Monday, August 30, 2010

Perspective

"And indeed if you think you're a genius at something, what you achieve is very much according to your expectations; if you think you're no good, you're not going to get anywhere." ---Diana Wynne Jones

Over the past month, my whole perspective of my novel has changed. I haven't even dented the rewrite, and decided to try a different approach of going through my notes and outlining. To be perfectly honest, I don't like outlines and never seem to stick to them. This time, it might be different. Until I start this rewrite, I don't think I will have any idea what is really going on.

I am feeling more confident even as I realize that this rewrite is becoming more and more intense with every passing day. I could give up, shelve it, and never look back. In my heart of hearts, I know that this story needs to just go through some changes. Some might be drastic, but that happens in life and wonderful things can come out of the woodwork (or, in this case, paperwork!).

This upcoming weekend is Labor Day. I am excited to have a three day weekend away from work. I promised myself that I would use one of those days, go to a tea shop or bookstore, and sit down to work on my writing. I am hoping to rewrite, again, the first chapter of KIN for an upcoming conference. My attendance all sits on a first chapter and synopsis that I willing to have critiqued. Goals are good to have, even when they have to change.

When I talk to people now, they are starting to realize how much work writing truly entails. As I talk to them, I remind myself that I am learning more and more every day. Learning brings such excitement to the world and I am so happy that I have found something that gives me such a great gift without even trying sometimes.

Natasha

Monday, August 23, 2010

Letters

I finally, finally, finally finished writing out the online of the current draft of my story. Now I am going to sit down and actually go through and see if I can create a new outline. Only problem of this will be: Can I follow it?

As you can tell, I am still stuck at Chapter 3 and will probably not finish the rewrite. Hmmm. Did I just say that?

Not too much else going on. Just getting psyched for our trip to the Renaissance Festival, still loving the new kitchen tile, and bought a car (a hybrid!!!). I am also reading four books, and am over my head with those and writing.

So, I am going to keep this short this week. Instead, I am going to pass on this great link of Letter to Myself where authors write letters to their younger self to give them advice and encouragement. It is worth reading.

Natasha

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unbaked

"Because.... OK, I'm cookie dough. I'm not done baking."
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I wanted to write a post about revising and some of the great posts I have been reading lately. However, I am going to hold off until I have more to say on the subject.

Right now, I am at a stand still. I have started writing out note cards to outline each individual chapter (I am not much of an outline person). I think then I can really see all what I need to cut, add, and expand on. I really have hit a road block at Chapter 3, so I know that I have to really look at the bigger picture.

In other news, we redid our kitchen tile this past weekend and booked an upcoming weekend in the Twin Cities for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. There will be some Asian food, booths, and presentations the weekend we chose so I am hoping to gather some inspiration from that. I am in my editing week right now for Stone Circle (my writer's group) and reading a friend's manuscript. Maybe doing all this editing will push me forward with my own.

This is a learning experience, that is for sure. I am not giving up.

Natasha

P.S. Today is the 90th anniversary of when woman gained the right to vote, otherwise known as the 19th Amendment. To think, my grandmother was 15 years old when this passed. It amazes me to think that she didn't have those rights at one point in her life. I wish I would have been able to ask her what she thought when she heard it was passed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wishing Song

I don't know how I cannot point out this week's opening of This American Life. In it, Ira Glass talks about the "I Wish" song, which is "In many movies and Broadway shows, it's the main character's first song, in which they express the hope that will set the story in motion". It had me really thinking about the "I Wish" songs that I have related to, and the ones that I might have sang to at different parts of my life.

The one that sticks out most to me is in Beauty and the Beast. I always related to Belle. I grew up in a small town, read books as much as I could, and always felt like such an outsider. In the first song "Little Town", her thoughts are mingled with the perception of what people in her village think of her. It is in the "Belle Reprise" that we finally hear her wish (or in this case, her wants):

Is he gone? Oh, can you imagine? He asked me to marry him.
Me, the wife of that boorish, brainless . . .
"Madame Gaston!"
Can't you just see it?
"Madame Gaston!"
His "little wife", ugh!
No sir! Not me!
I guarantee it
I want much more than this provincial life!
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they've got planned

This moment in Belle's life matched my own. The longing for something more and that no one could understand. Most of all, to find someone out there that can understand and share it with me. I, like Belle, was lucky enough what I was looking for.

Then there is the question: then what? What about the present? Today my dream of becoming awriter is growing stronger and stronger. After much thought, I realized that my current "I Wish" song has transformed into "Almost There" from Disney's The Princess and the Frog:

People down here think I'm crazy, but I don't care
Trials and tribulations, I've had my share
There ain't nothing gonna stop me now
'cause I'm almost there

I remember Daddy told me: "Fairytales can come true
You gotta make 'em happen, it all depends on you"
So I work real hard each and every day
Now things for sure are going my way
Just doing what I do
Look out boys, I'm coming through

And I'm almost there, I'm almost there
People gonna come here from everywhere
And I'm almost there
I'm almost there

It may seem silly that I am taking both songs from Disney movies, but they are the masters at these types of songs. This song sung by Tiana really spoke to me as an adult, and it was easy to relate to this 20th century Princess. The romance was also refreshing since they complete each other in ways that we understand. From where I sit, the song speaks to me of the goals that I feel so close to accomplishing and it is a good feeling that I am finally going somewhere. For, someday, I will arrive. Determination is the key.

If you have an "I Wish" song you want to share, go ahead and write in the comments.

Natasha

Monday, August 2, 2010

Staying Dry

"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."
-E.L. Doctorow

I have been trying to work on my rewrite/edit of my latest novel KIN for a few weeks now. I did great with the first two chapters, and now I am stuck. I keep looking at Chapter 3 and it just stares back. I realized after a week that maybe I should read Chapter 4 to see if that will help. Not only did I discover that it was necessary to edit Chapter 3 and 4 together, but Chapter 5 threw itself in there too. So, I need to rewrite Chapters 3-5 so they fit together just right. I am just not sure yet how to do it yet. I am not an outlining type of person, but maybe in editing I am. I found note cards and decided I might have to create some sort of timeline of events. This is very different than I have ever done while writing.

My goal at this point is to have the first rewrite complete at the end of August. If not, I might just need to move on for a while to a different project. I have been working on short stories for my critique group, Stone Circle, during this time. My mind keeps telling me "At least you are doing something", but it is not convincing enough any longer. I am doing research for KIN , as well, but that can't count any longer either. This novel needs me. It won't rewrite itself.

I have discovered that writing is easy, but editing/rewriting is the challenge. Also, time.

I started exercising again recently, and I am trying to have that as a priority. I think that it might be cutting into my editing/rewrite time. I need to work harder at a balance between these two. It shouldn't be this hard! I do know that I have been feeling physically better, which means that I can't drop exercise for writing. There has to be a way to balance the two. I will find a way!

I will write up a check-up on my progress on the last Monday of August. I do love goals. (I hope I feel the same way during my progress report.)

Natasha

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