Monday, August 24, 2009

Return to Civilization

So I have returned to civilization (from blurry middle of nowhere, blackberry is not a good camera). Um, I missed my boy and my cats, but other than that I really wish I was still away. I've never had the experience of going away to write at the beginning of the writing process and um, it didn't go as smoothly. The last time I just remember pounding away for hours upon hours, coming home with a completed draft (it was half written when I left). So this time I thought, sure I can throw together two, rough 50 page proposals. HA! *hums to self "we had the greatest expectations"*

I didn't even finish the one proposal. I hope to finish it this week, but we'll see. I forget that this whole figuring out the shape of the novel thing is the hardest part. Also I'm still filled with all these worries and doubts about if I've chosen the "right" story. I've chosen the one that is the most fleshed out in my mind (but it's still not fleshed out enough... well actually I think it's mainly a structure thing I'm struggling with. I've gotten to know the characters pretty well, but unfolding the story at the beginning is difficult, like incorporating the back story, god that is always so hard for me.) but I'm not sure it is good enough. And is it the right book to follow Ballads? I have all these quirky characters in it and my main character has kind of a sarcastic sense of humor to cope. I don't know I've been watching a lot of Veronica Mars and Weeds and thinking about movies like Juno and Garden State and using humor/quirkiness (not really sure how to describe it because it's not ha-ha funny, it's just interesting types of characters) and I think it's coming through. The book of course deals with darker issues, but in such a completely different way than Ballads. Which feels like what I need (nervous breakdowns triggered by the subject matter of every book is probably not a good idea), but will it still be powerful?

Anyway that book is currently called Anarchists, Soap Stars, and Regulars. It's the road trip and bartender book (you probably got the bartender thing from the regulars bit in the title). That's really all I'm comfortable saying about it for now because I feel like I cursed the Persephone book by talking about it so much in such early phases. Right now that one is on hold til I figure it out, though I have this other idea that may or may not connect...

The second to last day of the retreat we went for a walk. We chose our path using a game I liked to play in my car when I was in high school wherein I would ask my passengers which way to go and we would go that way. So I kept asking Jenny which direction she thought we should go in and we went the way she said and eventually we came upon a little lake. I'd just been saying that morning that I needed water for inspiration. I'm a water sign (Cancer) and seem to have quite the connection to water. I needed water terribly badly that day and then there it was! We couldn't tell if the water was part of someone's property because there was also corn and farm type buildings, but there were no fences, so off we went toward the water. And we followed it to a little waterfall! (Again, excuse blurry phone pic, it was all I had.) From there we found a stream we could dangle toes in and follow further and then it was clearly a park so we were definitely allowed there. But the waterfall, it sparked a memory.

Glen Helen, Antioch College where I went for a year when I was 18. There was a waterfall there. It was hard to find, but I always managed to find it even though I didn't know precisely where it was. (Okay maybe it wasn't really hard to find because I did find several pictures of it online like the one to the right. Maybe it just seemed hard to find because of me being drunk so often.) The Glen was on ley lines basically meaning it was a place that resonated a lot of interesting energy. I used to have these visions at the waterfall... like story visions, not the drugged out kind. I forgot about them until then. I need to write a ravine story. I have ideas, but they are not fully formulated yet.

Same with the story based on the crazy dream I had that I mentioned last week. Not fully formulated. I'm impatient for both ideas as I feel they will be big.

But for now I have what I have and I really hope it will be good enough.

So yeah, more churning of ideas than churning out of pages at my retreat. Also a lot of Veronica Mars was watching in the evenings and then I would read. I finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan which I adored, but I really, really don't recommend reading it in an unfamiliar, spooky feeling house out in the middle of nowhere late at night. This resulted in much lost sleep. I followed it up with Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, which I'm still reading and loving. It's my first Sarah Dessen experience. Any recommendations of which of her books to get next? (Not necessarily read next bc there is a huge stack that needs addressing, but I will get it and incorporate into the stack.)

Enjoyed the reading routine and hope I created a good writing routine for myself. I guess we shall see. I'm behind on absolutely everything; reintroduction into civilization is moving slowly for me and right now I just wanna write. Even though it is hard to do, I want to do it and that is definitely a good thing.

I'll close out with this link about first draft blues, that I think others of you who are stuck on first drafts like me might enjoy. It relieved me to see that so many others struggle the way I do at the beginning. Right now I'm so braindead from trying to figure out the first draft, I can't even come up with a fun metaphor for what a first draft is like...

But I'm off to get my feet wet:


Actually those are Jenny's feet and mine is just the one foot with the black toenails in the corner because the water was really cold and I was skittish about putting them in. Now it is time to take the plunge!

2 comments:

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Oh wow, it looks so peaceful there! It makes me want to go on a hike.

The title of your story is very catchy, good luck with it!

I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan. My favorite book of hers would be: This Lullaby then I'd go with Truth About Forever and Dreamland.

Amber

Alexandra said...

1) Just bought Ballads of Suburbia, and really looking forward to reading it.

2) Personally, my favourite Sarah Dessen book is her latest, Along for the Ride, and then Lock and Key.