FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/07/19

WEEK FOUR: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER

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Greetings, gentle reader.

Recall, if you will, my earlier posts, my desire to chronicle the progress and pitfalls of my writing journey. In the week since my last FORAGE, I’ve found myself making a little progress, but for the majority, I thought I’d joined Westley in the

Now, now. You’re probably thinking that my Fractured Tales Series has gone the way of the Dodo, but that’s not true, at all. In fact, I’ve blissfully used the term “drawing board adjacent”. I just needed to take a breather from all the words I was writing and actually look at the meaning behind them.

I get that we’re supposed to reach certain word counts and while that’s admirable, it’s also necessary stay on track. This is where my cookie crumbled. In my flexibility to adapt, I took way too many aspects and the story grew to a complexity that rivals those terrifying algebra test questions that never seem to end.

It took one of the more advanced workshops for me to wrap my brain around the tiny smudge that was daring to become a major plot abyss. I got caught up in all the bells and whistles of what my novel could be that I failed to listen to that bell’s first toll.

To help clear my head, I continued reading books from my TBR list to help inspire me or at least dig around in my brain to find the initial spark that ignited my passion for this WIP in the first place. I was brought back to STARGIRL and its follow-up LOVE, STARGIRL by Jerry Spinelli. I’ve always loved MG and YA books. My WIP is of the YA persuasion although it’s set in a fantasy world. Spinelli draws us into an ordinary world and weaves in ordinary people who do ordinary things and yet, find themselves in sometimes extraordinary circumstances. I will say that Stargirl herself is an extraordinary ordinary character. Not fantasy but I saw the connection of how it could help me see my WIP in a different light. I could see the spark in the distance. It called out to me like an old friend asking how I’d been.

After we got the ‘Long time, no see’ small talk out of the way, I realized that I needn’t overwhelm myself in the drafting process. At the heart of any story, from the most plain to the most complicated, there lies a simplicity that resonates with the reader and it helps them get from Point A to Point B as they turn the page. I’m not saying that simplicity is the same thing as an easy process. No, I’ll have to dig deeper, all the way to the root of my overgrown plot line tree. If I don’t overwhelm myself, I won’t overwhelm the reader. It’s a win-win.

So, what have I learned from all this? What does X equal?

X = the beginning

X = the heart of the story

X = the reason why I wanted to write this story and share it with the world

X = reassessing my strategy

X = not giving up.

I continue the words. I continue the climb. The story’s not over yet. Literally. And now that I’ve gotten over the doldrums–my self-doubt and second guessing have since left the building–I can reconnect with my goals and get back on the path of creating something wonderful. It’s not so much a pitfall as it is a pitstop. If I were in the Indy 500, I’d need to make sure that everything was in good working order throughout the entire race. I think this week, as busy as it was outside of writing, has helped me reevaluate the importance of seeing the bigger picture and not being afraid to change course along the way. The path might have some unexpected twists and turns, but the destination remains the same for this writing journey.

Buckle up.

On your mark, get set…

Write.

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/17

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 46,695 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 210,554 words

I’m getting my butt kicked in one of my workshops and I mean this in the nicest way possible. I’d rather suck it up now and work out all the kinks, plot holes, chasms–toMAYto, toMAHto–in my WIP rather than after a year of slogging away at a series that won’t quit and won’t stop branching out in subplots. I’m not saying subplots are a bad thing. They’re great. But imagine your favorite tree. You go and visit it at the park. One day, you see the branches are taking everything over, it’s stifling, there’s no other room to grow. Worse yet, the roots are coming up through the grass, snaking their way in all directions. The tree trunk? That used to be my plot line. My current WIP predicament? The attack of the killer tree. It’s a B-movie with a horrible ending. Don’t watch it. I won’t.

So, back to the butt-kicking. I’m still working on the Series, of course. But rather than intermittent ‘fixes’ akin to a cork in an active volcano, I’m going back to the basics. Remember how I said I used to be on the fence between plotting and pantsing? Well, this mess has compelled me to get off the fence and head back over to Plotville. I gave in to too much flexibility when it came to those “what if” questions and what began as a simple hero’s journey mutated into a foxtrot quickstep square dance limbo with two left feet. Ya feel me?

I’ll get it sorted. I have some challenges that extend through August to give me the rest of the summer to get back on track. And back on track I shall be or I’ll end up running out of horrid clichés to blog!

READING:

In other news…

Here’s what I read this week:

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Currently reading and on deck:

lovestargirl     FLIPPED 331920     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432     WIRED FOR STORY 13126099

Okay, I know not all the books here are from my last post. Due to recent events of aforementioned flogging and restrategizing–if it’s not a real word, I’m making it one–my WIP, I found I couldn’t get through reading a fairytale inspired story anymore. Until I’m out of my plotting fog, I’m steering clear of fairytale inspired tales.

The only reason I jumped onto Spinelli’s sequel was because I was moved by the first story, had the second one already and wanted to dive in while the characters were fresh in my mind. It’s told from a different POV and in a different format, but I’m quite enjoying it. Also, I’m enjoying MG/YA fiction, probably because they’re among my favorite reads. No worries. My ever expanding TBR list has a wide variety, but I think I’d like to start here and work my way to the grittier stuff later.

At least I can continue my nourishment through reading while enjoying other genres, as well. The diverse writing styles and voices are inspiring and giving me just the right amount of motivation to stop beating myself up over minor setbacks. 🙂

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 8

Non-Fiction: 3

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness are every Monday In July. Some of my fellow WIPsters are going through rough patches, while others are hanging from rafters with glee. We’re all in it together and I love it. Two Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and three Mid-Week Check-Ins.

I was hoping that FRIDAY FORAGE would be shorter than last week, but my inner monologue demands to be heard. Fingers and toes crossed, it will be shining, shimmering, and splendid.

OTHERS:

Oh, dear, sweet, neglected Duolingo. Does it count that the senior member of The Keysmashing Tots knows the word ‘stars’ in both English and Spanish already? Again, thanks to Dora and Diego. To his credit, children are known to have a knack for languages at a young age. I’d love to be a linguistic sponge. I’ll keep at it. I don’t think it’s too late. Of course, now I’m picturing SpongeBob. Great. :-/

Oh, and that thing I mentioned about Stella, last time? Erm, is there a movie entitled ‘Stella May Have Gotten In Over Her Head’ or the sister movie ‘Stella Jumped the Gun’. Grrr, plot holes. I’ll fill you yet.

And how are you on this fine, sweltering hump day?