Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Novel Beginning, Weeks 7, 8 & 9

This post includes Weeks 7, 8 and 9 from my writing journal.  I added an extra week because one week had limited entries and because I would like to get to the end of this journal sooner rather than later.  These three weeks I dealt further with character development, introducing new characters, the issues surrounding time management and my first act of bravery at finally allowing someone else to read some of my work. 

Week 7

I am beginning to worry that some of the details in my story might muddy the water.  Whether or not certain facts should or should not be included, whether the character should or should not know certain information, whether the information can come out now, in a later chapter or in a later book…there is much to think about.  Today I am happy with the amount of writing I was able to complete but towards the end I began to feel lost.  Whether I was feeling lost with the characters or feeling lost in the plot, either didn’t feel good as I thought my character was floundering a bit.  It could be due to the fact that she is just beginning to gain the knowledge that things are not as she thought they were.  She doesn’t know it yet but someone close to her has lied to her.  How will this affect her later?  How will it affect their relationship?  After thinking about it, I believe I became upset as I wrote out the scene where the character lied to the main character.  This particular scene wasn’t what I had initially intended to add when I made notes on the subject of their conversation.  It could be this conflict that I’m getting lost in because I am concerned with how it will affect the main character.  I care about the main character and I feel bad about messing with her life.  It is odd to say but it is true.

I don’t know how any writer can sit at a desk for 8, 12 or even 15 hours a day.  Working those hours would be very difficult and I can imagine that writing for long periods of time would actually be hazardous to your health.  I believe a writer has more issues than writer’s block to deal with (if such a thing even exists).  Much like a secretary who has to avoid the ‘secretary spread’ I believe a writer has to avoid a big bottom, if you will.  There is a saying, ‘if you don’t make time for your health, you’ll make time for illness.’  That’s a great quote to remember.  Writing is something I want to do but I don’t want to end up gaining weight or affecting my health because I’m sitting at the computer too many hours during the day.  Priorities are an important part of many aspects of your life, whether it’s regarding your job, your family, exercising or just taking care of yourself.  So, I am going to work on my writing but also figure out a way to keep myself moving when I’m not writing so that I maintain good health. 

I had fun introducing a new character today.  Not one that will stick around, I don’t think, but one who gives my main character a very important piece of information.  While I was writing, a new thought crept into my head about how I could switch up the story just a bit in order to change the facts with regard to an important event.  I mulled about it for awhile as I was typing out my scene and I finally decided to just let it go.  Again, having a brief outline is much better than a firm outline, which would be too restricting when thoughts like this come and go.  If I decide to use a new idea, it may change things up but not knowing what’s going to happen is what entertains me as I write.  I hope the reader will also feel the same way.
Week 8

My husband has challenged me to reach 200 pages in my book by this weekend.  Today is Monday but I have case work I need to complete this morning before I can begin writing.  Tomorrow I am scheduled to be a guest speaker at my son’s college class in criminal justice so I will spend much of the day preparing for that.  At this rate, I’m not sure I’ll make it to 200 pages by the end of the week.  Life happens; however, the life in my book needs to continue on as well so I will do my best to find some good blocks of time to write and get as close to 200 pages as I can.
Week 9

I’m so disappointed with how life can wreck havoc with my attempts to maintain good time management skills.  I did not make it to 200 pages last weekend.  It has been difficult to set aside any good blocks of time to write these past two weeks due to other issues I had to deal with.  I think I might get through tough times much better if I can “hide” inside my book but the opportunity just didn’t present itself.  There may be more times such as this but I surely hope not.  I need to keep the story alive in my head and I need to have contact with my characters every day.  I miss the characters if I don’t check in with them every day.  That sounds funny; but it’s true. 

I’m probably just over half way through my book and I finally got brave and sent a portion to my cousin for her review.  Okay, I’m lying.  I only sent her the prologue.  I haven’t had a chance to edit the actual story and I’m not sure I want anyone else to read it before I get a chance to review it first.  Either way, it was a big step for me to finally let someone else see what I’ve been working on.  I’m so private and almost protective about my writing.  I have told some family members what I’ve been doing but I do not yet plan to show them what I’m working on.  Do I value their critique?  Honestly, not yet, especially while the book is still in the infant stage.  I don’t want to hear anything negative about my work yet.   I’ll wait to hear any negativity when it will actually do me good, as I attempt to make the final draft even better.  Right now I feel like a mother bear trying to protect her cub, willing to fight to the death to protect it.   
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These three weeks of writing were fairly difficult for me.  Not only was I working with new ideas and feeling "bad" about upsetting the main character's life (although I was happy with how it moved the story along), I was dealing with a stressful time in my personal life and as a result the feeling of disappointment at not accomplishing my page goal for that time period.  Of course, the issue with time management is nothing new if you've read my other journal entries.  I may have been expecting too much too soon after writing for only two months and at the time, I did not realize it would still be another two months before I would finally complete the book.  However, it was my motto "Don't let life rule your passion" that helped me continue to find the time to write when I could and kept me going regardless of what was going on around me.

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