25 January 2008

Draft 1: done!

So I finished the first draft of my novel! Now it needs to rest for a little bit. I kept tinkering with it for the first few days after I finished it, but I know it needs to hide in a dark hole for a week or two or three before I dive back in and start the tedious process of revision. I'm too close to it right now to see all that needs to be done with it.

I've started asking around to my friends to see if I can get any readers. I've got two willing participants so far. I know, friends and family generally aren't the best critics (they tend to be less critical than I'd like) but I think I can still get some really good feedback from these two. I think I want to find out if there's any kind of writer's group or something that meets locally. Maybe I could get some feedback that way too. Of course, that will be somewhat dependent on how close/far it is, since I have yet to get my license. That's next on my list of things to accomplish in the very near future. (Yes, yes, I'm going to be 25 next month and I've still never gotten a license.....but that's a completely different blog altogether!)

Now it's on to work on some other ideas floating around in my head.

18 January 2008

The End Comes First?

So I've written the end of my novel. Which is all well and good, except I haven't written the part that comes before it yet. Strangely enough, I feel really good about this. I've been working on this manuscript for a little while, and it's been getting longer, and I didn't quite know exactly how it would end for a while. Then the other day, somewhere out of the blue, I decided what needed to happen, and how it needed to happen at the very end. So I sat in front of the computer and started typing away. It was only about 10 single-spaced pages that I wrote for the ending (I guess it'll be the last chapter? I don't think it would be an epilogue, but we'll see.) And as soon as it was done, it was like I was suddenly free to get going on the rest.

I've been a little stuck with it. Mostly doing some revising and tinkering with it lately, but I just started writing with a real flow again, now that I know exactly where it's going. I usually like for things to sort of 'finish themselves' when they're 'ready,' but writing the ending before I've actually finished seems to have worked for me this time. Sometimes knowing your limits is good. And it really shouldn't be long now before the rest comes together!

Then it's on to major revisions......*sigh* I knew it would happen eventually. Revising is my least favorite part (although I've been getting better at it) of writing. I tend to get really attached to what I've written, even if I know, deep down, that it's not the best I can do. But I'm still afraid to hit that delete button, in case I decide that I wanted that word, that paragraph, that page back. So I tend to copy and paste into a new document and revise there, so I still have the original copy. Which can get crazy when I have Novel1, Novel2, Novel2a or whatever saved on the computer. Oh well. Maybe I'll clean up my method someday. Just not today.

06 January 2008

Who is Atticus F. Blakely?

So I'm enjoying the writing books I purchased. I tried out the exercise I posted last time, with some great results! I'm feeling more inspired already, and the creativity is starting to flow a little more freely! This is something that came to me spontaneously in the shower. ha ha. I think it's the beginning of something. Short story? Novel? Who knows. But I think I can have fun with this one. Here's what I've got so far:

His name was Atticus. Yes, exactly like that other Atticus you’re thinking of. Thought it was more to do with his mother’s (crazy old bat that she was) unnatural obsession with Gregory Peck and less to do with a love of classic novels (because Lord knows she scarcely read a thing that didn’t have an evil bat-baby on the cover and a dozen ads for psychics inside) that he came to be named Atticus F. Blakely. And if you need more than one guess at what the F stands for, you might have more in common with A.B.’s eccentric mother than you ought to admit.

That’s what everyone calls him, by the way, A.B. No one ever called him Atticus if he could help it. It was embarrassing! If he had been blessed with the velvety voice and dashing good looks of Peck’s on-screen alter ego, that would be one thing. It might even bee amusing then, or flattering, when someone called him Atticus. Alas, he did not live in a black and white movie, but in modern-day Baltimore, and his voice was far from velvety. Especially when he sang along (if sing is indeed the correct verb for what he did) with his favorite Earth Crisis album. If you’ve no idea who they are, A.B. would probably say that’s unfortunate. I’d say you’re pretty normal.

See, he’s a punk rock misfit of sorts. Though you might never guess it if you met him in his work clothes. The long-sleeved white shirt concealed another sleeve - one of intricate and colorful tattoos on his left arm. (If you ask nicely, he’d probably tell you the story behind each one.) Only a tiny patch of bleached mohawk at the nape of his neck was visible under the black cap his uncle made him wear. It made him look like a chauffeur. The cap. Not the mohawk, of course. Even the barbell that pierced the top of his ear in two places wasn’t enough to give away his true personality. No, in his somber dichromatic uniform, he seemed as plain as you or I.

On the day this story begins, A.B. had just finished seeing old Mrs. Porter off. He talked to her as he drove - idle chitchat, mostly. But as he left her, he asked her, if there was such a place as Heaven, to say hello to his mother when she got there. He was fairly certain that’s where Mrs. Porter would end up, if it existed (because what could old ladies possibly do to end up in Hell?) And strange though his mother had been, he felt sure she had been good enough to earn a spot there, too.

My goodness, that is an odd expression you’ve twisted your face into! Is it something I said?

Well, perhaps A.B. did inherit some of his mother’s quirkiness, but when you consider his line of work, it really isn’t so bizarre that he should converse with a dead woman!

Oh, didn’t I mention it? No, I suppose I didn’t.

Well, it so happens that our friend A.B. drives a hearse.