Friday, June 3, 2011

Between-projects slump

Today is Writing Friday, at least 5 hours ahead of me to write and I'm in a slump. I finished draft 2 of novel #2 earlier this week and it's in the hands of two trusted early readers. No feedback yet. There are a number of things I could do. Write a number of blog posts so I have a stockpile for busy weeks. Write prompts in my fiction notebook. Go through my 100 poems and begin to revise and shape them into a collection. I could read in the two new technique and style books I have. I could write some more poetry. I could write a short story. I could take notes for a nonfiction book on intentional living.

But in my creative heart of hearts, I want to be deep in the writing of a novel, moving forward in a story that is unfolding as I write it. Hooked by characters and circumstances and crafting marvelous detailed sentences that please me. So I'm going to honor that impulse and spend at least part of the day going over my big notebook of story starts and seeing if any of them speak to me. I've one notebook from 6 or 7 years ago that I may not have harvested for ideas. So maybe this is a day of sitting, ruminating, thinking.

We have sunshine for the first time in forever so maybe I'll go sit outside and get a great idea!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Moving the novel to first readers

Last Friday I spent additional time on my first chapter, then took an informal poll to see whether first-person was more effective or third. The unanimous response was third person, which was the way I was leaning so I felt reassured. I also did a little work on the last chapter and made a couple of reordering decisions but I realized I was tweaking the tiny stuff and that I need to have some reader feedback.

So today, I gave it one more look and then sent it to two trusted readers to see what they think. This is rather nerve-wracking as I want them to find it as intriguing as I do and of course I'm so close to it that I wouldn't be able to tell any more if it didn't work. So now I wait.

I'm ahead of schedule on this, having hoped to finish the second full draft by Aug 1. That means at the upcoming writing retreat, I can turn my attention to the poetry I wrote last winter and do revisions and begin to send some out. Or I can start a third novel, which has way more appeal to me.

In these last couple of months of rewriting and editing, I've missed the creative joy of first draft work, where anything goes and you can let the story lead you on in various directions. And I'm looking forward to getting back to that. I have several ideas for the next book but none have truly grabbed me yet. I'll keep you posted.