Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Full body cast can't catch soul

Seems like that time of year again.

My editor for the next release contacted me, and I was relieved at her thorough professionalism and evident experience. The people I've met thus far that are near my age I can count on one hand, but in every respect age does not equal expertise, or even experience. Writing seems to come and go with people, stay with them in their youth and then vanish, only to reappear again in the middle of life, perhaps after children. I made sure to at least ask for advice, and she was very nice, and shared with me some of her experiences and thoughts.

And she thought the novel was "pretty solid" as well. "It was an interesting and exciting read... Overall, it reminds me of the King's Dark Tower series." Admittedly, I've never read the series in question (although I picked up the seventh book for super cheap, and at one point intended to collect and read them all). And also, there was half a paragraph between those two compliments of less flattering material. To sum up, I have some work to do. It seems to me, after a few years of this, that the novel I'm trying to write hasn't been written yet. I've written novels, but the only metaphor that comes to mind right this second is the crazily difficult stunt. I just keep hurtling down the ramp, over and over again, then fling myself into the air, spinning and twirling and flipping. Twice now I've fumbled into the kind of full body roll that everyone from the ground recognizes as a resigned and prayerful posture. "Wow," they all say, "I hope he's going to be okay."

But I guess since it's yet to kill me, I'm free to try again.

So that's what I'll be doing in the interim. I'm a little sad that I didn't squeeze out another chapter on the Winter project, but I feel ambitious about finishing it before Spring. I also might just get around to taking notes on a few other stories that have begun to jostle for my attention there in the backseat of my brain. I sort of miss hanging around a larger group of writers. Only sort of because writers who actually write are a bit rare. This less seen type is the hermit that spends most of their time underwater, swimming about their own ideas. They surface every now and again only long enough to tell people that they're alive. The other type is that one that talks about writing and that's pretty much it. But I do miss getting together every now and then and discussing. Much like the stunt competitor in the metaphor, it's not easy to talk about trying to touch the sky with people who have never pondered it.

However, I digress. As I was saying, it's that time of year. So, for myself, this year it's been about the little things. Air conditioning. Toilet paper. A smooth-running vehicle. Family. Friends. Laughter.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yes we should

Writing and blogging seem to go hand in hand. It's been weeks since I wrote last on the current project, and I imagine it's been about that long since I updated this blog as well. I did a lot of planning recently, spent a lot of day-befores making I-swears to myself. That's about it. I did a lot of planning and very little implementation of what I came up with.

That changed this morning. Brushing my teeth, I tried to think of a less crazy way to say it than, "I heard the voice in my head again." But that's really the best I got. I knew what the next chapter was about, at least in the beginning so I felt confident about putting something down. Then, before I actually did, I began to hear narration in the back of my head on that very same subject. Almost like with an interactive file, I stopped and started the recording, editing where I saw fit. I rinsed. I spat. I looked myself in the eye while wiping my face and thought "well, I guess I should go write some of this down."

In the weeks since I last updated, several other ideas have occurred to me, too. Thoughts of grad school have reared up again and with those thoughts, doubts concerning my future and the unsettling uncertainty of not knowing where I'll be, and what my life will look like a year from now, much less a month from now. If I may wax political for just a moment, that seemed to be what the election was about: people with no certain future, and people who have no idea what that feels like trying to come together and reconcile their differences. Suddenly, the Never Ending Story 2 has much more terrifying premises. Sell your past for your future?

Speaking of being lost, a friend and I came up with a metaphor for outlining, which is something else I spent these weeks doing. An outline is like a GPS, I said, and he agreed with me, saying that it's a lot easier to get somewhere in a story if you know where you are. Moreover, he asserted, you really need to know where you are in the story. Speaking with him, he said he went back to stories he wrote years ago and thought that they were terrible. We discussed future plans and I asked him questions at points, addressing the perspectives of the him of now and the him of those years ago. His progress, at least, is something I can be proud of.

Another lapse I had was the realization that I had failed to acknowledge certain people in my author information page for the tentative February release. I told myself, years ago, that I wasn't going to do that, that I was going to try to keep everyone that helped me along the way firmly in mind. I haven't even gotten anywhere and already I'm fouling that up. Thankfully, the publisher is going to let me correct that mistake. They have no power to assist with all the others, unfortunately. Still, I guess we should fix them while we can.

It will be less than a month before you hear from me again.