Going the distance

After finishing the first draft of my second in the wee hours of Tuesday morning last week, I told myself to take at least the rest of the day away from the manuscript. I was successful. Mostly.

I didn’t look at the manuscript but I was thinking about it. Four hours of sleep doesn’t make you lucid enough to think about your writing in any critical manner. So, I spent the afternoon emailing, texting and messaging folks about the first draft.

And the next day, as in around 12:30am Wednesday morning, I was writing a new opening scene for the novel. The original opening scene now becomes the second scene. I know… I couldn’t stay away from the manuscript for 24 hours. I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t shut down my brain for 24 hours.

My brain moved into polishing mode without any effort on my part. It’s still in polishing mode even though I still believe I’m working on my first draft. But if I’ve added a new scene and I’m tightening up some of the dialogue, does that mean I’ve now started on my second draft? I’m thinking I’m still working on the first draft. I’m still operating as if I’m working on the first draft. So, I probably haven’t left first draft mode.

Well, I’m calling it now. First draft. Don’t tell me otherwise. It’s my novel so bugger off.

To be honest, I probably think I won’t be in second draft mode until after my writing mentor and my technical advisor have read the manuscript. They’ve both been notified that it’s done. They also know I’m currently going through the manuscript again before they get to read it.

There’s the belief that writing the story is the easy part compared to what needs to be done after you’re done writing it. I haven’t decided one way or the other.

If you’ve mapped out the scenes you want in the novel, the writing part is easy.  Even then, you won’t necessarily follow what you’ve mapped out because a better idea about a plot point comes up and you end up shuffling things around or getting rid of some things altogether.

I actually find the stuff that comes after pretty interesting. Being in polishing mode isn’t bad. It’s about getting the manuscript in the best shape possible before you hand it over to an editor. Quite honestly, I’d rather not have the editor be distracted by easily correctable spelling and grammar when they should be concentrating on more pertinant aspects of the story.

Figuring out the book cover will be fun. I cringe a little when I say that. Figuring out a title for the novel would go a long way in figuring out the design of the book cover. Well, good luck to me in trying to come up with a book title because I suck at it. Maybe an idea will pop up as I go through the manuscript a second time. I can only hope.

Regardless of what’s easier, the writing or the stuff after the writing, the story is still with me. And it will probably be with me until it’s published. Even then, I have plans for my characters after they come alive in book form. Yeah, this story will stay with me for quite some time. I won’t be discussing what those plans are until much later in the year or maybe after the new year.

Yeah, the light is at the end of tunnel. I walked out of the tunnel and into the light. And I see a whole set of other challenges in front of me. This is not unexpected.

It never ends. It’s about going the distance. And I don’t mind it at all.

Write the first draft… check

There are a million ways to write a book. You only need to find one Delilah S. Dawson

Out of the million ways to write a book, I found one for the second novel. And the first draft is finished. Last sentence was typed at 4:07 this morning.

Just a little short on sleep, but long on ambition.

There’s still a ton of shit to do. Revisions, editing, feedback, book cover design, make sure the Spanish I use in the book is more than adequate. Oh yeah, I gotta come up with a title for the book. It’s something I don’t think about while I’m writing but now I have to burn some brain cells in order to figure it out. I suck at titles. But I gotta do it.

It’s Tuesday late afternoon and it still hasn’t really sunk in yet that I finished writing the first draft for my second book. It’s kind of weird. I’ve been through it before. I don’t recall feeling mildly disbelieving that I finished it with the first book. Maybe it has something to do with my characters for this book. My attachment to them, my connection to them is vastly stronger than with the ones in the first book.

Maybe that’s normal. Maybe it’s not. Does it matter? Nope.

I suppose I should celebrate this milestone. I’m not particularly fussy about what I do. Feeling low key right now. My plans for tonight is to do some food prep for the rest of the week. Bake some banana bread, make egg muffins and poach some chicken. Yeah, I know. Scintillating evening. It’s not all food prep though.

I’m trying to take a break from working on the story tonight. But it’s kind of hard when I know there are a few things things I already want to look at and revise. But there are a boatload of movies on Netflix and in my collection that I would like to watch. So, it is food prep and Netflix tonight.

Keeping this post short. Got stuff to do. But a little decompression is in order.

Laterz.

Embracing the voices

People have always heard voices. Sometimes they’re called shamans, sometimes they’re called mad, and sometimes they’re called fiction writers. I always feel lucky that I live in a culture where fiction writing is legal and not seen as pathologyRuth Ozeki

I am a fiction writer.

Yes, I have heard voices — or specifically, I hear the words. Once in awhile, they come to me in my dreams. But that form of communication is rarely used with me. They prefer to come to me in images. Sometimes, the imagery is scattered or disjointed but never random. Most of the time, the imagery is specific and words usually accompany them. But it isn’t uncommon for the imagery or the words to appear without each other. But I always know where they go.

Am I crazy? Give me your definition of ‘crazy’ and I will tell you if you are correct. Normal is so boring. Normal is something everyone is told be so every individual will be easier to handle. Easier to control. That’s why laws exist. That’s why religion exists. I think you need to be brave and a little crazy to be the person you could to be, the person you should be, the person you need to be.

Am I a shaman? Technically, I’m not. But I could be. If I am, does that frighten you? If it does, would knowing that I only access the supernatural and the other-worldly to tell stories, make you feel better? If it still doesn’t, then I’m sorry… we can’t be friends.

Whereas some folks may be riddled with angst and a little fear as a result of hearing voices, I embrace them. It’s easy to play with them. It’s easy to be around them. Sometimes, it’s far more comfortable to be in their presence than being in the presence of actual living breathing human beings.

Let’s be honest, humans are a weird lot. Yeah, we have a brain (sometimes that can be contested), we claim to be intelligent (that’s definitely debatable) and because of that, we have the ability to communicate better than species in the animal kingdom (that’s kinda laughable, to be honest). And we have the ability to access all of our emotions, but we don’t. Okay, some members of humanity seem to issues with that, especially when we’re told to repress them for the sake of not embarrassing others. Yeah, fuck that shit. And now you know one of the reasons I’m more comfortable with the voices or the words I hear in my head than with people.

So, yeah. I’m a fiction writer. It’s the skin I’m most comfortable in, right now. It’s the skin I can call my own. It’s the skin I’m meant to wear. Anybody who says otherwise will get a swift kick in the arse.