Dramaquill's All Things Writing

April 15, 2008

Can you have too many ideas?

I’m still working on my final (I can hope, can’t I?) revision of my adult suspense novel.  I feel that the writing is quite strong now and I’m confident that I’m continuing to eliminate the unnecessary bits. 

But revising can be tedious.  I’ve written and rewritten so much that I have to keep flipping back to make sure the new chapters are consistent with this version.  My critique group continues to be my most valuable resource as they catch anything that doesn’t click from what I’ve subbed to them, making my job a little bit easier than if I had to rely just on my own memory of this newest version.

So I decide to work on one of my other projects before I am smothered by my novel revision.  After all, sometimes all it takes is a break from the same characters to jump start a whole new take on my revision.

But, here’s the catch.  Are you like me?  I didn’t realize how many projects I’ve started, only to leave them to get back to the revision task.

Do I finish the last couple chapters of my Ya shapeshifter novel?  Or do I scrap it all in 3rd person because now, 1st person might be a better way to write it?

Do I tackle the themes list from a group of kids’ magazines where I’ve sold a few pieces and try to write and submit something new before they forget who I am?

Do I finish the 2nd half of that play I began writing three years ago?  I already know the answer to this one…nope!  It’s a pretty heavy subject and not something that would make a good diversion at this point.

How about the chicklit type YA novel that I actually think I could really get into?  It’s quirky and I can really relate to my main character. 

I could go on and list about ten other projects but I think you see where I’m going with this.  Just wading through everything I’ve got going tells me that I need to get back to the novel revision and stick it out and get it done.  I do have high hopes for this book and the only way it’s ever going to get out there is if I finish this revision.

So I ask all of you?  Can you have too many ideas?

Some people with for an extra day in the week.  I think I need an extra month in the year!  Of course wouldn’t that just give me another 30 days worth of ideas to generate?

Maybe blogging is the best diversion from this revision.  I think I’m ready to get back at it.  And hey, I’m on chapter 22 so I’ve made great progress.

Do you have too many ideas?

 

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November 23, 2007

I may not finish but I’m giving it my all

Despite a couple of bumps in my Nanowrimo road, I’m back on track again and churning out a new section of my suspense novel.

At close to 30,000 words, I’m feeling pumped.  Has there ever been another month when I’ve written 30,000 words on the same project?  On multiple projects?  Until Nanowrimo, I never really thought about it but I suspect this is a record for my 3 week participation.

Will I finish the 50,000 goal?  

I hope to.

Will I be disappointed if I fall short?

Well, maybe a little bit.

But I can’t say enough how great the Nanowrimo PUSH feels.  And I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I would like to writing this book.  Imagine, if I can get to 30,000 words with an hour or two of writing time each day, what I could accomplish if I continue this disciplined focus on writing from now on.

I can’t wait to get back to revising my first suspense novel that’s getting ready to go out the door but now I have a new project to keep me busy once I’ve subbed it out.

So thank you Nanowrimo, for giving me the jumpstart to realize how many words I can get down on paper if I just believe I can do it.

Anybody finished yet?

Let’s hear from all those Nano hopefuls and those cruising through the final stretch.

November 9, 2007

Another way to get unstuck

Working on a full length novel can seem like a daunting project, especially when the creativity train stalls on the track mid point.  If you’re like me, it’s time to get away from the computer (or notebook, which I still prefer because when I write by hand my brain and my handwriting speed are usually about the same) and get some perspective.

Sometimes I walk away to get away from the story, the characters and the plot.  But avoidance has never been my favorite tactic when stuck on any task. 

Because I have a background in theatre and music, I have enjoyed performing in numerous plays and musicals and find that the most fun for me, even when singing a song, is asking myself “who is this character”?  What’s she like?  Why is she saying this?  How does she feel at the moment?

So I tried it with my Nanowrimo book and guess what?  Charlotte, my main character, had lots to say to me and through me.  Yesterday 3000 words poured out because I put myself in her shoes.  It wasn’t something I’d call fun, because Charlotte’s character faces challenges and events that are somewhat unnerving.  But I found my connection to her – the connection that made me want to go on.

In my suspense thriller novel that I’m revising, I had to figure out my villain.  My mentor, Marilyn Henderson http://www.mysterymentor.com/ said that my villain needed to be more nasty.

Now, because I’m not a stalker, I’m not crazy (at least I don’t think so) and I’m not a man, writing him was already presenting its share of challenges.  But back to my first way to get unstuck:  WHAT IF?

What if I was this person?  What would motivate me to act and what would the result be?  So, not one to shy away from a challenge, I jumped into his mind, body and soul with both feet.  I don’t know if I should be happy or worried telling you that he is now far scarier than ever before and a whole new, demented side of his personality has shown up. 

But shaking off the characters can be a difficult thing to do.  Sometimes my heroine gets inside my head and she won’t leave me alone until I address something in the book.  I’m a little better keeping my villain at bay until I’m ready for him, but once I get inside either of them, new plot twists and ideas seem to run rampant at times.

So even if you don’t have a theatrical background, try living in the shoes of one of your characters for 24 hours and see where it takes your writing.  It may surprise you.

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