I gave myself a week off from my novel, but now it’s time to go back and start to finish it up. I’m determined to completely complete this one, and throw it up on Amazon with my other.
Of course, then I’ll have to listen again to my friends and family moan and groan that I haven’t produced a sequel to Minotaur yet. They’ll be alright.
But the problem is that I don’t really have a story; I have a fantastical journey, but nothing that screams it’s over. I guess that’s not absolutely essential, since this was supposed to be fun entertainment.
Or is it not entertaining without closure? I know I get frustrated when I immerse myself in a book and then–it stops, and I’m left with so many questions, not least of which is what happens next.
But I realize I haven’t told you hardly anything about this year’s novel. I’ve only posted one excerpt, and that one was completely off the cuff. It’s certainly not in its final form. And I haven’t even told you my protagonist’s name: Sinew.
I don’t even know how to summarize this mess I’ve made. I think it’s going to take a lot of work to put a bow on it and send it out into the world. But I can do it.
I hope everyone else has enjoyed their November, whether NaNoWriMo’ing it up or not. Because we’re all winners, aren’t we? We’re alive, and we have internet access. So cheesy, I know.
The rules are simple: I list three to seven writing related things that I’m really bad at and then list three to seven writing related things that I want to try.
I am not the best at:
- Dialogue tags. It is so hard for me to find that happy medium between too many and too few. I feel that dialogue, in general, is just not my strong suit. I read a blog post once that helped my confidence on this front tremendously–but I have no idea where I read it. Still, I’d rather tell you about a rock rolling through the woods than give you a nice happy convo, in spite of what you may gather from Strange Bedfellows. Jeez, those guys talk so damn much. Just shut up already and get on the road, am I right?
- Suspense. As I learned when my heart fell when I read the assignment for that one flash fiction competition. I’m not good at writing suspense. I’m straightforward, and I like to be funny, even when I’m morbid. I’m sure suspense can be funny–I just can’t pull it off. It’s against my nature. This lacking on my part kind of falls in with my whole philosophy on fiction, though: it’s for fun. It’s for entertainment. I deal with enough stress and suspense in my daily life, so I don’t want to deal with it when I’m trying to escape from that. Don’t get me wrong, I will read a good suspense novel and enjoy the heck out of it, but I suck at writing it.
- Naming characters. It is the very rare occasion that I immediately know what someone’s name is supposed to be. It is also rare that I come up with it after a few seconds of thinking about it. I don’t think I have enough names in my head; I even have to search and search when I go to a name generator for the right one. Ian names the pets in my stories because he’s good at pet names. He names all the real ones we have.
I want to try:
- World building. I grew up on science fiction and fantasy, and yet, I don’t write them, for the most part. I’m going to blame this on the fact that I do not prepare. I’m not inclined to plot and plan and chart and connect everything together. I don’t outline. I write like smoke; my stories float into the world, finding the path they’re destined to follow as they travel, not before they get there.
- Editing. I know, this sounds crazy, right? With everything I’ve written, surely I have some kind of editing cred under my belt. But I feel like I don’t, really. It’s only in recent weeks that I’ve done anything as (I assume) completely normal as moving sentences and paragraphs around in a piece. I’ve always laid down the story as it’s meant to be read, first time every time. While this method does involve a lot of stopping and starting during nonfiction, for me, it doesn’t at all during fiction. It just comes out, and it’s near enough to right that I leave it. When I finish something, it isn’t a draft; it’s finished except for the bit of copy editing I didn’t notice the first time through.
- A crown of sonnets. After finishing Writing 201: Poetry yesterday, I’m inspired to write more poetry, and two days ago, I learned about the crown of sonnets. It sounds pretty daunting, but I’ve done so many different and previously daunting things this year already, why not? Although I’ll certainly save it for after NaNoWriMo.
Now, it’s time to tag someone else; I’d love to tag someone who would get as much personal growth and motivation out of this as I did, but honestly, I’m not sure who would. And really, I got nearly as much out of reading others’ lists as I did out of writing my own, so I would love to read any and all of your takes on this. Everyone gets a tag!
And while you’re at it, what do you think I could improve upon, and what should I give a try?
Today I’m on assignment: write for twenty minutes. Don’t think, just write. Twenty minutes seems like such a long time to write, and yet no time at all. As I’ve been writing more and more, I’ve noticed that I take more and more time on each of my posts, tweaking word choices and editing sentence structure. It’s overflowed into my reading. I have a hard time reading anything now without editing in my head as I go along. That’s an unusual choice of words; this would work better. I wonder why he put it that way; this way is simpler and flows better.
I started reading The Maze Runner trilogy a couple days ago, and the one thing that bothers me the most is the author’s choice of sun flares instead of solar flares. Every time I read it, it grates on my inner ear. Sun flares. I’d go with solar.
And I can’t type without picturing how it should look on the page or the screen. It’s a quick click to switch to italics. And when I’ll never talk to any of you out loud, italics are so darn useful. They help me come across as me. Can’t help myself.
When I was sick two weeks ago, it was actually a spider bite. I’d never been bitten by a spider before, so it was a new experience. After the first few days I was feeling mostly better, but after a week the bite started to darken and we all know that’s not a good sign.
It was a huge mess to get a medical treatment, though. It started to worsen on a Friday afternoon, of course. Saturday was worse, and Sunday more. I was trying to stick it out, but since it’s on my face, I didn’t want to fool around anymore. Ian would have taken me to the ER on Saturday if he’d had his way, I’m sure.
So Sunday I looked up where my insurance would cover urgent care, and wouldn’t you know it, the nearest one is closed on Sundays. They couldn’t have put that information on their website. That would have been too easy. Oh, no. Only the much farther location is open on Sundays. When we got there it was packed. They’re only open four hours, and it was a three hour wait time. Which we couldn’t do since we’d already wasted so much time going to the other location to find out that they were closed; Ian had to be at work.
I said screw it, let’s go home.
On the way, Ian called another place that my insurance would at least partially cover, so we went there. Only to find out that due to a new policy, they’d need a hundred bucks up front. I’m a little iffy on the legality of that charge, since after my insurance, I wouldn’t owe $100. But whatever. With what we have going on right now, we don’t have the money to spend.
Whatever. The last urgent care is just around the corner. Closed–twelve minutes ago.
I had no idea a spider bite would hurt so much when it’d already been nine days and it wasn’t even that big.
Wolf spider, by the way. Non venomous, but apparently I have a sensitivity to them. Let’s not go through this again, shall we?
Monday morning we went, and the patients started pouring in after I registered. I’m glad we got there at the right time. We were home in about an hour and a half, with antibiotics and pain meds, and strict instructions to return if no improvement in 48 hours. I think Ian was a little more freaked out at that than I was.
Fortunately, the pain was almost gone by the following afternoon. The second day of antibiotics, the color started to improve as well.
And it was a rare treat to be treated as intelligent human beings by a medical professional. Neither the nurse nor the PA had to ask what PCOS was, and the PA even asked if I was taking metformin for it. Such a shock! And when I explained my penicillin and cipro allergies, he asked if I’d ever had a problem with Bactrim before prescribing it.
It’s a shame when normal conversation is the exception to the rule.
I’ve just had bad luck with doctors.
Today the scab came off, and it hurts a bit more than it has.
Well, that twenty minutes wasn’t so bad. My word count does tell me that I stopped to think more often than I should have.
Let’s see what Writing 101 homework is next.