Tuesday, April 21st.
This past week has been a busy one. I enjoy teaching the writing class. It’s a small group of fascinating women, each in various stages of writing development. Since I primarily teach fiction writing, those who expect a course in poetry or how to write for magazines will be disappointed.
I have short-term memory problems (is that age or is it just me??), so I wait until the day of the class before preparing the evening’s agenda. Putting things off makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I like to get busy and accomplish what I set out to do. In this instance, though, I believe waiting until the eleventh hour is best for all concerned.
Progress continues on Upside Down and Whopperjawed. If I had nothing else to do and devoted most of my time to this story, I could finish in about six weeks. Maybe less. April Grace Reilly often seems to sit on the corner of my desk, telling me about her day and the crazy people in her life. Recording her tale in her sassy, witty voice ensures that the story basically tells itself.
Not every novel I write is this easy or this much fun. But that’s another topic for another time.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
For the last two days, I’ve been working on Upside Down and Whopperjawed, the fifth book in the “Confessions of April Grace” series. Just when I thought I had a cool first chapter, I decided it was too serious and dark for an opening. So I rewrote it. Then I decided that chapter was too dull. So I went back to the first idea and added to it. I like it, but I don’t know …
I’m going through one of those phases we writers often enter. It’s a perilous place to inhabit, and I intend to leave as soon as possible. It’s the land of I-CAN’T-WRITE-WORTH-A-HOOT-SO-MAYBE-I’M-ALL-WASHED-UP. In other words, self-doubt. I figure this is brought on by a combination of exhaustion, caffeine withdrawal, sugar reduction, and too much to do but not enough time to do it all. This feeling is not unique to writers. I think we humans are prone to it. Often. That said, the best way to exit this country before it becomes the Land of No Return, is to take some time away and re-evaluate priorities. I’ll do that today. Maybe a nap will help.
I had to step away from this journal for a few days. I wanted to make sure my readers could subscribe and receive each day’s update, if they wanted to. Add to that, we had a long-anticipated guest come to visit, and I preferred to use my time with him rather than with my computer.
For several weeks, I’ve been wrangling with the first book in The Cassidys Series. Although I have eagerly anticipated launching this new series, I just could not lay hold of it in my mind. I’ve learned if you have to fight with a story, forcing your way through it is far from the best way to go.
My publisher gave me the nod to put that series on hold for a while, as long as I can give him something else by the deadline. One thing I have plenty of is ideas. They practically ooze from my pores and puddle around my feet. I mentioned a couple of book ideas, and he chose one that I had started years ago.
I dug it out, blew off the virtual dust, and began familiarizing myself with the story again. Uh oh. This book needs work.
Thank God for editors who are willing to look at old, rough drafts and brainstorm to help you get restarted. So I sent those 100+ pages to my editor today. While I wait for her to get to it, I might as well get started on the fifth April Grace story.
Or finish outlining Honey Dipped Secrets for Annie’s Publishing.
Wednesday, March 25
I woke up at 4am, or shortly thereafter. I might have drifted back to sleep in my warm, comfy bed if I hadn’t had a hair appointment this morning. Now, this might not have been such a big deal, except my last appointment was postponed a week because of bad weather, then I completely forgot and missed the new appointment. I certainly did not want that to happen again today. Yes, I have an alarm clock. Yes, it is undependable. No, I don’t have a smart phone that will wake me up. No, I don’t trust my hubs to wake me. So I got out of bed and drank two cups of coffee before 4:30.
Once the writing machine was warmed up and purring, I went through the final round of edits for April Grace. (They came back from my editor last night.) (Gosh, she’s a whiz.) Then I wrote the dedication page (yay! I love doing that) and the acknowledgments page (always a good idea to let folks know you appreciate them). Everything is now back in the editor’s lap, and soon will be in the publisher’s lap.
Photo shoot for the cover is coming up. I’ve never been present for that, so I’m looking forward to it.
Oh, and I “got my hair did.” Finally.
Ah, the excitement of a writer’s life is almost more than I can bear. (Ahem.)
Tuesday, March 24
I opened my email late yesterday afternoon, and there awaited the manuscript of Pink Orchids and Cheeseheads, complete with editorial notes and suggested changes. I glanced through it and you can’t believe the relief I felt when I saw my editor had not changed the voice of April Grace! This character, who is nearly as real to me as my best friend, has a unique way of expressing herself. She makes up words and doesn’t always abide by the rules of grammar. To change that would be to change her, which would tear me up. So, thank you, Jess, for not touching the way this gal expresses herself.
A good friend pointed out yesterday that there are some things missing from my website/blogsite, so as soon as my website/blogsite-fixing person gets back from her trip, we’ll be working on that.
Why don’t I just do that my own personal self? You remember that list from yesterday? That’s why.
Thunder rumbles and dark clouds approach. I don’t mind a good storm, but having the computer plugged in during an electrical storm is asking for trouble. Not sure how long my battery will last, and I have a lot of work to do. So why am I writing in this journal instead of working on that manuscript? Good question.