Sunday, June 25, 2006

Believe it or not...

OK. I started writing this 12,000-word short story. The specs say to send it, especially if you think they'll never buy it because ya might be surprised.

So, I sat down to write a 12,000-word story. I've written and sold 8,000-word stories. What's 4,000 more words? I picked two names out of the air just to give me a starting point, and I began to write. When the pace slowed, I threw another elephant in the room. And I added some more characters here and there. All of those characters had to have names so I decided to surf to one of those websites that has baby names and their meanings.

Did I say I snatched names out of the air?! I checked the meanings of the names for the characters that I had. And the meanings of their names all fit with the characters! I kid you not! Mind you, I checked the meanings AFTER I had the first draft nearly finished!

This story has gripped me. I have written others that I didn't finish. I walked away from them. But I can't walk away from this one. It won't let me go! Research. I need to research.

Avian flu. Check. Uh-huh.
Pandemic. Check. OK.
Dreams. Check. I didn't know that!

So I wrote some more. But there was something missing. Research. I need to do MORE research.

Black Death. Check. I knew that stuff, but it's good to refresh.
Physical and spiritual death. Check. I knew that, but I'm puzzled about some of it.

Dreams...are they in the wrong sequence? Yes. But moving them around...UGH!! What a challenge! Am I leaning too heavily on dreams? Should they be blended into series of dreams rather than separate dreams?

More research. I need more research! Meanings of terms that I've got to understand to make this story work.

A closer look at the theme of my story.

Research. We're born, we die. When we die we go to Paradise or Tartarus until Judgment Day when we are directed either to Heaven (if we're good), Hell (if we're not.) The sermon was at church. But it sounded an awful lot like mythology to me. More research.

The Bible...Old Testament, to study about the main character's namesake. The Annals of the World to help me comprehend the times the namesake lived in.

Why can't I just write a good story?

My mother suggests that God is trying to direct it. He intends me to write it.

Update coming soon to a blog near you. (Well, it'll have to be this one.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

I've been sorted

OK. Let's see if I can get this to work. I always knew I was a goody-two-shoes.

i'm in gryffindor!
be sorted @

Can't walk away from this one

I can't walk away from this one. I can't put away my tools (or are they toys?) and let the folder get lost among all the others. I started this one to be a 12,000-word submission to a particular market that advises that writers should send to them the stories they've written that they don't really think fit any market. (Paraphrased.) I thought I could write 12,000 words in no time and submit it and make a minimum of $700.

Oh, I wrote the 12,000 words in no time. But I saw some things in the story and thought, "This is much bigger than I thought!" I've been working with it, reshaping it, moving things around to get them in the proper order, with a self-imposed deadline of today to finish it and submit it before 5 p.m. Yet here I am, still not prepared to submit it today. Maybe by Monday.

"I can't believe this!" I grumbled to DH. "I've never written a story that drove me just about crazy the way this one is doing!" Of course, DH thinks I'm never going to make big-time publishing. But when I do, he's going to say, "I knew you could do it." That's just DH.

So, I'm writing longhand in my new office and still have Internet/computer in my old office. At least I don't have to run up and down stairs, although that would probably be healthier for me since running up and down stairs is considered a great cardiovascular workout. Maybe I'm getting more accomplished because I can't at a moment jump on the Internet and use it for a distraction. It's easier for me to say, "No, I can't do that right now because I have to walk across the hall and to the other room.

I have committed to a weekend writing marathon. By Monday I will have this story completed and I will submit it. And I will pick up one of those other folders and I will stay with it until the story is complete, fini, and submitted. And I will do that with each one of my folders, piling them one on top of another until I have them finished and can stand them up on their spines to fill an entire bookshelf or an entire file box. Then I will pull out my idea file and write new stories to add to the old.

A friend told me I'll be the next Nora Roberts, only lately I think he believes that I'm only playing with my writing and won't achieve such lofty goals. We'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Room of Her Own

I got a post from a friend. It was about a foundation. About how they give away grants of up to $50,000 over a two year period to help a woman writer to write her genius unhampered by financial restraints. Well, that certainly spoke to me. I've printed out the application. I'm working on the essays and setting aside a dollar or two between now and the deadline so I can make the $35 entry fee.

The experience of reading, researching and writing these essays is a lesson in studying my craft, determining what I have to say, how to establish my voice, which words I need to say and which do I need to omit to lead my readers to do their own thinking, their own philosophy, their own interpretation. Are these the qualities that will establish my writing and give it longevity? After all, my ultimate writing goal is to write long-lived stories, not the here/read today and forgotten tomorrow when some other piece of fluff comes along to take its place.

I've read again the book, and taken notes on the points that struck me as I was re-reading it. Points that I will incorporate into my essays that will reflect: genius needs freedom; without money there is no freedom; and, money must come as a windfall or legacy. Essentially, that life is comprised of making decisions, taking action, living with the consequences of those actions that lead to other decisions and actions that lead to consequences. We make choices what is priority in our lives and we have to live with that until we can effect the changes that allow us to reach for our individual gold rings.

I am excited today...about writing. I'm excited by the book I have just read. I'm excited by the anonymous card from a Secret Friend who also writes. I'm excited by the anticipation of writing from the heart, writing my thoughts, being myself and grasping onto my freedom so hard fought for and hard won. But am I free? Is anyone? I am free to write what I think, what I feel, what I believe. I am free to write what I want to write. To pursue those goals, those challenges, that I want to achieve. To overcome the big fish in our little pond who would prevent me achieving my destiny if it was dependent on them, but is not.

So many many many many many tales to tell, and only one lifetime in which to do all of these things!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Always new beginnings

OK. It's months later since my last post to this blog. My fear of blogging is that I'll use everything I feel so deeply in blogging and have nothing left for creative writing...that I can sell...and make money. Oh, that I could be another Nora Roberts. Oh, I don't want to write a lot of steamy, sexy scenes, but I do want to publish stories that will have meaning to readers, that will be long-lived! But I keep getting stalled.

The children are all grown up now. It's not like I don't have time now. Well, but there are SO many things demanding my attention...aging parents with health issues, a husband who requires a little attention here and there, grandchildren...There's the publicist gig that helps me to pay my bills, the historical gig that makes me a little cash on occasion. There are the crochet projects, the books to read, the studying I need to do, the research that is important to my stories, writing my stories...I don't think one lifetime is long enough to accomplish all of the things I want to accomplish!

But I am focusing on one story at a time. Every time I get an idea for another story, I jot down the specs and file it away, hoping that I'll find a place and time when I can work on that story's development. Well, hope springs eternal.

What I'm finding is that when I focus on one project at a time, I make more progress. It's like that in anything I do. Deadlines help productivity/production. I don't need someone else to set my deadlines for me. I set them for my self as much as I can. The afghan had to be finished by Wednesday because my friend was going to deliver it for me on Thursday to save me shipping costs to California. The bookmarks have to be made by Friday night for the Saturday ladies breakfast at Karen's. I was trying to finish the short story and submit it so I would be able to pay for Word software. I wanted to have it submitted and hopefully sold before May 31 when the two-month trail ended. (The trial assured me I could still access my files after the trial. I hope I understood that right.)

There seems to be a certain path for writers, set at our individual paces. We all pass the same way in our growth to successful writing. We just don't get there at the same time or reach the plateaus that become steps in our foundation. I am encouraged by that. And the further along I go on my individual writing path, the more intent I am on achieving my goals, of getting more focused, of getting from here (point A) to there (point B).