Not much has happened around here for a long time…
That’s not to say a lot hasn’t happened in my world, because I’ve been focusing heavily on writing — sometimes making a mess of it, and sometimes succeeding beyond my own expectations. The blog, however, started to depress me…because around the beginning of the year, I lost my way in the wasteland of my novel-in-progress.
The excerpts I’ve posted here are all still part of the story, but I realise now how very rough they are. Reading back on them, I cringe… There’s a good amount that’s right, but so much more that’s wrong. And the worst part: some of the excerpts are no longer part of the book I’m currently working on.
It was a humid, warm, overcast January day (because I’m in Australia, you see…Tasmania, no less…and we’re all upside-down over here). I was discussing my book with my other half, who’s probably even more excited about my story now than I am. I realised I’d lost my way along the dark and treacherous road through my first draft; one of the minor characters rose up and demanded a starring role in the story. The dilemma came when I realised I liked his story, and he deserved to have his story told; it’s probably more exciting in an immediate fashion than the actual main character’s story, but there’s also a reason the main character is who she is…
Argh, I nearly wiped my hard drive a few times in those days. It took a good week to get my head around what I needed to do: I needed to go back and tell the original story I’ve had in my head for the last 20 years. I needed to put the other character on the back-burner and made amends by promising him his own book.
Thanks to my lovely husband and some serious brainstorming sessions, I’ve pushed ahead and am about a third of the way through my first draft. (My problem is I have a hard time slopping story on the page — I have to clean it up as I go, which is a huge time-sink. I’m obsessive and mildly anal-retentive…I have a hard time changing my habits when it comes to the way in which I write, and that slows me down in a big way.) I’m a linear writer, too…I have a hard time jumping around and writing scenes out of chronological order because, for me, that would be like watching a movie with all the scenes out of order (yes, I know every movie is made like that and cleaned up in the post-production process). When I fiddle around, I can jump to different parts of a story; writing this book, however, has been an altogether different experience.
So we come around to the Tarot card. My lucky number 9 — The Hermit.
I pulled the site down for a while because most of what’s here is no longer current. The parts that are posted have either disappeared from the book I’m currently working on OR have gone through major editing (thanks, also, to my lovely husband). I’ve found it easier to focus on the book when I’ve minimised distractions, and the blog became a distraction for a number of reasons.
I’ve opened it up today because…well, what the hell. I may post new excerpts sometime…I may not… Maybe this will just be a good way to push through writers’ block.
The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is that writing one’s first book is a very confrontational experience — you confront so many of your own demons: doubt, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, confusion. BUT, there are quite a lot of good things, too: pride, satisfaction, knowledge gained through research, excitement…and those outweigh the negatives. Those positives have kept me at it every day, whether I manage to churn out 200 words or 1200. Even on my least productive days, I re-read what I’ve written and clean it up, adding a description here or a few more lines of dialogue there. I don’t know how this whole story will fit into one book — I’ve written over 300,000 words so far, but to be fair, about half of that will now be another book. Nevertheless, if a fantasy novel is supposed to be 80,000-100,000 words, I’m screwed…lol
That’s ok. I will finish this project and follow through with trying to have it professionally published, if for no other reason than to put my soul at ease. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and now I’m in the perfect place in my life to do it. The phrase “Now or never, Baby!” has never been more true, and I owe it to myself, my husband, and my children to complete this story.
So I’ll keep being the Hermit for a while…but instead of a lantern, I have a computer screen (well, actually…I do have a couple of lanterns on the desk in my office…I’ve never thought about that, and it’s rather amusing as I look at them now!). Writing this story has been an intensely personal experience, and I have a new admiration for anyone who forges through the tunnel of writing, reborn and ready to have another go at it with another story.
I want to join the ranks of the published. And when that’s done, I want to do it again.