Archive for September, 2008

First Time

September 25, 2008

One of the things that I am struggling with in this novel is point of view. Unlike my last book, I am not writing in first person and instead taking advantage of the omniscient narrator. It’s given me an opportunity to get into other character’s heads and write their backstory. While it works well on a micro scale, I’m excited to see how it works on a macro scale. I think it will be okay if I remain consistent.

The other day when I was locked in my writers room (which is sadly closing soon) I was a little stuck on a scene with my main character and her brother, who has taken on a larger role than I originally imagined. I decided to write a phone call from his point of view and the scene, and his backstory unfolded naturally.

My writer’s group assignment was to write a scene of one character’s first time doing something. This has been in the back of mind and I still could not come up with an idea. Turns out, I did inadvertently write the brother’s first time getting a hand job. Granted, I want to edit the scene but I am excited by it and it also characterizes one of the reasons he resents his sister.

Using Meg Wolitzer’s books as a role model, I am okay repeating a scene or allusions to a scene from another character’s point of view. All in all, I feel great about where the story is and cannot wait to go back to the room on Friday when the sitter comes.

With the recession looming, I have shaved down her hours and am forcing myself to be more productive when she is here.

Solo Time

September 22, 2008

My husband has been working late which means that I have been spending more time on my laptop in the evening, filling up shopping carts on random websites but not necessarily checking out, or checking out accidentally.

Between the recession and my daughter’s upcoming party, I’m trying to hold off another week before even ordering from Old Navy. Although, I would love some new maternity jeans. I just wish I could spend this much time thinking and exploring my book.

I did go to the writer’s room today and forced myself to stay awake and not succumb to a cup of coffee. I’m a little further along than I realized but I wonder if I should go through everything with a fine-tooth comb now. I know, I should probably focus on the prose as opposed to the plot. I think I should fill in a lot of blanks in the story and reassemble all of the chapters and do a rewrite then. But today, i have no complaints, perhaps because I took the subway to and fro the writers room to save energy helped.

Sleep vs. Write vs. Politics

September 19, 2008

I’ve been relatively good about scheduling at least three writing sessions a week at my writer’s room, which is sadly closing. The problem is sometimes I am just too exhausted to go all the way down there. Not that it is so far, about a mile walk or fifteen minutes dealing with the subways.

I went last week and literally passed out from exhaustion. I know showing up is more than half the battle but I think staying awake is a serious obstacle too.

I’m entering a chapter one contest for the first chapter of my book. Not terribly optimistic,but I’ve edited and rewritten the chapter so many times that why not.

Yesterday I scheduled time to sneak to a local coffee shop to bang out a little work, better than nothing, but I was so tired that I literally passed out. At night I try to motivate myself but again I’m tired and zone out in front of the television watching what my husband calls the greatest reality show, Election 2008.

I know, it won’t get any easier to work, and like exercising I will feel better when it’s done. Maybe I could break the seal and work at home or at night and then it will get easier. who knows. I do know that there is a wailing baby downstairs refusing to nap.

Reorganizing on the computer

September 15, 2008

After over two hours at the Apple store and two appointments (a one-on-one session and a genius bar consultation) I likely solved the echo on my iPhone and learned that I should not store so many documents on my desktop. A few tweaks and some more rebooting and the laptop is running more efficiently. Now if only I could get my internet to cooperate.

I made it to my writers room by noon today and resisted the urge to nap with a compromise of eating too many gummy candies. I incorporated the changes from my writers group and rewrote my first chapter, again. I am so sick of reviewing those first few pages that were reviewed in my writers group and again during the conference. But I plowed ahead because I want to submit the first chunk of pages to a Chapter One contest. Naturally, a win will boost my ego and reenergize me. I’ll review the pages again and send them out to friends/writers. Then I’ll stop looking at them. It’s frustrating because those will be the pages that I send to prospective agents so they should be great and lead the reader wanting more.

Back at the writers room, I reshuffled where I filed some documents to better have an idea of what I have. I think seeing the rough blueprints which need heavy editing will remind me that I have a great launch pad for writing. I’m also going to force myself to work more efficiently at home, or at least attempt to do so.

Making Progress

September 3, 2008

I wrote and edited and re-edited a small chunk of my book and submitted it to my writers group. The feedback I received yesterday was so encouraging and supportive and I do not think it was lip-service. My friend mentioned that it was enough to convince her to partake in the summer workshop next year.

I felt that the selection, which switched POVs, was representative of how I would like the entire novel to read, breezy, farcical and funny and I think that is the impression the readers had. yeah!

Naturally, there are some things to improve, including my grammar (but hey that is easy), and the overuse of a word within a short range, but that is what drafts are for.

I still need to go back and redo the beginning, and the middle and the end, but I am off to a great start. And this window to write has just closed because my daughter is now awake. Thank you neighbors hammering against our shared wall.

The Spooning Incident

September 2, 2008

I had an assignment for my writers group to write something based on either an obituary or a wedding announcement. A few weeks ago the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times had a blurb about a woman scorned who made a few phone calls to cancel vendors for her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.

I had been thinking about what to write and most of this story came to me in a dream in the early hours of the morning. I thought I would transcribe it and see how it came out. You tell me.

Joe woke up to find a gaggle of protestors on his front lawn accusing him of child molestation. He hoped they would leave before his date arrived in the evening.

Over dinner, Joe felt the need to defend himself to Carla.

“My son and his friend were playing in my bed, making tents and the sort. When it was time for bed, they asked if they could sleep with me. I said sure. I guess in the middle of the night, half asleep I rolled over and spooned next to this kid. He told his dad, some red neck homophobe who called the cops and his KKK pals. And here we are.”

Carla sympathized and admired Joe’s honesty. No man would want to talk about this on a second date, and that he brought it voluntarily revealed a strong character.

Carla, dedicated and unassuming, had not dated many men for any serious length of time. She felt comfortable and needed around Joe, as if she was somehow helping him. She stood by her man through the rallies, yelling at the local hicks “spooning was not a crime.” She helped him relocate to a new home void of protestors. She went to the arraignment and cheered when the judge dismissed the case.

Joe was grateful for the companionship and having someone believe him. Even his brother David stayed comparably silent during the spooning ordeal, as he would later refer to it. So much of Joe and Carla’s relationship revolved around this ugly accusation and its aftermath. It disgusted Joe that someone who barely knew him before the spooning ordeal would remain so loyal and never ask any questions. In fact, she never asked anything of Joe. She just stood beside him loyal and meek. At another point he would have found her passivity attractive, and in fact he did, six months ago when the world was ready to ex-communicate him. But now, now that he had a grittier view of the world, now that he was once accused of a heinous crime and saw his freedom flash before his eyes, now Joe wanted more.

“Every woman has the potential to be psychotic,” David once told his brother.

Joe thought Carla too submissive to do anything crazy, and after all that he endured, anything Carla could potentially do would not compare to the spooning ordeal. So he said goodbye to Carla without ado.

Devastated, she called twelve times before noon, hanging up once the answering machine picked up. She dialed Joe’s cell phone and home number, careful to block her number eleven times that evening. The calls tapered off until after one week she no longer picked up the phone and dialed the digits she was embarrassed to have memorized. Was a just reward for her loyalty? Stand by your man, my ass.

“You told her you loved her, didn’t you?” David asked.

Joe nodded.

His brother looked at him with knowing eyes.

As the weeks turned into months, Joe discovered that the dating scene was not as accessible for a formerly accused child molestor/spooner. He longed for the reliability of Carla, those comforting hazel eyes assuring him that he could survive anything. He almost wished that she had more stalked tendencies.

Joe was lamenting his mistake at their favorite falafel haunt when the waiter congratulated Joe on his engagement.

“Huh?”

“Carla came in the other day with a beautiful diamond ring. I assumed you were still together,” the waiter said in a heavy middle-eastern accent.

Carla’s wedding was scheduled to be a beautiful affair complete with white flowers, an ivory gown and cream cake. Days before she was set to walk down the aisle, her caterer called confirming the recent cancellation.

“Huh?” she asked.

“We received a phone call the other day canceling the arrangements.”

Carla un-cancelled the cancellation and confirmed her other vendors. She told her fiancé what happened. “I think it’s Joe.”

“You told him you loved him, didn’t you?”

Carla nodded and her fiancé caste a knowing smile.

Moral of the story: Every man has the potential to go psycho too.