How my break from writing is going.

When I finished Doorways, I decided I’d take a writing break to recover. I mean, I’ve been working on the story for six years.

Two months, I promised myself. Two months of sleeping in and complete hedonism. Watching t.v. Painting. Singing. Playing guitar…. Aahh… it made me happy just to think about.

And then last week happened.

On Wednesday, I dreamed a dream. Most of it was nonsense. But there was this guy. And what he was doing completely hooked my mind. So it started spinning, but that’s okay. I’d give it six months to incubate, the same as I did with Doorways. Back then, I gave up on plotting, but I didn’t just jump in and write. I waited. I got to know the characters. I learnt what made them tick and what made them explode. Then I learnt enough about their world to explore it without getting completely lost. And I’m pretty sure it’s reason number 1 why I finished it all the way through edits.

By the time I started drafting, I knew enough to find the story. And by the rewrite, I knew exactly what was going on. Which is notable, because I have multiple storylines. I even know what’s going on outside the scene. Even though most of it isn’t writted down.

But here’s a bit of a problem. The Doorways world is alive in my head. It takes up a lot of space, so it’s hard for me to get to any of my other story ideas. Because I want to keep Doorways to the fore (it’ll be too hard to remember everything later if/when I have to write the sequels), I needed to figure out a way to pull out the thoughts without pushing Doorways too much.

So I decided to let my mind hang back on this dream and start figuring things out on it’s own. After all. I have about 6 weeks left of my break.
Except I read this post. Although it didn’t really say anything I didn’t learn the hard way, it was the missing piece that helped me figure out how to finish my WiP3 or as you might know it, Don’t Look Back. 3 has already gotten more than enough thought. In fact its first draft is about as finished as I’ll get it.

So… What I have to do is to pull out the plot parts I liked and rewrite it into an even better story. TO do that, I need to plan. But it took more than Doorways, because I wrote it a lot faster and didn’t get as much time to mull on it.

So I found a way to do this. (Will post about it tomorrow). I now have a very excellent idea as to what will happen in that story. And in the dream story, because I decided to check it out while I was on a roll.

Now it’s just a matter of time to see how long it will take my muse to yank me away from my other activities.

Do you get a LOT of inspiration the moment you stop looking for it?

Derailment

Hmmm… I realized something about my writing process today.




My muse is a rather fickle thing, so when I write, it sometimes happens that my writing just dries up.

And that generally doesn’t bother me. But now, I picked up an old half-finished WiP (Don’t Look Back) and finished it in less than 2000 words.

Except I’m not sure that it feels right. Well, the contents of the end feels okay. But the thing is that it feels like my flow has been interrupted.

So much time has passed (months to be exact) that even though I adore the story, it feels as if someone else wrote it. And it’s an incredible pain in the ass to finish something “someone else” wrote.

That’s probably why I chopped the story off at approximately 25000 words, regardless of loose ends and story issues. It’s better for me to rewrite it and fix everything then than spend months trying to pick up a derailed train of thought.

Sad thing is, I never had this problem with Doorways. But I guess that has a reason too. It’s on my mind all the time. It’s my priority. Even when I write something else, part of me is thinking about it. When I work on Doorways, it consumes everything else in my mind.

Which has me wondering.

Isn’t it better to keep pushing myself to write even when I don’t want to? Or does it even matter? Because after all, I will definitely be rewriting regardless of whether the book is perfect. Should I maybe just get the whole Doorways series out of my system before I try something else?

And most of all, I wonder if I should start rewriting Don’t Look Back today…

Do you have a story that consumes or threatens to consume most of your creativity? What do you do when you get another (very) good idea?

About WiP2…

Yeah… So yesterday’s post I wrote on Sunday already. And after I wrote it, I scheduled it and pretty much forgot it. Then on Monday I did open my old draft.

And…. worse than I hate it, I didn’t feel a thing. Usually I read the story and love it again, warts and all. I know that the word choices I made could suck. Or that the characterization could be off in the beginning. But the passion, that spark of inspiration urging me to write is there.

With WiP2 it wasn’t. I bought Scrivener for the purpose of rewriting it. I committed the time to it. I even wrote some of it again. And I felt nothing. Not even a whisper.

I would have kept pushing myself to work on WiP2 if I didn’t happen to see Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech. It reminded me of a sad fact of life: when I craft a piece of work with focus but without passion, it falls flat.

But if I have passion and just let the words flow, that’s when brilliance comes out.

The moment I realized it, I decided to delete what I’ve rewritten and shelf the story. If I get a flash of inspiration that brings the story back to life, I’ll definitely open it again.

But right now, it isn’t the story for me. In a sense, I wrote it as an experiment in multiple points of view and many characters. And I learnt a lot from it, but when I looked at it again, I just realized that the story probably went as far as it was going to go.

I’m not giving up on writing while I wait to finish the Doorways edit, though. I impulsively decided to check out my other project, Don’t Look Back – formerly the NaNo 2011 WiP. Immediately I felt that spark. Because yes, while WiP2 is a cliche heaped on cliche, DLB is fresh an really sexy. I love it.

So yes, I’m definitely continuing with it. In fact, I’m thinking that I’ll start in on it again tomorrow morning. Hopefully I can start the rewrite before the end of the year.

I’m excited all over again just thinking about it.

Have you ever gone back to a story you used to love and took a break from, only to find you didn’t love it any more?

Officially, my goals for 2012

Since this is the last Friday of the year, I thought I’d handle the New Year’s admin now. If you want to see how I fared with the 2011 “guidelines”, you’re more than welcome to go check out my other blog, Taking Charge of My Life.

Without further ado, my goals for 2012:

Writing:

I want to finish Doorways before 30 June.

I will query Doorways on 1 July.

I want to finish the WiP2 rewrite by 30 September.

I want to finish the Don’t Look Back draft by 31 December.

I want to finish at least one draft of the musical libretto by 31 December.

I might want to look at Guardian again.

Reading:

I want to read more (crit partners’ manuscripts don’t count).

I want to read Shakespeare, Austen and Martin.

Life:

Auditions, auditions, auditions.

I want to master at least intermediate cooking.

I want to spend more time designing.

I want to brush up on my French and Mandarin (at least one of the two) and take another language.

I want to take classes in a musical instrument. Either piano or guitar.

I also want to get out more next year. Cabin fever never did suit me.

Since I achieved four goals in 2011, I want to achieve six in 2012.

So that’s me for the year. I hope you enjoyed my blog as much as I enjoyed all of yours.

Before I sign off, I just want to say cheers.

2011 was more than a little bumpy, but your support made it much easier to get through the year. Here’s to 2012. If it’s the last one, know I wouldn’t want to spend it without you. If it isn’t, thank goodness, because then I’ll see you for 2013.

See you on the other side. 😉

My Goals for 2012 (Yes, I know it’s early, but I couldn’t think of anything else to write about)

Today was cleaning day, as family and friends will be arriving for my mother’s birthday tomorrow. So after baking the cakes and delicious things, the rest of the day was pretty much spent washing floors.

It’s not my most favorite thing in the world, but I at least got some time and mindless activity that allowed me to think about my June 30 goal.

I still need to finish the WiP2 rewrite before I start Doorways edits, since I won’t have time for it later. So that means that the WiP2 rewrite has to be done by about 31 January. I’m about a quarter of the way through it, but since I did most of it in ten days, I don’t think my goal is all that impossible.

That way, once I am finished with Doorways, I have another story to edit and one to finish drafting, whichever I feel like doing first.

In the long run, I always want a project in the mail somewhere. For that to happen, I have to lay the foundation now.

Then I want to finish Don’t Look Back before the end of 2012. Hopefully I’ll be on the Doorways sequel by 2013? We’ll have to wait and see.

What about you? Have you set yourself any deadlines for next year? Let’s hear them.

NaNo Day 14: Setting up a sequel

Hi all! Firstly, I want to thank all of you who were kind enough to vote for Troublemaker during the Rule of Three blogfest. It got second place. *SQUEEE!*

As for NaNo, I’ve hit the middle patch, which is always fun. You know the one, where it feels like you’re sipping yogurt through a tiny straw or as if you’re mucking out a mud bath.

Fortunately, I think this isn’t a plot based problem (at least not much of one). I set up lots of lovely things to happen for the next 25k. My biggest problem is linking it up, since my characters seem to have this annoying habit of going underground and waiting things out. Smart? Definitely. Exciting? Only for the first few hundred words.

In the mean while, a new character appeared, who annoys the crap out of all three my guys. So, since I am such a benevolent and loving creator, I will probably write her into a sequel featuring at least two of them. *Cue evil chuckle.*

Anyway: Meet Agent Sylvia Regatti.

So that’s pretty much my NaNo news for now. How are things going for you? 

NaNo Day 7: News

I got great news today! Not NaNo related, but writing related, so it totally counts.

I have been shortlisted for the Rule of Three Blogfests top entries.

*SQUEE* I can’t tell you how happy I was to get the news. There is something deeply gratifying to know that what I wrote was enjoyed by others. 🙂

If I do say so myself, the entries that made it to the short list as some great reads and the entrants need YOU!

See, the winner is appointed by vote, so we need to get as many voters as possible to go read the six entries and pick the one they liked most. So if you need a break from your frenzied writing endeavors, please head over and give the six finalists’ entries a read. I promise you it’s worth it. Click here to find the links and the polls. Votes stay open until 11:59 P.M. GMT on 11 November.

Now… To NaNo. I finally reached my 4k goal on Saturday and followed that up by a nice rest on Sunday. What can I say? I’m a hedonist.

The rest was worth it. I reached 15k a few minutes ago after one seriously intense scene. I did 1500 words in about half the time I did before.

So what happened, you may ask?

I’m not going to tell you, but it does involve something similar to this…



Intrigued? Good. 😉 See you tomorrow for another update?

What about you? Reach any NaNo and non-NaNo goals since Saturday?