Tag Archives: fits and starts

The Middle

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.

– Jimmy Eats World, lyrics from the Middle

So, since I finished my last novel, I went back to my NaNoWriMo2012 novel. Last November, I hit my 50k words. However, near the end of the month, I caught a gnarly sinus infection that stopped me in my tracks.

Then December hit. I have a love-hate relationship with that month. It is fun to celebrate, but it is so busy. It has both my birthday and my boyfriend’s birthday on top of Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s. Usually relatives come in from out-of-town. There is a ton of socializing.

I can’t do all that socializing and write. I would not be a happy camper and would probably burn out. So, I typically take December off of writing. When I started writing again this year, in late January, I wanted to write the sequel to a novel I finished last year.

So, with all that in mind, I am now in the middle of writing the middle of my NaNoWriMo2012. I really hate writing this part because at this point all the momentum from the beginning is lost. And I’m not close enough to the climax/ dénouement to have the energy of the end. It can be a slog to work through that part of the novel.

On the other hand, I really love this novel. My characters are awesome and they’re so different from my other novels’ characters and this world is a departure from things I’ve done before. I really think it has come alive for me. I hope that my alpha reader likes it when it comes time for him to read it.

© K. Klein 2013

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Patience & Story

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For a writer, I have remarkably little patience.  Often in my life – patience is a virtue that I do not possess. At the moment, I’m near the end of the novel I’m drafting. I have another 10-15k to write, but I’ve been hovering. Not writing. Waiting.

I’m starting to get impatient with myself. I need to be setting words to paper, now, or so it feels like to me. However, at the same time, I’m awed by the possibilities that are in front of me as I near the end of this novel. And largely, I write intuitively, letting the story take me on the journey – me following where it leads.

So, when something doesn’t feel right or ready it is difficult to surmount that feeling because my subconscious is telling me to wait. Be patient. However, when does this stuck feeling become inertia? I’m still trying to learn the balance between moving forward for motions sake versus slowing down and feeling the story.

Writers write every day. I hear this continually. I’m practicing, but even in my best weeks, I’m writing 5-6 days week. Not seven days a week. Does that make me less of a writer? I don’t know. Probably not. I’m still practicing writing. Hell, even in the weeks that I only write 2-3 days that week, I’m still thinking about the novel. Or dreaming about it. The story is on my mind.

I also must admit, I’m at the stage in the story where I’m dreaming about a new novel. Characters from other stories and worlds are seductively dancing through my head. Write me – they cry at me. I have to ignore them, for now, so that I can finish the mad dash of this novel. I know the ending is in me. It is just taking its time gestating. And hopefully it will come out sooner rather than later.

© K. Klein 2013

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Hiding

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Whenever I feel sad or depressed or too anxious to function I have a tendency to hide. And looking at my blog and how I haven’t posted for most of January I think it is safe to say that I have been hiding.

When I was in high school, my way to hide included a dark blue sweater with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on the front. I felt a lot like Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diaries – minus the whole royalty spiel.

For the most part, I have tried to use other more positive coping mechanisms in my life. However, I didn’t realize it until now, but I have fallen back on the hiding technique. It is just easier to pretend nothing is wrong when I pretend I am not there.

There are several reasons I think I went into this mode during January – a lot of overwhelming things have happened.

Firstly, I read a writing blog called Miss Snark’s First Victim run by the lovely Authoress. She ran a Critique Partner Dating Service. I actually put myself out there, which is a challenge for me. I met some lovely people. However, it seems that none of them have clicked. Perhaps there is still some sting from rejection. And sting from an honest critique. (I probably started the novel in the wrong place and my first line wasn’t a hook. Sigh. I suck at writing hooks.)

It isn’t that I don’t want honesty, but the critique killed my creative voice. And the critical voice has been in the forefront since then. I’ve been feeling apathetic and averse to writing since then. I suppose it just means that this person was not my destined critique partner. And that is ok. I wasn’t super nice to them either. Their technical skills were solid, but for me, their character fell flat.

It is interesting, because this ties into something else that I discovered this January. I stumbled into the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And they have some offbeat advice. In fact, they made me start thinking about writing as a business. And in thinking about it as a business, I started to question my original plan.

Initially, I wanted to get a query together and find an agent. Now that I have read their blogs and thoughts I am definitely considering indie publishing. I am considering a small publishing house or self-publishing e-books. A year ago, this would have been an unimaginable decision for me. Now I am really weighing the cost and benefit of each model of publishing. And the thing that seems clear to me is that indie publishing is perhaps a good launch pad, even if traditional publishing is the goal.

I’m still trying to process all of the information from their blogs. I would strongly suggest that if you are unpublished and don’t know what direction you want to go in to read these blogs because they are definitely thought-provoking.

Furthermore, I have also spent January being a bit anxious about some personal situations. Hopefully this week will bring some highly anticipated news and be a positive start.

©K. Klein 2013

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Almost New Year’s Eve

December 2012 has been particularly rough on me. December is usually rough enough; this time of the year make me miss my mom more than the rest. I have also been dealing with the loss of my grandmother, Mama, and it was weird not having her around for the usual holiday cheer. The holidays seemed to sort of pass away on a grey palette rather than their normal riot of color. My birthday is also in December and this year it depressed me to not have reached some of my goals before another year ticked off on my life.

But, December is passing away, we only have a day and a half left of it here. I am starting to feel hopeful again. (Despair may have won for a while there…) I can tell I am more hopeful, because I am writing again. I am working on those last little shining bits of novel-1 and am hoping to get it to beta readers in early 2013. It is my hope to get their feedback before I take another pass on the novel and shine it up into its Sunday clothes and bring it out into the world. (By which I mean, submitting to agents…which is admittedly a little scary for me to think about.)

I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions since everyone seems to make them and break them. However, I really like goals. So here are some goals for 2013 (in no particular order):

  • Get novel-1 to beta readers
  • Write a complete first draft of novel-1’s sequel. NaNo novel 2011 is an incomplete draft of this book.
  • Research agents
  • Write log-line for novel-1
  • Write query letter for novel-1
  • Send query letter to agents in batches
  • Try not to gain 30 pounds whilst querying agents.
  • Finish NaNoWriMo 2012 novel
  • Figure out novel-1’s genre –   It takes place in a mix of the real world that has magic and a pseudo-high fantasy realm. Urban fantasy? High fantasy? I’m not 100% certain.  I’m pretty sure it isn’t paranormal.
  • Outline the second sequel to novel-1. Yay for trilogies. 🙂
  •  Keep up Yoga practice
  • Write daily!

©K. Klein 2012

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What should I write next?

During NaNoWriMo I got sick, twice. The only reason I finished at all this year is because I hit 50k before I got sick the second time and had averaged 2k a day. A couple of days in the beginning I had 5k days. That is awesome. I am proud of myself for finishing and doing it early. However, I had hoped to keep writing during that last week. I am also a bit bummed because I didn’t get a chance to have a 10k  day and I hoped I would have one during NaNo.

Sadly a sinus infection took me down and I am just getting better this week; antibiotics and modern medicine rock. However, this leaves me in a conundrum. What do I write now? Hitting 50k in my 2012 NaNo novel didn’t get to all the plot points. I am somewhere in the middle. I think I have another 50k of story left to write.

However, I am working on finishing the edits of novel-1. I finished my personal edits, but am still in the process of reading it to my brother. Which is another layer of edits, before I feel comfortable sharing it with more beta readers. So I am about 2/3-3/4 of the way done reading it to my brother.

That won’t take up most of my writing time. But it will take a small chunk of it. My brother has made some valid critiques that I want to address before letting other betas see it. So that leaves me with some options. I can work on finishing my 2012 NaNo novel or I can take my half-finished first draft of novel-1’s sequel and try to map it out and plan to write an entire first draft. Or I could work on a ghostly short-story for a Welsh magazine my friend mentioned to me is taking submissions.

Unfortunately for me, all of these projects sound interesting and compelling. I don’t know which to finish first. I think likely, the last pass of the novel-1 edits will happen. But that is more editing than writing and I am feeling the need to write after being sick for so long. Too many options; I suppose it is better than having no ideas. But I am definitely feeling a little indecisive.

©K. Klein 2012

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Self doubt

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

I will admit to being a bad English major and literary nerd – I’ve never read The Bell Jar. However, this Plath quote really resonates with me now. Between being sick last week and plagued with self-doubt this week I am a mess.

My NaNoWriMo novel is at forty thousand words, which in sheer word count terms, is awesome. I think I am only about a third or a fourth of the way into the story. I feel like there is a turning point coming up that I have yet to discover; one of the great and frightening parts of pantsing. Hopefully I will discover the illustrious and mysterious turning point soon. We shall see.

I am starting to wonder, was I ever really a pure pantser? I think the answer is no. But I am not a born plotter; I am not making outline of my story before it is written. Instead, I like to have my amorphous mess and then figure out what the structure should be…I sort of reverse-engineered the first draft of novel-1. I have been scribbling down scribbling down scenes of what I want to happen before I start writing, which I find helpful. And on the bright side, definitely helps keep my word count up. Thank you Rachel Aaron. She had great advice about upping your word count her blog.

I am planning on sitting down with the half-done draft of novel-1 sequel and trying to plot out my second attempt on it. I plan to do that after I finish my NaNo novel, which is I am semi-pantsing. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out and if it works out. It is scary, but I enjoy pushing myself to try new techniques and ideas. I’ve heard about the beat sheet and story/ narrative structure. So I shall try to employ this while plotting out the high points of sequel to novel-1. Wish me luck.

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, I am super excited about Rachel Aaron’s new book, Spirit’s End. You should totally check it out!

©K. Klein 2012

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Just bleed

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

Unfortunately, as much time as I have spent thinking about new idea and anticipating writing it, the writing is being difficult. My mind is resisting and trying to run away in fear. I want to hold back. I’ve hit upon a personal nerve. Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo often brings to light things that I don’t want to face.

Ironically, even though this novel is set in a magic pseudo-futuristic America, the main character’s mother is insane. Part of the major conflict is the main character needing to pay for mental healthcare for her mother. This is something I discovered in the planning on Halloween, but it makes sense for the larger plot overall.

This hits a personal nerve. My own mother is schizophrenic. Sometimes it just hurts to think that. A tiny piece of me is terrified of becoming ill like her; more often I am just terrified of becoming her. So having a character who is intimately dealing with the relationship with her own mother strikes me deeply.

I haven’t talked with my mother in a decade and going on longer. There are many reasons beyond my own mother’s illness of why we have not had contact in that long. Ultimately, I made the decision for my health.

So here I am, at the beginning of NaNoWriMo writing a novel about a daughter who is willing to do anything to care for her mentally ill mother; setting regardless. I might as well take the kitchen knife and slice my wrist open – I think that would hurt less. I honestly don’t mean to be melodramatic. I know it probably sounds pretty over the top to those who aren’t inside of my head.

But the issues that I have surrounding my mother and the array of confusing feelings – love, hatred, anger – decided to come up. Why hello issues, it is nice to see you again too. Not.

Wish me luck. Maybe I can dig into the fear as Dorothy Allison advises. I hope to bring honesty to whatever I write. I just have to sit down and face myself to do it. Sometimes seeing yourself clearly is the hardest thing there is to do.

©K. Klein 2012

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