NaNoWriMo: Post November in April

The Post November NaNoWriMo Post of Depression…in April.

New year, old neurosis. You want to know how pathetic I am? I started this post Jan 15th, as a NaNoWriMo wrap-up and today is April 1st. How fitting since I’m feeling pretty foolish.

Outside of my writing group exercises, the most writing I’ve done is a few sprints on our FB page.  I could, in desperation, count the few sentences I’ve jotted here and there in the comment sections of friend’s blogs. But really, even those have been less than substantial.

Thankfully, as spring begins to assert itself, my main story is finally finding it’s way back into my head. This is the first time I’ve faced a completed first draft and I’m feeling like a deer caught in headlights. Revising is not for wimps. I’ve quaked in the face of goals, rereading and reediting the same  few chapters over and over. Must move forward.

I even spent an entire day trying to talk myself into quitting writing altogether, though that may have been the flu talking.

How to go about proceeding with the revision process has been weighing heavily on my mind. I’ve been searching for a method or plan of attack that makes sense to me. Shawn Coyne’s article What It Takes: The Math published on Steven Pressfield Online appeared in my inbox a few months ago helping to allay some of my editing fears and gave me a bit of structure to hang my work on. Though this is more an article about plotting from the beginning of the process (something I don’t do…maybe next time) it is helping me visualize where my story needs work and whether or not the ground work I’d already laid is on solid enough ground to continue.

I feel confident that I’ve kept the word count garbage to a minimum (a typical NaNoWriMo bi-product) but there are holes that need plugging and connections that need rewiring. Characters that need fleshing out and a few that shall be meeting the axe.

On March 6th I posted a link on our WriNoShore website about structuring your scenes. It’s an interesting method to keep in mind while revising. At this point I’ll try anything to get my mind back in the game.

I mainly need to have a plan, a method to my madness so that I can consistently meet my work goals each day. Knowing what I need to accomplish help me focus and pushes me forward.

Some links to the revising process.

Revising your novel in 10 easy steps

How I self-Edit My Novel in 15 Steps

25 Steps to Edit the Unmerciful Suck Out of  Your Story

 

To those of you embarking on the April NaNoWriMo Camp, watch out for poison ivy, and have fun.

 

 

Book Review: The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill

I’m the first to admit writing a book review is not my forté, but once in a while I read something so extraordinary I am compelled to sing its praises. The Movement Of Star by Amy Brill is such a book, and deserving of much better accolades than I am capable.

Set in the mid-1800’s on the island of Nantucket, we are taken along on a woman’s journey of self-discovery. Having lived the insular life of a devotee in the Quaker community, Hannah Price–comet seeker, is unprepared to have the very roots of her faith shaken much less unearthed. Yet, she finds her mind opened and her beliefs challenged by the most unlikely of contenders-Issac, a dark-skinned whaler seeking knowledge of the stars.

I love where this story goes. To be witness to the strength and fortitude it takes Hannah in accepting the challenges to her belief system and exploring the new avenues of possibilities is exhilarating. Juxtaposing her and Issac’s opportunities and the differences in how the world presses it mores and will upon them is emotional, and intense. I found the characters well-drawn and moving, and the settings visually arresting.

This book is beautifully written, and smartly tailored. A complex and layered story whose language is fluid and rides along as if a sea. Amy Brill captures exactly what I imagine life was like for a woman of Hannah’s station. This story feels unique, complete, and satisfying.

I also appreciate Amy’s explanation for the inspiration of this story, the real life lady-astronomer, Maria Mitchell.

You can read a much better, and more comprehensive book review at: Bookmagnet’s Blog

 

 

My Next Big Thing

Okay, Chris @ Life Your Way,  I’ll play. I’m flattered that you think of me, I just feel like my blog doesn’t warrant the attention—yet. But since I do have a book I’m working on I don’t feel so insecure answering.

The Next Big Thing

10 questions about my current writing project.

1) What is the working title of your book or project?

The Illusion of Marriage

2) Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

I can’t pinpoint a specific spark but it started with an opening and ending scene—I envisioned this story as a movie. I needed a plot for NaNoWriMo2011 and used this idea.

3) What genre does it fall under, if any?

Fiction: Literary/Family Drama

4) If applicable, whom would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Jacob: Jamie Bell or Emile Hirsch, Helen: Bryce Dallas Howard-someone who can pull of uptight but warm.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

Til death do us part: marriage meets reality.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Yes, unless there is a third option by then.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first 50k I did for NaNoWriMo2011. I pretended to work on it for a few month of 2012, but now I’m aiming to finish up the first draft by Feb 2013. At 60993, I’m guessing I have another 20-25k to write.

8) What other book or stories would you compare this story to with the genre?

I’m blanking on anything specific. It’s a tale of marriage like any other and unique as all of them are. The lovely Jessica Ruston has a list of fiction books on marriage on her blog.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?

A death in the family prompted an examination of the lives around me, the struggles we all go through the triumphs and such.

10) What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

There are several secrets being kept that possibly doom a relationship, a few unforgivable acts forgiven, a postpartum psychotic episode, delicious meals, baked goods, frolics in the sun, and a dog named Bachman.

Geez, that almost sounds interesting. I’d better get back to work.

Your Next Big Thing

Tagging others is tricky since there’s so much inbreeding around here, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t participated. So dear readers (all two of you) there is no obligation to play, but if you’d like to—copy/paste the questions, fill in your answers, post a link to your blog in my comments. Or if you’ve already blogged your, My Next Big Thing, and would like to get more traction, feel free to post a link in the comments.

 

NaNoWriMo: 2012 Goal!

Last Sunday, I hit the fifty-thousand word mark for NaNoWriMo: 2012, an imagined announcer screeching “Goal!” in my head. I accepted the accolades and congratulations of my fellow WriNoShores, attached our coveted glittery stars to the tally card and then…thud.

As satisfying as it was to reach that 50k I was also left feeling a bit let down. No longer struggling to keep up, or reach my daily word count, I feel a bit like an outsider at the write-ins. It’s not that any of my fellow writers are shunning me but I no longer feel like one of them. I can’t joke around about getting distracted, neglecting my spouse, or having to stay up late. I can peruse Pinterest, shop on Amazon, read every tweet in my Twitter feed—all without the repercussion of running behind in my word count.

Not that I’d trade positions. Let’s not be silly, I like being done early for my own sake. It’s nice heading off to our Thanksgiving Weekend away knowing I won’t have to excuse myself to get a few hundred words out. But it’s not like I’m done with my story. This is when the reality of being a full-time writer hits hard. Reaching one goal is nice, but a new goal looms. I actually have to finishing this storyline-or as much of it as possible by November 30th. As interesting as this story is, my priority is finishing last years NaNoWriMo, The Illusion of Marriage, which is my most complete novel, the one I’m pinning my hopes of publishing on.

So while I will be enjoying a few days off, I’ll be right back at it next week,  pounding away at those keys, cheering on, cajoling, and cracking that whip, urging my fellow WriNoShores on to reach their goals.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 

NaNoWriMo 2012: So Close!

The minute it was out of my mouth I knew I was tempting fate,”I should be hitting 5ok Saturday.” Oh, NaNoWriMo 2012: So close! I could almost taste it. But by days end the count is 47434.

Well, sure I could have, and would have made it to 50k today had I not woken Friday with a killer headache and day one of whatever virus had felled my youngest daughter early in the week. Head pounding, joints aching, I barely made it downstairs to the couch. There I lay for the next six or so hours until my family returned from school and work and took pity on me fixing me up with a few cups of strong tea.

I managed to rally around eight o’clock feeling much better but mainly driven by the promise to make chili and a chocolate cake for those who were coming to our big Saturday write-in. Good thing I came through—we had eleven writers toiling away at the Hamilton/Wenham library from 10 to 3:45 today.

Many words were written. Stars were awarded—who knew grown-ups could be motivated by little shiny stars? What’s really amusing to me is how grossed out some of them were when I explained how we’d line up at the teacher’s desk at the end of day and they would lick the red, blue, gold or silver foil stars to affix them to our foreheads. We’d run home so proud of ourselves, showing them off to our mothers and grandmothers.

With less than three thousand words to go I’m almost positive I’ll be hitting that 50k thresh hold at the Barnes and Noble Peabody write-in tomorrow. Or famous last words?