A Way In Versus A Way Out

Day two of campnano

I’ve plunged back into a YA story for a complete rewrite. There’s distance between the world on the page and myself. So much distance that I’ve no trouble cutting and slicing through it. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for the HOORAY FOR REWRITING-Bubble to burst. Rewriting this story is going to be hard work, it’s going to take more than 30 hours to fix/recreate it into something else. And by something else I mean a far better story. But I’m going to take it one hour at the time and remind myself that small steps can lead to great change.

When driving to work today I realized I’ve changed too. When I was a kid, I wrote to escape. Not only from my not so easy childhood into my imagination, but I also already felt that WRITER could be a job and if it would make me famous and rich I could get away form my circumstances.

As a teenager I wrote partly for the same reasons, but also to handle all the things I was feeling and thinking. But honestly I still had dreams of MAKING it BIG. When I was a famous and rich writer everything would be better.

Now I know it doesn’t work like that.  I no longer write for a way out. My life is exactly where it needs to be at this point in time, and that’s okay. I write because it’s fun and it’s as close to magic as I can get. I can magically turn old and new feelings into a world on a page.

Of course I would like to be published and reward myself with a Henry.

Of course I sometimes worry if it’s a waste of time.

Of course I worry if my writing is any good.

But I also don’t care.

I write because it’s a way inside.

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Fooling Thyself

I’m writing this blog post, to postpone getting to my story. Ha! The ways I fool myself, but since something is bothering me I might as well tell The Internet about it. I know your time is precious, so I’ll tell you beforehand that this short post is about me learning how to edit. The title pretty much sums it up. So if you’ve something better to do (like writing haha), then I suggest you go do that 🙂

In my first draft, I wrote my chapter one, literally to set the scene. I wanted to create a dark mood by introducing a person who had zero to do with the main story. She dies at the end of chapter one. I wrote her back in, later in the story, solely for the purpose of letting her live in that first chapter. [Hope you’re still following me on this]. Chapter one was set in Paris, because Paris is cool.

In draft two I realized this is not where the story actually starts. I ignored this for the better part of draft deux. It also started to sink in, that Paris is “used” in a lot of fiction, AND, even though I’ve been there over ten times, I don’t really know Paris. A change of scenery was needed. With an ache in my heart I cut chapter one, and moved from Paris to Amsterdam (a city I actually know). Chapter two now was chapter one, and it didn’t work. A rewrite was needed. It still didn’t feel right. I changed POV from third to first. Better, but still the first chapters didn’t work. Well written, but not enough spark, if you understand what I mean. And after I finish this post it is time, yet again, to cut chapters TO WHERE THE STORY ACTUALLY STARTS. This is way harder than it might sound. For now I’ve rearranged some of the chapters, and pasted them somewhere in the middle. I’m hoping I can still use them, but chances are I won’t. But I deal with them again, when I get there.

Conclusion:

WHAT FUN THIS WRITING THING AND NOT HARD AT ALL –is what you think when you read a finished book.

I AM DYING HERE. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF- Is how it feels writing it.

Cue Insecurity

I’m in the midst of rewriting a YA contemporary fantasy, and my inner editor is sabotaging the flow. I’ve got a rough outline to guide me through the structure of the story I’ve in mind, I have a Beginning, at least one major Turning Point and an End, so a few of the big building blocks are there. But still I’m creatively stuck. I’ve read/rewritten/read/rewritten some chapters so many times, that I’m bored with my own writing. Cue insecurity.

I should abandon this project.

I am never going to finish.

If I finish it is going to be Boring (yes capital B) and no one is going to read it.

 

Maybe this is the point where I should try to find some Beta readers. Cue insecurity.

 

I won’t find any.

I can’t possibly let anyone read this boring story.

If someone reads this, you are never going to finish.

 

Guess this writing thing means: continue writing. Even when your brain is in the way/ you are bored/ you feel insecure/ you want to abandon the Thing.

 

Send help.

Hello PitchWars

Here I come!

I was procrastinating my way out of rewriting the middle of my story when a writer friend mentioned Pitchwars. I’d seen this  swoosh by on twitter before but wasn’t sure exactly what it was.

Since I was procrastinating already it seemed like a very good idea to do some research on this phenomenon. And it sounds awesome, because Pitch wars might:

Find you a mentor who can help you make your story better than before.

Might even land you an agent.

You can make new writer friends!

But most important for me: IT HAS A SOLID DEADLINE

I like deadlines. I am an idiot. But now I am an idiot with a deadline. That’s way better 🙂

Bye!

*Rushes off to get Draft That Must not be Named ready for the end of August*

Eat Dessert First

I started writing my Draft That Must Not Be Named with this quote by Ernestine Ulmer in mind.

“Life’s uncertain …

eat dessert first.”

It hits the core of my story because:

  1. My MC has an uncertain life
  2. Her family has a restaurant that only serves desserts
  3. It tells me what I need to hear (over and over again)

I’ve always known I was a writer. I have been writing stories since I was four and never really stopped. I strayed away sometimes but always returned to putting words on paper.

So Irene (yes talking to myself here) why am I waiting to really pursue this goal?

To be honest: a part of me is afraid to fail. More honest: I’m trying to trick myself to not be me.

Which is stupid and crazy, but true. Maybe I’m trying to protect myself, or others, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t outrun myself.

So where am I?

I’m at a point in my life where I can face myself and no longer pursue time-consuming things that prevent me from writing. I have a job I like, a job that gives me the freedom to balance my life. Writing is going well. Editing is going well, my draft is turning into a story, it’s fast paced, surprises me at times and is really NOT BAD.

I guess it’s time to stand still, examine my surroundings with a fresh eye and eat dessert.

I am a Long Drink Writer

­­Yesterday I had a whole afternoon to edit, edit, edit. And my process made me wonder if I am a normal person. Let me show you:

# 1 Circle around laptop like a curious bird eying a piece of glittering tinfoil for an hour or two

# 2 Open laptop

# 3 Check news, check weather, read ALL the twitter feed, stalk Instagram, pin things on Pinterest

# 4 Make tea. Rummage through cupboards for things to chew on

# 5 Finally sit down to write. Wondering if I should take a nap

# 6 Resist nap urge

# 7 Open document. Stare at all the words. Feel scared. Wonder why I want to finish/edit this draft in the first place.

# 8 Decide to work on story structure

# 9 Don’t know where to begin

# 10 Decide to begin at beginning (I am so smart)

# 11 Halfway through novel. Realize I don’t have an overview of the things that happen -> I am lost.

# 12 Mild panic

# 13 Grab myself together. Decide to make a story structure sheet with chapters

# 14 Make drawing instead.

And then time was up.

I’m really jealous of people who are super organised and GET THINGS DONE because they want to. They sit down, they write. I know I can get things done (I have a 60000 word zero draft to proof it, and other finished stories crying till the end of days in drawers) but I have not yet learned how to take this writing thing in small sips.

But maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I just have to learn what works for me and make the most of it. Maybe I’m a long drink writer.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor long drink

(so pretty, I like pretty drinks)

I promised myself the YA urban fantasy I’m writing (aka draft that shall not be named) is going to be done November 1st . Really done. Ready to be send to agents done. That leaves me 7 months to make my process slightly more efficient.

I can do that.

Crying. I Mean Editing. Sorry.

Pie (aka inner editor) and Kip (muse of some sort) are not on speaking terms these days. That’s because I’m editing draft zero into draft one.

Yesterday evening I was going to add A VERY HUGE number to my Draft That Must Not be Named.

Instead I watched 4 episodes of Once Upon A Time.

(And instead of writing and editing now, I’m writing this post 🙂 )

I don’t have writer’s block, if that’s what you’re wondering, but there’s something I need to overcome. Several somethings actually. A VERY HUGE number of clichés, adverbs, and a plague of the word ‘VERY’, are laughing at me from the pages of My Not to Be Named Novel.

Why they’re laughing you ask? Well, because I didn’t know I put them there when I was writing.

Some examples:

There’s a shape shifter in the story.

Definitely a no-go, because nowadays there’s one in every YA fantasy-like story.

So I have to kill that one. Which is easy because it’s a stupid character that can change into a spider and does nothing else.

There’s a taxi-driver (from India) who helps my main character getting places, but is thin as cardboard.

I DID NOT REALISE I STOLE THIS STRAIGHT FROM THE CONSTATINE MOVIE.

(What do you mean, Pie, when you say I watched that movie a zillion times?)

Also I’m embarrassed he’s from India. I have no idea why I did that, probably stole it somewhere too. It would have made more sense if I added an Indian chef because Indian is my all-time favourite food..

There Are More Strange People Than Normal People In The Story

No idea how to fix this, but I think I need to change some precious demons into humans.

There’s a Market

WTF! How did I get a Market in there. And to make matters worse IT IS A NIGHT MARKET.

Whahaha. I’m crying.

Everything is Very

Very scared. Very cool. Very far. Very strong. Very annoyed. VERY EVERYTHING.

Still crying.

And do you want to know the worst part?

I have no ending. Not really anyway. Something explodes, but it is VERY lame.

So it’s back to the drawing board. The upside is there are no blank pages staring back at me (I call it the BLANK VOID), the downside is that I feel a bit scared.

But first things first.

Lunch.

Whahaha (still crying).