Rewriting My Second Novel Pt. 5

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Well…

I completed the latest draft for book two.  I gave it a read through and… I was massively disappointed in it.

What seemed to have worked in the previous draft, rough as it was, was now gone.  There was no flow to it.  I felt like I was sifting gravel for the sake of more gravel instead of finding the diamonds I had expected.

The two parts I was most concerned about still weren’t working but now they were surrounded by a sea of flawed paragraphs.  I stared at it and it seemed going back to square one (or maybe two) was what was needed.

But then life exploded.  Massive changes were occurring almost daily on my regular job front.  Prior obligations took priority on what felt like a weekly basis.  Trips were planned and happening faster than I could write a word or three down.  On top of that, deaths on the friend and family side removed any sort of desire to struggle with the damn thing.

Mental and physical exhaustion followed by emotional turmoil. So what was left?  Just a little bit of time which I devoted to myself.  Time to remember that there is more to this world than just the responsibilities and duties that belong to me.  Time to enjoy the sound of the wind rustling its way through the forest.  Time to watch the sun sparkle on the ocean as it lapped against the shores.  Time to wander in the mountains and fall in love with nature’s bounty.  Time to actually read a book or two, something I have sorely missed.

And what did all this get me?  Strangely, a sense of clarity that had been missing for close to a year.  I feel rejuvenated and energized.  I no longer look at this draft as more trouble than I can handle in a hot second.

I see the promise in what it could be.  I just have to coax it out.

Rewriting My Second Novel Pt. 4

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Getting the words down in the right order…

So, this rewrite has taken much longer than I had anticipated / expected.  My long battle with the first draft of book four has definitely taken its toll on my calendar of ‘getting things done’ and it has set me back.

Sadly, I thought this rewrite would be a quick one because the last edit made it seem close to done and the first draft flew out of my fingers in twenty days.  But, eh… not so much.  Many spots needed a bit of finessing while a few others needed a full retooling.  And, finally, this edit is almost done.

But there are two spots that are just vexing me.  One just feels weak as all get out while the other feels completely off.  I have to read the whole thing without thinking about corrections and see / figure out what would either make them flow better or just pull them out completely.

So, that’s what is going on right now.  Progress is happening but it is at a much slower pace than I thought would be the case.  Book two will be done but it will be a bit longer than I like.

All of this is for the better.  I promise you.

And then the pc crashes…

 

The Future of Memories

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2019 has been a difficult year for me when it comes to my writing.  Everything else seems to be getting in the way and sapping my brain of any creativity.  So I just sit there and stare at a partially blank page and nothing happens.

After close to a month of this, I decided to try reading some of the books that have been stacking up in a pile that only grows in height… which is a good thing.  I finally did make a dent in that pile (there was much rejoicing), but it didn’t help with the original problem, aka writing.

In the meantime, I’ve met a bunch of other writers both in person and online and it has been an exhilarating experience. Getting to toss ideas back and forth for laughs and even a possible story or two has been fun.  I did get a bit of writing done but not on what I wanted to finish.

I dove into other activities to the point where free time was only a ghost and getting any words down at all was a rumor.  At the same time, I did make some progress on those other activities but the need to write only grew stronger.  I went back to that partially completed page and just stared at it.

And now my time was up.  I had given myself an end date to get that first draft done so that I could get the second book in the Matilda series out and it was now a couple weeks back.  I figured if I can’t write maybe I can edit.  The answer to that was… no.

Ugh, what a quandary.  My brain is screaming at me to get some words down but then offers nothing but doubts in myself to write.  It reads the words that I had written and comes up with a big fat zero as to how to make it better.  So, what do to right?

After struggling with all this nonsense for longer than I care to admit (almost three months), I went back to the source.  I have been rereading the first book, The Matilda, to get a sense of the characters and the universe they inhabit and I am enjoying them again.  I am catching little things I had either forgotten or never really noticed.  New ideas are filling spots that I was struggling with in book four of the series and I feel some of that excitement again.

On top of that, my wife found the only copy of the very first long story I ever wrote at the wondrous age of twelve.  I had thought it lost forever like the spy movie I made with a friend when I was fourteen.  But there it was in all its handwritten glory!  My dreams of being a writer in those pages and there were so many good memories trapped in them.

So, why do I bring up any of this?  I feel incredibly happy right now.  Here I am struggling with getting another word down and getting the next book out while feeling like neither is going to happen.  The future looks bleak.  When out of nowhere came the voice of a twelve year old boy to show me that I can do it, because I have done it.  That little voice reminding me that I should keep doing it because I always wanted to and the only thing in the way was me!

Who knew that a memory from the past would push me back into the future it had envisioned so long ago.  I sure didn’t.

And for that, I salute that little boy and his dreams that I will continue to make a reality.

Who knows, maybe I will share that silly story here some time.

Winters of Dysphoria

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The slow flutter of the dying leaves that fall loosely through the sky…

The ebbing flow of the icy waters against the rough grains of beach…

The dying beams of the sun as it falls below the shoulders of the earth…

What lies as harsh against the soul as the sands of time?

Goodbye to the sun.  Goodbye to the light.

A red moon assaults me as I sail forever into the night.

Tangents and Plans

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Whee…

You know when you have to run again, (and let’s be honest, you’re probably at an airport and loaded down with bags) and you haven’t run since you were in high school or college and everything feels out of sync or just plain wrong?  Yeah, that’s what writing feels like right now.

I have started two short stories while in the midst of the latest bloody cold I’ve caught, as well as this blog entry, and I’ve made… little progress.  This tiny thing has taken over a week to write.  Craziness and busy should not go hand in hand down the hallways of life.

So, what else have I done with my time?  Lots actually and the most important part has been research.  Well, maybe rethinking my deadlines and creating a new plan!  Yeah, that one is probably more important.

What does this all mean?  The completion of book four is going on hiatus so that I can complete the final write up on book two, Twistin’ Matilda!  It’s so close to done and I want to get that one out and into people’s hands!

What’s after that?  Get another rewrite on book three so that I can have my editors and beta readers give it a go through.  Once that is in the bag, then it’s back to book four and getting the first version completed.  I have a complementary ‘’you’re a winner’ glass of whiskey on hand for that day.  I am so looking forward to it.

Will I write anything else in the mean time?  The plan, you know about the plan, don’t you?  Well, the plan says there shall be more short stories in the near future for y’all to read at your leisure.

I am looking forward to hunkering down and hitting my goals!

***

On a side note, the following writers have been super important in motivating me to get back to it, either by kind words, their own struggles and motivations or by blatantly saying it to my face.  You guys are awesome!

Lyndsie Clark         Michael Kilman            G. A. Mehan    A. M. Schinske

I Need More Life!

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It has been over a month since my last confession…  Well, since my last “Where am I?  What am I doing?” post.  So yeah… holidayzzzz.  Sometimes it seems like they never end, right?

I had a great visit with family.  I got to hang out with the cousins and we ran all over town before we entered an Escape Room and defeated it handily.  I hit a museum with the folks and even did some padded sword fighting with my youngest nephew.  It was a whirlwind of activities and the holiday stress was low.

I knew we would be gone for a while so I brought my best intentions with me.  I packed my computer with my source files and the current fourth book project loaded.  All I needed was time.  But time is always at a minimum when visiting people (see above).  Once we got back in town, I could get some down on digital paper then.  See where I’m going with this?

But they always say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  So, did I get any writing done during the holidays?  Sadly, not a single word.  Have I done any since being back?  Second verse, same as the first.

The best part about being gone from work for a while is how much has piled up since you left.  Eesh.  But now that I have caught up on that, I have a plan!  And I’ve taken on new responsibilities as of two weeks ago and the plan has taken a back seat.  When are going to get short term cloning as an option?  I need another me for about a month or so.  Oh science.

I can get it done and by it I mean ‘all the things’.  My resolution for this shiniest of shiny New Year’s is to get that plan rolling along with everything else and see them to completion.  Perseverence is the key.

Well, that and coffee… and uh, sometimes whiskey…

Say Hello to My Little Grandmother

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“Life can be a strange beast, can it not?”

The strange animal on my shoulder spit out the words, “Only to those required to experience it.”

I exhaled loudly before I disappeared back into my thoughts.

You see, I have walked this earth for centuries and for every place I have stopped at long enough to become involved with someone, I have left family in my wake.  I have descendants from my first marriage over a thousand years ago up to the last woman I buried in the ground who died from the effects of time.

As if it could sense my thoughts, my odd companion groused, “You leave them because you tire of their chattering.”  It looked me in the eyes and I was caught in the deathless void that circled within their depths, “More like you grow tired of their jealousy as they see you never age while they eventually turn to dust.”

“Always so cruel, you are,” I muttered.  “But the truth is a harsh mistress.”

At my discomfort, a blustery laugh gurgled from the throat of the monkey thing until it segued into coughing.  I ignored it as it cleared its throat.  The two of us remained quiet as we continued our way through the northern woods.

While most of my progeny have made their way into the beyond, I still have many living grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and more.  But I have only one living child and he had gone missing.  I had not heard from him in months, which was not all that surprising.  In fact, I only knew that he was missing because of the news.

Someone had broken into his home and murdered his husband.  The neighbors had reported hearing him yelling as something large bore him away into the darkness of the night.  At the first opportunity, I made my way there to find that the air stank of brimstone.  A demon must have taken him.

“How odd is it that a demon would take the only child of a demon hunter?” chattered my strange companion.  “These two facts would almost seem related, wouldn’t they?”

“Shush, you.”

But I do have other family that is not of my blood, not even of my species.  Little grandmother is one and she is who I am hoping to find in these dark woods.  She can be hard to track or easy to find.  Her home moves where she wants it, or so she says.  I think the house itself decides where it wants to go and she is born away with it.

The one eyed man I called grandfather had taken me to her when I had reached a particular age.  “You have work to do,” he had blustered.  “You owe a debt incurred by your mother, a debt to make the world right.  Your life is not your own to lead.”  He had grabbed me by the shoulder and pushed me out the door.  I could still hear his voice raised as the door swung shut in my face, “You are to hunt demons, child!  Find the mother and she will show you the ways… or eat you out of spite!”

I wandered for days through a forest not unlike this one and stumbled upon her house.  Little grandmother decided not to eat me and took me in.  She was a strange old lady and her home rang with a cacophony of voices.  I lived with her for many years, and in truth, I only left because I felt she wanted me to go.  She did have a habit of eating the unwary and it seemed as if she didn’t want to see me that way.

During my stay with her, I learned many an odd skill while helping out.  A guttural voiced quill taught me the forging of documents.  A quivering knife instructed me in the fine art of coin shaving.  A deck of cards with the shrillest of tones taught me card tricks and sleight of hand and an incredibly talkative wig taught me how to disguise myself into whatever or whoever I chose to be.  I was to learn later that each of those voices belonged to a soul that had been ensnared by her.  “Only deserving souls!” she had cried.  But I was never truly sure.  Perhaps her home was like the hanging tree of grandfather.

We came to a small clearing and in its center sat a shabby little shack.  No smoke rose from its single unstable chimney and no voices emanated from inside.  What hung for curtains flapped lazily in the light breeze.  While it had been ages since I had seen it up close, it was definitely her home.

“Grandmother?” I called out as I knocked on the door of rotted wood.

My fingers grasped the knob and twisted and I almost fell inside.  Dust lay thick on the table and the sills and no footprints had disturbed the dust on the floor.  I searched the three rooms of the small hut and it was like it had been before, the inside was far larger than the outside could possibly hold.  But the place was empty.

“Baba?  Are you home?” I called out.   “Baba Yaga?”

My diminutive companion giggled at the silence that replied.  I ignored it as I found pen and paper and jotted down a quick note.  Baba was not always home but she always made her way back and Baba could find me anywhere in the world if she desired to.

I stood there in contemplation, “Who else do you turn to for help when the mother of all monsters no longer heeds your call?”

Dry laughter wheezed from the small demon that sported an animal skin on my shoulder, “When no one hears your call, only you can answer it!”  Its rows of pointy teeth grinned at me, “Now, quit being a muttonhead and whatnot!  There’s hunting to do!”