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DIPPED MY TOE IN

This month I re-started the rewrite of my trilogy (book one). I worked on several chapters and gave myself a pat on the back.

In retrospect, these efforts lacked the intensity of past efforts. The pat on the back recognized my self-motivation, but in reality fell abysmally short.

My resolution for next year is to complete this rewrite sooner than later. In 2018, I resolve to put aside specific days each week for at least two hours of writing. From past experience, I know the execution of this plan will propel me toward my goal.

Once achieved, I’m sure another rewrite will appear in my future. Ah, the joys and tribulations of writing.

As 2017 draws to a close, I wish you and your families a healthy, happy New Year!

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USE THE FORCE, MARK

In my travels last month, a cousin approached me. Paraphrasing our discussion she basically stated I should give up on my novel. When I asked why, she replied your blog makes it seem so painful.

I was taken aback. I reassured her that I still actually enjoyed the process, but realized that my recent blog entries could have represented one long whine. Next month the eighth episode of the Star Wars saga will appear. Using it, I will attempt to redeem myself.

Writing my overall concept for the trilogy and the first book represented episode four, A New Hope. Beginning my journey as a writer contained apprehension and thrills similar to Luke Skywalker maturation. His adventure ended with the triumphant destruction of the Death Star and mine with the draft of book one.

My angst arose after the first edit of my second rewrite. My psyche filled with doubt and trepidation. I wondered if I could actually complete the task at hand. The rebel forces in episode five, The Empire Strikes Back, had a similar journey. All felt lost as the Empire continued to have successes against the main characters and Luke realized Darth Vader was his father. The future of the rebellion remained uncertain, as did my ability to write.

As I move forward with revising the first book, I am confident that I will learn and master the skills necessary to write an engaging novel. Like Luke in episode six, Return of the Jedi, I will complete my training by facing my fears and becoming a published novelist (perhaps even a Jedi knight).

Yoda’s quote continues to resonant in my mind: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

May the force be with you!

 

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BREAKTHROUGH

(Note to Followers/Readers: At the end of October, I won’t publish a blog entry. The next entry will be November 30, 2017.)

At the beginning of September, I gave serious consideration to throwing in the towel. After much soul searching, a decision occurred. I would continue to write.

As mentioned in previous months, I’ve been struggling. How can I manage the nine various improvements required for a better story? Focus on one and rewrite eight more times? It appeared to be a Sisyphean task.

The breakthrough came when I decided to alter the process by writing chunks of material. I would complete a few consecutive chapters focusing on several major improvements. Then I would review and incorporate the other issues I needed to address per my editor. By breaking the rewrite into reasonable segments, I could avoid the constant loop of rolling the stone up the hill.

I’ll update you in November. In the meantime, I went to a toy store for my grandchildren (even at my age, I still love perusing toy stores so I use my grandchildren as an excuse). On the shelf was the toy “Magic 8 Ball”. I hope you remember it from your childhood. You ask it a question and roll it over for the answer.

So I picked it up and softly stated: “Will my novel ever be finished?” Rolling it over the following answer appeared: “Everything points to a Yes.”

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MOLASSES

I completed my research on transformations this month. I read portions of two books by Anne Rice (Interview With The Vampire and The Wolf Gift), the opening chapters of The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, and articles about NDE. My writing coach recommended all of these, but before learning about extrasensory perception, I had to look up the meaning of “NDE” (Near Death Experiences).

I found all of them instructive. Anne Rice’s descriptions were very Victorian even though the werewolf novel occurred in more modern times. Glen Duncan made me chuckle when his werewolf described his existence in the present (“Two nights ago I’d eaten a forty-three-year-old hedge fund specialist. I’ve been in a phase of taking the ones nobody wants.”) The NDE’s mainly described out of body experiences.

Toward the end of the month, I attempted to incorporate what I learned into describing how my protagonist coped with his new, amazing skill sets. I found my writing flowed onto the page more like molasses than water. I guess learning new techniques will take some time.

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PROGRESS!

I’ve revised the opening chapters. Although their “Rewrite #2” composition has completely disappeared, several scenes will be reborn in later chapters.

I had fun adding more punch and intrigue. I assume my writing coach/editor will have further suggestions, but I believe I’m on the right path. As previously mentioned, a more focused approach has lead to more creativity.

The next hurdle involves getting my sensory images flowing. My protagonist has been brought to the emergency room after a shark attack. I currently describe the scene but not from my hero’s perspective. I have to portray what he’s experiencing. A transformation is taking place. My writing coach suggested I do some research on werewolves. How do the authors of this genre describe the metamorphosis?

My hero isn’t a werewolf, but something unusual is happening to him. It will be fun to escalate this enigma. I’ll be doing some research before jumping back into writing.

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PLODDING ALONG

I continue to work on my re-write, but the progress remains slow. I’m focused on all the issues my editor raised which results in a meticulous approach.

This month I continued working on the first few chapters making sure I incorporated more action. I need to grab the reader from the start instead of later in the novel. Taking my editor’s advice I rewrote the “shark attack” chapter. She suggested reading how other authors described the action. My favorite was Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel Jaws. He definitely pulls the reader into the story with his opening sequence. Something I hope to emulate.

I do enjoy this creative side of the process. Hopefully the integration of all these changes will become easier and my writing pace will pick up.

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INCH BY INCH

During the past month, I’ve made progress. Unfortunately the amount remains minuscule because I want to be more meticulous incorporating my editor’s advice.

Over the years, as I learned more about writing, my fascination with the process grew. Initially, once the birth of the story arc occurred, I thought my innate writing style would flesh out the story. In retrospect, I exhibited the naivety of a “blooming novelist”.

I now realize writing a good, compelling story involves numerous elements. Tackling these components requires less spontaneity and more focused creativity. Using this methodology I’ve rewritten several chapters, but instead of flowing onto the page, my words pour like molasses. The result: my writing became more engaging. A goal I hope to achieve for my entire novel.

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