Two Worlds

Image

Life can be challenging for writers and artists because we live in two worlds. We live in reality where we work our 9 to 5 jobs, we do chores, we run errands and spend time with family and friends, we live like most everyone else. But for the creatively minded we live in a second world as well, one that often seems to conflict with reality, we live in our heads, we live with our dreams and our imagination. We want to spend our days creating new masterpieces, but most of us can’t do that. Instead we spend a majority of our time doing the things that need to get done. We must settle for doing the things we want to do in our sparse free time, a time that we divide between: errands, chores and spending time with the important people in our lives, and sometimes by the time we have free time all we want to do is sleep. It’s hard to live in two worlds at once.

Sometimes it feels as though our dreams are being weighed down by a giant millestone called Reality. Unfortunately reality isn’t going to go away. The only thing we can do is make our dreams strong enough that they can bear the weight. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s the price we pay for living in two worlds.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

We’re All Mad Here

Image

I have completed a 2nd draft of my novel, ‘Train to Everywhere,’ that I am relatively happy with and very nearly lost what little sanity I had left in the process. In the last week or two I’ve gone from 3 to 4 hour writing sessions to 5-6 hour sessions, I’ve been writing/editing on all my days off and much of my free time. I’ve never become so engrosses in a writing project, at the end I would say I was probably obsessed. Not that this is the end, it is merely the 2nd draft, but I intend on taking a little break and try not to panic while my beta readers go over my story. I really do need a break too. Over the last few days I’ve been talking to myself far more than usual, to the point of having argument with myself. I’ve been drinking too much coffee and I’m pretty sure my language has been going down hill, something that only happens when I’m really really worked up. The other day I had so much energy and so many voices running through my head I had to sprint up and down the hall and stairs to get myself under control. Despite the intensity of the last few days, I’ve never been so excited or terrified of a project I’m working on, all of which I take as good signs. This is the first 2nd draft of a novel I’ve produced and the first time I’ve really gotten into editing. I now realize that the first draft is only a warm up, I truly got into my story and my characters when I went back and revisited them, questioned them, asked them about their motivation, rethought my settings and added more detail. I think my reservations about editing are falling away, it’s a rather wondrous process.

I must say I’m scared stiff to let others read this story and once again I take this as a good sign, I usually don’t worry about things being perfect, I’m normally quite happy to let others read my stories even in their raw forms. But this story has been different, I’ve been more secretive about it and didn’t let anyone read draft one. I believe this means that I delved deeper into this story, taken a few more risks and put more heart and soul into it.

This has been a very eye opening experience. I now intend to rest, visit a few friends I’ve been neglecting and catch up on my reading. Because once the feedback is in it will be time for round 3!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Writing your Novel from the Middle

This is an amazing book that I highly recommend investing in. It discusses starting your book from a “Mirror Moment”in the middle of your story and working from there. But his strategy is very simple and can be used by all types of writers and at any stage of the process. It’s a valuable tool to help focus your story and know what it’s really about.

Editing

Image

I use a purple pen.

Editing has never been my strong suit. I used to just celebrate if I managed to finish something and basically felt that I was done and eagerly moved on to the next project. As I’ve gotten older, more experienced as a writer, and more serious about getting published the realization that I actually have to edit what I write has weighed heavily on me.

I hated the idea of editing. “I should be done.” “I don’t want to change things,” “I barely want to proofread,” “I just wanted to work on my next great idea.”

The problem is I was constantly chasing after my newest greatest idea and leaving a trail of decrepit stories in my wake that could be made whole with a lot of love and attention.

Over time I’ve slowly learned me lesson. I managed to get to a point where I didn’t hate editing, then almost enjoying it. This year I’ve made it my focus to edit my novel from last November instead of moving on to something else and I’m actually starting to enjoy editing. It seems so overwhelming when I first start and I can’t imagine how I’ll do it. But then I start reading and I start making little notes, which turn into longer notes and suddenly I’m cutting out scenes and putting in new ones and I’m getting excited. Excited that I’m making the story better, that I’m learning to understand my characters and their motivation and what the stories really about.

So I seem to finally be getting the editing thing, which is good, considering I’m hoping to publish this story.

I hope you guys have had a less rocky path to understanding the importance of editing. What are techniques and strategies you use in your editing? (I hope that didn’t sound too much like the teacher at the end of a children’s Bible story.)

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Current Project

 

It suddenly came to my attention that I really haven’t mentioned anything on my blog about my current project. I recently finished the first draft on a novel I started during NaNoWriMo and am working on pumping out a second draft now.

Image

This isn’t actually what the train would look like, but it’s awesome, so I’m using it

The story centers around Valerie, a girl, in the 1930s who runs away from home and is hopping trains across the country looking for work. During her travels she is caught in a storm and seeks shelter on a passing train. When a strange woman interrogates her onboard Valerie learns that this train defies all reason and leaving it may be harder than she thought. 

Hopefully I’ll finish my second draft soon and can find some beta readers to help me make it better ^^

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Predicting the Story

One of the interesting things about being a writer is you begin to understand how other writers think and as a result you can often figure out where a story is going. I was watching ‘The Bates Motel’ with my mom last night and I kept saying character’s dialogue a moment before they did. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, which I think had to do with the late hour.

I remember when I was younger I thought I’d make a great detective because I could usually figure out “who done it.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that I wasn’t figuring it out because of the clues so much as by how the characters were presented and how they interacted with each other and who I would have made the killer. 

As a result of understanding the writer’s mind many of our family and friends will marvel at our powers of observation. But there’s a bit of a downside to it as well. It becomes so much harder to be surprised by a story, though on the bright side it’s so much more rewarding when the writer does pull the wool over your eyes. I think it should also inspire us, as writers, to not be too predictable. We should strive to think outside the box, don’t always go with your first idea–or your first ten–we want to surprise and delight ourselves as much as our audience. Learn to get off the beaten path and off road it, because that’s where all the surprised are.

P.S. I did not expect this blog post to go this way. I was just going to write about how funny I thought my mom’s reaction to my foretelling of the movie were XD

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Book Obsessed

Image

I’ve always loved books. I was the kid (and still am) who always had a book with her where ever she went. If I was at a social gathering I’d usually end up in a corner with my book eventually and be perfectly happy. I used to get most of my books at the library, but in recently years I’ve become rather obsessed with owning books. I just want to have them close, to keep them near, to occasionally sleep with an old favorite tucked under my pillow. I buy books like other girls buy clothes. My roommate and I joke, because when we first moved in she set up her closet first and I set up my bookshelf. I really can’t help myself and I’m sure many of you know what I mean. I have a huge stack of unread books and keep finding myself distracted by new ones. At present I’m limiting myself to two books: “The Children of Hurin” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher. I will finish them before starting something new! And maybe I’ll be able to pass a few days without buying a new book.

Wish my luck.

P.S. “Storm Front” smells amazing! Every time I read it the delicious scent of aged paper and ink fill my nose. It’s an added bonus. I have a think for sniffing books 😉

Very Post New Year

Sad. I haven’t written a blog since before the New Year. I hope everyone is having a great New Year. Personally I’m working on my editing this year. I finished the first draft of my NaNoWriMo story and now it’s time to tear it apart and develop it more. It definitely needs lots of work. I tend to write my first draft with limited planning, so that my first draft is almost like an outline. The second draft is where I figure out more about the plot, the characters and the themes of the story. For me I have to write it before it’s real. I have a hard time outlining, because I don’t know what’s going to happen until I write it. This makes for a pretty messy first draft. Hence my focus for the year is editing. I’ve gotten quite good at writing first drafts, but now I need to learn to get those second and third drafts out and polish the story. 

I hope everyone is meeting their writing goals and any other goals they may have made.

Happy New Year, very belated.

Happy Post Christmas!

Image

Happy Post Christmas everyone! I hope you had a lovely holiday. 

Mine was great. My favorite gift has to be the Lord of the Rings Lego set I was given. It’s awesome! It’s the pirate ship from the Return of the King, I’m still working on putting it together, it’s quite the job. Some might say I’m too old for Legos, but I’m a writer and a Lord  of the Rings fanatic, so never too old! 

My favorite gift I gave was the Christmas story I wrote and recorded for my nieces. This is the second year I’ve done it and I’m hoping to make it a tradition. It was difficult to buckle down and write another story after NaNoWriMo, especially since I’m not quite done with that story yet. But it was worth it. And now I can get back to my NaNo story. My goal is to finish it by the New Year and spend 2014 editing it. Please feel free to give me a kick if I get off track. 

What goals have everyone else set for the coming year? I intend to make it my editing year, while possibly working on a story on the side. But I really want to make editing my focus, because it’s always been a weak area for me. I need to finish stories and then edit them, not finish them and let them collect virtual dust on my computer.

I wish myself and everyone else the best of luck with their new years goals.

Happy New Year

~~Lady of the Pen~~