A Lass Insane

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Today’s post is more of a purge than usual. I appreciate this forum to bounce around thoughts – sometimes senseless – but this go ’round I am purging for my own good. For my sanity. For my survival as a writer. (Now I’m just being melodramatic.) Truth be told, I need to make a bold decision that has been eating at me for nearly two weeks and I’ve been uncharacteristically waffling.

A few days before I went to NYC to do some setting research for book 3, I got my Circling edit back from a brand new copy editor.  Since I have ten years of editorial experience I was comfortable working with a new editor. Truthfully she was available and reasonably priced and I thought what the hell.

Without getting detailed I’ll say that it did not work out as I had hoped. I assumed incorrectly that she would under edit, in her inexperience. The edit was overdone to the extreme.  My character’s bad manners were turned into better manners. Colloquialisms were edited out.  Mean intentions were edited out. All past tense was revised to past perfect. I could go on, but I’ll leave it there.

Truthfully some things about Circling were bothering me.  I decided to edit the 3rd person omniscient into 3rd person limited.  My characters will speak stronger when they speak for themselves, without relying on a narrator. This became more apparent by the edit. I also need to more tightly align the tone of Circling and Forever Falling.  When I wrote that second book, I had a decent amount of experience under my belt and I think I nailed a few points more effectively.

So for the last two weeks I have been tearing my hair out over this.  As a former editor, the idea that I am a writer, who thinks she is above an edit, makes me want to punch myself in the face! At this point I have spent probably thirty hours working through the corrections and I am not 1/3 done.  I am “rejecting” probably 85% of the corrections. I wanted to believe that the 15% of corrections I am “accepting” is worth the time spent. Truthfully, I can hardly stand to open the file.  It is making me angry and frustrated and completely sucking the joy out of this process.  Many writers abhor editing, but I do not.  I love editing!  I think that editing is like the final coat of paint.  It is when you can finally see the true color of your work.

So this morning I finally made the decision.  I am shit canning this version. I’ll go back and do my own rewrite and then, when I am satisfied with the story once again, I will ask you, writers, for some experienced recommendations.  I’ll want Circling and Forever Falling edited together, I think. Lessons have been learned on this.  I am culpable in that I gave inadequate instruction and made assumptions about the process.

Bottom line is I miss the joy of all this.  Since I started writing on February 7th, my life has completely changed.  My brain rewired. My emotional connectivity with the world altered. I feel things more than I used to.  In some ways that is good.  In some ways it is bad.  For this situation, it is bad.  I can’t sleep. I’ve lost seven pounds (ok, not all bad). I’m way too generous with the pharmaceuticals. I simply can’t turn it off. I have to let it go or I’ll be insane.

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I had dinner at Busboys and Poets last night.  I was browsing the books and found my face right here… Rand, Randall, Ratner, Rice.  This is where I’ll be alphabetized one day.  I am in interesting company!  I’m glad to get all that out, Once I hit “publish” the decision is made and I can get off the fence on this. And I can get back to writing.

 
Thanks David Bowie for the title borrow. Here is The Jean Genie from Aladin Sane.

 

The Creativity and The Business

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I should be writing now, at least editing. I have a block of free time, a coffee, good wifi, perfect surroundings. Truth be told I’ve been drinking a bit and writing a blog seems more fun. Okay that isn’t entirely honest. I’ll dig a bit deeper. I am struggling to focus this week.

Forever Falling, my second novel is getting down to the nitty gritty end of the first draft. I finally got the photos off my new camera and I’m able to fill in setting description from a my summer travel. I took about 500 photos of houses in Asheville and I chose one to be the home of my female lead’s father. There are also scenic shots throughout the city and mountains of Asheville and Park City. So I went back to page one, word one, to fill in details and touch up dialog. The story has a nice shape for a first draft.

Meanwhile I am trying to focus on this mad business of publishing so I can set Circling somewhere, permanently. The choices are endless and they are all right. And they are all wrong. How much time do I want to devote pedaling my words to the world of traditional publishing? To agents? If I didn’t have a publishing background, the answer would be ZERO. It is a lot of work and one thing I know about myself is that I SUCK AT WAITING. I fucking suck at it. Sure, get back to me in 16 weeks. My reflux will eat a hole right through my esophagus and I’ll be a raging alcoholic in 16 weeks. I can only get so many refills on my Xanax.

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Or independent publishing? There are a LOT of ways to do this. The research required makes me what to lay my head down on this table at Starbucks and take a nap. It does not make me want to buckle down and finish Forever Falling.  And what on earth is worse for creativity than business. I’m a Marketing (un)professional.  I totally get the business is creativity philosophy, but it is a little bullshitty. It is what we creative types tell ourselves so we don’t put our heads in the oven Monday – Friday during business hours.

So writers. Feel free to weigh in on your experience with this process? I am wowed by you all. This is a labor of love and those who stick with it have my undying respect. How are you choosing to share your work? How are you birthing this labor of love?

(Please forgive incoherence and typos. It’s Friday night and I found a really good Malbec.)

For Worse Or For Better

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A rainy Saturday is the perfect day to write. Unfortunately yesterday I had to attend a work event. Yes, it was outside, and mostly tented, but truly it was miserable. The tent sucked. The parking sucked. The traffic sucked. I am sure there was a place to pee, but I chose not to venture there.

My second novel, Forever Falling, is nearing the end of first drafting. My characters and I have about 10,000 more words to journey together, before I let them rest awhile. Shit is getting real, as they say, in this land of fiction.

This has been an excellent writing week. Two or three pivotal, very challenging, scenes are finally taking shape. When they started to unfold, the action was fairly clear, but the internal and external dialog were a bit muddled. I wasn’t nailing it. I wasn’t getting near enough to it. I was seeing it, but not feeling it. Then my week got weird.

I was having some fluttering in the area of my heart. It was absolutely nothing but still required an EKG, which failed after three attempts. It reported that my pacemaker is functioning perfectly. No, I do not have a pacemaker, but I appear to be a cyborg. This all required me to share way more of my anatomy with my slightly too cute above the neck doctor, than I typically choose too. Topless horror.

Then there was the annual celebration at work. Suffice to say I was standing in the middle of 160 sitting co-workers taking photos. My dress wrapped my foot and you can guess the rest. There are two ways to go from there, you can cry and run out of the room or understand that you have a captive audience and perform some standup. I chose the latter and while my material was off the cuff, it wasn’t terrible. My newest Facebook friend deemed me the next Jennifer Lawrence. Somewhat of a triumph. Still miserably stressful.

And then writing went to a very different level. Oddly this week I have been writing a humiliating experience for my male main character, Callum. Then the great work face plant happened and Callum’s feelings of shame and embarrassment became much more accessible. He was exposed (much like my breasts) and degraded (much like looking up at 160 co-workers from the floor). The timing on this was fantastic.  As much as I like writing from beautiful landscapes and listening to the pounding of the surf, there is something to be said for inserting the shitty day to day into the lives of your characters.

Long live the bullshit. It keeps this land of make believe more real.