Monday, April 25, 2011

Colorful rockstar - This is for you Jenny

I read somewhere that when ever you have the opportunity to travel if you are a writer, seize this chance and use it, as it serves to feed the writers mind and creativity. As I am driving to Washington DC for vacation ( I now have a pen everywhere I go and a notebook of some sort) I find myself doodling words about the way the sky looks. I could not help it, we were driving past the Tapenzee bridge in New York and I wished we could have stopped to take a picture. It was dusk and the sun was a pale pink , the sky was was like a striped Blue Raspberry and Cotton Candy Icee it was so pretty. The song colorful came on and I just melted, there seemed to be such harmony. I had to write it down and several adjectives, just to describe the sky. Who knows when you may need to remember that scene? I feel as if I need to capture everything, in case I may need to use it when writing? Is that the same for any one else?

It has been two weeks since I last really worked on my novel, that's my confession. I admit I have felt quite bereft. Also, a tiny bit scared that I will never be able to pick up where I left off, or indeed ever finish it, or be able to think of anything else to write. After writing a short story a couple of weeks ago, I proved to myself somewhat, that I am capable of other ideas but even so. This week as I was on holiday from my novel, The Promise, I did have two further ideas that gave me a wonderful thrill. Firstly maybe another short story taken out of the novel called Sundara, telling the tale of Robert and Mia, before they go on their time travelling quest, looking at their life in this marvelous place in the future and the constraints it places on them. Then, I had a completely off the block idea about a serious topic of adolescent bullying, the ramifications and consequences, for the victim and the bully. Told from the view of the victim, who after committing suicide comes back to haunt the bully. Her mission is to get the bully to confront her treatment of others and make changes for the better, then she can enter heaven??? Not sure if this is a completely ludicrous idea?

So, I have started a notebook particularly dedicated to write down ideas for stories. When my oldest son was in High school I began to think there were so many important issues that  adolescents face and go through.It can be a heart wrenching experience, full of first's. High's and low's. I longed at the time  to write a serious young adult novel. So this is all research for the time when I feel I can tackle such a deep topic with skill, sensitivity and warmth. And after a lot of research and insight!

Anyway, will try to start some rewriting this week. However, and I dont know if this is the case for anyone else but if I know I have something else in my diary to do, I feel I cannot settle to write. Tomorrow is a big ?? as I am either in school volunteering or home looking after my little one, who was home sick today. Will see what the night brings. So possibly I can start again, Wednesday ? After meeting with my consult who is a lovely lady, very inspiring and talented, I am thinking I need to retitle my write up about my blog, taking out the fixed goal of a year, as I am pretty sure it is going to take me longer to finish the novel, maybe longer than I ever imagined, but I will endeavour. Thank you .

Good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. -Ernest Hemingway

Friday, April 15, 2011

Carrie Ryan Book Video Award 2008 Finalist (The Forest of ...

I know I said I would not post again this week, however as this is a diary, when there are events that I need to record so that I can reflect upon them, an exception is made. Yesterday, was the worst day so far in the 7 months I have spent as a full time writer. After submitting a short story to Amazon Kindle as a test  and to gain some experience, I was shocked that within 48hrs I had received an email, congratulating me on the publication of my first ebook. I have to admit I didn't quite get the euphoria I was expecting. It is my hope one day to be published via the traditional route, but I thought as a new, inexperienced, writer with no history in print, I should start somewhere.

Anyway, as soon as I realised my book was available, I made the very quick and rash decision to notify everyone and anyone, sending the link off to my friends, posting it on Face book, attaching it to my blog, in fact any avenue I could think of,  I pasted the necessary details. Then I took a breath and thought very nostalgically, lets just take a look, I cannot tell you how many times I have read and re/read, but it had about a week since I last checked. Well, I nearly died,  words popped out at me that were either completely wrong or were spelt incorrectly, I was mortified. What was worse was the fact that it takes 24hrs for publishing and in that time you cannot make any changes. Leaving me sinking right into the floor, wanting to hide away from everyone, my head was throbbing so much I thought it might explode. I did not know quite frankly whether to laugh or cry last night. After waiting until 10.30 last night to see if the book would be active, which didn't happen. I went to bed, very unhappy even after eating several dark chocolate, coconut filled bars, the mini one's.

Needless to say I couldn't sleep. The thought that friends, people I know, anyone, would buy something that regardless of the quality of the story, it's likability, the characters, the fact that someone would pay money for a book where the spellings are less than what they should be or the very story does not make sense because of the incorrect words, literally made me want to cry. I question whether I have what it takes to really go through this journey as there are so many components to it, I get so impatient and frustrated at my own lack of knowledge, rushing almost, feeling as if I am late for a very important meeting. I am not sure why I feel this way, perhaps because I am a late bloomer, perhaps because I feel intimidated by other writers who seem so steeped in experience, knowledge, an unlimited vocabulary and just pure brilliance.

Anyway, this morning it was Live, so I went back in and requested that my husband act as a proofreader for me. He reads very slowly, which is perfect as he is thorough and after checking through it again, we reformatted the file and sent the updated version. The story is still the same, that has not changed however I now feel that at least you can focus on the story and the characters, rather than the mistakes . It teaches me to take a break from the manuscript, no matter whether it is a novel or a short story, see it with clear eyes and definitely get someone else to read it through. I have learned that whether your work is published via Kindle or the Traditional route, whether it is a short story or a novel ,your name is out there and it is terrifying.  I want my name to be remembered for the correct reasons,  to build up a credible resume, and to feel proud of my work. To do any of this takes time I have to learn not to rush and to understand the power of being in print. I endeavour to learn from my mistakes and move on.

I am taking a break now . After the holidays I have a meeting with my consult, I plan then to print out the whole manuscript make the changes by hand, and then go chapter by chapter rewriting the promise back onto the computer. This is a big decision for me, it is not starting all over again, but it is taking a new look at my work, rather than copying and pasting which is driving me to distraction as I completely lose all sense of the story. So, whereas I estimated the rewriting phase to be  around 2 weeks I am going to surpass that and at this stage I leave it wide open. I am not going to give up, my confidence in my ability is shaken , I can only apologise to those who bought the ebook already and if you want a refund let me know.

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
More funny Oscar Wilde quotes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting the Words Right.

Last week was a strange week for me, I had my final consultation for an hour by phone. Many things were said, so many I began to take notes, letting my helper simply speak and give me her ideas and feedback. On many issues we agreed which was a relief, I am so new to this experience that I kept waiting for her to tell me more. However when it came to a close I realised her words were true, at the end of the day the best critic is yourself, because you look to find fault and it is actually really hard to believe, when someone pays you a compliment. So armed with another plan I spent most of the week trying to edit and reorganise my work.

Unexpectedly, then I was introduced through a friend, to a lady who is a writer herself, discovering someone who is going through the same experiences that you are is so important, as you always need support. It is difficult to find anyone who wants to talk about writing and about all the issues involved for any length of time, unless it is someone equally passionate about it. So even though most weeks I have been a reclusive person, only venturing out for the odd weekly coffee with a friend. I did arrange to meet up, so excited to be able to talk shop.

Not only did I make a lovely friend but she inspired me to venture into the unknown. As a result I found myself taking a break from my novel and writing a short story, which I then submitted on Monday to Roar, who are actively seeking submissions for their magazine. It was a challenge, I was not sure I could take my head out of my novel, and create something new, plus I wanted to complete it fairly quickly so that I could resume with my long term project. Anyway, I managed to submit just under 5000 words I am not sure it is really any good, but I felt pleased that I was able to at least write something. Check out the web site below for submission guidelines.

Last week felt long and it occurred to me that writing is not a quick fix, I know every time I look at my work I think I need to make it better. It is a labour of love, and you need to have incredible stamina, because getting anything published is even harder, and I am beginning to worry that may never happen. The only way to continue is to improve and work harder. As always feedback is important, those of you who I have shared my work with, I do put myself out there, because I need to know what people think that way I can get better, I may not be quite there yet but one day, who knows!

Finally, I would love to start a writers group, it would be great to meet up locally to share our experiences and to be able to bounce ideas off one another, if anyone would be interested or knows of anyone please let me know, best wishes.

More than a half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting. I wouldn't say I have a talent that's special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina.
John Irving

Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.
(Ernest Hemingway, "The Art of Fiction," The Paris Review Interview, 1956)   Check out this web site if interested in submitting short stories, poems closes 15th April.