It’s the hard truth: when you work full time and have limited energy and writing time, you start to realize that writing a blog post kind of feels like wasting words when you could be writing your story.
Since I last posted, something large and exciting happened:
I moved! To a new house. It’s lovely and my writing room feels like a home (though it’s currently doubling as a Cat Infirmary as there’s some sort of strange terrible virus working its way through my cat herd)
Louie, the orange cat who lived in my writing room last apartment, is now out with everyone. He has mixed feelings. Luckily, I made him a safety spot next to the desk and he likes to sit there. The bulletin board is back in effect for revisions and I take down the index cards as I finish revising those scenes. I have a few reminders up there for myself as well:
The first comes from Neil Gaiman’s Instructions. (“Trust your heart, and trust your story.”) This has always resonated for me as I believe most of my writer’s block is because I lose faith in myself and in my story. I start to doubt. I start to question whether my words are good words. Whether my story has any meaning. Whether it is Big and Thoughtful and Meaningful in a way that will Resonate with Readers, etc etc etc.
I have to remind myself that those things matter less now at this stage. At this stage, I need to write the best story I can, in the best way I can. I constantly talk about a “good story well told” when I talk about reading and readership. A good story well told is one in which there was trust between the writer and story, and the writer in him/her/theirself. That’s all. Whether you like the story or not as a reader is different. A good story well told is reliant on trust.
The second comes from slogging through which is a phrase I got from Malinda Lo. It’s a reminder again of her words that once you slog through once, it gets easier. And she’s right. I’m 1/3 through my massive revisions and restructuring and while it’s painstaking, it feels good because there’s an end in sight and I’ve done this before. The revisions I’m working on right now were a huge tightening of the plot as well as a restructuring of events AND, more importantly and harder to pull off consistently, is the change in tone. I changed the tense, which changed the mood, but the overall tone changed too. Harder to describe but I am hoping it is better. I’ve gotten mixed feedback from SSWG on the changes, and good feedback from my MTWBWY online group. Mixed bag there.
The third is the one I get asked about. Ellie is my main character and sometimes, I have her observing things that happen (“Kai turned down the street and we walked for several blocks silently. Then we stopped at a bookstore.”*) instead of reacting to things that happen and emoting. EMOTE, ELLIE, EMOTE. That might be my next reminder! Ellie’s not a video camera. She’s a girl with feelings and reactions. She gets cold and bored and angry and sullen and depressed and flirty and gleeful and hopeful. I need to have these things happening, though she doesn’t have to be “feeling” every sentence. This is a reminder to build instead of narrate without emotion.
And the fourth is something I came across on Pinterest I think. I like it, because I believe it, but also because it’s true in #magicballoonbook. The “villian” isn’t really a villian. Her methods are questionable, but there will be readers–and there is a part of me–who understand her rationale and understand why she wants to do what she wants to do. Her story is one of “do the ends justify the means?” and Ellie’s is the story of “I am the means, and I am the victim for your ends.” So where does that leave the reader? In a story where good versus good created conflict.
So I’m working #magicballoonbook still. And outlining a project for NaNoWriMo. I am nearly done writing my NA romance Everything Between Us (#EBU if you follow me on Twitter) which is terribly fun to write because it’s such a relief from my normal fare (the boy DOES get the girl! the girl DOES get happiness! yay!). I shelved my genderqueer YA fantasy FROST for now.
Reading wise, I’ve read a ton of books that I have to collect up and add to my big long list and tell you about my favorites. Needless to say, there have been a lot of books since July!
Hope you all are well!
Blossom helps me write in my new library/writing office