Signed, Sealed, Delivered. You’re dead.

I’m having a rough writing day.

Even though I know I don’t write linear I struggle to acknowledge that fact when writing. Stubborn as I am I start at chapter one, moving on to chapter two and almost always into what I call “ stuckness”.

This ugly non-existing word means I’m stuck in the story, whilst I know I have to write something further down the line to figure out how the story works, but can’t make myself do it, because I want to follow THE RULES, and go from A to Z in a straight line.

Why do I do this? I’m scared I won’t finish the story. I’m scared it will suck no matter how many rewrites I throw at it. Mostly I’m afraid I can’t do it. I’m also scared the story is too big for my brain to handle, and yet too simple to ever appeal to a reader. I’m scared I’m wasting time. The fear of writing also includes the following fears:

  • Not being original enough
  • Not knowing enough words
  • I write too much Dialogue
  • I’m terrible at Dialogue
  • I don’t write enough Dialogue (you see what I’m doing here right?)
  • My settings/descriptions suck
  • Big time
  • Every word I write is boring
  • I am so slooooooow, by the time I reach “the End” a century will have passed and all words are irrelevant

Conclusion: Writing is scary sometimes

My remedy for this looming feeling of dread near a keyboard is not writing on the story.

I tinker on a blurb, twitter pitch lines or the query letter instead. The fear will shrink and slowly I will add words to paper. (some days I just end up with a handful of blurb lines or sixteen different queries). The plus side is it helps me understand the story better.

My favorite pitch of today so far:

YA THE BLACKLIST with magic. 17 year old Jenya Olivier is the Messenger of Crime. Signed, sealed, delivered. You’re dead. (needs to be said Stevie Wonder Style of course).

Tweeting that one.

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.

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).