Monday, July 20, 2009

Derichos, lightning, and full binders... Oh my!

Wow! It's been a while since I've been able to blog. Sorry 'bout that. :(

Between the dericho (a hurricane that forms over land) hitting our town and lightning striking and frying a lot of our electronics, things have been hectic that last few months to say the least. We're just now finishing up the new roof from a storm that happened in early May...

The therapy has been going really well for our son and we'll be starting up at a really good autism center later this month. In essence, I think things are finally settling down... (looks left and right, waiting for something new to hit...)

And since things seem to be settling down, it's time to write!!! Today, I printed off a hard copy of my first draft, all 239 pages of it (my poor printer... I had to restart the laptop twice to clear the memory so it could finish printing.). With all of the ideas spinning around in my head, I think this is the only way I can sort them out right now. Well, that and it's amazing how many errors jump out at you on paper that are invisible on a computer screen (how does that work anyway?). I hate wasting paper and that's why I haven't printed it out before, but this was important. It needed to be done

Have any of you ever printed out a 239 page book you've written and stuck it in a 3-ring binder? It's amazing. It's crazy. It finally seems "real". Before, it was all just pages in an electronic document, but now... WOW! It filled a 1.5 inch binder nearly full. Seeing it in hard copy like this is major motivation to get it done so that maybe it can appear in a different hard copy format someday.

The portability of the binder will help things out too. I write on a laptop, but it's a big laptop with a widescreen and a full keyboard. In order to take it with me to work on the story when we're out and about, I have to pack up not only a toddler and diaper bag, but also the full laptop case and hope I have an outlet nearby since the battery doesn't last very long. Now, I can just toss a few pens and pencils and the binder into the diaper bag and head out.

As for the content of the book, I think I know most of the major changes that will occur, but am keeping an open mind knowing that the characters will probably voice their opinions as well. The first chapter is definitely going to change, that's been decided finally. I was uncertain about this change at first, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. It will make the beginning a lot more interesting and hopefully make the reader feel the need to read the rest to figure out what happened.

I'm not sure if this new chapter will be a type of epilogue or what. I'm really not sure what to call it. The first chapter will be a scene that actually occurs towards the end of the timeline and the rest of the book will be showing the events leading up to that scene and then continue from that point on to the big ending.

I'm 99.9% sure that my current first chapter will remain in the book, I'll just move it to a different location. I really like how it introduces several of the characters and sets up some running jokes used throughout the book by the friends.

I'm also 99.9% sure that my favorite chapter, my baby, will be cut. It's one of the funniest, most relatable chapters that I've come up with I think, but would be really hard to pull off without breaking copyright laws or having some popular musicians suddenly become really generous. The only to salvage the chapter would be to write some lyrics to original songs in order to include them. I might even give that a try even though writing songs and poetry isn't something that I think I do well. Oh well, I guess we'll see what happens if my writing gremlin or I get inspired.

Another writing-related issue that's caused my work on Instinct to slow down is the prevalence of another one of my non-Instinct characters in my daily thoughts. A while back I created a character named Lisa with a pretty cool backstory. Love, love LOVE this character! Well, she's been making herself really well known in my thoughts as I've been processing hundreds of possible storylines for her. I know the basics of what her story will be, but there's still a lot left unplanned and she doesn't like that one bit. I've been playing around with her character, putting her in different situations and seeing what turns out the most interesting and still haven't decided anything. She's just going to have to deal with the fact that her story isn't ready yet, even if her character is pretty much fully developed. Now to break it to her so I can get back to my other favorite character, Casey.

But anywho, that's what's been up with me and my book lately. House repairs, replacing fried electronics, and therapy for the toddler. But the important part is that I'm finding ways to make writing a priority again by making it easier to access.

So, until I blog again...
Talk 2ya later...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Writing Mojo - Check!... Internet Access - not so much...

Well, I typed up this post on 5/24/09, but then our Internet went down as the cable company is still working on lines in the area from the storm. So, here it is... better late than never!


Okay, the yard and house are mostly cleaned up from the in-land hurricane… We’ve pretty much settled into a routine of sorts with our son and his autism therapists… Technically, we’re all still sick… but, I’m back! This time it’s going to stick gosh-darn’t!

I’ve found my writing mojo and realize that my brain never stopped working on the book, it just did it in the far corners of my mind where I wasn’t paying attention. Today, I skimmed my first draft and read over all of my notes and ideas for what to tweak in the second.

Somewhere around page 211, I think I figured out what to do about my first chapter. The scene that is currently chapter one is all right. I like it and plan on keeping it in the story, but it just didn’t seem right for the first chapter. The chapter that is supposed to draw everyone in and make them start asking questions and needing to read the book to figure them out... The current chapter is a fun way to introduce several of the characters while showing Casey’s personality, but it just doesn’t have that… that, you know… That thing that makes you curl a little more into a book that you’ve begun? Yeah. That.

But, as I said, around page 211 of my skim-fest, I had an epiphany. I really like my new concept, but am wondering exactly how I’ll pull it off. I’m thinking that I want to start the book with the death of one of my favorite characters, preferably within the first two pages. Currently this death occurs towards the end of the book, but I’m wondering… maybe I can start the story there and have it leave enough cryptic clues to really get the reader sucked into the story and then have it go back and start at the beginning. Maybe have the death be a type of prologue, even though I know that some people don’t like those.

Start with the death and have the next chapter start up with the scene that is set to start next on the timeline. This scene includes a phone call where Casey is told about the death. Now, what I’m thinking is that the shock of hearing that this character is dead will have Casey internally questioning what happened? Was there anything she could’ve done to stop this? Thus, leading into the story from the beginning.

This would make the bulk of the story in the past tense as it’s describing what’s already happened and would require a bit of extra rewrites to accommodate this. But! One concern that has been expressed with the story is that it’s in the present tense. This way, most of it would be past, until we catch up to that point in the story, where she is sitting in shock. Then it would pick up in present tense.

This would also explain why most of the story is from Casey’s POV. It’s all her memories at that point. Once we catch back up to the present time, the POV starts swapping around again, at least a couple times.

It would also give me more chances to lay cryptic clues about the men in Casey’s life and it lets the reader know what a large part the dead character actually plays in the story. What they do in those first couple of pages lays the groundwork for the entire series.

I wish that my husband was home from work or that my beta reader was online right now because I want to explain this idea in detail to someone who knows the entire story to see if it works for them. I think that vocalizing it and answering any questions that they might have will help me decide if this is really the way I want to organize my chapters.

There are a lot more tweaks that I plan on making to the story that will really change it for the better as well. But, I’d really like to start by reorganizing it if that’s the path that I choose to take. Otherwise, I might rewrite a chapter and then have it affected by the reorganization and need to be rewritten again.

But anyway, I guess I’ll spend the time until the hubby gets home reading the story and adding in more comments via the Track Changes feature on where I’d like to add in all my new ideas.

Oh yeah, I’ve also found a great new procrastinatory outlet other than Facebook. I enjoy watching TV shows on the Internet because I can never seem to remember to watch them when they’re actually on. (Yeah, no TiVo or DVR and I’m not about to try and find a blank VHS to use the VCR.) But anywho… somewhere along the lines, I discovered that the Highlander series is on Hulu! I loved that series and it’s been forever since I’ve watched it. So, now that most of my shows are on hiatus until the fall season, I’ve been watching Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod beheading people. Hopefully, my writing mojo is stronger than my need to watch Highlander… I can find a healthy balance, right?

Anywho, until I blog again…
Talk 2ya later…



Additional Note: After talking with the hubby, I think I know how to make this new idea work in the story. I'm going to start the second draft with the new, reorganized story and if, in the end, I don't like it, I can go back to the first draft copy and start over.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I spoke too soon...

It figures that as soon as I decide to start working on my novel again... southern Illinois gets hit by an inland hurricane!

Our town was where it peaked, but we're fine. We were exceptionally lucky that nothing major happened to our house. A little bit of damage to our back porch roof and some hail damage on the cars, but overall not bad.

We don't have power and don't expect it back anytime soon. Had to drive 20 miles to find a town with power and wi-fi so we could let friends know we were all right.

I don't have much time as we need to head out and buy some supplies while we're in an area with power, but I just wanted to let everyone know where I am if I'm not able to respond for a week or more.

Hopefully power will be back up middle of next week, but we're not holding our breaths.

So, until I blog again...
Talk 2ya later...


Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm Back... I hope...

Well, we are all finally getting over the various flu's and other illnesses that have invaded our household. The stomach flu ping pong match appears to be over, yay!

Things are going really well with my son's therapy sessions and we look forward to starting occupational therapy next month (yay for wait lists...) We still have some paperwork to fill out for other services and I'm looking for a support group for parents with autism in my area, but I think it's time...

Time to come back. I really miss writing. I miss my characters and that rush that I feel when I get it right. I've felt myself sinking into a depression of sorts since the diagnosis last month and know that I need to focus on some "me time". Writing pulled me out of post-pardum depression and made me feel like myself again in the past and I'm hoping that it will do the same for me this time around.

I know that I won't be having 4k writing days anytime soon, but even a couple hundred words is better than nothing. Squeezing in writing sessions during naps or when my husband is home to watch our son... I have- no I need to do this for myself. Getting sucked into the fear and uncertainty that a diagnosis of autism in your child causes isn't an option. I will face these emotions head on and channel the energy and emotions into my characters.

I have to re-read my manuscript as it seems like it's been forever since I've ventured into the world of Instinct. That will have to wait until tomorrow though. We have family in town tonight and they want to take us all out to dinner. (If everything doesn't wash or blow away in these intense storms that is...)

No promises on how often I'll be able to update the blog or how much writing I'll be completing at first, but I do promise to try my best.


Other Notes:
Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who has commented or emailed me with support and kind words. Having not found a local autism support group yet, your words have helped keep me grounded and have reminded me that I'm not alone in this. *Virtual Cookies for You All!*

Other News:
A while back, I mentioned how much I enjoyed reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Well, she recently sold the movie rights! Apparently, it's being created for a yet-unnamed A-list starlet. Not bad for her debut book. Way to go Carrie!!!


Well, that's it for now. My son has decided to squish his veggies from lunch in between his toes, so I have a lovely mess to clean up.

Until I blog again...
Talk 2ya later...