Bittersweet

After a multi-year hiatus–peppered with rare, stolen moments of work–and half a year of concentrated effort, I’ve finished the rough draft of my speculative novel, NIGHT GARDEN.

Emphasis on the word “rough.”

A quick glance at my Track Changes application shows 119 comments sprinkled throughout the manuscript, indicating spots where I need to weave in world-building elements, affirm timelines, research further, fill in creative pits, and shore up plot points and character motivations. In addition, I have notes scrawled on napkins, sermon notes, and Post-Its–whatever I could grab before the thought fled.

Then there are the two notebooks (including one of those ultra-sexy yellow-pads) full of the most poorly organized notes imaginable.

I’ve got just a wee bit of work to do before this baby’s ready for prime time.

Still, it’s a major accomplishment, just completing the beast. I typed 112,632 words. I wrote 35 chapters. I hit the point where I could legitimately pen that final flourish: “The End.”

I should be skipping. Dancing. Celebrating with a glass of wine.

Continue reading “Bittersweet”
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Writerly Resilience & Novel No. 2

I won’t lie: The past few days of writing have required a healthy, heaping dose of courage. Why, you ask?

Because I’m finally returning to NIGHT GARDEN, the novel I started way back in 2015.

I know–that doesn’t sound particularly terrifying. But between now and then, my novel-writing life has been a roller-coaster-y one. When I started NIGHT GARDEN four years ago, I’d just finished writing and editing PROHIBITED, my 1920s novel. NIGHT GARDEN was meant to be my work-in-progress while I shopped PROHIBITED for literary agent representation.

There was just one kink in my glossy little plan. At 700 pages, PROHIBITED was literally twice the size it should’ve been. If novels can be likened to sharks, PROHIBITED was a whale shark instead of a sleek, speedy mako. 🦈

(Somewhere out there, at least my brother Hunter gets this metaphor.) But if you’re not so into sharks, here’s a visual: PROHIBITED’s first draft.

Image may contain: Lauren Michelle Peltier Derby

Yep, waaaaaaaaay too many pages in that stack.

Continue reading “Writerly Resilience & Novel No. 2”

Ah, the twin hazards of being a freelance artist/writer: procrastination and performance anxiety.

As soon as I sit down at my watercolor block and pick up my brushes, I find myself convinced that the writerly muse has suddenly, decisively descended and I must return to my novel RIGHT. FRICKIN’. NOW.

The minute I pull up that chapter I’m re-writing for the second third fourth fifth time, my eyes sneak back toward my painting. I mean, is it really wise to give up the last good natural light of the day?

I think I might need a personal assistant. Just to set off the shock collar every time I think changing up activities every five minutes is a good way to be productive.

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Mugs & Motivation

It’s been a quiet few weeks (er, months) around Ebb & Flow.

My preoccupation with our newest international move–this time back to the Good Ol’ US of A–is much to blame. There’s a lot involved in purchasing new cars, identifying apartments, catching up with family and friends, and coordinating three different shipments of far too much stuff. (Every time we go through one of these nomadic seasons, I fantasize about burning everything we own–books excepted–and starting from scratch.)

But the biggest culprit behind the “Mysterious Case of the Missing Blog Posts” has been the dedication of all my writing time to a massive overhaul of my historical novel. And I do mean massive: facelift, rhinoplasty, and some serious literary liposuction. As in tens of thousands of words, now gone.

I’m glad about it. With every word felled by my editing machete, I know my book’s becoming better. But… Continue reading “Mugs & Motivation”

Editing & Angst: Tactics for Triumphing over Tough Choices

There’s some contention about who said it (Da Vinci? Picasso? E. M. Forster? Paul Valery?), but whoever voiced it, the thought’s a salient one:

“A work of art is never finished. It is merely abandoned.”

For novelists, this means–after much hard work–finally making the choice to unclench your fingers and drop that red pen. At some point, you have to kick that baby bird out of the nest and let it fly or fall as it will.

Alas pour moi, that point of abandonment is not now. Every time I try to nudge one particular novel out of my drafting/editing nest, I find it chirping obnoxiously, squawking that it’s not quite ready.

And so I find myself flourishing that vermillion ink yet again, this time to do a massive, content-oriented edit aimed at culling thousands of words.

Now I may grumble and groan and gnash my teeth–just ask my long-suffering husband–but I’m also invigorated by it. Because who doesn’t want to make her book the best it can be?

That doesn’t mean the project isn’t daunting. Yet as I read through my novel, I’m finding two images to be helpful guides as I decide what to keep and what to cull. For my fellow writer/editors, I thought I’d share: Continue reading “Editing & Angst: Tactics for Triumphing over Tough Choices”