Editing for Someone Else – Ideas or Just Mechanics?

It’s snowing beautifully here in Upstate New York and I’m looking forward to a cozy evening at home. Love to sit somewhere near a wood stove or fireplace with a hot drink and write in weather like this. Unfortunately, I’m at work right now.

This past week little writing has gone on, I’ve been editing for someone else.

Now, I have a wonderful and varied writer’s group. I’ve always enjoyed reading everything people bring in.  We’re all at different points on learning about the craft and most of us write very different things – children’s stories, young adult, chick lit, mysteries, and poetry. We’re a widespread group of people in age and backgrounds. We’re all quite reasonable and good discussions have been had some evenings.

What I am editing right now is something else entirely. My husband has a co-worker who wrote “a book” that he sent out to one publisher and it was rejected. He told my husband that it was short and asked if I would be willing to edit it for fifty dollars. It’s the end of the year and Christmas so I said, “of course!”

The problem I’m having is that it’s basically a religious tract aimed at no longer participating or minimally participating members of his own religion, his position being that if you are not a devout member of this particular Christian group, you are going to hell. His goal is to bring people back to his religion.

I was once a member of his particular brand of Christianity and left it for my own reasons so I have some fairly good knowledge of what he’s writing about. I could debate with him the accuracy of many points he makes, but I figure I’m not here to edit his ideas.

My plan is to simply stick to the punctuation, spelling and grammar plus warn on copyright, including the use of summarized or paraphrased works. Would I have taken this on if I had known the content? Not sure.

I’ve already talked to him about the fact that different versions of the bible are copyrighted. I found a pretty good primer on what you can and can’t use here, if anyone is interested. Yes, it’s a bible but people tend to think of it as THE BIBLE. Remember, it’s a compilation of books.  It has been added to and removed from over time and translated from the original, and not so original, many times over. Many of those versions are under copyright.

Another problem I’m running into is that I suspect a lot of his information is summarized or paraphrased from other sources.  Perhaps I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows the difference between quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing is, and that they still have to be cited.  If you derived your information from another source, you need to cite it, whether you put the other author’s words in quotation marks, summarized the major points of a larger work in your own words or paraphrased a small portion of it by condensing only slightly and putting it in your own words.

Not sure I like this editing for other people thing.

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Let the NaNoWriMo Festivities Begin!

2013NaNoWriMoCalendar

Okay, so I’ve been shocked at how much attention my NaNoWriMo calendar has gotten but I’m glad people are enjoying it. I’ve set it as the background on my own laptop, as one poster said he was going to do with it.

Last night I submitted my entry for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.  I wanted to let go of it before I started NaNoWriMo.  To be honest, I was utterly sick of it and ready to be done.  I’ve been editing it and nitpicking for the last two months, but it taught me a lot.  I think one of the failings in my writing has been my lack of follow through in editing to that degree.  I’ve written some good things and I’ve had some good ideas, but to really create something someone is going to want to publish, you have to be willing to go the distance with the editing.  I did that and let the story go. We’ll see how it does in the competition but I’m not going to hold my breath, I’m on to the next thing.

This month is all about creating without editing.  I’m about 2,300 words in and so far it isn’t really flowing, it doesn’t feel inspired.  I have an outline so I’m working with that but trying to remain flexible.  I’m working on a re-imagining of my Biomalware story.  I have two story summaries that are guiding the idea.

“As genetically modified crops take over and biodiversity dwindles, a menacing reality looms.  For half the world’s population these crops aren’t food at all.  They are… Biomalware.”

The other guiding idea is more human centered.

“When Sam’s two-year old daughter, Maddie, becomes sick he must find answers before it’s too late, but can he succeed when the opposition is a huge corporation with the full weight of the U.S. government at it’s disposal?”

Of course, these are just ideas and the story is changing along the way and as I learn more about the topic.  It’s science fiction but also a medical thriller and, of course, there’s a bit of a romance in there too.

And – to kick off NaNoWriMo on the right foot, I received my rejection e-mail from the Sustainable Arts Foundation today.  *sigh* I suppose it doesn’t mean much one way or another – they received over 1,500 applications and only give out half a dozen, with giving concentrated in the San Francisco area.  It was a long shot but I’m glad I did it.  I might try again next time.

Right now I’m licking my wounds and trying to concentrate on NaNoWriMo.  I believe I have a good idea and a good outline if the writing can live up to it.  That comes in time, though.  Right now it’s all about getting the words on the page.

It was definitely heartening to have EIGHT people at the kick-off write-in at my library.  That’s the best turn out I’ve ever had for a write-in.  It was inspiring to look at so many people sitting there just creating.

Happy writing everybody!

Writing + Editing & Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

Matite

I’ve been doing a lot of writing these days, or at least editing and re-writing.  I wrote one short story, a post-apocalyptic love story where people are living in trees, for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest deadline in November on the 15th.  I’ve been working with another writer on editing and he’s been giving me little things to fix.  That’s been an interesting process that I’ve tried to work on daily.

As I finished that one, three characters showed up in my head – two angels and a demon, all in human form.  (Hey, at least the angels outweigh the demons, right?)  One angel is a middle-aged, rosy-cheeked Italian priest with thinning hair who has more questions than answers but trusts in his faith; and the other angel is a slightly younger, scruffy-looking, chain-smoking, cynical construction foreman.  The demon is a fairly normal guy who grew up fundamentalist Christian, with a wife and kids and he is having a bit of crisis about who he is.  (I’ll give you a hint, he doesn’t know he’s a demon.)  Anyway, there’s a whole lot of humor to this piece but I see some tragic and painful stuff to balance it out.

I put that aside and tried to focus on editing the first story.  Then my editing friend went for a major change and my brain balked.  I’m wondering though if the real problem isn’t that I stopped creating and started just editing.  Maybe I need to make sure I get a little original creative time in?  Try to find some balance between the writing and editing so that both get done daily.

So, then, another story popped into my head that’s sitting there wanting to be written now.  It’s a romance and I see some real potential in that one because it’s very truthful to my own experience as a teenager.  I sat down this morning and wrote some notes so I could focus on work today and start writing it tonight.

There’s a whole lot of characters swimming around in my head right now, but I’ve also had the realization lately that I need to work a little harder on figuring out what the central story question of a piece is and making sure each scene adheres to that so that my characters don’t run off and leave me without a story.  I’m very character driven, I think, but you need a plot too.

Maybe because I’m in this great creative space, I’ve started getting excited about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) I have to ask myself why I want to do this – 50,000 words in one month?  On one level, it’s completely insane.  With my schedule, there’s very little chance I’m going to write anything intelligible, let alone good, in that short a time period.  In the past, I’ve gotten a few short stories or a giant outline.

On the other hand, the pure creative exuberance of it can be intoxicating.  Plus, there is the chance I’ll end up with a draft.  I’m beginning to understand the true nature of re-writing and editing.  It’s a long process, but it lets you turn something you think might need burning into something worthwhile.  If nothing else, I’ll enjoy the creative flight into fancy.

I started a NaNoWriMo calendar today to hand out to my writers group.  (I’m happy to share if anyone would like a copy.)  It’s basically encouragement/ inspiration and the countdown of where you need to be with your word count to finish on time.  I wanted to make it fit on cardstock so my quotes had to be fairly short.  Here are a few of my favorites that I couldn’t fit.

Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.  ― Meg Cabot

The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself. ― Eleanor Roosevelt

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world. ― Ray Bradbury

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. ― Franz Kafka

Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award & a New Story

Cayuga_Lake by Stilfehler

We had a GREAT time on Cayuga Lake last weekend, very relaxing, but now it’s back to work.

I’m working on applying for the Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award.  They typically give out 5 awards of $6,000.00 and 5 “Promise” awards of $1,000.00.

You must have a child under the age of 18 (which I do) but there’s no application fee and it’s all done online.  The application is due by 5 pm (Pacific Time) on August 31st, which is Saturday.

I’ve applied for other grants before, so I already had half the work done.  They just want 4 samples of  work so I’m submitting two short stories, an essay and a memoir piece.

I made the mistake of not paying enough attention to what they were requesting otherwise so learn from my mistake.  I had combined my biography and letter of intent into one thing for another grant application and didn’t realize I need to write them separately for this one.

They want a biography, an artist statement that gives a “concise description of your work and goals as an artist,” a Curriculum Vitae (in other words, an artist’s resume that tells them where your work has been seen and what workshops you’ve attended) and a letter of intent that tells how you would use this award if you win one.

The thing that’s giving me the most trouble is the biography.  A lot of what I write is biographical in nature so it’s hard to know where to stop.  How much or how little should I say about myself, my life, my writing and my family?  The only direction they give is to include how your family life inspires or challenges your writing, if it’s relevant.  Well, yes, it is relevant, but what else do I include?  My mind went one way, focusing on my writing throughout my life, but I’m trying to keep it concise.  I mean, they didn’t even give me a word count maximum –  I could ramble on for ages!

So I went through and edited the writing pieces I’m submitting, yet again, then edited the resume, artist statement and letter of intent.  Then I realized I need to pull out a separate biography.  I’m almost there.

(Just went and looked at last Spring’s winners. I’m glad I didn’t look before.  It’s a little discouraging.  Everybody who won seems to be very accomplished.  Oh well, it’s worth a try.)

I’ve also been editing my entry for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest.  Then I started getting this idea for a story about two angels and a demon that would be GREAT for the longer genre contest.  Unfortunately, that’s only two weeks away so I don’t know if I can have it ready in time.  It’s a good story so I’m pursuing it and if it’s not done, I’ll hold onto it.  I’m a little loath to send something I just finished writing into a contest anyway.  I prefer to let things set for a bit and edit again.

We had an unexpected day off on Wednesday because our power went out so I took myself down to the local coffee shop to write for a bit.  It was incredibly loud and I was getting a little annoyed but I decided to just listen and found that I was sitting next to a group of people talking about their Catholic religion.  My, how inspiring for my story since one of the characters is a priest!

So, I flagrantly eavesdropped and made a few notes.  They were telling religious jokes and laughing uproariously but they also hit on a few more serious topics.  Not sure if it has any relevance for what I’m writing but it did inspire me to think about my story and make some progress.  I’ve got a good idea of who my characters are and why they are there.  I also have the central question of the story, the theme and where it’s going, to guide the plot.  Now I just have to make sure all my scenes reflect and build on that.

It just seems like there has been a lot of great creative energy in the air lately, for my whole writing group at least.  Hopefully that is true for everyone out there.

A Writing Parent – or how in the world did J.K. Rowling do this?

SleepingChild

The munchkin has been up coughing a lot with one cold following shortly after the last this past month and I‘m too tired these days to read a well written and thought-provoking book, let alone write one.  The way I write is to imagine a scene fully then put it down on paper.  Right now?  If I stopped long enough to do that, I’d fall asleep.   Things that would normally inspire me just aren’t.  It takes a major shock, or some serious immersion, to get my brain into gear and make sense of anything.

Here’s the odd thing, a little sleep deprivation can actually help turn off that pesky internal editor.  Yesterday I picked up a simile worksheet and my brain actually started firing some semi-original thoughts.

As dark as midnight in a country room with the shades drawn down.

As dead as the remains of a carcass on the highway that has been run over five hundred times.

As high as a meth addict shooting up with his two year old daughter in the back seat of the car.  (Actually saw that one in the news the other day.)

As tall as the shadow of Abraham Lincoln’s reputation.

As mad as my mother when she found the metal handle of a fly swatter I broke by bending it back and forth, back and forth, even though she’d told me not to do so, and hid under her dresser.  (I should have known she’d clean there.  She cleaned everywhere, relentlessly.)

As blue as the notes of the last jazz song on the closing night of a club.

As nervous as a starving feral cat stealing food from the bowl on the back porch.

Growing like a zucchini when the gardener’s away for the weekend.

Along with the worksheet on simile which, unfortunately, I have no idea where I got, I found a number of other interesting items I saved over the past couple of years.

There were several inspirational pieces.  One was Neil Gaiman’s pep talk from National Novel Writing Month a couple years ago.  He talks about having waded into the writing of a novel and having gone from imagining that “glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read” to seeing what you’re working on as something “you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy.”  He talks about simply moving forward, putting one word after another.

Which leads right into a wonderful interview with Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, in the July/August 2013 Writer’s Digest where he gives the most useful metaphor for revision that I’ve ever heard.  He likens it to moving into a new house, dragging all the furniture in.  Once it’s all in, you have to spend the time deciding where everything should go, rearranging it until you find the perfect spot for each item.

Those two things together really create a pretty good framework for the writing process.  You get a great idea and it sounds perfect.  You start writing and the fire burns low, turning into embers that are covered in ash, but you keep writing as your fingers get cold.  Then, you’ve finished a draft and you can put it aside for a bit or start rearranging the bits into something recognizable.  I like it.

There are other wonderful things in the interview – Hosseini talks about how his writing has grown to include more multidimensional characters and he also addresses the crises of confidence and episodes of self-doubt inherent in writing a novel.  It may be one of the most useful things I’ve found in Writer’s Digest recently but I will admit I love memoirs by writers.  I find them often inspirational and instructive.

Another funny item I came across was the editor’s note at the beginning of the Winter 2013 issue of ForeWard Reviews.  Julie Eakin shares a book of historical writer criticisms, Rotten Reviews Redux: A Literary Companion in which Rudyard Kipling is lambasted for not knowing “how to use the English language” by the San Francisco Chronicle and The New Yorker calls Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, “the final blowup of what was once a remarkable, if minor, talent.”  I’m sure there are people today who feel that way about Kipling and Faulkner but the vast majority of readers consider them major talents of the past.  It really helps to drive home the point for a writer that not everyone is going to like your writing, no matter how good you are.  It’s reassuring, in a backward way.

So, where does all that leave me?  I’ve been reading a lot of light stories the past couple weeks to refill the creative well, mainly Jennifer Crusie and Dorothea Benton Frank.  I’m still working on story one of my four short stories.  I’ve gotten little bits on it this past week but it’s been slow going.  I’ve been thinking more and more of how I’m going to attack the research and re-write on the novelization of Biomalware.  It’s still out there but I swear it’s getting closer.  It will be re-written this year.  (Heck, it hasn’t even been a year since I wrote the first draft.)

I just need to maintain my focus and write a little every day.  I’m getting there.  I don’t care how long it takes, and I really can’t foresee how I’ll get there, other than plugging away.  I never imagined a tornado would kick start the renovations on the family farm house that I always wanted to do.  (Seriously, I’ve been planning them since I was about 12 years old.)  Who knows what wild and wonderful, though potentially painful, ways the Universe will move me forward if I just do my part?  Only time will tell.

Making a Start on my Writing, Over and Over Again

Mountains_in_Azerbaijan

 

The other day I was telling one of my co-worker’s, who is also a writer, about my intention to edit the next fifty pages of Biomalware (just in case the fellowship contest wants to see them) then go back and do a complete re-write and re-imagining of the book, to really get the tone I want.

She looked at me with something akin to admiration, “You’re really doing it.”

“Well, not really,” I replied, shamefaced. I’d been procrastinating terribly, as far as I was concerned. “I haven’t done anything with it in a couple weeks.”

“But you are,” she insisted. “You’re thinking about it and that’s an important part of it.”

 She’s right. I am doing it. Stating my intention and thinking about it is a step in the process.

I also have a huge tendency to discount what I’ve accomplished because I’m not accomplishing it as fast as I’d like. (I suspect I’m not the only one, huh?) I intended to do a complete edit on those fifty pages today. Instead I did about seven pages. I made a start though, and that’s important.

So, maybe it’ll take me a week to get that edit done, but I will get it done. Then I’ll start the re-write, hopefully by the beginning of April and complete it within the next three months. Maybe it will take longer. I’ll take as long as I have to. I simply won’t stop until I accomplish it.

Perseverance. It’s the difference between the published and unpublished.

I’ll keep writing, no matter what, because I love to write. I’ll keep growing in my writing because I love to learn. I’ll keep submitting because I love to share my stories. I’ve already found people that enjoyed my stories and I’ll find more. Hopefully some day I’ll be writing for a living.

I always recall Joseph Campbells advice to follow your bliss. If you do, the money will come. If it doesn’t, you’ve still had a damned good time in the process and life is about the journey, not the destination.

Only So Many Hours – is re-writing, revising and editing really “working” on my art?

ClockTimeManagement

Over the past weekend I went to a Business of Art workshop and one of the attendees on the first day was also a presenter, a musician named Jogo. One of his parting thoughts was that you should take at least one action every day that works on your art and one action to promote yourself.

I like this idea because as a full-time working mother there are not that many hours in the day for me. I can probably write a little something and do one thing that promotes it. The question is, is re-writing, revising and editing really working on my art? In one respect, of course it is, but I feel like I should be writing something new every day.

There was a time when I was able to do the morning pages every day that Julia Cameron recommends, three pages of long hand writing.  Even though they were most often venting or journal pages, I liked that three pages in the morning for my creative writing as well.

I know that James Lee Burke, who writes the Dave Robicheaux novels, writes at least 750 words every single day. I’ve heard other writers say that they set themselves a limit and they produce that much of new material every day.  Then the editing and the business aspects of being a writer can come later in the day. Of course, they’re working as a writer all day long while I’m spending my day driving to work, working, driving home and then taking care of a small child who demands my attention until very late at night.

So, I’d like to be creating, really creating new material every day. Even if it were just a line or two, but preferably somewhere around three pages. After three pages a day, the creativity in my writing dissipates.

Right now, asking myself to get up early enough to write before I go to work just does not seem to be feasible, but first thing in the morning is my best, most creative and energetic time for writing.  So, what do I do? My best idea so far is to write in my head on the drive in and either use a digital recorder or scribble it down when I get to work.  I don’t get a lot of really good lines that way though.

So, if I have limited time and I don’t create something new, is re-writing or editing “working on my art?” It doesn’t feel like it but I think I may have to accept that it is.

The one action for promotion is not so difficult. I do recognize that there is a very good cumulative effect. After the workshop, I ended up with a long list of actions to take. For instance, yesterday I pulled my short artist’s statement out of what I had written to get into that workshop. I edited it down to a paragraph and put it in my Facebook page. If I fill out one element on that Facebook page every day, within a week it will be done. Some of those same elements are going to go into my website. I’m already signed up with Weebly and bought my domain name so I can do that very soon.

In fact, I started to work on the Weebly page but I realized I need to get a visual image in my head and pick out the visual elements before I really create it. I know what I want for content on each page but I would like at least some of the images to be my own creation, photographs or drawings. Also, do I want the images to be different on each page or the same throughout the site?  I think that will be my task over the weekend or next week.

Is revising and editing working on my art? Yes, I think it is. Is it creating something new every day? It can be, but it doesn’t really feel like it.  I would really like to be creating something new, whether it’s a couple lines of poetry or a paragraph on a story. Today I will just keep my eyes open and see if anything occurs to me that I can scribble down.

I think this is probably a personal question with a personal answer.  How do you handle it?

(Please join me on my Facebook page, where I will be posting a daily note on something interesting or inspiring about writing or life in general. Just click here -> Melora Johnson’s Facebook page.)

The Glimmer of Hope

It’s been a long week and I’m so frazzled from the process of trying to rewrite, revise and edit the summary and first fifty pages of Biomalware before tonight’s deadline that I’m not entirely sure why I’m doing this anymore. I want chocolate… and a nap.

After I submit Biomalware to the James Jones Fellowship contest tonight, I’m going to take the weekend away from it. I have some reading and commenting to do for others and the house is in a state of disgrace that only some heavy duty cleaning and elbow grease will elevate it from.

I’ll need to get back into it fairly soon and revise then edit the next fifty pages so that if the Fellowship competition should call for them, they will be ready.

I’m seriously thinking about creating just an outline for the book and going back to reimagine each scene and write it fresh with all the details then combine the best of the two versions I have. I think I probably will. That would allow me to come at it from two different writing directions. It will also give me time to research the GMO question and take Sam through the research process more in the book.

Oh, and to cap off my wonderful mood yesterday, I got my rejection e-mail from the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest. Guess I’ll be submitting that story to Yahoo! Voices this weekend. I doubt it will get much interest because they aren’t really featuring new stuff these days but at least it will be out there. I really liked it though it’s a bit unusual, a bit of magical realism, so hopefully someone else will enjoy it too.

I write because I like to write and to connect with others. I would really like to be writing novels and short stories for a living. I often refer to it as living the dream.

New York State came up with an ad campaign a few years back for their lottery tickets that said “you can’t win if you don’t play.” Now they more often go with “Hey, you never know.” Both sum up how I feel about submitting my work to contests and for publication. It’s a long shot but there’s that glimmer of hope that keeps me persevering. I know I want to write for a living and I know it’s a long shot but I know it’s certainly not going to happen if I don’t submit what I’ve written. I’d write even if no one ever read it but it’s so much more fun to share what I’ve written.

So, I have my lunch hour today and what time my 2 year old will allow me after work to continue revising and editing the excerpt from Biomalware before I submit it competition. On the one hand, I know there is so much more I could do to it, and will in the future. On the other hand, I promised myself that I was going to submit to this contest and I really feel compelled to at least put it out there. Maybe I could get an honorable mention for the ideas, if not the execution.

Hey, you never know.

Hey! Who wrote this book?

Open Book

 

Hey! Who wrote this book?

It all started earlier this week when I was preparing a talk on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. There was an intro by Edwidge Danticat and I decided to look her up. I’d known of her writing for years and always thought of her as an older woman.

She’s only FIVE years older than me!

AND she’s been wining awards and recognition for her writing since I went off to college.

Argh!

I posted about that on Facebook, questioning what the heck I’d been doing all this time with my writing, and an old friend suggested we share works in progress to help move things along. Being as he is a really good editor, I pulled out my Biomalware manuscript from last August that I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo.

Now, what I want to know is, who wrote this book when I wasn’t looking? Because there’s 149 pages and it’s not nearly as bad as I remember. I guess what they say about giving it time in a drawer is true.

So, yesterday I took the afternoon off to work on it. Of course, I got a stomach virus but that’s a story you don’t want to hear and I STILL managed to get the novel outlined and rearranged some pieces of it – after a nap.

(I’m sure I’ve mentioned Biomalware before but to bring everyone up to speed, the novel is set in the near future where a new strain of genetic modification to crops has created food which isn’t food for everyone, some people cannot derive nutrition from it. Now it is infiltrating even the organic crops through pollen contamination, and that’s not all it’s doing.  The short story that started it is here, in case you’re interested.)

My next step is to use the information on Scenes and Sequels that I learned from Jim Butcher’s LiveJournal to focus the action in each chapter. (If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. He hasn’t written much lately but the information on how he writes is really useful.)

Then I’ll go back through and tighten up things using the rest of the info in his posts on things like characterization and THEN I’m going to look back at it and make sure I’ve done everything I learned from Donald Maass in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel.

Luckily, after posting on Facebook, I have several more interested readers to give me feedback once I’m ready, as well as my writer’s group.

Now, the problem is that I want to apply for the James Jones Fellowship Contest because I think my book fits in AND because the first prize is TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

It’s awarded to “an American author of a first fiction novel-in-progress” and “is intended to honor the spirit of unblinking honesty, determination, and insight into modern culture exemplified by the late James Jones.”

What’s the problem there, you ask? Well, the deadline is March 1st. Luckily they just want the summary and first fifty pages so I will send that out to my readers at the end of the weekend.

Of course, we also plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Saturday and we have a family gathering on Sunday.

*slump*

Maybe I can get some rest next week.

The Moving Target

Why is it that our plans for writing so easily go astray?  The post before last I said that I was going to finish this novelization of Biomalware by October 25th to give to my writer’s group and let them read it and give me feedback.

I haven’t done it.  No, instead I’ve been watching Doctor Who and writing a sort of fan fiction based on some experiences I’ve had recently.  It’s been a pretty strange time, as I’ve previously recounted, and it turned into a weird little story.  I’ve finished it and now I’m thinking – what’s the point?  I’m not going to sell it that way.  I’ve written an interesting little anecdotal story and now I want to invest it with mean, or maybe I just need to discover the meaning in it, what it means to me Why did my brain come up with it?  I did find two of my favorite themes in it so I hope that helps bridge it.

I think fan fictions and dreams are interesting to ourselves but a lot of times they don’t stand on their own as a story.  It takes some work to turn them into a real and complete story of their own that doesn’t require a whole lot of back story.  I shared the story with my writer’s group last night and the reaction was lukewarm.  Maybe it was just my sleep deprivation interpreting their reactions but I was looking for at least one person to really LIKE it, even if they could see room for improvement, but I didn’t hear that in their responses.  I have to wonder if that isn’t because fan fiction just requires too much knowledge of the story world for it to make sense to the average reader.  I don’t know.  I’m going to move forward with their suggestions and hope it makes it more accessible for everyone.  They gave me some good info about what didn’t work for them so I hope I can bridge that gap.

I also still want to finish that novel for my writer’s group but I just don’t see it happening before the end of the month and November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so I may be looking at the end of the year for that.  I want to finish it but I don’t want to rush it.  Maybe the ending will be part of my word count for NaNo.

I’m planning a NaNo that combines short stories, non-fiction and maybe poetry.  I seem to keep getting pulled back to science fiction.  I started thinking I should be writing in that vein because I love it, but I also love mysteries.  Then I looked at what I’ve been writing on and realized it pretty much is science fiction.  I’m sure both will show up in my Nano.

Right now, I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo by collecting inspiration and prompts.  I’m making lists of people I’ve wanted to base a character on, things that inspire me, topics I’m interested in and the like.  I once did a 2,000 word story a day for most of a month so that’s what I’m shooting for.  Of course, I was out of work and single at the time, but why let little things like a family and work stand in the way of a good NaNo?  It might just take a little time travel to get things done.  No problem.

 

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