Eat Dessert First

I started writing my Draft That Must Not Be Named with this quote by Ernestine Ulmer in mind.

“Life’s uncertain …

eat dessert first.”

It hits the core of my story because:

  1. My MC has an uncertain life
  2. Her family has a restaurant that only serves desserts
  3. It tells me what I need to hear (over and over again)

I’ve always known I was a writer. I have been writing stories since I was four and never really stopped. I strayed away sometimes but always returned to putting words on paper.

So Irene (yes talking to myself here) why am I waiting to really pursue this goal?

To be honest: a part of me is afraid to fail. More honest: I’m trying to trick myself to not be me.

Which is stupid and crazy, but true. Maybe I’m trying to protect myself, or others, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t outrun myself.

So where am I?

I’m at a point in my life where I can face myself and no longer pursue time-consuming things that prevent me from writing. I have a job I like, a job that gives me the freedom to balance my life. Writing is going well. Editing is going well, my draft is turning into a story, it’s fast paced, surprises me at times and is really NOT BAD.

I guess it’s time to stand still, examine my surroundings with a fresh eye and eat dessert.

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I am a Long Drink Writer

­­Yesterday I had a whole afternoon to edit, edit, edit. And my process made me wonder if I am a normal person. Let me show you:

# 1 Circle around laptop like a curious bird eying a piece of glittering tinfoil for an hour or two

# 2 Open laptop

# 3 Check news, check weather, read ALL the twitter feed, stalk Instagram, pin things on Pinterest

# 4 Make tea. Rummage through cupboards for things to chew on

# 5 Finally sit down to write. Wondering if I should take a nap

# 6 Resist nap urge

# 7 Open document. Stare at all the words. Feel scared. Wonder why I want to finish/edit this draft in the first place.

# 8 Decide to work on story structure

# 9 Don’t know where to begin

# 10 Decide to begin at beginning (I am so smart)

# 11 Halfway through novel. Realize I don’t have an overview of the things that happen -> I am lost.

# 12 Mild panic

# 13 Grab myself together. Decide to make a story structure sheet with chapters

# 14 Make drawing instead.

And then time was up.

I’m really jealous of people who are super organised and GET THINGS DONE because they want to. They sit down, they write. I know I can get things done (I have a 60000 word zero draft to proof it, and other finished stories crying till the end of days in drawers) but I have not yet learned how to take this writing thing in small sips.

But maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I just have to learn what works for me and make the most of it. Maybe I’m a long drink writer.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor long drink

(so pretty, I like pretty drinks)

I promised myself the YA urban fantasy I’m writing (aka draft that shall not be named) is going to be done November 1st . Really done. Ready to be send to agents done. That leaves me 7 months to make my process slightly more efficient.

I can do that.

Crying. I Mean Editing. Sorry.

Pie (aka inner editor) and Kip (muse of some sort) are not on speaking terms these days. That’s because I’m editing draft zero into draft one.

Yesterday evening I was going to add A VERY HUGE number to my Draft That Must Not be Named.

Instead I watched 4 episodes of Once Upon A Time.

(And instead of writing and editing now, I’m writing this post 🙂 )

I don’t have writer’s block, if that’s what you’re wondering, but there’s something I need to overcome. Several somethings actually. A VERY HUGE number of clichés, adverbs, and a plague of the word ‘VERY’, are laughing at me from the pages of My Not to Be Named Novel.

Why they’re laughing you ask? Well, because I didn’t know I put them there when I was writing.

Some examples:

There’s a shape shifter in the story.

Definitely a no-go, because nowadays there’s one in every YA fantasy-like story.

So I have to kill that one. Which is easy because it’s a stupid character that can change into a spider and does nothing else.

There’s a taxi-driver (from India) who helps my main character getting places, but is thin as cardboard.

I DID NOT REALISE I STOLE THIS STRAIGHT FROM THE CONSTATINE MOVIE.

(What do you mean, Pie, when you say I watched that movie a zillion times?)

Also I’m embarrassed he’s from India. I have no idea why I did that, probably stole it somewhere too. It would have made more sense if I added an Indian chef because Indian is my all-time favourite food..

There Are More Strange People Than Normal People In The Story

No idea how to fix this, but I think I need to change some precious demons into humans.

There’s a Market

WTF! How did I get a Market in there. And to make matters worse IT IS A NIGHT MARKET.

Whahaha. I’m crying.

Everything is Very

Very scared. Very cool. Very far. Very strong. Very annoyed. VERY EVERYTHING.

Still crying.

And do you want to know the worst part?

I have no ending. Not really anyway. Something explodes, but it is VERY lame.

So it’s back to the drawing board. The upside is there are no blank pages staring back at me (I call it the BLANK VOID), the downside is that I feel a bit scared.

But first things first.

Lunch.

Whahaha (still crying).

Breaking Down April

No, I’m not breaking down.

This post is to evaluate the goals I set for April.

Before I do this I’d like to underline that these goals were just there to give some direction and also to make me put in words what I wanted to work on in April.

As a reminder this was April’s Project:

1 – Make Plot Outline (for Editing Purposes)

2 – Edit First Draft (Obvious)

3 – Create Synopsis (Kind of dreading this one)

4 – Write a couple of blog posts (Because it is fun)

5 – Start short story/ new story (To distract from point 2)

And

Make a blog post about my writing challenge to see how many hours I spent writing/ how many words/ how many chapters edited.

I finished or started the things in green, but didn’t do the things in red because I wasn’t as quick in revising/editing as I thought I would be.. After one week of campnano I changed my goal to hours instead of words.

Let me break my April writing down for you in days:

Date

 

Hours What/why?
April 1

 

0 Because of hangover after birthday party. (I turned 34 on 31st of March)
April 2

 

2 Cut things. Also keep shifting things around in chapter 1 and 2.

 

April 3

 

2 Day job. Added some but also cut things. Moved things around.

 

April 4

 

2 Finally started editing for real. Chapter one mostly
April 5

 

2 Chapter one revised/edited
April 6

 

2 Chapter two revised/edited

 

 

April 7

 

2

 

One tiny blogpost. Chapter 3: delete/ repeat. Added some.

 

April 8

 

Weekend (0) House painting /chores ☹
April 9

 

Weekend (0) House painting/chores ☹
April 10

 

 

3 Tinkered again with chapter 1 & 2, and send it to someone to read.
April 11

 

 

4,5 Returned to chapter 3, added/cut/rewrite
April 12

 

 

1,5 Chapter 4
April 13

 

1 Looked things up/ get in touch with writerly feeling
April 14

 

1 Wrote Blogpost
April 15

 

1,5 Chapter 4 done, needs more revising in next draft but okay for now. Need forward momentum so on to chapter 5.
April 16

 

2,5 Chapter 5 started also some reading on WordPress reader to look for interesting blogs to follow (also known as procrastinating)
April 17

 

Minutes Easter things
April 18

 

Minutes Work and birthday party prep
April 19

 

Minutes Kid birthday party/ housecleaning/grocery/ watching Luther, because: Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson😊
April 20

 

Minutes Work and stuff
April 21

 

3 WordPress and a bit of editing.
April 22

 

3 Chapter 5 !
April 23

 

0 Work and stuff
April 24

 

4 Chapter 6
April 25

 

0 Kids vacation, went to a zoo
April 26

 

1 Kids vacation, zero concentration
April 27

 

4 Chapter 5 & 6 Done
April 28

 

4 Started chapter 7
April 29

 

2 Chapter 7/ WordPress
April 30

 

2 Chapter 7 done

What have I learned about my process this month? Well I’m a slow starter for sure. It took me FOUR days to realize that if I wanted to improve this draft I actually had to sit down and well, DO SOMETHING. And with that I mean, FOCUS and put words on paper. And even worse: delete everything that doesn’t work. (Which also took time, because I only really cut things when I send my work to someone else).

So by the time it was April 4th I had that realization and in the days that followed work was done. But then the weekend came around… In which I promised to help to paint and didn’t get around to write much. This is also true for work days and days when the kids are free.  It was a very busy month with loads of obligations but I still managed 50 hours.

Of course I could have done more, but I don’t mind. I like being hooked on watching Luther, going to the gym, meet friends, have dayjob (not liking that one), having 4 kids to entertain on occasion, having a relationship, read books.

And I’ve found some writerly friends! Some say Campnano is very different from the Big November Thing, and that’s true, but I really liked my cabin.

I would have worked on my story anyway but I’m glad I’d a group of people doing the same thing, dreaming the same dreams, fighting the same insecurities.

For May I’ve decided to just keep on keeping on. I learned that if I’ve longer stretches of time I get more work done, so I’m trying to get those this month.

May Goals:

  • Continue Edit on The Draft That Must Not be Named 😊
  • Make a Polaroid branch and blog about that project!
  • Blogpost about editing process part two
  • I’m going to Copenhagen this month, so expect a travel post by the end of the month (probably just pictures, because well Copenhagen!)

Ciao!

 

 

 

 

A Short (& Slightly) Melodramatic Post on Editing

So I wrote this mess of a story.

Lots of words, but not enough and probably not the right ones. Plot holes around every corner, characters doing not- interesting stuff to/with other not-interesting characters. No description or too much of it. And of course : clichés that will make you cringe. I’m at that point that I’ve read the first chapters so many times, I not only lost all objectivity but every single word seems wrong somehow.

But amidst all this misery there’s an occasional gem. A sentence exactly right, a character delightfully wicked, a story element just waiting to be picked up.

So I’m gradually moving along, endlessly deleting, putting whole scenes in The Folder of Lost Words, hoping they will still fit somewhere but knowing they probably won’t. Making up new things that will inevitably cause so many many problems further up the road.

Chapter four, here I come. Such fun this editing thing.

🙂