Saturday, November 29, 2008

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation...

Home at last!

The amount of writing I was able to get done this past week was simply astounding. Like I've mentioned before, I don't know if it's because we were in the area where I first dreamed up this novel or just because I had so much extra help taking care of my son, but whatever it was - Wow!

It's not even just the amount of writing that I was able to do that shocks me most, but how emotional the chapters were. I felt so bad for the people around me for a couple days as I worked on depressing portions of the story. I just know that I was moping around, quiet and brooding. I think I had my iPod playing almost every day, repeating a few key songs that really put me in the correct mental "zone" to write all of the emotional roller coaster stuff.

I even made a huge mistake while typing up one scene at around 3 a.m. (Yes, I learned from the night before and drug my exhausted, lifeless body down to the laptop rather than laying on the floor with a notebook and pencils...) While writing a scene from another character's point-of-view, towards the end of the book, I stumbled across one of his memories from a scene that wasn't on my outline. I thought it was a pretty powerful memory and decided that I needed to try writing it up to see if it would fit in well with the rest of the chapters in that section. Well, I wrote it up and loved it... unfortunately I made a mental boo boo. I wrote it as if a pretty major plot point hadn't happened yet... only that plot point happens quite a bit before then. Oops! So I put a yellow text box (my electronic version of a post-it note) with a note on what I need to fix in order to keep this new scene included. This scene just makes everything seem so real to me; it's something that would definitely happen to Casey with how much fate likes picking on her. I'm really lucky that it will be fairly easy to rework the story to fit with the actual story line.

Whew! *wipes the back of my hand across my forehead*

Another day, my husband was using our laptop to check his email and to just kill some time online, so what does my little writing gremlin do? Of course, he perches himself on my shoulder and, in his adorable British accent, begins describing a scene to me. Now this was a scene that I had been thinking about for a day or two, so I was pretty anxious to get started. I paced the living room for a few minutes, peeking over the edge of the laptop every now and then, seeing if my husband was almost done... probably driving him crazy. After a couple of minutes of this, I started feeling that sense of inspiration beginning to fade and panicked. I rushed upstairs to the desktop computer in the office and started typing. Probably five minutes later, my husband came up and told me that he was done with the laptop and I could have it. Unfortunately I already had nearly a page typed up and was "in the zone," so to speak. I quickly told him that I'd just stay in the office so I wouldn't lose my momentum. It was quiet up there and I was comfy... He wished me luck and headed down to play with our toddler. (I'm so lucky he's so supportive and understanding.)

I'm not sure how long I stayed at that computer; time tends to have little meaning when I get writing like that. All I know is that when I came back down 1) I noticed that it was darker outside than I remembered and, 2) I had around 6 more pages of text to add to my rough draft file. The scene is almost done too. There's a small flashback sequence that happens that I need to work on some more, but that shouldn't take long. The problem with writing this sequence is that every time it plays in my head, I tend to get caught up watching it and find myself forgetting to type. Of course, it's all very theatrical in my head, complete with music playing in the background as the scenes fade in and out... If this book were a movie, I'd definitely cry at this scene. It, in a way, makes up for a lot of the depressing things that happen before it.

oh great, I'm tearing up just thinking about it again... moving on...

We were lucky enough to find time to hang out with a bunch of Erich's friends that he's known since high school. Some of the people present were actually inspirations for a few of my minor characters, so I secretly used this evening as a night of research as I have several scenes that need to be written that involve these characters. Hanging out like this is a pretty new experience for me. I've always tended to be a bit of a loner. You know the person who has lots of acquaintances but very few real friends? I've never really had that big group of people that I could just go hang out with, you know? Well, until meeting Erich that is. Luckily his friends don't have a problem having me along when they all hang out together. Of course I have a small circle of good friends that I've been able to keep in touch with, get re-acquainted with, etc. and I'm really glad to have them in my life... but there's just something about this group of people up north that inspires me to write really fun stuff!

Like I said, I was doing a lot of mental research while we all hung out that night- joking, playing board games, etc. Just seeing how friends who have known each other so long interact is really going to help me write this story. My biggest thing in this book is that I want it to be very real- the people, the conversations, the settings- all of it. I want all of this to be believable to lull the reader into accepting that other things, such as Casey's gift, are real too. If I can make someone believe that this story could be happening in their own town, maybe even to someone they know, then I would be ecstatic. I guess I just have to work really hard to make this story the best I possibly can.

This past week I picked up another reviewer who's been eager to read the story for a while. So far I've only sent her one chapter, but I'm really looking forward t her input. As my target audience is women, probably older teenagers and up, her input should be invaluable. It'll be nice having a reviewer who doesn't know the whole story. I'll be able to ask her questions about what she thinks about characters without her knowing which one is the villain; to see if I'm successful at misleading the reader.

I'm still having a hard time figuring out how to give my reviewers chapters to read when I skip around so much while writing though. This would definitely be easier if I could just write chronologically, but sadly that method didn't work too well for me. Should I just send out random scenes for review? Should I, for example, send out a completed chapter 1 followed by a synopsis of chapters 2-4 so they can move on to 5-7 which are done as well? Should I wait until I'm done writing my first draft to send out anything else?

If anyone reading this has any experience in any or all of this or knows someone who does... advice would be awesome. I'm doing this all through trial and error so far, but I'd love to know how other people do this. I love reading about other people's writing processes so I can learn what works for them and decide if it would work for me too.

So, please, leave comments or send emails to
Have a cool website you get advice from? Have your own personal story? Just want to give advice or encouragement? Feel free to contact me. Thanks in advance!

Well, hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I'm off to play in one of the literary worlds I've created in my head...

Talk 2ya later...


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