Monthly Archives: March 2010

Extreme Book Makeover

Have you ever gone to write something, be it a poem, essay, or book, and given up after the first draft? That’s where I am right now.

Now I know that, in order to create a great book, I need to edit it over and over and over again. What frustrates me is how much I change each edit. First I changed my MC. Then I changed her AND my love interest. Now, I’m changing the style. Yes, I said it. I’m changing the style.

What’s so terrible about changing the style, say you? Style is the manner in which something is written. For instance, rhyming or rhythm in a poem is its style. Writing in a journal is a style. In my case, my WIP (work in progress) was written as a fictional autobiography. However…after a month away from my beloved world and many Anne Rice/Sherrilyn Kenyon books later, I have realized that my attempt at the autobiography is just…not quite working.

Your comments to one of my posts helped immensely. You are right. Most people don’t want a placid, long-winded description of the background of the story. It takes away the mystery. Bores the reader. Drags on the mind. So, in an attempt to change the dragging boring intro part, I embroiled myself in changing the style.

Now, this wouldn’t be so terrible if I didn’t already have a third of the book written. A few chapters isn’t so terrible to change. 100+ pages? A little more terrifying. By scrapping the beginning, I have to go through, remove all attempts at autobiographical fluff, all references to deleted materials, and ALL possibly boring adjectives.

It ain’t easy, let me tell you. I feel like I painted a flower and the teacher tells me to paint a bird. Ok, bad analogy, but you get the picture, no pun intended. It’s annoying and time-consuming and hard. It isn’t something that I can tweak here and there like I was doing. No, this is a hands-on, full-bodied, Extreme Book Makeover. Where’s Ty when I need him?

In the end though all my griping and complaining is more because I’m worried. I know that the direction I’m headed is better than the place I was before, but a little voice inside my head keeps saying, “See? You couldn’t get it right the first time. You couldn’t get it right the second time. You won’t get it right this time either. Might as well give up.” The scary thing is that part of me agrees with that little voice. I mean, don’t good books just kind of fall on you? Doesn’t it just pour out of the fingers like literary ambrosia? What must be wrong with me that I had to redo this three times already? And that, my friends, is not counting the first attempt at this book nor the ORIGINAL book I wrote. Most of this complaining is a fear that I will yet again fail. A friend once asked me why as a writer I was so self-conscious. Weren’t all writers arrogant and overly-confident in their work? Alas, I am not one of the lucky few, I suppose. I have little confidence in my work. The small pieces I do have are gleaned from your comments and from the comments of those reading said failed text. As long as they love it, I can continue. As soon as they stop, I am doomed to fall.

So, I am standing on the edge of a precipice staring into the darkness. I am staring at a muddled canvas armed with only my wit and my paint brush. I am headed back into the world of my mind, praying to God and the powers that be that I might be able to make a masterpiece of my disaster before I lose heart. I’m not sure how many more edits I can take. In the least, the first 100 pages will be so perfect that any request for a partial manuscript I get will be terrific! (It’s the other 150 pages or so I worry about…)

Sample Pieces

I’m going to start putting up any interesting pieces I’ve written. Feel free to comment on them, but be gentle. 🙂 Most of these are spur of the moment and unpolished. They are raw emotion, so if the grammar doesn’t quite work for you, ignore it. What I want you to get from these pieces is the over-all feeling. If I fail to evoke that feeling, let me know. My goal with everything I write is to touch some piece of your humanity and make you feel.

Science of the Disbeliever

I’m not completely sure of what I’m going to write in this post. My mind is both here and not here. Present and distant at the same time. I can feel reality and fiction pressing against me, forcing itself against my temples, weighting itself against my heart. I can hear my son crying as he struggles against sleep. I can hear my friend’s paintbrush moving softly against wood. I can hear the hum of the fridge and the birds in the trees and the faint sizzle of the coffee pot element. But, behind and in front and vague and clear stands the images of my mind.

I see the world of Anne Rice stalking the corridors of my imagination, the vampire Louis intent on his mortality. I can see the heavy fronds of Calypso, with Kira darting in between the starlit trees. I can taste the fumes and desperation and despair of a future earth, walk beside a man I have yet to know.

It is like, in this moment, I see two worlds. I see the string theory come to life, the string theory of the written word. In this moment, anything is possible. An angel could be standing over my son, soft words barely audible as his ethereal light dusts the little form. A pixie could be hiding in my water heater, devilish eyes tweaking the pipe, freezing me out. A lone hunter could be asleep in the room right next to mine, his mind wandering those far-away terraces of sleep and dreams. Anything is possible, in this moment.

Reality is there. My son is sick. My bills need to be paid. My house is cold. My coffee is sweet. But everything glistens, shimmers almost with this preternatural awareness. Nothing is what it seems. Everything is touching nothing, and everything is touching something. It perfumes the air and fogs my senses.

In this moment, I feel the truth of my passion. I see the path of my desire. I am the scientist, bringing to life the multitude of universes that our world touches. I am the theorist that throws cation to the wind. My mind is its own, and my fingers type of their own accord. In this moment, I am.