Archive for October, 2008

Maxing Out

October 24, 2008

I cam across an article by Michael Ventura about writing and the best indicator of someone being a successful writer is how long she can lock herself in a room and write. http://www.michaelventura.org/writings/LA4.pdf

The fortunate thing is that I have been able to build my writing endurance and keep myself locked up at my writer’s space for more and more time. I only wish that I worked on this stamina when I was younger and had far fewer distractions. I think then, I was so programmed in the college mentality of bemoaning the work that lay ahead, procrastinating, then cramming and accomplishing something that was good enough.

My current goal which I have been relatively good about achieving is three days a week for however many hours I can handle. Naturally this is subject to babysitter, baby, and who knows what else. Next week I am taking off with my mom to go to Miami to look at a condo she is considering buying. Kind of crazy in this market, I agree, but it’s a chance for some sun and perhaps even relaxation.

Wednesday was highly productive and I left feeling pumped to return, even spent Wednesday night researching, but by Thursday (which would have been my fourth day) I was a little spent and now I do not have the urge to write. Maybe I can squeeze in some hours at home over the weekend. I just haven’t figured out how to really focus at my home desk.

My husband is getting ready to run the marathon next weekend so it will give him a chance to be a couch potato without me feeling frustrated.

Kill your babies

October 21, 2008

One of the hard parts of editing my book is knowing what to keep and what to cut. There’s a writing adage that takes some variation of kill your babies, but since I am now a mom, I should say kill your darlings.

I have a great scene that has a good ending, then I came up with a better one, and then a button at the end. In reality I do not think that the second and third endings are that great that it’s worth sacrificing that first ending.

I have a few character asides, an entertaining diversion that paints a clearer picture but may not add to the story as a whole, think of Scrubs.

I’m also wondering about flashbacks, which are taking on a more prominent role in the novel than I first realized, but still fun nonetheless. If they are short, can they stay in the relevant chapter? What kind of introduction do they need? I can think of two books that I would like to go back and review but of course one I have loaned to a friend (of my mom’s, so who knows when that will be returned) and the second one I have to locate.

Instead of hesitating and researching the answers to all of these questions, I am just continuing to move forward, leaving what feels okay as a placeholder.

I am on track for my November/January goal of completing a draft. Just debating whether to share with my mom who could really slaughter this one baby.

Short Hiatus

October 15, 2008

For the zero loyal readers out there, sorry for my absence. Between the Jewish holidays, family obligations, being a mom, being pregnant and yes writing my book, I’ve been busy.

I’m proud to say that I have a new timeline for the novel, a rough draft by Thanksgiving and a decent draft by the beginning of January before the arrival of Baby #2. Of course I have no idea when Jr will break into this world. My daughter came ten days late, dragged out by forceps, but that is a trauma for another time.

Because I will be busy with the family, I won’t be on pins and needles waiting for friends’ feedbacks. Went to my current writers group this week and feel good about my progress. The members are on board for reading a full draft in the winter.

*side note about feedback. I asked members of my old writers group if they had time to review my first chapter and four people said yes. I commented that I was submitting the 15 pages in a first chapter contest a week later. One person ten days later wrote a vague email and the others (whose work I have reviewed over time, including one’s full length manuscript) have not gotten back to me nearly three weeks later. Perhaps that’s why we are no longer a functioning writers group.