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A Turning Point

4 Jun

Although I set the goal a few months back to write a novel, I haven’t been making much forward progress.  My head is full of my fan fiction story ideas that I want to finish (okay, start in some cases) and while there’s a recent trend of authors “converting” their fan fiction story into “original” fiction by changing the characters’ names, that’s not for me.  I like to tie in too much from canon to feel good about publishing it.  Plus, I’m on the fence about self-publishing.

So anyway, I just really didn’t have any concrete ideas.  Sure, there are ideas everywhere, but nothing reached out and grabbed me.  All I had was a glimpse of a few characters that might be good to use in a story, but I had no real conflict and plot.

We’re taking a mini-vacation this weekend and were in the car for four hours yesterday.  My husband and I started talking about what I’ll do when our daughter (8 months) is in kindergarten.  At one point he said, “You should write a book.”

I shyly and reluctantly admitted that I did want to write a book.  My husband knew I liked to write, knew I spent a lot of time learning about writing, but I’d never actually said the words out loud to him: “I want to write a novel.”

He’s completely supportive of this goal.  When I mentioned that I’d probably have to wait until our daughter is in preschool so I could get some uninterrupted time to focus on it, he said, “That’s a few years away.  Why wait?”

We continued to talk about it for over two hours, after I, again, reluctantly, told him about my glimmer of an idea.  We brainstormed and that glimmer turned a different direction.  What I thought would have been an adult, mainstream novel about families turned into a young adult coming-of-age novel.

There are still dozens of directions the story could go; it’s still very vague.  But I have a premise, a “What if…” — and that’s much more than I had before the conversation.

When my husband said that “What if” out loud, I got goosebumps.  That’s how I knew we’d hit on something I’d actually want to write.  Goosebumps.

Our son (almost 7) also got into the conversation.  “You’re going to write a book that goes in a bookstore?!”  He thought that was the coolest thing ever.  He also decided that he would draw the illustrations and my husband would do the cover picture.  My son also told me the name of my protagonist (and his brother…he apparently has a brother) and I’ll be damned if it didn’t fit.

Although I’d packed my pen and notebook, they were stuffed in the trunk and inaccessible.  And by some cruel twist of fate, I’d put the pen and notepad I keep in my purse into another purse, which was also packed in the trunk.  As soon as we got settled in the hotel room, I pulled out my notebook and tried to capture all the ideas down.  I know I lost some to my scattered brain, but I got as much down as I could.

How does it all look in the morning?

Well, to be honest, I’m less excited about it today. But I’m keeping it in the back of my head to think on it. The main thing I’m excited about, though, is my husband’s complete and total support. I didn’t really expect anything less, but his enthusiasm was more than I expected. And I’m proud of myself for finally being brave enough to share my dream.

Goal Reflection, One Week Later

21 Apr

It’s been one week since I started this blog and set the goal to spend at least one hour on my writing five days a week.

How did I do?

Well, I’m not sure, to be honest.  I know I spent more than five hours writing this week, but I don’t know if it was over five days.  And that’s really the key, isn’t it?  To make writing a priority in my life so that I devote time to it five days a week?  Of course I have the standard excuses: “Well, this was Spring Break week so my schedule was out of whack”, “I’ve been unusually tired this week”, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Coming up with excuses is completely counter to my whole reason for setting the goal.  Instead of fitting in my writing each day, I need to plan for it.  Whether it’s at midnight or 10 A.M. — or maybe half an hour at both times — it doesn’t matter.  What matters is scheduling at least five days of writing a week and then doing it.

What I also need to do is track my efforts.  After all, how will I know I’m meeting my goal if I don’t have any record?  Even something as simple as a check mark on the calendar to say “I did my 60 minutes of writing” on this day.

So what have I spent my time on this week?  I began the week plotting Unseen Scars and that led me to really wondering about the antagonist’s  character.  Which led me to thinking about what he’d be doing after the story’s end.  Which led me to planning an epilogue for Unseen Scars.  Which led me to write an outtake for Unseen Scars that filled in some of the time between the last chapter and the epilogue.  Which led me to consider a sequel to Unseen Scars.

Have I mentioned that I haven’t even finished plotting Unseen Scars yet, let alone written a single chapter yet?  And  I’m already thinking about — and writing — outtakes and sequels?

*sigh*

But isn’t it wonderful when things just start to come together?  When the characters just take off on their own?  I now have a much clearer sense as to who this character is, why he acts the way he does, and how he will be defeated.  When that happens, it’s easy to remember that I actually do love to write.

Welcome to My World!

15 Apr

I set a goal for myself that by March 2016, I want to be in the process of landing a publisher for my novel.  (Or better yet, a published author.)

Right now, I only write Twilight fan fiction.  I haven’t attempted anything original yet.  I look at fan fiction as practice for “real writing” not because writing fan fiction isn’t real writing, but because it sure is a whole lot easier to start a story when you’ve already got the basis for your characters — names, descriptions, personalities, histories, etc.  When I go back and re-read the stories I wrote two years ago, I can see definite improvement in my writing.  That right there makes writing fan fiction worthy in my mind.

Writing has become a huge part of my life, something I never would have imagined happening five years ago.  This blog will be a place for me to document that aspect of my life.  Some of the things I plan to talk about here include:

  • Teasers for my upcoming stories or chapters
  • Pictures that have inspired my stories
  • Stories I have read and loved
  • Real, actual books I have read and loved
  • The occasional rant or musing about writing

I have two children — one who is under a year old — and a husband I actually enjoy spending time with.  For these reasons plus my need for quiet, it’s usually not until 11 P.M. or later that I have a chance to write.  Thankfully I am also a night owl so some of my best ideas come at 2 A.M.  I’m not sure I could do the “wake up two hours before the rest of the household” trick successfully; the “stay up four hours after the rest of the household is asleep” tends to work better for me.

With any huge goal, it’s good to break it down into smaller goals.  So my immediate, short-term goals are to:

  • Spend at least 1 hour actively working on a story at least 5 days a week, whether it’s plotting, planning, researching, writing, editing, or some other necessary task.  Dreaming about my characters doesn’t count because that happens all on its own.  Actually recording what the dream was about and then expanding on it does.
  • Finish at least 1 multi-chapter fan fiction story.

I’ll start with that and revise as necessary.  *deep breath* It feels kind of good to get my goals written down and tangible.

Now, let’s make it happen!

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