Saturday, November 28, 2009

A little more here, and a lot more there

Thanksgiving is past and now that I have finally finished the clean up (it took two days to cook, why not another two days to clean up?) I am freer to sit down and look through my last "entry" in my novel, then go from there. Right now, she's in a good place, but it may be more like the frog in the warm water--there's trouble brewing just ahead. It has to be that way. The poor girl will end up fairly happy at the end (we have to have a few unmet desires), but the story wouldn't be very interesting if it were all smooth sailing!

My critique group includes a few of us who are well along in our books--and one who is done with the manuscript, but doing a bit of finessing--and we have laid on the table the idea of meeting weekly to encourage faster progress. I'm not sure how I feel about this. If I were the average woman my age, my child would be grown and married, and I'd have the time for it. Now, I'm not sure that it wouldn't just create more pressure in my already pressurized world. I have to be aware of my limits all the time. If I blow past them, everything melts down until I can get back in balance. I may be interested in creating calamities for my heroine, but not for myself.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Of time and rewrites.

Time. It runs out, it races, it stops at the worst possible moments, it's "on" or "behind" or "over." For me, it's just too short. Every day it's a challenge to control it and make time for BIC (butt in chair) work.

This is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated), when writers sit frantic and frenzied, writing a whole novel! The goal is to write about 50,000 words in the month of November--about the equivalent of a first draft. The idea is not to produce a publishable novel, but a draft from which you can sculpt a decent work of art later on.

I have to admit I like the idea a lot, but I never get there. Being mom takes over most of my time (as I truly believe it should), so there are only little puddles of time that I have for writing. When I worked in radio copywriting and later in news, I found that when you write on deadline, you can't sit around waiting for some muse to waft in and dump great prose on you. You just put your BIC and write. That myth busted, there was another I DID succumb to: I thought I needed a block of time to write. You know, like a couple of hours to get into the zone, live out my characters, really inhabit that fictional space. Let's bust that myth, too.

As a mom, I don't have two- or three-hour blocks of time. The "zone" is like the muse--not there. I have to write anyway. When my head is doing laundry I still have to write about a journalism professor conflicted over identity and love. When I'm in the middle of chaos, I still have to write about my heroine's peaceful home. When my characters seem stupid and alien, I still have to love them and make them lovable to others. And that all has to be done in very short bits of time, wherever I can find it. At least at the moment I can rest in the saving knowledge that it's just a first draft. NaNoWriMo'ers may produce 50,000 words this month, but my goal will be closer to 1,000.