The Extremist That is Me:
I’m either reading or writing: ‘All or Nothing’
Hello folks! Nice to see you again. I feel as though it’s been a while. I guess compared to my more consistent (multiple a week) posts from the last few months–when put up to those standards–it really has been a while.
It’s been a transitioning two weeks in March. Recently, in my writing, I came to a point where I felt a bit stuck. It was funny because looking at my Outline/Plot board, there are index cards filling up the first two rows, then there’s a gap in the middle with sporadic cards, then the end has a clean row mapped out.
It was interesting to see that where I was stuck was precisely in the middle–after ACT II begins–where I have gaps with no story line. See, I figured, when those parts came, I’d be a pantser and write like the wind spontaneously in the moment. And though, yes, there’s been elements of that, I need a little more preparation than that, teaching me once again, I’m better with a plan.
ACT I which took about 75 pages to get to (my inciting incident) and a good 50 pages after that into ACT II came easy. There were a couple scenes here and there, where I knew what was supposed to happen, just didn’t know, how I was going to approach the scene. Other than that, I flew through part one. I had a good writing rhythm.
Then, the blank spots on my board came and…cue the crickets.
I had been eagerly anticipating getting to this part of the book. It’s where everything really starts moving, my main characters are in each other’s lives–this was the fun relational stuff I’d been waiting to begin and…damn crickets. I think I felt pressure about this part. I want to write these characters well and I want their interactions to be purposeful and realistic. I want to build the tension, and the relationship while making sure everything flows along with the whole mess of story going on around them.
I had to tell myself to calm down and remember…it’s just the 1st Draft! (Second, technically, but 1st Draft of this new concept) Anyway, I had to remind myself that it would get polished after, but of course, still, you want to try and do it as well as possible so that when the revision train comes to bulldoze, it’ll be even BETTER!
Finally, I found a new system when approaching new chapters that I haven’t thought of or figured out yet. In my writing journal for this book, I mark the page as:
Chapter (X) Map Out
Then, I put on some “Writing Playlist” tunes and ask myself some questions. I found this on Pinterest which has been helpful for these little exercises.
The main question I attack first is:
What needs to happen in this scene?
I brainstorm on paper. I scribble a version. After I feel I have a good outline for the chapter, I go to my MS document and then do number 8.
Play it on the screen in your head.
I was going to study film once (admission process to FullSail and all), even the bestie and I naively started our own production company, and started a short film production about Human Trafficking her and I wrote from a concept she saw in her mind one evening. Alas, we were naive and broke and lacked resources. It didn’t happen. I’ve always seen stories in my head. I have a VERY VIVID imagination. I like to stop, let the music play in the background (literally) and picture visually the scene in movie form. I’ve been doing that more intentionally in these recent chapters. Before, I did it subconsciously, not focusing.
I don’t Repeat 200 times, like number 11 says for the sake of my sanity.
So what’s this ‘All or Nothing’ subject title about?
I laugh realizing how much of an extremist I am. Gosh, it can never be in moderation , it’s all or nothing with me. I’ll explain. When I’m reading a book, especially lately, I rarely pace myself anymore. I end up reading the whole think in one sitting, unless five in the morning comes and I just can’t, I must put it down due to my body shutting down, then the next evening, I’ll finish it.
When I was stuck in my writing, that week, I devoured books, which has had me ahead of schedule on my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2014. (widget can be found on the Right)
Now, using my new found system, last week, I started writing like a mad woman. When I go into my writing cocoon, ignoring the world, my reading books take a back seat. I feel them glaring at me. I miss them too, trust me. I haven’t read a book in four days which seems ghastly! It hurts my heart to say it. There are so many I still need to read and want to.
It’s one or the other apparently. Earlier this year, I mentioned my writing slump and how it was affecting me emotionally–that stupid failure button pushed–because as a resolution, I wanted to be consistent with finishing this draft. Now that I have my rhythm back, I really want to be intentional with this story. It’s there. I have both book plots generalized and ready. They just need to be told now.
I’m excited because there is a cool Editing group who offer services for Reading critiques, In-Depth critiquing, and you can even organize an Editor Skype chat,which is great. Sometimes you just need to chat back and forth thoughts and ideas.
The services are very reasonable, financially, and I’m planning on investing in their services this year. I want to take up a few of their services, actually. I am not mentioning or crediting the group yet because I haven’t starting working with them yet. You never know what the future holds so I will hold off on naming them.
As soon as we start working together, I’ll let you all know about them. The kicker is, I need to finish this draft. They need the entire manuscript for critiquing. It gets me more motivated to be consistent and finish telling the first part of this story.
What I love about what they do is one, they know the industry, what’s marketable, what agents are looking for, and help clean up your story, make it the best in can be at that point in time. THEN once it’s been cleaned up a bit, you can go pimp it out to agents. I love that! It’s why I believe it will be a worthy investment. I imagine and hope, it’ll give me a wee bit more confidence to go out there and put my child, my heart and soul, my FIRST, out there, finding adoptive parents (Agents, Publishing houses) who’ll take her in(my book–I guess cause my MC POV is female is why it’s a ‘she’), love her, share her with the world.
I’m writing a YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic which is already a hard sell right now. There are already so many in the market, that were done right, that they’ve become much more picky about submissions they’ll take and believe in. We shall see the fate of this ol story of mine.
So that is my Writing update!
Happy Monday, Happy St. Patty’s Day and Happy Reading y’all!
Till next time!