Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tactical Tuesday~How It's Going

Hi, everyone! Well, my tendonitis is slightly better, thanks to an arm splint and generous doses of Aleve, so we're back to using capital letters! Yahoo!

We're anxiously watching the skies around here. We've had two days of very heavy rain, today's been filled with rain and hail, and there's no end in sight. After the New Year's Flood, no one feels safe. Our across-the-street neighbors have even moved their car already.

That aside, I'm still finding time to work. Instead of a regular Tactical Tuesday post, I thought I'd write a bit about how it's going.

Mainly coz I'm in that really mentally ill phase where I believe firmly with all my heart and soul that I don't know shit about writing and thank goodness I learned how to run the cash register at McDonald's while I was in high school, coz I'm gonna need those skills tout suite, honey!

Erm. Yeah. Time to go read some inspirational quotes:

Expectation is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.

Yeah, that sorta helps put it in perspective. Don't EXPECT the anvil will fall on your head... just enjoy the moment before the giant, bone-crushing crash!

Better start with the story:

Before the flood, I had finished a first draft of the new book. It was a first draft that was really a second draft, because I had done bunch of rewriting to change it from first person into third and to open the door to two characters who demanded to be point of view characters. But quality wise, it was really a first draft. Like a lot of first drafts, it wasn't very good. Parts of it were a mess! Oh, I'll just be honest. It sucked eggs, and worse. So much so, in fact, that I marked up every single page (most front AND back), cut pieces off of it and taped them elsewhere, ditched the first three chapters so I could find where the story REALLY started, and jotted bits on napkins and stapled them to the draft. I spilled coffee on it, and wine of all colors, before I quit drinking for good over the holidays. (boy has that helped my productivity in all kinds of ways... but that's another story, probably to be told behind closed doors!)

Of course, ideas bounced around in my head over the holidays, when I had no time to write much of anything. For about three seconds I thought it would really help me organize things if I spent a whole bunch of money on colored notecards and a card box, which didn't help at all, but some of my best notes are on the cards, so they got thrown together with the draft, too. Then there is a giant $7.00 red notebook bursting with ideas written in a Sharpie, because those are the only writing utensils and paper I could find at The Container Store... which is where I was when I got the ideas. It's a fecking mess that makes sense to no one but me. (My agent asked to see that draft and I just laughed and laughed...)

Just before the flood, I stacked the whole chaotic mess in a giant Bryan's Fine Foods bag (which I've many times panicked that someone has thrown away).

After most of the flood cleanup was done, I began dragging my laptop and my Bryan's Fine Foods bag all over the place trying to find quiet to work. While Starbucks was good, and the local library was even better, I've actually settled into the room where the rats live. They don't bother me and I don't think I bother them. It's very peaceful, actually.

Instead of copying and pasting my revisions, I decided to rekey the whole first draft into a second draft. I've never done that before, but I have friends who do, and it's really been helping me find refreshing ways to say what I said very clumsily in draft one, without that panic of "what's happening next" hanging over my head. Every once in awhile I'll find a cool turn of phrase, but more often I use the shortest, simplest, and dullest way to say something. I've been having a lot of fun with this part. I actually like quite a bit of what I've done! (Except when I'm going psycho waiting for reader responses.)

Which brings me to this. Somewhere along the way, I decided to polish up the first fifty pages and show them to my first readers while I forge ahead with turning the Bryan's Fine Foods bag into a second, readable though perhaps not brilliant draft three. Today, yes today, I am ready to put those pages to the test with those first unsuspecting readers. Wish me luck. Coz I suck, right? *sigh*

More inspirational quotes? It'd be nice, but, course, my search engine's on the fritz. Maybe it's time to pet the rats... they never criticize you.