Saturday, February 16, 2013
There's a writing forum I visit occasionally. The reason I visit it only occasionally is because I always feel bad after browsing through it.
I find tons of advice about how to do things the "correct way". What a downer. If one wants to suck the soul out of a writer, start telling her that she's doing things all wrong.
Is it some inherent urge that we all have ~ to slap a ton of rules down that we want everyone to follow?
It all started innocently enough with the admonition that one does not put two spaces after a sentence. Doing that somehow brands one as a senile old fool. How archaic can I be? Fine. I'll go along. I fixed that. I want to be "hip"; just like all the young, hip people (I still do it here, though).
Then, it was the overuse of certain words; such as "just" and "really". Point taken. I really just used those two words really just too much. In my defense, it wasn't laziness. That's just really the way I talk.
I'm sure there's also a topic somewhere on that forum regarding made-up words. Well, I make up words a lot. Sometimes a word (just really) doesn't exist that succinctly describes what it is I want to say. Therefore, I make up my own word. Sue me.
In my mind, writing is like jazz. One needs to improvise in order to create something unique. I've long since (50-or-so years ago) graduated from "See Spot run". Yes, that sentence is technically correct, grammar-wise, but it's not all that interesting (I guess unless you're Spot).
For about seven years, I've perused a couple of songwriting forums, and those people aren't nearly as tight-assed as prose writers. I'm shocked by that. After all, songwriting generally follows established structures.
I could have driven myself crazy with my manuscript, had I tried to conform to every "rule" laid down by sundry (unpublished) writers.
No, I'm just going to be me.
And my next book is (just really) going to be me, too.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
For better or worse, my manuscript is done.
Sure, I could keep fussing with it, but I have to draw the line somewhere.
Truth is, the reason I have kept fussing with it is because I'm afraid.
Some poor fool is going to buy it, and say, "Well, that was a waste of $x.xx!"
Or, "Who told this imbecile she knew how to write a book?"
Or, "There sure are a lot of boring parts in here! Good thing I have this handy push-button on the side of my Kindle, so I can fast-forward!"
Or I will scroll to my Amazon page and see that nobody has purchased a copy, and I will feel like a failure.
Or, somebody will buy it and give it a scathing review (given a choice, I'd go with nobody buying it).
I guess sometimes in life one has to make that leap. I've only really taken one leap in my life before this, so I'm hardly used to jumping.
I have contacted a book formatter to help me. Very soon, this whole thing will be a reality.
And then, what will I do with my time?
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I'm not actually writing right now. I'm reading. That's worse. Way worse.
I found a printer (somewhere) that could handle spitting out all the pages of my manuscript, and now I've embarked on the torturous task of reading it! I have no idea if my book is even interesting, because I've read it and reread it so many times, setting it afire would be much more fascinating to me. At least I could gaze, wide-eyed, at the billowing flames.
Of course, nothing I read is satisfying to me. Thus, I keep tinkering. Honestly, a thesaurus is a writer-girl's best new friend. "Oh, what's that word? You know, I can't think of it right now. It's on the tip of my tongue."
Is using a thesaurus cheating? I say no. My justification is, I actually know all these words. It's not my fault that my brain chokes when I actually need to conjure one of them up.
My stupid book (and that might be what I decide to title it ~ "My Stupid Book") is separated into three parts. I finally (finally!) settled on the final version of Part 1; and now I am slogging through Part 2. Frankly, tonight, I just had to stop. I couldn't stand it anymore.
However, while I was reading Part 2, I became temporarily fascinated with the chapter about Merle Haggard.
You see, my book (if I never mentioned this) is autobiographical. And Merle is part of that. Yes, I "met" him. It's a long, embarrassing story, but aren't those the best kind?
I "met" Merle in 1968. And if you know country music at all, you know that 1968 was a pretty big deal, vis a vis Merle Haggard.
In 1968 I completely humiliated myself over "Mama Tried". But I was thirteen, so what do I care....now?
My best friend, Alice, and I were in love with Merle Haggard; so to actually "meet" him (and yes, I use the word in quotations for a reason) caused us to become all jittery....and stupid.
Therefore, to whisk away those long-ago demons, what could be better than to watch this:
Friday, January 18, 2013
Tomorrow, I may read my manuscript.
Between you and me, I'm getting a bit weary of this whole thing. Certain passages have nagged at me; told me they weren't good enough. So, I rewrote them.
Then I added things; things I sort of forgot; or things that I needed to write to flesh out the saga.
You know, this could go on forever!
When is a book "done"? Never?
Face it (me); I will never be satisfied with the finished product.
If I had a direct line to an editor, maybe he would tell me when the book was done. But I only have me.
So, tomorrow, I will read.
If it seems pretty good, I will let somebody else read it.
If it seems pretty bad, I'll chug away some more.
One year is all that I will give it. One year seems like a lot! But that's my final offer.
I've been writing for six months now. That gives me six more months; tops. I'm not inclined to give it that long; but I will, if I have to.
Either that; or I'm setting it free.
Tomorrow will tell.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
I suddenly realized that my book was missing chapter titles. In my exhaustive (two-minute) exploration of e-book formatting, I learned that I need to have chapter titles, so, I guess, people who read e-books can easily navigate to a specific portion of the book. (I, as previously noted, have never quite figured out how to do this on my Kindle, so I forgo any sort of navigation whatsoever).
Being lazy, I wasn't in the mood to add catchy titles to each chapter; so therefore, I've been typing "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", et cetera, et cetera; over and over.
Have you ever noticed that when you type the same word repetitively, you start to question if it's really a word? Are you spelling it wrong? What does it mean? It seems like gibberish.
So, I reached Chapter 22, and I just had to stop. It was starting to freak me out. The word, I mean.
I'd be much better off applying relevant titles to each chapter, but I'm too tired to be creative.
I've noticed lately that I'm doing anything I can think of to not write.
Such as, obsessing over words that suddenly appear foreign. Or writing this blog post..
Please bear with me. I'm getting punchy. I've been writing like a fiend for five or who knows how many months, and I am now becoming inexplicably anxious.
Ahh, songwriting was so much easier. And at least when I was writing songs, I had a partner (my guitar).
If this book doesn't kill me, nothing will. Which is actually a nice thought...it's good to be indestructible.