Yesterday was kind of a landmark in the world of me. I finished a draft of my latest novel that seemed good enough to show someone other than my imaginary friend who follows me around all day. (Her opinion is one I don’t really trust—sometimes she’s like a hype man, other times…) Anyway, this is, I’d say, the fourth draft of this book I’ve been tinkering with on and off—mostly off—for ten years. It’s about two sisters who run a tearoom and their ups and downs in the romance department. I sent it off to my friend whose judgment I actually do trust—always important to have one of those.
Now I’m kind of dangling here. What should I do next? Well, it just so happens that tomorrow is the start of Nanowrimo. Honestly, I thought I’d miss it this year, that I would still be caught in the happy cloud of Nora and Rainey, the protagonists of the tearoom novel. So, I’m a tad thrown off to be at loose ends. There are plenty of them hanging about just begging to be tied up—like that prequel to The Flower Bowl Spell I’ve talked about. I do believe it’s time to give that a dusting off, just in time for November’s 50,000-word goal. Who’s with me? My Nano handle is livyink. Hope to see you there!
Oh, and have a happy and safe Halloween—and by safe, I mean, don’t pig out on too much candy. It’ll cause a rash.
I wrote 1,692 words today on the sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell. I have a few thousand more words already written, but I wanted to start the month and the event fresh—no cheating. Not yet, anyway. I anticipate there will be days when I’m not up to the task of writing the daily target of 1,667 words. There will be days, like the last few, when I’ll even wonder why I’m still pursuing this whole writing thing. I don’t have an agent. I don’t win awards. My books have received decent reviews, and for that I’m grateful.
It’s that kind of annoying interior struggle of a lifetime (not to be all dramatic), this truthful wish that I can’t shake to be a “real writer.” The hard fact is I am a real writer, just not in the category (full-time fiction!) I’d like. Still, I have NaNo, and if you don’t know what that is, click here to find out more. Maybe you can have Nano too. If you do decide to give it a try, my become one of my writing buddies. I’m livyink.
So, I had this dream the other night. Actually, it was in the morning right before I woke up. Those are the dreams I tend to remember, not the ones buried deep in the night. This dream was pretty vivid, and creepy, probably because of all the Halloween spookiness that’s been going on. But it was like a little story with a main character and supporting characters, and mysterious circumstances and something to be overcome. When I woke up, I reached for my notebook and wrote down, quite neatly, I might add, everything I could remember. I had in mind the well-known story about Stephenie Meyer. She woke up from a dream that she’d had about a girl and a vampire. After getting her chores done for the morning, she went to her computer and typed it into a document so she wouldn’t forget it. Later on, she went back to it, and she kept writing in her spare time until she had the first draft of what would become the first novel in the Twilight series.
There are so many dreams I just let go of, that are weird or stressful, or clearly a replay of whatever I watched on TV or a conversation I had the day before. But this one seemed worth pursuing. Will I actually write a novel based on it? The idea is kind of overwhelming right now. Maybe a short story, or a poem first…or a runaway bestseller. I can dream, right?
I used to dream about ponies
Today is the first day of school for my oldest, and my youngest is off with his grandma, and I’m back in the saddle. Or am I?
I’ve cleared my freelance docket and have a quiet moment. I could be writing. I could be revising. Instead, I’m getting to the little things that need to be done, but really, could wait until a bit later…bills, prescription refills, digital photo organizing, updating the blog. It’s all important of course, and my butt is in the chair, yet it’s not really a Butt in Chair (BiC) do-the-damn-work moment. It’s an ahem, ahem, throat-clearing one.
And that’s OK. Those are allowed. Take my upcoming reading at Phoenix Books in San Francisco a week from today (that would be Monday, August 27, 2012, if you want precision). I need to figure out an excerpt that’s appropriate. As author Dina Santorelli pointed out in a recent post, you want something that’s exciting, but doesn’t give too much away. and that’s not always the novel’s opening.
So, I’m in the saddle, yes. Not quite at a trot. More of a slow amble. I know it’s not New Year’s, but it’s the beginning of the School Year, and I’m making a resolution! I resolve to put my writing at the top of the To Do List everyday, and not beat myself up if it doesn’t quite happen.
Pete Denton is a blogger and writer from Sheffield, England, and we’ve been following each others posts for a few months now. He’s made huge strides with his writing, which he chronicles on his blog, and has garnered all kinds of blogging awards. He’s also been very encouraging when it comes to my own posts about my writing/publishing journey, which culminated today in a lovely review of The Flower Bowl Spell. Here’s an excerpt:
I cannot emphasise enough how much I got sucked into the world of Memphis Zhang. I was totally immersed in her story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. With all the reviews I have written so far, I find it difficult to comment too much on the story or characters as I don’t want to give anything away.
What I will say is that I BELIEVED the main protagonist. I felt she came alive on the page (of my Kindle) and I cared about what happened to her throughout the story. One of the character names in particular was a stroke of GENIUS and everyone we met on the journey was well drawn…
I enjoyed the story line and the humour that’s injected into the narrative is spot on. I even broke my “not reading my Kindle on the bus” rule (I know it’s a stupid rule) as I HAD to keep reading this book. I’ve said before I judge a good book on whether the story keeps popping into my mind, well days after finishing The Flower Bowl Spell, little snippets keep doing just that.
Olivia Boler is an author I *met* blogging. I read her posts on self-publishing her story and watched with interest as the cover design was unveiled and the publication drew ever closer. This is a journey that so many people are on and it is a journey I hope to make myself one day. This makes reading a book like this more important to me. It also inspires me to make sure I write reviews and help spread the word.
This was a top professional job. Great cover, well-edited and no errors to speak about. This book gives self-publishing a HUGE pat on the back. If every self-published book was to this standard then maybe the stigma attached to going it on your own would end right here and now.
Thank you so much, Pete, for your thoughtful review. I can’t emphasize enough how touched I was by it!
To read the whole review and to learn more about Pete, click here.
I’m on the road with the family for spring break, typing this on the WordPress iPad app as my husband drives through SoCal. Usually we stay close to home for SB, but we were about due for a vacation, so, despite rising gas prices, we road tripped down to the San Diego area. The whole journey was predicated on some discount vouchers to Legoland from the California PTA and being able to visit my cousin who is in grad school nearby. My kids are at that age where Legoland rocks their world, even though Legos do not. They love my cousin too.
Anyway, off topic, I was driving to an appointment last week thinking about a potential premise for a novel, when genius stuck: why not use this premise for the sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell? It’s true that I have a few thousand words drafted, and some of them I love, but I haven’t been happy with the direction the plot was taking (let’s just say it was a fast track to nowhere). This idea…it could actually work. I got really happy because truth be told, I’ve been kind of frozen creativity-wise. For a long, long time. So, I had to immediately find a song on the radio with an up tempo beat and do a little car dancing to celebrate.
Then we left on vacation.
Days later(and not one new word written), the idea still seems to have legs. Even as my daughter tries to wrestle the family iPad from my grasp. Thankfully, I can distract her with things like climbing walls. For now.