to the Future came on the other night and I watched it with DH and my youngest. Funny, putting yourself out there, risking rejection is what that movie is about. I never realized it before.

The results from the contest I entered my second book in came back this week. It got the next to the lowest score.

I will do the rewrites but screw the contests.

Point of View

December 14, 2006

First thank you Dee for the NaNo banner. I’m going to copy it here when I have a longer period with Internet. Hopefully next week.

I’ve put my Nano Book, affectionately known as George’s story, on hold while I do rewrites on the book I pitched in New Jersey. An editor said she’d be interested in seeing it again if I rewrote it. She also mentioned some areas where it needed work. I was going to wait until January and until after I finished G’s book but my CherryBomb friends McB and Dee advised me to get right on it since the editor had expressed interest. They were as usual correct.

So last week I printed out the version I’d sent to the editor. I saw exactly what she and McB (who read it for me) had pointed out as problems. Point of View is a biggie as is description. So last week I labored over the first part of the book. And had a marvelous idea and made changes, worked on POV and description of the setting. Then I printed it back off Sunday night, and gave it to my DH to read. I assured him that there wasn’t any romance in that part and begged for feedback. He actually read through it and identified some areas that were confusing, some typos and grammer issues but on the whole liked it.

But I reread it while he was. And the POV isn’t right. Everytime I rewrite the thing it gets worse not better. At least that was my feelings that night. I hoped it was because I was tired and frazzled. But every time I started looking at it on Monday and Tuesday, I felt sick and discouraged. Not that I got much time to look at it. Monday, I spent all day at the house fretting over what had and hadn’t been done while I waited for FedEx to deliver the check from the mortgage company that had to then be delivered to the builder. And I obsessed over where the furniture would go when we moved back in and whether the changes we’d had them make in the house were good ones. Tuesday, I had an appointment to get my mop of hair cut and colored and then had to run the kids around. But I could have made time to write. In fact, I did write some Tuesday afternoon while I was waiting to pick up the kids from school.

I tried writing the first scene from the first person POV and then switched it. That was a suggestion in one of the craft books I’d been reading over the last week. Which one escapes me at the momen. And it started clicking. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to write since then. Little things like supervising my youngest do his homework. I found out Monday afternoon that he hasn’t been turning in or completing the assignments I thought he had done. Taking my middle son to work out and for his bass lesson. Applying for loans. Drs appointments. Running the check to the contractor and spending an hour and a half discussing the house with him. Appointment at the bank about money for said house. The youngest’s string concert which conflicted with the oldest’s wrestling so I didn’t get to see him wrestle. And win. Then today I had to come down to the cottage to take care of the cats for the week, pay bills and collect the info we have filed here that the bank needs. And of course the Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating (bare minimal this year).

This sounds like a pity party but it isn’t. Except for the house stuff, it’s what mom’s and dad’s always have to balance. If I was trying to work a full time or even a part time (paying) job right now, I’d be insane. And probably fired. And this brings me right back to POV. From my POV, I’m peddling as fast as I can and frustrated that I don’t have more time available to write. And I thought about my friends who are balancing family, house, jobs, church and volunteer work and trying to write. They’re peddling as fast as they can and frustrated at the lack of time to write.
But we are squeezing it in where and when we can. Yes we may have to take a break for the holidays or a deadline at work or a family member’s illness or a house remodel. And every single one of us is pinched and pulled.

Realizing this helped me take a deep breath and relax. Looking at things from a different POV helped me put what I have to/want to/hope to do in perspective. I don’t have to have this book revised before the end of the month. What I do have to do is try and get the revisions right. And that’s going to take time. Maybe I won’t get it right now. Maybe when I finish the revisions and submit the book again, the editor will say nope not what I’m looking for or that it still needs major work. Rushing and agonizing between now and Dec. 30th won’t guarantee, she’ll like it or want it or offer for it. That’s reality. Reality is that I may never sell this book. Reality is that all the reworking I’ve done on it over the past eight months has lowered the scores I’ve gotten in contests. Reality is I may not know enough about the craft of writing to do this story justice at this point in time.

So what should I do? Give up? No. I won’t. I’ll rewrite it and resubmit it. Because I love the story. Because having an editor express interest in seeing a rewrite is not something that happens every day. Especially with a first book. If I give up now, I am letting down my characters, my story and myself. It would be so easy to give up. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that writing is damn hard work. Writing well is even harder. Kind of like raising children or keeping a marriage healthy and happy.

So here’s the plan. I’m going to squeeze out time to rewrite. It will be done when it’s done. It will be as good as I can make it and I’ll send it back off. Then I’ll use what I’ve learned to rewrite the second book in the series. And I’ll keep on going to workshops and talks and reading craft books.

I may never sell these two books. That’s reality. If I put them aside and move on to something new, I certainly won’t sell them. If I’m ever to succeed as a writer, I have to put my work out there and try to sell it. I have to accept the rejections and the critisism, work on improving the books, send them off and then move on to the next one. That’s you George. I’m going to get back to you but Mike and Joey need my attention first.

I screwed up

December 8, 2006

I evidently didn’t download my Nano correctly because didn’t get a winner’s banner to post here. Or I waited too late.

Oh well, I know I did it.