The Strangest Thing

So one day you decide to write and write you do. You write morning, noon and night. Your try to fit in a semblance of a real life, work, family, friends, basic healthcare, maybe too little fitness, and you write a damn book.

For me, the first time around, writing Circling, most of the energy felt like adrenaline. It was probably a nice boost of endorphins. Forget the runner’s high, try the writer’s high! I would get up after hours motionless, except fingers on a keyboard, panting from expended energy. But it was all mental and unsustainable.
Eventually, by the later drafts of Circling, my physiological response to writing normalized, and it scared me. The energy was crazy, but it was magical too. What if the magic deserted me and I went back to being just plain me. I like writer me much more than other me.
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So on June 2, 2014, I started my second attempt at writing. Forever Falling picks up a few months after Circling ends. The story travels west with Anna’s brother Callum. Writing was a bit more staid. It was slow to start and my fingers danced much less aggressively across the keyboard. But it kept coming. The questions kept getting asked and answered and the voices kept talking. It took about three and a half months for a very respectable first draft, but it happened.
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I typed the magic words today. With Circling I didn’t type them until draft four. Forever Falling is a much cleaner first draft. POV and narrative inexperience plagued me the first time around. Not this time, lessons learned.
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Tonight I’ll celebrate with a bourbon and a steak. To me this combination tastes of pure satisfaction.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be working with an editor to put the finishing polish on Circling. I have decided to leave the traditional world of publishing behind. I’d much rather be the pilot of my own destiny. My goal is to have it in the hands of all the world in December.
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Raise a glass with me, if you will, tonight. Toast every beginning and every ending. And may every ending lead to a new beginning.

XO

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.)

Setting the Scenes

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Well hello there!  I must confess a first draft does not lend itself well to consistent posting. Here I am with a few minutes on my hands and I think it is time for an update. At my last post (aside from a guest post and share) I was sitting poolside in Park City, Utah, turning a business trip into a fuck load of fun and adventure. Before that fantastic opportunity arose, I had booked a short trip to visit Asheville with a good friend.

I have always wanted to visit that famously quirky, musical, artsy, beautiful city tucked away in the mountains. Starting Book 2, I felt that I needed to find my characters.  For me characters and plot are completely driven by setting. My friend was very supportive of my insane I have to go to Asheville to find my story declaration and found us a wonderful hotel,  a bizarre car, fantastic concert, etc.

20140613_134721With regard to the car. I am full of regret I did not photograph it. This Dodge Avenger was not my typical ride. I was a bit put off by the fact I literally had to spread my legs to drive it. Who’s damn idea was that? The steering wheel only fits between one’s thighs, it raises no higher. Few things can rest between one’s thighs and be so disappointingly un-erotic.

wpid-20140612_211230.jpgAlas – I digress. We ate in amazing, interesting little restaurants. We saw Andrew Bird perform at The Orange Peel and about 27 other musical street performs every day. We walked the waterfall that Katniss  Everdeen walked in the Hunger Games. We drove miles and miles of mountains and walked miles and miles of city. There as quite a bit of bourbon and red wine, too. I took about 1,200 photos. And in all of that, the story began to reveal itself.

I am almost 30,000 words in now. I am a big believer in revising. The first draft is all about meeting these people. You have to meet them and then decide how and where, they will have what kind of sex. And then, I have to decide how I’ll destroy them and finally how (and if) they’ll save each other. On examining my first drafting style it seems I let my characters be very lovely to each other for awhile. I need a lot of words to fall in love with them before I can load them down in conflict. I’m there now. The pain is starting to flow. We are all bleeding on the page.  I think I’m enjoying it a little more than they are though.

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I looked back at my Freeing The Pain post to remember what it was like with Circling. I have to say this is an intense process. My sleep is effected, my day job work focus is for crap. This is truly all consuming. There are very few people on the earth that understand this and it is a little isolating. One of my favorite writer friends has been a bit off the grid. I miss our plot chats. Writers I implore you, appreciate those writer friends who want nothing more than to debate whether you need to mention if your character spits or swallows.

(Too much? – I certainly hope so. XOX)