Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Writer's Chronicle

"The Writer's Chronicle" was my latest find in the donation box at my local library. Published by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, it offers in-depth interviews with writers and reflections on writing. There are also (as one might expect) many advertisements for writing programs. I didn't read it cover to cover, but what I did read, I found very interesting. It is definitely geared more to fine literature and poetry than to popular reading, but it is good to be exposed to different ideas and different genres. I hope whoever the anonymous person was who donated his copy will donate others soon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Return to "The Rose Ring"

With a couple weeks of time since I last looked at it - time enough to put some distance between me and the anger and disgust I felt when I first looked at it when it came back from the editor (anger and disgust with myself, not the editor who actually did a very thorough job) - I took a little bit of time tonight to start revising my manuscript. I'm starting with the easy changes the editor suggested - changing a phrase here and there, making grammatical changes, etc. I still don't have a clue how to fix the bigger issues of character development, strengthening the story, etc. I wish I had someone to help me, but I'm alone on this one, unless some burst of divine inspiration comes my way.

I'm still trying to convince myself that the story matters. It's hard to explain the way I feel about it. I enjoyed writing the story, but I feel ashamed of its weaknesses. Also, I'm very conscious of how I use my time. I try hard not to waste it. Is writing fiction worth my time? No one but me cares if I do it or not. Very few people even know that I write. Will the world be better in any way because of this story? Probably not. I pray to write what I should when I should, to get published if and when I should. Is my ambivalence an answer to the prayer? Am I meant to surrender? Am I not meant to travel this road? Or is it just something I need to work through - to conquer my own fears, to write even though there is no tangible reward in sight. I honestly don't know. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are there too many books?

I read something recently (I'm not sure where) about all the people who are out there writing books now. I know when I look at Barnes and Noble or Borders, I get overwhelmed simply by all the titles that line shelves, and I realize that is only a small fraction of the books that are published each year.

Should fewer books be written? Certainly there are more books than the market can support. Yet, the act of writing still matters to the writer. Every time a book is published, even self-published, that is someone's dream coming true. Someone imagined that book (perhaps with some spark of divine inspiration), worked at it for countless hours, and brought it to life. A book exists where there wasn't one before. It is an act of creation. For that reason alone, it has value.

Books have the incredible potential to change people's lives. Some will be read by relatively few (and yes, that is hard to accept when confronted with the millions of books the writers on the NY Times Bestseller List sell), yet they may matter to that small few. Perhaps the book will matter to only one person - the writer. The one who writes the book is forever changed by it. Is it still worth it? I would answer that with an unequivocal "yes."

Every book has value. It simply isn't possible to have too many.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Great Interview with Michelle Buckman

Michelle Buckman is doing good things for Catholic Fiction. Her best-selling novel Rachel's Contritionis flying off the shelves and changing lives in the process. The National Catholic Register has a great interview with her. Read it here: What Catholic Fiction Should Be

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from writing fiction. I'm honestly not sure if I will come back to it. I might. Never say never, as they say. But, for right now, this is what I need to do.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I Would Like From an Editor

I know that this is asking too much, but what I would like is someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what I need to do to fix my book. Instead, I am given suggestions. They are good, valid suggestions. I just have no clue how to actually implement them. Obviously, if I knew how to increase the level of conflict, obstacles and character development, I would have done it in the first place. I need someone to take my ideas and make them into an interesting compelling story because I am not up to the task. Ugh. Back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I am enjoying listening to 50s music while I work. This all started because I heard a commercial with "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by the Platters in it. That is one of my all-time favorite songs. I plugged that into YouTube and have been meandering since then.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Books I'd Like to Write

Jane Lebak wrote a wonderful blog post on what Christian and Catholic fiction should be: http://philangelus.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/writing-the-rainbow/. These are the types of books I would like to write.

Meanwhile, her book The Boys Upstairs has received high praise: "Although I normally don’t seek out inspirational titles and consider myself to be anything but religious in my beliefs, I found this story of brotherly love and second chances to be well-written and touching." Good for you, Jane!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Juggling Projects

I have a few different projects on my plate right now (on top of Christmas preparations which are a project all in themselves), and I'm trying to give them all the attention they need. A half-hour or an hour on a daily basis and they will get done. I'm still trying to make the time to write.

I've said it before, but it does give me something to look forward to at the end of the day. Even a couple hundred words makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Yes, they are baby steps, but they are adding up. I'm on page 56 and the story is progressing nicely. It is certainly rough, but it is coming to life, and there is something magic in that process.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hating Your Book?

Rachelle Gardner had a good post today on hating your own book: http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/12/i-hate-my-book.html. I know I've experienced that moment - when I can't bear the sight of something I've written or I wonder how I could have possibly written such pathetic material. I also hit that point when writing a story - where I'm convinced the story is horrible and I don't want to go on, and I have to force myself to do it anyway. I usually just tell myself that I can go back and fix it later (which I can, even if the fixes are not easy to come by).

As for my current story, I crossed the 15,000 word mark tonight. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writing is a good way to forget

My mind and heart have been a bit heavy today. I wasn't sure if I was going to do any writing on my story tonight. I had other work to do which kept me busy for much of the night. As the clock got close to 10 pm, I did decide to spend at least a few minutes writing. It was rather helpful. I lost myself in the story. 400 words flowed easily (I'm currently at 14, 152 words). It allowed me to forget for a bit and gave me some temporary peace. That's a good thing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So You Want to Write A Novel

This was shared by one of my FB friends - she said she was ROFL. Of course, she HAS a bestselling book. For the rest of us still trying, I'm not sure it is quite as funny. But, it does have its moments and a lot of truth to it.