Sunday, May 9, 2010

Of Journals and Hidden Rooms

I have taken to writing out my story this past week, for one reason or another, in my journal. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Sometimes just the thought of opening the pages and using a new favorite pen can be enough to inspire me. It fit right in with all the candle burning this week, the tea. I was very inspired - 36 handwritten pages inspired. There are drawbacks to writing it out. My hand gets tired. My writing goes from anal and neat to sloppy as my muscles tire. It has taken me two days to type these pages in. I find myself editing as I go, this is good and bad. Good because I feel like I am already polishing these parts, strengthening them. Bad because it has taken me two days and I'm not yet done inputting the pages. I'm not sticking to the hallway. I open doors and explore rooms, which lead to other rooms filled with fun things. I often lose track of time in these rooms. I have to be careful or I might actually get lost in there! I am so close to finishing, I need to just put blinders on and reach THE END. It's difficult not to rewrite yourself when you are typing from page to computer. This Nano that ended up spanning over two months (oops!) has been torture and I've used this as an excuse to do the editing/polishing that I have denied myself for two months. Am I cheating? On this part of the W.I.P., I suppose I am. I'm almost to the end of the handwritten pages and am going to try to stick to plunking away on my computer the rest of the time to avoid this. Just think of how much closer I would be to the end if I hadn't spent time typing and rewriting a bit this week. We'll see if it makes for less polishing on this part of the book when all is said and done. Probably not. It's been an interesting process!

I hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day! Mom was up and curled up on the couch last night after my hubby and the kids (dog and cats) had gone to bed. She read while I listened to my IPOD (oh, I'm so embarrassed to even admit what song I have been listening to over and over and over and over and over these past few days) and clicked away on my keyboard. It was nice to have that quiet time with my mom in the late night. I love that some things never change no matter how old I get. She wanted Starbucks for breakfast this morning and a hike with the dog so that's what we did. Scones and Skinny Vanilla Lattes followed by a nice walk through nature with Lily leading the way! Though she only lives two hours away, that two hours sure seems like a lot when we get busy and don't see each other as often as we like. I'm so glad she chose to spend Mother's Day with us!


  1. So interesting, Jen! I wrote in my journal this week, too, but on a much smaller scale. The results were the same, though: typing it out, my journal-writing turned into 'notes' that I polished and detailed as I typed. Hmm. That's totally rewriting! And totally against the rules! And it felt totally great! :) It has been torture, hasn't it, not going back and revising? I can't wait to do it. What do you think? Will you reach THE END by this Wednesday? Or the Wednesday next?

    But how fun you're opening new doors! Are any of them worth going into and prolonging THE END? Did you read that Laini gave a talk last week on filling the twilight vasty nothingness (phrased something like that) of a novel with stuff happening? It sounds to me that, were you in her class, you'd ace it. :) Seriously. You have so much 'stuff happening' in your imagination that it piles itself thick onto your pages.
    Do you know how much fun that is going to be to read? Can't wait to be holding your book in my hands. ;)

  2. I'm really, really hoping to be done a week from tomorrow! I spent some time in one of the rooms and prolonged THE END. I've been rummaging around in there most of the morning and will be trying to find the exit out this afternoon.

    I can't remember who said it (maybe it was Laini), but I remember reading that we as authors must always get in our characters way. Somedays I feel that she must want to climb out of the pages and strangle me. It's likely a love/hate relationship. Without me, she wouldn't have life breathed into her but with me that life is much more difficult. Sometimes I can almost hear her say, "Enough already!" Did you ever see the movie "Better Off Dead" with Jon Cusack? The part where he draws Beth on a piece of paper and the cartoon Beth turns and speaks to him? That's what I picture my character doing. I'm renaming her Eva in honor of my friend who just passed a few months ago. I just threw the name Jenna on her for ease and figured she would tell me her name later on in the journey. I think Eva (pronounced Ay-vah) fits perfectly. Eva was very courageous and full of life, love and spunk like my character. She can breathe deep and run freely in the pages of my book! She will be a hero in print just as she was in real life.

    I can hardly wait to be polishing this up! I would love to email you a draft once it is truly readable. We may not be able to be in a local critique group together, but perhaps we can form one over the miles! Thank you for taking this journey with me. It's been so much fun, even with all the ups and downs, the extra rooms and flyings arrows and extending hallway!

  3. YES, YES, YES! I'd LOVE to read a draft of your story!!!
    (more soon; whining baby. But had to respond immediately!!)

  4. Hello again! :) You know, I think Gennifer Choldenko spoke about 'annoying' or getting in the face of her characters, too: how it was her job to bring them obstacles to overcome. I wonder if I'm doing that. Hmmm. I don't really think so. I've secretly worried about that all along. Mine isn't a plotty story. (More hmmms and grrrs and sighs . . .)

    I'm sure it will all work out in revisions, right? ;)

    I wanted to say how sorry I am you lost your friend. What a beautiful tribute to her, naming your strong, spunky character Eva. And what a tender, golden heart you must have to be so sensitive to the renewing of passed life with the breath of your story. Such a lovely and loving act.