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.)

When Is The Unforgivable, Forgivable?

 

Happy weekend to you all.  I hope this summer is as wonderful as summer should be.  These last few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster.  Summer brings its usual joys including drinky dinners outside, a consistent diet of melting marshmellows and chocolate tucked into graham crackers (Are s’mores international? They feel fairly regional.), of course some outdoor concerts (OneRepublic shown below), a very special 4th of July, and a bit of baseball.

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I am sorry to say I also attended two funerals these last weeks. Lovely ladies, who both passed well before their time.  My heart goes out to their families.  They have a long road ahead.

In spite of, or maybe because of these few week of highs and lows, I have been giving a lot of thought to stories and story telling. Before the 4th, I started the process of deciding what is next for my first novel Circling and I am taking action toward next steps. I have no idea how things will pan out, but I look forward to the day it will be available to share with all of you – one way or another.

With Circling settling into a good place, I have been spending the last two days reading over the first 35,500 words of draft one of Book 2. I really need to title it already.  I hadn’t picked it up for about two weeks and this was my first go back to the beginning read-through. My memory is weird, or maybe I drink too much when I write. I can honestly say there were some surprises in there for me. Of course I know the story, but the actions and dialog surprised me in places. It felt really, really good too. I am asking a lot of dark questions in Book 2 about forgiveness and retribution, and finding right in the face of wrong. The unnerving part is that even 1/3 through, I have no idea what the answers are – morally, ethically, I’m not even sure what I believe.

I see things in black and white – good/bad, right/wrong, nice/mean, happy/sad, exciting/boring.  My thought process is very definitive. More and more, I am learning that writing, for me, is all about finding a way to think in grays (not 50 shades, though).  Villains and heroes are rarely one or the other. If they are just one facet, they are not very interesting.  Favorite villains? Hannibal Lechter, Darth Vadar, Loki (Thor’s brother for you lesser geeks). Even Draco Malfoy tugs at my heart strings.

If we can get the slightest insight as to what made a villain a villain and if they are moderately engaging, we can love them. Even as they betray our hero, we do love them and hope for them to change, but maybe even root for them (just a little) when they don’t. If they are good looking, all the better! (sorry I am not balancing my villains gender-wise here). My question is how far are we, as readers, willing to take that good will.  How much will we forgive?

I would love to get specific, but I don’t want to give my Book 2 story away.  I am going to try to find the boundaries here, and it is going to dark places, but very interesting places, too.  In the interest of research, I’d love to know…

Who are your favorite villains and why do you care about them?

 

Take The Time To Do It Right

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On February 7, when I started writing Circling, we were in the middle of a horrid winter. I was never so happy for piles of snow since I was strapping on skates and skimming frozen surfaces as a child in Rhode Island. Snow days, as I quickly found, are ideal writing days. There is literally nothing better to do than to snuggle up with a laptop and create a new world full of gorgeous, complicated people, who have sex in public places.

Carving out time to write Book 2 seems a bit trickier. Gone are my seemingly endless 16 hour shower free days. And I wasn’t doing any blogging back then.  Every evening as the sun sets, it is a choice.  Blog or book. Now on weekends the damn sun is shining and beckoning me to do things like visit beaches and climb little mountains.

So forgive me for going light from time to time.  Any writers’ tips for avoiding the sophomore slump? How do you keep the writing energy up in the summer? Should I encase my laptop in plastic and bring it into the sand?