Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trying to finish all those loose ends

I've read quite a bit about novel-writing technique, plot structure, character development, etc. in my journey to this point. What I haven't come across is a way to keep my mind IN my story when I'm only working on it a few hours a week. Honestly, I typically only write new stuff on Sunday afternoons/evenings, and each Sunday I spend a couple hours just trying to get back into the zone. I reread what I wrote in recent weeks and try to figure out what will happen next. (I've long since thrown out my outline.)
This weekend to the rescue. Today, I went to a "Writer's Retreat" at the Fatima Center in Dalton, where I did nothing but read all 220+ pages of my manuscript consecutively. My goal was to get my head in the story and figure out how it will end. I jotted notes about plot or character seeds I planted along the way, and then I took each character and planned the changes I wanted to see in each of them at the story's conclusion. The final scenes of the plot line became obvious. I wrote down the scene ideas before they vaporized.
I hope to get them in writing - starting right after church tomorrow. I don't want to lose the story again.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ideas and taking risks

If you're like me, you've thought of something while you're taking a shower, an item for your to-do list, or some brilliant and unforgettable scene you want to write down. Then before your feet hit the bathmat the idea has gone down the drain (bad joke, I know). Check out this product.
Seriously, I knew the need for this existed. Why didn't I actually make this and market it? Probably because I'm not a big risk taker. And I haven't got a clue how to take an idea and make it a reality.
Or do I?
The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction was just announced. It goes to Matt Phelan for The Storm in the Barn, and it marks a first for the award because the book is a Graphic Novel. It might have been rejected as just a comic book, not a piece of literature. But kudos to Mr. Phelan and to the award committee for their open minds and the courage it took to take that risk.
So here I sit with only a couple dozen pages left to write in my novel. Will Sophie take a big risk as I finish her story? Have I succeeded in taking my book idea and making it a reality?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas vacation- time to write!

I leave the house at 7:30 am for work, 6 am on gym days, so by 6:30 or 7 pm when I sit down to write, I'm pretty tired out. For me, that's the hardest part of writing a book- fatigue of my body and my mind.
I am lucky enough to have a job that gives me some time off scattered through the year, and I do get about 10 days off for the Christmas/New Years holidays. I was able to use a few days of that vacation to actually plan the rest of my book and get some new writing done. I sat down and reread the last 75 pages or so of my book (I actually liked most of it) and that helped put me back in the mindset I needed to flesh out the rest of the story. I jotted down about ten scenes that need to take place before Sophie's story is finished and then I put them in a logical order. I wrote a first draft of three of them during vacation.
Now that I have the end in sight and basically plotted out, I can (hopefully) finish my first draft in the next few weeks. Wish me luck!